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The opposite. August 20, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
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“The Buddha…presented a radical challenge to the way we see the world… What he taught is not different, it is not an alternative, it is the opposite. … A certain value lies in remembering that challenge from time to time.”
—Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Scientific Buddha: His Short and Happy Life

Usui Founder, like other Japanese of Samurai descent, spent time in Buddhist monasteries, living the monastic discipline before returning to the world. He had returned to a Buddhist monastery to try to find answers immediately prior to his enlightenment experience on Mt. Kurama, when Reiki was born. The tools he gave us, especially the Five Reiki Principles (aka Precepts, Ideals) but also the Reiki symbols, help free us to see the world differently.

Suppose we think that going to the latest movie and stuffing ourselves with popcorn, candy and a huge soda while we’re watching it will make us happy. But as we emerge into the parking lot afterward, do we feel happy? Maybe we’re physically unsettled by the relentless violence or the horror theme of the film, or by the giant amounts of nutritionless but calorie- and chemically laden stuff we just put in our mouths. Maybe we’re upset because we just wasted three hours, or we hate ourselves for shoveling in empty calories we didn’t need.

Maybe we decide that a shopping trip to the mall, or a few drinks at a local watering hole while watching the game on their giant TVs, will turn the day around and make us happy. Maybe we enjoyed the movie and junk food. Or maybe we’ve already forgotten the plot and actors and are focused on responding to texts, tweets, and comments on our Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages.

How easy it is to fill our time so we never have to think about what we’re doing, or why we’re doing it. To throw things into the depthless hole of our emptiness, our quest for fulfilment, the thing we call happiness. Yet happiness is all around us, happiness is us, if we could only take the time to see it. The Buddha does not tell us that the opposite of being happy because we saw the movie is to be sad because we saw it. The opposite is asking ourselves why we want to see it, if we want to see it, if what we really want is something quite different. If we want to chase illusion and escape or simply be.

Maybe, like Usui Founder, we want to sit quietly in a beautiful place and watch the world drop away. Maybe we want to cook a fragrant and flavorful dinner. Maybe we want to take a nap. Maybe we want to relax into a Reiki healing session. Or maybe we want to see that movie.

Whatever the case, having thought things through changes everything, because it changes our most fundamental perceptions. Once we realize that happiness is not a goal but a state of being, that it is all around us, that we need not “do” anything to achieve it, but merely perceive it, we can let go of our expectations, our frenzied pursuit of pleasure, our desperate need to fill ourselves up. The opposite of our pursuit of happiness, and everything else, is awareness and acceptance.

Just for today, be awake.