The Reiki Principles // Your Feelings are Little Children

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Your feelings are little children. They are begging for your love. They want to be held, acknowledged. Not locked away and shunned. ‘If you ignore me,’ says the root of your worry, ‘I will disguise myself and parade through your nightmares.’ They want to be heard and held and healed of their wounds. Once they are witnessed for what they are, they release us on their own.

The depth and breadth of the Reiki System is illustrated by the deceptively simple Reiki Principles. Six little lines that are a profoundly affective invocation to healing. They uproot our long buried pain so it can once and for all be seen, understood, healed, and released.

Just for today…
Do not be angry
Do not worry
Be grateful
Be true to your way and your being
Be kind (to yourself and others)

Using them as an active meditation unearths the seed of our pain - this process will dig up anything that has taken roots within you that is negative or toxic. It might seem uncomfortable at first, but watch as these simple little words burn away all that no longer serves you. Many people struggle with the first two pieces of instruction - do not be angry, and do not worry. As soon as these words are said, the anger and the worry rise to greet the sentiment. That is the whole point.

I had an email recently from a Reiki 2 Student who said that the Universe doesn’t speak in negatives, and she would really prefer to reword the principles into the positive. She asked if she could use ‘Be free from anger and worry’ instead. This felt much nicer. And I totally agree that is much better feeling that way! Yet, if we make these into better feeling statements that don’t provoke our reactivity, we are missing the alchemical response. Usui’s golden path to uprooting buried pain. Reiki is a tool for emotional mindfulness, which means we become so incredibly aware of all the places we need healing as soon as we begin to pay attention. The point is not to affirm to some outside force (even if that’s the grand Universe itself) that we are not angry. We are really not trying to kid ourselves here. We’re not manifesting, we are liberating ourselves. The point is to recognise all the places we are angry, so we can heal that toxic energy rather than keeping it politely stuffed down in our bodies and subconscious minds. As we notice the anger rising, we are not trying to suppress it again - we are letting it out, setting it free. Do not be angry isn’t the same as do not feel anger. Feel it, but don’t become unconscious to it, don’t be consumed with rage and blinded by it. Awaken with it, use it as a tool for compassion, rather than contributing to the collective mental illness. So instead of feeling that ‘I am angry’ we give ourselves a chance to notice ‘there is anger in me’ and I am not it. Here it is, and I am here witnessing it. The Principles are meant to become part of our awareness so that we live and breathe them - when we do this in the moment that anger arises, we have this reminder in our mind to meet the anger with compassion. This does not mean to suppress emotions, rather it means we meet the emotions with kindness and full awareness. We treat them the way we’d treat a crying child. We investigate, we comfort, we hold space. No longer do we operate in the world unconsciously, we choose instead to heal ourselves. This opens up windows to air out our minds instead of allowing the toxic energy of anger / worry / fear to overtake us. We choose to meet the world, and ourselves, with love, kindness, and eyes wide open.

Why are you here anger? What do you want? Often this energy is rocket fuel, trying to get us to make some changes, and only when we listen to it compassionately will it stop creeping up on us while we’re trying to live our lives. If you are not holding any anger, then the statement ‘Do not be angry’ will not provoke anger. It is only provocative if healing is underway. These are meditation tools to become fully conscious.

I will give you a real life, personal example. When I was just about to hand in my beloved book in proposal form to my absolute dream publisher (with the hopes they would excitedly  give it the wings I longed for it to have), I had some jagged energies going on. I have never worked quite so obsessively on anything in my life. I loved the process of creating a proposal and all the nitty gritty details of research that went into it. I also loved reaching out to incredibly talented people to ask for their help. So much love went into this proposal for many months. I poured myself into it with every ounce of energy I had. And as the deadline drew close, I found a low level anxiety begin to creep into my bed. It woke me up at 3am a few nights in a row and kept me up until daylight. 

