Raymond De Lagrave

June 10, 2021

A number of years ago I came across this representation of a hand in the window of a store in Mexico.  It is made of silver, with gold plating on the rays of the sun in the center of the palm and on the human faces on each fingertip.  The work is by a Mexican artist – Sergio Bustamante ( is still producing  whimsical works of art.

I was attracted to the piece, bought it, tried using it as a pendant on a silver chain but wasn’t comfortable wearing it, and put it aside. I would come across it from time to time. To my great pleasure, It recently resurfaced after I spent a couple of weeks wondering where I might have placed it.

The more I contemplate it, the more thoughts and connections come up for me. My appreciation of these meanings has grown in the years since I acquired it.

First and most obvious for me is the message that we are all children on the hand of the Father (or Mother, or Spirit) with his, her or their divine light flowing through us, sustaining us and giving us life.  This heightens my awareness that we are all connected, despite my perceiving us as separate and different.  This is the meaning that came to me when I first saw the piece.   In this representation I see myself as the opposable thumb, which sits apart from and observes the other fingers which are looking forward. As I have contemplated the pendant since re-finding it, I have come up with other personal meanings, any of which can be present in my awareness at any time.

  • The Sun as the Divine eye that sees all, perceives all, in this and other realms. It can be the eye that Mystics  connect to when they enter the spiritual eye.
  • The bones in the fingers between the knuckles symbolize the different levels of growth that I, and others, have experienced through the various stages of this life.
  • They also represent the different incarnations we have passed through  before being born in our current bodies.
  • The individual fingers also remind me of the different physical and mental forms that I manifested in these different incarnations.  They remind me that as different as I see myself from others, I have passed or will pass through similar levels of consciousness, ignorance and understanding in this and in other lifetimes.

I recently reread Chapter (XIV) from the Bhagavad Gita (the Hindu bible) – in in which the Lord Krishna (the Indian Christ) – explains to his disciple Arjuna, the three qualities (gunas) that predominate in nature, and which bind humans to reincarnation. These are:

  • Sattva – which gives enlightenment, understanding, health and wisdom.  It  attaches us to happiness and knowledge.
  • Rajas – marked by passion, accomplishment, doing, achieving and desire.  It binds us to activity.
  • Tamas  – ignorance, delusion, misconception, idleness and slumber, miscomprehension.  It leads us to darkness, and neglect of duties.

At any time, one or another of these three qualities may prevail in us. The predominance of any of these qualities at the time of death leads us to reincarnate in environments where these qualities predominate.  We seek to be reborn among those with similar dispositions and frames of mind.

According to the Gita, true enlightenment is attained when one can observe the play of the three qualities in the world without being disturbed by their presence.  It is the understanding that these three qualities are fixed in the design of the universe, and that it is up to us to move beyond their hold.

I mention this because understanding the gunas adds another level of meaning to the hand figure.

  • It is that each of us is currently manifesting one or another of these basic qualities, which are built into the design of the human experience.
  • Understanding this can help me be less judgmental of others of those whose understanding, motivations and values are different than mine.
  • We are all related, like the fingers on the hand, in this (our) existence.

I am curious as to what realizations it evokes for you.  If so, I’d enjoy hearing about them.

Raymond De Lagrave

I first became acquainted with the Person Centered Approach during a course on Organizational Behavior in my MBA program at UCLA in the mid—60’s. One of our textbooks—On Becoming a Person was my first exposure to Carl Rogers.

I remember vividly how profoundly impacted I was by Rogers’ vision about the human condition, our potential for growth and unfoldment, and how we are defined by and are always in Process. It was an Ah-Ha! experience which led me to change my degree’s focus from Marketing to Behavioral Science.