The outcry of the poor. November 29, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
Tags: compassion, generosity, Pope Francis, Usui Founder
Oh, mercy. Pope Francis recently released a document called “Evangelii Gaudium,” which translates as “The Joy of the Gospel.” But contained within it was one of the strongest, and frankest, condemnations of our modern society that I have ever read. There is no joy to be found here, but a real wake-up call for those of us who try to live a compassionate life, as Usui Founder did:
“Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own.”
If you’re an empath like me, you do weep for other people’s pain, which more often than not is an embarrassment in today’s indifferent society. But there is a huge leap from being acutely conscious of others’ pain and doing something about it.
I received the most wonderful Christmas card of my life yesterday when my Aunt Betty sent a note saying that she would no longer be giving holiday presents, but instead would be contributing to Meals on Wheels and Feeding America. Those of us who follow the Reiki Way would do well to follow her example.
Just for today, be kind.
Black Friday. November 27, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
Tags: Black Friday, Mikao Usui, Pope Francis, Thanksgiving, Usui Founder
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Here in the U.S., the day after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday.” This isn’t because it’s a terrible, dark day, but because merchants hold huge sales across the land and, since most people—at least, those who aren’t working for said merchants—have the day off, they apparently rush out and take advantage of the sales to do their Christmas shopping. And the merchants hope that will put them into the “black” for the year, making a profit, rather than being in the “red,” making a loss.
If you live here, you’ve probably been bombarded by e-mails and circulars promoting great deals, pre-Friday deals, and so on. It’s a media blitz, a shopping extravaganza.
Contrast this with the words of Pope Francis in yesterday’s Apostolic Exhortation: “The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase. In the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.”
I don’t think the Pope’s words even touch the lives of most of us here, since we don’t typically ever encounter people whose lives have been “stunted for lack of opportunity” unless we live in an urban area where there are street people. For so many of us, we only encounter our family, our coworkers, our friends, and those who serve us while we’re out shopping or dining or watching a movie.
We don’t encounter the poor, the destitute, the homeless, the hungry, the desperate. And if we do encounter one, someone asking for money, we’re terrified. We may give them a dollar or five dollars to quiet our consciences, but they don’t just “fail to move us,” they frighten us.
This Thanksgiving, let us try to think of those who are less fortunate, especially on Black Friday. Let us try to remember Usui Founder’s own exhortations, to be grateful and to be kind. Perhaps, rather than rushing to get the best deal, we might do something for the disadvantaged. Or simply reach out in kindness to those whose lives are “stunted” by age and isolation and poverty. The soup kitchens are open, the nursing homes are waiting.
Just for today, be grateful for all your own blessings.
No reservations. November 26, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
Tags: Mikao Usui, Pope Francis, Reiki, Reiki life, Reiki Principles, Sri Eknath Easwaran, Usui Founder, words to live by
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“Every one of us can learn to love without qualifications or reservations…. It is not possible to have both separateness and intimacy.”
—Sri Eknath Easwaran, Words to Live By
“We must build, create, construct a culture of encounter.”
It is only when we recognize our connection to all creation, to the All, that we can hope to follow Usui Founder’s example. Enlightenment, satori, is simply the ultimate and intimate realization that there is no separation. As it says on the Dr. Bronner’s soap boxes, “All one.” It is only with this deep and inherent realization that we can truly follow Usui Founder’s dictate to be kind.
Just for today, be enlightened.
Don’t throw food away. November 24, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
Tags: Mikao Usui, Pope Francis, Reiki, Reiki Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Usui Founder, wasted food
Today, I read the saddest single sentence I have ever encountered. I wasn’t expecting to read it; I was scrolling down through Yahoo’s homepage and came upon an article about how people from abroad, both visitors and new residents, view America and Americans.
Of course, I couldn’t resist reading this. I was expecting to see the usual comments about how slovenly Americans are, in their sweatpants and hoodies or ill-fitting jeans and tee-shirts or worse. Or snide remarks about American obesity. Or shocked remarks about Americans’ spending habits, their addiction to malls, their obsessive shopping. Or about their eating habits, between fast food as a replacement for meals and monstrous portions as in “Supersize Me.” Or all-too-often true remarks about American ignorance, cultural blindness, and insularity.
