HANDS fascinate me. They always have. I look at them as often as I look at faces. Whether old and bent by arthritis – as my father’s were – or young and artistic – like the long-fingered dextrous hands of my ukulele teacher – the beauty of them remains a constant. Newborn. Young and elderly. All hands tell a story. They reveal so much about who we are – and how we are feeling.
Do they wave about in a stream of volubility, as mine do, when I am excited, and in the full flow of telling a funny story to a friend? Or are they clasped tightly, one to the other, like the mourners’ hands (and my own) at a funeral I attended last week? What do they say, about our mood, our state of health, our frame of mind? In sadness and in pleasure – every pair of hands is telling us something, and when words fail us, sometimes hands – with a gesture, or a touch – can fill the void, with an eloquent and loving alternative.
Tools of the trade
My brother is a Master Thatcher. He has worked with his hands, cutting and shaping thatch for his beautiful roofs, through all weathers and seasons, for all his adult life. If you placed his hands, weathered and nimble, next to mine, you would see quite a different story being wordlessly revealed. But hands are the tools of my trade too. Hands are a vital ingredient in my working life. I am a writer, and am usually holding a pen, before I go to the screen to type in the handwritten script. I teach T’ai Chi, where the hands must come alive with energy, or “chi”, in order that the sequence of flowing, life-affirming movements can succeed. For where feet receive: hands transmit. (See ‘Walking On Air’) And I am a Reiki practitioner. My hands are my tools of perception. And the process of fine tuning them is a constant and fascinating challenge.
Stillness and Warmth
Hands – like the mind – can be such busy creatures (see Reiki and the Anxious Mind), it is a relief, in Reiki, to hold them perfectly still. Laying hands on someone’s crown – or solar plexus – or feet, and simply waiting, is the best kind of conversation. A subtle dance of energy, that passes from one body to the other. Yet all in stillness and repose. Warmth gathers in the palms – though sometimes cold comes, or tingling – as they gather information from the person receiving the Reiki. And in return, a message is transmitted, simple yet profound: relax, come into balance, find your well of calm.
Balancing the Yin and Yang
We live in a very YANG world in the West: externally focussed, pressurised and fast. Reiki encourages a turning towards the YIN: tapping into the truth and equilibrium which can be found, when we listen more intently to our inner worlds. Reiki hands help us realise, that there can be great power and wisdom in being still, even if just for half an hour, or an hour, once in a while. Gathering our internal resources, to face the clamour of the world again, with more conviction and aplomb.
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