Article by Phillip Hawkins
Fear like any emotion becomes an experience the moment we become aware of it, and like any story, be it history, legend or in this case Reiki, there are always two sides to every emotion and every experience. Until we personally experienced something it remains no more than an intellectual concept, it’s only when we become aware of it and experience it firsthand does it become ‘real’ and we make it our own. In the same way that we can pick up a book and read the story of Reiki and the Usui legend, it’s only when we come to Reiki and embrace both the spirit and the letter does it become a ‘real’ life changing experience.
We can sympathise and empathise with another’s predicament but until we have experienced a similar circumstance ourselves we have no real understanding of how that person may be feeling or what they have gone through. Only when we speak from a place of personal experience can the words “I know what you are going through” begin to take on real value and meaning, yet even then, emotions and feelings are subjective and unique to the person experiencing them. How one person reacts or responds to a given emotional stimulus can be totally different to another faced with the same set of circumstances. Life is full of examples of people overcoming life threatening challenges whilst others seemed unable to effectively deal the everyday obstacles that life places before them.
Fear by definition is always focused on the future; in much the same way that regret can only ever be rooted in the past, yet both have the power to debilitate us here and now. Fear is a feeling of apprehension, a fear of the future, a dread of some event that has not happened, and as such, no matter how real the fear may feel, it is only our personal interpretation of ‘one possible outcome’ that owes more to the quality of our mindset and thought processes, than a past experience or certainty of the future. To fully understand and control our fears we must first be aware of them and experience them to the point that we can exorcise them; if we try to run away we simply strengthen their existence, fear is a parasite fed by ignorance and resistance, and what we resist will most definitely persist. We must be able to work through our fear, to understand it, and then disempower it through knowledge, and understanding of its true nature.
One of the cardinal principles of Reiki is that ‘the only person we can truly heal is ourselves’, and the healing of oneself only becomes possible through raising our knowledge and understanding. Fear is like an elusive shadow; we feel its effects without being able to physically get hold of it, and unless we understand the nature of fear we will always feel powerless to overcome it, that’s why the physical reality is always easier to deal with, how many times have we heard the words, or even said it ourselves as we emerge from the far side of a fearful situation “it’ wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be”. This is because fear not only fills us with dread it also undermines our confidence and gets us to doubt ourselves and our ability to deal with life effectively.
The fact that you are reading this means you have survived countless stressful situations where you had little or no experience and your fear of the unknown made you question whether you would be able to get through the challenges ahead. We are survivors born of survivors and no matter how weak or afraid we may feel in the midst of fear, we are far stronger than we can ever imagine, and once we have found the strength to work through our fears and experience them from both sides the process will become easier as knowledge and understanding allows us to regain control over our thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Nature has gifted us a built in fight or flight response and our natural reaction is to run from anything that frightens us, be it real or imaginary. Unfortunately our brain can’t differentiate between a real danger and an emotionally charged (fearful) mental image of a perceived threat, but both will create the same adverse effect on our physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. This fight or flight response is right and appropriate when there is a real and present danger, but we must learn to distinguish between the perception and the reality. If we are not careful the old acronym of a fear; ‘False Expectation Appearing Real’ can immobilise us as we can become paralysed by our own thoughts, and jailors to our own confinement.
Reiki may not provide us with a ‘get out of jail free card’ but it will provide us with the key to understanding the true nature of our fears and the illusionary power they hold over us. Unfortunately that key is to be found on the other side of our fears.
A Reiki practitioner since 1999, Phillip started teaching Reiki in 2000 and using those skills and abilities he has spent the majority of the last seventeen years working with a wide range of social and educational needs including Autism and ADHD. Working with addicts dependent on alcohol and drugs, people whose lives were extremely violent and abusive, and others who had to deal with severe mental health issues. This has enabled him to work extensively in the private sector, schools, colleges, education and care in the community, the prison service and psychiatric units.
In 2016, Phillip decided to semi-retire from full-time employment to concentrate on developing his career as a published author and the setting up of his Reiki personal development programme at the Chilton Community College.