Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Responding to a World Turned Upside Down

I am deeply grateful for my Reiki practice and the learning it has brought me through other teachers during this time of our whole world being turned upside down, personally, in our communities and globally.  One of the things that has
helped me is a Regenerative perspective, which I have learned about from Ben Haggard, who was introduced to the Reiki community by Phyllis Furumoto.  One of the Regenerative Thinking perspectives he introduced us to is Levels of Energy.  As Reiki is essentially ‘energy work’ I found this description interesting and it has been useful to me in making sense of what has been happening around me.  So here is my current perspective relating the levels of energy to the current situation.

The Vital level of energy is all about survival.  It’s the energy level I function from when all I can think about is my survival needs, such as food, warmth or physical safety.  I feel that my thinking comes from a quite primitive and not very clever part of my brain.  I recognise this in the overwhelming desire so many people had to but toilet rolls – a basic comfort need!  Understanding how I function when I am in this energy level gives me compassion for those who fight in supermarkets.  They are functioning at the level of Vital energy, where fighting for survival is natural!

Next is the Automatic and is how society functions from accepted norms.  It gives me a way to carry on my life without too much thought: going shopping on a certain day each week, buying certain foods, greeting friends with a hug, saying please and thank you.  Our Automatic functioning has been hugely disrupted by Covid-19 as we are required to change our normal routines to combat it.  Having new rules to live by is difficult for many because they are not automatic.  ‘Old habits die hard’.  My response to this disruption can either be to drop down into the Vital level (argue or ignore) or to raise my energy to the next level which is called Sensitive.

I have been heartened to observe many people shifting to the Sensitive level rather than descending to the Vital.  With greater empathy for those around them, people are noticing others in their community needing help and taking action to offer it, such as bringing groceries or cooking meals for those unable to leave the house.  I have enjoyed hearing so much about these acts of kindness on the news, instead of the usual focus on actions that are the result of Vital level energy.

There is what’s described as a ‘glass ceiling’ between the Sensitive energy level and the next ones.  It requires some effort to break through and most of the time people tend to function in the first three levels.  I am certainly aware that I can shift between them on a daily basis and to move to the next level I think it helps to have some form of spiritual practice, which for me is Reiki and singing!

The next level is Conscious – where I become more aware of my thinking and the results of my actions in the world.  When I am conscious, I have more choice about what happens and take more responsibility.  Covid-19 offers an amazing consciousness practice: to notice and pay attention to everything we touch when out of the house.  We might pick up the virus from anything we touch and there is so much of our interaction with our world through our hands that is normally unconscious.  If we could be aware of everything we touch we would have more awareness of the present moment. 

The next level is the Creative and I have noticed that when I am able to respond to the current challenges not by descending in energy level to Automatic or Vital but by raising my energy and awareness, an amazing amount of creativity is released.  Consciousness enables me to see what is actually needed instead of what I fear or assume and Creative energy enables me to find new possibilities.  In the past few weeks, I have been quite amazed at how much my creative energy has been flowing in response to the challenges this situation brings.  I have found creative solutions to the cancellation of most of my work, such as moving my singing sessions online.  The creative level of energy brings more benefit to the wider community, as well as giving me more satisfaction in life, no matter what else is going on. 

The next level of energy is Unitive, where I experience being part of something much bigger, in the same way I am in Reiki as I give treatment.  This has offered me the perspective that the results of this virus are part of a bigger picture where it is not ‘wrong’ or ‘a mistake’.  I am aware, for example, that nothing other than something as extreme as this could have grounded so many aircraft or kept so many cars off the road and made so much difference to air quality around the globe in such a short time.   The last level of energy is Transformative, in which there is the potential to move to a completely new way of being.  This potential is perhaps being offered to our whole planet through the pandemic. 

I know that facing the Coronavirus challenge I have moved between all of these energy levels at different times.  I recognise that being mindful about the energy level I function from, and practising Reiki to enable me to shift it, my health and wellbeing is enhanced. This means I am able to make a more useful and creative contribution to the world.  While it’s not possible to be Conscious, Creative and Unitive all the time (not yet having achieved enlightenment!) I find that when I can raise my energy levels in this way it brings me greater joy in life.