This is a description, as best I can, of my moment of “enlightenment” or being touched by something beautiful, or being released from the chains of self. I don’t really know what it was or why it happened to me.
I am lying on a marble slab in a sauna in the hippie free city of Christiania in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was there because, though untrained, I was hustling to give massages. Something instinctive inside me had felt that it was cool to help people relax, to get in touch with their inner self through release of body tension.
I had probably smoked a bit of pot as I did in those days, but I cannot remember exactly. I almost certainly smoked the previous day if I did not. I may also have enjoyed a bottle of beer.
I was there because I just could not adjust to anything. I was never happy in jobs for longer than six months. I had lost my virginity but was having problems establishing relationships. In short I was bewildered, wondering how everyone else did it or perhaps why they did it. How did they get interested and self obsessed to work every day ? How did other guys find it easy to interest girls? I had for a while but that seemed to be fading, but I was an optimist and felt confident the summer would bring fun times again. The year is 1977, (that was when Marc Bolan and Elvis Presley died if your memory can be twigged) It was late spring.
I self-massaged quite a lot. Like feeling for natural tension release points, a sort of finger acupressure. Then I lay back to drift into my own thoughts, or so I thought.
The next bit is the best of my memory but I hope you understand it was all over so quickly I may not have the detail quite right
Suddenly I was laughing, but not like we know laughter. I was in another dimension. Around me all I could see was a dark green space. My self felt like a light blue nervous system in another time and place. My laughing was uncontrollable, deep, welling up from inside me and bursting out. Ha! Ha! Ha! (my thinking was just about able to divert from the joy long enough to ask myself “what is going on”) Ha! Ha!. It seemed to last a short time to me but then a cup of water was thrown over me by the male of the couple who ran the sauna. To do that he must have seen me laughing strangely, thought about it, got up, decide to get the water and walked over to me to throw it. That must have taken some time though it was little time as I perceived it that I laughed for. I felt disappointment that this joyful release had been interrupted, but as I rose to a sitting position and threw my legs over the side of the marble slab to sit up a feeling of compassion welled up from inside me and I said “thanks”. Not for what they had done, but because I already understood that they could not have known how beautiful that experience was so they needed compassion not spite or hatred. Such quick, straight from the heart and blissful thinking was new to me. For years I had struggled trying to be a loving hippy, trying to get myself to think like the love generation, but without success.
I left the sauna within seconds, the couple asked ”Where are you going” I said “Out of this business” as it was all that came into my head. Most probably because I had chosen to give massage in the vague hope a hippy chick would ask and we would fall in love, I don’t know exactly, my heart was honest, but the brain had probably disconnected. I was seeing perhaps my own foolish ambition.
That is it. The best description I can manage. Was I touched by Buddha, was it my own achievement of finally smoking enough pot and/or chilling out enough to finally release my inhibitions, did some God bless a lost soul, unable to struggle anymore? I don’t know. It still lives with me all these years later. It is an amazing moment to hold dearly to as it enables me to back-off from other religious or spiritual arguments and use it as a reference point. Life however was to take another downswing within a few weeks of this.