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Shedding our skin to grow. January 12, 2015

Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
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“Like a snake that must shed its skin to grow, our industrial civilization must shed its material outlook or strangle in outgrown ideals whose constructive potential has been spent.”
—Sr Eknath Easwaran, Words to Live By

“Ecology is essential for the survival of mankind; it is a moral issue which affects all of us.”
—Pope Francis @Pontifex

“If your heart were sincere and upright, every creature would be unto you a looking-glass of life and a book of holy doctrine.”
—Thomas a Kempis

Sri Eknath probably wrote his wonderful comparison of a bloated civilization strangling on itself like a snake on unshed skin in the 1960s or ’70s. Pope Francis wrote his tweet a few days ago. And Thomas a Kempis wrote his comment in the 1300s or 1400s. But they were all making the same point: That the world is much too small, and there are far too many of us, for us to continue to destroy it as though we were the only thing that mattered.

Combining ecology-destroying greed with mindless overpopulation can only result in annihilation, first of the rest of life, then of us. Why would we harm them by our greed when we could see them as “a book of holy doctrine”? Let us cherish them while they’re here and try to change our greedy ways before it’s too late. (And if you haven’t, do watch “Avatar.” It doesn’t address the overpopulation issue, but at least it gets right at the greed, and the lengths we’re prepared to go to to protect our “assets.”)

Just for today, please send Reiki to our precious Mother. If you can, use the symbols, then just hold an Earth marble, or any marble, in your hands and let the Reiki flow.


Do I know you? September 23, 2013

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“Excuse me, but do I know you?” a bemused Bilbo Baggins asks early in the movie version of “The Hobbit,” as a menacing dwarf looms on his doorstep, then barges into his home demanding a fine supper, “and plenty of it.” We, of course, have a good laugh, since we know, unlike poor Bilbo, that he’ll soon be hosting 13 ravenous and rambunctious dwarves, along with a wizard, all of whom are pillaging his pantry and bringing him to the brink of a nervous breakdown.

But as it happens, “Do I know you?” is a profound and serious question. So many of us see other people in terms of our own needs or value judgments, rather than on their own terms. We see our date, partner, or spouse in terms of our fantasy-based expectations, in terms of what WE want, and are shattered when we perceive them as they truly are. We perceive our parents as all-knowing and all-powerful, and then blame them if they turn out to have feet of clay. We blame our children if they don’t meet our expectations, which often are not theirs. We judge others based on their weight, age, appearance, IQ, education, occupation, wealth. Shame on us!

Where I live in Pennsylvania, there’s an annual fundraising effort called “The Ben Event” for mentally challenged high-school students. It celebrates the life of Ben Yorgey, whose seizures caused him to be mentally impaired and ultimately took his life at just 24. But Ben never met anyone he didn’t love, greeting everyone with a huge smile and a warm “Hey, I know you!”

This reminds me of the movie “Avatar,” where the Na’vi, the native population of Pandora, the moon where the action occurs, greet one another with “I see you,” which means I see into you, I see you as you are, I respect you as you are.

Those of us on the Reiki path owe it to ourselves and to Usui Founder and to our legacy to come to each person without judgment, without imposing our own expectations on them, simply seeing them and valuing them as they are now. Who are we to judge? Surely those of us who follow the Reiki Way should set aside judgment and, like Ben Yorgey, like Mother Teresa, embrace everyone, whoever and whatever they are. Hey, I know you! I see you. I’m so glad you’re there.

Just for today, appreciate people as they are.

Finding Nirvana. May 16, 2013

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For many people, Nirvana means a blissed-out state of continuous ecstacy. For others, it equates to the ultimate transcendental experience. But the reality is far different from the popular assumptions. The literal meaning of Nirvana is “to blow out,” from nir, out, and vana, to blow. The image of a snuffed candle comes immediately to mind.

But, as with so much spiritual imagery, that snuffed candle doesn’t mean extinction: It means extinction of the ego, the “I” apart from “other” that separates us from the All. As Mo’at, shaman of the Na’vi in the movie “Avatar,” says, “It is hard to fill a cup that’s already full.” When we’re full of ourselves, of the “I,” there’s no room to see the truth, the All, our inextricable connection with All that is.

Blowing out the candle of ego will not leave us in darkness. Emptying the cup of ego will not leave us thirsting.

Just for today, empty yourself of ego and see what takes its place.

All original content © copyright Red Dog Reiki. All rights reserved.

Peel off those labels. December 26, 2012

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“The system of Reiki helps us to break free of the bonds of labeling everything.”
—Frans Stiene, Copyright International House of Reiki,

I’m a horticulturist as well as a writer, editor and follower of the Reiki Way. And when I was getting my Masters Degree in horticulture, being able to tell plants apart was all-important to our studies. We had to be able to identify thousands of plants down to the tiniest detail and remember all their botanical names. It wasn’t enough to see a flower, or to see that the flower was a rose, or even to see that the rose was a rugosa rose: We had to see that it was Rosa rugosa var. alba ‘Madame Bouchard’.

There are, of course, practical reasons for this. Botanical nomenclature enables people worldwide to talk about the same plant without confusion, whatever their language. Even in the same language, there are often several different common names for the same plant, but there is only one universal botanical name for each plant (unless some botanical nomenclature committee changes it). And, since most horticulturists either go into the nursery business, design gardens and landscapes, or (like me) write about gardening, plants, and garden design, they need to know what plants they’re selling, what plants they’re using in a design, and what plants they’re writing or talking about.

All well and good, of course. I originally went into horticulture because at heart I’m a naturalist, and had a great passion for learning everything I could about the natural world. (Sadly, professional naturalists aren’t exactly in demand these days.) And that too meant lots of labeling. Was I looking at a black-capped chickadee or a Carolina chickadee at my feeder? Was that an immature red-tailed or adult red-shouldered hawk soaring overhead? Exactly which species of trilobite was this fossil? And on and on and on.

Gradually, I began to realize that this obsession with labeling was coming between me and my appreciation of what I was observing, much as a camera lens comes between the photographer and the object of his or her photograph and limits their perception of the whole. And of course, I also saw that our society’s obsession with compartmentalizing everything and everyone—you’re rich and I’m poor, you’re black and I’m white, you’re Jewish and I’m Catholic, you’re wearing a Rolex and I’m wearing a Timex, you’re a Wal*Mart greeter and I’m a tenured professor—in turn limits our perception of the whole and prevents us from seeing the All. We see color or ethnicity or religion or trappings and fail to see the person at all.

This was, to me, the best point made in the movie “Avatar,” though of course its messages about environmental destruction, greed, and the nature of universality were also essential. When one of the Na’vi, the native race of the inhabited moon Pandora, encountered another, they respectfully greeted each other with the phrase “I see you.” Which meant, not that they saw the surface appearance of the other person or simply saw that the other person was before them, but rather, “I see into you, into your heart, into your soul, into who you truly are beneath the surface.”

Like the Na’vi of the movie, who we truly are beneath the surface is part of the All, be we plant, insect, mollusc, bird, animal, or person. Now I make a point of simply enjoying the beauty of nature around me rather than compulsively trying to label it. Ultimately, what does it matter if I’m looking at a black-capped or Carolina chickadee? I’m looking at a bold, beautiful little bird with a personality as big as the sky. Surely to God that should be enough.

Just for today, see the oneness in creation rather than the differences.

All original content © copyright Red Dog Reiki. All rights reserved.