By Deborah Dixon, Reiki Master Teacher
Just for today, I will not anger
Just for today, I will not worry
Just for today, I will be grateful
Just for today, I will do my work honestly
Just for today, I will be kind to all living things
The Reiki principles open the practitioner to the restorative energy of Reiki. These principles echo the observances of many disciplines devoted to the pursuit of peace and health, and essentially can be summed up as surrendering control and embracing gratitude.
Research has shown that people who actively practice gratitude are happier and have less depression and anxiety.1 Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans register more activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and medial prefrontal cortex of the brain when people are feeling gratitude.2 Why is gratitude so powerful? How can a simple shift in our perception yield so much for our well-being?
We might be able to make lists of people, things, and circumstances for which we are grateful, but gratitude is a feeling as much as it is a cognitive awareness.3 The feeling of gratitude that comes from the awareness of our blessings immediately shifts our relationship to ourselves, and to the world. It makes real the knowledge that we are not in control, and that though we can make choices to optimize our health, ultimately our life is something bestowed. It is beyond our sphere of creating. Recognizing this and opening to receive the gift of life is a wonderful antidote to an ego-centered life.4
Interestingly, one study has noted an increased use of “we” words in a group asked to write gratitude letters, as opposed to a group asked to reflect on their thoughts and feelings about negative experiences.5 Gratitude shifts our focus to that of our higher selves by seeing the positive and affirmative, as opposed to the more ego-centered perspective of lack and need. So much is coming to us—filling us. We are enough. A life filled with Reiki is an ever-present reminder of this affirmative movement toward life and abundance.
The practice of giving and receiving Reiki has at its heart the surrender of control and the willingness to receive. We gratefully open to the energy, and to our blessings, and release control of whatever outcome our practice produces. Through the practice of surrendering control, we find our connection to each other, to the world around us, and to the nurturing and non-judging force that brings us life.
1 Petrocchi, Nicola, and Alessandro Couyoumdjian. “The Impact of Gratitude on Depression and Anxiety: the Mediating Role of Criticizing, Attacking, and Reassuring the Self.” Self and Identity, vol. 15, no. 2, 2015, pp. 191–205., doi:10.1080/15298868.2015.1095794.
2 Fox, Glenn R., et al. “Neural Correlates of Gratitude.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 6, 2015, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01491.
3 Emmons, Robert A., and Michael E. Mccullough. “Counting Blessings versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life.” Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, vol. 84, no. 2, 2003, pp. 377–389., doi:10.1037//0022-35126.96.36.1997.
4Emmons, Robert. “What Gets in the Way of Gratitude?” Greater Good, Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, 12 Nov. 2013, greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_stops_gratitude.
5Wong, Y. Joel, et al. “Does Gratitude Writing Improve the Mental Health of Psychotherapy Clients? Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Psychotherapy Research, vol. 28, no. 2, Mar. 2016, pp. 192–202., doi:10.1080/10503307.2016.1169332.
By: Deborah Ballard, MD, MPH, Duke Integrative Medicine I have been a physician for over 30 years. I have known thousands of people as patients. Most patients who seek out an integrative medicine physician want advice on how to live a long, healthy life. Of course, I always talk about the ...READ MORE
By: Riitta H Rutanen Whaley, Mindfulness Instructor, Duke Integrative Medicine Author: Pausing Mindfully The deepest lessons in life, as well as the greatest opportunities for change, often arrive during difficult circumstances. Up until now, we as a species have for the most part managed to avoid sensing the deep undercurrent ...READ MORE