We’re so happy to feature a new book giveaway!
Please enjoy this excerpt from “Reiki: A Self-Practice to Live in Peace with Self and Others” by Elise Brenner, PhD & Nancy Spatz, MD.
There are 2 ways to enter to win a FREE hard copy:
- Leave a comment below with your email address (so we can contact you)
- Email us at KOMWriting@gmail.com with the Subject: Reiki: A Self-Practice giveaway entry
The winner will be randomly selected on 1/24/22 and announced on our website and social media. *
How is Reiki practice like a snow globe, a palm tree, and an anchor?
As we navigate life’s unpredictable squalls and waves of adversity, we aspire to settle like the snow in a snow globe, feel rooted like the base of a palm tree in a storm, and be anchored like a steady ship.
Reiki: A Self Practice to Live in Peace with Self and Others provides readers with self-Reiki how-tos for putting these metaphors into action to build an inner mind-body unshakable foundation and to relieve the suffering of others. This book opens a door to a mindful way of living with ease rather than struggle.
Whether it is fear of coronavirus, receiving texts in ALL CAPS, a frightening diagnosis or worry over a child, the self-Reiki practices introduced here will alleviate pain and overwhelm, ushering in mindfulness, resilience and recovery capacity.
Excerpt from Chapter 8: The 5 Reiki Precepts
5th Precept ~ Show Compassion to Oneself and All Beings
The previous Reiki Precepts lead us into the final, and last, Precept because as our anger, worry, and fear soften, the more we can access the gratitude, integrity, and compassion that are naturally present. Kindness is hard-wired into us; it is necessary for human connection which, in turn, is essential for our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. As the Dalai Lama writes: “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
Compassion is an emotional response we feel when we see suffering and are moved to ease that suffering. The experience of Being compassionate is a state of being in which we embody empathy, tenderness, and understanding. Showing compassion is how we express those qualities of compassion in words and actions toward ourselves and others: honoring self and others and treating self and others with kindness and dignity. Being and showing compassion create a space for us to live in peace with ourselves and others.
This Precept involves being compassionate to ourselves first. Compassion toward oneself is integral to any mind-body healing practice. With self-compassion, we acknowledge our own areas of pain and suffering, and then we offer ourselves the understanding and kindness that helps us meet distressing emotions and experiences. When we are gentle, kind, and patient with ourselves, we can release the hold our fears and judgmental mind have on us. By engaging with this Precept, the burden of self-criticism begins to dissolve. We experience a softening within the self, and we reach for ease instead of struggle. When we practice kindness and tenderness toward ourselves, we are better able to extend love and compassion toward others, which is the root of altruism and selfless concern for others. We all have experienced this: When we speak to others with kind works and act in compassionate ways, we are expressing our genuine care which, by its very nature, nourishes and heals self and others.
How do we cultivate compassion? We begin by paying attention to our thoughts and feelings. How? Notice when you may feel callous judgment toward another person. At times like this, hardness has got a hold of us. This is the time to re-claim our capacity for openness and softness. With this awareness, we can sever the grip of judgment and disregard of others. Bringing this Precept into our consciousness reminds us to connect with our inner qualities of gentle kindness and tenderness, and expand them beyond the self. When we expand these qualities beyond the self, we experience the antidote to fear, separation and judgment.
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches that we can all touch the experience of inter-being. Inter-being means feeling yourself as part of the whole web of life; not separate from other beings. This is the ultimate expression of compassionate connection, caring, and concern for others. This all sounds wonderful, but how do we get there? How do we step into this space of non-judgment and compassion? How do we embody a participation consciousness, feeling part of the one web of reciprocity? As introduced in chapter 4 about The Pause, we can tenderly ask ourselves: “What would my practice of compassion have me say and do today?”
