Last night I had a dream in which I desperately searched my memory for pieces of information that should have been easily retrievable. In the dream, I urgently needed to return to my friend’s house, so i rushed to a train station. There, for some dream-world reason, I had to give the ticket agent my friend’s name and address. For the life of me, I could not recall either: Eventually, I came up with the name, but neither the street address, nor the name of his town. As I frantically tried to persuade the agent to let me board, I began to remember that I might have a way to remember. Just as I was beginning to latch on to the idea of using a memory mudra, I woke up.
Thus, I would feel remiss if I did not introduce mudras in today’s Silent Sunday post. Fittingly, mudra is pronounced “mood-ruh,” not muhd-ruh. The vowel sound is a clue to the purpose of a mudra: Mudras effect change in body, emotion, spirit, and even circumstance.
Consider this a primer on mudras. I have previously discussed the basics of meridians from the standpoint of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Just for a second, visualize the invisible lines of energy flowing within your body; then, imagine that energy as water—long, smooth rivers and channels moving through your system.
With the idea of continual movement within you, you can now envision shape-shifting your physical body in order to redirect the energy within you–just as you could use rocks or logs to alter the course of water. Essentially, this is what yoga asanas (postures) do: Each pose’s angles, wraps, and openings elicit a specific effect on the body and/or mind. For example, inversions “flip” the flow of energy, which results in an elevated state. Or, twists squeeze and pump debris out of your system, and allow for a fresh surge of blood and oxygen to the organs.
Asanas may be seen as full-body mudras. More often, however, mudras are hand and arm configurations. (Prayer position—palms together in front of the heart—is a common mudra.) To begin, it is helpful to understand that each finger aligns with certain mental and physical characteristics; some of these relate to actual meridian lines in the arms and hands. Further, the hands are integral to other therapeutic systems, including reflexology, astrology, and ayurveda. Consequently, specific mudras activate transformation through multiple fields of energy in the material and cosmic realms.
Thumb: Represents equilibrium; known as Mars; restores, absorbs, and balances energy.
Index finger: Knowledge and communication; known as Jupiter; connects intuition to the divine.
Middle: Patience; known as Saturn; guides activity with help from the Heavens.
Third, or ring: Energization; known as Sun; not surprisingly, provides heat and detoxifies.
Pinky: Joy; known as Mercury; improves mood, and helps balance mood fluctuation.
Again, this is a bare-bones breakdown of mudra energies and their application to one’s life. With regard to my dream last night, today’s mudra will be one that I have used countless times; I also have introduced it to many friends, who also have come to rely on it. Ironically, my mother, who is at a point in her life when many common words and concepts escape her, still remembers the mudra and continues to use it appropriately.
This is Kubera Mudra. It is used when you have misplaced or forgotten something. While thinking of the lost item, or encouraging your mind to accept a forgotten thought, you create and hold the mudra. In this case, you bring the tips of the index and middle finger to touch the tip of their respective thumb (i.e., left first and second fingers to left thumb, etc.). Try to keep the ring and pinky fingers together and straight. It is as simple as that; however, I am continually stunned by the effectiveness of this technique. So, next time you need to jog your memory, remember Kubera Mudra.