Cultivating: Technique and Discipline

Hands and feet also symbolize methods that enable a man to rise from the state of sleep to the state of Divine Presence. When the hands are raised up in the air, the arms quickly tire. Likewise is the effort to promote Presence, which is like training a muscle. The more one practices, the more one can do it.

Osiris rising from sleep, Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Q. I cannot by effort reach a state that sometimes comes accidentally.
Ouspensky: If you had not made efforts it would not have come accidentally, so it is not really accidental. The more efforts you make, the more you will have these accidental moments of self-remembering, of understanding, of being emotional. It is all the result of effort.

Egytptian Pyramid Texts: The King has sprung up to heaven on the fingers of the God, Lord of the ladder.

The Bible, Psalms 144:1 : Blessed [be] the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, [and] my fingers to fight.

Rumi (13th c. Sufi mystic and poet): He is the steward, and his hand is the hand of God.

Peter of Damaskos, The Philokalia (Greek Orthodox Christian text): We are given hands and feet so we might use them in ways agreeable to God.

The Prajnaparamita sutra (Buddhist sutra): Bodhisattvas must unfold the potent knowledge of Prajnaparamita (the wisdom to reach the other shore, the state of presence) ) into the ten modes of purifying and healing activity, the thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment, the four spheres formlessness and the six forms of super-knowledge.

Feet also symbolize steadfast effort and the ability control the devil-like lower self.


Christ standing on a lion and snake, Archiepiscopal Chapel, Ravenna 5th C. AD.





Rumi (13th c. Sufi mystic and poet): Stamp under the feet, everything that is not Him, This is the way of reaching the Beloved.



Egyptian Pyramid Texts: Horus has placed your enemy under your feet, that you might live.



The Bible, Psalms 18:37-39 : I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them neither did I turn again till they were consumed. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise; they are fallen under my feet.



Shams(13th c. Sufi mystic and poet): The place of the self is under your feet.













Ka statue of King Hor
(ca. 1750 BC, Dahshur, Egypt)


1000-Armed Guanyin
(13th c. AD Baoding mountains,
Dazu, China)

Rock painting of overlapping hands.
(cave in Los Toldos, Patagonia,
11,000-9,500 BP)


1000-Armed Kannon Bodhisattva,
37 hands are holding tools.
(Fujii Dera Temple, Osaka. Japan)

Buddha's feet

Heavenly Guardian
(13th c. AD, Todaji, Nara, Japan)

Shiva (British Museum)