I was not supposed to have anxiety - I help people deal with theirs for a living. But here it was. So I did what I do best. I ran a bath full of salt from the Himalayas, anointed myself with a blend of lavender and rose oil, and I soaked. I connected to Reiki. And I remembered the Principles! The only written instruction left behind by the founder. They are flexible, so I used the one I needed in an active meditation. By that I mean, I said the principle, and I allowed my worry to speak. I let it have a voice so I could see it and let it be healed by both my awareness and Reiki itself. Our presence is very potent medicine. Often the emotion that is bothering us has very deep roots, planted long ago and forgotten. 

That meditation wasn’t super quiet, but it helped. It looked a little like: Do not worry. Oh god I was up for three hours panicking. Do not worry. But what if I don’t finish in time? Do not worry. What if they don’t like it? Do not worry. Will this ever be published? Do not worry. Why am I worrying so much about this? Do not worry. Because I feel vulnerable. Do not worry. I want their approval. Do not worry. I’m sure the other authors that want publication are better writers. Do not worry. I think they’re the only publishers for me. Do not worry. Am I being narrow minded? Do not worry. I can’t even tell if I’m being me anymore. Do not worry. Do I approve of me? Do not worry. What am I really worrying about? Do not worry. Being liked. Being real. Do not worry. Why is that? Do not worry. Do not worry. Because at fifteen, my Dad didn’t want to be seen with me because my hair was pink and I looked like a “weirdo.” There it is. Because I wanted everyone at those punk shows to like me so much that I made my parents drop me off around the corner so no one would see them. I was embarrassed of them and they were embarrassed of me! Do not worry. I didn’t let my Dad know how scared I was when he got ill. Do not worry. I was so anxious and kept it so hidden from everyone under that pink head. Do not worry. I was worried he would feel guilty. Do not worry. I was so scared at that time and I never talked about it. Do not worry. I mostly worry about what people think. Do not worry. I think I might be a people pleaser. Do not worry. Damnit I am a people pleaser. Do not worry. I’d really prefer not to be! Do not worry. Caring about what people (I’ve never even met) are thinking feels like a massive prison to lock myself in. I know it’s safe to be me. Do not worry. It’s safe to speak up in my truth, to be seen for all of who I am. There is no chance I can make everyone happy anyway. Do not worry. I just want to like me and feel proud of what I’ve done. Do not worry. I am proud of what I’ve done. Do not worry. I’m not really worried now. Do not worry. Do not worry. Do not worry. What I’m thinking is what matters, and I’d prefer that l sleep well at night. Do not worry. Do not worry. I thought I was such a rebellious teenager but I was still desperate to fit in and be liked! Do not worry…..ha! Do not worry. That was more than twenty years ago. Do not worry. I’ve held this for long enough. Do not worry. I can let it go. Do not worry. I can’t see a reason to keep that worry. Do not worry. Do not worry. Ah. I see where all this worry came from now. I can see a pattern in my family. I can see it so clearly. Constantly seeking outside validation is exhausting. Letting approval be the guiding force is not going to serve anyone! I just want to be the real me and write from that space. The process is enough of a reason! The outcome will be whatever it is. Okay. I’m not worried anymore! That knot in my stomach is gone and my heart isn’t burning. My throat doesn’t hurt anymore either.

So now, in our active meditation, we can move on to the next principle: Be grateful. Ah.... so much here. So many things now on my list that may have irked me a few days before - I see them as blessings. True gifts. I’m grateful for this moment of discovery. Proceed to make the longest list you can, pulling in all the wonderful things that are present in your life right now….

Healing leads to compassion. Compassion is the awakened state. Our journeys to work things out for ourselves have an incredible ripple effect, through timelines, past lives, family patterns, conditioning, this is how we heal the world. We make peace in our own minds. We learn so much about being human in the process. The principles are an uprooting tool, not affirmations - they are a way to see clearly and be true to ourselves - only in acknowledging our feelings can we let the feeling pass. This is how we become conscious, awake to ourselves - this is healing mindfully.