Friday, May 09, 2008

Holding Hands

I was going through some files I have stored on a server and I found one I'd saved regarding the beneficial effects of married people holding hands to reduce stress. Click here to read the article at I guess marriage is good for something afterall. haha (I'm definitely operating a little to the cynical Left today.)

Later I noticed that is using the recent YouTube video phenom of the otters holding hands as an example for their embedded presentations feature. My Right Brain thinks the otters are enormously cute (and there are so many predictable ooos and awwws in the audio it makes me laugh), but my Left Brain argues that it's not love so much as a survival instinct. Otters are communal in nature, and they link paws in the water to keep from floating away from each other. Simple as that. (Thank you CBS news for the facts.) At this point Right Brain reaches across the corpus callosum and slaps Left Brain and says "what's wrong with you? shut up and appreciate the cuteness. it's still love in a broader sense." (Right Brain doesn't have any appreciation for logic, or proper capitalization.)

And probably because I was super sensitive to it by then, when I watched a YouTube video of Mraz singing Fly Me to the Moon from a recent concert in Hawaii, the line "in other words, hold my hand..." stood out, and that got me thinkin'.

Hands are an interesting appendage of the human body. We can live without them, but they make our lives so much easier, and they're used more often in communication than you'd think (unless you're Italian - then you already know. I hear if you tie an Italian's hands behind their backs, they can't talk - j/k :). Our opposable thumbs are one of the things that sets us apart from the other mammals and allows us to use all kinds of tools. "Thumbs up" and "ok" are universal hand gestures that people understand. A palm reading may give you insight to the current path you're on. Indigenous cultures have often used the shape of a hand as a hieroglyph to indicate Life. When you shake hands with someone it's an unconscious (in most cases) gesture of goodwill. The universal sign for "I mean you no harm" is holding up your open palm. We wear jewelry on our hands as indication of our social status. When you make a pledge or swear into court, you hold up your hand. We put our hand on our heart to honor the American flag, and soldiers use it to make a gesture of respect to higher ranking officers. The public also uses it to make a gesture of DISrespect if someone makes them unhappy. (This bumper sticker always cracks me up: Horn broken, watch for finger.) Cops' hands can control traffic, and a fireman's hands can bring nature under control, or save a life. You raise your hand to ask a question (or request a song at a Mraz concert haha). The Deaf use their hands to talk. It would be hugely difficult to type this blog without hands, and to me, holding hands with your partner is tied with a slow, meaningful kiss for the #1 spot in my Book of All The Right Romantic Moves. And that's just a few things we do with our hands.

I was wondering then, with all that evidence of the power of hands, why people have trouble believing in the healing power that can also be transmitted through them. I'm a second degree Reiki practitioner, although I'm not "practicing" at the moment. (Hmmm, and I think I just found my answer as to why all these hand references have been popping up in front of me.) I'm not practicing because I feel like most people are a) looking for some magical external cure so they don't have to do any internal work, b) feel they're not getting their money's worth if I don't "fit the part" (i.e., have "mystical" props and environment), or c) simply don't believe in it, and want me to "sell" them on how it works. Yes, I have some trust issues.

Reiki is a practice based on focusing Universal healing energy through your hands. You, as the Reiki giver, are not doing anything to heal the person you're working on. You are simply gathering some of that healing chi floating around the ether, and channeling it down to the place where it is needed. The person receiving the energy is actually doing the work by unconsciously healing themselves the same way we unconsciously breathe or have a heartbeat.

My aunt (who taught me) said to think of myself as a straw when I practice Reiki, so I picture the energy coming in through my crown chakra, down to the hand that gives, through the person I'm working on, back into the hand that receives, then down my body and out the bottoms of my feet back to the Earth. (This is why the ideal Rieki setting in my opinion is outside.) From there I'm sure the energy melds back into the flow in a circle bigger than we can imagine. I'm just the instrument that breaks into the stream to redirect it, much like if you place your finger under running water, some of the water will then follow your hand instead of the rest of the flow.

Many people I try to explain this to are skeptical though. If they believe in it at all, they don't believe they're the ones doing the work - they see themselves as separate from God, so it must be God or angels or me healing them. My reluctance to talk about Reiki at all has grown from me trying to explain the process, and people arguing with me about whether the energy is real, or who is doing the work, or whatever else they come up with. My brain shuts down at confrontation, so I suck at debate. I do want to find a way to make a living doing something to help people spiritually though. But, uhhhh... back to hands.

For me, the hand that gives is the right, and the hand that receives is the left. Some say the opposite is true as a rule. My intuition says it depends on the human, so both are probably true.

Which hand do you feel is your giving hand and which one is the receiving hand?

I imagine most people would say whatever hand is dominant is their giving hand and the non-dominant the receiving one, but what if you're a needy-type person? Would that make your non-dominant hand what you send energy out with? There should be scientific studies on this stuff. This is one of those times I wish I'd stayed in college. I could totally be doing this research. :D

Thinking about this also makes me wonder about when I hold Mark's hand, like when we're walking in the mall, is there a reason I end up on one side of him or the other? Are we like magnets where our polarization changes, unconsciously causing us to walk on certain sides so if we reach for each other's hand, certain energy needs are met? Hmmm. I'll have to pay closer attention to that in the future and write down what I find. I'd also have to figure out which is his giving hand and which receives so I can match up the situation with which side we're on.

Well anyway, just found the hand thing interesting and writing it out has made me realize why it probably came up, so woohoo! Score one for meditative writing. :)


CSD Faux Finishing said...

I freaking love your long blog posts. You might be right that we were separated at birth because we both have the same thought process. While other people may wonder how it is possible for you to jump from otters in love to Jason to hands to Reiki and right back to love again, I completely follow your entire stream of thought easily and without question.

Although I have never had Reiki performed I am a believer that it can be wonderfully healing. My friend's (the pretzel gal with the book) mom is a practicing healer (although I'm not sure what level) and it makes me wonder why I have never gone to have this done by her! We could all use a little Universal healing now & again right?

Something you might be able to practice in Cali perhaps? Something that could tap into the spiritual joy of sharing you are looking for?

I prefer the thought that the otters were in love too. When I see those NatGeo or Disc Channel specials about mating wildlife it makes me wonder if they are with new mates all the time and basically train then push out their young, can they ever really experience the feeling of love? And if not then it makes me wonder can humans really feel love or is it all just something we've built up as something we should all have but we actually can't achieve it and that is why its so undefinable?

Guess I'm just operating somewhere between the left and right today :)

draagonfly said...

Yeah, I have to admit the tracks under my train of thought can get a little chaotic.

You should go experience a Reiki session. It's so relaxing and your head is so clear when you walk out. I have actually checked out some colleges for it in SD, but I have more sorting in my head to do before I can make it a career.

Animals and emotions... that's a whole 'nother blog! You should write it!

And operating in between is a good place of balance, IMHO. :)

Diana said...

I love this post! And I love hands. I have this great piece of tapestry with a buddha on it. The buddha is sitting cross-legged with the one hand up as a symbol of peace and grace. It moves me. The hands. They move me. People underestimate the power of personal contact - the moment two energy fields join as one. This happens during an intimate hand-holding session or a Reiki session. Both of which are ultimate acts of love and sharing.

Did I mention I loved this post?