Two handed practice.

The following excerpt is from the blog It looks at a simple practice of using two hands to embody mindfulness in day to day activities and encounters.

……. there are always opportunities to practice intentional embodiment in the midst of everyday activity that we still haven’t mastered. Two handed practice can be included as a kind of anchor that can hold our intention even while the mind is still spinning and provide a place for the mind to settle when the intellect relaxes its grip.

Two handed practice […] is one of the oldest guerrilla practices (or private practice) in Zen. It is extraordinary simple. All you need to do is decide that instead of proceeding willy nilly through a particular stretch of life, a person could dance. Two handed practice is an easy dance to do. There are no feet and no steps, a person simply decides to use the hands together.  This of course requires a simple shift in awareness.  

Instead of moving the objects of your world in a series of jabbing motions, just keep aware of what the other hand is doing. And while this may not feel like a great deal of work, this simple shift requires that both hemispheres of the brain are simultaneously engaged and goes a long way to reducing the dualistic swinging back and forth that the self seems to love but eventually finds painful. There is nothing to strain, because the intellect naturally takes a step back and awareness leans forward whenever both hands get engaged with the same task. Our hands are intrinsically wired to the brain so why not use them to tame the monkey mind? Oh, and the one rule is that anytime you give someone something, hand it to them with both hands. Without a hand to use as a makeshift counterweight, the body finds its own center of gravity naturally, guiding you towards a sense of balance. Be curious and pay attention.  

When you hand something to someone with two balanced hands, more often than not you will notice a small piece of magic. In these moments, a slight feeling of reverence naturally arises. It’s a bit of karma that human beings recognize below the conscious mind. By simply assuming this simple posture, one notices a small pause containing a natural gratitude and a palpable moment occurs between the person offering a credit card and the one receiving it. A momentary glitch in the hurried nature of our lives appears and through this crack we can feel that there is something deeper. The beauty of this, is that it passes almost too quickly to notice and we can watch something enter the unconscious while the rational mind continues unperturbed. People tend to feel this but not to notice. You are free to practice Zen when you are off the cushion.

This is one of those moments. How you hold life changes your experience and deepens your relationship to it. This is the essence of what Zen is trying to teach you. Why not take a moment, why not this moment, to place your two hands together, close your eyes, and feel into the water of life? Doing so, we sense a subtle current calling us deeper.”

Joseph Hall

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