There is a saying that I like:
The quest for enlightenment is akin to growing a flower. If one follows the spiritual path for one's sake, one will grow only the stem of the flower. But if one is driven by compassion - the desire of putting an end to every sentient being' suffering - then one will grow a perfect, beautiful flower.
The key realisation is this: if we follow a spiritual journey and our motivation is that of benefitting every sentient being instead of just ourselves, then we will achieve everything we would have achieved by practicing just for ourselves, plus much, much more.
When we work for the benefit of others, our motivation is much stronger and more powerful, and therefore it's only natural that we can achieve more.
In Reiki, the concept of others is emphasised in several aspects of the system.
Oneness, for example, is of paramount importance in Mikao Usui's teachings, and oneness is all about others, and recognising that they aren't different, or separate from us. For example, we can see this in one of the translations of the mantra for symbol III, which is "My original nature is a non-dual thought". When we dwell in non-duality, there is no separation from others.
Another pointer can be found in the 5th precept: "Show compassion to yourself and others". We use Reiki to help other people, to make brothers and sisters instead of enemies, to unite instead of separating.
The more we care for others, the more we tend to their needs and are compassionate to them, the more we let go of our own ego: this annoying "I", that gets in the way all the time, causing us so much suffering.
The other way around is also true, by the way: the more we let go of our ego, the more we then care about others.
My practice involves being aware of others in basically everything I do. There are techniques that help me work on letting go of my own ego, and turn my attention towards others.
One of the most powerful techniques I know is dedication.
Dedication is the final part of every Buddhist practice. Whatever merit one accumulates by doing a certain practice, one always dedicates all of it to the benefit of all sentient beings. This has a tremendous effect on the mind of the practitioner.
Dedication is also used in some practices to develop generosity, which is the first of the six Paramitas.
But even if we're not Buddhists or Reiki practitioners, dedication can be a wonderful tool we can use in our lives.
For example, let's imagine someone pays us a very nice compliment. Sometimes it is difficult to accept it. We might try to minimise, to be modest. Or we might have issues accepting a compliment at all. It might stir up scars from the past related to our self-worth, or even guilt, among other things. We might even feel that accepting a compliment would nurture our ego, and therefore be reluctant to accept it.
If you have ever felt embarrassed by an innocent compliment for any reason, then you know what I'm talking about.
So now imagine, next time someone pays you a compliment, in your mind you think "I feel so happy. I wish every sentient being one day will be able to experience the same happiness in their life". By using dedication, we remove all the ego-related thinking that would have naturally followed the compliment (guilt, how to accept it with modesty, etc.). By moving the focus onto others, we get to fully enjoy the compliment, and at the same time we train our mind and heart to care about others. We therefore achieve so much more.
This technique is not limited to compliments, of course, that was just an example. It can actually be applied to anything and everything.
So, give it a try! Next time you realise how beautiful the moon is in the night sky, make a little dedication wishing that every sentient being may experience that beauty at some point in their life.
Next time you get a promotion; a hug; a wonderful meal; a relaxing warm shower; a good night sleep; a smile from a stranger; support from your friends; love from your partner, or your parents, children; etc. Next time you realise there is something you can be grateful for, dedicate that happiness wishing that every sentient being may one day experience the same.
You will find that there are so many opportunities to train in this technique. And you may find that it will help you realise how lucky you are, and therefore develop gratitude. You might also notice that you smile and feel happy more often. And you might also find that by paying attention to all these little moments of joy, you're actually doing mindfulness training, and are more present to the here and now.
So you can see, there are deeper layers of this practice that will affect your consciousness, and help you progress more quickly and more steadily in your personal development path.
If you are a Reiki practitioner, you might notice at some point that dedication helps you work on your anger, worry, and gratitude. It helps your practice, and the development of compassion toward yourself and others. Therefore, it is one of the tools you can employ to work on the precepts, one that will deepen your understanding of the system. Isn't it beautiful?