Change your life: five principles of Reiki

Photo from bubblews.com

Photo from bubblews.com

A colleague told me they were going for a Reiki healing. The unfamiliar, foreign sound of the name got me curious. I then learned that Reiki originated in Japan. It came from two Japanese words “rei” and “ki” which means universal life energy. A reiki healer or master whose energy is attuned to the universal life energy could heal mental, emotional and physical imbalances through laying their hands on the person’s body.

Last weekend, I accompanied someone who suffers from claustrophobia. He also finds it hard to breathe sometimes. His spirit is so low and he had been unhappy for quite some time now.  After an hour session, he noticed that his breathing became even and smooth. He also noticed that he no longer struggles inside a train. He became happier and more relaxed.

I got very fascinated with Reiki that the following day I went to the bookstore to learn more about it. I read about the five principles of Reiki and realized that we don’t really have to go for a Reiki healing often to change our lives. We could make a significant positive change in our life if we live each day with these five principles.

1. Just for today, I will not be angry

Anger is not just a waste of time but energy. Harboring anger will eventually take its toll on our health and wellbeing. It will destroy relationships and only worsen an unfavorable situation. Like the cliché, “holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else but you are the one who gets burned instead.” Let go of that coal. Hold a rose instead and let its fragrance reach other’s soul.

2.  Just for today, I will not worry

Worry is just like anger. It can affect our health and makes us unhappy. Worrying doesn’t change anything. It will only prolong our agony. Instead of worrying, it’s better to follow principle 3 and trust that everything happens for a good reason. Eventually, negative circumstances no matter how painful or hard, will makes sense someday.


3.  Just for today, I will be grateful

Instead of being negative, learn to be grateful. If we start to appreciate the little things – the aroma of coffee, the cool breeze, the smile of a stranger, the assistance from a classmate or co-worker, anything that we don’t normally notice – we will know how many good things life has gifted us. Instead of complaining about a slow internet connection when all you do online is waste your time with superficial conversation on social network, be grateful of the time you were given to have a good quality conversation with someone over the phone or all the better, face to face.

4. Just for today, I will do my work honestly

And if I may add, industriously. We spend a considerable amount of our time at work. I believe that our work must be in line with our passion and advocacy. When it’s not, we cannot find meaning and sense of fulfillment from it. If it does, then we should give our all to deliver for and make the most from it. Being honest must also manifest in everything that we do, not just in our work.

5.  Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing

Being kind doesn’t have to be giving a million dollar donation to a cause. It can be as simple as giving your seat in a train to an elderly or a pregnant woman, or feeding a stray cat. Simple act of kindness creates a ripple effect. The little things we do can go a long way in helping others. Here’s a video that could hopefully inspire your day 🙂

Keep calm and meditate

Meditation session in Bangkok

Photo from casnocha.com

My fascination for meditation began when I came in Thailand in 2009. It’s no surprise because meditation is greatly embedded in Thais’ religious lifestyle. Although some would argue that meditation is not confined to Buddhism. Many practice meditation solely to enhance their well-being without any religious connotation.

I started meditating in 2009 but I only do it for 10 minutes, at the office toilet! It was my way of preparing my mind to write –I work as a writer at the marketing department at the time—or coping with stress. But I have not gone far from that until I stopped.

Yesterday was my first time to attend a meditation session. The weekly meditation happens every Thursday from 6:30-8PM at Ariyasom in Sukhumvit Soi 1. The place is really nice with lots of plants around and some vintage-looking ornaments.

The meditation was led by an English monk. I heard that he was fascinated with Buddhism and came to study Buddhism in Thailand. Since then, he has organized various meditation groups and meditation courses. The session started with a brief introduction of meditation for those who are first-timers including me. After the introduction, we are left to meditate with our own style for 30 minutes.

