Thoughts of Charlotte Mason which Relate to Reiki

Dear Reader,

I suppose it is just a matter of me thinking about something so much that I begin to see it everywhere. How else can I explain that the passage I read for a Charlotte Mason blog carnival seems to relate to the arguments I have been making against Reiki? Surely, Charlotte knew nothing of Reiki itself, and yet I find her making some of the points I have been trying to make.

One such point is that we must not scorn the small, ordinary miracles God gives us. There is much attraction in spiritual gifts and the idea that I can do some sort of miraculous healing. But God most often works through the ordinary means He has given us. And there is great spiritual value in being able to perceive Him working in these small ways. here is how Charlotte puts it:

“Children should be brought up, too, to perceive that a miracle is not less a miracle because it occurs so constantly and regularly that we call it a law; that sap rises in a tree, that a boy is born with his uncle’s eyes, that an answer that we can perceive comes to our serious prayers; these things are not the less miracles because they happen frequently or invariably, and because we have ceased to wonder about them. No doubt so did the people of Jerusalem when our Lord performed many miracles in their streets.” (“The Way of Reason” from Towards a Philosophy of Education, p.148)

The second point, from this same chapter of Charlotte’s, is that we do not always need to be freed from our discomforts. Reiki claims to do good by providing a sense of peace and perhaps a feeling of closeness to the divine. But my point has been that such feelings cam lead us astray b giving us a false sense of peace and that God does not always will to provide us with relief and comfort in life. Charlotte says:

“Again, if we wish children to keep clear of all the religious clamours in the air, we must help them to understand what religion is––[What Religion Is, by Bernard Bosanquet, D.C.L.]

“Will religion guarantee me my private and personal happiness? To this on the whole I think we must answer, No; and if we approach it with a view to such happiness, then most certainly and absolutely No.”

Here is a final and emphatic answer to the quasi religious offers which are being clamourously pressed upon hesitating souls. Ease of body is offered to these, relief of mind, reparation of loss, even of the final loss when those they love pass away. We may call upon mediums, converse through table-rappings, be healed by faith,––faith, that is, in the power of a Healer who manipulates us. Sin is not for us, nor sorrow for sin. We may live in continual odious self-complacency, remote from the anxious struggling souls about us, because, forsooth, there is no sin, sorrow, anxiety or pain, if we will that these things shall not be. That is to say, religion will “guarantee me my private and personal happiness,” will make me immune from every distress and misery of life; and this happy immunity is all a matter within the power of my own will; the person that matters in my religion is myself only. The office of religion for me in such a case is to remove all uneasiness, bodily and spiritual, and to float me into a Nirvana of undisturbed self-complacency. But we must answer with Professor Bosanquet, “absolutely NO.” True religion will not do this for me because the final form of the religion that will do these things is idolatry, self-worship, with no intention beyond self.”

To go on with our quotation,––

“Well, but if not that then what? We esteem the thing as good and great, but if it simply does nothing for us, how is it to be anything to us? But the answer was the answer to the question and it might be that to a question sounding but slightly different, a very different answer would be returned. We might ask, for instance, ‘does it make my life more worth living?’ And the answer to this might be,––’It is the only thing that makes life worth living at all.'”

In a word, “I want, am made for and must have a God.”” (pp.149-150)

Charlotte may not have known Reiki, but it seems people were into “table-rapping” and the like in her day, and she too saw that these things often provide a sense of false complacency. All of which makes me think that there really is nothing new under the sun.


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