A different kind of experience in Sri Lanka

Plant with Graffiti in Sri Lanka Botanical Garden

—by Val Dawson

My opinion of Sri Lanka didn’t start out as very good. Everywhere I went, I felt the hopelessness of the people, a sort of despair that crept through the air, entering my body and making me feel heavy-hearted and sad myself. People told me how corrupt their government was, gave me stories detailing their lack of freedom, the brokenness of their country and their lives.

One of the breaking points for me was that one of the nicest gardens that had cost almost $10 to enter had graffiti-carved into the plants! I was shocked and dismayed at how what could have been such a beautiful place was turned into something ugly and was killing the plants. I started holding my hands over the plants, giving them Reiki, to try to give them some healing energy.

For those of you who don’t know what Reiki is, it is a form of energy healing. It is believed that life’s force runs through all of us and can be transferred to other people, animals and plants by those who have had an attunement done by a Reiki master. As I was holding my hands out, my driver for the day, laughed and asked what I was doing. “I’m bringing healing to these plants and to this place.”, I replied.

My driver, who had been trying to talk me into going to endless tourist destinations that I had been telling him I wasn’t interested in, said, “I get it. You’re one of those. You’re one of those with compassion.”

His eyes lit up for the first time that day as he told me that his real passion was volunteering at a local orphanage. He said that usually tourists weren’t allowed but asked if I would like to visit and give the babies some Reiki. It sounded like the best idea that I had heard all day and off we drove to the orphanage.

Val with babies in Sri Lanka orphanage

I was humbled as I saw all of the babies in desperate need of attention and care. It made me grateful for the life I had growing up where there was always someone around to hold me and make me feel loved. Babies tend to be drawn to Reiki energy, and I was soon surrounded by many babies who just couldn’t get enough of the loving energy.

As the Reiki energy flowed through me, I was overwhelmed with compassion for the people in Sri Lanka. I realized how oppressed the people there felt and how this oppression came out in the form of violence and sadness in its people. I learned that when faced with others anger and fear, the best thing to do is to give compassion and love back.

I sent healing thoughts not just to the little ones that I was touching but to the entire country for what it’s gone through and is still going through. I thought of the beautiful words by Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki.

At least for today:

Do not be angry.

Do not worry.

Be grateful.

Work with diligence.

Be kind to people.

Val Dawson writes the travel blog, This Way To Paradise, which is a guide to some of the best islands and beaches in the world. Follow along with her on her adventures! Facebook and Twitter.

Val with baby at a Sri Lankan orphanage

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  1. What a beautiful way to spend the day. Babies are absolutely beautiful, and this picture reminds me of my littlest one. I would love to do this.

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    • I’m against orphanage tourism, but I think the way she did this was suitable, especially since she was actually doing something for the kids.

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  2. Wow! What a beautiful and moving story! I wish more people would be that compassionate and open to the energy of the place and people when they travel. We can bring a lot of healing simply with our intention.

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