The following mudras have been used in temples and churches since time immemorial to support meditation or prayer. They can always be seen in the Hindu depictions of the gods, as well as in portrayals of Christ, Buddha, and the saints. The hand position of the respective deities or sages expresses an inner state of mind as well; the meditating person hopes, either consciously or unconsciously, to also enter into the appropriate mood. The mudras symbolize characteristics that we hope to acquire. After long meditative observation, people can take on these characteristics. Another example of this principle is that after looking at the many sculptures of the gods, visitors to museums in Greece assume a more upright posture themselves.
I believe that spirituality should be integrated into everyday life, plans for the future, and coming to terms with the past. Consequently, I have also included in this chapter newer mudras that address the habits of thought and feeling.
There is usually no indication of how long the mudras should be done here since this is different for each individual. One person may need to do the following mudra meditations just once, and for only a few minutes to feel their effects-depending on the level of inner maturity; other people may have to meditate for several days or even weeks, from 7 to 30 minutes a day, before they even perceive that something has changed or that their connection with higher consciousness has deepened.