copyright 2017 Martha Spruce
Thoughts on Reiki Principle #1
"Just For Today"
There is a lot of news in the media these days that is the result of anger acted out intentionally. I find myself walking around with a pit of fear, at times, in my stomach. Why am I not the woman dying in Syria or living in some other war-torn area of the world? As Holly Near sings, “It could have been me”.
Lately I have also been giving some thought to how it is that I am not the rapist, the bigot, or the child with the gun in his backpack. These are uncomfortable thoughts that are not dismissed by denial. Am I not the slave of my anger at times? Is it not difficult to see how my anger can guide my actions? At those times, I sit in my self-righteousness, believing I have the right to belligerently express my anger. Those same thoughts are in line with the stories I read in the newspaper. Justifiable anger? "He lost control". The loss of a human being to an uncontrollable emotion?
When I feel anger, I lose myself and give away my power of my life at that moment. The chaos of anger rushes in to fill that space. One reason that I do not let anger erupt into violence is because the roughness of my anger is gently massaged by the comfort and luxury of my everyday life. My compassion can begin there. What if I didn't have all this comfort, all this safety? What if I had nothing? "It could have been me".
I think about how I work with my anger, or don’t work with it, every day. I could choose to build that thought, “It could have been me”, into a mantra that would stay with me in the moments of anger. I could extend consciousness into the blind spot and see a much broader perspective, and perhaps somehow discover boundless compassion. I am reminded of a wonderful story that I read recently:
We will experience peace and live in peace only as we are willing to forgive – to lay down our sword of anger – again, and again, and again, each time we are tempted by thoughts of attack, defense, condemnation, and blame. Anger keeps us in hell. Forgiveness, letting go of anger, offers us peace of Heaven.
There was a young Samurai warrior who sought the teaching and guidance of an aged Zen Master. Standing respectfully before the old man, the warrior asked, “Master, teach me about heaven and hell.” The Master snapped his head up in disgust and said, “Teach YOU about heaven and hell?! Why, I doubt that you could even learn to keep your own sword from rusting! You ignorant fool! How dare you suppose you could understand anything I might have to say!”
The old man went on and on, becoming even more insulting, as the young swordsman’s surprise turned to confusion, and then to hot anger that grew stronger and wilder by the minute. Master or no master, he raged inside, who can insult a Samurai that way and live? At last, with teeth clenched and blood nearly boiling with fury, the warrior blindly drew his sword and prepared to end the old man’s sharp tongue and his life, all in a single moment.
The Master looked straight into the young man’s eyes and said gently, “That’s hell.” At the peak of his rage, the Samurai realized that this was indeed the teaching he had asked for. The Master had hounded him into a living hell, driven by uncontrolled anger and ego. The young man, profoundly humbled, sheathed his sword and bowed low in gratitude and respect to this great spiritual teacher.
Looking up into the wise man’s aged, beaming face, the warrior felt more love and compassion than he had ever experienced in his life. At that moment the Master raised his index finger, as a schoolteacher would do, and said, “And that is heaven.” (As told in Sunbeams: A Book of Quotations, edited by Sy Safransky)
So, “Just For Today”, I resolve to let go of my anger. Such a short, simple declaration. Such a challenge!
Martha L. Spruce, Reiki Master Teacher