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Give love this Christmas. December 9, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
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“Wheresoever we seek our own, there we fall from love.”
—Thomas a Kempis

“There is the tendency to place ourselves and our ambitions at the center of our lives. This is very human, but it is not Christian.”
—Pope Francis, @Pontifex

Yesterday, I received a Christmas card from my Aunt Betty. At this season of the year, most of us are either thinking about what we want for Christmas or what our family and friends might want for Christmas, or what we’d better get the boss and the office gang, or our kids’ teachers and coaches, or our secretary, or God-knows-who for Christmas. Or how we’ll ever afford Christmas, with all these ever-more-expensive presents for everybody and shipping costs getting more outrageous every year.

But not Aunt Betty. She gets presents for those in need and sends them in our names. In past years, we’ve gotten cards saying that a needy family in, say, the Andes has received a (live) chicken in our name through Heifer International, so they can get nutritious eggs. (You don’t need a rooster to get eggs.) This year, she donated to Doctors Without Borders, those brave individuals who risk their lives to share their expertise where it otherwise wouldn’t be available. People we’ll never see or know will have a better Christmas this year. Thank you, Aunt Betty!

What I think she’s trying to tell us is that she thinks we have enough “stuff” and don’t need any more from her. (And she’s right.) Whereas these organizations help people who lack food, shelter, warmth, medical care, and other basic necessities, much less toys, video games, the latest athletic shoes, and the like. I suggest that you think of an organization that speaks to you this Christmas, be it a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter, The Salvation Army, The Southwest Indian Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, or any of the hundreds of others, and donate in a family member’s or your office’s name this Christmas. (And don’t forget that you can volunteer your time as well, including giving free hands-on Reiki sessions.)

Obviously, I’d never suggest doing this when children are involved. But you could get them a book or toy and donate in their family’s name, and the family could start teaching them the meaning of sharing and giving. Think how much better you’ll feel knowing you’re helping others on Christmas than ripping open package after package of stuff for yourself.

Just for today, don’t fall from love.

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The outcry of the poor. November 29, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
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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.