Practice Thinking Truth

A longtime practitioner lingered after class to offer a smile and a hug.

“You always make me think,” she said.

Some practitioners like that. Some don’t.

Questioning everything

Stimulating people to think, challenging them to question everything, as Einstein famously advised, is part of a teacher’s job.

If we don’t question everything, how will we separate truth from assumptions, both our own, and the ones we’ve been taught?

If we don’t question everything, how will we mine the jewels of spiritual practice, such as:

  • Greater clarity
  • More confidence
  • Clearer boundaries
  • Steadiness amidst change
  • Unwavering love.

Don’t believe everything you think

Why be content to believe everything you think, or everything you’ve been taught? Why not let hunger fuel your practice, and dare to reach inside for more?

Spiritual practice — whether it’s Reiki, meditation, yoga, tai chi, prayer (or fill in your favorite) — cannot be explained by the mind; that’s why it’s spiritual.

We can, however, engage our minds skillfully to examine our practice, our experiences, our conclusions, and our communication. Self-inquiry refines our understanding. It helps clear the reflections that obscure truth, and extends practice beyond our practice sessions into the rest of our lives.

Spiritual practice: no belief required

Spiritual practice doesn’t require belief. We can experience, contemplate our experiences, and witness the unfolding of understanding.

Practice. Observe. Contemplate. Repeat.

If you want truth, go deep, and don’t stop.

When we train ourselves to look for the deepest truth, we see the surface differently. We see it with love.

What assumptions have you questioned, and where did that take you? Please click here to share.

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8 thoughts on “Practice Thinking Truth”

  1. Cristina Mateas

    I was under the assumption that my mind accepts Reiki practice without questioning and we question just our actions or events and meetings in our path but recent events thought me that only by going very,very deep inside our center( core, if you will) we discover that the mind is tested by the practice and the only way to balance that is just practice every day as much as you can and as deep as you can but in a natural not force by anything type of way and then you get closer and closer to liberation.

  2. I loved reading this, Pamela, because I use the phrase “Don’t believe everything you think” in my organizational consulting work all the time. The mind is a treacherous tool, and too often wants us to see the world with our own highly honed iron-clad assumptions. When I first started doing Reiki, after a long career of working in organizations, my mind felt cut off at the knees in a way, because I had no real way to think about it, no words to describe the sensations in my hands, no frame for the experience of the energetic dance between the client and me. I couldn’t justify or rationalize the experience of love as pure light and movement. As my practice has grown, I long to be able to live in every moment the way I do when I’m practicing Reiki, without judgment, anxiety, self-reproach, jumping into the future or the past with my mind.

    But this doesn’t really answer your question, because you are asking, I think, how does Reiki practice influence the use of the mind. So one thing is that I really try not to believe everything I think, but open to new interpretations, new ways of thinking about things. This is hard, because we are so programmed. And when I apply my mind to my experience of the transcendent reality of the Reiki experience, my mind begins to support the experience, wondering how can I talk about Reiki credibly, how can I meet my clients where they are and help them think about it, how can I frame the unframable, so that more people can open to the gifts of the Reiki experience. And in the rest of my life, my mind has a harder time compartmentalizing or forgetting about the reality of this thing going on in my life that is way bigger than my mind, more encompassing, more powerful. So it begins to know humility. That is a great gift, the humbling of the mind.

  3. Ellen, good for you for staying with your daily practice even though you didn’t have the experience in class you were expecting.

    When teaching, I ask students to notice any small difference between how they felt when we started the practice session and how they feel after. I stress small because those are the experiences we live with.

    Some people will have “big bangs,” but that doesn’t mean anything. One experience rarely changes someone’s life, but daily Reiki self-practice always does.

  4. I began my Reiki training a little more than a year ago. I attended a weekend workshop with about thirty other people. As the weekend progressed, many people reported fantastic sensations and experiences. Each bigger and better than the one before. I felt like I had missed the Reiki boat. Perhaps I was “blocked” or missing that certain something. I sat waiting and hoping for my “big bang”.
    When I returned home I began my daily practice. Each day I noticed a subtle shift, more calm, less internal noise. Possibilities expanded as obstacles dropped away.
    For me, Reiki arrived on tip toe. I never had that big bang. Reiki taught
    me that less is more. Bigger is not always better or more profound.

  5. Love that, Linette. So your husband really really appreciates your questioning nature! 🙂

    I admire you for maintaining an openness even where you already had a bit of experience. It is always easier to teach an utter newbie than someone with experience, but you came to class willing to take a fresh look, and that has made the difference.

