Just for Today — Be Kind to All Living Things

Well, we have come to the fifth Reiki principle which is — Just for Today, Be Kind to All Living Things.” [If you have not read my previous posts about the Reiki principles, be sure and do this.]

This fifth principle encourages us to embrace inclusive living. Unfortunately, too often we find it easy to be kind to those who are like us, who are kind to us. But this principle encourages us to be kind to all living things.

I believe that it is time that humanity makes the move to a more inclusive way of living and I believe that we are moving in that direction. Maybe it is not seen in the big names in politics, education or even religion but on the level of the ordinary world citizen. Everyday more and more people are taking those first steps on the spiritual path — turning their back on old notions of exclusion, fear and hate and turning toward those of inclusion, hope and love.

The numbers of people who are living their lives from a center of spirituality is growing every day. They are shining their light in a world of darkness and the light is growing. Unfortunately, as in the physical world, it is often the darkest just before the dawn of spiritual light. I can only imagine that just before every great spiritual revolution of the past, the people living then felt that life surely could not get any worse — and then the light dawned and humanity was offered a new path to walk. And my friends, the same is true for us today.

Now is the time that we truly need to remember that this planet is our home. And as such, it is time that we begin to value and care for this planet — from the soil, rocks, water and air, to the plants and animals, all the way up to the human and yes, even to the invisible dwellers on the planet.

We must realize that there is a matrix — a connection that exists from the smallest subatomic particles all the way up to, yes all the way up to God.

The writer of Ephesians says “there is one body and one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”

One of my favorite preachers, Barbara Brown Taylor writes about this passage in her book of essays titled The Luminous Web: Essays on Science and Religion:

we have made much of the ‘above all’ in Christian theology, placing God at the top of the organizational chart of the universe and ourselves, as God’s deputies, right below. But what about the ‘through all and in all’ part of the equation? In a world like ours, which even the new science calls a web of relationships, there is no place to stand apart from and above the rest of creation.

She then says that “what if the universe is not merely the product of God but also the manifestation of God — a ‘eucharistic planet’ on which we have been invite to live?”

I too have been wondering the same thing for quite awhile now. Yes, I believe that in some way God is transcendent — a part from us but I am beginning to see God more as imminent — Emmanuel, God with us, and we with God — in and through us. That’s why I talk so much about living and moving and having our very being in God.

We can only begin to remember this and live in this new awareness as we move beyond our old tribe and even civilization or nation-state mentality. Brian Swimme, in his informative book The Universe Is a Green Dragon: A Cosmic Creation Story says “the tribe will not be the center of the human world, nor will the civilization, the culture, nor the nation-state. It will be the Earth community as a whole that will be understood as our home, our womb of creativity and life.”

As you have read these words that I share with you, I pray that we will each begin the process of remembering that truly we are all one community on Planet Earth — soil, air and water; plants and animals, humans. And that we will let that remembrance color and give our life new meaning and direction beginning tonight and every day we live.

“Just for today — be kind to every living thing.”

Just for Today — Be Devoted to Your Work

We are discussing the fourth Reiki principle in this post. We have already looked at the first three:

Just for today — do not worry

Just for today — do not anger

Just for today — be filled with gratitude

Now we’re looking at the principle that says — just for today — be devoted to your work.”

We are going to look at work — what we usually think work is and we will see if work and making a living is the same thing as work and making a life. We will the look at the work which if the real purpose of our soul.

Work, What Is It?

When you think of work, what thoughts come first to your mind?

The idea of work seems to many of us to not have a very positive feel and connotation. We do not seem to like the idea that to work well is to live well as Thomas Aquinas tells us.

You see for Aquinas, living and working went hand in hand. I believe that this is true because he gets the two in the proper sequence — to live and then to work. While for most people today, we seem to live like we work to live and this is a most unfortunate occurrence.

Aquinas says that we should display a good activity. Our lives should show off or parade our inner beauty for others to see and enjoy. In this way, we return beauty to our communities. Our work is a means to increase the beauty of the world, of one another, and of the worker.

In her writings, Hildegard of Bingen likens a person who does good work to an orchard bearing fruit. She says that “our good work permeates the universe and makes the cosmic wheel go around.”

She says that three things are important about work: first, humans are fruitful and flourishing when working; second, we are about good work; and third, our work affects the universe, our work actually contributes to turning the big cosmic wheel.

Jesus and other writers in the New Testament talked about lives that bear good fruit.

Working to Live or Living to Work, that’s the Question

So how do we make the leap from our common idea of living life working to make a living to a new idea of living life doing good things and making a life all the while performing a job?

When considering this question, the main thing that each of us needs to do is to remember.

We must remember that we do have the power to choose to make a life rather than to just make a living. You see, the main job that your soul must accomplish is to evolve — to be.

