Monday, 4 August 2014

100 Years Ago...



On the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War I have been thinking about the fact that there has always been a war going on somewhere for the whole of my life, with all the suffering that goes with it.


In a letter written by my great grandmother she says that when my great grandfather heard the news of the outbreak of that war he declared: “The worst has happened”.  In another letter she writes: “if father has been anti war (as he has been all his life) he is more anti war than ever today.  The great difference is simply that he feels the present war was absolutely unpreventable... It is just as if you and Alec were standing quietly talking and some rough fellow were to come along and sat to Alec “You stand aside while I knock this little girl down.”

So could we have a world without war?  There is often a feeling of inevitability about war taking place, such as was expressed by my great grandfather.  Is it just part of what human beings do that cannot be changed?

At about the same time as my great grandmother wrote those words, many thousands of miles away in Japan a man named Mikao Usui was beginning a journey that would lead him to develop a healing method that we now know as Reiki.  He saw it as something that should be available to anyone and that it would help people re-connect body and soul.  This practice also spread around the world and has lasted almost 100 years so far.  So perhaps there is hope in the fact that something that heals us has lasted longer than any of the wars.

Our practice encourages people to overcome conflict, starting with ourselves through daily self healing and continuing with sharing this peace of mind with others.

At an event for homeless US war veterans some of them received Reiki. one of them commented: “If we would’ve had this type of ‘technology’ before we went to war, nobody’d want to fight” (watch the video here: http://midwestreiki.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/hands-to-hearts-bringing-reiki-to-us-military-veterans/)

Today there is conflict in Gaza, that seems unlikely to end soon.  However I came across a blog entry about an Israeli woman learning Reiki in a Palestinian area (http://jerusalemgypsy.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/learning-reiki-in-beit-jala.html) The class brought together Jews, Palestinians and others and enabled them to gain a deeper understanding of each other’s lives.  I have often seen how Reiki classes bring together people who would not otherwise meet and I think that this is part of the key to an end to the suffering caused by wars.  Reiki, as a world wide practice, also brings people of different nationalities together and this is also one aspect of the Reiki Home project (reikihome.org).  War is only possible when the other person is not seen as a human being, but as some other concept which is called ‘enemy’. 

Fundamentally I believe human beings want to be kind to each other.   The unkindness often starts with ourselves.  When I cared less about myself I often felt more blame, resentment and anger towards others.  The more I have learned to love and care for myself with the help of my Reiki practice, the more I’ve been able to share that love and care with others.  In simple terms the more I was able to forgive myself, the more I could forgive others.  When there is forgiveness there is no war.

So while I’m not na├»ve enough to believe that there will soon be no war in the world, I do think that we can each make a difference through Reiki towards creating a world that is more at peace with itself, because we are each a piece of that peace.