After 9/11

Part of any Level I Reiki class is a discussion of the five Reiki precepts:

Just for today, I will not anger.


Just for today, I will not worry.


Just for today, I will be thankful for my many blessings.


Just for today, I will do my work honestly.


Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbor and to every living thing.



A few weeks after the tragedy in New York, I was teaching a Reiki I class. The students and I had completed our discussion of the first four precepts, sharing thoughts and stories about the ways in which anger and worry and dishonesty can poison your life and the lives of those around you.


Because this was a Reiki for Animal Lovers class, when we began our discussion of the last precept, students were eager to talk about their passion for the well-being and kind treatment of animals, both domestic and wild.


We then eased into a discussion about the challenge of treating difficult people with kindness, even those who have hurt us, those who have caused us great suffering. On an abstract level, everyone seemed to accept this precept. I reminded them that putting it into practice, however, might not always be easy.


When I suggested that the precept meant they would be able to show kindness to the bombers of the Twin Towers, to Bin Laden himself, one student physically recoiled. “That is taking it too far,” she said.


But it is not taking it too far. It is going exactly where the precept demands we go.


As Martin Luther King, Jr., said,


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”



Can you hold kindness and compassion in your heart for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—even though he has committed an atrocious crime against the people of Boston, of our country, of our world?


Can you begin by replacing anger with love; replacing worry with creativity; expressing gratitude; approaching your work with passion?



 I hope you will be moved to share your thoughts.

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