After getting pleasantly interrupted in my blogging by a morning in the park on Friday, I wanted to circle back to the talk I went to last Thursday. It was given by Frans Stiene, co-founder of the International House of Reiki and Shibumi International Reiki Association, and co-author of several books about Reiki.
Frans talked about a variety of topics, but three of the concepts really stood out for me, in part due to the stories he shared to illustrate them. I want to share them with you because I believe the philosophies can make positive contributions to our well-being.
The first concept is called “As it is”. The basic premise as I understood it was to not attach too greatly to someone/something and accept it “as it is”. The story Frans told was about a dinner one of his teachers served him while in Japan. The teacher knew he was a vegetarian, but served him raw fish. Frans accepted the meal and ate it, not having had fish in over 20 years. He explained that the teacher was not being mean or spiteful, but wanted to see Frans’ reaction to being served the fish. Frans could have had all sorts of negative reactions, from refusing to eat it, to yelling at his teacher, to harboring resentment and anger over the dinner. Instead, he took the moment as it was, ate the fish, and that was it. The moment was over and he moved on.
I wondered if the concept of “as it is” was devoid of emotion, you just accepted what was happening without responding, somewhat helpless. I was able to ask Frans about this, and he said that you definitely experience the emotions associated with the situation but you don’t hold on to them.
That brings me to concept #2 – let go. In the story above, Frans could have spent the next few hours or days fuming over the dinner incident, but he had already let go of any thoughts he initially had regarding the situation. He told a story about two Buddhist monks, a father and a son, that are walking in the woods. They happen upon a crying woman in a beautiful gown. They ask why she is crying, and she says she can’t get across the river because the bridge has been washed out. The father says he will carry the woman across the river so her dress does not get damaged. The son is amazed his father offered to do this as they are not permitted to touch women. His father hoists the woman on his back and carries her across. He rejoins his son and they continue to walk on their journey. An hour later the son exclaims to his father, “I can’t believe you carried that woman!” And the father says, “I put her down an hour ago. It is you who continue to carry her”. How profound is that?
The third concept that really resonated with me is spending time outside your comfort zone. There are many benefits to going into unknown territory, such as a building confidence, learning new things about yourself and the world, and a wonderful uptick in self-esteem. What did Frans do to step outside his comfort zone? He bought a pair of shorts. When he wore them his 17 year old daughter did a double take, as she had NEVER seen him wear shorts that weren’t a swim suit. He identified something that would take him out of his zone, and overcame his fear to make it happen. How do you think that made him feel?
Recently I stepped out of my comfort zone by doing a video of Waterstone Wellness’ Reiki healing space, and using an app to put together the final product. I am no Steven Spielberg behind the camera, and hearing my voice on tape made me cringe a little. But I did it, and now I want to do more videos. (You can watch the final product here.) How can you step out of your comfort zone? Take a small step like Frans or check out what my sister-in-law did in a previous blog. The confidence of successfully going out of your comfort zone can spread to other areas of your life, and you may realize that you venture out more often. How could your life be different if you even took one step outside “the zone”?
Three concepts – as it is, let go, and stepping outside your comfort zone—can be beautiful additions to living life. If it seems a little overwhelming to adopt all three, start with one and practice it until it feels natural. This could take some time, so be patient and compassionate with yourself. The wisdom you gain and the peace you discover will make it all worthwhile.