Health & Harmony

Bringing Reiki, life and wellbeing to Galashiels and the rest of the Scottish Borders

Reiki and fear

I have been thinking about how Reiki helps us practically, to make our lives happier.  Science tells us that we operate 95% of the time from our subconscious minds, that huge data storage system that gives us our instinctual and habitual patterns of thought and behaviour.  This part of our brain works so quickly that it has often reacted before our self-aware mind has formulated a thought around it.  You know what I mean, your hand has moved away from the heat source before you have thought ‘wow, that’s hot!’  Incredible as it may seem, the majority of these instinctive, habitual responses are learned before we are six years of age.

I have always been really afraid of the dark.  I am fine if others are there … so it has really helped having a large family and a houseful of dogs!  My special terror is of uncurtained, dark windows, and sky lights.  It is no use engaging the logical mind in this scenario.  We used to live in a very rural setting in Devon.  We were surrounded by glorious, peaceful fields.  Our nearest neighbours were the dairy cattle on the neighbouring farm.  The nearest town was miles away and would have required a long and arduous steeply uphill walk.  It made no sense at all to fear that someone would be ‘out there’ looking through my windows.  I would have been more likely to see a horse or sheep looking through the window (which did happen on a few occasions!)  Did that knowledge help me?  Not one bit.

Some time ago, I decided to send Reiki to this fear, with the aim of healing the fear.  I was astonished when a vivid memory came up from when I was a two year old child.  My father had a severe bout of pneumonia and his fever brought hallucinations, and I remember him pointing to the sky lights above the living room window and showing me the faces looking in at us.  It is a very vivid memory … but who would have thought that it would still be the basis of my instinctual response to dark windows all these years later?

I am thankful to Reiki for this insight, but what happens now?  Does awareness of the origins of the fear help?    Yes, it does.  Now I am able to engage the more evolved portion of my brain, the forebrain, to witness the reaction when it comes up.  Simply that, just to witness it and to know that the fear that was totally appropriate when I was two years old before I had the capacity for rational thought, but is no longer serving me.  I can choose to respond in a different way.

Your ‘fear’ may be something different entirely … maybe not a fear at all, but anger for example.  Something or someone that just has the ability to ‘push your buttons’ time after time.  Perhaps a fellow employee just ‘drives you mad’, everything he says irritates you, or he says nasty or hurtful things constantly, but there is no escaping him.

Allow me to share one of my favourite poems:

Autobiography in Five Chapters
Portia Nelson
From: Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

The message is beautifully expressed in those five chapters.  Be aware of those ‘holes in the sidewalk’, don’t pretend you don’t see them and just have the same old habitual response time and again.    Perhaps you consider changing your job to escape your hurtful colleague, well you could be sure that the same situation would arise with another person … until you work on this aspect of yourself you will encounter it again and again.

What about the annoying person, do they get off completely?  Well, as far as you are concerned, yes they do.  Their behaviour is entirely their concern, it is for your colleague to do the internal work on himself … or not, as the case may be.  Your concern is your response, whether you make that angry retort, or get filled with rage, or take it out on your spouse when you get home.  Your colleague (or the fear) only has the power to hurt you if you give him that power, if you give your power away.  De-activate your ‘buttons’, there is no fun in pushing someone’s buttons if they don’t react!  Change your attitude around it, instead of gritting your teeth, give thanks for another opportunity to do that internal work – even if you don’t really feel it yet.

We all have these triggers that cause us to suffer and we would much rather not have them, thank you very much.  But, hand on heart, I doubt that there are many people who would choose to not have had their life challenges, because those challenges lead to our greatest periods of insight and growth.

Easy to say, I know, but being aware allows you to do your internal work.  The results are not immediate, it does require work, but it is possible to change your responses … bit by bit.

So, apart from my story of my fear of the dark, what does Reiki have to do with this?  Well  herein lies the great value of establishing the discipline of a formal daily Reiki practice, your self-treatment, because that is a daily renewing of the connection to your highest values and the Reiki energy … and without that it is very easy to get caught up in these negative habitual responses.


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