Article by Angie Webster
Gratitude is crucial in healing service. We have to practice gratitude in our lives for our own healing and those we treat will heal much more quickly as they shift into an “attitude of gratitude”. Many references to the Reiki precepts include “I will be grateful for my many blessings”. I think this is because of the importance of gratitude in healing our thoughts and even our past.
It can sometimes be difficult to pay much attention to gratitude, particularly when we are ill or there are difficult things happening in our lives and in the world. We may be tempted to think there is nothing to be grateful for. Our tendency is to focus our attention on the negative. This is damaging to our minds and our bodies. In order to promote healing, we must begin to shift our perception to appreciation of the good things in our lives.
Neuroscientist Rick Hanson has done a lot of research into how the brain has developed and its tendency to focus on the negative. According to him, our brains cling to any negative experiences and disregard the positive experiences. He has created the term “taking in the good” to describe a practice of intentionally focusing on something positive for a few seconds at a time several times a day in order to offset this biological tendency. (See the Wise Brain Bulletin for more on this and other related topics here).
By focusing on the negative, even subconsciously, we are less likely to see the wonderful things that we have in our lives that are all around us. We are more likely to think the world is bad, that we don’t have enough or that we aren’t enough. This is harmful to us on a mental and a physical level. Even in the worst of circumstances, if you focus on finding just one thing to be grateful for, one thing you appreciate, you will feel your mind shift and your emotions lift up. You will feel your energy moving more freely in your system. Once you have created this shift, you have triggered healing mechanisms in your system to begin repairing mind, body and spirit.
I find that when I can find something to be grateful for throughout my day, I feel better and things flow more smoothly than when I forget to do this practice. This doesn’t mean that I will never encounter any difficulty in my day, but it does mean I am better able to handle the challenges that arise. In fact, I have noticed that when I intentionally find at least one thing to be grateful for in a difficult situation, my feelings toward the situation change completely. I can see that even though the experience feels unpleasant, there is some good to be found in it. Even where there is pain, there is learning and growth.
The practice of gratitude has helped me heal myself. It has allowed me to view even very painful experiences from the past in a new way. I have been able to release these experiences. The longer I practice this, the more it proves to me that I always experience precisely what I need to heal and grow. Try keeping a gratitude journal each evening and write down at least one thing you found to be grateful for that day that you never thought to be grateful for before. You may find that this changes your life and your Reiki practice!
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Angie Webster made a significant contribution to the Reiki community, with a particular focus on Animal Reiki, which she had a deep affection for. As a knowledgeable Reiki Master Teacher and Author, she conducted online courses on energy healing, herbalism, flower essences, and personal growth.
She is the author of “Animal Reiki: How it Heals, Teaches & Reconnects Us with Nature” and “Reiki from A to Z”. Currently, Angie has decided to retire from her professional life to devote more time to her health, family, and the little joys of life.