What I wasn’t expecting to see was the comment I found, from an anonymous person obviously now living the typical American lifestyle but still aware of its shortcomings: “My garbage disposal eats better than most of the children of the world.”
Why anyone would have a garbage disposal, or would waste food, is beyond my understanding. Composting returns food odds and ends back to the soil to enrich it so it can produce more healthy food. At my home, we have three compost bins, a spinning composter, and an earthworm composter, plus chickens to eat any leftover scraps. Absolutely nothing goes to waste.
As Pope Francis so trenchantly put it, “Throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry!” How dare we waste food when people go hungry? How dare we go on autopilot instead of considering the consequences of our own actions? How could we, as Reiki people, not be vigilant about recycling, buying everything used, not wasting our earth’s precious resources when others are wanting?
Instead, let us follow the example of Usui Founder, who rushed to the aid of those whose lives were disrupted or devastated by the great Tokyo earthquake. Let us do what we can to help those in need by not irresponsibly, thoughtlessly, throwing food away.
As we approach Thanksgiving, a holiday that offers us the opportunity to both express our gratitude and celebrate abundance, the waste of food should be foremost on our minds. How can we live out Usui Founder’s example? Donate or volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, invite lonely older people, single people, disadvantaged people, or simply isolated people to share in our own celebration, reach out to neighbors, family members, or friends with whom we’ve been out of touch, try to bring comfort to abandoned animals at your local shelter. Spread some joy!
Just for today, don’t be heartless.
Hurry up and love. November 16, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
Tags: Alexander McCall Smith, No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Pope Francis, Sri Eknath Easwaran, wisdom of Mma Ramotswe, words to live by
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“An obsession with hurry has been so worked into our social system that we scarcely notice we do not have time to love.”
—Sri Eknath Easwaran, Words to Live By
“May we discover the beauty of loving and being loved.”
—Pope Francis, @Pontifex
“That was half the trouble with the world, she thought: not enough people took the time to sit down for a few minutes and look up at the sky or at whatever it was that was before you—a herd of cattle, perhaps, or a stretch of bush dotted with acacia trees, or the sinking of the evening sun into the Kalahari. You did not have to sit for long; even a few minutes was enough to remind you that if you spent your life rushing about, then the years would slip through your fingers without your really noticing it until suddenly they were gone and you were old and before long it would be that moment that comes to everybody—the time to leave Botswana forever.”
—Alexander McCall Smith, The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
Just for today, slow down and share the love.
Not an institution. November 13, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
Tags: honoring Reiki, Mikao Usui, Pope Francis, Reiki, Usui Founder
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This is actually a very important post, a supremely pivotal post, and I urge every Reiki practitioner who happens upon it to give it your full attention. (Not something I’ve ever said about one of my posts before.)
Pope Francis says “The Church is a love story, not an institution.” This is revolutionary.
But Vittorio Massori, bestselling biographer of Pope John Paul II, refutes this: “The dream of a poor, egalitarian church reminiscent of its origins in which faith is freed of superstructures is at odds with the historical fact that charismatic movements that refused to change into hierarchical institutions were swiftly reduced to irrelevance.”
Basically, this explains, so cynically, why revolutionaries like the Lord Jesus, Mohammed, Lord Buddha, and their like were transformed from symbols of radical love and freedom into symbols of power and dominion after their deaths, into intolerant, monstrous hierarchical institutions. Thus the Spanish Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the Puritans, Oliver Cromwell and his ilk. Thus the Tibetan Lamaseries, where human childrens’ skins were used in rituals after the children were sacrificed.
Thus the monstrous abuse of children by Catholic priests worldwide, and the even more horrifying coverup, even as the same priests were attacking their congregants for engaging in premarital sex and birth control, and attacking nuns for daring to suggest that social issues like poverty and suffering actually mattered. Oh shame, shame on them!!!!
Please, please God, let those of us who follow the Reiki Way learn this lesson before Reiki becomes an institution like these others. Let us take Usui Founder at his word and reject the horrors of institution and hierarchy. “My Reiki is better than your Reiki.” “My Reiki is the only authentic Reiki.” Please. If Reiki truly means something to you, honor the Founder and remember the love story.
Just for today, fall in love with Reiki.
