So, last time I mentioned that we would take a closer look at the history and development of Reiki as a healing system. The more I wrote about that topic though, the more I realized that something else was demanding my attention. While the story of Reiki is an extraordinary one which has enriched my life and I believe context is important, I am also a proponent of following your intuition. Therefore I want to delve into something that could actually help you, today where you sit, in whatever frame of mind you may be. I came up with a compromise which I think works. If you are interested in knowing about the origin of Reiki (and there are slightly varying accounts), then you can look it up on the link which I will place at the bottom of the article, from a comprehensive and informative source. There is more information than I could provide in this format, and it is certainly worth your time.
Without further ado, let’s get to the “meat of the matter”. I want to share with you today the five Reiki Principles which were presented to me in my training but which are applicable to anyone, anywhere. As I share them, I will give you my thoughts on them, so that they are not some static words on your screen but may possibly become tenets that you may feel comfortable practicing. The best part: they are free! But they are also invaluable if you will allow yourself to be open to the possibilities. It is entirely likely that some of you may already incorporate these truths into your daily life. I urge you to suspend our natural tendency to judge as you read, and instead focus on what these principles would look like in action, on a large scale, beginning with you.
The principles were given to us by Dr. Mikao Usui who (re)discovered Reiki in the early part of the 20th century in Japan and who was also an adept in medicine, psychology and theology. It is apparent from his contributions that Usui Sensei (as he was known), lived a life of excellence and spiritual devotion. As with the history of Reiki, the principles may vary slightly depending on the source but they contain essentially the same message. Here are the simple five principles he recommended for a happier, more fulfilled life in alignment with God and Love:
1. Just for today, I will not anger
Okay. This one is tough (for some of us more than others). I mean, isn’t it unrealistic to expect someone to not get angry when we live in a world where people are often unreasonable, the system is unfair and we exist in a state of imbalance most of the time? That seems valid. Except that anger while being a natural emotion, is undeniably toxic and has a domino effect of negativity. I am not going to tell you to not ever get angry. Instead, see your anger for what it is: a reactionary emotion which is not the entirety of your being. Acknowledge that you are angry, but do not make decisions from that place. Do not let your angry thoughts run the show; cultivate stillness by learning to meditate. Your actions will then change of their own accord.
2. Just for today, I will not worry
I’m just going to share something someone told me some years ago. I was so anxious about an issue that I refused to allow myself to relax and would not stop fretting and biting my nails. My good friend looked at me and said: “Whatever the issue is, is it something that you can solve right now?” I was a little stumped so he then clarified further. If there is ever a problem which you cannot take action toward in that precise moment, then you have to let it go (in the moment). If you are able, then you should stop worrying and TAKE ACTION, and it is not possible to engage in meaningful action and worry at the same time. If you worry now and the worst happens, then you have doubled your misery. If you worry now and it turns out fine, then you have been miserable for no reason. This changed my perspective and my life! Worrying about a future event or situation produces no positive result. I promise you.
3. Just for today, I will be grateful
The original quote from Dr. Usui says “express your thanks”. This tells me that to truly master gratitude, we must express it. Feeling it is wonderful, but when we allow it to inform the way we consistently speak about our life, then we truly create positive results. The fruits of gratitude are peace and joy. If we break down gratitude as counting everything which we have as a blessing (and there is always something, even and especially the things we take for granted like our health, running water…), then I can confidently tell you that we all have blessings and we can all feel good about them. If your vision of your blessings is obscured by your situation, consider this: has there ever been a time in your life, where you thought things couldn’t get any worse and then they did, in an instant? Maybe it was a dreaded phone call, an incident or accident, but all of a sudden you realized that things were not so bad the previous moment. Sometimes you even long for that time again, so that you could relish it and be more grateful. The lesson to be learned is that it is all a matter of perspective, and you have complete control of that.
4. Just for today, I will do my work honestly
This is straightforward. Whatever work you are engaged in, do it to the best of your ability and do it with integrity. Many of us have had to do work which we are not enthusiastic about. Sometimes we have the displeasure of doing this work in a negative environment. We must still work diligently. The reason for this is that we create our character by the habits we cultivate. When you do a job to the best of your ability regardless of the circumstances, you are developing a form of personal currency. It is literally like making a deposit into the bank of your life skills. Sometimes a negative experience is a catalyst for a positive change. If you are not happy with your current situation, then work toward another option while doing everything to the best of your ability.
5. Just for today, I will be kind to others
I became aware of a saying recently which goes: “Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle”. It is attributed to the Greek philosopher Plato but it has resonated with me on a deep level. The first principle we looked at required acknowledging the ills of our society. When we encounter other people, it may or may not be apparent that they are struggling with something or someone, or most often themselves. Even the happiest among us have internal strife in at least one area, at least sometimes. The nature of life is that things are continuously changing, there are valleys and peaks. Not everyone is going to let you know that they are experiencing a valley. While it is not your burden to bear, maintaining an attitude of compassion to yourself and others sets the stage for reciprocity in your life.
I know you may be wondering why each principle is begun with the phrase “Just for today…” Why just for today? Is it because we should only practice these things temporarily? No. It is because the one underlying truth which ties them all together is that we only have today. We only have the moment. According to spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, even the future is experienced as a “now”. So when we consider deeply the five principles and cultivate stillness, we are engaging in a form of meditation. The human brain is such that when a task is broken up into steps or categories this task begins to feel a lot more accessible. Therefore, “Just for today…” is a profound way of saying: “I know my limitations, but I am also aware of my limitless potential”.
Here is your challenge: For the next week, implement “Just for today…” as an attitude. Print the five principles clearly and post them where they are visible like your refrigerator or desk. Spend a few minutes in the morning quietly contemplating them. Learn them and adhere to them. When it feels hard, or when you falter, smile and remind yourself that it is “Just for today…” Also, I want to hear from you about your experiences- good, bad and in between.
Here is the link I promised: http://www.usui-reiki.org/history_of_reiki.htm
Until next time!