Students often ask me, “How do you think my practice is going?”
To answer this question for ourselves, first we need to see what we think the practice is for – why are we doing this? Maybe we think it is to feel and see energy, or to become more psychic. Often we think it is to heal someone, a person or an animal. But those are really the “side effects” of practicing the system of Reiki from a traditional Japanese approach. The first point of call is our own personal spiritual development. And this has little to do with seeing or feeling the energy, or with healing someone.
I always say that if you want to see energy it is very easy: just grab a metal bar and hit yourself on the head. You will see wonderful colors swirling all around you. And if you want to feel energy just stick your finger in an electrical socket.
And the basis for helping others is our own personal spiritual development.
So how can we check how our personal practice is going? Do we look at how much energy we feel or how hot our hands are? Or how well we can heal someone? No; we have to explore something very different.
Mikao Usui knew this and put pointers within his teachings to help us with questions like these. Some of these pointers are the precepts and the mantras.
We can ask ourselves a few specific questions to see how our practice is going, but we have to be really honest with ourselves. Here are some of these questions:
How much ego clinging do we still have? Do we find that our ego clinging is softening through our practice?
Has our motivation changed since we started practicing? Is it just to feel energy or just for hands-on healing, or is our motivation different now? And if so what is our motivation now?
How focused are we in our meditation practice? Is it sharp or dull? How is our meditation going? Are we distracted by the past, present, or future?
How are we conducting ourselves in daily life? Has this changed and if so how?
Then we can check the attachment to an outcome. Are we worried that we can’t meditate, that we can’t remember our true self? Or are we attached to a specific outcome and can’t let that go? In other words, how much hope and fear are we still holding on to?
If we look carefully we can see all of these are pointing towards the precepts.
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be true to your way and your being
Show compassion to yourself and others
And they are pointing towards what the mantras show us as well, a state of mind of interconnectedness and a blending of duality and non-duality.
When we have a deeper experience of these elements – the precepts, the state of mind of interconnectedness and non-duality – we can feel it within our mind, body, and energy, there’s no doubt about that. But we also have to let go of attachments to these feelings and experiences. Let it all go.
So it is great to check how our practice is going, because then we can see elements where we may want or need to adjust our practice and how we can adjust it. But we also have to let go of looking for an outcome, or as they say so simply and beautifully in Japan: “Just Practice”.
“Just practice” is like a bow and an arrow: you aim and then you let go. But we have to notice what it is we are aiming at. Are you aiming at seeing colors or healing someone? Or are you aiming at the complete embodiment of the precepts in your daily life? These are very different aims and thus have different outcomes. We first must have a very clear idea about our aim. And then we have to let go, else the arrow will never hit the target.
So examine your target, your aim, examine your practice and then let go and just practice.
Based in Holland, Frans Stiene teaches in North America, Europe, UK, Australia and Asia.
Frans is also the author of Reiki Insights, it is the continuation of his previous book The Inner Heart of Reiki, taking your personal practice and understanding of the system of Reiki yet another step deeper.