- Hold the thumb when you want to reduce worry, doubt or loss of trust. The converse of worry is Trust (in yourself, the universe, and your life on Earth.)
- Hold the Index finger when you want to reduce fear. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), the yin/yang of fear is calmness (like a still pond which clearly reflects its environment.)
- Hold the Middle finger when you want to calm anger. The minister of anger is Kindness. (When you see the "other" as part of your kind or kin, anger dissolves.)
- Hold the Ring finger when you want to soothe grief. I have always found it fascinating that the "opposite" of grief in TCM is not joy but courage, the courage to be right here, right now with what is happening and to take the next step in your life's path.
- Hold the Pinky when you want to bring the heart into balance. When you are trying too hard. When you think you can do more than you can do- taking on over-responsibility and guilt for circumstances out of your control. Think of facilitating or inviting what you want rather than fixing the situation.
If you feel a strong desire to hold a particular finger when feeling a strong emotion that doesn't match this list, follow your instincts. I personally believe intention is everything. In other words, qi (energy) follows yi (the mind). What you focus on will override any "system's" dogma.
For a fuller meaning, each finger can represent a minister or particular personal quality that you want to develop, not just the emotion you want to subdue. As you practice holding, your intent and focus can strengthen the specific ministerial qualities of that particular finger. Whereas the hands can receive, emit, and move the natural energy of the universe, the fingers are like antennae - the medium to connect with the language and intelligence of the universe. .
Two additional places to hold for support, grounding and comfort are on the wrist and on the top of the shoulder:
- With palm up, place four fingers of the other hand on the wrist to find your place, then remove the pinky and ring fingers. The two fingers left on the wrist area are contacting a "heart opening" point on the pericardium (or heart protector) meridian. Use this point if you are feeling vulnerable, to protect your heart while opening to the experience.
- Take your fingers and put them on the very highest point of the shoulders. I like to cross my forearms to reach the opposite shoulder, but you don't have to if your reach better same hands, same sides. This point ("shoulder well" or GB21) is for frustration and rising anger. Holding on and pressing down literally pushes you down toward the ground, so your mind doesn't run away with you.
Working with the fingers (and additional points at the wrist and shoulder well) can bring needed connection and a mind body strategy to address emotional distress. Because fingers are at the end of the meridians (energy channels or rivers), they are a strong support for change. Finger holding is a tool to bring awareness to the body and is easily combined with other techniques to calm the spirit, such as deep breathing, affirmations or imagining oneself to be in a relaxing scene. You can do it any time, anywhere, even in a meeting or waiting in line. Share your experiences with finger holding in the comments section below.