How to embrace the Reiki Principle – Just for Today I will be Grateful and live with gratitude every day this year
A lot of people start the year with a long list of resolutions – a list of huge and often intimidating milestones they must achieve to feel like they have made progress that year – only to end up breaking or forgetting about these best-laid plans within a few days, weeks or months. I’ve personally been in this situation a few times, so one December a few years ago, I decided to buck this trend and start a new ritual for entering the New Year.
Instead of putting pressure on myself to give up certain things and add more goals to my ever-growing list, I wanted to enter the New Year focusing on just a few attainable daily habits. Tiny little things I could do each day to make the day a little brighter and more positive. Simple little rituals that wouldn’t take up a lot of time, money or energy, but would make an enormous difference to my mind, body and soul. I would focus on setting the right intentions, rather than restrictive resolutions.
As I contemplated these small regular habits I wanted to add into my day, I was reminded of the Reiki principles:
- Just for today, I will not worry.
- Just for today, I will not be angry.
- Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
- Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings.
- Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbour and every living thing.
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The Reiki Principle of Gratitude – Just for Today I will be Grateful for my Many Blessings
These five beautifully simple guidelines were composed by the Founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui, to provide a spiritual framework to help people live a more virtuous, grateful and balanced life. Whilst each principle holds its own meaning and importance, every precept starts with that powerful three-word-phrase: ‘Just for today.’
These ideals centre you firmly in the present moment and pinpoint your focus to just the single day ahead. One day at a time, we can work on improving ourselves and inviting more peace and happiness into our lives. One day at time, we can incorporate positive habits into our daily routines. One day at a time, we can live more intentionally. When working towards healing and transformation, thinking any bigger than one day at a time can pile on the pressure. As humans we are all imperfect, but if we just aim to do our very best with the day ahead, then things become a little easier and the little wins seem more substantial. Even if we slip up today, we can always begin again tomorrow. Naturally, as more of those good days go by, the more likely we are to transform new habits and healing steps into permanent lifestyle shifts.
So when it came to narrowing down the little intentions I wanted to carry into the New Year, I spent a lot of time meditating on the Reiki Principles. Over and over again, I found that the fourth principle about gratitude really spoke to me. At the time I was travelling across Australia with my sister, volunteering at animal rescue centres and meeting other people with a passion for animals and conservation whilst running workshops on Animal Reiki.
You see, when you’re travelling you strip everything back to the basics – and get excited by the smallest things. A good meal, a clean bed to lay your head, the kindness of a stranger in a unknown place, a hot shower, the ability to cook for yourself, shelter on a hot day, a beautiful sunset! It’s actually so refreshing to remove all luxuries and focus on the sights you’re seeing and the people you’re meeting. You have a few sets of clothes and the bag on your back and all you need is a bed to stay in that night and food to keep you going. You appreciate every day as a new opportunity to explore and live life to the fullest. It’s an extremely humbling experience.
You start to count your blessings back home too. You appreciate all those home comforts and how lucky you are to feel safe and secure. You realise even more acutely how amazing the people back home are because actually, when you really think about it, home is wherever in the world they are.
Gratitude Journal to Live Each day following the Reiki Principles – Just for Today I will be Grateful
Learning to Appreciate what you already have
This experience really helped me nurture an attitude for gratitude. And as I look back on this year away now, I am so grateful I had the opportunity to visit and live in another country and explore a new place with such freedom. Who would have thought a few years later that travel of any kind would become an even greater luxury as the world froze in the wake of the Covid pandemic?
The last few years have certainly put a lot in perspective in terms of learning to be grateful for what you have. We were given a unique period of time to really pause and reflect on what really matters, and the things we should appreciate. Health quickly became the most valuable resource we had. We learnt that time with our loved ones should never be take for granted and we were forced to find beauty in the little moments, as usual routines were completely turned upside down.
The ‘normal’ things that used to seem mundane, like getting outside for a walk, cooking a meal from scratch, or having a chat with a relative or neighbour, suddenly became the richest parts of our day. People were stepping up to help out and support those most in need in beautiful and unexpected ways, and amidst the chaos of Covid we were reminded of the good in the world.
Ultimately gratitude isn’t about ignoring all the tough and messy life stuff that inevitably effects us all, it’s about not loosing sight of the good, the hope, the light in the darkness! And there is always light.