The globalization of indifference. November 1, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
Tags: Five Reiki Ideals, Five Reiki Precepts, Five Reiki Principles, Mikao Usui, Pope Francis, Usui Founder
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“Too often we participate in the globalization of indifference. May we strive instead to live global solidarity.”
—Pope Francis, @Pontifex
As an Argentinian rather than an American, Canadian, or European, Pope Francis has experienced “the globalization of indifference” first-hand. What about us?
We may be horrified when miners are trapped in an epic Chilean mine collapse, or when hundreds of Bangladeshi workers are killed when their ramshackle factory falls apart, refugees drown when their boat sinks off Lampedusa, a plane crashes in Thailand, killing all aboard, a tsunami destroys part of the Japanese coastline and wrecks a nuclear reactor, or a suicide bomber murders innocent civilians along with themselves. But how much do these horrors really affect us?
Given the media frenzy to depict horror and tragedy as entertainment, be it vampire sagas or murder mysteries or nightmarish scenes of self-torture and mutilation (from “Red Dragon” to “The Da Vinci Code”), we’ve become numb to the reality of horror. The nightly news has jumped on this bandwagon, showing graphic footage of every sort of disaster, from fires and wrecks to murders and hurricanes, making it impossible to remain open and sensitive if you actually watch or read this stuff.
The thought that murder mysteries are considered entertainment, that many of my friends read them for relaxation before bed, horrifies me. There are plenty of mysteries that engage the mind without involving murder, much less multiple gruesome murders—just look at the Sherlock Holmes canon or The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels. And there are plenty of other novels and movies and documentaries that don’t involve violence, or the threat of violence, at all, and yet are highly entertaining and educational.
But I’m straying from the point, which is that those of us who follow the Reiki Way have a built-in, threefold defense against “the globalization of indifference.” First are the Five Reiki Principles (aka Precepts, Ideals) that center us on gratitude, compassion and kindness. And second is the example of Usui Founder himself, who rushed to the rescue when the great Kanto earthquake of 1923 struck Tokyo, freely giving Reiki to all in need of healing. Usui Founder was also a huge proponent of globalization versus isolation, himself travelling the world and learning about its customs, religions and languages. Our Founder embraced the whole world. Can we do less?
Third, and by no means least, is the gift of distance healing using the third Reiki symbol. By activating the first three symbols (and the fourth, if we’re a Master or shihan), we can send distant healing across time and space to anyplace in the world that needs it. We can send Reiki for physical healing and for mental/emotional relief for all who are suffering. What an amazing gift! And what a fantastic way to counter “the globalization of indifference.”
Cutting ourselves off from what popular culture regards as entertainment strikes me as a sensible move in this regard. I’ll read newspapers and internet coverage, but won’t watch the news on television or listen to it on the radio. Nor will I watch shows that make violence a central part of their programming. Far better to watch a cooking show or a nature documentary or “The Hobbit” or a Jane Austen movie or “Zen,” the marvelous movie about Dogen Zenji, the founder of the Soto Zen school.
Just for today, don’t block out the rest of the world.
Dying at our doorstep. October 20, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki exercise, Reiki wisdom.
Tags: Five Reiki Ideals, Five Reiki Precepts, Five Reiki Principles, Mikao Usui, Pope Francis, Pope Francis and Reiki, Reiki and enlightenment, Usui Founder
“Too often we are blinded by our comfortable lives, and refuse to see those dying at our doorstep.”
—Pope Francis, @Pontifex
I’m made aware of Pope Francis’s point every morning when I turn on my computer and the Yahoo! homepage comes up. This “page” contains all the so-called news of the day, and it’s a very, very long slog down to the end of it, covering in the process an awful lot of territory. It takes me an hour just to scroll down through the headlines and read the ones that are of interest.
At a guess, more than half the links are for sports, celebrities, fashion, the latest Apple products and competitors, and other aspects of popular culture. That leaves a bit more than a third of the coverage for world news, science, religion, culture, pets, health, and food—the topics that interest me.
Scanning down the dozens of headlines, I know that I myself have too often clicked on the links to “The 7 Best Lasagna Recipes” or “10 Foods That Prevent Cancer!” or “New Fossil Find in Siberia” or even “Latest Update on ‘The Hobbit: Part Two’” rather than reading more than the headline and summary of the latest fatal plane crash, abduction, suicide bombing, or sinking refugee ship. Not to mention droughts, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, crop failures, global warming, and ongoing concerns over nuclear reactor malfunctions, nuclear and chemical weapons, new strains of horrific diseases, and the like. The news is bad enough as a headline and blurb.
