I have meditated off and on for over fifty years. Recently I found a hand position (mudra) that took me to a deep inner awareness in seconds. I realized that a mudra can make a huge difference in the results of your meditation.
What is a mudra?
A mudra is a spiritual gesture in the spiritual practice of Indian religions and traditions of Dharma and Taoism. You can see mudras in the hand positions of statues of Buddha and other eastern icons. In yoga, mudras are used in conjunction with yogic breathing exercise to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of prana in the body. Mudras are used in meditation to deepen the connection.
I learned Transcendental Meditation over fifty years ago. As I recall, there were no mudras involved, simply a mantra to be repeated while sitting in a chair. It is a powerful form of meditation. My husband and four children learned it with me. When I studied yoga in New York City, I began to learn a few mudras, often used in the balancing breathing positions that ended a class. I was once shown a very complex mudra by one of the Tibetian Monks who built a sand painting at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. I would go early to sit behind them when they meditated. It was very powerful. However, the mudra was complex and I forgot how to do it.
Learn o feel the movement of energy
It takes some practice, but over time, you can become very sensitive to the flow of energy. My first experience was when I could feel the power of a crystal and interpret what chakra it addressed. When I became a Reiki Master Teacher I focused energy through my hands and my mind. I studied and subsequently taught other subtle energy techniques. When I meditate, I am conscious of the flow of energy.
Energy can heal
It took a year for me to learn T’ai Chi. That is complex and once I forgot one sequence I could not recapture it because there are many forms and I had moved away from my teacher. Next I learned Falun Gong from practitioners in the San Francisco area and practiced it for ten years. Last year I began doing Zhan Zhaung (standing meditation) and Ba Duan Jin The Way of Energy: Mastering the Chinese Art of Internal Strength with Chi Kung Exercise (A Gaia Original) and am really amazed at the powerful flow of energy it creates and the healing and balancing it is doing on the physical plane. I can feel the chi energy moving in my Tan Tien, my meridians and my chakras. However, when I sat down to meditate after my Qi Gong practice my mind started thinking of things I wanted to write about that day. I could not sit for very long. I wanted to change that. I wanted to meditate longer and more serenely.
The first mudra change
Sometimes I held a crystal in my left hand while meditating . Other times the mudra I used was with my hands in my lap, palms up, one hand over the other with thumbs touching. I could never remember which hand was to go on top. It turns out that is a Buddhist mudra. One day Dr. Andrew Weill demonstrated his meditation mudra to Dr. Oz. He sat with his hands palms up on each leg with his thumbs holding his index finger. I tried that and immediately felt my meditation deepen. That mudra is designed to balance the chi.
The second mudra change
I’ve been studying Taoism and I was reading some of the complimentary pages that were available to review online for a book called Taoist Yoga: Alchemy & Immortality by Charles Luk (Author) , Lu K’uan Yu (Author) I saw a mudra instruction for meditation. I tried it and was immediate taken very deeply into mediation. My focus was behind my eyes in my third eye. Everything else disappeared. I loved it. My mind stilled and I went deeply into meditation.
According to Paul of Taoist Meditation: Mudras and meditation“ The classic Taoist mudra of covering one hand with another is actually a concealed system of versatile mudra, and it also holds the key to understanding what mudra is all about, for all chi-disciplines. With the fingers concealed, a practitioner is taught to focus on one or any combination of his fingers for chi generation and chi balancing. Unlike Tibetan Buddhism, the Taoist way does not have any fixed pattern. But how does a practitioner know what to do? The answer is that a practitioner is expected to feel chi himself and therefore is expected to be able to generate different chi by focusing on different fingers (or finger combinations) and will be expected to balance his chi accordingly, using his differently focused fingers”.
We are encouraged to experiment! The primary objective is to generate chi together with directing chi to move along the center line, most essential for cosmic circulations. To do this we must learn to feel the circulation of the chi and find the most powerful way to encourage its circulation.
As I practiced my meditation, I tried both the side-open mudra of Dr. Weils and the center- closed mudra of Charles Luk. Although the open mudra embraced my third eye, for me, it was less concentrated, it felt wider and less focused. The closed mudra focused my third eye instantaneously. I hadn’t known that a simple hand position could make such a difference. I am now able to enjoy the deepest meditation I’ve had in years thanks to finding a mudra that instaneously helps me quiet my mind.
“If a person is doing meditation without using his hands as management tools probably he is just sitting there doing nothing. What I’m saying is, doing hand positions should be the first physical act one should always attend to before use music or mantra to assist one to go into the meditative zone” Paul continues.
Experiment with mudras
If you are exploring meditation, you may want to explore mudras. Learn to be sensitive to the flow of chi energy. Notice how easily (or not) it is for you to move into meditation. Find the mudra that best suits you and let that be the mudra that makes a difference.