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An Open Hand

open-hand

If we clench our fist and then very slowly allow the hand to uncurl and open, resting there for a moment and repeating this a few times, we can feel how the energy changes between these two states.

The tight fist is tense and grasping, needy and defensive, greedy and aggressive.

The open hand is peacefully inviting; it lets go and is able to give, receive and co-operate.

Practising meditation is like the action of uncurling the clenched fist into an open hand; it is a release of external things and of persistent thoughts.

In various parts of the world, a trap is made for monkeys by putting sweets or nuts into a heavy jar.  Once a monkey has grasped a handful of treats, he can’t pull his hand back out of the jar.  Keeping his fist clenched tight and refusing to let go, he is trapped.  We all stay stuck because we refuse to let go of things which are not in our best interests.  Often, what we are hanging on to so fiercely is a pattern of thought.

Our everyday mind has been referred to as the monkey mind.  This lower mind flits about, full of incessant noise and chatter, chasing after thoughts and clinging to them.  It depends on a feeling of separation and control, always keeping busy by magnifying worries and imagining insults.  It does not wish to be in the present moment and tends to keep harking back to the past or fretting over the future.

When we practise meditation, we are ‘unclenching our fist’ and letting go of whatever concerns we have been holding on to, freeing ourselves from the tyranny of the monkey mind.  We are making a choice to stop and become still.  This allows for some spaciousness between thoughts and here we cease chasing, magnifying or grasping those thoughts.

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It is natural for the mind to produce thoughts and we do not need to force it to stop.  We can simply acknowledge any thoughts that arise and let them go. It may help to imagine thoughts floating away like clouds in a summer sky – as we relax and look up into the clear blue beyond, watching soft white clouds roll gently by and breathing away all worries or concerns.  Now we can just observe any thoughts that appear and let them float away, returning to the present as we detach from our thoughts.

The importance of learning detachment has been emphasized throughout the ages and in many traditions.  It is understood that whatever we become attached to, in whatever shape or form, carries a fear of loss and is a trap for our consciousness.  To become detached does not mean to be cold and uncaring.  Rather it is to remain peaceful and positive, balanced and harmonious in our interactions with the world.  This is a lifelong task and learning to be a witness of our own thoughts and feelings is a vital step along the way.  It enables us to take a wider perspective and to see more clearly what is the most appropriate contribution we can make in any given situation.  In practising detachment, we are learning to use our energy to replenish our resources rather than depleting them.

It seems obvious but only we ourselves can think our thoughts or feel our feelings.  No-one else can do this for us. Our thoughts, emotions and attitudes are our own creations and it is useful to practise standing back and observing them.  Then, when we reflect upon any mental or emotional difficulty we may be experiencing, we begin to understand our own responsibility for it.  We begin to see the patterns in our daily lives which are bringing discomfort.  When we have witnessed those patterns, we can begin to change them.  We do not have to wrestle with them but to observe them and to reconnect with our deeper nature, allowing the old patterns to be dissolved.

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If we clench both fists and then unfurl them, bringing our palms together, we can feel the subtle shift, as we give up trying to force things or to resist them and instead choose a new beginning.  We are becoming ready to create and encouraging new growth.

We are creating all the time with our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, perceptions and behaviours and we construct images, which hold enormous power over our ability to function. For instance, when facing a task ahead of us, we may feel daunted or overwhelmed.

However, it is often not the task itself but our thinking about it and the image we hold of it, which is getting in the way.  We put obstacles in our way by holding on to an unhelpful image of the work at hand.  Once we can see that image clearly, we can distance our self from it, let it go and tune in to the real rhythm of the venture.

The project in question may be exciting, enjoyable and a true expression of our gifts but we will not be able to fully realize it while we are holding on to an unhelpful image of it.  Whatever the external reasons for the contrary image, we need to see that it is our thoughts and feelings, which are maintaining that image and we ourselves who are applying this perception to the task.  It can help to write down or draw the image we are holding of the work, with awareness that we have constructed this picture and that it is distorted.  Then we can focus inwards and tune in to a higher consciousness. We can meditate and ask to see the project afresh, feel what shape is waiting to emerge and allow a new image to be created.

Meditation assists our creativity, playing a vital role in reconnecting us to a higher awareness, slowing the physical, emotional and mental bodies and helping to lift us to the intuitive and spiritual.  It enables the body to release negative energy and allows the replenishment of positive energy. We are making an effort when we choose to allow a connection to our higher consciousness.  As we expend this effort, Light is transmitted.

candle“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”  Saint Francis of Assisi

In the world around us, advertising and consumerism conspire to convince us that we are inherently lacking and that, in order to be happy, we need to acquire things and to form strong attachments to them.  We are urged to keep our fists clenched tight, focusing on external conditions, while endless conflict is developed regarding our physical appearance, status and possessions.  The inevitable anxieties and tensions drain our consciousness and do not make for peace in our world.

It is worth remembering that the best contribution we can make to bringing peace into the world is to restore our own inner peace.  The evidence is all around us that we are living in an extraordinary time upon Earth and whatever is unsustainable appears to be falling apart.  We are in transition from one cycle to the next and raising the quality of our thoughts, feelings and actions is our vital contribution.  As we unclench our fists, we can offer an open hand, knowing that healing takes place whenever we can release our grasp of external concerns and open up to receive higher vibrations.  Taking the time to meditate is giving priority to connecting with our higher nature and the qualities so urgently needed at this time; it is re-establishing an awareness of our true identity and creative abilities; it is choosing Light over dark.

Truth and Light Chronicles – Carol Lamb
“The choice lies before us: war and potential annihilation or aspire to the highest
and the best, to become co-creators of a new reality.”

Ribbons-of-Light
Ribbons of Light
“An opportunity for like-minded people to come together, wherever they may be,
to focus a collective energy of peace through meditation.”

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