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Friday, June 25, 2010

Living the healing lifestyle

By Beth Lowell

Writers are familiar with the saying, “If you’re thinking about writing, you’re not writing.” While this may be so for writers who use thinking about writing as an excuse for procrastination, it’s not true for all writers. Prolific author Joyce Carol Oates, for instance, thinks each of her books entirely through before sitting down to write.

Can this same concept be applied to Reiki? You might argue that Reiki is not like writing and that thinking about Reiki is not really practicing it. But I think this is not always so.

Recently, I remembered an experience I had at an old job. I’d been working steadily for weeks, trying to complete a project with an aggressive deadline. Five days before the project was due, my boss informed me that the client had forgotten to include a key component, which would double the amount of work on the project, and that they’d like to have that by the deadline too. I was angry, stressed, frustrated and overwhelmed. I told our editor that I just didn’t see how I could get the work done. I was exhausted.

The editor told me that I needed to take a break, and not to worry. The job would get done. That was easy for her to say. I grumbled that I didn’t see either relaxing or finishing the job on time as a possibility. Nevertheless, I had to admit I felt so much better after talking to her. I took the break, and I finished the job by the deadline.

I realized back then that there was something different about the editor from everyone else at the small company where we worked. Everyone wanted to work with her. Everyone said how nice she was. But it wasn’t really that she was just “nice”. It was her calm way of being that attracted so many people to her, especially in such a stressful work environment. When I got to know her a little better, I understood that her centeredness, her groundedness, and her sheer grace were supported by a longstanding meditation practice. I don’t know if she practiced Reiki or not, but she sure did embody the precepts.

Years later, in a Reiki class, I learned that Usui’s system was originally based on the precepts only and that the hands-on healing part of what was to become known as the system of Reiki was just a side effect. I accepted what I was taught, but I couldn’t understand the leap from the precepts to hands-on healing. As time passed and I thought about it though, I realized how healing focusing on the precepts alone can be. I thought of the editor, and others I’ve known who could so deeply affect those around them, just by their way of being, and how the slightest gesture on their part, like a touch on the shoulder, could be so healing to others.

Hands-on healing is no doubt a valuable tool that Reiki practitioners can access at almost any time and place, but contemplating the precepts, Reiki’s cornerstone, also counts, in which case, I say that if you really think about it, you probably practice Reiki more than you realize.

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