Today’s Silent Sunday offers a way to reach out to someone—anyone—that may need some help moving through a transition.
The practice is a personal one, as I and my siblings wait: All signs point to the imminent death of our mother. She is an intrepid character—a trooper, a toughie, a hugger, an eternal optimist. Those invaluable traits now become anathema to her departure from this earthly realm. Long ago, and most notably within the past year, what made this dynamo of a woman “Mom” began to wane. She became, instead, a being pressing valiantly onward, despite her ever-diminishing mind. When her body—uncannily strong, vital, and capable, all 5 feet, 110 pounds of it—began to flag, the story changed again.
A woman who, well into her 80s, hiked gulleys; mowed her own lawn; hoisted heavy loads; and would burst into a jog without warning suddenly slowed. Yet, until about 1 month ago, she climbed the stairs each night to tuck into her bed for longer and longer sleeps. Now, barely moving and no longer eating, she is washed by her caregivers; her waking time is almost null; and her words are garbled murmurs.
Yet she endures.
My tears now reflect my prayer that she move into God’s Grace, into the realm of eternal divine Love. I no longer mourn “Mom.” To mourn who she was is not the undertaking: To support this woman’s transition out of this earthbound life is my dedication. To that end, today’s practice summons, deepens, and transmits the energy of release and renaissance.
Special note: My father factors into this Silent Sunday, as well. He passed almost exactly 15 years ago, on February 9, 2007. At that time, I did not delve into meditation on his behalf; I did however, hold the same beliefs and faith that I do today. Back then, I consulted my dad’s horoscope on the day of his passing. We included it on the handout for his service:
“The concept of surrender continues to be a theme. A key relationship is growing in power, practically absorbing you. It is safe to let go for a minute—see where this takes you if you don’t resist.”
To begin your help-from-a-distance practice, find a special space in which to sit: inside or outside, near a window or nestled deep into a comfy cave. With eyes closed, hands on knees or thighs, palms up, focus your thoughts on someone, somewhere to whom you would like to send support, peace, and love. Hone in on the need of which they may have spoken, or that you discern on their behalf. Remove your own worries or desires: Reframe any self-motivated perspective; create a mental space of clarity and detachment.
Be sure to breathe deeply and consciously. This preparation ensures the integrity and power of the following experience.
With the elbows resting next to the waist, bring the hands to about the level of the low-mid ribs: palms face in, toward each other. As you breathe in deeply through the nose, let the forearms and hands respond to the expansion of the ribs by moving slowly, perhaps imperceptibly apart. As you exhale long and deep, let the arms and hands return toward center. Continue for about 2 minutes; allow a feeling of weightlessness to imbue the subtle movement.
Next, slightly extend the left arm out in front of you: Keep the elbow slightly bent, and let the hand, palm up, form a soft cup. The sense is that of waiting to catch a drifting, falling leaf. The right elbow is bent with the right forearm next to the body, and the hand at about the level of the shoulder. With the left palm facing forward, make Gyan Mudra—thumb tip to index finger tip. This arm position with mudra establishes your willingness to receive divine wisdom, and your vow to channel it to your dedicated recipient.
Again, with eyes closed—now gazing up toward the Third Eye—breathe slowly and steadily. If at some point you feel compelled to breath out through the mouth, do so: Then resume the deep, steady breaths through the nose. Continue for 2-3 minutes.
Now, begin a gathering-sending sequence. With all your heart, tap into the intention of the practice: to soothe, encourage, and free another from whatever ails or limits. Extend each arm to the side, roughly at shoulder level, with palms up; the elbows remain easy, not locked. Inhale deeply through the nose as you circle the arms forward at the level of the chest/shoulders, until the hands nearly touch. Continue the inhale as the hands draw in toward the Heart Center, eventually coming into Prayer Mudra in front of the Heart.
With a long exhale through the open mouth, burst the hands up and away from each other, extending the arms up at about a 60-degree angle, forming a large V. The feeling is one of a bird freed from a cage, moving into full, glorious flight. Let the exhale move through the burst up and out, and all the way through the arms moving back to the original position: extended to the sides at shoulder level, palms up.
As you repeat the sequence over and over, let your head move naturally in accordance with the movements. For example, you may tilt the head back as the arms soar upward; you may tilt the head down as the hands draw in to the Heart. Let the movement carry you into the aim and vibration of the practice. Continue for at least 3 minutes, but do not limit yourself. As this is a devotion to the Heart and Soul of another, guided by divine and universal energy, the practice ends only when it signals its completion to you. That signal will be personal, and thus not prescriptive.
When the movement completes. sit quietly. Let your thoughts and emotions flow in whatever way they do; again, no preconception, analysis, or judgment. When ready, find your way into Svasana, or simply sit in stillness for as long as you like.