When we talk about the Middle Kingdom, it is usually in reference to ancient Egyptian civilization stretching form approximately2030 to 1650 BC. In shamanism the spirit worlds that the shaman visits in trance are classified into three categories: the upper world, the underworld, and the middle world. What if we looked at the Middle Kingdom in a different way?
What if we took time to look at the middle kingdom as our life here on earth? When I was growing up, I did think of my life here on earth as being the middle ground…somewhere between all mighty holy heaven and the unforgiving torment of hell. If I was really good, when I died, I would be allowed to be with God and the angels in heaven and live in bliss for eternity but if I misbehaved in any way, forgetting or not having time to ask for forgiveness, well, I was dammed…sentenced to the eternal flames of hell and an eternity of torture. As I grew, I began to ask more questions about this whole punishment and reward deal. Somehow it just didn’t tie in with my understanding of a loving and forgiving God and as even more time went on and I experienced more life in this middle kingdom my thoughts were shifted from focusing so much on heaven and hell to understanding of the different levels of consciousness. As life often shows us, things are not simply black and white…there are a lot of gray areas, different beliefs, different circumstances and different journeys and lessons to be learned and these are unique to the individual. How then can everyone, every act, every deed be judged so certainly to determine their eternal existence? I remember when I was in my teens thinking how unfair it would be if we only had one kick at the can. As I was just starting to realize there were many religions and trains of thought out in the world, I began to be afraid that I was believing in the wrong thing. What if I had an accident like one of my classmates had, and I was following the so-called path but it turned out to be wrong? Or I didn’t have time to say I was sorry and ask for forgiveness…that was it? Out of all eternity that was all the chances I got??
Like many people, I spent a large portion of my life worrying about what would happen when I die rather than focusing on my life here in the Middle Kingdom. I could not prove if there was a place in the upper world or the under world, but I did know that I was here, now and the only time I could deal with was the present. So my new journey began… being in the moment, becoming aware of the God within, thinking for myself and allowing my intuition to guide me.
One of the first things that helped me along this path were the five Reiki Principals. For those who may be aware of them they are as follows:
- Just for today I will give thanks for my many blessings.
- Just for today I will not worry,
- Just for today I will not be angry.
- Just for today I will do my work honestly.
- Just for today I will be kind to my neighbour and every living thing.
These were simple, yet effective principals that anyone could follow if they so chose to. They may appear to be too simplistic but believe me when you attempt to actually live them, they can be challenging. Can they help us to maneuver through this complicated middle kingdom?
Well two years I decided to update the principals for myself, still using the originals when I teach Reiki. To me, the important message it to take each day on its own. I have these principals printed and taped inside my closet door so I see it each morning as I am choosing my outfit for the day. Just as we can decide what clothes to wear, I realized we also can choose how our day will unfold. You may say, yes but things that are out of our control. That is true, however how we react to that experience is ultimately up to us. Here are my revised 5 principals:
- I will live in the moment with the understanding that worry will only rob me of joy today.
When your mind starts running away on you, into the great abyss of tomorrow and the world of what ifs, bring your awareness back to centre. Open you eyes and see what is right in front of you. Bring your mind back to focusing on this moment in time as it is truly what you have to work with. What you think today will aid in creating your tomorrow so do not fill it with worry and all the negative scenarios. Focus instead on the positive outcomes, the endless possibilities.
- I will choose to find joy and happiness each day so that my heart can be filled with light instead of the darkness of anger.
Even on those mornings that you may be struggling to get out of bed, find one thing, tiny or great that brings you joy. Gratitude for your blessings will fill every cell of your being, heal you mentally and physically. Negativity hides the joy. It is up to each one of us to peal away the darkness that often corrupts us in the form of anger. Anger blinds us to all the blessings, the healing and as Buddha said, “burns in you like a hot ember.” Be willing to let it go because holding on to it only burns you.
- I will show love and kindness to every living thing, including being kind to myself.
Remember not only to be kind to others as you may not know what their journey is like, but take time to be kind to yourself. Let go of comparing your life to someone else’s or judging everything from your past. Instead, you can look to someone for help and an example but live it your way. Forgive yourself of past mistakes and in doing so you will allow yourself to learn from these lessons and in turn you just may be able to help someone else when they fall.
- I will be honest and truthful in all that I do so that my home and heart are filled with warmth and contentment.
Setting ego aside can be a challenge, especially when we have made a mistake and need to own up to something. However, trying to keep secrets stops you from living life to its fullest as you live in fear that someone will uncover your secret and use it against you. What if you admitted, if only to yourself, your past and then allowed yourself the luxury of acknowledging that you did the best you could at that moment in time and here you are now, in a different place. If you try and cover up anything, one lie ultimately leads to another until you may not even know what is true anymore.
- I will start and end each day with gratitude: thankful to be experiencing life.
The first words, thoughts in your head each morning should be “thank you”. No matter what lies ahead you have the chance to be in a new day and create a new page in this chapter of your life story. By showing gratitude you awaken with you the seed of possibility. You acknowledge the God within that is waiting for you to create your reality. How will you use your thoughts, your words, your actions this day?
Then when the day is through, take time for reflection and thankfulness for the having had another day walking through this Middle Kingdom.
Take a moment now to think back on your day.
Did worry overshadow your ability to stay in the moment or were you able to focus on the beauty of this day
Did you find joy today or did anger darken your mood?
Were you kind to others and yourself even in the smallest of gestures?
Was honesty behind your actions?
Did you take time to be thankful if simply to wake up and be part of another day?
Five simple principals that can open our minds to greatness. No other instructions are really needed to navigate through this Middle Kingdom because within each and every one of us lies all the directions we need to travel through our own life’s journey. When we can set aside our need to control everything in our world and allow ourselves to experience the journey things will fall into place. Every creature on this planet, including us, wants love, may search for it and long for love to come into our lives but until we allow ourselves to be open to it, we may never feel it, These principals will help us to evolve, grow in mind, body and spirit and in doing so find the love and compassion we all seek and are capable of giving. By releasing the anger, worry, doubt and accept gratitude, forgiveness, kindness into each day we are opening ourselves up to manifest and receive all this Middle Kingdom and the higher planes of consciousness have to offer.
I will leave you with one more message from Reiki on receiving:
Just for the moment set aside your conditions, ideas, and expectations.
Make yourself empty for a moment.
Be open. Receive.