At first, I felt so calm and at ease, focusing only on my breathing. Whenever my mind starts to wander, I would gently bring back my focus on my breathing. But after a few minutes, the impatient monster began giving me a nudge. I started talking to myself. “I should blog about this. No, don’t think about that yet, just focus on meditating. Hmmm, that Arabic restaurant along the road seems interesting; we should have dinner there after this. Shut up, just meditate. God, when will 30 minutes be over?”


My legs felt numb and then painful. The English monk said that whenever we want to move, we should let 2 minutes pass and see if we still want to move. He encouraged us to just be still and learn to let go of the whim to move. I also learned from a Thai friend who became a monk that pain is part of the process. “When you meditate, it’s normal to feel pain in your legs but after sometime you will learn to accept pain and detach yourself from it.”

I felt uneasy and impatient. Then I told myself, this is exactly what meditation is for. It will teach us to be patient and tame our thoughts. Nothing comes easy. Reaping the life changing benefits of meditation must start with the will and a great deal of hard work –which is ironic because meditation should be making our mind and body still – because silencing our mind is the hardest thing to do.

I realized that attending a meditation session is an effective way to start the practice because with a group, you are compelled to finish the allotted time. Before, no matter how I forced myself to meditate for 30 minutes, I always get up before my time is up. I was so impatient. It needs getting used to and hopefully with the support of our meditation group, I will be able to make this a habit.

After the session, we had dinner at a Bangladeshi restaurant nearby. I had a good time with new awesome friends from Colombia who work at the newly opened Colombian Embassy, an American former professor who has a book on poetry, and a Brazilian lady who came to Bangkok for 3 months to find herself. And oh, I’m able to drink lassi again! I ordered it because the name sounds familiar and when I tasted it I remembered I had it in Nepal. Their fattoush salad is delicioso! Thanks to my colleague Olesya for bringing me there.

Ruins of Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya ThailandMy mind was mulling over a quote from the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It goes like this, “A friend took me to the most amazing place the other day. It’s called the Augusteum. Octavian Augustus built it to house his remains. When the barbarians came they trashed it along with everything else. The great Augustus, Rome’s first true great emperor. How could he have imagined that Rome, the whole world as far as he was concerned, would be in ruins. It’s one of the quietest, loneliest places in Rome. The city has grown up around it over the centuries. It feels like a precious wound, a heartbreak you won’t let go of because it hurts too good. We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we’re afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked at around to this place, at the chaos it has endured – the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. And I was reassured, maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic, it’s just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”

I could have been at the right moment, right time and right place like that of Liz if only I was in Augusteum. But no, I was in Ayutthaya. As my mind digested the depth of the quote, my heart was filled with awe at the magnificence of Ayutthaya. I felt joy beyond words.

It is said that Ayutthaya means “invincible city”. One of UNESCO’s world heritage sites, Ayutthaya was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom. It was founded in 1350. Within 417 years as the capital of Thailand, Ayutthaya had been ruled by 33 kings of 5 dynasties. It became one of Asia’s economic and trading hubs. It is surrounded with three major rivers, namely the Chao Pharaya, Lop Buri and Pasak. With its beauty as the ruins stand today, I could not imagine how magnificent it had been before the kingdom fell from the Burmese in 1767.

Ayutthaya

Kingdom of Ayutthaya

The first time I visited Ayutthaya was in 2011 with my cousins who came for a few days vacation. A few months after our visit, Thailand was flooded and unfortunately Ayutthaya was among the adversely affected areas. It can be reached after about 1.5-2 hours drive from Bangkok. There used to be an elephant show back then but we were told it was banned now. Good news indeed because I heard baby elephants suffer from torture while being trained to dance, paint, etc. There is also a small floating market about 15 minutes by car from the ruins. Tourists can also pay for an elephant ride at the floating market. The costs vary depending on how many hours you would like to ride.

Elephant riding in Ayutthaya

I may not be in Augusteum but the splendid beauty of Ayutthaya that endured the ravages of time is enough to assure me that indeed, ruins can be a road to transformation. Even if things fall apart, there is still a chance to stand back up again, anew.