The Importance of Being
Welcome to the Reiki Blog Hop! Jay Cassels of Metaphysical Angels offered up a delicious topic of being earnest in our practice of Reiki and in our relationships with our teachers and students. As I explored the topic, I discovered that a sincere embodiment of Reiki techniques and the importance of being earnest in our practice is the best teacher of oneness, of Truth, of Reiki, and ultimately, of simply being.
The Importance of Being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a long-time favorite for me. I first came across it in late middle school/early high school when I did a scene from it for an acting class at the Civic Theatre in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Having read it and seen productions multiple times, there came a time when I sat in the back of a theatre and consistently laughed when I remembered the punch line that was coming up–I was laughing about ten seconds ahead of everyone else in the theatre throughout the performance. I noticed this at one point and thought, laugh in the appropriate places. Be serious!
Being earnest means to be serious, grave, and full of conviction. I know; I just looked the word up. In my theatre class I remember discussing that it meant being honest or truthful. Sincere. The premise of the show is that the woman is intent on marrying a man named Ernest, so the character who intends to propose to her ironically misleads her by assuming that name. Part of the hilarity is each character’s unwavering conviction to their beliefs, insipid as they seem to the audience. And that is where Reiki comes in.
The Importance of Being Sincere
Like virtually all religions, spiritual practices, and initiatory traditions, in Reiki we often confuse truth and earnestness. We fail to distinguish between a proper practice and a sincere practice. Each Reiki teacher I’ve had–and I have gained incomparable knowledge from each, and I have disagreed heartily with each–has confused the right way, the truth, and their beliefs. And there is practically no separating one from the other. We instruct students based on the conviction that what we teach works. The student asks why. So we lecture, demonstrate, inspire, and convince. But would it work another way? Well, yes… And when the student finds their own way, when they find value in that which we’ve rejected, we throw our hands up and say that’s no student of mine.
There is a current trend in the system of Reiki towards the verifiable. We search out the verifiable history, authentic practices, and historical philosophies. One of my teachers, one I occasionally respectfully disagree with, explained to me that the Japanese notion of truth is not that of our western, analytical mind. In the eastern culture, the idea of truth is less about the verifiable and more about the inner truth. What we call “right” on the Eightfold Path of Buddhism, but which actually means whole, complete, perfect. Anything that verifies, separates. Something being right implies something that is wrong. And the stipulation of truth necessitates falsehood. The practice of Reiki is the practice of oneness, unity, being usurped by the Divine.
Sincere means free of differences. A sincere practice, even done incorrectly, is more likely to arrive at the center of our moving target than all the verified, double-checked, approval-stamped processes those who teach the verifiable prescribe. Reiki Ryôhô, sadly for teachers, is not about technique, which can be done properly or not, but about connection, which simply is.
The Importance of Being Truthful
When I start a Reiki class, I open by quoting the Tao teh Ching:
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
I explain that words define, and to define is to limit. Reiki is not the energy of this or the energy of that, but the energy of the whole universe, unbounded. As soon as I begin to talk about Reiki, as soon as I try to throw words at it, I have lost its essence because it is indefinable. I say that I will teach what I know, but know that everything I say is wrong and fails to express the truth about Reiki.
The Importance of Being Reiki
One of my teachers, one I deeply respect and occasionally disagree with, says that Reiki cannot be explained but can be experienced. The only way to learn Reiki Ryôhô is to practice it.
My Religions of India professor in college told us a story of bumping into an longtime friend of his, a Buddhist practitioner. When my teacher greeted his comrade heartily with a, “How are you doing?”, he replied, “I haven’t done in ages.”
One of my teachers, one who has inspired me and frustrated me, says that the practice is not to do Reiki, but to be Reiki. Much of teaching Reiki is to convert the students from doing something to simply being. Being present, aware, connected, and open are the steps we take towards being Reiki. Reiki is innate, it is everywhere, it doesn’t need to be turned on or channeled or directed or balanced. We simply need to stop doing and remember that it is already there, that we are Reiki.
In order to guide us toward this, one of my teachers, who taught me everything but who is discouragingly silent, says that in order to improve mind and body we need to place our hands in gasshô morning and evening and recite the precepts. It can’t be that simple. Or can it?
The other teachers tell me that my teacher also taught Kenyoku Hô, Joshin Kokyu Hô, Hatsurei Hô, Enkakyu Chiryo Hô, Byosen Reikan Hô, and other techniques. These we practice. We might do them right or wrong. They establish our connection. It is our sincerity, our earnestness, that lets it grow.
The Importance of Being You
Interestingly, although it is my understanding that Hô means “method or technique,” when I was researching (read, procrastinating) this post, I came across a site that used the word Hô to translate “truth.”
None of my teachers ever mentioned this, so I don’t know if it actually relates to Reiki practices at all. So if I say this, I’m probably introducing myself as Ernest when in all reality I’m Jack (and she could never marry a man named Jack). But I find it fascinating that there is a chance that techniques are truth.
The article goes on to say:
Buddhist truths for Kûkai were not simply meant to be intellectually mused over but to be experienced through bodily practice. One might say then that for Kûkai it is the body that provides the medium whereby theory and practice, doctrine and ritual, thought and experience, are non-dualistic.
Ultimately, I can never say anything accurate about Reiki. But embodying its techniques will arouse truth, the deeper truth that is oneness. The oneness of focus is being earnest, indeed, earnestness wholly consumes us. Right or wrong. Insipid or profound. The only way to learn Reiki is to practice. Practice. Your truth. Being you. Divinely connected. In earnest.
Please hop on to hear what our other Reiki bloggers have to say!