Over the course of the last few weeks, there have been several occasions wherein my words to another would soon thereafter prove applicable to myself. Whether it was direct advice, a philosophy, or a different perspective, the thoughts I shared would become personally relevant within a day. Each time, I realized that although we may not always hear—or choose to hear—the truth in others’ words to us, it is difficult to ignore our own words as they echo through our minds. The challenge, however, is to “see” clearly enough that we can acknowledge when we need an input of wisdom, be it from within or from without.
So, today’s Silent Sunday practice brings the attention to the eyes and ears: the physical senses for which they are responsible, as well as their spiritual ability to see and hear that which is unseen and unuttered The first techniques help to soothe tired eyes and, by way of the ears, awaken the entire body.
To begin, rub your palms together, in order to generate warmth and healing energy. Then, place the palms over your closed eyes. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply for about a minute as you notice the immediate relaxation that accompanies this simple move. Then, beneath the veil of your hands, open your eyes; roll your eyes clockwise a few times, then counter-clockwise.
Next, move the eyes side to side, then up and down, a few times for each direction. Finally, seek out the corners, moving along the horizontal and vertical “edges,” and through the diagonals. After you have completed a few rounds, close your eyes, breathing deeply again for another minute or so. When you are ready, lower your hands from your face. Slow and deepen your breath again for another minute, and then slowly open your eyes.
Special note: The eye exercises are also excellent for eye strain and burning eyes. The technique is a great antidote to dry air, tiredness, and too much screen time.
Next, use your thumb and one or two fingertips on each hand to rub both ears simultaneously. Start with the ear lobe, and rub and squeeze fairly firmly as you work your way upward along the outer rims of the ears; repeat a few times from the lobe, moving up and around. The ears hold reflexology points just as the hands and feet do Imagine a curled-up fetus in the womb, angled downward: If you place this image in the ear, the head would be the lobe, and the spine would correspond with the outer rim of the ear. As you massage the ear, spend extra time on any part of the ear that lines up with an body area that also may need care.
Now that you have perked up the eyes and ears, you may begin the meditation. The first half of this practice (a suggested 5-10 minutes per mudra) will engage Pran Mudra. This finger configuration stimulates the flow of prana, as its name implies; it is wonderful for increasing vitality and mental clarity, both of which give us focus and the ability to think and “see” clearly. Further, Pran Mudra activates the First and Second (Root and Sacral) chakras, thereby granting us steadiness when others may be losing “sight.”
The hand position is simple: Touch the thumb tip to the tips of the ring and pinkie fingers; the other fingers remain straight. For today’s practice, I suggest a slight variation, which helps to balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This optimizes our ability to discern and clarify, which provides the opportunity for great insight. To practice this slightly different version, the thumb pad of each hand comes over the top of its respective third and fourth fingers to rest on the nails.
To open your mind and ears to “messages” or wisdom, spiritual or otherwise, move to Shunya Mudra. I practice this mudra very often: I have found it to be invaluable when out and about in the world, or when I need to open the gates of communication with the divine. Not only does Shunya Mudra aid physical ear issues, it inspires patience, a key quality when it comes to the act of listening and deeply hearing.
Simply touch the thumb tips to the tips of their respective middle fingers. Be aware of your tongue, throat, and jaw; consciously ease and release any build-up of tension that often sits in those areas. Shunya Mudra needs these regions associated with the Fifth Chakra to be open, as this is the energy center that corresponds with clear communication.
Throughout the meditation, your eyes are closed and gazing up at the Third Eye. Periodically check in on your breath, and reinitiate deep, slow breathing; also ensure that your belly and shoulders are relaxed, in order to gain the most benefit from the meditation.