Reflecting on the Reiki Principles – Just for Today I will be Grateful
There is actually a whole field of scientific research to back the idea that gratitude is one of the healthiest of all human emotions. Gratitude, in fact, has the capacity to increase a range of important neurochemicals. When we change our thinking from negative to positive, a flood of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin are released, which contribute to the feelings of happiness and connection that surge when we experience deep gratitude.
Studies have gone on to link the practice of gratitude to better sleep, better social relationships, improved mental health and protection against stress and even depression.
But to see the real benefits of gratitude, we have to really commit to regularly nurturing this quality of thankfulness. We are, after all, innately programmed to look out for threats in our world – it’s part of our survival instinct which helps keep us safe – but it can lead us to focus on the negative things that come our way. We have to actively and repeatedly retrain our brains to look for the good and tune back into the positive. Like any new habit, fostering a daily gratitude habit takes time and commitment. But there are heaps of small ways to get started on your gratitude journey this year, including the tips below!
I have found that the more I look for new things to be grateful for, the more I become aware of the people, events and experiences that are worthy of my appreciation and the more I have begun to see the hidden gifts sprinkled throughout the day that I once may have missed. And as a New Year arrives, I am thankful once again for the principle of gratitude that Usui gave us ‘Just for today I will give thanks for my many blessings’. It remains a timeless tool for reprogramming our minds to see the world in a more compassionate and positive light, full of connections, generosity and opportunity. So, if you are still looking for one small but mighty intention to enhance your 2022, why not commit to 365 days of gratitude!
6 Simple ways to bring more Gratitude into your life
There are some simple ways we can live the Reiki Principle Just for Today I will be Grateful, here are just a few to try:
- Make a list of all your blessings
You will be amazed at how many wonderful things there are to give thanks for. List 3 things a day for 21 days. Pay attention to and focus on the things and experiences that are cost nothing and bring joy and humility to your life. For example, your mind, body, spirit, health, family, trees, sea, sun, love, faith, knowledge, the countryside, animals, birds, etc., the list is endless. Be as specific as you can – instead of saying ‘I’m grateful for my friends,’ write down ‘I’m grateful for Lucy because of the time she spent talking with me today.
2. Meditate on the Reiki Principle of Gratitude
Use meditation to unlock the true meaning of the Reiki gratitude precept and uncover ways to incorporate this principle into your life. Place one hand on the Third Eye Chakra and the other hand on the back of the head where the base of the skull meets the spine (the occipital ridge). Use Reiki to re-balance this principle in your life
3. Write a letter to someone your are grateful for
Every month this year, why not try writing a letter of thanks to someone who enhances your life? Share the little moments and memories that have brought you joy and happiness. You don’t even have to send the letters, just enjoy the time remembering the good things and people you have in your life. If you want to take it one step further, write one letter each month to yourself too, reflecting on the things you are proud of. At the end of the year, read the letters and see how far you’ve come!
4. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Sometimes just getting an idea or thought out of your head and on to paper makes everything more real and tangible. This is why journaling has become a popular way to assess the things we are grateful for. Some handy journal prompts for the principle Just for today I will be grateful include:
- What is happening next week that I am looking forward to?
- What fun things does the next month hold for me?
- Is there a bigger event happening in the next year which excites me just to think about it? If there aren’t any events scheduled, then what can I do to change that?
- What have I done that I am proud of? Acing an exam, raising children, giving up smoking, building a business or career?
- What’s changes in the past year that you are grateful for?
- What is one thing about today that I am grateful for?
- What mistakes have I made that turned out to be a blessing?
- What traditions am I thankful for?
- Name one person who has had a positive influence in your life?
5. Check for silver linings
Always look on the bright side of life – its a common phrase that encourages us to look for the good, even when things go wrong. And they will of course, because rubbish things happen. But if we search for the light and the hope and the opportunities to learn and grow then we can shift our perspective. Journaling about an experience or event is a great way to uncover the silver lining in the situation.
6. Spend time with those who you are grateful for
If you’re grateful for someone, what better way to make them feel appreciated than by spending time with them. Time is our most valuable asset, and if we give out time to people we care about we no only feel better for being around good people, but we also make the people we care about happy – it’s a win, win! Getting together with the people you are most grateful for is also a great way to create new memories and experiences that you can be grateful for!
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Harriette-Rose is the Brand Director of the Reiki Healing Association, the Editor in Chief of Universal Life Magazine and a proud Reiki Master Teacher. As an Author and Spiritual Entrepreneur, she loves helping the RHA members build the Reiki business of their dreams.