Thursday, July 1, 2010

Other Mudras

"the soul must empty itself to be filled with God." by St. John of the Cross

While many perceive the yogic mudras as part of esoteric Asian practice, the Simple Mind would confer with others who see them as signs and gestures, common in all human communities. Everything from the simple upheld hand to hail a taxi in New York to the upturned palm to indicate sincerity in Beijing or honesty in Rome, hand gestures or mudras are everywhere. In some spheres of life we are all connected in some way or another. It is part of what makes us human as opposed to another animal species.

Writing in the book, Christians talk about Buddhist Meditation, Buddhists talk about Christian prayer, edited by Rita Gross and Terry Muck, Donald Mitchell writes "One's day is offered to God in a way that changes one's attitude toward others -- one lives more for their happiness... Vows [are] aspirations to pursue a higher good...' Mitchell continues, speaking on his topic with reference to the Buddhist teacher, Robert Aitken, he notes: 'as Aitken says, realization must be sustained; healing and reconciliation must be sought when unity is broken... this healing and reconciliation includes one's relationship with God. Dharani, Mudras and chanting, in both Buddhism and Christianity, [each in its customary forms,] creates an atmosphere... where one's mind is transformed." Gestures, both great and small, play their part.

With physical practice and devotions such as prostrations, chanting and other physical responses the practitioner may then move the awakened mind into a sense of wholeness, unity and glimpses of the divine, moved with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes Mitchell, concluding his essay. Resting in the 'now moment' there is the experience of life as it is, just this moment. 

The Buddhist precepts as discussed by many, lead the practitioner to awareness that there is no lesser nor greater, no aware or unaware, not even large or small; yet there is just this moment. Likewise Christians too, it seems, seek to live in the 'now moment.' The practice of Christian symbols, or Mudras have long played a part in that from the earliest times of persecution to modern devotional practice. Today mudras are part of many personal and communal practices worldwide.