A good friend read my reflections on the 5 Reiki precepts — which all begin with the words, “Just for today” — and he felt inspired to send me this poem, called “Just for Today.” He told me it is one of the most beloved poems in the Alcoholic Anonymous program.
Here it is:
Just For Today
Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.
Just for today I will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse it nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.
Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
Just for today I will I will exercise my soul in three ways. I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do, as William James suggests, just for exercise.
Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticize not at all, not find fault with anything and not try to regulate nor improve anyone.
Just for today I will try to live through this day only. Not to tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.
Just for today I will have a program. I will write down what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. It will eliminate two pests, hurry and indecision.
Just for today I will have a quiet half-hour all by myself and relax. In this half-hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.
Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to love, and to believe that those I love, love me.
Our work, as visionaries and teachers, is to lead our fellow human beings to places where they may be able to see a much larger picture, and embrace a new paradigm that will save humanity from extinction.
We, all of us, are traveling through the endless cosmos on the same vehicle — Spaceship Earth — and we need to take good care of it if we want to continue our journey.
Actually, we need to take much better care of our habitat if we want to survive. Planet Earth, our home, is under attack, and, regrettably, we — short-sighted, fearful, and greedy human beings — are the ones destroying our fragile ecosystem.
Only a new vision of the future, and a new understanding of our common destiny will change this destructive behavior. We need a new common goal to strive for if the human civilization is to go on.
The old paradigm of a world divided in tribes that engage in power struggles and fight one another must be replaced by the new paradigm of the whole humanity working together as a species to protect the planet and enhance everyone’s life.
We need to set aside our differences and transcend our selfishness and petty tribal identities. We have to realize that, in essence, we are are all very similar and that those who magnify differences among humans are the ones who, in several ways, benefit from animosity and conflict. We must go beyond the damaging loyalty to our little gangs, and understand how this misplaced loyalty is endangering our future. Instead of seeing ourselves as members of different religions, nations, ethnicities, schools of thought, or bands of brothers, we must see ourselves as fellow crew members of the same endangered spacecraft who are called to work together in order to maintain it in perfect conditions, so it may be able to continue its journey through the cosmos.
We must replace the illusion that we are separate from one another with the understanding that we are all interconnected. We must remember that we are all descendants of the same ancient parents, members of the same family, brothers and sisters all.
“So, let us not be blind to our differences–but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” ~ John F. Kennedy, in the Commencement Address at American University, June 10, 1963
This blog was inspired by the documentary “Overview.”
I have dedicated myself to promote the vision that this planet of ours is our Garden and our Playground, and that we are called to enjoy the beauty of the Garden and have fun in the Playground; that we are called to share our toys because the enjoyment of others enhances our own; that if we feel like doing it, we should give our contribution to make the Garden more beautiful and the Playground more enjoyable; that we are called to understand that this is Heaven, if we want it!
“Just for today, I will do my work honestly.” This is the fourth of five Reiki principles.
Honesty… we know what honesty is, right? Honest individuals are the ones who are correct and fair in all their dealings; they do not deceit, steal, cheat, mislead, exploit, or commit fraud for any reason, especially not for personal gain. They are honorable in their principles, intentions, and actions. When they profess, “I do my work honestly,” they are also saying that they live honorable lives, supporting themselves and their families without harming anyone.
But besides being honest with others, there is also the commitment of honesty with oneself, which is as important as being honest with others, if not more. For me, living this commitment requires keeping the promises I make to myself, heeding my inner calling, giving expression to my life’s purpose, and doing what is necessary to move my life to that place where I may be able to give my best contributions to humanity.
I am conscious that sooner or later my physical life will be over, so I am constantly asking myself, “What must I do before I die? What are the greatest contributions I can leave to the world?”
We all have unique purposes to fulfill during our lifetimes. Our highest purposes are always calling us and seeking expression. I know that, like everybody else, I too have gifts that only I can give. My calling is to make the world better by bettering myself, and by helping other individuals better themselves. My mission is to be a guide, a helper, and a companion of other individuals on their transformational journeys, hoping that they will go through those spiritual epiphanies that will allow them to embrace a new vision for our world as a place of abundance, solidarity, and peace. My highest goal is to be an agent who helps bring Heaven to Earth. I want to spread the idea that Heaven is here, and I dream of the day when this will be the prevailing idea in mankind’s collective unconscious.
So, here is my reflection on “Just for today, I will do my work honestly…”
Just for today, I will earn my living honestly. I will do no harm, and I will bask in the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I have been honest in all my dealings.
Just for today, I will plan my work and work my plan, because when I don’t plan my work, or when I don’t work as planned, not only I get disturbed, but I dishonor my higher calling. So, just for today, I will pay more attention and live more mindfully. I will stay focused on my priorities and make honest choices on how to best use my time. I will reduce my exposure to distractions and be more organized, efficient, and effective. Just for today, I will execute my plans honestly.
Just for today, I will honor my parents, their parents, and all my ancestors. I will honor my teachers, their teachers, and all masters who came before me. I will honor them all by being honest and by striving to be the best that I can be.
I am fully committed to be honest with myself and all other beings, and I encourage you to do the same.
