Check out my new article, “Reiki for Depression,” in the Fall 2019 Reiki News Magazine. You can buy 1 year (4 issues) from Amazon. Otherwise, a lot of co-op grocery stores carry the magazine.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. We can take a difficult situation and see it as an opportunity for spiritual growth. We can change our mind on how we see the situation and create openness. It doesn’t mean to give up or run away. It means to see clearly and wisely.
I have a hospice patient who is diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It is a disease affecting motor neurons of the spinal cord, which causes progressive weakness and atrophy of muscles. My patient is confined to a wheelchair, and he can only move his head. He was handed some major lemons.
I am surprised by my patient’s calm attitude and acceptance of his situation. It’s been a long two years for him. I’m sure he’s gone through a process of acceptance over time. My patient is happy with his life, and he has no regrets. He’s an amazing person!
When life hands us lemons, it’s hard to see that “this too shall pass.” But everything is temporary and impermeant. Our impermeant body is a blessing. Most of us will face the lemons of old age, illness, and eventually death.
What can we do when we have to face the lemons in our life? The making of lemonade is mindfulness, deep breathing, acceptance, positive attitude, resilience, and appreciation or gratitude. No one is perfect. There will be days when you don’t want to make lemonade – and that’s okay. A few days ago, I had a hospice patient who is consistently pleasant and happy, who said she was feeling angry that day. We are human – be human.
The main lessons that I learned from my hospice patients are to enjoy your life, be cheerful when working with people, and drink a lot of lemonade!
“Mindfulness is an embodied knowing of our present moment experience. It’s being present with our experiences in real time rather than being reactive and mindless, and pulled along by whatever is happening around us. It’s not about getting rid of thoughts or even about relaxation. It’s about developing the skills for greater clarity and choosing how we respond in any given moment.” – Alex Haley, Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing
“Even if we have a lot of money in the bank, we can die very easily from our suffering. So, investing in a friend, making a friend into a real friend, building a community of friends, is a much better source of security. We will have someone to lean on, to come to, during our difficult moments.
We can get in touch with the refreshing, healing elements within and around us thanks to the loving support of other people. If we have a good community of friends, we are very fortunate. To create a good community, we first have to transform ourselves into a good element of the community. After that, we can go to another person and help him or her become an element of the community. We build our network of friends that way. We have to think of friends and community as investments, as our most important asset. They can comfort us and help us in difficult times, and they can share our joy and happiness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Sit comfortably on your chair, bed, or sofa. Allow your legs to relax. Release any tension in your arms and shoulders. Straighten your back. Relax the tension around your eyes and forehead.
Inhale a long, deep breath – hold it – hold it – then slowly exhale. Repeat two more times. Relax. Feel the gentle vibration of your body.
Now read these words and then close your eyes to visualize the scene. You are sitting in a park with a beautiful lake in front of you. It’s a gorgeous day – warm with a little breeze. As you sit near the lake, you lift your head and look at the blue sky. The sky is bright blue with a few puffy clouds. You can feel the expansion of the sky – it is endless.
The sky is so expansive that it has room for everything. You can have a mind like a sky. Your mind can be open, free, and nonjudgmental. If you are thinking too much or feel stuck – look at the sky. It will remind you to let go – be spacious like the sky.
You can choose your thoughts, and the sky is a beautiful reminder to let go of the thoughts that are not serving you. Let your unhealthy and judgmental thoughts disappear into the sky. Let them go like passing clouds.
Our ancestors looked up at the sky with gratitude. They took the time to observe the moon, planets, and stars. Our ancestors honored the sun and pondered the mysteries of the night sky. Today, many shamans around the world advise us to look at nature for guidance.
The sky reminds us to keep our chin up and walk on the earth with respect.
True Self is the Self that existed before the division of heaven and earth and before one’s father and mother were born. This Self is the Self within me, the birds and the beasts, the grasses and the trees and all phenomena. It is what is called, “Buddha Nature.” – Takuan Soho, “The Unfettered Mind: Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master”
Today I said to myself, “I think I get it. I am getting to know my true self.” I am receiving spiritual knowledge from books, my intuition, and people around me. But how do I put it into practice? It’s easy to say, “Let go of your ego. Let yourself shine like the sun without judgment.”
I have a mind – that’s the problem! So I know that I need to train my mind – and that’s the practice. My true self is compassionate and open. I live moment by moment. I have a bright light that affects everything on my path and everything can affect me.
We need to rediscover our True Self because it is only in that state of mind that we full realize that the universe is us and we are the universe. – Frans Stiene, “The Inner Heart of Reiki: Rediscovering Your True Self”
Once again, the answer is meditation (even short meditations are effective). We need to sit down without any distractions and look at our mind. The goal is mindfulness, awareness, and oneness.
When we reach a state of muso (exceptional) we are resting our mind in the great bright light, our True Self. Now life becomes meditation and meditation becomes life. – Frans Stiene, “The Inner Heart of Reiki: Rediscovering Your True Self”
I have an ego that likes to judge, compare, and analyze. However, I can soften my ego with compassion and awareness. I am not like the shining sun that gives without judgment. But I can remind myself not to judge people or things – just let it go. With the knowledge and practice that I have now, I can create a joyful, bright spirit that lives moment by moment with an open mind.
“What we do now echoes into eternity.” – Marcus Aurelius
Wow! What a powerful quote! The message is clear: create the kind of life that you want right now. What is important to you? What do you want to continue into eternity?
