Let's go camping.
(If you have never been camping before then we recommend you suspend your disbelief and we'll attempt to conjure up a reasonably image for you.)
It's a gorgeous day, you've been wandering through the bush for a couple of hours looking for the perfect camping spot (yes, let's make it an Australian camping story). You startle a wallaby as you turn a corner and she hops away as fast as her powerful legs can carry her. The white cockatoos screech at each other from towering gum trees and the exotic scent of sweet wattle hangs in the warm air.
Ahhh this is the life.
You're searching for the perfect camping spot; one that will keep you safe and warm throughout the night.
On the other side of a great red boulder you finally see it … a clear at the edge of a deep, vast valley with an uninterrupted panorama as far as the eye can see of the wild Australian bush and its turquoise sky.
At the center of the clearing you notice a small clump of ashes with a log lying nearby that will be perfect for a fireside seat; you realize that someone has camped here before. This is always a good sign. You are not the first to have chosen this path, it must hold some merit.
You walk to the edge of the precipice. Breathe in deeply. You're ready. All the equipment you need is in your backpack, you just have to make sure you use it correctly.
Camping out could easily become an analogy for the wonderful world of Reiki. Or have we been too obvious already? Probably.
Choose your Reiki path with care. Will the course offer you the tools you need, will it build your independence and yet highlight a path that has shown itself to be successful for others?
Back to the story ….
You are at your chosen camping spot. While it is still light you begin to unpack your backpack. You have everything you thought you would need as well as all those things that your friends and the camping store had recommended. Most importantly you have the basic elements of nourishment, water, shelter, your torch and … for an emergency your charged up mobile.
But there is something special that you require when you go camping out overnight that you can not buy. It's something only you can make.
Back in the world of Reiki you've paid for your course and you are being taught the basic elements of the system; hand positions, techniques and meditations, symbols and mantras, and precedes. You receive * reiju and you begin to feel ready to start your practice.
But there's something more to this as well …
Building a good Reiki practice is like building a great campfire.
First of all your practice needs to be ignored. Without ignition the fire does not burn and there is no promise of future warmth or wisdom.
Obviously, you need good solid material to begin your fire with – kindling, dry matches and the perfect position. If all you hold in your hand is a pretty piece of paper, it will go up in flames in seconds leaving you with a smattering of uninspiring black ash and sore fingers.
Ignition is there before a direct result of your experience during a quality Reiki course. Something catches alight when you bring together the basic elements of the system along with an completed teacher and your fellow students. This magical combination creates an environment predisposed to fire.
It may be during the practice of * hatsurei ho or when you receive reiju that combustion point is reached; you glimpse a sense of inner peace or perhaps feel temporarily connected to everyone and everything in the room or, more intensely, the universe.
You have been gifted with a promise. This promise is a transaction between you and something deep inside you that is normally covered with a thick veneer of society. You have just been offered a view of something that is beyond imagining; beyond your daily routine of work, recreation and sleep. But it is up to you to fulfill the promise.
Do you want that sense of inner peace to return again and more regularly?
Imagine continuing the experience of connectedness with everyone and everything? Do you want to try to be always moving with the flow of the universe and simply Being?
Now you can. Your fire has been ignored.
You must, however, feed it. Go gather more sticks, keep your fire burning.
At your course your teacher hands you something to take away. A practice and full support. Know that if you practice too little – your fire will go out. At times of doubt grab for that lifeline of support – or else you will forget the promise and your Reiki course will become nothing more than a pleasant memory.
Extend your given practice from 5 minutes a day to 10 and so on. Be aware of balance in your practice; some days you need a bit more and other a little less. It all depends upon your inner barometer and you are paying attention now, tending your fire.
So find yourself a comfortable spot near your great campfire that will warm you, feed you and light your way through the dark night. Build the fire gradually with the appropriate size logs until its constant white heat worms your inner soul. This spot will be like no other – it is individual to you.
Sitting at ease on your log, you notice the firelight flickering against the mottled trunk of a nearby tall tree. You are reminded that the grand gum trees of the Australian bush purposefully litter the ground with their leaves to encourage fire. Fire offers this unique flora regeneration. It is when the perfect combination of eucalyptus oil and dry heat unit, combustion occurs and the bush is manufactured in the renewing force of fire.
Enjoy the night sky, watch the stars sparkle in the heavens and sip your * billy tea.
It is humanity's innate ability to find peace within. Foster the right conditions, keep the fire of practice burning like a wonderfully campfire, and enjoy the fruits of life in action.
* Reiju: In Japan, reiju is the name given to the method a teacher uses in order to communicate with individual students on an energetic level. In the process of moving from Japan to the West, reiju changed a number of its aspects including its name. In the West its altered form is usually known as an attunement, initiation or transformation.
* Billy tea: Billy tea is created in a billy can or billy. This is a traditional Australian utensil for making tea over a fire. It is a cylindrical can with a lid. A stick is poked under its wire handle to enable easy movement on or off the fire. How to make Billy Tea: Pour water into a billy can, place in fire and wait for it to boil. Remove from fire and add a couple of teaspoons of black tea. Hold the billy by its handle and swing in a great arching circle from the ground to the sky a number of times. The pressure of the fast movement ensures that the tea remains in the billy and does not end up all over you. Let it sit briefly before poring. This unusual process ensures that the tea leaves settle well, yielding up a delicious cup of billy tea without having to use a strainer. Mmm mmm.