“To seek the highest good is to live well.” ‑ Saint Augustine

Recently I was teaching a Reiki 2 class to an amazing group of women who had rich backgrounds and experiences with a variety of healing modalities including: Yoga, Biofield Tuning and Therapeutic Touch. Toward the end of class, after all the students had been taught the first three Reiki symbols and mantras, I asked each student to request distance healing for someone or something in their life. Requests included help for a sick parent, a stressed-out husband and a sister struggling with depression.

One student requested healing for Bella, her mother’s beloved cocker spaniel. According to the student, Bella’s kidneys were failing and she was suffering. So we closed our eyes and invited Bella’s energy between our hands. Sensing the warmth between our palms, we set an intention for her highest good. Next we created the Reiki symbols – distance followed by empowerment, then mental-emotional closing with empowerment. We pictured Bella and held her in our hearts and hands. Finally, we closed the healing by bringing our hands together.

The next day I received an email from the student: “Bella died,” she wrote. “When I went out to check, her body was still warm. I know she died this morning peacefully.” This was not the outcome we had wanted! We wanted Bella to get better, but clearly the Universe had other ideas.

Surrendering to the highest good isn’t easy. Often we ask for what’s best in the eyes’ of the Divine, but secretly we want Reiki to act like Aladdin’s genie – to do our bidding, amplify the Law of Attraction and manifest what our ego wants. But this is like forcing a stream to flow up hill. It doesn’t work, because Reiki always works for summum bonum, a Latin expression meaning “the highest good.”

What’s more powerful is letting go of the inner dialogue – the limiting mind chatter – and trusting the Universe to know what’s best. Reiki is intelligent. It flows where it’s needed and works for the highest good even when we have other desires.

When we try to control outcomes we get bogged down by details and desires and the healing energy flow is reduced to a trickle. Conversely, when we set a broader intention to channel Reiki with love, compassion and gratitude for the highest healing good Reiki becomes an energized waterfall that catalyzes healing, expansion and growth.

Letting go of desire allows us to step out of the way and let the Divine life force energy do its thing. Yes, it’s easier said than done. We want our Mom’s pet to live. We want the cancer to disappear, the business to work, the house to sell ASAP. But is that what’s really best? In our limited capacity to see we really don’t know. Maybe the Universe is taking its sweet time because we’re supposed to learn patience or detachment. Asking for the highest good empowers us. It helps us to trade our narrow focus for faith and embrace uncertainty knowing it is the gateway to possibility.

Trusting is scary. It’s human nature to want to control our lives. But when we stop forcing our agenda, shift to sensing and experiencing rather than thinking, and surrender we’re filled with love and light. Frankly, it’s a relief to let the Universe take over. We can take a breath, practice self-Reiki and realize there are infinitely more possibilities than we can conceive of. We can practice the second precept (“Just for today I won’t worry.”), connect with Divine intelligence and trust that everything is always working for our highest good. This is how we get out of our way, welcome Divine energy and allow it to do its thing.

Three Phases of Surrender

Shifting into surrender doesn’t happen overnight. It occurs in three phases: toddler, teen and adult. One phase isn’t better than another. They are all part of learning and growing. As we let go and let God we bounce around from phase to phase – trusting and then trying to control when we forget that Spirit’s got our back, remembering and trusting again.

During phase one we act like toddlers, and the ego is in control. Our inner child wants what it wants. If it doesn’t get it watch out. The ego will hold its breath, throw a tantrum and finally collapse into a puddle of despair and hopelessness. At this point it’s best to practice self-compassion by allowing emotions to flow, soothing our inner child and reassure her that everything is going to be okay.

At phase two our inner child becomes exhausted, and we start to look for another way. Like curious teens we start to explore turning our desires over to God. But the toddler hasn’t left the scene and still thinks turning things over is how she can get what she wants. She’s basically making a deal with God.

In phase three we release the ego grip and allow the little me that we identify with to step aside. We open up to what is possible, detach from outcomes and get spacious. This new arena, awareness and energy allow what’s needed for the highest good to happen without us consciously doing and forcing things.

The beauty of stage three is that when things feel chaotic and out of control (a common theme at midlife when so much is changing) we can admit: “I can’t handle” this and turn everything over to God. When we finally let go and stop grasping, detach from outcomes, surrender and trust the process the highest good can flow into our lives. During this phase we swap paranoia for pronoia, a state of mind where we feel that the world is conspiring to shower us with blessings. We realize that the highest good means growing spiritually and expanding into a place where we trade worry and control for trust and freedom.

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