Reiki Principles as a Template for Living Happily

During a recent guided meditation, the facilitator shared the 5 Reiki Principles for us to contemplate. I realized that they are universal guidelines for all people, practitioners and non-practitioners alike, who desire to cultivate more happiness, peace, and wellness.

I especially like the version that she shared. While we have access to the original material written by Usui Sensei, the founder of the Reiki system of healing that is most widely known today, translations vary greatly. I’m guessing it’s not easy to transform Japanese, a complex and highly nuanced language, into meaningful text while accounting for vast cultural differences and the passing of 100 years!

In case you’re interested in being more happy, peaceful, and well, I’ll share the principles here.

Just for today, I will not be angry.

Just for today, I will not worry.

Just for today, I will do my work honestly.

Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings.

Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.

I so appreciate the simplicity of committing “just for today”. That seems very doable! Tomorrow you can go back to being angry or worrying if you want, but I suspect that the benefits you reap might convince you otherwise!

Notice the first line says that I will not “be” angry. In my mind, there is a difference between “getting” angry, and allowing the emotion to flow and dissipate, and “being” angry, as in stuck or attached to it. I might suggest “I will not hold on to anger” as an alternative if that seems useful.

How in the world can we not worry? Perhaps it’s easier if we define worry as obsessively thinking about things we cannot control. It’s not helpful! Nor healthy. And very different from paying attention to what’s going on, taking the necessary steps to protect yourself, and making plans for things you are unable to affect now, but might in the future. If you can’t exert any influence over it, dwelling and wallowing will only weaken your life-force energy and subsequently, your immune system.

I want to point out that “work” here refers to any activity that you offer in your home or community that benefits yourself or any other. It need not be a paying job, but that is included as well. Whatever you’re doing, make a choice to do your best and be honest- especially with yourself.

Giving thanks for blessings is a wonderful practice for connecting to Spirit and attracting more things for which you can be grateful. Our brains developed over the millennia to notice problems as a way of surviving. Even though we’re no longer in danger of becoming lunch for a saber-toothed tiger, our default thinking is still negatively biased. Rick Hanson, meditation teacher and neuropsychologist says, “The mind is like Velcro for negative experiences, and Teflon for positive ones.” We have to make an effort to be aware of the blessings but it gets easier with practice.

As the facilitator read the final line about being kind to neighbors, mine were hammering on our shared wall. How curious! It reminded me that there are consequences to thoughts as well as actions, and putting out annoyed vibes is not an act of kindness. It was a lovely opportunity to exchange irritation for acceptance, and remember that I am also sometimes noisy. The neighbors probably don’t love it when I turn up disco music while bouncing on my rebounder!

While these words were written a long time ago in an immensely different world, there is much wisdom that can be gleaned from them. Even if you have no interest in learning Reiki, you can still benefit from contemplating how and why you might apply these principles in your daily life. Each and every effort will bring its own rewards in the form of greater happiness, peace, and wellness.

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