It’s time for me to step forward and make my confession. I’m not a huge fan of intention, affirmations, and such. I do use them—don’t get me wrong. They’re fast, simple and effective and sometimes that’s what I need. But to me, intention can too often be about control, and control is about ego, and one of my spiritual goals is to try to expand beyond ego.
Certainly intention has its place. As in most things, there is a spectrum that ranges from vague, unfocused and nebulous, through highly defined and controlled, out to pure Unity where we are in total alignment with Divine Truth. An intention is a great way to crawl out of the ocean of the undifferentiated and bring focus to what we’re doing. And when we are at the point of just developing our meditative focus, then setting and using intentions is a great tool for bringing our mind to bear on a single thought.
Someone recently commented on a Reiki website that energy follows the mind. The point was that if our mind is otherwise engaged or distracted, the energy will follow these distracted thoughts, which might be on a television show or what to get at Starbucks after we’re done with our session. In fact, as this person pointed out, the meaning of the first Reiki symbol is Focus, reminding us that focusing the mind is an important first step in our spiritual development.
However, in my experience it’s not so much that energy follows the mind and its intentions, but that energy follows our attention. For instance, I don’t intend for the Reiki energy to flow and it begins to flow; I know the Reiki energy is always present and always flowing and I simply turn my attention to it.
I think the idea of attention asks us to reconsider what the mind is—to me our attention or awareness is part of the mind, but not the part of our mind that is always thinking; it’s the part that can be aware that we are thinking—I’ve heard it called the Observer. I think Reiki is more likely to follow the big Mind; and the little mind is more likely to impede its flow.
The first symbol is certainly about focus, but it’s also about earth energy and grounding our spiritual practice into the unfocused world of reality. It’s about bringing our attention into our body, and shifting our focus to the physical body can, with practice, still the mind. Also, by being physically present in the body, distractions, either generalized hubbub or those that are unintended and unpredictable, have less effect on us, allowing us to work even when conditions are not optimal.
Bringing the energy into the body might sound counter-intuitive for some—Reiki is spiritual energy, it seems like it should come from above us. And certainly many people experience it just that way. However, according to Japanese philosophy, our connection to the Source begins in our body, at the hara, or belly. The hara is the place of our connection with our parents, and extending beyond that to our ancestral energy, which by extension includes our connection to the Source of Life. It is our original energy that we were born with and cannot change; some define it as our personal perfection. By finding our connection to Source within us, it is much easier to see that we are one with Source.
I think Reiki works best when the mind is still, when we release our intentions and experience our connection.
Joy Vernon is a Reiki Practitioner and Teacher in Denver, Colorado. She is trained in two styles of Traditional Japanese Reiki: Usui Reiki Ryôhô and Komyo Reiki, as well as the Western-influenced Usui Tibetan tradition of Reiki. Joy is also a Certified Professional Tarot Reader. To schedule an appointment or for information on upcoming classes, please visit JoyVernon.com.
© 2012 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.