When I decided to take a trip to Japan, I was like, "I better get the best of this." I approached my stay at the Zendo like training. I wanted to learn, grow, heal… all those keywords we love to use in Western spirituality, keywords that make Reiki or meditation workshops so attractive.
Our abbot, who had been practicing Zen Buddhism for over 40 years, showed us our meditation pods (which also served as our beds), how to enter the Zendo (the monk’s meditation hall) and do Zazen (sitting meditation) the correct way (“no socks for Zazen Nathalie-san!) During long sits, he would suddenly start speaking very theatrically and share Zen teachings, all of them very simple but moving.
Yet every time another practitioner or I approached him with a question—” Why do I have pain in my heart area?” “Why do I feel pressure in my stomach?”, etc.—he would answer, “You are trying too hard.” After days and days of “you are trying too hard,” seeing my nonplussed face, he kindly told me. “When we try too hard to heal, we lose our balance even further. And then we add more practices to try to regain our balance, becoming a never-ending cycle.”
The Dalai Lama said, “we have to take care of ourselves without selfishly taking care of ourselves.” At the Zendo, that meant sitting just to enjoy breathing. Sitting not for our own healing, but for all living beings. Sitting with a very firm posture, but an open mind, letting things happen the way they should.
Many people who practice Reiki tell me that they can share the relaxing benefits with others through sessions, but have a hard time benefiting from their own practice. I have heard the same from other spiritual or mindfulness practitioners. And to be honest, often times it happens to me too.
But doing my practice with less emphasis on the concept of self-healing and more awareness of sitting together with every living being has helped me shed the layer of expectation that stood in the way of enjoying the beauty of Reiki regardless of results.
A priceless learning for a goal-oriented, over-achiever, efficiency-driven New Yorker.
So, just for today, just do your practice and let go.
Love and light,