Updated: Feb 19
I call one of my spiritual teachers the other day and say, “I feel like I’m not allowed to have any fun.” I’m looking for words of comfort. Things like, “Oh, that’s too bad. What a shame that you have been brought to feel this way from the horrible events of your earlier life and now you can’t have any fun. Booooooooo. Poor you.” But that’s not what he says.
Instead of that beautiful hymn of sympathy, agreement and compassion, he says, “That’s great!” Hmmm, I think, sometimes, I really don’t like him very much.
Ignoring him, I plow on to plead my case: I’m feeling drawn to deepen my study of Reiki, an energy healing therapy, and I had signed up for the master class. As I was enjoying the thought of taking the class, I started to feel anxious, scared, ungrounded. Like I was about to get blind-sided. Like something was about to fall apart. Like I used to feel as a child.
And he says, “That’s even better.”
Now I’m on tilt. One shock to the system I could handle, but two? I can’t get hold of myself. The truth was, I had already jumped off the cliff of misery before I even called him. Now in free fall, all I want to do is prove all of the ways I’d been wronged, and how I wasn’t responsible for my pain, and that I’m a good person, and and and and and.
He doesn’t let me get very far. “Why do you want to have fun?” he asks and then waits for an answer. In my increasingly unstable state, I can’t even guess how to answer that. Isn’t fun a basic joy of life? What is your problem? I say nothing. We sit in silence. Well, he sits. I pout.
He breaks in, “Why do you want to do this course? To have fun? Is that the reason? Then it’s the wrong reason. Looking for joy to come from external factors — like work or people or events — will eventually lead to feeling misery due to those same external factors.
The outside world is always changing. Always in a cycle. Reversing itself from one moment to the next.
“True joy doesn’t come from the outside, but the inside. True joy sees all things as perfectly leading you to your true path and purpose. There is no “wrong” or “bad”. Sometimes you get the diamond ring. Sometimes you get the crap sandwich. It is all the same because your true joy is not dependent on it.
"If you make your joy dependent on the outside world, then your inner world, your true power, will be subject to the whims of external events. The pendulum must swing. So, don’t do something because it brings you joy, be in joy without conditions.”
Agh! I think. I know he’s right. This has been part of the practice for so long: just maintaining inner peace and balance no matter what. I’ve experienced this on so many levels and even taught this to my students, clients, friends. Yet today I want someone to feel sorry for me. I don’t want to be strong. I don’t want to be powerful. I want solace. And I haven’t quite given up yet.
“So why do I do things at all?” I ask. “Why even try? Why even have goals?”
And he says, “You have to make sure that you’re in touch with your motivation. The goal has to come from beauty. Do it because it feels right. Because it feels true. Because it feels aligned with your path and your purpose. Or because it feels like the right path for you to be of service. But, fun? No. Not for fun, joy, beauty or harmony. These things, you already have access to within you.”
I say nothing, suspended in mid-air. Now what? I think.
“Now bring it back. Bring yourself back into balance. When you lose your peace and poise, you lose your power because you’ve lost your connection to your inner guidance. Only when you’re in balance can you access the guidance that can tell you whether a path or goal or idea is the right next one for you. When the path is clear, take a step in that direction and reconnect with your guidance. You have to test it. Experiment with it all along the way. No conclusions, just try it out and see what happens.
“So right now, take a deep breath and look again at this course. If it feels like the right fit for you, do it. No matter what difficulty it may bring.”
And that’s how I ended up completing my Reiki Master level.
*Originally printed in November 17th issue of Redding Sentinel, Redding, CT.