13 min

Mindfulness of the Hand Exercise

13 Min
51 Favorites

William James Davies, DCMT
Psychotherapist & Mindfulness Teacher
This exercise provides a way to experientially engage with mindfulness outside of formal meditation practices, and helps us to cultivate a new way of relating to our experience, by bringing ‘beginner’s mind’ to the way we’re paying attention: Seeing things as if for the first time. This is an alternative to the well-known ‘Raisin Exercise’, and shows how we can bring a mindful attitude towards any object or experience. At the end of the exercise there’s an invitation to bring mindfulness to a routine daily activity. This is a wonderful way to begin extending mindfulness right into your day-to-day life; switching off the autopilot and really being present, moment-by-moment, throughout the routine activity, whilst bringing that quality of ‘beginner’s mind’ to the way you’re paying attention.
From the community
6 reflections
I’m well acquainted with my hands, and chose to observe my left had through this session, as it has been experiencing problems lately. In observing the physical features of my left hand, I couldn’t help but see the large circular scar in the dead middle of my palm, where, years ago, as a parent and Cub Scout leader, a mishap with my son’s Pinewood Derby car found me holding the car in my left hand while attempting to drill a hole through the middle of it with my large power drill and a wide, sharp spade bit, the soft wood of the car gave way quickly and I basically drilled into my hand!😱 Blood EVERYWHERE! All done right in front of all the kids and families attending our annual Pinewood Derby race!🤦‍♂️ Embarrassing, to say the least!
A welcomed meditation for my practice
I find that having something to look at or focus on apart from just my breathing helps me stay more present.
The hand
Interesting experience bringing mindfulness to the hand, something that I look at every day but don’t really see.
New toy
I feel like a little kid with a new toy. I love how he mentions mindfulness anywhere and bringing presence and curiosity into daily tasks. I'm going to try this during chores tomorrow.
li jun
mildly mindblown
I started out reluctant amd skeptical to stare at my hand for minutes. In my mind was a judging voice - "Seriously?" But the minute he started guiding the observation of the hand, I was hooked. The shape between my fingers drew me in. Then the lines on the palm - I had never wondered why we had lines on the palm before but now I did. Then it struck me afresh the miracle of a finger print - completely unique patterns on our fingertips. I was stuck at watching my knuckles appear and disappear by clenching and unclenching my fist when he had already moved on. This meditation was truly humbling and inspiring.
Informal Practice
It is one thing to take some time to be mindful in our own meditation practice. However, if we only do this formal practice, we can forget to use the tools we have learned whilst practicing when we need them the most, during challenging times. One way to remember these tools is to expand our awareness by bringing mindfulness into our everyday lives and activities. In this informal practice, we bring a ‘beginners mind’ or rather exploring with a curious and nonjudgmental mind, to one of our hands. Looking at my hands, I decided on the left one because I am left-handed and thus, use it more often. With a beginners mind, I followed William’s guidance, performing the various hand exercises. Looking at the lines on the palm of my hand, I was reminded of the veins that branch out on a leaf. Looking at my tendons move on the top of my hand as I gently moved my fingers, I was reminded of keys on a piano. As I looked at my fingertips and saw the spirals, I was reminded of the middle of a sunflower. Doing this simple exercise made me realize that there are patterns everywhere! Some great day-to-day activities where we can incorporate mindfulness include, brushing our teeth and hair, showering, getting dressed, washing dishes, eating, drinking, amongst other things. Quite literally, I could go on, but you get the point. When you really think about it, the list is endless! The great thing about incorporating mindfulness into our everyday lives is that it doesn’t take up more of our time. Because of this, it isn’t so much of a matter of time management as it is a matter of ‘attention’ management. By bringing mindfulness into our everyday lives and the activities we do, we will be better friends and partners, better workers and overall better people! Begin today! Namaste, my friends! 🙏🏻❤️☮️