Article by Angie Webster
The first two Reiki principles or precepts state, “Just for today, I will not worry” and “Just for today, I will not anger.” I admit, when I got attuned to Reiki, I spent a lot of time pondering what these really meant. I even wondered if the true meaning was somehow distorted or lost slightly in the translation from Japanese to English. In truth, I still wonder a bit! These two principles are very important and they can guide our daily lives and even the other principles, but we need to be careful how we understand them.
I don’t think it is intended that we pretend we don’t ever feel the emotions anger or fear (which is what drives worry). Nor are we meant to stifle these emotions when they arise. The wording implies that we are not meant to feel or acknowledge these emotions, but that is not healthy. Most healers recognize that stuffing emotions creates illness.
Emotions are useful tools that give us information about ourselves, our bodies, our environments and our relationships. We would have a much more difficult time on our journey of healing and growth without our emotions as indicators. They can be uncomfortable or very pleasant, but either way, they are giving us useful information. It is up to us to decide what to do with it after that.
That is where the first two precepts come in. We can receive the information that we are feeling anger and then choose to react and then we are very involved in the anger. At that point, it might be correct to say we are angry, whereas before we simply felt angry. The other choice is to notice we are feeling anger and not to feed the thoughts, but to simply notice them and notice the feelings in our body. Not easy. Once we allow our thoughts and reactions to become involved in the anger, we are a bit lost in it until we either consciously decide to disengage from those or all the outside stimuli that are feeding it subside for awhile. It only takes about 20 minutes for anger chemicals to dissipate from the bloodstream after they are released, assuming we don’t keep feeding them with new thoughts of anger.
Similar things are true for the emotion of fear. We notice that we are feeling fear and then we can choose to either become locked into thoughts of worry and ‘what-if’ thinking, creating anxiety in our mind and body, or we have the opportunity to choose to be open to seeing what happens if we face the fear, even if we have to do it in small steps. We can try being open to not knowing what will happen, if fear of the unknown is what is we are feeling. There is more opportunity and wonder in the mystery than in all the what-ifs our minds could ever create!
More than anything, the first two precepts are really about staying present and aware. You have to be aware of your emotions and your thoughts in order to make a conscious choice in how you will respond to any emotion or habitual thought process. When we live caught up in thoughts of anger, we are really thinking not about what is going on right now, but about what went on when we got angry and the ways we imagine it will make us angry in the future. When we are feeling fear, we are focused on the future and our ability to handle the present is diminished the longer we are caught in worry. You will always be better able to handle any situation when you are aware of the present.
Never feel like you have to ignore or suppress your emotions. Doing so traps toxins in your body and causes illness. Not only that, but tuning out your emotions also tunes out one of the best paths you have to spiritual growth and to hearing what your body and mind need to heal. Choose wisely how to tend to them, but never ignore these tools!
Angie Webster is a Reiki Master, Teacher, and Author. Angie’s primary focus is animal Reiki, which she adores. She teaches online classes on energy healing, flower essences, herbalism, and personal growth. Angie often works with nature healing and Earth healing, hoping to better understand our connection with Mother Earth. Angie is the author of Animal Reiki: How it Heals, Teaches & Reconnects Us with Nature and Reiki from A to Z. You can follow her at: angie-webster-healing.teachable.com and on Facebook (facebook.com/angiewebsterhealing).