Contemplation: a powerful practice to enhance our spiritual discipline
In the last few years I have been busier than ever, but I have also had a lot of solitude in my life since my divorce. As a Reiki practitioner, I have a simple practice that helps me to stay connected to Reiki and to myself. I wake in the mornings and I self- treat, on public transport I self-treat and while watching a film I self-treat. Generally my health is good, so I know the value of this practice.
The word discipline stems from the word disciple, meaning to follow. In Japan an ancient and well-known Buddhist mantra reminds disciples that they follow in the steps of the masters who have walked before them. So this is what lineage and practise offer us, a tested path, steps that will bring assured results.
Recently health gurus have been advocating short fasts as being very good for us. This year, during Lent (a symbol of austerity, abstinence and spiritual discipline) I resolved to let go of the three Cs – chocolate, cake and cheese – it’s not really fasting but definite self- discipline was needed.
What did I get from it? A wonderful sense of increased self–esteem when I managed to resist a whim. I feel good and I am motivated to detox my body. My younger son (featured on P14) is always on my case to take exercise.
Reiki practitioners know that the Principles also bring their gifts. They are the seeds of contemplation. A practice sometimes called self-inquiry in America; this is a model we know through different forms of psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour techniques in the UK. Yet the roots of self-exploration lie in the teachings from older systems passed from one teacher to another through their lineage, some can be traced back over 5,000 years. Let’s pause to contemplate that statement alone: What did the world look like at that time? How did people live? Images emerge in my mind of different times and people in the world, ancient civilisations acknowledging some greater universal power. Their teachings and spiritual disciplines allowed them to thrive. The essence of these teachings lives on for us in modern times. Hawayo Takata wrote in one of her diaries, “I shall call it Reiki because I studied it under that name”.
After completing second degree we can send Reiki to heal and support ourselves, and those we love. This is another form of spiritual discipline that can enhance our self-treatment. To remember that I can use Reiki in such a personal way and bow to the mystery is still at times a challenge. In my mind I never have enough time. I manage to send Reiki to or for other people if they ask me formally but rarely when self-treating. So I have just reintroduced that practice as part of my personal daily treatment, multi- dimensional healing, as my master used to call it. In the morning, I send Reiki to support myself through whatever challenges may present themselves during the day. Time rushes on, so as I walk my dog I contemplate some of the thoughts or insights that may have come up. Many are just trivial, running chores through my mind. As the superficial thought forms clear, I can address the deeper issues, a process of weighing up and balancing things in an attempt to hold a place of equipoise. What a wonderful word that is, given as a gift in a talk one day by a great spiritual teacher. It has to be said that my vision of equipoise doesn’t always work out in the way I imagine!
As well as having my personal practice, I am part of a wider Reiki community and if I choose, I can always ask for help. It doesn’t come easily. I have reason to be so grateful for all the Reiki that has been sent in the last year to my eldest son, which without doubt has enabled him to start moving towards a more positive phase in his life. Perhaps it is pride, or is growing up as an only child the reason why I don’t automatically turn to others? I turn these questions over in my mind.
Recently a friend and colleague pointed out some things about me. At first I was hurt, and annoyed, but as it was painful I decided to think about it in relation to the Principles. Too many little sparks began to ignite for me to list here. They gave me a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘self-realisation’. I experienced not the enlightened kind of self-realisation, but an illumination of the smaller mind-controlled self with all its illusions and fantasies exposed to me for examination.
I remember hearing in my teenage years that if you throw a stone in a pool it creates ripples. During my life I have endeavoured in different ways not to create ripples, initially for self-preservation but now more consciously I contemplate situations and try to respond rather than react. I have learnt that anger often masks fear, that worry can mask a lack of faith, that an inability to respect elders reflects old hurts; that ‘earn your living honestly’, touches the very essence of survival and identity, and ‘show gratitude to all living things’ brings me to that connection we all share when faced with a beautiful sunset, or the reflection of trees on a lake.
In Japan, beautifully laid out gardens reflect the love of beauty, harmony and balance. The simplicity of their form offers quiet spaces for rest and contemplation – just like Reiki does. Through this practice, we can access the potential for transformation.
This article was originally written for Touch Magazine. You can visit the website at www.touchmagazine.net.