Getting in touch

If you’ve ever broken your arm, you know how hard it is to do without a hand.  Deprivation is the only way to get past some of our entitlements.  Doing without a hand is much worse than when the power goes out. In the latter case, you realize how dependent you are on an uninterrupted energy feed.  But when your hand is out of commission, the helplessness is even greater.

It’s interesting to note that a large number of modern conveniences are about reducing the work of the hands:  household appliances, office gadgets, automatic transmissions.  The 20th century was all about work-saving – i.e., hand work saving – innovations.  By now we are much less dependent on the strength of our hands, and as a result, we’re perhaps that much more out of touch (note the phrase!) with handiwork.

But the knowing that’s contained in our hands is a precious and vital part of our humanness.  The stresses of 21st century life are more painful for lack of attention to the gifts of the hands.  I’m not talking about recognized gifts or ‘talents;’  I’m not referring to the legerdemain of a pianist or surgeon.  The life of the hands has no relation to logic or intellectual accomplishment.  The hands can lead or teach us only if we stop listening to the rational mind and let devoted attention rest on the hands’ activity.  The resulting awareness can’t be articulated, but it provides comfort and confidence that can hugely benefit our stressed psyches.

Next time you must work in the garden, or wash the dishes, or sew on a button, hand write a note, make a bed or a pie, brush your hair or arrange a closet, take a moment to absorb the wisdom of your hands.

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