Just for today...
How to Live a Good Life.
Do not bear anger,
For anger isillusion.
Do not be worried,
Because fear isdistraction.
Be true to your way and your being,
Show compassion to yourself and others,
Because this is the center of Buddhahood.
-Precepts from the Tendai Buddhist sect of Shugendo
In Reiki, we have a guiding set of principles or ideals that can be thought of similarly to a code of ethics. These principles were taught by the founder of Reiki, Dr. Mikao Usui, and were intended to be implemented by Reiki practitioners in order to “live a good life.”
These principles are just one way that we can incorporate the practice of Reiki into our daily lives, and I’m sharing them with you because I think that they can benefit everyone, not just Reiki practitioners.
Part of what I love about them so much is the commitment to today - the here and now - and the ability to let go of tomorrow. In doing so we’re able to become more present and mindful, which is key to living a good life. They’re easy to implement quickly with some intention setting, and also easy to come back to throughout each day. The five principles are:
- Just for today, do not anger.
- Just for today, do not worry.
- Honor your parents, teachers and elders.
- Earn your living honestly.
- Show gratitude to every living thing.
Let’s break these down a little further.
1. Just for today, do not anger.
This one can be pretty challenging since we can’t always control when we’re triggered and filled with anger. However, we can control our reaction after that anger is stirred up inside us.
When someone cuts you off on the road, instead of cussing them out you could choose to forgive them and let go of that anger instead of carrying it with you. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but think of how much better you feel if you can just let it roll of your shoulders instead of carrying that annoyance and upset?
Could you go just one day without feeding into your anger? This doesn’t necessarily mean ignore it because we don’t want to dismiss our feelings, but perhaps there are situations or people you could let go of anger around because it feels unnecessary and unhelpful.
2. Just for today, do not worry.
For me, this is the absolute hardest principle to abide by. I’m constantly stressed and future tripping because I like to feel in control, safe, and secure, and when I can’t anticipate exactly what’s going to happen I feel anxious and worried.
In working with my therapist this year I’ve come to realize that this isn’t only due to being Type A, but that it’s part of the patterning that’s been ingrained in me because of my upbringing and previous circumstances. There were a lot of variables and unknowns, and I rarely felt safe or secure, which led to physical and emotional upset.
Often when we’re experiencing worry we’re also experiencing fear on some level - fear of the unknown, fear of how others might judge us, fear of not making end’s meet this month. Fear keeps us small and serves as a distraction from going after what we truly want and we have to learn how to tell it to step aside so that we can take the leap our soul is urging us to take.
For me, this shows up a lot around being visible in my business. My ego jumps in and fear creeps up around not knowing enough, not saying what I want to say perfectly, or nobody wanting to hear what I have to say. But I tell the fear and worry to step aside and show up anyway because that’s what my intuition guides me to do.
It takes a lot of patience, time, and practice to rewire our brains from these types of deep-seeded patterns, but to me it feels a lot more doable to focus on not worrying for just one day than it is to think about abandoning worry altogether. It also allows me to more fully accept the moments I do find myself worrying and not label myself as “bad” or “wrong” for doing so. Acceptance breeds self love, and that’s so crucial to living a good life.
3. Honor your parents, teachers and elders.
In our society today, especially in the US, we place a lot of importance on youth and beauty, and write off our elders. However, in so many countries around the world, elders are revered for their wisdom and life experience and consulted on important matters.
Consider how these two figures are portrayed in the media - the young, beautiful maiden being more important and idolized than the witch or crone, even when she’s gained immense wisdom and understanding as she’s aged that could benefit the collective. (Who cares what she looks like? Oh yeah, everyone…)
Think about the majority of beauty ads you’re exposed to every day. The majority of marketing and advertising related to beauty products (a $400+ billion dollar industry) depicts signs of aging as ugly, bad, and unacceptable, which is what drives consumers to pay out the ying yang for fancy creams that may or may not work with their body’s chemistry. (This could be a whole separate rant for another time, so I’ll stop here.)
This is something that’s become a lot more apparent to me as I’ve gotten older and have had more experience with aging family members, but I don’t care what they look like - I love spending time with them and hearing all the stories of our family and what they’ve experienced over their lifetime, and want to honor them by continuing to pass these stories on to my children and my children’s children. (Sidenote: I only have one child right now, not children, for the people who know me and just said "plural?", haha!)
If you’re like me and don’t necessarily have a strong relationship with one (or both) of your parents, you can choose to follow this in accordance with any parental figure to you, or attempt to acknowledge what positive things you have learned from them or gained from being born as their child. (You’re pretty awesome, so there’s gotta be something good there.)
I also love honoring my teachers by giving them credit when I teach something I've learned from them because I deeply love and respect them and want to acknowledge them for the gifts they’ve given me.
4. Earn your living honestly.
I don’t think this one takes too much explaining (at least I hope not!). To live a good life, it’s important to do things such as work with integrity and honesty.
Look at the state of politics today - so many people have been up in arms about President Trump refusing to release his tax returns because they feel he’s hiding something, including business deals that would show that he’s not following the code of ethics he agreed to when becoming the leader of the US.
People don’t like feeling mistrust towards those in power; many people can just sense when something is off or someone is dishonest, even if they can’t prove it. It doesn’t feel good to be on either side of the spectrum when it comes to dishonesty, especially when it’s related to making a living or holding a position of power.
How do you feel about honesty - is it important to you? Do you get upset when you feel duped or lied to? Is that a silly question? Perhaps...
5. Show gratitude to every living thing.
This one can be as simple as you want (“I’m grateful for the sunshine and calm weather today”) or complex (“I’m grateful for losing my job unexpectedly because it’s opened me up to exploring a more fulfilling career path”).
Admittedly there are days I forget to outwardly express my gratitude (hey, I’m human, ok?) but gratitude is an extremely important practice that will allow you to live a fulfilling, good life.
If you feel called to create a specific gratitude practice you can either write or state the things you’re grateful for at the beginning or end of each day, or document them as your day progresses so you can carry that reminder with you to pull out when you’re feeling like things aren’t going your way.
If you’re interested in diving more deeply into gratitude, you’ll find a TON of resources online - simply dive into the black hole of the internet or Pinterest, pick your poison. ;-)
If you’re interested in seeing how implementing these principles can create more joy and meaning in your life, simply pick the one you feel most drawn to today and take action NOW.
Take a moment to ask yourself what one stands out to you, and set an intention on how you can begin to live by this ideal as you go on about the rest of your day. Then maybe take some time to reflect on it later this evening and see if it helped you shift anything.
I’m a curious creature so I’d love if you hit reply and let me know what resonated with you about this, and if you found it easy to apply (maybe you’re already doing some of these things, but this prompted you to add a little more attention or intention around implementing it), or more challenging.
Here’s to all of us living a good life filled with less anger and worry, and more honor, honesty, and gratitude.
In love + heart service,
P.S. I posted a video about this on social media, too - click here to watch it and chat with me via the comments!