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Friday, January 16, 2009

The miracle outside my door

Ever wondered just where The Reiki Digest world headquarters is located? Today it's easy to find out: just look at any news organization's map showing the site of yesterday's miraculous Hudson River plane crash: we're just a few hundred meters west of the spot where the plane went down.

We can't see it from our home office because our windows face away from the river, but I happened to be in the lobby checking the mail at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon when I noticed that everyone but me was at the window by the water. I joined them and saw an unbelievable sight: a jumbo jet floating in the water, with New York Waterway ferries and other vessels converging on it from all sides. 

By now you've probably seen it, too: images of the disaster-turned-miracle of US Airways Flight 1549 are all over the news, all over the world, under headlines proclaiming, "Miracle on the Hudson." All 155 people on board survived, with no serious injuries. It was the first time in history that a passenger jet had successfully ditched in the water.

The Reiki Digest office is a few hundred meters to the left of this photo.

"That guy's a hero," said a man behind me. "He managed to get the plane down without hitting the buildings on either side."

"Yeah, who knows how many lives he saved?" said someone else.

"I hope everyone gets out safely," I said. 

"That would take a miracle," somebody replied.

I took a deep, slow breath into my lower abdomen and immediately began actively practicing Reiki meditations, reaching out energetically as I exhaled to include everyone in the scene I was witnessing, and I kept it going with every breath.

Spectators who were closer were able to do more, of course: local commuters on the ferries that rushed to rescue the plane's passengers spontaneously surrounded the frozen, wet victims as they were picked up, literally hugging them to fight off the hypothermia that was already setting in on what happened to be the coldest day of the season. They handed them Blackberries and cellphones to call their loved ones, and even entered the phone numbers for those whose fingers were too numb from the cold. They pulled off their own coats, even their clothes, to get those who were soaked and shivering into something warm and dry as soon as possible.

I can't prove to anyone that my emergency distance Reiki made any difference, nor would I even try. I can say without question, however, that whether any of the people on that plane or on those boats has ever heard of Reiki, practically everything that happened from the first sign of trouble -- "All the Right Moves" is how CNN put it -- was in accordance with the precepts that are the foundation of this practice. And the calm composure demonstrated by those people in a life-or-death crisis also shows us the advantages of staying steady and in the moment not only in emergencies, but in plain everyday life. After all, that's when emergencies always happen: right in the middle of ordinary life.

For those just joining us, these are the Reiki Precepts. There are many different translations, but I tend to use this one the most:

For today only,
Do not anger,
Do not worry,
Be humble,
Be honest in your work,
Be compassionate to yourself and others.

For today only: Pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III stayed in the moment when a flock of birds was sucked into both the plane's engines, knocking them out, with at least one engine catching fire. The rest of the crew stayed equally present, shouting instructions to passengers on how to prepare for impact, getting the doors open right away. While some passengers understandably panicked, most kept their heads, enabling a swift, orderly evacuation and rescue. They also were compassionate, urging rescuers to save the people already in the water as they stood patiently on the wings, ankle-deep in the near-freezing river. That's not just compassion, that's humility. And the aw-shucks comments from the ferry workers as they were hailed as heroes -- "We just did what we were trained to do" -- that's humble, too.

Did they worry? Of course. But they didn't let fear take over, and the group took care of the few who were too panicked to act, literally tossing them into the rafts if necessary. Nor did they indulge in anger. Sure, there may have been a few moments of irritation as 155 strangers scrambled to stay alive, but no one had time or energy to waste on that as the seconds ticked urgently by.

Be honest in your work: Or, as some translations put it, work diligently. The US Airways crew, the ferry captain and deckhands, the police divers, firefighters and other rescuers worked diligently indeed, not only saving lives but even securing the waterlogged plane to a downtown pier overnight.

It was indeed a miracle, but even miracles aren't stress free. And even though I continue to include all affected by the crash of Flight 1549 in my Reiki meditations, I'd like to offer something more direct. So if you were on that plane, or one one of those boats, I'd like to offer you a free hands-on Reiki mini-session at The Reiki Dojo. Just call 917-512-1330 or email to make an appointment.

And to all our readers, we apologize for the delay in publishing this week's edition of The Reiki Digest, and thank you for your patience as we rewrote and re-edited to incorporate this breaking news. We'll be back on our regular schedule next week.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very beautiful post. I didn't know about the crash - but at that smae time I was sending Reiki to someone in a hospital in Philadelphia from my office in Washington, DC. I was staring at the warm Sun over the Washington Monument. I went back to my desk and saw the news of the airplane in the Hudson and was amazed to see everyone safe. I do believe your Reiki was part of that miracle.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Click here for Reiki Master Teacher (and Reiki Digest contributor) Heather Alexander's coverage of the flight 1549 crash for the BBC.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

I do not tend to watch the news (I don't watch tv much and especially not the news) so I missed this one. Thanks for posting such a beautiful message about how the disaster turned into a miracle through human compassion, mindfulness and humility. I shall certainly be including the passengers and crew as well as the rescuers in my healing tonight.

6:47 AM  

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