Friday, December 30, 2011

Upekkha revisited

At the time of my Reiki attunements with my first teacher, Robin Hannon, i had certain thoughts that led Robin to do the drawing at the top of this Blog, and led to reflections on Reiki in Hospice which i reflected in the term Upekkha Reiki, and gifted these concepts to Robin.

There is a certain tradition in medicine that we use scientific knowledge as far as it goes, but at the end of knowledge there remains caring. And for the physician who can care, there need never be a sense of futility or defeat, the process of caring itself is a gift.

Albert Camus reflected this in his book, "The Plague," through the first person narration of Dr Rieux, faced with a plague and no treatment, yet they did "what had to be done." And Camus himself, writing this novel, trapped within a Europe rules by Nazi force.

I saw the term Upekkha used - not in terms of Reiki - but in terms (very much like Camus) of a universal struggle - in the book "The Lizard Cage" by the young and talented Canadian author Karen Connelly. Her character, the musician Teza, trapped in confinement in Burma - Connelly like Camus writing from a sense of entrapment ....and what is common in sharing stories is that "some memorial might endure."

For a hospice physician, faced every day with dying patients, suffering human beings, - we cannot cure but we can care, can do what can be done, can be present, and can tell some of the stories. In acceptance and tranquility, in finding Upekkha, we move beyond simple compassion - we find what in Pure Land Buddhism might be called a path to the other shore.

The picture is simply of the Bodhi tree, leaves lost, burning in flame, existing, light shining through .....ready to take on leaves again.

In facing life from a place of calm, and acceptance, we can be present and caring.

We are honored to do Reiki in such a place or time. For Robin,there is an attunement with this, and for me i am not yet sure if there is any different attunement that the one's we are already taught to perform. It is for me a path, a way of looking at the world and our place in it, a guide to being present for people who need our presence.

This year I had the opportunity to study Komyo Reiki Kai with Hyakuten Inamoto. And the motto he teaches is simple, "go placidly in the midst of praise or blame." ("Even as a solid rock is unshaken by the wind, so are the wise unshaken by praise or blame." Buddha, Dhammapada 6/81)

For those who cannot be cured, who are trapped in a "cage" - we who cannot cure and perhaps cannot even offer adequate compassion can be present, and remember the human stories.

For those who share the work in Hospice or Reiki, Happy New Year, with Reiki Blessings and thanks.