09 February 2008
The Sujiud (Prostration): It is obligatory to go down to the floor and prostrate by pressing your bare forehead, and putting your palms, knees, and pads of the toes on the floor. Both feet are kept vertical with the heels up and the toepads down touching the floor.
You can't talk about Mecca without mentioning Muslim prayer, since all Muslims are called to pray 5 times a day facing in the direction of Mecca. Muslim prayer consists of a set of rituals of the body as well as verbal prayers. There are purifying washing rituals before prayer, and during the prayers there are postures of standing, kneeling and prostrations.
If you've never put your body into a prostrate position before, I'd recommend giving it a try. My own first experience with this posture was in hatha yoga class doing child's pose, which is also called submission pose.
I encountered the pose again when I began to meditate at a place where the tradition was to bow before the teacher's chair. There's something about placing one's forehead on the ground that makes it practically impossible to maintain feelings of pride, superiority, self-absorption, or immortality. No matter to what or to whom you're bowing, with your forehead to the ground you immediately feel human, fragile and mortal.
At any rate, I wanted to subtly reference the focus on Mecca for prayer as well as pilgrimage by darkening even more the bokashi around the Grand Mosque at the heart of the city. Next I'll begin carving the block again.