Okay, maybe none of this is happening “on my doorstep”—at least not at the moment. But the suffering homeless are living in rescue missions and under bridges and lining up at soup kitchens in towns just 45 minutes from my rural home. There aren’t many of them, compared to the homeless and disenfranchised in the “big cities” like Philadelphia, New York, Boston and D.C. But that doesn’t mean they’re not, figuratively speaking at least, dying on my doorstep, especially with winter coming.
For those of us who follow the Reiki Way, everything and everyone is connected. When a leaf falls, when a field is paved over to make way for warehouses and shopping centers, when an animal is hit in the road or dumped at a shelter or euthanized, we are diminished. When a child is abused or a victim is tortured or a refugee drowns or someone is killed, whether what kills him or her is a gun or a bomb or a crash or a terminal disease, we are diminished. We feel each loss, each pain, each terror as our own, whether we’re aware of it or not.
Becoming one with the All, with All There Is—or more precisely, remembering that we are one with the All—is our goal on the Reiki path. It is why Usui Founder gave us the Five Reiki Principles (aka Precepts, Ideals) to serve as a map and guidebook along our Way. Every single practice in Reiki points to just that one thing, to sensitizing us to our connection with everything else, for only through that profound and cell-deep realization can we hope to achieve satori, enlightenment, which is nothing more than realizing, in the eternal present, our complete and total connection to the All.
Just for today, let us see and not be blinded.
Giving back. September 30, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki exercise, Reiki wisdom.
Tags: Five Reiki Ideals, Five Reiki Precepts, Five Reiki Principles, Mikao Usui, Pope Francis, Reiki practice, Usui Founder
Pope Francis, in an interview published in English in the magazine America, made some provocative, honest comments that have been all over the press in the past week or so. But one thing he said in that interview, which I have not seen picked up in any of the news coverage, is a wake-up call and rallying cry to anyone who seeks to serve a higher cause, such as those of us who follow the Reiki Way:
“And I ask myself: What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What should I do for Christ?”
This line of questioning is a great way to focus on your priorities and center yourself for the coming day:
“What have I done for the Reiki community?” “What have I done for my parents (or for my spouse, children, siblings, friends)?” “What have I done for my elderly neighbors, for the elderly in my community, for abandoned pets, for wildlife, for the environment, for the poor, for the sick?”
The possibilities are endless, as are the ways to implement them. You might find yourself volunteering to give Reiki in a hospital, hospice, nursing home, or animal shelter. You might find yourself volunteering at a soup kitchen, or grocery shopping for your elderly neighbors and taking them a home-cooked meal once a week. You might find yourself making more of an effort to stay in touch with your far-flung family, even the ones you’re not close to. You might find that you’re making time to send Reiki distant healing every day to our beautiful world or for world peace or to people and places ravaged by war or natural disaster.
I began The Reiki Blog as a way to give back to the Reiki community that has given so very much to me, and it has been a richly rewarding experience, taking me deeper into my Reiki practice as I think about what to say each day that might help and inspire others as it has inspired me. And in the process, it has brought me in contact with so many wonderful Reiki people I’d never otherwise have heard from. What a gift, and thank you all!
If you want to find your own path to giving back, I can think of no better guidebook than Usui Founder’s Five Reiki Principles (aka Precepts, Ideals). Trying to live the Principles—”Just for today, Don’t worry. Don’t get angry. Be grateful. Work hard. Be kind.”—makes us more focused, more generous, more compassionate. It makes us more spacious, breaking us free from the little box that is “me.” (As the great Benjamin Franklin so wonderfully put it, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small package.”) And that allows us to focus on others.
Just for today, what have you done? What are you doing? What should you be doing?
Pray for peace. September 17, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki exercise, Reiki wisdom.
Tags: @Pontifex, peace, Pope Francis, Reiki, Reiki and peace
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“The only war that we must all fight is the one against evil.”
—Pope Francis, #prayforpeace @Pontifex
Just for today, send Reiki distant healing for the highest good of this beautiful world and of all who are privileged to share it.