The soul that you are desires to be the grandest version of the greatest vision that it can conceive. You are on this planet to produce something with your soul. Your body and your job are simply tools of your soul.

As you allow your soul to be all that it is designed to be, then you can go about the business of doing the job that you have chosen for this lifetime.

You see jobs are to the real issue of work like leaves are to a tree. If the tree of your life is ailing then the leaves of your job will fall. But fiddling with the leaves is not going to cure an ailing tree. One cures an ailing tree by treating its roots and so we cure the crisis in work by treating the root meaning and purpose of life. By remembering why it is that we are here in the first place, to allow our souls to experience all that we can and to do good things. In this way our tree becomes healthy and we are like that fruitful orchard.

My prayer for each of us is that we will make the choice right now to concentrate on making a life that is worthy of the soul that you are — that spark of divinity — of God — that lives in your physical body. And as you make this choice, just for today, each and every day, you will find that truly the work you do will be profitable. But if it’s not, then just maybe your soul is trying to communicate the message to you that a change is something that you should consider. May it be so for each of us!

Just for Today — Be Filled with Gratitude

Before I get to this third Reiki principle, I want to remind you that my last post covered a very important topic, anger. If you have not read this, I encourage you to do so. Also, please share with us any of your thought about anger and how you deal with this very powerful emotion.

And if you are new to this blog, you will want to read my introduction post about the Reiki principles and the one concerning another powerful emotion, worry.

In this post, we are looking at the Reiki principle that says “just for today — be filled with gratitude.” I hope that by the end of this post you to will know why joy and gratitude go hand in hand.

When I was preparing this post, I looked in my library where I found a book compiled by Louise Hay entitled Gratitude: A Way of Life. This book contains many articles by lots of different people about how to make your life one of gratitude.

Think for just a moment about the following scenario: you spend the whole afternoon looking for just the right present to give your best friend for his/her birthday. You arrive at the party and when your gift is opened, your friend remarks “oh, it’s not my size”, or “it’s not my color”, or “I never use anything like that” or is “that all there is?”

How would you act? Would you want the next year to go and spend all afternoon again buying this friend a present? Probably not.

But if on the other hand, when opening your present, their eyes dance with delight and they thanks you profusely for the gift, then every time you see something he or she would like, you want to give it to them.

And this is just how the universe, just how it is with us.

You see gratitude brings more to be grateful about. It increases your abundant life. Lack of gratitude or complaining, brings little to rejoice about. Complainers find that they have little good in their life or they do not enjoy what they do have.

The Universe and God always give us what we believe that we deserve.

Many of us have been taught to look at life and see only what we do not have and to feel only lack. When we say, “I don’t have and I won’t be happy till I do” they guess what? This is what will be true in your life.

You see gratitude give us an attitude that is above all earthbound concerns and worries. As our lives are filled with gratitude, we assure ourselves of abundance and growth.

This principle is echoed in the words of Jesus that say “whatsoever you will ask in prayer, believing you shall receive.”

You see the success that you desire is found in doing three things.

First, affirm that your needs have already been met.

Second, believe that this is true.

And third, be grateful for your supply.

You see when we look beyond the problem to the answer we bring the invisible into the visible. This is the way we turn problems into opportunities. This is the way we release tension and congestion. This is the way we move into the realm of the solution.

Most of us are grateful for the things we have but it is time that we begin to give thanks for what we are about to receive:

I am thankful for the blessing I am about to receive. I am thankful for the increased harmonious conditions in my home. I am thankful for the wonderful experiences that exacerbate my growth. I am thankful for the newness that I am about to receive. I am thankful that I have an attitude of gratitude about the living of my life. My attitude of gratitude opens the portals to richer living.

You see what you complain about and resist — persists. But what you adore and are thankful for, becomes more.

You see if you don’t remember anything else, remember this — You cannot be grateful and unhappy at the same time.

So begin right now to adopt the habit and attitude of being grateful. Just for today — be filled with gratitude. Be filled to overflowing, pressed down, shaken together and running over so that the words that escape from your lips are enveloped in gratitude.

Let this be the attitude that defines our lives — each and every one of us.

Just for Today — Do Not Anger

We are looking at the second Reiki principle, which is an antidote for an emotion that threatens to rob us of peace, as an individual, as a community and yes as a world. This principle says “just for today, do not anger.”

We are going to look at what anger really is and what it does to us physically and spiritually. Finally, we will look at a simple technique to release anger.

But before we examine the principle, I was to remind you of something very basic that we must remember. All five principles begin with the phrase “just for today.” They each deal with the concept of NOWNESS — the here-now. You see this is when change is made, new realities are created, as you are conscious in the present moment — always mindful of your thoughts and actions — here-now.

Just for today — do not anger.

