Have you ever thought of your hands as an entry point into the present moment?
Recently reading Russel Williams in Not I, Not Other than I: The Life and Teachings of Russell Williams, brought this truth to my conscious awareness. He is answering a question about evolving gradually towards a spiritual state as opposed to suddenly waking up.
Russel explains what can be behind an apparently sudden awakening and then suggesting that the most important thing you can do to prepare the way to becoming gradually more awake is to clear the mind. So much easier said than done of course – mind has a way of non-stop chatter that fools us into thinking that is who we are. But a clear mind is the space in which Presence can flow and express.
Put Your Mind in Your Hands
I loved his next suggestion which is to put your mind in your hands – quite literally. Let your hands tell you what you want to do rather than the other way around. The mind will gradually clear he says.
Anyone who creates with their hands can attest to this. We have all had experiences at some time in our lives of focusing intently, creating something with our hands.
Especially Helpful at my Computer
I find that particularly interesting since I live on a computer all day, my hands on the keyboard, my mind on the monitor screen. Bringing my attention back to my hands helps to detach from all the mental activity. It brings me back to a world that isn’t entirely about what is happening in my mind, my work or whatever else I am doing, but also that here am I, an ‘I AM’ entity in a physical body.
Hand awareness helps me to remember who I really am and to allow that essence to flow through my fingers into what I am doing. This can change my world in a heartbeat from one of overwhelm or frustration or anxiety to one of peace and inspiration. I may still be doing exactly the same activity, but the experience can become as different as night is from day.
Gardening / Pottery
This also explains why I love gardening so much – the contact with the earth and nature and creation itself. Very hands on. Of course mind can still distract – I can be in another world entirely in my mind while my hands are in the earth – but the earth can also ground me back to the present moment. Especially if I am deliberate about following my hands.
Pottery is another good example. Sitting at a potter’s wheel with a lump of mud and a spinning surface – requires absolute focus on the hands and the more Presence is allowed to flow the more interesting the resulting piece.
Full Attention on Another
Russel also talks about putting full attention on another – person or thing – and how the small self then disappears. When that happens consistently, mind clears and whole new worlds open up.
The small self is concerned with what it thinks, what others think, what it should/shouldn’t be doing, how to act, be, what it wants and most of all, how to keep attention on it!
Taking attention away from what it thinks or feels requires awareness and focus. It also requires a willingness to hold a space for the other person or thing to be as they choose in this moment. It doesn’t help to focus on another and allow the mind to continue its never-ending commentary of opinions and judgements. Creating a space for the other to be who and what they choose really moves you out of your mind and into a place of sacred awareness. Presence has an opportunity to be a part of the interaction.
Following the Hands
Following my hands has become my current mantra. I love it. I have never looked at my hands so much, become so aware of what they do, what they look like, how they feel. Even noticing them on the wheel of my car as I take a trip to a new physical location keeps me awake and in the present moment.
What do you experience when you put your focus on your hands?
Do you find this to be a helpful tool to bring you into the present moment?
And then what happens?