I was recently asked to share my thoughts on mindfulness, specifically from the perspective of a Reiki practitioner...
Mindfulness has always been a central aspect of Reiki, from what I can see. First generation students reported that Mikao Usui included the teaching of mindfulness with his students. To me, this makes perfect sense; I don’t think you can help but develop a degree of mindfulness, consciousness or awareness when you practice any form of meditation and the way we focus and surrender during Reiki practice feels, to me, like a form of meditation.
I was still living my old corporate life when mindfulness became the biggest thing, subject of breakfast news segments, feature articles in fashion magazines, etc. To be honest, that really put me off a bit, but I so loved training stressed colleagues on mindfulness as a Mental Health First Aider. It is one of many small, powerful tools we have in our mental health armoury and one of the different things we can do to enjoy a more enriching and less stressful life.
I often think about the difference between meditation and mindfulness. I think of meditation as a practice or set exercises - it starts here and ends there and in between, we meditate on this or repeat that mantra. My mind is often changing on this, but at the moment, I think of mindfulness as ‘living meditation’ without a mantra; a state of constant openness, maybe, a state we aspire to maintain all the time (aiming high here!).
To help me recognise moments of mindfulness, I came up with a code that I try to live by. I think of it as ‘AA’: to be aware of mindfulness and abstain from opining or meddling when I see it.
And this is one of the reasons I love Reiki so much. There’s something wonderfully natural and freeing about practicing or experiencing Reiki; once we have begun a Reiki session, there is nothing to do but observe and experience it. Yes, we are observant and analytical, we can choose to move our hands here, make a judgement about what needs attention next there, etc., but we don’t actually need to, if we think about it. There is an old adage in Reiki: “Reiki knowns where it needs to go”. And that is practically the dictionary definition of mindfulness.
I particularly like this definition of mindfulness from the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary as it seems to fit perfectly here:
“…a mental state achieved by concentrating on the present moment, while calmly accepting the feelings and thoughts that come to you...”
We all have varying degrees of sensitivity or observations we experience during Reiki - both as practitioners and recipients. One day we might feel absolutely nothing, while another day, we might have striking, tangible experiences more akin to mediumship than what we think Reiki ‘should’ be. And this is why mindfulness is so important to me in my Reiki practice.
I’ve had experiences with clients when I have walked away afterwards and actually said to my wife “that felt more like a psychic reading than a Reiki treatment!”. Yes these ‘extras’ are wonderful and nothing short of miraculous in their own right, often shown to us because they are relevant to ourselves or the person we’re treating. But they don’t actually matter.
Just like it doesn’t matter what music or radio station you listen to in your car; what matters is getting from A to B. Maybe in this analogy, mindfulness would be keeping your focus on the road and not getting lost in a song on the radio!
So what about you? Do you consciously factor mindfulness into your life?
Do you have any practices or techniques that have helped you maintain and improve your mindfulness? Please do share!
Oh and I’ve come across a wonderful looking book “The Miracle Of Mindfulness: The Classic Guide to Meditation” by Thich Nhat Hanh - have you read it?
And his website looks good too: https://plumvillage.org
Are there any other mindfulness resources you’d recommend? Do you actively practice mindfulness? What advice would you give someone new to the idea?
Love and Light from Sunny Southeast England.