Anecdote: Ellen has been practicing Reiki mind-body skills for many years and is conscious of different forms of suffering around her. Walking along a congested city street, Ellen looked ahead and noticed a disheveled older woman stopped in her tracks in the middle of the next intersection. The woman was surrounded by her heavy shopping bags that she could no longer carry. Clearly she had walked a ways already with all of these bags, but had lost her stamina right in the middle of the crosswalk. People bustled past her with no recognition of her distress. Ellen saw the woman’s angst and acted on it, picked up the bags, and helped the woman safely across the street. They walked together, Ellen continuing to carry the bags, and the older woman describing her purchases. Ellen asked her how will she be getting home, and was told she would take a cab. It was a very busy day in the city and Ellen wondered how the woman would ever manage with all her bags and get a cab, so Ellen brought the woman and her bags to an optimal location for flagging down a cab. They waited together until a cab stopped, and Ellen assisted the woman into the cab, with instructions that the driver kindly assist the woman into her home. This is what care and concern for another human being looks like–a simple act.
To truly cultivate this Precept–Show Compassion to all Beings–we can prepare ourselves by making a conscious and deliberate intent to take a solid seat of non-judgmental listening and seeing others. From this seat we can step back from our own agendas; from our own history of tightly-held biases, fears, and past hurts. It is our task, then, to deeply witness, what another is saying. As we deeply attend, we learn to recognize the other person’s reality as they experience it, instead of as how it reflects onto us. We can take the stance of being intrigued by their story instead of leaping in with our own agendas and judgments. There is some useful restraint involved in this process; we develop our capacity to refrain from reverting to our own repetitive narratives, agendas, and constriction. In this space of deep attention to another person, we overcome our habit of silencing, dismissing, excluding, and erasing others. This is how we invite you to practice the Precept, Be compassionate to all Beings.
Anecdote to illustrate the deliberate and intentional cultivation of compassion: It was no secret that Melinda complained incessantly. In fact, she complained so much that she drove away her friends and co-workers who no longer could tolerate her constant complaining. Sheila drew the short straw among her co-workers, which meant she would be partnering with Melinda in a major work project. Fortunately, Sheila did self-Reiki practice and, prior to her first meeting with Melinda, took just a few minutes to Pause in stillness, anchor her mind and body, and reflect on the 5th Precept. And then, sure enough, Melinda started in with her complaints about how the room was too cold, the chair hurt her back, the coffee tasted rancid, and on and on. Instead of Sheila’s usual rolling of her eyes and feelings of utter frustration and impatience, she connected with her genuine empathy and open listening, and said, “Melinda, it must be really lousy to feel that way.” Once Sheila heard herself say those words, she felt an openness toward Melinda that she hadn’t felt before; a capacity to listen without the old judgments and biases toward Melinda. Sheila was able to shift the focus from her own self-absorbed annoyance to the realities of Melinda’s experience. Can we be Sheilas? Can we accompany others without judgment and criticism? Can we claim the compassionate qualities within us? Can we be present for others in this way? You will likely find out for yourself that when you practice compassion in this way, you will invite in greater ease and less struggle, enabling all of us to live in peace with self and others.
Contemplation to Engage with the 5th Precept ~ Show Compassion to All Beings
Each of us can take on the responsibility for treating self and others with kindness, compassion, and understanding. It is always possible to reach for inner and outer peace and reconciliation. And we need not wait; it is an expression of compassion to be the one to show kindness first.
Ask yourself with curiosity, care and kindness:
- When am I most compassionate to myself? to others? Least?
- What do I feel within myself and outwardly when I show compassion? When I don’t?
- What do I bring into my life when I practice compassion? When I don’t?
- What do I bring into the world when I practice compassion? When I don’t?
- When I become aware of, and address my judgmental feelings, I am creating a space to practice compassion.
- I am mindful of fueling feelings of compassion and inter-being, instead of fueling feelings of fear and separation, even when it is hard.
How each of us behaves in daily life is, after all, the real test of compassion. – The Dalai Lama
* By entering this contest, you give consent to Kind Over Matter to use your name for promotional purposes on our website and on all social media.
NOTE: You can purchase this book from John Hunt Publishing.