"Now, I am grateful; without anger; without worry; honest and dedicated in work; and kind to all living things." -Reiki Principles
Finding Peace with Reiki
Our energy is scattered when our thoughts and emotions are moving from the past to the future and constantly reacting to the stimuli around us. We lose the feeling of wholeness that we crave -- that feeling of peace we somehow know is our birthright. Many of us have not experienced a sense of wholeness and inner peace for a long time. It might even seem unattainable -- an almost mythic state we know exists but cannot reach. Modern people overwhelmingly experience malaise, and anxiety disorders are now the most prevalent mental disorders in the United States. We can see our mental and emotional states from a mind-body perspective as part of the subtle energies that are a counterpart to our physical states. Energetically speaking -- a feeling of peace equates to a centered, calm, and free-flowing energy field.
The stress-reduction technique of Reiki uses the power of our intrinsically perfect animating life force to center our energy body and engage the parasympathetic nervous system. Reiki energy invigorates our energy flow, removing obstacles caused by mental, emotional, and physical disruptions. It hits the reset button allowing space to recover. Reiki is popularly portrayed as being given by a professional practitioner while the client lies on a massage table. However, Reiki is a fundamentally personal practice that focuses on self-transformation. Self-treatments are the bedrock of the practice for both the professional and the private practitioner. A self-practice involves laying one’s hands on the body daily or as often as possible. When contact is made for any extended time, the movement and balancing taking place can often be felt tangibly and intuitively. Results blossom when Reiki is done regularly, as with all practices. As with our breath, our hands are always with us, imbued with the power of our life force. The more our hands are laid on ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our animals, and our plants, the more vibrant we become with free-flowing energy, and the more Reiki we can take into the world. Originally appeared as a blog for Duke Integrative Medicine, April 2018
Reiki and the Power of Gratitude
Reiki Principles Just for today, I will not anger Just for today, I will not worry Just for today, I will be grateful Just for today, I will do my work honestly Just for today, I will be kind to all living things
The Reiki principles open the practitioner to the restorative energy of Reiki. These principles echo the observances of many disciplines devoted to the pursuit of peace and health, and essentially can be summed up as surrendering control and embracing gratitude.
Research has shown that people who actively practice gratitude are happier and have less depression and anxiety.1 MRIs register more activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex of the brain when people are feeling gratitude.2 Why is gratitude so powerful? How can a simple shift in our perception yield so much for our well-being? We might be able to make lists of people, things, and circumstances for which we are grateful, but gratitude is a feeling as much as cognitive awareness.3 The feeling of gratitude that comes from the awareness of our blessings immediately shifts our relationship to ourselves, and to the world. It makes real the knowledge that we are not in control, and that though we can make choices to optimize our health, ultimately our life is something bestowed. It is beyond our sphere of creating. Recognizing this and opening to receive the gift of life is a wonderful antidote to an ego-centered life.4
Interestingly, one study has noted an increased use of “we” words in a group asked to write gratitude letters, as opposed to a group asked to reflect on their thoughts and feelings about negative experiences.5 Gratitude shifts our focus to that of our higher selves by seeing the positive and affirmative, as opposed to the more ego-centered perspective of lack and need. So much is coming to us—filling us. We are enough. A life filled with Reiki is an ever-present reminder of this affirmative movement toward life and abundance. The practice of giving and receiving Reiki has at its heart the surrender of control and the willingness to receive. We gratefully open to the energy, and to our blessings, and release control of whatever outcome our practice produces. Through the practice of surrendering control, we find our connection to each other, to the world around us, and to the nurturing and non-judging force that brings us life.
1 Petrocchi, Nicola, and Alessandro Couyoumdjian. “The Impact of Gratitude on Depression and Anxiety: the Mediating Role of Criticizing, Attacking, and Reassuring the Self.” Self and Identity, vol. 15, no. 2, 2015, pp. 191–205., doi:10.1080/15298868.2015.1095794. 2 Fox, Glenn R., et al. “Neural Correlates of Gratitude.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 6, 2015, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01491. 3 Emmons, Robert A., and Michael E. Mccullough. “Counting Blessings versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life.” Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, vol. 84, no. 2, 2003, pp. 377–389., doi:10.1037//0022-3522.214.171.1247. 4Emmons, Robert. “What Gets in the Way of Gratitude?” Greater Good, Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, 12 Nov. 2013, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_stops_gratitude. 5Wong, Y. Joel, et al. “Does Gratitude Writing Improve the Mental Health of Psychotherapy Clients? Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Psychotherapy Research, vol. 28, no. 2, Mar. 2016, pp. 192–202., doi:10.1080/10503307.2016.1169332. Originally appeared as a blog for Duke Integrative Medicine, August 2018