As we move closer to the end of what could be called one of the most globally unsettling years in many decades, the typical end-of-year review takes on an atypical tenor. Whereas one may usually reflect on goals met or unmet, or on aspirations for the new year, 2020’s wrap-up may find many of us still baffled by the events of the year. Although adaptability, discipline, and hope forged strong wills in some people, just as many wrangled with frustration, anxiety, and rebelliousness.
This duality of perspective and behavior starkly illustrates what is always true about the human experience: We live in a perpetual state of uncertainty; very little is as it seems; and there are multiple sides and angles, curves and bumps throughout our lives. While 2020 demonstrated the ever-present Yin-Yang quality of Life to a sometimes overwhelming degree, that dichotomies and flip-sides underlie everyday life is an inevitable hallmark of earthly existence.
As I think about the months since March, I am most stunned that I am not more stunned. Inarguably, I have had my share of emotional upheaval with regard to the pandemic: Yet, too, I find myself peacefully centered in the acceptance of that which I can not control. Perhaps the physical pain that has permeated my experience this year is connected to the ability to withstand the challenges of pandemic life: My focus has been as much on the immediate need to cope with a struggling body as it has been on the greater societal needs and hardships.
And in a peculiar way, this oscillation between personal and universal is an energetic ebb and flow that undergirds every aspect of existence. Even when subconscious, human minds take in and rifle through an astonishing amount of information each day, or each hour or minute. We contemplate what to do and how to do it: Constantly, we are in a state of flux between options and choices.
On this Silent Sunday, I offer a meditation with moving mudras to orient the unceasing to-and-fro energy of earthly life. When one is able to harness and direct this energy, the rising and receding vibrational waves become less distracting and unnerving. As one melds the universal with the personal, the resulting synergy can imbue every thought, emotion, and action.
To begin, create a bolstered supine position on the floor. In classical Corpse Pose, slide a pillow or rolled blanket under the knees; do the same under the thoracic spine. The support of the upper back should allow the shoulders to roll open, provide a pleasant opening across the chest, and allow the head to rest on the floor without straining the neck. With arms at rest by the sides, palms up, breathe deeply into the pose: Stay aware of the teamed feeling of support and openness. Breathe here, in and out through the nose, for up to 3 minutes.
When you are ready, remove the props, and roll to one side before sitting up. Find your preferred seated posture, and again take a minute or two to breathe consciously and completely. With the breath and body prepared, the meditation may begin.
Throughout this practice, the eyes remain closed and gazing at the Third Eye. The first mudra connects one to the eternal wisdom and guidance of the Universe and the Divine; its partner mudra draws the scope of the Universe into the individual domain. The dance between the two allows that which is personal to harmonize with the universal vibration, and then allows the Universe to project its energy back into the individual sphere.
First, extend the arms straight out from the Heart Center. Interlace the fingers, leaving the index fingers together and pointing straight ahead. Lift this mudra slightly, so that the pointed fingers are in line with the Third Eye. Inhale deeply as you draw the mudra in toward the Third Eye. By the time the inhale is finished, the mudra has transformed: The fingers and palms form traditional Prayer Mudra; the base knuckles of the thumbs contact the Third Eye point between the brows.
As the exhale begins, slowly move the Prayer Mudra down to the Heart Center; continue to breathe out as the hands move fluidly back out to the original position. As this occurs, the hands recreate the first, interlaced mudra.
Special note: The tricky part of this movement is that each time the fingers interlace into the initial position, you must switch the interlace. This may be awkward or uncomfortable at first; however, as you continue with the meditation, the discomfort yields to the body’s ability to learn and adapt. This is the signal that the mind and spirit are accepting the energy of the Universe into personal experience.
In order to fully integrate the peace and power of the meditation, continue for 11 minutes. Remember that the struggle of mental or physical distraction is part of the process—part of the purpose—of meditation. Give yourself the gift of accepting and rising to the challenge.