Saturday, March 28, 2009

Using Fear to Control

A friend just sent me a link to an article about how the U.S. Catholic Bishops "warned" against Reiki. I read this article in absolute dismay, bordering on anger, even thought it should not be all that surprising, since this attack method is the usual approach that Christian leaders or zealots take in countering any method they see as a threat their power (not the power of God, mind you, but their power). Killing the messenger or attacking the method is all too commonplace amongst our religions, when they cannot counter with logic or open-minded discussion.

According to the AFP article,
"The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has warned Roman Catholics to shun the eastern healing art of Reiki because it lacks scientific credibility and is dangerous to Christian spiritual health".

I would ask those same Bishops to please cite me the scientific credibility for Catholicism, or for any Christianity, for that matter. In actuality, science can be used to prove the existence of "universal life force energy" (the definition of Reiki) far more effectively than it can be used to prove the validity of church teachings. It is sad that these Bishops cannot leave something as harmless (and helpful) as Reiki alone without attack. Reiki does not contradict any religion, it actually upholds the principals of loving one another, just as Jesus taught us to. It does not require one to denounce their chosen religion, but can actually strenghten it. It is the practice of allowing pure unconditional love to flow through you to another without judgment, a concept that our sometimes pompous and power-hungry religions often seem to have almost abandoned altogether. Unlike our religions, Reiki does not require that anyone denounce anything, or give up their power to its organization, because it is not an organization at all. It is simply a method to connect with a greater power, have deeper prayer and meditation, and begin to heal oneself or another.

The five tenets of Reiki are:
Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will not anger.
Just for today, I will honor my parents, teachers and elders.
Just for today, I will earn my living honestly.
Just for today, I will show gratitude to every living thing.

I would ask these same Bishops to please tell us what is so horrendous about encouraging people to live by these loving principals, no matter what religion they happen to practice, if any?... What is wrong with not worrying, after all, isn't that demonstrating true faith?...What is wrong with honoring others?...What is wrong with earning an honest living?...What is wrong with showing gratitude for every living thing, which is actually showing gratitude to the Creator for everything we have been given? What is so wrong with these principles that the Bishops should need to "warn" against them.

Furthermore, what is wrong with a practice that essentially does as Jesus did, by laying on of hands in love and having the faith to believe that God could grant a miracle? Jesus told his followers that they did not need him, that they could heal themselves...Reiki helps us to follow his direction and learn practices that can help us help ourselves and others. I have seen many miraculous things in my practice of Reiki, from actual physical ailments disappearing, to deep emotional wounds being mended in wondrous ways. I cannot for the life of me imagine why these Bishops (incidentally part of the same group that covered up for Priests who were alleged to have abused children) would feel the need to "warn" Catholics to stay away from Reiki, or call it "dangerous".

I would say to them the old adage that my grandmother used to say, "Clean out your own backyard before you start cleaning out others'." Look within your own organization and clean up the greed, cover-up, control, and scandal before you start attacking other practices which are based in nothing more than unconditional love and acceptance. For a religion that would tell us, "God works in mysterious ways," it is rather contradictory that they would essentially say, "but not in that mysterious doesn't have enough scientific evidence!" Contradictory indeed, but also rather predictable. Humorous, if not maddening.

The reason for the Bishops' action is FEAR. Fear is the easiest method of control, and the method that our religions use constantly. Get people scared, and they will act in fear and avoid the things you have scared them about. It is sad to me that these supposed men of God do not believe in their God or their religion enough to let it stand on its own merit. I think they can do better, if they will only let go of their fear.

I must have more faith in God than they do, because I can let God work in any way that He choses, even through something as "unscientific" as Reiki. I do not choose to limit God like they do. I wish that they would stop putting God in a box and set Him free to be all that He can be to the followers of their faith. They may be preventing their followers from having the truest, fullest, and most real experience of God that is available to them, and that is shameful. But I do look at this "warning" as a good sign that people are beginning to seek more, beginning to understand that God is available in many other ways than just what our religions teach us...the fact that they are attacking says that the message is getting through, which is a very good thing.

I believe if our friend Jesus were here today, he just might be turning over the tables of the temple where these great Bishops meet. In this moment of frustration, I would be happy to help him, but I will pray that the Bishops and other religious leaders let go of their own fears so that it does not discourage others from examining complementary spriritual practices, or something that may provide comfort and relief from physical pain or ailments. I will pray that they do not block others from experiencing this or any other practice that is based in love and acceptance. We need more of that in our world, and less condemnation.
(Click here for the full article about the USCCB stance)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let the Madness Begin

March Madness is underway, a time that ingites passion in college basketball fans as each team plays for the dream. It is amazing the effect that sports have on so many. Some argue that it is a negative impact, but I believe sports simply touch on that place within us where we believe that anything is possible. Most things in our lives or in our society tell us the opposite, but sports allow the seemingly impossible dream to stay alive in our souls.

What if we, as a society, transferred this zest for sports - this belief in the impossible - to our day-to-day lives and to the problems of the world. Like the little boy who imagines he is Michael Jordan even when others tell him he is not or will never be that good, or the little girl who dreams of being Mia Hamm when she kicks a soccer ball, we should continue to dream big as we become adults. We should listen to that voice inside, no matter how weakened or small, that remembers we have greatness within us, that we are one with God, just as Jesus remembered. We should, like Jesus, return to unity with God and shine our light on the world as Jesus instructed us to do. If we fail to do that, we are failing our purpose. It is what leaves us feeling empty and as if we are only going through the motions of life.

Live your own spiritual "March Madness" by shaking things up in your soul. Remember that you can dream the greatest dreams and achieve them. Ignore the naysayers who would try to tell you otherwise and hold you back - they are only doing so for their own fears or their own desires to control you by keeping you in your place. Get your gameface on and stare them down, knowing that they don't have anything that you don't have, remembering that you came to this life prepared to do it all and live in victory, as soon as you believe it and are ready to claim it.

Let the MADNESS begin!...Go for it all...Remember your destiny...Taste the victory within!