Letting Go of the I
The whole system of Reiki is about letting go of the “I”.
Mikao Usui pointed this out very clearly within the precepts.
The precepts are:
Do not be angry
Do not worry
Practice this diligently
Show compassion to yourself and others
If we look to the precepts only at a superficial level, we will not see that they are about letting go of the “I”, but if we look within them more deeply we can see this clearly. Let’s ask ourselves some questions and see what the answers are.
Who gets angry?
I get angry.
Who gets worried?
I get worried.
Who is not being grateful?
I am not being grateful.
Who is in the way of not practicing diligently?
I am in the way of not practicing diligently.
Who is in the way of being compassionate?
I am in the way of being compassionate.
Reiki Precepts – A Deeper Perspective
Looking at it from a deeper perspective, slowly we can start to see that the precepts, therefore, are about letting go of the “I”. If we let go of the “I” then there is no “I” who gets angry or worried. There is no “I” who is in the way of being grateful, not practicing diligently, or being compassionate.
However, it seems that within many teachings of the system of Reiki, often we try to strengthen the grip on the “I”, rather than gradually (and maybe one day completely) letting go of the “I”.
Let’s look at an example of doing hands-on healing on others.
When we feel something while doing hands-on healing on others, often we start to label what we feel; we might feel something and label it heat, for example. As soon as we label it heat we might say to ourselves; “Because I feel the heat, now I need to use this symbol.” Or we might say: “Because I feel heat this means that my client has a serious issue.”
Labeling, distinguishing, and judging all come from the “I”
Labeling, distinguishing, and judging all come from the “I” – I feel this and therefore I will do that to my client. Aside from the fact that we are “doing” rather than “being”, by labeling, distinguishing, and judging we tighten our grip on the “I”. So we also can ask ourselves some simple questions: Who is labeling? Who is distinguishing? Who is judging? The answer to all of these is “I am”.
Mikao Usui also added mindfulness practices within his teaching, like Joshin Kokyu Ho, or focusing on a mantra or symbol.
“Mindfulness requires observation, but it must be free from interpretation and passing judgement.” -Tarthang Tulku
These mindfulness practices are there also to help us let go of the “I” so that we can reach the ultimate teachings within the system of Reiki: just Be.
When we just Be with our client we start to go into a state of oneness which can not happen when the “I” is involved. Because as soon as there is an “I”, there is a “me” and “you” and suddenly we are separate.
To be Reiki is the essence of Mikao Usui’s teachings but to just Be we have to let go of the “I”.
QUESTION: Does letting go of the “I” mean that we lose our unique humanness – say, our beliefs, our beautiful singing voice, our love of chocolate ice cream? – and become a bland, nameless, faceless person with no opinions as we go through our life?
No; it simply means that we let go of attachments to thoughts like, “I am a kinder person than you because I have been practicing for 5 years and you only just started”, “My voice is more pleasant to listen to than yours because I have perfect pitch”, or “I have a more sophisticated palate than you because I like chocolate and you like vanilla”. While each of these – comparing, labeling, distinguishing, judging – may be true to our human mind, they all create separateness.
Separateness is a cloud.
And separateness – holding on to “I” and “you” – is like trying to hold on to a cloud, something temporary that will come and go. If instead, we practice mindfulness “free from interpretation and passing judgement”, if we practice the system of Reiki in that way, we can begin to loosen our grip on the “I” and hold on to something that always was and is with us, our True Self. In doing this, we can just Be