I was late, tired, and making the 30 minute drive home unexpectedly because I'd forgotten my power cord to my computer and the battery wouldn't sustain the 2-3 hours of work I had planned between appointments. I was also frustrated with myself and trying hard not to beat myself up. As I turned onto the two lane, curvy state highway that takes me home, I pulled behind an older woman from Virgina. They must not have mountainous roads in her neck of the woods because at every slight curve, she hit her brakes dropping from just under the 50 mph speed limit to 35 mph. There are easily 20 curves in the 8 mile stretch.
I found myself taking deeper breaths, tapping into any sense of compassion and patience. At the first opportunity, a truck that was 3 cars behind her hit the gas and passed all of us. I thought for sure, she might take the hint and at least know if that truck was safe, she would be too. "Be brave!" I silently willed to her. She, in return, tapped her brakes at yet another curve. I growled, feeling my temper rising. I just wanted to be home. I just wanted to work. I knew my energy wasn't helping either of us and it certainly wasn't making the situation better. I started practicing the breath work for reiki.
Becoming The Meditation
I finally made it home and was able to get some work done before heading back into town to meet my reiki teacher's teacher and author, Frans Stiene. He lovingly reminded the small gathering of people that reiki is Universal energy within everyone and we don't pull it from outside of us in, rather we tap into what's already in us and be the energy.
When we practice intentionally, rather it's meditation, yoga, tai chi, martial arts, what we're really doing is cross-training for life. We're teaching ourselves how to be calm and maintain calm. It is preventative medicine for when life becomes challenging. Of course when we face challenge we are going to have an emotional and often physical reaction. Mindfulness practice doesn't stop "bad" stuff from happening. What it does is help us move from the "lizard brain" that is focused on survival to the Frontal Cortex that allows us to critically think. We process better, see more options, see more perspectives and therefore make better decisions.
Additionally, when we practice intentionally on a regular basis, we stay consistently calm. We tend to be more patient, compassionate, kinder, more accepting of others. That has a ripple effect on the people around us. Violence begets violence. Kindness begets kindness. When someone is snippy to you, how do you feel? How do you react to the next person you speak with? What about when someone is kind to you? Are you more likely to be kinder to others as a result? Many people are.
When we practice regularly and intentionally, we balance our inner harmony and "rediscover your inner magic" as Steine shared. As I became frustrated, I tapped into my mindfulness toolbox. I certainly did not react by moving into a place to calmness and reiki as quickly as I would prefer. The next day, I had to go into a big box store I loathe. I decided to sit for a minute in the car and breathe into my hara. I placed my hands on my lower belly and began to breath into the low belly, imagining it filling with a beautiful white, sparkly, healing light and as I exhaled, I allowed it to radiate out of me, filling the space around me. I would carry my Light with me through the store.
As I approached the entrance a little girl was walking out and dancing. I smiled. An older couple was walking out and they looked peaceful. I smiled. The greeter seeing me smile, smiled and warmly welcomed me from her wheelchair. I responded with love and gratitude. I was able to make it through the store grabbing what I needed without any feelings of frustration. That was a first for me in that store!
I remembered one of the final things Steine said at his talk, "Life becomes meditation and meditation becomes life." I was a living meditation. I know meditation is a practice and this small win was a small taste of what could be if I maintained commitment, consistency, and desire. I'm no monk, nor do I have any desire to be, but I suspect this living meditation will have a profound effect on the world around me. It's certainly a change I wish to see in the world. I wonder what would happen if living meditation became a movement? Imagine the world with that kind of ripple flowing through it!
*Frans Stein is author of "The Inner Heart of Reiki - Rediscovering Your True Self" that can be found with many other books he has contributed to at http://us.ihreiki.com/shop/bookstore.