“I chose to weigh over 200 pounds,” said motivational speaker Zig Ziglar “because I never knowingly ate anything I didn’t want.” He was demonstrating that we are responsible for all our actions and therefore for all the outcomes of our actions. And for the most part I believe that to be true.
But some people would argue that their condition, illness or chronic pain is because of something that happened to them outside of their choosing. And when I hear that Nancy’s pain is caused by a car accident that is not her fault, how can I not agree with her?
This has been on my mind this past week because I spent it taking a Jikiden Reiki class. The healing practice of Reiki was founded by Mikao Usui, a Japanese man who was also a practicing Buddhist, a belief system that accepts the notion of reincarnation. Was there anything to be learned about people’s pain and suffering by applying this notion to people like Nancy, I wondered. (I’m always wondering these kinds of things! Even if you don’t believe in reincarnation, bear with me.)
Is the suffering my clients experience a result of re-incarnation? I’ve always understood reincarnation as the soul moving into a new body after the death of the old body. However, the quality of the new life will depend on the quality of the previous life lived. In order to do better next time you have to work in the present life at creating a life of a higher moral quality. If you don’t, your next life will be worse than this one.
Is my current body, with all its issues, the result of some past terrible mistake or misdeed of mine? And what will I end up with next time based on mistakes of this life? Maybe I’ll be a roach next!
My Jikiden Reiki teacher, Frank Arjava Petter, presented a slightly different view of reincarnation. He described how Mikao Usui and the Japanese people of his time viewed reincarnation. They believed that the soul is the core of the body and is ever-living but in order to evolve it must be on earth and that’s why souls reincarnate. Though all past experiences are still available to the soul in the present life, they are made unconscious so the soul is not confused about who they are and what they need to do. Those unconscious experiences, however, drive your actions in your present life.
In essence it means that everything is present, here and now. And if I make a correction today it fixes everything in the past and keeps the way clear for my future. I would not have to reincarnate at some future date to fix mistakes of this life unless I made no effort to fix it now.
So what does this have to do with people suffering chronic pain, especially for those who do not believe in reincarnation? My point is that this puts a whole new twist on responsibility!
Perhaps this body that doesn’t work so well is with me now to help me evolve into a human being that's better able to take responsibility? And by that I mean my own emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental wellbeing. I think Zig had it right when he said he didn’t knowingly eat anything he didn’t want. You can’t make other people or events change, nor can you blame them for where you are in life. You can only take responsibility and change you. Nancy can’t take back the accident that caused her pain but she can change how she views it – she can take responsibility for her current actions.
The physical benefits will vary but being responsible will bring about higher self-esteem, better relationships and feelings of well-being. It might be worth a try especially if it means living in peace not only in this life but also in the next one.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on reincarnation. Send me a message on Facebook.