What if there was a simple way to calm and soothe your nervous system, quiet and focus your mind, and center yourself in the flow of spiritual energy through the Core of your Being? What if it was as simple as bringing your hands together and focusing into specific sensations between your palms and fingers?
In this article, you’ll learn five transforming secrets of Gassho meditation and how you can use it to deepen the transforming power and effectiveness of your own spiritual practice.
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In the early 1920s, after years of dedicated practice, spiritual seeker Mikao Usui committed to a ritual of fasting and meditation on Mount Kurama in Japan. His goal was to reach an enlightened state of deep, abiding, inner peace called “An-Shin Ritus-mei” (pronounced “on sheen dit sue may”) in which he would understand and be guided to achieve his life purpose.
At midnight, on the 21st day of his retreat, “a powerful light suddenly entered his mind through the top of his head and he felt as if he had been struck by lightning; this caused him to fall unconscious.” (An Evidence Based History of Reiki, p.23)
When he regained consciousness, he was filled with a profound state of high-frequency, spiritual energy. He knew this as the enlightened state of deep peace and inner guidance he has been seeking. Usui quickly discovered that, not only was his consciousness elevated, this energy also brought healing powers.
Usui soon established a thriving healing practice and gathered many students whom he attuned to this energy he called “Reiki,” which translates as “spiritually-guided life energy.”
In order to cultivate Reiki energy, Usui instructed his pupils to practice a special meditation posture for 20 minutes morning and night. The hand position for this meditation he called “Gassho,” or what we in the West know as “prayer position.”
So, what is so special about this hand position that Usui would recommend it as one of the foundations of Reiki? And, can anyone use this posture to deepen their own spiritual path?
Here are five transforming secrets hidden within the Gassho meditation posture that can have a powerful positive effect in your meditation practice.
1. Gassho meditation provides an easy-to-access focal point
Having a simple focal point is the easiest way to begin meditation. Focusing on one thing, recognizing when your mind drifts away, and gently returning to that focal point, is an easy meditative technique that begins to quiet your mind.
Because you use your hands for so many activities, you likely have highly-developed sensory awareness in them. This makes your hands an easy-to-access focal point for meditation.
2. Focusing on inner sensations has a mind-quieting effect
Your ability to feel sensations inside your body is called “interoception.” Interoception activates parts of your brain associated with sensory and emotional processing as well as focused attention. These parts of your brain are pre-linguistic. They are non-analytical—and, hence, not filled with thoughts.
When using the Gassho meditation posture, you can begin by focusing on feeling the sensations between the palms of your hands and fingers. As a result of activating and emphasizing this type of sensory attention, the analytical part of your mind fades to the background and your thoughts quiet down.
3. Gassho meditation integrates left and right sides of the body and brain
The left and right sides of your brain tend to be associated with different functions. The left brain is associated with analytical thinking, logic, language, math, science, writing, and right-hand control. The right side is associated with creativity, imagination, intuition, insight, music, spatial awareness, and left-hand control. (Source: brainmadesimple.com)
Do you ever find that your mind gets stuck in over-thinking which escalates the stress you feel?
When that happens, the left-side of your brain has gone into overdrive, while activity in the right-side of your brain is turned down. This imbalance can lead to chronic stress, inflammation, and dampening of your body’s ability to fight off disease, repair, recover, and rebuild. This leaves you open to serious illness and leads you to feel run-down and disconnected from your vital energy and Spirit.
The simple action of bringing your hands together is an antidote to this imbalance and sense of separation. In one simple gesture, you bring the left and right sides of your body and brain together. This is a powerful action to integrate, harmonize, and heal your inner being.
4. Gassho meditation develops sensitivity in your hands and your body as a whole
When you focus on sensations in your hands, you activate sensory awareness. You stimulate the production of new neural connections in the parts of your brain associated with sensing and discerning sensory information.
As a result, you become more aware of the sensory information that is available inside your body and that is coming in from your environment. As you develop and fine-tune sensory awareness, you become more able to discern the subtle sensations of life energy, the spiritual life-force inside and around you.
In this way, the simple posture of putting your hands together and paying attention to the sensations there can lead into deeper spiritual awareness. It can grow your awareness of the One Universal Life Force that is the Source of your life.
5. Gassho meditation helps to activate the feeling of your Spiritual Core
Deep in the center of your body, in a channel running right up through your Core, from your perineum to the crown point of your head, lies a Central Channel. This channel is associated with your spiritual essence, the most primary flow of Universal Life-Force within you.
When you focus on the sensations between your hands, and emphasize attention to the flow of energy up through your middle fingers in particular, this can activate and develop your awareness of the spiritual energy flowing through your Central Channel.
You can try the following guided meditation instructions for yourself. If you will, please join me and let’s experience this together, now.
Sit or stand comfortably upright. Bring your hands together in the Gassho, or prayer position, in front of your heart. Do this with the intention that this is a sacred action.
Feel the sensations between your palms and fingers. You could imagine the sensation as heat or flames flowing upward between your hands. Focus your attention like this until you really feel the sensation.
Once you have a strong sensory awareness of your whole hands meeting, focus more narrowly into the sensations running between your middle fingers up to your middle fingertips. Again, you could imagine this as heat or flames, this time flowing upward between your middle fingers.
Once you have a strong sensory awareness between your middle fingers, relate this to the Central Channel running right up through the core of your body. Imagine and feel heat or flames flowing upward through the center of your body, from your perineum to the crown point of your head.
See if it’s possible to feel both the spiritual energy running up between your middle fingers and up through the Central Channel at once (or you can switch back and forth between them) to strengthen the sensation. See if it’s possible to stay focused on the sensation and really soak it in. You may want to close your eyes to focus more deeply inside, until you are really absorbed in the sensation. . .
Then, notice how you feel.
Do you feel calmer? Is your mind a little quieter and more focused? Do you feel a soothing sense of energy flow and spiritual connection?
Imagine how different you might feel if you started and ended every day with this simple practice? Can you imagine how you might grow your sense of inner peace, spiritual connection, and life purpose?
Imagine if you returned to this sensation whenever you felt stressed, out of balance, or out of sorts? Gassho meditation is a simple way to relax, reset, and regain a spiritual perspective.
Enjoy your practice!
The Mind-Body Training Company
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