Lose Your Head to Find It

This post is about how the 5 Reiki Precepts play out in the practitioner’s body between the head and the hara. It’s relevant for practitioners of Reiki and non-practitioners alike.

The hara is a vibrational seat of power deep within the lower abdomen. This is the translation of the Reiki Precepts used here:

For today only: Do not anger—Do not worry
Be humble
Be honest in your work
Be compassionate to yourself and others

The common way being in our heads too much is expressed, is to say that we’re “top-heavy.” This is true. We spend way too much time in the head and occupy only its space to the exclusion of all the other ‘spaces’ that are available to us. If we’re ‘centered’ only in the head, we tip over very easily.

reiki precepts gokai hara

© Pamir Kiciman 2013

Our physical design places our actual center exactly midway through the body. The hara is our anatomical center. It’s a non-thinking (but not unintelligent) and non-conceptual space. It brings us balance just by the contrast it provides to our head space.

The founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui (Sensei), put the Gokai (5 principles) together in a way that points out a better way of being human. They are simple on the surface, tough to actually live, and as with all pithy truths have layers and layers of meaning. There are several other posts about these precepts and the hara which are linked below.

When we’re in anger we’re headed to the past. When we’re in worry we’re headed to the future. In most cases anger tends to be about the past, and worry tends to be about the future. They cohabit the space of our head. The head is time-bound.

The hara is the space of the timeless now.  There’s no time in the present moment. “Today” isn’t 24/7/365. It’s simply being present. If we can stay present even when there’s anger or worry, we won’t be yanked in one fruitless direction or another. We won’t get tipped over!

If we stay present, we can mitigate whatever is causing our balance to tip, and learn from it. There are also other treasures in the hara and what it represents.

We’re not humble in our head. Head is ego. Head is scheming too, so honesty can be a challenge. The head is selfish. There’s not a whole lot of room for compassion in the head.

A quick disclaimer: We need our head, of course we do. The brain is an amazing biocomputer, our intellect is a rich resource. It’s living in the head a high percentage of the time that’s problematic.

The head needs a buddy, a regulator. It needs an anchor to the present. The hara is this buddy. Located low in the body, it’s a natural center of gravity for us, a place where we can be grounded.

There’s spaciousness in the mind because it’s like the sky or space, but this can’t be found in the brain because the mind is not only the brain. The mind is all-pervasive. The brain is also divided. It has two hemispheres and while in can be trained in holistic thinking, undoing years of socialization takes some work.

On the other hand, the hara is a one-point. It’s whole and nondual. It accesses experience directly without analysis or neurosis! This provides stability and calm. It’s much easier to be mindful from the belly which  doesn’t dissect or multitask. It gives us the ability to respond rather than react.

We all have both inner and outer work to do as well. Our inner work is about developing good character and spiritual growth. Our outer work is what we contribute to the world. If the two aren’t linked, there’s trouble. Many times our work in the world comes from the head only. Integrity and honesty suffers. Purpose can suffer too since work coming only from the head may not be our true calling.

Honesty is really part of our inner work. That’s where to whole journey begins. We can’t be fooling ourselves, or being lazy with teachings and practices, letting our betterment slump.

Usui Sensei has this as the first part of his precepts:

The Secret of Inviting Happiness through Many Blessings
The Spiritual Medicine for All Illness

That’s no small matter. Lose your head to find it, the Reiki way (or some way!). Lose your head in the hara, then join your hara and your head, and keep living compassionately.

Related:

The Hara

The Hara: Sacred Center

The Hara: A Physical and Spiritual Center

Reiki Precepts

Usui’s Precepts: The Living Tissue of Reiki

The Balance of Doing and Being


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  • Sheri Kaye Hoff

    A beautiful article explaining the hara. I like your suggestion about dealing with anger.