  6. Hi Pamela,

    Thank you for this post. I can relate to the student who said “you always make me think”. I had my own ideas about energy and healing before I signed up for your First Degree Reiki class. You made me question those ideas and open my mind to other possibilities. For that, I am grateful. 🙂

    I’ve questioned many ideas, traditions, and of course my own thoughts and my own ways of doing things. If it wasn’t for that I would have been stuck in the same place for a long time!

    I questioned the religion I was taught to practice since childhood for many reasons including the fact that I only practiced it because I was told to, and out of fear. Because of that questioning I set on a journey that has brought me into the spiritual path that I am in today.

    I once questioned my assumptions about what another person thought of me, and today I am happily married to that person. 🙂

    To not question everything is to limit ourselves.

    Thanks again Pamela!
    ~L

  7. On another note, I would like to draw a distinction between thinking ABOUT Reiki and thinking DURING our Reiki practice – I believe it is helpful to contemplate finer aspects of Reiki practice to the extent that they have a bearing on our practice and our relationship with Reiki (I am deliberately writing “relationship with” and not “understanding of”). But if this exercise becomes too intellectual too soon then in my opinion it distracts from the calmness of simple practice and observing what is happening.

    As many masters, Swamis, Lamas and Zen Roshis point out, thinking ABOUT our practice and its wider ramifications, philosophical underpinnings and suchlike fall under the wider category of discursive thinking, which distracts from the essence of the practice. While it might be essential for experienced practitioners, especially those who wish to take Reiki to the mainstream public, to question their beliefs and think ABOUT Reiki practice, in my view beginners would do themselves a favour by focusing on intense “unquestioning” practice at least for the first five or six years – but then I was lucky to have a good Reiki Master, which unfortunately is not true for everybody. The Dalai Lama famously said it is better to observe a spiritual teacher and their conduct for a few years to check if they are in line with all accepted codes of morality, of commonly accepted standards and generally accepted teachings and then become their student rather than fall in and out out of love with everyone that comes along (OK, so I am paraphrasing there…). Here, I would also like to add that in general, students are a pretty accurate reflection of their teachers.

    In Sanskrit there is a very clear difference between “vivek”, which could roughly be translated as discernment, and “shankaa”, which means doubt. In Gyan Yoga (the spiritual practice of Union through the intellect) the practice of Swadhyay (self-study) must be supported by scriptural reference – anything that goes against a set of scriptures (such as the Gita, the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and so on) must be rejected as ku-tarka (counterproductive logic), while reasoning that increases the practitioner’s spiritual growth and which is in line with the scriptures is said to be tarka (logic). In the field of Reiki, where we are more or less all pioneers, we are not given the comfort of checking our thoughts and reactions against some previously accpeted standards or major scriptures that are universally accepted. Instead, if we can all at least have the benefit of long years of practice, it would serve to carry us through to the stage where we can engage in questioning, contemplation and constructive dialogue rather than fall into the traps of discursive thinking and confusion about the practice.

    Again, all of this only my perspective, and my perspective is very much shaped by my background and the spirituality I was exposed to as I was learning Reiki.

  8. (from facebook) initially i used to think of reiki as a panacea – i became fanatical about not using medicines when i am myself a ‘healer’. further reflection and guidance from my Reiki master helped me understand the non-doing part of Reiki, and as the notion of being the Great Healer stripped away, I became more pragmatic – Reiki may perfectly be able to heal me of any and all consitions, but why beat myself up over it and not take advantage of great doctors and mind-boggling technology when it’s easily available and affordable! and surprisingly, i met a lot of insightful and humble healers (in the widest sense of the word) after i let myself open up.

    another area where questioning helped – i was so in love with reiki, i used to externalise it to a large extent, like addressing it as Reiki Mother 🙂 through i am not sure time or more experience i began to have glimpses where it was not clear where i ended and where reiki began. and i have noticed, reiki practice now feels more natural and less contrived after this transition happened.

    one key question i often reflect on is my demeanour as a Reiki Master – where does the mastery end and where does my humanity, my right to feel and express myself openly, begin – i struggle with issues of how others may judge my behaviour or statements as a Reiki master even outisde the context of a reiki class

    Maybe my expectation stems from the word ‘master’ – a spiritual master, in my (Indian) cultural milieu, is expected to be above the frailties of human nature, such as being affected by praise or blame(!)…maybe i am taking it too literally and too seriously, or maybe i am expecting too much of myself too soon, but spiritual texts such as the Gita are unambiguous in their descriptions of master yogis – being unaffected by heat or cold, pain or pleasure and such dualities…it goes on to say that the self-controlling stay awake in what is night for all beings!

    against a backdrop of such terrific expectations from myself and maybe from others too, it sometimes becomes hard to cut myself some slack and remind myself I am a Reiki master, not an unqualified Master with an uppercase M 🙂

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