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What is Gassho Meditation and why have I not heard of it before?

Gassho meditation is a simple meditation technique for balancing the third eye and increasing calmness in the body.

The Gassho position is like a prayer position mainly in Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist & Jain religions.

urlGassho Meditation is a simple and profound technique for bringing your life into balance and for opening up to guidance. Gassho means “two hands coming together.”  Do this meditation every day in the morning and/or evening, alone or with others for 20-30 minutes. You may sit on the floor or in a chair. Close your eyes and allow yourself to relax. Place your hands in the Gassho (prayer) position, holding them in front of your heart center, in a way that is comfortable. Focus your attention on the point where the middle fingers meet and let go of all thoughts. Breathe in gently through the nose with the tongue connected at the forward top of the mouth. Let the tongue drop as you breathe out through the mouth. If your arms or shoulders should become uncomfortable, allow your hands to come down gradually to rest in your lap. Still keep them folded together and focus on the contact point of the middle finger tips.

Each culture has its own ritual display of greeting that carries certain meaning.  Some are more complex than others.  In the West we shake hands, wave, or hug each other depending on the degree of how formal the relationship is between those we greet.  We learn these social rituals early, and they become automatic over time.  If you notice in the examples I give above, two of them require touching.  So greetings in the West are often personal, intimate even.   Greetings in Asian cultures may seem to the Western eye to be more formal, bowing for example, even between close friends and family.  One such greeting incorporates a bow with bringing the hands together in what is known as “Gassho”.   This form of greeting is used especially in Indo-China.  It has been adopted by Western Buddhists across the various traditions as a form of respect given to our teachers and Sangha members.  In most Ch’an and Zen ritual practices it is used at the altar as a form of respect.

There is a deeper meaning to the act of Gassho that teaches lessons on inter-consecutiveness and outward display of selflessness.  Gassho is really a mudra that means “identity.”  It is an act of communication that indicates that we are aware of how we – and other – are connected.  In other words, we identify with the meaning of our relationship with the person or thing we are bowing to.  It is a deep identity that takes in all the characteristics, forms, and meaning of one person to another.  It goes beyond just a greeting.  The Japanese associate bowing with palms together as a display of recognition that there is no dualism between what is before us and ourselves, everything comes together and is taken in as we bow.  As our hands fit together almost perfectly, we are reminded how the Universe demonstrates the normal pattern of life, when we take the time to become awakened to this reality.

This is an intimate and independent practice, this is how life is.  Being recognized by someone, and recognizing someone without distinction, is a very important practice of selfless action.  A Gassho is like this.  When we do Gassho we instinctively feel the bond of human connection, and we are left with feelings of happiness and a sense of harmony.  When a Buddhist performs Gassho, in the very act can be found all the principles upon which our practice is based, when we look deeply.

It is widely recognized though, that this meditation should be practiced on a regular basis. While you are meditating in this way, be aware that you have a body, from the tip of your toes to the top of your head and every part there-in. You could begin from the ground up, which is a good place to start as we walk with our feet every day and this is the area of our body that does the most work.   After a few weeks of continuing this meditation practice, you have managed to find your head and know how it feels, and then you will be ready to practice on the spot healing with little or no preparation necessary.

Being focused does not necessitate you being out of control of your mind, body or soul at any time of the night or day, nor does it mean that you may be side tracked into another way of thinking at a moment’s glance. On the contrary, it means that you don’t need to be concerned with where you are or what you are doing, that you may indeed switch off in order to do the task at hand.

Things to include while doing Gassho meditation include:  (a)  sit in a half lotus position, and keep your spine erect; (b)  Try to keep your eyes closed; (c)  Practice it for 10-15 minutes daily, preferably after  reiki healing – self healing;  (d)  If your shoulders hurt or your back becomes stiff – you can keep  your hands towards your lap or chakra; (e) You can combine this meditation with Gyan Mudra too; (f)  Every time you inhale imagine that every pore takes in positivity, with every exhale imagine or give the intention that reiki takes the negativity and turns it into positivity; and (g)  Initially the breath might not be regulated there is no need to worry – it will become better with time.

Quieting the mind happens for the practitioner when he/ she sits in Gassho meditation and uses the breath as a tool to focus his/her awareness on. Often when we sit in Gassho meditation our minds are busy with I like to call our “to do list” or it rambles on with our fears that keep us attached to the mind. By using the breath as a tool we can shift our awareness from our thoughts/ emotions/ fears and bring it to our breath. It may seem difficult at first but with a few minutes of practice you’ll find that it is very simple and effective. It’s as simple as this example: when say, your emotions are controlling your thoughts and all you can do is focus on the thoughts that carry the sadness that is keeping your awareness, simply ask yourself where is my breath at this moment; then bring your awareness to your breath and follow it with your mind’s eye for several minutes of breathing with full awareness. Whatever was pressing on your mind it will fade (maybe only slightly but faded). Continue following your breath until the mind becomes bored with trying to regain your awareness and is quiet. The mind will of course try many different avenues to regain your awareness but simply take a second to sit back and look at what it presents, recognize the attachment and then just breathe it away.

Becoming present in the “now moment”. This to me happens as a side benefit from sitting in Gassho and using the breath to quiet the mind.   It is called the “now moment” because most of us are too busy living in our past experiences or are worrying about our future and are never really truly present in this very moment. (As you read this you’re also thinking of the 20 other things you need to do).   By sitting in Gassho and following your breath with your awareness you’re allowing your mind to become quiet which then allows you to become present in your own presence noticing the functioning of the universe in you and around you as a great master once said,  ”not only feeling the wind, but seeing, smelling and tasting the wind; not separate from but one with.”

Bringing your awareness to your energy flow.    By sitting in Gassho meditation allows the practitioners to begin to feel the energy of the universe flowing through them and out through their hands. At first it may be only slightly noticeable but with time and practice the energy flow in you will strengthen as well as your perception to the energy will grow. During the time it has taken you to do both (a) and (b) with your hands in Gassho you will have done mini healing session because the Reiki will have been flowing the entire time. In TCM and reflexology the hands and feet are maps to the entire body so as you’re sitting in Gassho you’re also doing self-healing.

The beginning of your self-healing.  Flowing energy to your entire body, mind, spirit just by sitting and being present with the loving energy.

Reiki is calming, spiritually and physically.   When we practice Reiki, we are asking for the Universal Spirit to enter into our energy fields and empower us. Reiki can be empowerment from the healer, as well as to the one being healed.

When we meditate in Reiki, we are signifying to The Universe that we wish to open up the Healing Portal and thus begin to practice our Reiki. It is through meditation, channeling, visualizing and sending the Reiki energy from our soul to the body, soul and spirit of the one being healed. The energy is invisible, yet very powerful.   It is strong without being harm to anyone. It is subtle and gentle. It is relaxing and healing.

 Kathy Kiefer


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