What is your Independence Day?
Last Sunday Americans celebrated Independence Day, they day that they achieved independence from the British Empire and could rule themselves. Many people in the USA celebrate the day with parties, and 4th July is now known to the world. The symbol of independence day is the day that people feel free, freedom from others who control them, take their rights away or want to exploit them. In this phase of COVID-19 relaxation of restrictions, people have coined the term ‘independence day’ for the 19th July, when many rules we are currently living under will be lifted.
So this week I am posing a question to you: What would be your independence day?
For some of us, we are living in difficult situations, with some things within our control, but many things outside of our control. Happiness can seem fleeting, or even something that we feel unable to feel for ourselves. Stress, grief, unhealthy relationships with others and money worries can all contribute to our feelings of being trapped, of lacking independence. The collective mood in our family, in our work place or in wider society can also influence our feeling, perhaps things feel more hopeless and out of our control. We may feel we lack independence because our external world feels fixed and ‘stuck’. We may feel that if only our external world were different, if we won the lottery or switched jobs for example, that all our problems would fade away and we would find that elusive happiness we have all been looking for.
Reiki has its roots in Eastern traditions including Eastern philosophy, which was heavily influenced by the teachings of the Buddha. Buddhism may show us a different way to think about independence that are summarised below:
Independence of mind
Lots of people throughout history have thought about the difference between a free mind, freedom of thought, compared with following the crowd or having a ‘mind cage’. Reiki lets us be still and with ourselves, and when this happens, our minds can feel more free and our perspective can change. As Jane Rule once said: ‘If things don’t look good from where you are sitting, change your seat’. The more we practice being still with our thoughts, and letting our thoughts roam free within our imagination, the more possibilities open up to us. This might mean changing our external world, or it could just mean balancing our current situation (that might be hard to change), with our dreams, hopes, and inner joy.
Independence is only obtained through interdependence.
We’ve probably all heard the phrase ‘no man is an island’ to mean that no-one can or should be completely independent of the wider world. Interdependence means we need others, and we benefit from support networks or families or other communities. It is then down to us, in our inner self, to consider how to do this for the best outcome for ourselves. Even when we are in communities, we are still our own independent unit within that community and have the right to our own thoughts, dreams, tastes and passions.
Interdependence also means an interdependence with nature. Reiki and other holistic therapies often connect this through the use of crystals, through cleansing a room with sage and through the process of grounding. When we can feel grass in between our toes, we remember that we are part of a wider, magnificent and complex world, full of wonder.
Independence is balance
If we can harness our connections with others and the natural world as well as balancing these with listening to our own inner thoughts, we allowing our own energy to flow. Our mind, body and spirit are in balance and the harmony we create allows us to appreciate our own independence.