Existing in a chronic state of crisis is not an easy place to be. The mind grasps for easy solutions to flee the discomfort and uncertainty. It wants to oversimplify things in an attempt to gain (a false sense of) control.

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I love this yoga mudra because I think it so neatly encapsulates our human tendency to narrow cognitive functioning in the face of a crisis. As this was taught to me, the three fingers represent attraction, repulsion and indifference. These map on nicely to the three primal physiological reactions to an immediate threat: fight, flight or freeze. Extremely useful for emergency situations, life saving actually, but not all that useful for… everything else.

Knowing this has saved me from making pretty dumb decisions in the past. Instead of attacking without thinking, avoiding/running away from shit or becoming numb with apathy, I trash all three approaches and instead, work on being receptive enough to reframe a threatening situation differently and reorient myself along the lines of understanding, honesty, genuine suffering, etc. rather something reactionary. I won’t lie, this process can be fairly unpleasant, but in time, the binds of one’s narrowed perception will loosen. Let it relax wider and wider, and wider still, until the heart speaks. Then you will know the ethical way forward.

Anyways, give the wisdom of this mudra a whirl sometime when you find yourself framing something in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of way. Life is rarely lose-lose.

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