The Opened Palm

“I only know how to ask…”

Probably the last thing she said to me, so many years ago. Age took her, then. But the memory of the touch of her mind and heart is a wonderful one. So gentle, so nurturing, and yet so very full of purpose…

“It’s a precious thing, to be allowed to nurture another.” Another memory. “It demands everything you have been, all the past – conditioned and unconditioned, that makes you what you are. Though none of that has value in the present save positioning”

It took me over twenty years to get to the point where I was ready; where I had the courage to say to myself – and to another – I don’t know.

“But now you know how to ask,” the warm words come back, almost as though they were said by a hidden group of people, all of them watching that moment. The intense silence that followed it… the gift of the vividness; as real now as when the words were said.

And yes, I know, now, how to ask, and I understand her gesture on that day, half-seen, but, thankfully, recorded so that when watched, again, with the key, which turned its image into a picture on a door; the door opened, becoming something alive and beyond time, beyond the inevitable decay of ‘things’.

We work to provide that moment for others. We have constructed a journey into the self, and, later, into the Self, in which the whole of ‘me’ is revealed, laid bare if we’re brave enough.

We do not expect those on this journey to walk alone. We give up our time so that a hand may reach out to them as they both struggle and triumph – often revealing the lack of opponent who seemed to lie in waiting behind that stone wall; and thereby the real nature of triumph and defeat. The path to the Self is demanding, but the final few yards of that journey are a miracle.

They are a miracle because they align everything in our lives into a new shape, a new perspective, a new relationship with what we thought was ‘around’ us, ‘out there…’

How do you teach this? The written journey is only a map. It’s how you travel that makes the difference. The student (Companion) has to learn trust in the process, which, at the close is exchanged for trust in the Self, the lesser self having been revealed for what it truly is.

Throughout all this, the palm needs to be opened and raised, metaphorically, to the sky. The Companion may think this applies to them, only. But the half-seen smile of the Supervisor may cause them to wonder. That sense of wonder needs to grow from its seed to flower into the knowledge that those holding up their hand are doing exactly the same with what guides them, in turn.

The opened palm held downwards is mirrored in the other, initially unseen, held upwards, in a chain of Being whose flower is Consciousness. We might say there was only ever one hand, but millions of realisations of its intense and loving presence.

She only ‘knew how to ask’; and in that humble power lay and lies the key to a universe of self within Self.


Stephen Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit organisation that helps people find the reality and essence of their existence via home-based, practical courses which are low-cost and personally supervised.

His personal blog, Sun in Gemini, is at stevetanham.wordpress.com.

You’ll find friends, poetry, literature and photography there…and some great guest posts on related topics.

©Stephen Tanham

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