The body’s innate relaxation response is an incredibly effective remedy for stress and anxiety. Relaxation methods such as deep breathing, guided meditation, visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and various forms of yoga can aid individuals in activating this powerful response.
When performed on a regular basis, these various activities can eventually cause a decrease in daily stress or anxiety levels and contribute to a heightened level of happiness and peace. In addition, they instruct individuals in techniques to utilize to stay calm and level-headed when faced with a stressful or unexpected situation.
The Belmont Center for Comprehensive Treatment, part of the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, has begun employing Healing Rhythms as an aid to a variety of behavioral disorders. Patients recovering from eating disorders may, early on, experience panic attacks and physical discomfort while learning how to eat healthy. This software is used in 50-minute sessions, twice a week, to help patients cope with a wide range of symptoms.
Healing Rhythms, developed by a San Diego company called Wild Divine, is designed to help patients learn to relax and control their heart rate, pulse and skin response through their breathing.
One program shows balloons peacefully rising and falling on the screen. As the participant does deep and focused breathing, the balloons will slowly float in a steady and straight course across the screen. In a different program, balls are juggled in the air. The more relaxed the person becomes through their breathing, the slower the balls move. If the person increases his or her stress levels, the balls are juggled faster and higher.
“The aim is to offer these patients another way to gain control of their psychological and physiologic responses, and, ultimately, their lives,” said Stacey Saleff, an occupational therapist at Belmont.
This article is about one way to make new beginnings, based on five principles formulated by Mikao Usui, the originator of traditional Reiki. Usui developed the principles out of his realization that spiritual, emotional, and physical health depend on a change in attitude and the assumption of responsibility for one’s well-being. The principles are valuable for anyone who wishes to increase their enjoyment and appreciation of life.
The First Principle:
Just for today I will not worry
Worry may result from a feeling of separation and isolation. We are often taught that we’re individuals. We separate ourselves from the so-called lower species; as individuals we isolate ourselves from those of our own species.
Alone, we feel small and vulnerable, and we worry about our ability to bear the burden of survival. Lost in worry, we forget that we can choose to reunite with the energy of universal love, a power which can dissolve our worries and fears. The more we allow that energy to flow through us the more we come in touch with a natural state of grace. The more we consciously become open to trust and faith the more we experience ourselves as part of a safe and loving universe.
Every small step towards trust is a victory. When we review our lives we notice how little the huge disappointments of the past mean to us now. We find ourselves glad that some of the things we wanted so desperately didn’t happen. We discover a larger purpose to the events of our lives.
The Second Principle:
Just for today I will not anger.
This isn’t a recommendation to keep anger bottled up inside or to pretend that it isn’t there. I’m for feeling every emotion. I hit pillows, write letters (which I later burn) to the objects of my anger. I experience the anger until it dissipates, then examine its roots.
Once I reach the point at which I cab look at the situation dispassionately I often find that I hold beliefs which are compatible with the situation which is making me angry. Because I used to believe that bosses were unfair I regularly encountered bosses whose behavior confirmed my belief.
When a person makes me angry I ask myself if they mirror emotions or issues within me which I don’t want to face – that is, unless I really don’t want to face it. It takes courage to face those inner demons, but the reward is great. The braver I get the more willing I am to view people in my life as manifestations of lessons I need to learn. Some day (when I’m a realized being) I’ll come to appreciate them as my teachers, and love will replace anger.
Until that glorious day, I say to myself, “Just for today look at the people and circumstances you’ve attracted into your life – without blaming others or yourself. Just for today, see what within yourself needs healing.”
The Third principle:
I will honor my parents, teachers, and elders.
I (and many others) have modified this principle to be more inclusive. I hold it as, “Just for today I will honor all of life.” It’s another way of honoring myself.
When we honor other creations with the grace and love of our spirits, practical gestures are also appropriate. We can plant a tree, overcome laziness and recycle. We can honor the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the fire which warms us. We can thank all beings who have helped us by passing their gift of understanding and support on to someone else who needs it.
The Fourth Principle:
I earn my living honestly
This statement can be expanded to read, “I live my life honestly.” This is less a question of whether one calls in sick to work, then goes to the beach than of whether we are honest with ourselves.
If we say we want to grow spiritually, but do nothing to create that growth, we need to honestly examine the depth of our commitment. If we ignore the loneliness inside by pretending we don’t care that we’re not in a committed relationship we need to acknowledge our feelings, to honor the truth of our emotions. We can’t solve a problem if we refuse to admit its existence.
Ask yourself what longings lie hidden inside your heart; what creative urges have been suppressed. Ask for guidance through dreams and visions. Ask for an understanding of your soul’s purpose in choosing physical existence. The answer is within you’ it awaits only your receptivity to unveil itself.
The Fifth Principle:
I show gratitude to everything.
The fifth principle flows naturally from the other four. If instead of worrying, we trust that love and happiness are our birthrights, if we recognize that what makes us angry mirrors the beliefs which block us, if we honor all of life and our own divinity by being honest with ourselves, we will become grateful for the gift of physical existence.
Step by Step
The bold among us may want to take on all of The Five Principles at once. Those of us who prefer to experience transformation in smaller doses may prefer to work on one at a time.
Say, for example, that you decide to work on anger. One step in this process might be to list everything in your life that you’re angry about. To truly discover this you may find it helpful to apply the principle of living life honestly. If you do so you might find a number of issues you’ve avoided handling because someone might get angry because you raised them (or you might get angry at someone else). The next step might be to feel your anger fully, then to decide what changes you’d like to make.
I’ve found that an ongoing maintenance program is valuable, too. Anger is less overwhelming when we acknowledge it and deal with it as it arises, and when we allow the possibility that anger often stems from anger at ourselves we go a long way towards handling anger with honesty.
Programming for Peace of Mind
Crystals are invaluable tools for assisting us in keeping our commitments to ourselves. Because the molecular structure of crystals is orderly and symmetrical they radiate energy in a consistent and steady manner. Simply being in the presence of this harmonious energy field can help us to become more harmonious in our beings.
When we program crystals we intensify this energy flow. The process is very simple.
Create an affirmation (always in the present tense), i.e., “I live my life honestly;” “I have loving communication with my children.”
As you hold your crystal visualize yourself in the desired situation and experience the feelings of being in it. Say the affirmation to yourself.
Then put the crystal some place where it won’t be disturbed.
Below are some stones and flower essences which closely relate to the Five Principles. Clear quartz may be used for any of them.
Just for today I will not worry.
Flower essence: Chamomile (FES)
Just for today I will not anger.
Crystal: red garnet, sugilite.
Flower essence: Holly (Bach)
I honor all of life.
Crystal: moss agate and chrysocolla, in particular, but any crystal helps to reveal the beauty and wisdom of nature’s creations.
Flower essence: Nicotiana
I live my life honestly.
Crystal: obsidian, lapis
Flower essence: Deerbrush
I show gratitude to everything.
Crystal: rose quartz, rhodochrosite, rhodonite.
Flower essence: Holly, Willow
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