—By Nathalie J.
One of the cornerstones of Reiki practice is meditating on the five precepts. These precepts are a fine guide for living even if you're not into Reiki:
"Just for today,
do not anger,
do not worry
be honest in your work,
be compassionate to yourself and others.*"
The thing is... On my mother's side, I come from a Spanish traditional Christian background that thrives on guilt. The matriarchs of the family have used it for decades to get what they want: from help in the kitchen to properties.
What does guilt have to do with precepts you ask?
Well, I'm the kind of person who's very easy going 95% of the time. Another 4% I'm a fiery Scorpio and the remaining 1% a NYC psycho. When I read "do not anger" I don't get inspired. I feel guilty. Guilty I lose it sometimes. Guilty I can be peaceful 100% of the time.
On my father's side, I come from a Belgian thrifty family. Thrifty meaning extreme cheapskate. They calculate every penny spent and fret about the future if they go 1 euro above budget (don't even mention credit cards... they're the devil!) I've improved my relationship with money but it may be a few more years until I reach the 'do not worry" stage.
Nevertheless, living in New York I felt the need for a precept or mantra you can use when people complain about your dog or when tourists insist on checking their map at the entrance of the subway. Or help to control my temper each time my well intentioned family asks: "So what you're going to do?" midway through my sabbatical year.
The other day at a meditation class the theme was light and peace. I liked how simple and positive those concepts are. I decided to create my own mantra or what like to call a "pre-precept" to support me while I advance on the Reiki path. "I Am Light."
Repeating has helped me cope with neurotic dog moms.
Smile at frustrated post office employees.
It even helped me stop spiraling down when my family asks, "So what are you doing?"
Without guilt. Without thoughts. Just light.
Do you have a mantra that helps you remain centered? Would love to hear from you.
*There are many translation of the Japanese original text. I like this one because it's short and sweet.
Photo credit: "Flint Castle" by British painter William Turner.