In Harmony with Nature

Frans StieneArticles, English 12 Comments

In harmony with nature

“….yamabushi training takes place in the middle of nature. Simply, it is to connect ourselves back to nature.” ~ Fumihiro Hoshino – Shugendo Priest

It is said that Mikao Usui was a Shugenja/yamabushi, a practitioner who walks in the mountains to realize harmony with the natural elements. When we walk in nature with an open heart/mind we can start to feel how we need to practice the system of Reiki; more than that, we begin to realize how we need to lead our lives. Nature shows us how to live in harmony, but in modern times we have removed ourselves so far from nature that sometimes it is hard to see what nature is teaching us.

As practitioners of the system of Reiki we try to make our internal energy flow again as it has become stagnant over time due to fears, worry, anger etc. When our energy flows our heart/mind also starts to flow and is more at ease with what is happening in life. Nature is showing this to us: if water in a river is partly frozen and it hits a rock, it will hit the rock again and again over and over. If the water is completely melted it flows freely around any rock or obstacle. Nature is showing us how to be more free flowing; it is tell us to practice until our energy and heart/mind are like free running water.

“As human beings, we are animals on the move in search of food, and this is what makes the fountain of life possible. However, plants search for food simply by placing themselves in nature. Plants can get vital energy from the space around them as well as above and below them just by being situated in nature. That is what it means by being there. I think yamabushi practices are really close to this—placing oneself in nature.”
Fumihiro Hoshino – Shugendo Priest

By placing ourselves in nature, we can illuminate the best way to do our Reiki practice. Many Reiki teachings are very strict with hand positions or how to do a specific practice, teaching that it cannot be done any other way. Does this strictness follow the way of nature? If we look at nature, we can see that nature is firm and flexible at the same time.

Let’s look at the trees for example: the wind blows but each tree moves in its own unique way. No two trees move in exactly the same way. In the same way, we can see the wind as the energy that moves through and around us, and the tree is you as a practitioner. So the best practice is for you to move in your own unique way, yet rooted in the foundation of the practice and teachings. To be more in harmony with nature, we need to let go of the strict rules some people apply when teaching. Yes these rules are great as a foundation for our roots, but when we get higher into the teachings we becomes more and more flexible, like the tops of the trees gently swaying in their own unique way in harmony with the wind.

At the deepest level of Mikao Usui’s teachings we will remember to “Be Reiki” instead of “Do Reiki.” Again we can see this in nature, plants, trees and rocks: they are not thinking of Doing this or that; they are just Being. One rock doesn’t say to the other rock, “I am jealous of you!” The rock is just Being. One tree doesn’t say to the other tree, “You are taller then me and I do not like it!” The tree is just Being. The rain that falls on the forest is not saying, “You small plants, you need to receive this much rain (energy) and you big trees your will receive this much rain (energy)!” The rain is just Being. A river is not saying to an obstacle that it comes across, “Get out of my way.” The river is just Being.

So be in nature and let nature teach you the way back to your own True Nature.


Article about Fumihiro Hoshino

Was Mikao Usui a Shugenja?

Researching Reiki training from a Japanese viewpoint

Echoes in the Mountains: Locating Usui’s Experience in the History of Japanese Mountain Asceticism


Comments 12

  1. Avatar of Karren O'Sullivan
  2. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  3. Avatar of Elly

    Hi Frans! October is my birth month, the moon of crows, according to the Native Americans. And fall is my favorite season, when the plant world displays all its colors and nature shows us the full beauty of the crispy-crackly blue sky, when we move into Harvest Home, the ritual of ripening and reaping and storing. On The Reiki Blog, I’d recently written posts about seeing migrating swans as well as one about cold autumn rains and the joyous poem by Ryokan about rain on the roof and contentment, so your comments seemed especially pertinent, even though I assume you’re in spring now in Australia. Quite a change from here! Without nature, we are nothing. Nature is our everything. Simply being in nature is everything. What else is there? Thank you again for the reminder.

  4. Avatar of Sundar

    Frans, Nature, as you point, is a great teacher if we are willing to be an open student.  I was looking up the synonyms of the term “Harmony” and according to Merriam Webster dictionary, some of the synonyms are:  balance, coherence, orchestration, proportion, symmetry, symphony, and unity.  Each of those ideas in turn, seem to tell us why Nature is a great teacher!  Since we learn by contrast, here are some antonyms of the term “Harmony”: asymmetry, discordance, disproportion, disunity, imbalance, incoherence, and violence.  Sigh!  Those antonyms do seem to reflect unmistakable aspects of our world and our world experience today, doesn’t it? 

    Thanks for the timely reminder on this subject.

  5. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Sundar and Elly,

    Harmony is so important, harmony with nature means oneness with nature, and in this case we will stop destroying nature and abusing it.

    This is also why in the traditional teaching the characteristics of the 2nd symbol/mantra is Harmony.

    But it also means that we will be reflected in nature and nature in us.

    And because we are nature we can see within nature how we need to work on our own mind/energy/body.

    Love Ryokan’s poems.

    Thank you for all your writings Sundar and Elly.

  6. Avatar of Deborah Shields

    Thanks so much for this essay!