Namaste! The Divine in me recognizes the Divine in you, and rejoices.
“Just for today, I will not get angry.” This is the third of five Reiki Principles.
Pause for an instant and ask yourself, “What is anger? When does it come about? Why?”
Anger is an emotion that surfaces whenever someone disappoints us. We get angry at other individuals because they do not do what we want them to do, or do not behave the way we want them to behave, or do not believe in what we believe.
We also get angry whenever we disappoint ourselves. When we regret what we have done or said, or what we have failed to say or do, we get angry. But disproportionate auto-criticism must be avoided. We should always be gentle with ourselves, forgiving ourselves for our temporary failings and misdeeds. We should love ourselves as we are. But we also must be commited to learn from our mistakes in order not repeat them. We should love ourselves and continue the lifelong journey of bettering our own selves.
I admire all of those who make the effort to better themselves. I am thankful to them because their efforts to be better make my world better.
One of the things we should do is to observe if we are in a constant and recurring criticizing mode. If so, we should change our ways. Criticism is a big waste of time and energy. If our focus is always on what others do wrong, we become very judgmental and bitter. Spending our days criticizing others diminishes the quality of our lives. We should resist speaking negatively about anyone. Whenever we catch ourselves about to engage in criticism, we must stop. And since the way of stopping bad behaviors is by replacing it with good ones, I submit that we should use that time to improve ourselves, in order to become the kind of individuals we respect and admire.
In my workshops I always ask the participants, “When was the last time you were able to change someone?” After some deliberation we all agree that we actually do not change anyone; all we can do is to inspire in others the desire to change, because change is a very personal undertaking. The best we can do is to improve our own selves, so we become examples that inspire others to do the same.
Finally, to live this precept to the fullest, one should make a commitment to not have any bad feelings toward anyone.
So, pause, take a deep breath, and promise yourself that “Just for today, I will not get angry, I will not envy, I will not be jealous, I will not hate, I will not judge, I will not criticize, I will not disapprove, I will not condemn. Just for today, I will not express any bad feelings toward anyone. I will not hurt anyone, myself included. I will be a loving, giving, and forgiving individual. I will be kind, generous and patient. I will work in becoming an improved version of myself and a blessing to the world.”
Christian Larson, in his Optimist Creed, wrote, “Promise yourself to give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.” Now that’s a good advice, for sure! Embrace it!
“Just for today, I will not worry.” This is the second of five Reiki precepts.
Pause for an instant and ask yourself, “How can someone not worry? Is it possible to live without worries?”
Let us begin this exploration reflecting on what worries are and where they come from. Worries are those disturbing thoughts that bring about distressful emotions such as fear, apprehension, anxiety, anguish, and tension. They are generated by excessive and sometimes obsessive thinking about misfortune and danger, either real or imaginary.
Many times, negative emotions emerge from revisiting situations, and other times we worry too much about the future. We have to pause and ask ourselves, “What am I worrying about right now? Why do I worry? Is my reason for worrying a valid one?” Many times, there are no well-founded reasons for worrying, but we keep doing it just because we have developed a bad habit. The truth is that worrying doesn’t do us any good; it just makes us feel worse and consumes our energy. Worrying doesn’t change anything; only action does.
My friend Bob, who has faced very tough times in his life, tells me, “You know what I do? I pause and ask myself, ‘What is the worst that can happen?’ Then I look back, at what I went through, and I realize that I will be able to handle even that. I know that I am able to handle anything. Therefore, I don’t worry.”
The truth is that worry is useless. Why worry about things we have no control over? If we don’t have control, our worry will not change the outcome a bit. And why worry about the things we can control? If we do have control, then we can take action and influence the outcome. So, the reality is that we should never worry. We should not worry about the things we cannot control, and we should not worry about the things we can control. As the Dalai Lama said, “If it can be solved, there’s no need to worry. And if it can’t be solved, worry is of no use.” In my own words, “If you have control, don’t worry. And, if can’t control, why worry?”
In our conversations, my father almost invariably reminds me to embrace and practice Positive Thinking. He always finds a way of including the expression, “Pensamento Positivo!” during our exchanges. He is right. Thoughts are powerful. We must practice to imagine only the best outcomes.
These days, when I catch myself having negative thoughts, I tell myself, “Delete.” This is a reminder to pause, acknowledge that the thoughts I am having are not good for me. It works as a command to get rid of negative thoughts, and replace them with positive ones. I tell myself, “Delete! Positive Thinking!” And this simple technique works for me.
One way of worrying less is to focus on the here-now by practicing mindful living.
So, pay attention and be alert. Stay in the here-now as much as possible, but do not use the here-now as an escape from facing your problems. Deal with your problems, past and present ones, and prepare yourself for the future. Adequate planning is always healthy. Plan your work, and work your plan everyday. Do something, no matter how little, to better your life and achieve your dreams. Make promises and keep them; not only the promises you make to others, but especially the commitments you make to yourself. Be honest with your own self.
