Palms Down, Palms Up
Another form of meditation is what the contemplatives of the Middle Ages called “re-collection,” and what the Quakers have often called “centering down.” It is a time to become still, to enter into the recreating silence, to allow the fragmentation of our minds to become centered.
The following is a brief exercise to aid you in “re-collection” that is simply called “palms down, palms up.” Begin by placing your palms down as a symbolic indication of your desire to turn over any concerns you may have to God. Inwardly you may pray, “Lord, I give to you my anger toward John. I release my fear of my dentist appointment this morning. I surrender any anxiety over not having enough money to pay the bills this month. I release my frustration over trying to find a baby-sitter for tonight.”
Whatever it is that weighs on your mind or is a concern to you, just say, “palms down.” Release it. You may even feel a certain sense of release in your hands. After several moments of surrender, turn your palms up as a symbol of your desire to receive from the Lord. Perhaps you will pray silently: “Lord, I would like to receive your divine love for John, you peace about the dentist appointment, your patience, your joy.”
Whatever you need, you say, “palms up.” Having centered down, spend the remaining moments in complete silence. Do not ask for anything. Allow the Lord to commune with you, to love you. If impressions or directions come, fine; if not, fine.
— from Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster, pp. 30-31