    I recently read an article by Sufi author Elias Amidon, called “Open Path,” in “Desert Call,” an excellent publication by the Spiritual Life Institute.  He described a mantra that a Sufi teacher had suggested he practice: “Open me Lord, and let me flow.”

    And Bruce Lee had a lovely quote about water that is along the same lines: “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves….Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

    I use the Bruce Lee quote in one of the Reiki manuals I have written for students.

    Blessings on your work!

  7. Avatar of Sundar

    Deborae, what a lovely mantra, “Open me lord and let me flow”!  Great quote from Bruce Lee too. Thanks for sharing these great reminders.

  8. Avatar of Deborah Shields

    Thanks Sundar. Perhaps you and others would also like this poem by Mary Oliver since someone mentioned Ryokan’s poems.

    Wild Geese
    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
        love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean-blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

  9. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Deborah,
    Thank you for your wonderful quotes.
    I always like Bruce Lee quote on water.
    All these great teachers new to look at nature and be in harmony with it.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  10. Avatar of Elly

    Hi Deborah!

    Thank you for sharing the Mary Oliver poem. Since what I saw were swans, of course I thought of Yeats’s “The Wild Swans at Coole.” Here is a stanza from that poem:

    The trees are in their autumn beauty,
    The woodland paths are dry,
    Under the October twilight the water
    Mirrors a still sky;
    Upon the brimming water among the stones
    Are nine-and-fifty swans.

  11. Avatar of Seema

    Thank you Frans,

    for this comparative article on harmony with nature , love all the comments by everyone and especially concluding paragraph and quotes in the article.

    When I first read it , it made me think how disconnected we are with nature because we see it “dead” and life less. For me personally , it took me back to my childhood days . My parents would have us kids get up at 4 am in morning and we would all walk for 3-4 miles to go to Delhi University Bonta park – this area is often called green lungs of Delhi. Beautiful place , I hope still is :). We would do this every day , than stay there for some time walk around connect with nature, birds, flowers , walk barefoot on grass etc… I hated getting up in morning but loved when there :).

    I also remember culturally how I was told that there is divinity in all the elements of nature and we should not “disturb” them. I used to be a very inquisitive child , asking questions but I do not remember asking any time why it is so , how come there is life , why they are divine , why we worship them etc. etc. Perhaps as a child I was able to feel them breath and live. I found all this very mind blowing to me that how we have forgotten everything !. And I am one of them !!.Looking back now , I see how much I loved being out with nature in fact I started writing poems on nature itself when I was in 7th grade ! . I Wonder , since we are ,  now in midst of “environmental crises we are in “spiritual crises” too , for this reason , its apparent on how we are less compassionate etc. to each other !

    Second time when I read the article , I was surprised to see that we ( humans) have so much in common with nature but are a small part of this universe. But we think we are superior and to establish that perhaps , Man always try to “conquer” or “destroy” natural elements ?. It also reminded me how change – “good or bad” is part of growth . Just think if the climate around us won’t change what will happen to all of us ? sometimes we have winters, summers spring etc. etc.. so change is life.

    We humans are “dynamic creatures” with ” developed” motor , sensory , intellectual functions which are coordinated , so we think we can change things around to make it “suited and desirable” for us 🙂 and digging our own “grave” – which will happen anyways but wow what a irony lol.

    We can learn from nature how to be patient , strong, powerful , firm and flexible to sustain and take all those blows on us and transform and change and just flow with moment whatever it brings on us. Perhaps this way we can be in the sync with what life in the moment ,opening our heart /mind with no resistance to change and come back to where we started and not trying to “become” something.

    Here in Scottsdale we have lots of Palm trees and today I sat down in the parking lot outside my hospital and was watching one tree , so tall and firm and top I fixed my eyes to one leaf which was swaying slowly with the wind , just the way you have described in this article :), so beautiful , saw firmness and flexibility in the same tree .

    Strictness in hands on healing , for example hand positions , the other day when I was teaching level 1, one student who had taken a Okuden before was so worried, how and where she should be placing hands etc. because she was taught the hands should always stay in touch with body otherwise the energy circuit is broken , she was clearly so worried. Half of the time she was investing , where her hands needs to be etc. I think this way of teaching actually imparts :fears and worry” and also student cannot grow further , as than we always relay on the tools and strict methods.

    I can close my eyes and see the way you teach and have taught me – “firm and flexible ” and no restriction , free flowing as river and deep as an Ocean…Tall , powerful but can be “reached”  and accessible :).

    Your teachings are rooted in the traditional spiritual teachings , deep, spiritual , powerful , yet so flexible in how you teach your students , according to their level , the way they learn best , even if that means you have to “bend” a bit :), this is a mark of rare , genuine teacher who truly connects and want his students to feel empowered .

    I am grateful to have you as my teacher , Frans.


  12. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Seema,
    We are nature and nature is us. I think as human beings we need to ask ourselves what we are made up off and then if we look deeply we see that we are made up of the same natural elements as we can find in nature.

    In Tendai they have a saying: One thought effects 3000 universes.
    Which means that each thought we have effects everything, including nature.
    We can see this in simple terms; we have a thought/desire for meat which brings us to the butcher, which makes us buy meat. This meat needs to be taken from an animal which is most likely cages up with other animals. This animal has been given grain which has been grown on forests which was cut down to make way for the grain etc…

    Interesting stuff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *