Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Alexandra Chauran, author of numerous books, including Getting Through It: Reclaiming Your Life After Adversity, Change, or Trauma and the new Modern Guide to Mudras.
A labyrinth is like a maze, but one in which you cannot get lost. As a meditative tool, a labyrinth can be large enough to move through in a walking meditation, or small enough to trace with a pencil on a piece of paper. The purpose of the labyrinth is to go deep into meditation through tracing one’s movements through the labyrinth. Some labyrinths are designed to spiral inward, symbolizing the process of going deep into one’s mind. After reaching the centre of the labyrinth, the person returns by retracing his or her steps. Spiritually, one can take a problem into the labyrinth, expecting that it will be either shed or transformed by the time one emerges from the meditation. With this labyrinthine hand meditation, you carry a labyrinth around with you wherever you go, ready to allow you to take any problem into meditation.
Basic silent, receptive meditation involves clearing the mind of all thought. It is quite difficult to clear one’s mind of thought, so focusing on one’s breathing is a shortcut to living in the here and now. In more advanced meditation, breath control can be part of achieving a trance state. This Labyrinthine Hand exercise is meant to allow you to draw attention and spiritual energy to your hands while simultaneously remaining aware of your breathing. For the beginning meditator, keeping this split focus between hands and breath can feel impossible, so be gentle with yourself if you notice your attention jumping back and forth. Simply notice when your thoughts become unfocused and renew your attempts.
Begin by holding one hand in front of you with fingers spread. With your other hand, you will be tracing the outline of the first hand. Begin at the base of the thumb. As you inhale, draw your finger slowly up your thumb to its tip. As you exhale, continue tracing your finger down into the webbing between your thumb and index finger. By the time you have finished tracing the hand one way, you will have taken five breaths. Reverse the path and retrace your movements to take five more breaths. Now, switch hands and repeat the pattern both times again for a total of twenty breaths for the entire exercise.
Our thanks to Alexandra for her guest post! For more from Alexandra Chauran, read her article, “Pandemic Magical Hand Signs for Greeting and Warding.”