Positive experiences foster growth. Psychologically, it is not possible to progress when negative experiences or traumatic events are doing a constant re-run in our mind. This results in being in a more or less constant state of alert or inner conflict. A pessimistic thinking pattern grows up under these conditions that in research has been shown to decrease the body’s immune response, decrease longevity, promote depression, and interfere with intimacy.
However, negative experiences are a necessary part of life sometimes. It’s just that it is not healthy to hang on to them. But there are some benefits. One relates to the frequently asked question of whether growth can occur without some discomfort (this being one reason it is avoided by many)? The answer is: probably not. We want love and happiness all the time, but without at least a little loss and discomfort, we don’t have a barometer with which to measure happiness! It’s a matter of balance.
Another thing the mind does is to attach itself to painful experiences in order to try to make sense of them and by rationalizing them, hoping to work them out of our system. But this often results in reinforcing trauma, dwelling on the negative. Remember Norman Vincent Peale and his ground-breaking book The Power of Positive Thinking? He was one of the first to point out that our reality is created by how we choose to think about events. Do we turn events into cynical disappointments or positive learning experiences?
Helping people release negativity and adapt to new ways of experiencing change is something I was quite happy doing for more than 25 years as a psychologist until I encountered the way Reiki works and realized that things could be more efficient!. Reiki is effective given hands-off or at a distance, so many mental health practitioners are now learning Reiki so they can facilitate emotional healing without touching the recipient.
With Reiki it is possible to very rapidly work through most aspects of the past without the arduous process of psychotherapy. Heresy? I can say, being a dedicated psychologist, that psychotherapy works. It’s just that it works slowly because it involves the mind which gets hung up easily on details. One of the reasons Reiki is so effective for emotional healing is that it reaches the emotional level immediately, bypassing the tendency of the mind to dwell. It also allows release of trauma from cellular memory. Changing patterning occurs without conscious awareness. Letting go is effortless and painless!
Try this: sit in a meditative state or invoke Reiki if you are already a practitioner. Ask your Higher Self to be present to assist in the process. Then on a piece of paper, write down in short form as many regrets as you can summon up in a space of 5 minutes, starting each with the words “I regret that……” Do it quickly, don’t think about it a lot. Now, select the one regret that is having the most significant impact on your life today. Redo the sentence by replacing the word “regret” with the word “accept,” Place your dominant hand on your forehead (over the third eye) and the non-dominant hand on the back of your head at the medulla. Repeat the “I accept that…” statement 3 times. Then out loud say: “I release myself from the past, now.” Let the Reiki take over and facilitate the healing.
A lot has been said about growth and change in the field of mental health, but an alternative approach is acceptance of what is, now — not of what happened in the past or what is coming in the future. The ability to accept ourselves non-judgmentally and realistically for who we are reflects maturity. And others respond favorably to this, since they are being allowed to be who they are— people cannot be willed into changing, they will resist. And what you resist, persists!
Acceptance is often misunderstood as meaning giving up on the possibility of change or allowing external events to be in control. But even just the idea of control creates stressful thoughts and feelings. It is not possible to heal the world, heal your self first — and this comes a relief to many who are caught up in the suffering in our world: unrest, prejudice, hatred, violence — all based upon fear. It is an illusion to think that there is any ultimate control over the wheel of life, which in Buddhism, it is called Maya. Surrendering to this reality of having no ultimate control, letting be what is, can actually be quite liberating. This is the “law of Allowance.” Similarly, in Christianity and other religions, by letting go of suffering and surrendering to the Creator’s love one attains peace.
Self-acceptance opens the door to possibilities that could not have otherwise existed, something the mind cannot do without the heart, as was suggested by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke who wrote:
“Be patient with all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not seek for the answers that cannot be given for you would not be able to live them and the point is to live everything. Live the questions now and perhaps without knowing it you will live along someday into the answers.”