A New Way to Listen? Give Yourself a Hand


For audio of this post:

A client of mine died this week and left me questioning energy, existence, connection, and the mysteries of human life. I work with the dying as a massage therapist, but unraveling these unknowns is human work and you know, just a regular Tuesday for us deep thinkers. To be present in the face of the extraordinary- this is how we begin to know ourselves again and again and again.

Beyond comforting words and any professional therapies I can offer my clients, the best I can do on any day is to bring my whole self into the room and to listen. It’s the best we all can do for each other. Because even without speaking, we all have so much to say. Thankfully, as humans, we have multiple ways to listen.

Hands can listen as actively as ears. They are also sensors, receivers, amplifiers, and passageways for rivers of healing. You don’t need a degree or certificate to heal with your touch. Anyone who’s gotten a hug when they really needed it knows this to be true. Alongside intention, your hands are among the most powerful healing forces you have.

Like the difference between pressing your hand to the door of a small closet or pressing your hand to a door that opens to a vast sacred temple, there’s a difference in what you sense. Without knowing exactly what’s in every room of that temple or the mysteries contained within, your hands can provide you with insights into all kinds of mysteries.

You might see where I’m going with this: we are the sacred temples with untold mysteries and treasures, wisdom and libraries of memories and experiences.

Insight into those mysteries can be found through our hands.

If you’d like to activate the healing power of your hands, remember that your hands and your mindful awareness are one. They’re both extensions of your being. So, the neutrality and compassionate observation you’ve cultivated in your mind through meditation or mindfulness can also be embodied in your hands. Don’t stress about getting this right. Your hands were designed for this. You’re already there.

Start with you. When you place hands on yourself, you don’t have to think about healing energy or channeling or activating them… you don’t have to do anything with them, really. In fact, the less you do the better. Think: profound neutrality.

This exercise can be relaxing, so if you’d like to set a timer before you begin, it can be a good idea in case you drift to sleep.

  1. When you’re ready, lay down or have a comfortable seat.
  2. Shake your hands out and rub them together for a good 60 seconds. Wake them up.
  3. Now close your eyes, sink into your breath, and drift into the space between your thoughts.
  4. Place your right hand gently on your right thigh, and your left hand gently on your left thigh.
  5. Breathe and let your attention rest in your hands. They feel alive, but neutral. They are listening. They’re witnessing.
  6. Remain here and give your attention over to your hands until it feels complete.
  7. When you’re ready, shake them out again and go about your day.

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