Working with Reiki for the past two decades has brought me immeasurable peace, joy, direction, guidance and love. The practice has afforded me the courage and drive to release old belief structures, habits and destructive behaviours. However, it doesn’t mean my life has got any easier, and this is something we readily forget when we say ‘Reiki is not enough’, or ‘Reiki is not working’.
Reiki is Universal energy, it is gentle, non-evasive and very very effective. However, we often think of ‘effective’ as something with immediate and positive results. If we Reiki ourselves or loved ones and they have an adverse reaction, we think of it as negative and therefore not working. We are funny like that. Good or positive emotional states are not the same as growth, or release, or peace. Feeling good all the time is not the same as feeling peaceful all the time. If you judge your success on how good you feel, you are on a hiding to nowhere. Jesus, Buddha, or any spiritual icon you can think of had difficult, challenging lives. They didn’t float around on a cloud pulled by unicorns, they didn’t shy away from the difficult emotions, in fact the literature always points to their ability to navigate their challenges with grace and this is not the same as not having challenges at all. Challenges are part of life. Gaining spiritual supremacy in order to avoid challenges is simply fairy tale thinking, and not very helpful.
Most of us come to Reiki to feel better, that was certainly my motive, and it’s a natural and human preference for ease rather than dis-ease. As we progress with Reiki we do see immediate and often dramatic improvements to our health, well being, and mental noise. This is what may motivate and propel us to higher levels of learning, and it’s great as a subconscious driver for awhile. But in order to grow into our spiritual maturity we will need to see that this initial drive for happiness is ultimately naive. Expecting life to be rosy and easy all the time is an immature ego speaking, and we can often fall into this belief structure innocently and unquestioningly, but it’s important to inquire into this and break free from it eventually. Thinking that the goal of your life is to have no problems is obviously ridiculous to our mature minds, but it’s amazing how we act out of this belief in very subconscious ways. When things don’t go well, or when we suffer, isn’t it true we will often try to find the reasons why it is, and how to fix it? Most of our tactics revolve around trying to resist and change what is, which is exactly the same as believing it shouldn’t be happening, which is exactly the same as thinking only good things should happen to us. Funny, isn’t it?
Good or bad, life is simply life. It happens to us, through us, with or without our permission. If you view things from an immature ego perspective then every time you judge something as ‘bad’ you will resist and try to change it. If it is in fact in your control then great! But often what we resist the most is not in our control (or we wouldn’t be resisting it, we would be simply changing it). The resistance is our suffering, not the actual event or challenge. This is such an important point to understand, and understand deeply. If you are in great suffering (and not actually being physically tortured), you are resisting reality, and causing yourself great suffering by simply thinking you should be living in a fairy tale. Damn and blast those fairy tales!
The beginning of inner peace is realising the ridiculousness of our fundamental belief. It is innocent and childlike, it is Cinderella, it is ‘living happily ever after’, but it is also very destructive and sets you up for eternal suffering. So see this for what it is, and then replace it with honest, authentic, ruthless truth. What I can do to change things I do. What is in the hands of another person, or in the hands of God, I leave to them. I can choose to stay in certain situations, or I can choose to remove myself. I can choose to work with what I have been challenged with, or I can choose to twist myself up in knots and vicious thought cycles. I can choose to interact with toxic people, or I can choose to nurture myself. All these and much much more are in our own control. However, expecting we should change others to make them less toxic, or to manipulate other peoples’ behaviour so we can stay in relationship and feel good, or manipulate events, illness, death, the course or direction life is taking – these things are simply not real. You don’t have to believe me, this is my point, you have to look deeply into the reality of life, and be ruthlessly honest with what is actually occurring.
I have found Reiki invaluable for this perspective. It is very easy to get caught in the illusion of mind, in the web of beliefs we have weaved. It often starts with over-thinking, this for me is a huge clue. I feel clear headed and at peace, and then something happens and I think ‘oh no!’ ‘I should do this or that…but then if I do this or that, this person will think this, and that person will think that, and didn’t I read somewhere that this then becomes that? And doesn’t that contradict my belief that this and that equals the other? Oh my god, I am so confused, I don’t know what to do!!’
Classic overthinking. Classic slipping into my fantasy world of make believe and fairy tales. But also very useful in pulling myself out again. When I find myself in confusion I know my lack of clarity is simply a symptom of not being truthful. What is my truth? What is my flow with life as it flows through me? Whatever is blocking me is my resistance, my existing beliefs, my should’s and shouldn’ts. Knowing I am free to make whatever decision I need to bring myself back into flow is freeing in itself. Knowing my only job is to be radically honest and in alignment with life’s flow makes things extremely simple – but simple is not the same as easy! And so it is, spiritual maturity has nothing to do with how good you feel, and everything to do with how aligned you are to life. When you are aligned to life, you are at peace, no matter what kind of manure is hitting the fan.
photo credit: fleno.de The Frog King – Am Froschbrunnen im Carlisle Park Flensburg via photopin (license)