Over the years, I have found great uses for symbols in my spiritual, physical, and psychosocial aspects of life. Spiritually, the cross symbolizes my faith. It brings solace and hope. Others may look to the Star of David of Judaism or the Moon and Star of Islam as their touchstone and reminder of a power greater than themselves.
Symbols can be weighty and filled with meaning or just something visual to bring a smile. For instance, a symbol of the sun makes me smile and generally gives me a feeling of bright energy. The iconic smiley face is another –sometimes we groan when we see it used in advertisements, etc., but I like it when I see it in a personal letter, note, and text.
The symbol of a heart on food packaging informs me of something good for my health. Many other symbols help us find healthy ways to navigate the food world – gluten-free, organic, kosher, Non-GMO, and more have a universal symbol to aid the consumer. Symbols can also be clues – If you are a fan of movies, The DaVinci Code, or National Treasure, you can see the intrigue and multi-faceted meaning in symbols. Many of those symbols have been around since ancient times.
Today, I want to share a symbol that is both ancient, mathematical, and practical. The Infinity Symbol.
According to the website Ancient-Symbols.com, many cultures have used the symbol for concepts like perfectionism and duality, harmony and balance, and the cycle of life. The person who introduced the name for the infinity symbol as a mathematical term was John Wallis in 1655. The website also states that “This symbol is sometimes called the Lemniscate. It is a symbol that evolved a little bit from the Etruscan numeral for 1000 which looked like 2 letter Cs facing each other with an “I” in the middle (CIƆ). There is another theory that he actually derived the infinity symbol from omega (ω), the last letter of the Greek alphabet.”
Infinity Symbol as a Health Tool
I find all of this fascinating. However, for me, the Infinity Symbol has become a health tool.
Rx – Headache relief – I used to develop migraine headaches that, if not attended to, would become debilitating for me. It was hard to work, think, and certainly drive when I would get one of these headaches. One of the tried and true methods to overcome my problem was to create an Infinity Symbol with my eyes. Here is how you can do it:
1. Either close your eyes or keep them downcast if you cannot close them.
2. Move your eyes around a horizontal Infinity Symbol for short periods of 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Then rest your eyes and do it again a minimum of 5 times.
There are a few reasons why I think this works:
1. You are drawing your attention inward and giving your eyes a chance to rest from light.
2. You are exercising the eye muscles that often get strained from looking at something for an extended period, like a computer screen.
2. Here is my favorite – you are connecting the right and left hemispheres* of your brain and, in my opinion, relieving stress.
*More about the hemispheres:
One of my favorite undergraduate courses was on the anatomy of the brain. There is a great deal going on inside this beautiful organ. In my classes, I came across the importance of the right and left hemispheres communicating and exercises we can do to help facilitate that communication.
A few years later, an acupuncturist told me about tracing the Infinity Symbol with my eyes to treat headaches. It is also used in Kinesiology. More recently, I heard a juggler who was entertaining kids at a camp explain that one of the benefits of juggling and eye-hand coordination is brain health.
To go a step further – if you are in a bicycle rider or an ice skater, you might have experienced the calm and flow that comes from doing “Circle 8’s”. I have seen children calmed in activity classes using sweeping arm movements doing the same. I’ve also experienced the calming effect of drawing the Infinity Symbol.
The Infinity Symbol is said to represent balance and harmony. If you consider its shape and flow, that makes perfect sense. If you look at something like the Infinity Symbol, you see that it is smooth and in motion. Contrast that to a square or a star shape, and you do not get the same impression. Use the Infinity Symbol when you seek balance and want to rise above a situation. Let it be a trigger to go within or to move physically.
We are all, especially in these times, in need of a little more balance and harmony.
Sticking with the healthy habit theme, I have had to stop taking physical balance for granted. After years of priding myself on being surefooted, I now find myself looking for handrails and being careful when getting up in the morning. I feel like I’m walking on upside down stilettos thanks to Plantar Fasciitis. This problem has made me slow down and baby my feet; a hot soak, muscle cream, stretching, and my favorite – a foot massage.
When it comes to harmony, it’s about finding the combination of motivation and satisfaction that allows for a mind that can function without negative stressors. Sometimes when I meditate, I picture the Infinity Symbol and contemplate its endless flow of energy then align it with my breathing. For me, this results in a state of balance and harmony.
When all is in alignment, it is easy for the heart to rise up to its highest and best self!