Why do I bring my hands together to pray? My childhood self used to wonder. Why clasp them in front of my chest?
Honestly, the true reason(s) continue to evade me. Maybe to be humble. Maybe something else. I am satisfied with one possibility, though – that we bring our hands to our center. That that action helps us re-orient, re-align, and can remind us of what we are.
With that thought, and that hand posture, I started thinking of my center more, specially when it was my right hand standing open with my thumb resting on my sternum. And, I started remembering my mind is not it, neither is the body.
But really it wasn’t just this one thought alone. It was more of a series of steps over weeks and months and years. Books. Discussions. People. Desperate moments… life.
It’s about the journey, right? And not about knowing it all, or knowing the destination.
That in itself is helpful. It’s not one moment, one conversation, one book… it’s all of them together, starting with the moment at birth, and perhaps ending at… well, you know. Sure, some stories, some books, stand out. I am thankful to one in particular – The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. This book, the stories and experiences in it, reminded me of what I wanted to think is possible, and of what I would like to experience.
There was also one group gathering of about ten people, one that I remember was productive. It was about spirituality. In these two hours, I decided and expressed that for me spirituality is about the relationship between my mind, and my soul.
And like all relationships, this one too requires work and attention. Spirituality is the effort I make to build this relationship.
My mind, my awareness, cannot exist in this realm without my soul; neither can my soul be here without my mind; and without a body, I suppose.
This thought reminds me every day of what the mind is. How it is helpful, and not helpful. That it allows me to appreciate family, friends, nature, air, the sun; and that it also latches to awareness for security. How stresses and fear often lead it to irrational reactions.
This thought also reminds me that I have a hand in all of it, and can choose how to handle those positives and challenges, if only I remember that my mind cannot, must not, be in control on its own. It cannot be the driver. That it alone usually does not have a helpful perspective.
This relationship has become paramount. Nurturing it is, and I hope will continue to be, a daily goal. This relationship has been helping me maintain sanity and perspective. It is everything.
It is what reminds me my emotions are not me, be it desires, anger, despair, fear, happiness, or something else.
It is what reminds me that every person I come across is more than a mind and a body, more than actions and reactions, that that person is also a soul, also likely struggling with such a relationship.
Sometimes I wish I knew and understood more. That I knew exactly how to manifest this relationship into perfect harmony with the blink of an eye. That I knew how to not be afraid or worried. But then, even that is my mind speaking, wanting. Wanting to alleviate or escape a discomfort.
And of course, there is a catch, I think. That the mind has to go through these discomforts, pains, and joys. That there is no escaping them, regardless of how good and harmonious the aforementioned relationship is.
The relationship is helpful. Useful. It leads me to think of how perfect, beautiful, and amazing each of us is. But it also reminds me that the mind will continue to exist and feel pain until it felt and experienced all it needs to feel and experience.
About the Author
Issa Al-Aweel advocates through lawyering and writing. All the while, searching the world for its forgotten workings, knowing it’s just an eye’s blink away. His adventures have trespassed on engineering, computer work, medical research, visiting ruins, discovering nature… under the guise of attempts to focus.