thoughts on ‘just for today’

Some reiki practices meditate on these five principles:

  1. Just for today, I will not worry / I will trust.
  2. Just for today, I will not anger / I will love.
  3. Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
  4. Just for today, I will be grateful for my many blessings.
  5. Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbors and all living beings.

Trust, love, integrity, appreciation, kindness–got it. But why, “just for today”?

I connected the idea back to a self-help book I read recently called Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. I came by the book in a weird meandering way; it’s not something I would normally spend my time with. But I’m glad I read it.

It’s a habit-forming system based on “stupid small” steps. Want to form a habit of exercising 30 minutes a day? Start with a mini habit of one push-up a day. Want to form a habit of writing 2000 words a day? Start with a mini habit of 50 words a day.

The author goes into the science of goals and motivation and self-esteem and whatnot. By keeping the daily goal “stupid small”, failure isn’t an option (and you’re even likely to do “bonus reps”). In other words, every day is a success. He doesn’t come out and say this, but basically, it sounds like building a positive emotional foundation allows the mental and physical to follow.

It’s hard to be kind to everyone at every moment. It’s difficult to maintain constant integrity. It takes training to never spark to anger and practice to remain ever grateful. So when bringing these principles into your life, it’s helpful to take small steps. Start with just today.

The reiki principles are like moral mini habits.

Failure is still an option here, but I’d rather fail at not being kind today than not being a kind person. Instead of aiming to transform yourself into some pure archetype, and instead of running away and drowning your sorrows when you can’t uphold yourself to those standards–just focus on how you could act today, on who you could be today.

Focusing on how it feels to take on those principles will build a foundation from which you can think and act on those principles.

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