In my latest audio CD, Jack Kornfield told this story. A meditation teacher met with a student who complained about some issue in his life. The teacher gave the student some suggestions on how meditation might help, but the student answered each suggestion explaining why it wouldn’t work or saying he had already tried that. Finally, the teacher sat back, looked at the student for a long moment, and said: “You know, I think your intention to stay the same is stronger than your intention to change.”
Oh dear. I couldn’t help but remember my conversation with my therapist, Jeanne, earlier that day. I had recounted a problem I was having, but when Jeanne suggested a possible way of handling it, I responded exactly as the student in the story. “I already tried it,” I said more than once. I never really listened to her. I was caught up in my intention to stay the same.
I wonder why I cling to staying the same even when the promise of better things shines before my eyes. I hang on to the lip of the waterfall with bleeding fingernails, resisting the flow of the river that is my life. The water rushes past me, throwing me against rocks and thorny bushes. I am scratched and exhausted, and yet I cannot release the edge no matter how much pain I’m in. There is nothing for me up there, and I can see the clear blue pool below, but I’m too afraid of the turbulent waterfall to let go.
As a Reiki practitioner, I often remind myself to release my need for specific results when I treat a client. I know that though I am the one channeling the energy, it is really the client who heals himself or herself. The healing that happens and the way it manifests are always in the client’s highest good, and they depend (among other factors) on the strength of his/her intention or willingness to change.
Interestingly, since we have free will, we can refuse the flow of Reiki into the body. This may sound strange. Why would anyone refuse well-being? But remember all the times you procrastinated going to the doctor or refused to take the medicine prescribed? Choosing health is not always the easiest path. A student can even refuse an attunement. It happened to me in a class once when I was feeling particularly ornery. Fortunately, by the time the second attunement came around, I had made my peace with receiving its gift, and I could feel the energy flowing into my body.
I’ve discovered that my immediate “No” almost always ought to be a YES. YES to letting go and going down the waterfall. YES to trying something new. YES to listening to my therapist’s suggestion. YES to an offer that might scare me. I have found that no matter how big the waterfall, life is always better in the clear blue pool below.
These days, when I am feeling sick or unhappy, I ask myself the question: is my intention to stay the same stronger than my intention to change? Sometimes just noticing how much I resist change is enough to give me the boost to let go my resistance. Sometimes we all need to take a step into the unknown. I hope, perhaps, I’ve inspired you to leap into the clear blue waters of the pool, too.