Does History Help us to Embody the Precepts?
History is not the soil of happiness. The periods of happiness are blank pages in it. - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Often I am asked if I teach a lot about the history of Mikao Usui and his teachings in our classes.
For me the most important element within Mikao Usui's teachings is to embody the precepts in our daily life.
The precepts are:
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be true to your way and your true self
Be compassionate to yourself and others
Teaching a lot about the history of the system of Reiki doesn't necessarily help us to embody the precepts. It might give us some kind of framework or platform, but that is about it.
"The past is malleable and flexible, changing as our recollection interprets and re-explains what has happened." - Peter L. Berger
For me, to embody the precepts we need to learn and practice in class the meditation practices, the symbols and mantras, hands-on healing - elements that I see as more integral to the system of Reiki than its history. Through this actual practice, the teacher can then guide the students. The teacher sees how the students are practicing and thus can adjust the practice accordingly.
For example, a yoga teacher would not necessarily spend a lot of time in class on the history of yoga either; rather she would teach the practice and have the students do it. This is the same when we go to a Tai Chi class; we start to practice the methods because it is only through the methods and not through the history that we start to embody the teachings.
In essence, it also doesn't matter so much who, what and where Mikao Usui taught. What matters most is that we facilitate a change within ourselves and the students so that we become less angry and worried, so we become more grateful and true to our way and our true self, so we become more compassionate to ourselves and others.
Plus, if we focus too much on the history and we state as a teacher that this history is the true and correct one, then we are in fact creating a possibility for more anger and worry! Because now we could get angry and worried if someone speaks about a different view point of the history.
"History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon." - Napoleon Bonaparte
Therefore, rather than focusing on the history, I spend more time discussing the practices so that the student understands why they are taught. And we spend time actually practicing the practices so that the student gains a direct experience and is inspired to continue and deepen the practice.