Anachronism: The Handshake

An anachronism is a thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists, especially a thing that is conspicuously old-fashioned. In Medieval Europe the Knights would shake hands to dislodge weapons being carried in the clothing. It was not uncommon to find daggers falling out in the process. In 5th Century BC in Greece it was simply a way to show no weapons in the hand and that men came in peace. The right hand was always used as more hygienic as the cultural and religions restrictions dictated.

Many cultures were horrified by a strong grip handshake, but not in America. After the 19th Century American men were taught the handshake needed to be firm to indicate enthusiasm that they were really pleased to be meeting the guy on the other end of the shake. The left hand was never held in the left pocket according to the etiquette of that era. The American female seldom engaged in the handshake until the gals entered corporate American mid to late 20th Century and then only to lightly touch so as not to cause pain to the women. In fact, the Girl Scouts taught that girls should shake with their left hands and raise the right hand in the Girl Scout sign, it was explained to them that the left hand was closer to the heart.

Perhaps, during the current COVID 19 pandemic it is time to eradicate the handshake as something that served its purpose but no longer does and in fact transmits disease. My mindfulness practice has served me well for almost three decades. I was reflecting last night on the benefits as I completed my new book on mindfulness. It seems I have been training as a mindful meditator my entire life for a lifestyle that includes so many techniques for quality and quantity of life but three stand out during these days of the 2020 pandemic virus:

  1. The use of the namaste greeting at ten feet without touching but sending energetic love and compassion as the best way to greet people.
  2. During zazen  let the itch on the nose  come and go without scratching it or touching our faces.
  3. Mindfulness style includes intense cleanliness and single tasking.