Again, the second precept of Reiki invites us to choose a worry-free life. How do we do it? Well, I have learned that reflecting on the Reiki precepts everyday, many times a day, and committing to put them in practice, is an effective practice to curb worries. Another way is to engage in techniques of mind control, such as meditation, mindful living, creative visualization, creative dreaming; these are many ways of removing negative thoughts and filling the mind with positive, happy dreams. And, naturally, employing the “Delete! Positive Thinking!” technique whenever negative thoughts arise.
Finally, another way of living a worry-free life is to be more like a child.
Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” I believe that the main aspect that differentiates little children from adults is the fact that little children are worry-free. They do not worry about the future. They do not spend any time imagining that bad things may happen. They are not afraid. Worry and fear are not part of their lives. They are immersed in the here-now, exercising their innate curiosity, discovering the world around them, and filling their lives with moments of awe while savoring the beauty, mystery, and wonder that surrounds them. Simply, little children are having a joyous worry-free time.
So here is a reflection on “Just for today, I will be free from worry…”
Just for today, I will be like a little child. I will not be afraid of anything. I will not worry about the past, present, or future. I will not fear danger or misfortune. I will not allow worry to grow within me. I will not succumb to fear. Today, I will be completely fearless. I will live this day without worrying. I will be happy. I will be curious, discover, and be amazed. I will play, have fun, smile, and have a great time.
Just for today, I will cultivate optimism. I will root out the weeds of pessimism and take good care of the plants of optimism. I will continue planting the good seeds, tending the good plants, and trusting that a plentiful harvest is coming soon to bless my honest efforts. I will keep doing the things I am being called to do trusting that every good thing is coming my way. Just for today, I will have a calm faith in a better tomorrow.
Just for today, I will use my mind to imagine, dream and visualize a happy life.
Just for today, I will not get anxious trying to do all the many things I believe I have to do in the limited time I have. I will take it easy. I will relax. I will enjoy life. I will consider that time is an illusion, that time is on on my side, and that I am (we are) ageless. I will not rush. I will not get upset if, at the end of the day, I wasn’t able to do what I set myself up to do. I will realize that many of the things I thought were important, were not that important, or not important at all. If I have been able to bring joy to someone else, and make someone else’s life better, I will feel happy for having had a good day.
Just for today, I will surrender to the Higher Power, and say, “Here I am. You know who I am and what moves me. You know that my intentions are pure. Help me give my gifts to the family of the Earth. Help me help others live better lives. Use me. Reward me abundantly. Give me a worry-free life!”
“Just for today, I will not worry.”
As Bob Marley’s song goes, “Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright.”
Go forth in joy, just like a fearless, worry-free child!
“Just for today, I will live with the attitude of gratitude.” This is the first of five Reiki precepts.
Pause for an instant and ask yourself, “To live with the attitude of gratitude… What exactly does that mean? What does it demand from me? How does a person who is full of gratitude live?”
Four commitments for my days came out from my reflections on the first precept of Reiki. Here they are:
1 – Just for today, I will pay attention to everything and everyone, and acknowledge the many things I should be thankful for.
2 – Just for today, I will live expressing gratitude for as many things as possible, as many times as possible.
3 – Just for today, I will be grateful not only for what I already have but for all the many blessings that are coming my way.
4 – Just for today, I will not want.
In order to live in a state of blissful gratitude, I have to keep my desires under control. I shall not want. If I keep wanting all the time, there’s no room for thankfulness.
Here’s the commitment…
Prayer of Acceptance and Gratitude
Today, I will not want anything. I will not want to be different. I will not want to be who I am not. I will accept myself just as I am.
Today, I will bask in the realization that I am a manifestation of the Eternal Life Energy. I will feel how unique, wonderful, and magnificent I am.
Today, I will relax completely and accept myself completely. I will feel that I don’t have to do anything because I already am whole, perfect and complete.
Today, I will feel that I don’t have to get anywhere else because where I am, wherever it may be, is my home.
Today, I will not want anything. I will not want my life to be different. I will not want my situation to be different. I will not want my day to be different. I will not want others to be different. I will accept whatever and whoever comes to me as a gift that I should pay attention to and be grateful for. I will feel that everything is perfect just as it is.
Today I will feel happy, content and satisfied.
Why practicing gratitude is so important?
It is important because… Gratitude is the key that opens the door to the kingdom of Happiness.
I am grateful for having reached the knowing that I have control over my moods and that I can be happy if I so choose. I am grateful for knowing the things that make me happy. I am grateful that I can do the things that make me happy. I am grateful for being happy. And I have realized that the main practice that brings me happiness is gratefulness.
Do you want to be happy?
OK, here’s the formula, and it’s quite simple.
There are three things that you must do to achieve happiness:
First, be grateful.
Second, be grateful.
Third, be grateful.
By doing so, suddenly, you will experience happiness.
And then, you will realize how grateful you are for being this happy person.
And then, you will realize that you are happy because you practice gratitude.
It is by practicing gratefulness that we achieve happiness. Or, as my friend, Brother David Steindl-Rast puts it, “In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”
So, if you want to be happy, the first thing you have to do is to give thanks, the second thing is to give thanks, and the third thing is to give thanks.
You’ll be amazed how well it works!
Gratitude is the practice that enhances lives, produces happiness, and betters the world.