Friday, August 12, 2011

The Gate of Heaven

Available for Kindle & Nook

“You looked just like a nun sitting there,” she said, walking up behind me.
It surprised me, but only a little, to find myself pleased to be mistaken for a nun. And I might very well have looked like one, since Paul’s black jacket was long on me and my dark hair flowed out like a veil from under the white band encasing my ears. 
I had come to the woods to be alone, to escape the endless questions, but that obviously wasn’t going to happen. What was going to happen I, perhaps, should have been able to predict in minute detail. But, then again, she walked up and began talking to me before I learned I had the ability to do such things. I stopped my finger-folding exercise and peered over my shoulder."

The above passage is the beginning of my short story, "The Gate of Heaven," published two years ago by Paycock Press in the anthology "Gravity Dancers," and recently republished electronically for both Kindle and Nook e-readers. When I wrote the first draft of this story five years ago, I had no idea that the "finger-folding exercise" that my main character repeatedly carries out in the story is actually an example of finger yoga.

Although, it's not really called "finger yoga," but, rather, a sequence of mudras, or finger positions, believed to activate certain energetic pathways in the body. Practicing this mudra sequence is a form of yoga, though, and it can have powerful effects. 

As the character in my story was about to find out.

I, like the character in the story, learned the sequence from my doctor, who taught me to do it after I suffered a serious hand injury. I doubt very much if he knew about the role of this practice in yoga, but when I learned about this mudra sequence a few months ago, I was astounded. It had worked exactly as the tradition says it would work, even though I didn't know anything about that at the time.

The exercise, or mudra sequence, is also called a kriya, which is a sanskrit word that simply means "set of actions," or "sequence of movements." This particular kriya has actually caught the attention of the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation, which advocates its use for the prevention of Alzheimer's. Apparently, studies show that practicing this mudra sequence in conjunction with chanting can increase activity in the area of the brain associated with memory.

I really don't know if the results provided by this foundation for Alzheimer's research are valid, and further study is definitely warranted. But one thing I do know: these finger-folding exercises are deceptively simple, and extraordinarily powerful.

As you will find out if you read The Gate of Heaven. Check it out!



  1. I read this story of Raima's several years ago. I can promise new readers they'll find it memorable, original, and profound. Love the cover photo.

  2. Thanks, Margaret! That means a lot, coming from a great writer like you. :)