This does not mean do not be angry but actually something radically different.

What is Anger?

Anger is an attachment, a demand that we, others or world conditions not be as they “are” but as our wants, desires and conditioning think that they need or “should be.”

You see, your focus determines your reality; where your awareness is, there you are.

When we look at situation, we see that our anger can often be triggered by some minor incident — the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.” Often the incident that causes us to explode is not directly relate to the deeper source and real reason for our anger. For example, someone comes along and while having a cup of coffee or tea, drops and breaks the cup. And we react by exploding. All the while, the real reason for our anger is that our partner or spouse is not giving us the attention we feel we desire or have been conditioned to believe that we need. They are not acting as you feel they should.

Often, as we hold on to our wants and desires, we tend to begin to react in ways that cause us to harm others. And in this way, we move from being the master of our own destiny to actually being enslaved by others as they cause and trigger reactions in us.

We must not allow ourselves to fuel anger or even to try and smother or bury it. The goal is to learn to be a master as we convert and transform anger and worry into hope and peace. Changing the negative energies into positive forces in and yes, through our lives.

We begin to do this as we learn to take responsibility and learn to respond and act in more healthy ways. Taking care of volatile situations is necessary; responding to them in anger is not.

To React or To Act? That Is The Question

We need to allow ourselves to learn ways to act while not producing, carrying or throwing destructive energy all around. We do this as we learn to live and act from our true spiritual center of love instead of reacting from our minds, emotions or bodies.

When we react, we allow others to dictate or control our actions and emotions. And like with most reactions, the result is disastrous and explosive. But when we act from our center we consciously decide ourselves and keep power for ourselves instead of giving it away to others.

We need to look deep within each instance where anger rears its ugly head and take responsibility for our reaction. We also need to look consciously and honestly to see if we can uncover the real reason that we reacted as we did.

When dealing with anger, remember the following things:

Anger is built into our systems as human beings. It is a pressure valve, releasing negative energy.

It is not the expression of anger, but how it is expressed that causes you concern. Do you act? Or do you react?

Anger is a positive emotion because it helps you to get rid of something you don’t want and live a harmonious life.

Dealing With Anger

So how should you deal with your anger?

Well one technique is found in the following story from the life of Russian mystic Gurdjieff. His father, when he was dying, told him a secret about life, not really expecting the boy to understand. He whispered in his ear, “whenever you are angry because of someone else, wait for twenty-four hours before you act. If you still feel angry go to the person and tell them what you need to say.”

Later as an adult, he followed his father’s advice and realized that typically, when he felt angry, his anger disappeared within a few hours. Then after twenty-four hours he was able to see the other person’s point of view and sometimes even felt that the person was right. If he still thought the person was wrong after twenty-four hours, he went and talked with them.

Well, just for today — do not anger. Maybe you need to just stop and count to 10 before you act. Or maybe you need to wait twenty-four hours and see how you feel. Hopefully you will take this principle to heart and find that your life is not like a nuclear reactor just waiting to explode but that you are continuing on along the path to health and wholeness as you continue on this journey of life.

Reiki says, “Don’t Worry. Be Happy!!!”

Lately we have been hearing a lot about 2012. Many people associate this with the eschaton — the Second Coming as it is more popularly known. They see this as a very dire picture — and so it is portrayed in many writings. All of this is a source that cause most people to experience worry and fear. You never know what might occur — and so you worry.

In the New Testament, we hear the Teacher Paul writing words from a prison cell and telling us “do not worry about anything.”

This is the same message that is found in the first of the Reiki Five Life principles. “Just for today, do no worry.”

So why are we not to worry?

What Actually Is Worry?

Worry is a thought pattern that ultimately results from a feeling of being separated from others and from the universal whole.

We worry that things might go wrong in the future, we worry that things went wrong in the past. And this exercise causes us to shut down instead of opening up, of becoming “less than” instead of expanding into all that we are created to be.

But, you might be wondering, when all of these things being to happen, how can we not worry about anything?

After all, you say, “you don’t know MY circumstance.”

Well, I want to tell you that while I may not know all about whatever you are experiencing, but God does.

The reason that Paul and Jesus, the Reiki Masters and teachers and yes, even I am telling you not to worry is because we understand God and the universe and you — and the connection that exists between God, the universe and you.

Too often, we have the mistaken feeling that the world is out of control — moving along aimlessly and just taking us with it. Neale Donald Walsch, in his book Conversations with God reminds us that “our life is the product of our own creation.”

We truly are the masters of our own destiny.

If this is true, then what in the world do we have to be worried about?

Create A New Reality

If things in your life are not going the way you desire, then create a new result. But unfortunately, too often we seem to like playing the role of the victim — someone or something or some God has done this (whatever this is) to me. Poor pitiful me! And so, I am surely not responsible for anything bad or good that happens in my life.

