Just for Today, Do Not Be Angry
by Susan Downing
This week I’m continuing my series of blog posts devoted to the Reiki precepts
that came down to us from Mikao Usui, Reiki’s founder. Here they are, beginning
with his two-line explanation of Reiki as a system:
The secret of inviting happiness through many blessings
The spiritual medicine for all illness
Just for today:
Do not be angry
Do not worry
Devote yourself diligently to your work
Be kind to people
Do Gassho every morning and evening
Keep the precepts in your mind and recite them
Have you ever wondered by Usui Sensei chose “do not be angry” and “do not
worry” as his first two precepts? I think it’s because these two powerful
disturbing emotions make it difficult for us to follow through on the other three
precepts: feeling grateful, devoting ourselves to our work, and being kind. In this
post, I’ll take a close look at what relevance the first precept has to our lives in
general and to practicing Reiki, too, and how our practice can help it fade.
I’m sure any of us can easily recall times in our lives when we’ve gotten
angry. But what about if you’re a Reiki practitioner? Has anger ever come up as
you were practicing Reiki? That might seem unlikely at first. After all, we
associate giving Reiki with happiness and comfort. Really, have you ever ended
up yelling at someone during or after a Reiki session? I doubt it! Even so, anger
and annoyance can arise. Maybe we’re doing Reiki for a friend or family member
with whom we’ve recently had a disagreement. Maybe we’ve reluctantly agreed
to give someone Reiki at an inconvenient time and we’re feeling a little taken
advantage of. Maybe a client was late to a session, or even didn’t show up. In
any of these cases, we might feel annoyed, if not downright angry.
Anger and annoyance can also take more subtle forms during or after a
session. Let’s say the recipient doesn’t seem to experience any immediate
benefit. Maybe his knee still hurts after receiving Reiki, or she is still depressed
about a breakup, or even seems more upset than before the Reiki. Or, maybe
he’s new to Reiki and had the nerve to sit up after the session, shrug, and say, “I
didn’t feel a thing.” Because these people have not responded to Reiki as we’d
hoped they would, we may get annoyed — at them or at ourselves.
If we can say, oh my gosh, yes, I’ve felt this kind of annoyance and even anger,
does that mean we are awful Reiki practitioners? No. It means that we are not
immune to anger just because we practice Reiki. It also means that we can
benefit by taking Usui Sensei’s precept to heart: Just for today, do not be
angry. The question is, how do we manage not to be angry?
Usui Sensei’s instructions explain exactly what to do. They don’t tell us to banish
anger from our mind, or suggest we use other active methods to get rid of
it. They say, “keep the precepts in your mind and recite them.” In my recent
post, “The Secret of Inviting Happiness,” I suggested that in addition to providing
a guide for our behavior, the precepts also show what we’ll be able to achieve if
we devote ourselves fully to our Reiki practice: “If you practice diligently, you’ll be
able to not be angry.” Practicing Reiki this way really does allow anger to fade.
We place our focus on our practice instead of on our anger. We recite the
precepts and give ourselves Reiki every day without fail and let our sincere,
consistent practice do the work.
But what to do when you do feel anger rising up within you? In such cases, your
practice can help you ride anger out without being swept away by it. You can
silently repeat, “Just for today, do not be angry,” when you find yourself
beginning to feel angry. Repeat it to yourself silently like a mantra, over and over,
distracting your mind with it until the anger or annoyance fade.
Giving yourself Reiki can also help keep your anger from growing once it
appears. If you begin to feel angry, try to find a place where you can sit for a few
minutes and give yourself Reiki. Reciting the precept at the same time will help
your mind focus on something other than the person or situation that’s angering
you. If the anger persists, set aside some time later in the day to give yourself a
longer Reiki session.
By using your practice this way, you’re not pushing anger down or away. Rather,
the practice elements are helping you remain calm in the face of the disturbance,
making it possible for you to ride out the turmoil until it fades on its own, which it
will. The key is to remember to use the practice elements when you begin to feel
upset. The more you practice this, the easier it will become for you to recognize
anger when it’s just beginning to arise, and you’ll be able to turn quickly to the
precept and self-Reiki.
So, devoting yourself fully to your practice will allow you to feel less angry over
time, and your practice elements can help your anger fade in your day-to-day life,
too. Maybe this seems illogical to you, not active or conscious enough, but
believe me, it works! After two of my Heart of Reiki students had been practicing
for a couple of months, they began to notice that they were feeling less anger,
and that when they did start to get angry, they’d catch the feeling early enough
that they could avoid being swept away. Not by repressing it, but by putting their
focus on reciting the precept or giving themselves Reiki. This surprised them,
because they hadn’t been consciously thinking about not getting angry. They
were experiencing the natural benefit of their practice.
So can you. If you’re a Reiki practitioner, never forget that in your Reiki practice,
you possess a powerful tool that can help you both in the long run and in the
moments when you are most upset. All you need to do is remember to use it!