This is something I heard this week and it really struck a chord with me. As a practising Reiki Master, this is something that I work on every day and it is summarised with the following phrase:
Just for Today: Work with Diligence
This is one of the pearls of wisdom which form part of the philosophy of Reiki and never has it been so highlighted as in this current crisis. Our home is now the centre of all our activities and social outings are limited to the supermarket. For those living with family / housemates, they are now with us constantly.
‘Work with diligence’ includes the word ‘work’ which usually makes us think about activities which create money. Often, we are good at putting our efforts into these activities because we value their importance. ‘Work’ also covers personal, or spiritual, work. In case the word ‘spiritual’ comes across in a stange way, think of it as meaning your ‘spirits.’ Are you in high spirits at the moment? Are you feeling low? Is your mood changing daily? If you don’t know the answer to these questions then you are neglecting your spiritual work!
Why is it important to work on our spiritual wellbeing?
It is important because everything boils down to what our mind is doing, ie thoughts. And often our thoughts run away with themselves, unchecked. If, and this is a big if, we can become aware of our thoughts, then we give ourselves an opportunity to observe them from a distant viewpoint. We give ourselves time to consider our thoughts and either reject them as a waste of time, or to act in a way which brings light into our current situation.
The Benefits of Meditation
We all know that meditation is good for us. Most people are aware of the research done on meditation, and the fact that it is recommended by trustworthy sources such as our doctors and the NHS. Meditation is preventative medicine and research shows that people who meditate also benefit physically: frequent meditators have less doctor’s visits, less hospital visits and develop less diseases.*
However, there is a strange thing about humans: our mind. Even though we know that something is good for us, it doesn’t mean that we will automatically do it. I learned this from my experience as a smoker. I knew that smoking was bad for me, but that didn’t stop me from doing it. What stopped me, was reading a book by Alan Carr, which changed my mindset.
When I focused on why smoking was bad for me, I felt upset, guilty and useless. Every time I heard or thought about how bad smoking was, it made me feel more guilty and lowered my self-esteem. How could I be so stupid as to smoke? I had asthma! I was a singer! My inner bully was having a field day berating me. The book pointed out that every smoker knows that smoking is bad for your health; this is why pictures on packets of cigarettes don’t help people to stop. The book also pointed out that the side effects of stopping smoking are minimal. It is a massive misconception that your body goes through a huge withdrawal when you stop smoking. What happens in reality, is you develop a little ‘monster’ voice (I imagine him as green and bulging with many legs.’) This is the voice that says ‘you can have one cigarette, you deserve it’ or ‘hmmmmm I really fancy a cigarette, I miss smoking so much.’ This little green monster voice is a thought like any other. He is not yet a physical existence, he is only an idea in your mind.
Once you train yourself to become aware of your thoughts, you give yourself an opportunity. A moment of recognition. Now, in response, you can say ‘ahhhh it’s the little green monster voice again!’ Once you have become aware of this thought, and recognise it for what it is, you have the power to choose what happens next.
In a very brief summary, the rest of the book focused on being mindful of what it actually felt like to smoke a cigarette (for me I felt slightly dizzy and that was it) and what we gained from smoking (for me it was taking a short break from work and social interaction in a small group). I decided that I could make my own, separate decisions to take breaks and I could still hang out with the smokers without actually smoking (which I did many times after). I changed my mindset, all by myself and it felt amazing! Empowering! Who knew I had it in me? I had beaten big tobacco and the publicity which says that quitting smoking is a long and arduous task! Oh the exhilaration.
After this experience I wanted to find out more about my thoughts. What other thoughts could I get rid of? What were my other motivations? What exact benefits was I getting from a particular action? A few months later I met some friends on a music course who told me about Reiki and my curiosity peaked. I signed up for a Reiki Level 1 course and learned a simple and effective structure to explore my thoughts and feel good.
Now I have a different challenge: I know that daily meditation is good for me but I struggle to find the discipline to actually do it! If we go back to the principle of ‘work with diligence,’ I find this application to spiritual work particularly difficult. I have tried various techniques (I even meditated about how to meditate haha) and I remembered the motivation that I used to stop smoking: social interaction. I love socialising and if I have agreed to do something in a group, it is very difficult for me to change my mind. This is why I have organised online meditations each weekday from 8.15-9am. I have to meditate because I’ve promised others that I will. Afterwards, I always feel the benefits, whether that’s becoming more creative (I’m writing this blog straight after my morning meditation), feeling calmer or simply feeling good about myself. I haven’t missed a meditation yet and three weeks into this routine, I can really feel that I am getting to know myself better. Once I know more about myself, my focus and awareness fans out into every action that I do each day. This forms the root of my decision-making both in business and with my family at home.
Even better, I have now been able to exercise regularly too! This has been huge challenge for me and now, finally, since lockdown started, I’ve been able to create the mindset to start my days with a 45 minute Reiki meditation followed by exercise (either yoga or Bounce with a mini-trampoline). Sundays are rest days still. I really feel like the COVID-19 crisis is a huge and unique opportunity for me to reset my habits. I want to make sure that they continue after lockdown ends as well.
I would love for you to commit to this journey with me! Meditating regularly will help you to focus on the most important challenges facing you each day. This could be specific, such as finding ways to market your business. This could be general such as getting to know yourself better, discovering what your thoughts are mainly about or having an emotional clear out. I would definitely suggest having some familiarity with Reiki before you start as the meditations that I do use Reiki meditation techniques. Most people can feel new sensations when they have been attuned to Reiki, such as heat, tingling, seeing colours or a feeling of peace. Meditation is much easier when you can also connect to Reiki while you mediate and focus your mind on these physical sensations. I offer online training for either a complete Reiki Level 1 beginner course, or alternatively, ‘an Introduction to Reiki and Meditation’ which is a short course (2.5 hours) specifically designed for those who want to learn more about meditation. There are lots of tips and techniques included to help you gain more from the time that you invest in meditation.
Reiki Master / Teacher
* please refer to www.reikifed.co.uk and click ‘research