I just returned from my trip to Thessalonica, Greece last night. Can you imagine Greece covered with a thick blanket of snow? Normally we don’t think of Greece that way, quite the contrary we think of sun drenched streets, bright colors, cats wondering the streets and the smell of wild herbs and wonderful cooking. However it is a beautiful sight to see the snow covering the old city so white and quiet in the early morning.
I enjoyed being with my Greek family/friends Tassos, Maria, Dimos, Elissavet, Demetri and the Reiki community there. The Greek culture has late nights and siesta in the afternoon. By the time they are on their way out to dinner, 10pm we in the USA are usually watching the late night news and going to bed. It takes a few days to adjust to the heartbeat of a new country. Thank goodness for alarm clocks! Dinner goes on for hours with plenty of talk and passionate debates. What is enjoyable is that we all can talk about different subjects; the joy is in being fully expressive and listening/watching each other. The food is served family style with everyone helping themselves. And it is perfectly fine to dip your crust of bread in the sauce, in fact it is encouraged.
The debut of “Gateway to the Heart” was on the 2nd weekend I was there, from that new courses will spring and in many countries. The manual has been translated into Greek thanks to many long days and nights by Maria. It is a smaller course taken out of the Path of Insight that normally lasts over two years. The students found it went very deep given the time I had to work with them. Plans are in the works for me to return every six months to teach and do private sessions.
When I was there I was given a message, “Mari you must work through joy. Everything you do must bring you the greatest pleasure and happiness. All must keep you IN JOY, and your living, working being is through joy.” The message has the clear ring of truth. Can this be another doorway/gateway to explore in my life’s journey? I bet it is.
I took time to take some beautiful pictures of old doors…doors being a theme in my life. We cross through thresholds as we explore avenues on the other side of the door. We close doors to our past and open doors to the future. At this junction of my life I choose to be like a river flowing so that all I am and do is through joy.
Following my letter are three articles I thought you may be interested in especially since they follow a similar theme.
May all your days be joyful.
Love and Blessings,
To be like a River Flowing
“A river never passes the same place twice,” says a philosopher. “Life is like a river,” says another philosopher, and we draw the conclusion that this is the metaphor that comes closest to the meaning of life. Consequently, it is always good to remember during all the year to come:
(A] We are always doing things for the first time. While we move between our sources (birth) to our destination (death), the landscape will always be new. We should face these novelties with joy, not with fear – because it is useless to fear what cannot be avoided. A river never stops running.
(B] In a valley we walk slower. When everything around us becomes easier, the waters grow calm; we become more open, fuller and more generous.
(C] Our banks are always fertile. Vegetation only grows where there is water. Whoever comes into contact with us needs to understand that we are there to give the thirsty something to drink.
(D] Stones should be avoided. It is obvious that water is stronger than granite, but it takes time for this to happen. It is no good letting yourself be overcome by stronger obstacles, or trying to fight against them - that is a useless waste of energy. It is best to understand where the way out is, and then move forward.
(E] Hollows call for patience. All of a sudden the river enters a sort of hole and stops running as joyfully as before. At such moments the only way out is to count on the help of time. When the right moment comes the hollow fills up and the water can flow ahead. In the place of the ugly, lifeless hole there now stands a lake that others can contemplate with joy.
(F] We are one. We were born in a place that was meant for us, which will always keep us supplied with enough water so that when confronted with obstacles or depression we have the necessary patience or strength to move forward. We begin our course in a soft and fragile manner, where even a simple leaf can stop us. Nevertheless, as we respect the mystery of the source that gave us life, and trust in His eternal wisdom, little by little we gain all that we need to pursue our path.
(G] Although we are one, soon we shall be many. As we travel on, the waters of other springs come closer, because that is the best path to follow. Then we are no longer just one, but many – and there comes a moment when we feel lost. However, as the Bible says, “all rivers flow to the sea.” It is impossible to remain in our solitude, no matter how romantic that may seem. When we accept the inevitable encounter with other springs, we eventually understand that this makes us much stronger; we get around obstacles or fill in the hollows in far less time and with greater ease.
(H] We are a means of transportation. Of leaves, boats, ideas. May our waters always be generous, may be always be able to carry ahead everything or everyone that needs our help.
(I] We are a source of inspiration. And so, let us leave the final words to the Brazilian poet, Manuel Bandeira:
“To be like a river that flows silent through the night, not fearing the darkness and reflecting any stars high in the sky. And if the sky is filled with clouds, the clouds are water like the river, so without remorse reflect them too in the calm deep.”
