Volume 2 Issue 4

The Noble Truths

The First Noble Truth – There is suffering

“Suffering has a cause – it usually takes the form of “what makes me unhappy”.

However, this then suggests we live separately from others because we perceive our “Self” as separate from our experiences, and often perceive that ‘others’ cause our unhappiness.

We cling to things that make us happy and because everything changes, we become anxious or even depressed if these aspects change. We also try to avoid anything we think will make us unhappy, such as people we do not like; difficult situations; anything we lack – all of which cause us to become frustrated or angry if we cannot avoid them.

There is absolutely no reason to think we should deny ourselves happiness; good relationships and what we consider ‘creature comforts’. However, if we become dependent on these things in order to be happy or peaceful, we cause ourselves suffering when something breaks; a friend is unpleasant; our favourite chair wears out – etc. Our peacefulness is shattered – and we behave badly about it and cause even more unhappiness.

If we come to see ourselves in Oneness with everyone and everything,; if we see everything as Reiki Healing Energy, then we take the first step towards a cure for suffering – as Usui-Sensei said “Like stars, mist and candle flames, mirages, dewdrops and water bubbles, like dreams, lightning and clouds, in that way I will view all existence”

The Second Noble Truth – The cause of suffering

We all have ‘Knight in Shining Armour rides to the rescue’ moments. If only we could ‘fix it’; “if only every relationship would run smoothly; if only … you fill in the blanks … then I would be really happy”!

Reiki and Mindfulness teaches and encourages us to work towards Enlightenment – and what this means is filling ourselves with the Great Bright Light so we can wake up to our True Essence, our Higher Self, which is already there within us and just needs us to bring it out into our lives. The Three Diamonds Meditation helps us to clean our mirror self, so not only do we radiate out the peace and calm we wish to have in our lives, but it ensures we perceive the world accurately; that there are no blemishes on our glass that distort things and obstruct our ability to radiate out Great Bright Light into the world.

The more we indulge in the three P’s, having a commitment to Practise with Patience and Persistence (with a dash of the fourth P, Passion), the more we will clean our mirror and more accurately perceive our world and relationships with non-judgment and kindness.

The Third Noble Truth – There is a prescription for suffering

This Truth is about how we rid our brains of ignorance and incorrect perception. To see our own faults and make choices about what we release and what we work on.

Einstein’s description of insanity was to do the same thing day after day and expect a different result. Usui-Sensei offered us the Gokai and Reiju so that we can develop Wisdom and understanding of how the cycle of suffering perpetuates itself, and gives us clues to what stops the cycle and helps us to achieve Enlightenment and most of which includes pointers to the Fourth Noble Truth – The Eight-Fold Path.

Reflections on a walk

Recently I have been reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild about her trek along the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) in the USA and I found it very moving and could identify with all the aspects of her walk – good, bad and indifferent.


This led me to watch Top Gear. It is not a programme I would normally watch, but I made an exception this Christmas so as to view the Nepal Special Edition.


I thought it would help me ‘re-capture’ the trekking I did there in 1998, as it covered the second half of my trek – though they went from Kathmandu to Muktinath temple via Jomson, whereas I walked from Kathmandu through the Annapurna range to Muktinath, then Jomsom, back to Kathmandu.


Walks like the Annapurna trek and the PCT are not ‘holidays’. They are experiences, and however naïve we may be about our intentions for the trek, one thing is certain, you come back a changed person.


The synchronicity of reflecting on Wild and my Nepal trek was brought again into focus as I listened to my Calm App. “Revisiting good events of the past just don’t measure up to the original”. Muktinath in 1998 was only accessible on foot.


The Vishnu temple is sacred both to Hindus and Buddhists. It is one of the world’s highest temples at 3,880M. In Buddhism it is the place of ‘hundred waters’ and the place of Avalokiteśvara (or Japanese Kannon or Chinese Guan Yin) the bodhisattva of Compassion and mercy, and one of the holiest places of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Buddhists. It has 108 springs and pilgrims walk under all 108 icy cold spouts that are head height around a square. When I arrived there in 1998, it was suggested we make pilgrimage for our safe passage over the mountain at 5,487M and pass under all 108 spouts. An experience in itself!


This temple hosts all five Elements, Fire, Water, Sky, Air and Earth from which all material things in the Universe are made. From the temple, our group descended into the Kali Gandaki gorge – deeper than the Grand Canyon – and the mountains rise up five and a half miles above you, and all are sacred to the indigenous Nepalese who live there.


Nowadays you can drive to Muktinath temple from Jomsom on a tarmac road. Not quite the same experience, I guess!


As I mull over the Calm App’s explanation of why revisiting is never the same (in revisiting an external event we can never re-create the internal experience of the original event) I am drawn to an article in Kindred Spirit on Therapeutic Walking on the Antarctic Peninsula. The comment most travellers make is that Antarctica is a place like no other and demands to be contemplated and is a deeply reflective experience. Most people are changed as a consequence – and this comes as a complete surprise to these travellers too. Most found this a journey into the unknown just like their healing journeys, because walking here transported people to new understanding and self-perception – which they felt was wholly to do with the unique nature of the Antarctic landscape.


Living in Scotland, and having walked in remote and impossible places surrounded by similar conditions, wind blasted rocks, icy seas and extraordinary wildlife (think Staffa on a really stormy day), we can discover something challenging (getting back on board the little ship which is rising and falling scarily!) and nourishing (watching the waves smash into the cliffsides) and see extraordinary wildlife (puffins going about their lives).


If we want to bring healing into our lives as Reiki Practitioners, we need to be open to the experiences we can have here, near to our homes, when we just go a little out of the way of civilisation. Parts of Camperdown Park in Dundee can be exceedingly peaceful away from the main walking routes, with many of the five Elements that are found at Muktinath. The Howff in the centre of Dundee is one of the most peaceful places I know – despite being part of the hustle and bustle of the city. It is only minutes from my office but is truly nourishing on a busy day. We just need to contemplate on that Inner Experience that is unique to this visit. It is irrelevant how many times we revisit, every Inner Experience will be unique and will heal us in the way we need in that moment… I am open and willing to receive whatever it is that I may need at this exact moment in my life.


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