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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Humble gratitude

Some translations of the Reiki precepts tell us to "be humble." Others tell us to "be grateful" or "be thankful" or "show gratitude." However you phrase it, I love that precept, and I think it's in the perfect sequence right after "Do not anger" and "do not worry" and right before "be honest in your work" and "be compassionate to yourself and others" (or simply "be compassionate").

What does it mean to "be humble"? In the hills of Appalachia where I come from the word "humble" is usually pronounced "umble," and calling someone humble is the highest compliment, as in, "And he was real 'umble, too." An "umble" person in those hills has an impeccable character and laudable accomplishments, not necessarily in the world of business or education but possibly just in the really important things like raising good children or being a good neighbor or a compassionate boss. Whatever those accomplishments, the "umble" person is not vain or otherwise preoccupied with themselves.

Is an "umble" person grateful? For everything.

That may not be what humble means in Japanese society, because being humble is just naturally expected there. It becomes part of the background. Telling a Japanese person in the 1920s to "be humble" and/or "be grateful" is very different from telling a 21st-century American to do so. I believe we have to work harder at it.

And as they say, count your blessings. There's even a song that seems to take care of two of the precepts :

"When I'm worried and I can't sleep,
I count my blessings instead of sheep,
and I fall asleep, counting my blessings..."

Whenever I count my blessings, the list is so long and detailed that I could never get through it all. Still, it's nice to list a few of them now and then. One of my students has set up a way for us to do that, and I hereby resolve to begin listing a blessing a day for the next 21 days there, and urge you to consider doing the same. More about that in a moment, but first, today's blessing: an unsolicited testimonial by that very student, Daylle Deanna Schwartz, who, among a wide variety of accomplishments, has actually been on Oprah! Here's what she wrote on her blog:

A lot of people don’t know it but I’m a certified Reiki (hands on healing) practitioner. I’m currently studying to get to the second level with a wonderful teacher named Janet Dagley Dagley, who writes The Reiki Digest. I just do it for personal use. As I study with Janet, I feel a huge transformation happening since I still have some DoorMat scars. I’ve learned that there are a variety of ways to clear bad energy from your body. Studying Reiki or getting a treatment can help with that. There are many practitioners who can help clear negative energy.

Thank you, Daylle! I am indeed humbled, and grateful.

Now, here's how to keep yourself accountable in counting your blessings -- be grateful, be humble -- every day. Daylle has set up a Yahoo! group called consciousgratitude. You join it, and you post an item or two about what you're grateful for. People read it and it reminds them of what they're grateful for. And it goes from there. So what are you grateful for? Check out the group, send your comments by email to or add them as comments to this post on The Reiki Digest web site.


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