Self-Examination at Depth
There are times when life urges us to seek more. Small changes to our comfort zone may fail to alleviate any sense of stagnancy or frustration, and we may need to examine our lives and ourselves more deeply to find the right place to start. Everything we need for success and joy lies within. But so often, life's debris accumulates, building layers around our core that makes it difficult to access the truth that resides within. To reach the depth we wish to access, we must dive below these layers to the deepest parts of ourselves. The first layer can be found in our minds. Our to-do lists and busy work are usually less important than we think, so we must look past them to examine the thoughts that matter most to us. The next layer can be found in our hearts, where past hurts and disappointments can sometimes cover up our vulnerabilities, as well as the truth of who and what really stirs the love within us. We can choose to go even deeper - to our center. If we can go beyond anything has affected us to the point that it blocks us at the gut level, we can reconnect with our power, our raw instincts, our organic yeses. Here, at the core, lies our truth. Our core is our foundation that supports us and what we'd like to build our authentic life upon. When we examine ourselves to these depths, we are able to find what we wish to bring to the surface and what we wish to let go. When we remember what lies beneath our layers, we can look at what was floating on the surface, causing blocks and pains, and understand the purpose that they served. Oftentimes, it is the built up debris that causes us to go deeper, so we can search for the truth. Go deep, live life from your truth within, and watch your innate beauty manifest outward.
The Healing Power of Gratitude
Acknowledging divine presence and expressing gratefulness for all the small and big things in life which are the main ingredients of Gratitude, lead you to a spiritual awakening and healing by way of establishing connectivity with all life, mutual love and trust. Attitude of gratitude, however, comes by practice and not by chance as the move is faster for those which have learnt to “dance.”
Before my accidental fall which had left my femur bone broken, over a decade back, I used to be a self righteous and a thankless person. The crippling physical injury after the fall had left me completely shattered. I had lost all hopes and thought that I would never ever walk on my own legs when the grace of Almighty descended on me in terms of a successful operation and implantation of prosthesis in place of the broken bone. My fast recovery from hip surgery came as a blessing in disguise. It not only helped me come out of the trauma but also amazingly changed my attitude towards all beings. With the positive change in my attitude of gratitude, I found myself stepping on to my spiritual healing journey, easily.
Gradually, I made a conscious effort to create a habit to offer thanks to all creatures whenever and as often, it was warranted. Of course, I would also not forget my daily Gassho in order to offer my gratitude to God for all the abundance in my life. A regular chanting of a few of my favorite Vedic mantras just on rising and while retiring to my bed, day after day, put the control of my life back into my own hands. I felt perpetually connected to every living being and the fear of being isolated no more haunted me. The divine spark in my heart had already set the ball of love, compassion and mutual trust, rolling for me.
With the practice of attitude of gratitude in my life, new doors started opening up for me. I felt blessed with the special grace bestowed upon me. It provided me enough inspiration to search for deeper meanings of the word ‘GRATITUDE’ as if that would dictate the much needed change in my behavior pattern, further. A closer look at each letter of the word, intuitively, guided me to the following mystic meanings.
G-ratefulness for all the abundance in life
R-eleasing all anger and worry
A-ttaining mutual trust
T-aming the mind to ever acknowledge the Divine presence
I-nviting happiness through thanks giving
T-ranscending all barriers of hate, jealousy and ego.
U-nconditionally loving all
D-eriving pleasure in forgiving others
E-xperiencing and establishing connectivity to all life.
Interestingly, the above meanings in the acronym, pointed to well treaded ideals on the path of spiritual healing. Gradually, I found myself practicing most of these as a way of living.
Years later after the incident, when I had become a Reiki channel, I realized the reason why Dr Mikao Usui the founder of Reiki, insisted that his students practice Kensha Shite - attitude of gratitude inter-alias other Reiki ideals, regularly. He exhorted people to follow and practice what he called, ``the secret method of inviting happiness through many blessings; the spiritual medicine for all illness”.
To me, this ideal appeared to be the most significant of all the Usui’s precepts. The attitude of gratitude is interwoven with the other four Reiki precepts in such a way that one leads to the other. You cannot have an attitude of gratitude unless you shed anger; anger unless you control your ego and unconditional love without shedding hate and jealousy. Practicing forgiveness and expression of gratitude lead us to connectivity to all life. The Constant feeling of the Divine presence puts an end to our feeling of isolation and consequent worry. It works as a catalytic agent to establish love, and mutual trust and accelerates inter-connectivity, which ingredients are so important from the point of view of spiritual healing.