May 2 – Live in Your Hands – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

Live in your hands and your mind will learn to bow like a root. 

Several years ago, while doing a poetry reading in New York City, I encountered an angry young man who had just seen a woman mugged. He was so enraged he wrote a poem on the spot. A pensive voice from across the room called out, “Yeah, it sure beats stopping the mugging.” I felt like there was nothing left to say. The story points up, painfully, how living in our thoughts removes us from the very real journey of being alive. To always analyze and problem solve and observe and criticize what we encounter turns our brains into heavy calluses.  Other than opening us deeper into the mystery of living, the overtrained intellect becomes a buffer from experience.

I have a dear friend who has studied almost all there is to study about the heart and the mind and its dance of psychology. This study led her to a very old sage whose last instructions were, “Live in your hands.”  Once open to this, my dear friend, knowing nothing about stonework, found herself building a stone chapel in the side of a hill. In so doing, she consecrated the chapel that had been waiting in her heart.

I have another friend who, whenever she sees flowers, must gently touch them. I’ve watched her countless times finger yellow petals. She needs to touch the beauty and when she does, I can see the beauty touch her. Then something in her opens a little further.

To live in our hands, humbles our mind into accepting something other than itself. It is how we heal each other and ourselves. We all come alive through a Braille of heart.

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