or how not to be a leaf in the wind
Earth energy? Don’t the pagans have a monopoly on that? Well, yes… and no. It may be well known that Earth energy has a significant part to play in many pagan practices, but scratch the surface of Reiki when it is practised from a Japanese perspective and you’ll find Earth energy right bang in the middle of everything, forming the foundation of the system. It supports the whole practice and, incidentally, anchors the energy system of every well balanced practitioner from here to Kyoto.
Japanese Reiki is a complete system which can be used for balanced self development and personal growth. It contains tools that we can use to work on all aspects of our energy systems. We can develop our centred-ness, our vibrancy, our present-ness, and our understanding of ourselves including the Earth and Heaven energies within us that make us feel so complete when they are balanced. As Reiki practitioners we work with these energies as we work with the first two symbols. For us to deepen our practice in a well balanced way Earth energy must come first. We are physical beings living in a physical place and it is our Earth energy that connects us to this primary state of being. If we do not work on our Earth energy first it is possible that we could develop in an unbalanced way. This could make us energetically unstable or top-heavy.
I spent the first few years of my Reiki journey working very hard on my energetic development. My first teacher taught me a modern style of Western Reiki which concentrated almost exclusively on developing the energy in my head area. This Heaven energy gave me bucket loads of visual and intuitive skills but, because it was not balanced with a firm Earth energy foundation, sometimes it made being myself difficult.
When we have developed only our Heaven energy we can do all the spiritual bells and whistles stuff that can be so impressive to many people but our ordinary lives can end up being very chaotic. We are without the strong, calming root of Earth energy that keeps us fixed to this planet, which is, after all, where we have to live. I had psychic antennae whirring away like radar on full power, picking up all kinds of unsettling things. Ordinary actions like standing in a crowd of people could become a problem. I found it difficult to stop tuning in to all the mind stuff that was going on around me. The bells and whistles can be great, but nowadays I really appreciate being more balanced. I can organise my life on a day-to-day basis, and know what day that is, most of the time. These abilities come from working with Earth energy.
In Buddhism, one of the main concepts that is introduced to practitioners early on in their spiritual education is that our perception of the world around us is exactly that – it is perception. Things do not have any absolute value because they are only measurable in relation to other things. We may say that a house is big or small, but this size is always relative to other houses we have seen. If we only had only ever seen one house we would not be able to judge how big it was because we would have no reference point or scale to use.
This means that different people can experience the same thing in very different ways. Taken to its conclusion, we are creating our own reality every moment of every day by measuring and judging our experiences according to our own unique set of rules and measures.
The way we see the things around us is directly linked to how we feel at the time. It is always subject to change. Sometimes we may feel happy so things around us will generally seem ok. Sometimes we may feel unhappy. Things around us will not seem so good at these times. The way the world seems to be is directly related to how we are when we see it. It is influenced by our current state of being and has no absolute value. This means that we can have some control over our reality by making sure that we know it is not absolute and by ensuring that our references, scales and state of being are as good as we can make them. We need to learn how to gain control over our perception. We can do this by working on ourselves using spiritual practices.
Working with sensibly chosen practices in a methodical and consistent way can change how we are, how we feel and how we perceive the world. In the conventional way of thinking, it is not possible for us to have much direct influence over the events that surround us, unless we are someone who is very influential. This is not the case in spiritual practice. Every human being can work on themselves. This means that we can change the way we relate to the world, how we feel about our life and therefore our perception of reality. It works in Buddhism and it also works in the system of Reiki.
Our perception of the situations, events and people that surround us is something that we can improve by practising Earth energy. Earth energy is what we need when we feel stressed, up in the air, angry, disconnected, jittery or fearful. Practising and developing our Earth energy can help us to deal with the things that happen to us in a more measured way.
Earth energy is our core energy, our original energy. It’s the energy that makes us who we are in this physical place. It tells us what we are made of. It’s the stuff that makes us present in this moment, right here, right now, with our mind firmly attached to our body. It’s being aware of our Earth energy that allows us to find our way back from our deepest meditations. It stops us from losing ourselves when we go deep into our mind. It is central to being a human being living in the physical world.
The foundation of our Earth energy is right in the middle of our being, at our core. This is our centre of gravity known as the hara. It’s that place, right inside us, a couple of inches below the navel that is the source of our physical strength and personal presence.
There is much talk in energy work circles about practitioners becoming energy, becoming Reiki, becoming Earth energy etc… But it is possible to look at this from a different perspective too. We know that we exist in a physical way. This means that we already are Earth energy. We do not need to change into Earth energy because we already intrinsically are it. What we need to do is to use our practice to work on and remember our deep connection to Earth energy. This connection already exists and is central to our being. We can work to make sure that it is strong and continually getting stronger. We can powerfully delve into ourselves, into our Earth energy, finding our centre again and again, working to build its resilience and durability so that it can be a firm foundation for our mind to work from.
Strengthening our Earth energy allows us to develop our spiritual path. It gives us a launch pad to blast off from. If we are going to venture into the deeper levels of our mind, as we can do in Reiki, we need a strong, solid base to set off from and return to.
Practising Earth energy in Japanese Reiki uses simple tools which are accessible to everyone. One of the most effective tools we use is our breath. We can work on our Earth energy using our breath by practising focused breathing. The style of breathing in this practice is very natural and unforced. What makes it different from the “normal” breathing that we do most of the time is that it has a distinct mental placing within our physical body. When we practice Earth energy we breathe very consciously into the hara centre, deep within us.
Breathing into the hara turns our breath into a tool for our development. We breathe deeply into our centre and place our mental focus there as we do so. When we repeat this practice consistently over a period of time, breathing into the hara can work for us like an anchor works for a ship. It connects us to Earth. It is a mindfulness meditation on our own physical existence. We become like a tree that is actively growing its roots. They grow stronger and stronger so they can support the canopy of leaves and branches above as these grow too. The stronger our Earth energy root grows, the more we can develop the other parts of our energy system – Heaven, Oneness, even Emptiness. Working with increasingly subtle and deep areas of our mind becomes possible because we have a strong Earth centre to hold onto and come back to. This foundation supports our practice and we can use it as a kind of spiritual lighthouse to guide us back to our self like a ship finding its way back to port.
Practising Reiki can be a fast track to self exploration and spiritual growth. Developing our Earth energy as a primary practice is absolutely crucial if we want to be mature, resilient practitioners who are able to find strength within themselves. I think that it is unfortunate that Earth energy is not always emphasised as much as it could be in modern forms of Reiki. Maybe this is because it does not give us the quick, psychic buzz that sometimes our ego may want. When we learn Japanese style Reiki, practising Earth energy is central to starting and continuing along the path. Earth energy practice is not quick or dramatic but over a period of time it can help us to feel calm, centred, emotionally strong, sure of who we are and how we fit into this physical world. This is something that I want for myself. I think that most people want it. In Japanese Reiki we have tools that we can use to find it in a place that is always with us – within ourselves – and everybody has a monopoly on that.