I know that my love for people, animals, and nature will echo into eternity. I want to serve people and help people as much as I can. I want to continue to study, learn, grow, become wise and strong. I want to use my intuition to decode information that resides inside my body, mind, and the universe. I want to train my mind and increase my mindfulness, awareness, and love in my heart.
I want an adventurous life. I don’t need to hop on a plane and travel around the world (although that would be amazing). All I need to do is be open to the present moment. Carol Orsborn reminds us, “The present is always free and full of possibilities.” If we intentionally open ourselves to possibilities, life will naturally become adventurous.
I know two things that have stayed with me for a long time: yoga and meditation. Several years ago, I had a past life regression done. Through hypnosis, I traveled to three of my past lives. My previous life, before this one, I was a Buddhist monk in China. I accept that possibility.
We need to remember we are multidimensional beings. The past, present, and future are within us. Train your mind not to fear – something I continue to work on. Fear is a roadblock to intuition and spiritual growth.
I am reminded of another great quote: “The wise man makes his own heaven while the foolish man creates his own hell here and hereafter.” – Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda
Things to remember:
- Use the power of your mind. Create a strong mind through meditation.
- Seek sacred knowledge. Fill your mind with wisdom.
- Keep exploring who you are. Embrace your loneliness by putting your energy and effort into something that you love. Everyone experiences loneliness. However, we can learn to channel that energy.
- Be thankful for everything in your life.
- Increase the love in your heart by helping other people, animals, or another good cause.
- Create the kind of life that you want right now.
I am sending you love and healing energy.
Prayer for WisdomGreat Spirit
I have learned much during my life so far
I know and understand how to do many things
Thank you for making me intelligent
Thank you for giving me the opportunities to learn
Thank you for all the things you have exposed me to
I know that being intelligent doesn’t make me wise
Nor does being educated in a conventional way
I desire to be a wise person in addition to being smart
I desire to be wise in all ways as you are
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to become wise
Thank you for helping me to listen more
To watch more
To withhold my judgment longer
To speak the truth as I know it with courage
Thank you Great Spirit for access to wise people
Thank you for providing me with nature to learn from
Thank you for helping me to remain silent for longer periods of time
So that I can contemplate and hear you speak to me
I know that wisdom does not come all at once
I am listening
I will listen
I am becoming wise
Because you are all wise
And you are my source
You are within me
I have access to you at all time
I realize from my vantage point
That I know very little
Yet you are teaching me daily about what has heart and meaning
Great spirit I open my heart to you
I open my heart to experience
Thank you for helping me to withhold judgment
To see with clarity
To understand without confusion
To perceive with accuracy
To be insightful and filled with awareness
Thank you for making me a wise person
So that I may be generous and serve
So that I may make a contribution
And fulfill my life task work
Yes, with you in me, I am wise
“One of the greatest threats to full aliveness is the sleight of hand practiced by our egos and our culture to keep us from seeing things as they are. Contemplation happens any time that we catch the magician deceiving us and we get a glimpse of the truth behind the trick. Whether it is a happy truth or a hard one, that truth will always quicken our lives.” – Parker J. Palmer
With wisdom and compassion, we can accept things as they are. You were born in a human body, raised in a geographical place on earth, and given a culture to shape who you are. Life is an experience. But the magic happens when we co-create with the universe.
How can you co-create with the universe?
- Use creative visualization – use your imagination to create what you want in your life. Use a vision board to activate your goals. For example, use a 8.5 x 11 cardstock paper, cut out pictures from a magazine or print photos from your computer that align with your goals, and use words and phrases.
- Use hypnosis. After reading, The Most Beautiful: My Life with Prince by Mayte Garcia, I know that Prince used hypnosis to tap into his subconscious mind. No one can ever be like Prince. However, I find it interesting that he used hypnosis.
- Learn to trust your inner self. Sharpen your intuition through meditation, pranayama, chanting, music/sound therapy, Reiki, and yoga. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple computers, used Zen meditation to tap into his intuition and creative mind.
- Go with the flow. My Buddhist teacher Bhante Sathi says we should enjoy every aspect of our lives – even the things that we do not want to do.
- Use the power of prayer. Prayer invokes your goodwill and intention.
- Trust the universe. Yes, the universe is made of energy and we can tap into that energy. However, Dr. Ken Dychtwald states, “There is actually no such thing as pure energy or pure matter. Every aspect of the universe seems neither to be a thing or no-thing, but rather exists as a kind of vibrational or energetic expression.” I use Reiki to connect with universal energy and build trust.
Watch for synchronicities in your life. The universe will speak to you.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about my family and friends. My relationships are important to me. I need to let my family and friends know that they matter to me. Life is short. We need to put more energy and focus on the people that we care about the most. Be kind to strangers too – we are one big family.
There are several ways that you can show your loved ones that they matter to you:
- Put your cell phone away during conversations (turn off your cell phone is even better).
- Focus on each moment. Don’t have a “rushed” attitude.
- Put both feet on the floor to become grounded.
- Focus your attention on your loved one – act as if you have all the time in the world to be with him or her.
- Repeat back what your loved one says – to confirm that you are actively listening.
- Remember you are eternal – you have unlimited time.
“Thank you for being there, for not being one of the too-many who are not. Thank you for telling me keep yourself special but letting me figure out what that meant. —Dear Father.” By, Emily Byrnes