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Guiding Principles

November 10, 2018

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the annual Vermont Reiki Association conference in Montpelier. To be in a room full of Reiki Practitioners for the day was inspiring, uplifting and altogether AWESOME in the most literal sense of the word.

A large focus of the day was on the Five Precepts, created by Dr. Mikao Usui, which are the guiding basis of practicing Reiki and when focused upon during daily Gassho Meditation (sitting with palms pressed together) is what he called the First Pillar of Reiki.

The precepts begin with: Kyo daka wa. Which translates: Just for today, and emphasize the importance of living in the present.

So, Kyo dake wa (just for today, or just for this moment, as sometimes is more warranted):

Okolu-na - Do not anger.  Now, that is not to say we should never experience anger, we are human after all. Rather it encourages us to choose to not engage with anger when it arises. We can notice it without judgement, identify it, allow ourselves to feel it and be informed by it without reacting to it in a way that perpetuates the vibration or causes toxicity to ourselves and those around us. We can acknowledge the anger without being the anger.

Shinpai-Suna - Do not worry. Worry takes us out of the present moment, disconnecting us from our connection to Self and our higher power. It creates depression when dwelling on past events and anxiety when focused on potential future events. This precept encourages us to be in the present moment and sit with what is. We can acknowledge the worry without becoming the worry.

Kan Sha Shite - Be grateful. Truly feeling the gratitude you notice for even the smallest of things in life, such as the sunshine or a heartfelt 'thank you'. This is not about simply creating a list of all the things, people or experiences we are are thankful for in our lives, its about allowing ourselves to fully experience that sense of gratitude and savor it. Notice the "Ahhh.." as you breathe in the fresh air around you; what does that breath feel like inside your lungs..your diaphragm? Is it expansive? energizing? Feel your cells respond to that life force of breath; of new life...Feel gratitude, be gratitude. Even in times that are painful, be grateful for the movement of energy that is making room for growth.  As Cynthia Occ said: "For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides dome out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction."

Gyo O Hageme - Practice diligently; do your work fully. Or, as my Level I instructor phrased it: conduct yourself & your work with honesty & integrity.  Other interpretations are: do right work,  do what you are destined to do.  Essentially, in our doing-ness as human beings, let us each choose to do what we feel is purposeful, meaningful & enjoyable to do, and do it fully - with all that we are, with the highest level of presence, engagement and honor - in each moment.

Hito Ni Shinsetsu Ni - Be kind & compassionate to yourself and others. When we treat ourselves with kindness, compassion and self-love we are better equipped to treat others in the same manner. I am reminded of 'the airplane theory': when the airplane is failing, you mush put on your own air mask before helping others. And of Buddha: " You, yourself as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

Following these precepts on a daily basis,  calling upon them as the guides they are from one moment of existence to another, allowing them to influence your being-ness and doing-ness as a human is profoundly life changing. Delving into the deeper meanings and giving life to these principles through the workshops at the VRA annual conference was like placing a hand in wet-cement; it left a lasting imprint.