Up until this past year, I always had the good intention of beginning a daily meditation practice, yet I’d keep putting it off “for later.”
Meditation just seemed like such a lofty endeavor, and I consequently developed a sort of hang up about it. Ironically, the very thing that was supposed to grant serenity seemed instead to induce panic.
So, each morning, I’d down my cup of coffee and race to get somewhere rather than set aside the time to practice. Sure enough, whatever chaos I began my morning with each day would snowball into a mass of unexplored emotions and reactions.
All of this changed, however, when I began to study Reiki and learned a simple, mindful meditation that only takes a few minutes. It’s quick and accessible enough for even the most self-distracted of us to get the hang of. Plus, it will help balance out even the most challenging of days.
Reiki was discovered by the Buddhist Mikao Usui. According to the International Association for Reiki Training, Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is “a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.” Rei translates into “spiritual wisdom” while ki means “life force energy.” So, another definition for Reiki would be “spiritually guided life force energy.”
Reiki aims to not only heal our physical bodies, but also strives to correct and balance our mindset. Mikao Usui developed a set of five guiding principles of Reiki as an aid for developing a “pure and sound mind.”
One of our first assignments in my Reiki class was to carry out a 21-day meditation ritual based on these five principles, a ritual that I continue to perform on a regular basis. I believe that it’s a useful tool with which to set a right tone for the day, whether you practice Reiki or not. It’s a great way to pause, examine our internal chatter, and clear our minds of any clutter.
Do this first thing in the morning. You can do it at home, or even just as well on the bus or subway. Begin by repeating each of the following five statements. You’ll notice that each statement begins with, “Just for today…” This helps us to better ground ourselves in the present by simply focusing on one day at a time.
Find a quiet corner, take a breath, and repeat after me:
1. “Just for today, I release all anger.”
This statement gives us an opportunity to check in with ourselves. It allows us to determine what our triggers are so that we can decipher why we’re feeling angry or bothered. Anger isn’t necessarily something that is inherently negative, nor is it something to be shied away from. Julia Cameron said it best in The Artist’s Way when she wrote that:
“Anger is fuel…anger is meant to be listened to. Anger is a voice, a shout, a plea, a demand…Anger shows us what our boundaries are…Anger points the way, not just the finger…Anger is meant to be acted upon. It is not meant to be acted out…Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not. Anger is our friend. Not a nice friend. Not a gentle friend. But a very, very loyal friend. It will always tell us when we have been betrayed. It will always tell us when we have betrayed ourselves. It will always tell us that it is time to act in our own best interests.”
By allowing the causes of our anger to come to the surface, we no longer suppress the emotion or let our anger eat away at us. We can instead use our anger as a compass and a tool for healing. We can make friends with our anger by pinpointing it. In doing so, we transform our negative thoughts into something more positive.
2. “Just for today, I release all worry.”
Worry is a mental state that is based in fear and uncertainty, usually about the future. Worrying indicates that we lack faith in the universe’s ability to provide solutions for us.
We can start to change our thought patterns with this phrase. It allows us to replace our fear with a feeling of well-being. We examine the causes of our worry and then we release our worry to the powers that be. We trust that the right outcome will occur, no matter what. We begin to believe that all will eventually be well. We start to regard our challenges as opportunities as we let go of our anxiety about that which we have no control over.
3. “Just for today, I am grateful.”
This one is my favorite. What are we grateful for in our lives? Let us count our blessings and give thanks for the good in our lives. Not only does appreciating what we have make us feel happier and more at peace, but maintaining a state of gratitude also generates even more good fortune. Energy begets energy. Giving thanks for what we have moves us away from a mindset of lack and into one of abundance. When we’re in a positive mindset, the world around us responds accordingly.
4. “Just for today, I will do my work honestly.”
This can refer to an actual job, or it can relate to your purpose or your daily tasks. Regarding a job, it simply means that we show up on time and that we work for the full, allotted hours that we’re being paid for. In relation to life in general, it means that we show up. Period. We commit to putting our best foot forward and to giving our all to the situation at hand. We neither steal nor cheat. We act with integrity, in service of others, and for the greater good of all concerned.
5. “Just for today, I will be kind to all living things.”
This is akin to the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What goes around, comes around. This statement serves as a recognition that every living creature—man, mammal, and insect alike—has value and a role to play in this plane of existence.
This in turn helps us to gain greater compassion. When we begin to care for other beings as we care for ourselves, we feel the interconnectedness of all life. We understand that what affects one, affects the whole. This understanding helps us to dismantle our egos and drop our bullsh*t. We become less selfish and we cease to feel separated or isolated from others.
The world becomes a much kinder, gentler place when we come to realize that we are not alone in it.
If this resonates with you, I invite you to also challenge yourself to a 21-day commitment of morning meditation based on these five principles. Study yourself and watch how your mindset—and the world around you—changes.
Author: Vanessa Mason
Editor: Catherine Monkman