Faces tell us so much about someone but more and more I am also drawn to gaze at hands.
I find no matter what a face is communicating to me , hands tell me more.
In the Winter of 1997 I purchased a magazine called Dharmalife.
The cover picture captured my attention immediately. It depicted an image that has stayed fresh and close to the surface of my emotional landscape for years.
It was of a picture of Tibetan monk, Palden Gyatso’s hands pressed against his face in a poignant depiction of a human being’s response to suffering. Palden had been tortured and imprisoned by his Chinese captors for 33 years.
Something still stirs deeply in me when I look at his hands.
Another strong connection with hands happened to me about 20 years ago. I had learnt the metta bhavana meditation ( loving kindness practice) and this particular incident increased my faith that the practice was working.
I was in a long supermarket checkout line late on a cold Friday night in my hometown of Emerald. The line didn’t seem to be moving and when I looked ahead I saw a very old man trying to get coins from his wallet to pay the cashier.
He fumbled with unresponsive fingers trying to scoop up the right coins. People in the line, hoping to get home quickly to loved ones and warmth I imagine , shifted from foot to foot with impatience.
My heart slowly unfolded as I gazed at his deeply lined hands trying to do this impossible task. I sensed that those hands, although empty, held a full, interesting life.
I also realised in that moment I was seeing the hands of my father, my brothers, my grandsons and all beings.
Those hands could have belonged to anybody as they revealed the universal story of hopes, dreams and suffering…….. the only response to have at such a sight was kindness.
I moved past the few people ahead of me and asked him
” Here, would you like me to help?”
His eyes lit up with acceptance. I chose the correct coins for him and paid the cashier for his items. After I had paid for my shopping, he and I continued to chat and we walked from the store connected in the most simple yet profound way.
This week i will be starting series of posts called ‘In the hands of the Order.’
I will be asking Order members involved the places i am visiting, to hold an item that is meaningful to them and tell me about it. These stories I will share with you.