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Don’t worry. September 11, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki exercise, Reiki wisdom.
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“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”
—Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth

Worry is fear turned inward, as anger is fear turned outward. Usui Founder gave us his first two Reiki Principles (aka Precepts, Ideals), “Just for today, don’t get angry” and “Just for today, don’t worry,” so that we could get fear out of the way and free ourselves to feel gratitude, focus on our work, and be kind.

So all right, “don’t worry” may sound simple enough on the surface. But what if your bills are overdue and you can’t pay them, your kid is supposed to be in college but you wonder if he is or is just taking your money and lying to you, your mom keeps telling you she’s okay but she seems weaker and weaker, your best friend’s battling breast cancer, your house needs major repairs you can’t afford, your company’s downsizing and you’re afraid you’ll lose your job? How could you possibly not worry?!

Usui Founder tells you to let go of worry. Eckhart Tolle tells you that worrying accomplishes nothing. It seems to be important, but in the end, it only damages you without moving you forward. In my Reiki lineage, Hawayo Takata Sensei told our lineage bearer, the Reverend Beth Gray, that “Just for today, do not worry” was actually the first Reiki Principle. Beth was an intuitive, and her lineage has focused on that, and I think Takata Sensei was spot on with putting worry, internal fear, before anger, external fear. Controlling internal fear will control its outward manifestation.

Eckhart Tolle gives us all a great tool for shutting off fear and worry. He tells us to ask ourselves if whatever we fear is happening now. Is our car skidding off the road now? Are we meeting with the angry boss now? Has our electricity gone off now because we’re late paying our bill? If none of that is true, then we should enjoy the precious NOW rather than worry about the future, since worry simply paralyses us and serves no useful purpose. Quite the opposite.

Just for today, don’t worry.

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Anxiety sickens us. March 17, 2014

Posted by ourfriendben in Reiki, Reiki wisdom.
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“For the majority of us, uncertainty is worse than disaster, because disaster comes to us only rarely; worry depletes us often.”

—Sri Eknath Easwaran, Words to Live By

No wonder Usui Founder placed “Just for today, don’t worry” in his Five Reiki Principles (aka Precepts, Ideals). Reiki self-healing strengthens us, calms us, builds us up, gives us space to expand. Worry, as Sri Eknath says, depletes us, contracts us, obsesses us, makes us smaller. Let’s choose expansion, not contraction.

Just for today, don’t worry.

The sun was always shining. August 26, 2013

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I just returned from the wonderful Komyo Reiki Zen Retreat at Dai Bosatsu Zendo in the beautiful Catskills, and had some great experiences and learned some wonderful things that I’ll share with you over the next few days. But first, I want to share something that, on the surface at least, wasn’t wonderful at all.

Yesterday, Sunday, the last day of the retreat, I’d been pondering something one of the guys attending it had said. He’d been talking about people’s personal demons—anger, rage, resentment, hatred, violence, and the like. This disturbed me. I don’t think sane people have personal demons, except one.

I do believe that there is a demon, and that it is responsible for much of the bad behavior and corrosive mindsets in our world. Its name is helplessness. When people feel helpless—trapped in a job, a marriage, an abusive relationship, their own or a loved one’s chronic or terminal illness, poverty, invisibility—worry, anger, rage, resentment, envy, hatred, terror, self-pity, and every bad thing begins to build up inside them. And if they don’t find a way to combat their helplessness, eventually they’ll burst like a balloon and turn those bad feelings outward onto others.

It’s important to realize that there are always other options, there is always an out, you are never truly helpless. You might not make as much money working at McDonald’s as you did as a prostitute. It might take a lot of courage to leave that big law-firm job working for an abusive boss and invest your savings in something you really love, opening a sanctuary for abandoned animals or a boarding school for children with mental disabilities. Your overbearing spouse or partner keeps assuring you that you’re a loser who’ll never find another relationship if you leave them, you’re SO lucky to have them. But guess what? Living alone might not be so bad, or living in a shared home with friends, or living with older relatives who would enjoy and appreciate your company and help. And on and on.

So I was thinking about all this on a beautiful blue-sky morning as the sun poured over the lake at the Dai Bosatsu guest house, Joraku-An, and anticipating a wonderful day of Reiki teaching, when the demon of helplessness crept up and grabbed me. My Reiki friend Stephanie had very kindly agreed to drive me up to the retreat. She’d gone out to put some things in the car for our return journey when she saw that one tire was completely flat, pierced by a big piece of metal. How were we going to get home?

Dai Bosatsu Zendo is far off the beaten track up there in the Catskills; you have to go up washed-out gravel roads to get there with potholes big enough to swallow a dog. The nearest tiny crossroads community is miles and miles away over these roads, and the one gas station there, and every station within a God-knows-how-many-miles radius is closed on Sunday. Steph had AAA, but while they might toil up the road to get the car, they wouldn’t bring a tire and change it. And when Steph and another Reiki retreatant tried to get the spiked tire off and put the spare on, they realized that the spare wasn’t made for Steph’s Subaru (she’d bought it used, and had never had a reason to look at the spare before).

It looked like we were doomed. Everyone was urging us to spend Sunday night at the guest house and try to get help on Monday. That was something of a worry for me, since Dai Bosatsu doesn’t get wireless reception so there was no way I could call my partner Rob and let him know I’d be home sometime Monday rather than Sunday. But for Stephanie, it would have been terrible, since she had to catch a train first thing Monday morning for a business trip.

I’d descended into worry and helplessness bigtime by the time Steph and I trudged up the drive to the Zendo to try to get help, find out if any auto repair places were open on Sunday, or at least see if there was a way we could call out. And then the good things started to happen.

First, we encountered the Zendo’s abbot, its Roshi, out walking her dog. She was very sympathetic and told us to check at the Zendo office; perhaps their maintenance guy could suggest a place that would be open and would fix the tire or sell Steph a new one and put it on the car. At the office, the head monk called the maintenance guy, described the problem, arranged for him to pick up the car keys, and told him to check back in with us at 10 a.m. so we could figure out what we needed to do in plenty of time for Steph to get home, even if we had to miss the third day’s Reiki teachings.

She was so efficient, and so kind, that I felt the weight of worry lifting off me. Looking out the window, I saw the blue sky. “The sun is shining again!” I exclaimed. She replied, “The sun was always shining.”

With those words, the demon of helplessness was driven away. As it turned out, the Zendo staff were able to patch the tire, and Stephanie and I made it back to our respective homes in Pennsylvania and Delaware unscathed and in good time. Thank you, Usui Founder and All!

Just for today, remember that the sun is always shining.