But I must say to that line of reasoning, “you are so mistaken if you accept that. For you have been given the tools from God to create a new reality if the one you are experiencing is less than desirable.”

The Tool Of Remembering

One of the most powerful tools is that of remembering. This is part of the greatest work your soul can engage in.

The first thing we need to remember is that the universe is already set up to help you — to work for your highest good.

Paul, in a sense, says this in a little different fashion when he tells us in his writing to the Philippians to let our minds ponder or remember whatever is true. Not what might be or was true – what is true, whatever is honorable, is just, is pure, is pleasing, is commendable, is excellent and worthy of praise. He says that these are the things we should think about.

And so my friends, if there are experiences from the past that you regret then maybe it’d time that you examine the experience and seek to remember the lesson that it holds and learn it — and then MOVE ON!

Worrying about the future is futile since it is always an unknown — it is always fresh and new, exciting, unpredictable and adventurous. Trust yourself, trust life, knowing that God and life love you and that nothing can separate you from that love. Therefore, it is futile to worry about the future.

Remember, just for today, do not worry because worrying never helps any issue or situation. Drop it like and old bad habit.

Reiki Life Principles – Tools For Spiritual Growth

I first became fascinated with Reiki as a healing practice but as I studied, I soon found that the principles taught in Reiki were actually tools for spiritual growth and development. These principles or precepts were handed down from the teachings of Mikao Usui, the founder of modern Reiki.

What Are The Five Reiki Principles?

The five principles on which Reiki is founded are as follow:

1. Just for today, do no worry.

2. Just for today, do no anger.

3. Just for today, be filled with gratitude.

4. Just for today, be devoted to your work.

5. Just for today, be kind to every living thing.

If you search for Reiki principles, you might find them stated in other forms, but these are the words I use. And I use them in the way that Usui instructed his students. He said that each morning and evening, one should fold their hands in the Gassho position, in the prayer position, and then to repeat the principles quietly and allow them to sink into one’s heart and mind and from there to guide one’s life. I attempt to follow this practice daily in my own life and I encourage you to also.

Just For Today

Each principle begins with the phrase “just for today.” In many ways, this is the most important part of the statements.

Too often, our lives are lives like a seesaw. We fret and feel guilt over the past or our minds are projecting into the future and we find ourselves filled with worry and concern. We spend time wondering “what-if?”

All the while, the wonderful gift that is the present is left unopened. Just for today calls us back to this present moment and offers us the opportunity to make each experience one of joy and delight.

So, just for today take some time to be with yourself. Be conscious of your senses. Or spend some quality conscious time with a loved one or being out in nature. Be present to the experience. Breathe!

Each morning and evening, take time to be conscious and aware and remember you only have to do it just for today.

Reiki – Putting Energy To Work For You

Back in 2000 as a new millennium was beginning, I was emailing a friend in England and we were actively discussing lots of spiritual ideas and topics. In one of his emails, he mentioned that he had been studying a method of spiritual healing. When I saw the word ‘healing’, I was instantly hooked.

You see, all my life I have been interested in healing and miracles. I loved reading all those stories in the Bible about miracles and people healing and being healed. It fascinated me. I wished that I had lived in those miracle-filled days.

During the 1970s, my interest led me into the Charismatic movement. Here I learned a lot about praying for the sick and the laying on of hands. During this time, I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and was told that the Gifts of the Spirit, which included gifts of healing and working of miracles, were available and possible for me. I prayed for lots of people and laid hands on many of them. Some of the people were helped and healed.

But when I left the Charismatic groups, I seemed to have lost the inspiration to pray and lay hands on people. In my heart though, I always knew that I would one day return to healing. I just was not sure how or when.

Now it was 2000 and I was once again hearing about healing and it was like a breath of fresh air blowing into my life as my friend wrote and told me about discovering Reiki.

Reiki, I learned, is a healing method that uses laying on of hands, like I did back in my Charismatic days, except that now instead of just laying your hands on the person’s head, there is a pattern of hand placements that begins with the hands over the eyes, then over the ears, the back of the head and finally on down the body. Reiki can also be offered though a long-distance treatment since the energy knows no limits of time or space.

Energy or chi is allowed to flow through the practitioner’s hands into the body of the one being treated. This energy, since it is the same as life energy or vital energy, knows where to go and what to do in the body. It works to remove the causes of illness or dis-ease instead of just relieving symptoms.

I studied with my friend and became a Reiki practitioner. I now lovingly give Reiki to everyone that requests it, either in person or long-distance.

It was suggested that I read a book by Diane Stein called Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art. I found this to be a very instructive book and highly recommend it to anyone interested in either learning more about Reiki or becoming a Reiki practitioner.