Monday, December 28, 2009

Reiki and Celebration of Life

In my holiday travels I came across this sign, asking that the people "Celebrate Life" - and specifically asking that they have their cancer screening exams on time.
I urge everyone to do both.
There are two biographies of Hawayo Takata which I have read, one the easier to obtain by Fran Brown, "Living Reiki." Recently I found a copy of Helen Haberly's work "Hawayo Takata's Story." Interestingly, when Takata decided not to have her surgery, she did not simply say, "No" - rather she asked the surgeon if there was an alternative choice. It was the doctor who directed her to Chujiro Hayashi.
It is interesting how we human beings tend to divide ourselves into categories. We are truly all connected, and yet, we create "others." There is a sadness to this, and it is for this reason that my last posting of this year was chosen having a Spanish sign - and a recent prior posting discussed the relationship between Monet in France, and Japanese culture.
When we find the nature of our connections, and when we enjoy rather than trying to destroy other cultures, everyone is enriched.
Helen Haberly quotes Mrs Takata as saying "some Reiki is better than none at all." And in facing the beginnings of the dividing of Reiki, she ended her book with some special wisdom:
"Remembering that Reiki can do only good, that it can only heal, and help bring balance, that it is Universal Life Energy, then it can be seen that Reiki is not divided but simply is working in different ways to bring itself to the world. Reiki can use many channels to carry this energy, and it will draw to itself all who are open to it......thus each student will be attracted to the Master from whom they are to receive the contact with this Universal Energy."
By respecting all cultures, all religions, all languages, all genders, all lineages of Reiki - we enrich ourselves, and bring the world closer to peace amongst humankind. For a Hospice worker doing Reiki, there is no other path, but to respect all who come to our care, and to listen as carefully as we can to their voice.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Reiki and the Hope for Peace

Be it Salaam or Shalom or Peace in any language, there is something common in all human beings. There is a connection and a common creator.

Whether we divide the human body in organ systems, or people into groups, there is a holistic connection. The whole of humanity is more than the sum of its parts.

While Reiki may sub divide into many lineages, it allows people of all religions and nationalities to share a simple method of 5 basic principles, and the fact that when we do Reiki (even at a distance) our hands seem to heat up. Compassion will be recognized in any language.

About 6 weeks ago, a friend from England informed me that a close friend of his had been lost in Iran - that they had lost contact, and that he presumed his friend dead. I emailed him that it was my sense that his friend was still alive, that I would pray for his return, and that I thought he would be seen again.

This week I received an email that the friend had returned, and that he was moved that myself, a Jew had prayed for his well being.

At the hospital this week, a specialist who I have known for many years, stopped me - he is a devout Muslim, and he told me that he was praying for Peace. What we share is simple, we both pray for peace, and we both believe it to be possible in our time.

This past week I received an email which was quite hateful toward Muslims - it was a mass email - and I tend not to respond to mass emails. But someone did respond, and emailed to the perpetrator that he never wanted to read such a thing again, that he had many friends who were Muslims. The next day - the young man's father wrote an email to the list serv "way to go - I am proud of you son!"

And indeed - all these things lead us to a hope that random acts of kindness exist within the world. Where East meets West, where people meet in Peace, art and culture can be shared, and everyone's life can be enriched.

In this time of reflection, one can hope that everyone would do a random act of kindness every day.

I see my Hospice Team and my Hospice Volunteers doing this - they understand the nature of humankind, and that rising forward means that one helps oneself when one helps others. Thank to all who have given time, energy and compassion this past year :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Reiki and Monet

This photo was taken several years ago at Giverny, the former home and garden of Claude Monet.
Monet's home is filled with Japanese prints, and the influence of Japanese culture on Monet is indisputable, as in the influence of Monet on the Japanese sense of art and culture.
There is an interesting website that describes the master's fascination with Japanese art and prints.
In my picture here, not the clear almost mirror like reflection of the trees from the silt on the bottom of the pond. We are seeing the water lillies straight on - but of the trees, only a reflection.
Teriade published a review of European art and culture, and before the WWII issues discussed the importance of the cultural meeting of East and West.
And it is so fascinating that as in music and literature (one might only today follow either the craze of Japanimation sweeping the US, which itself came from the Manga movement that had powerful influences from US comic books; or one might read novels by Haruki Murikami and compare Japanese existentialism with that of Camus or Sartre) Reiki is important amongst other things in its merger of East and West.
Bill Lee Rand wrote in his most recent editorial that "the ability to transcend barriers between people is one reason Reiki has become so popular." And so the search for Reiki's roots can be found before Mikao Usui, in early Sanskrit, Judao-Christian culture, and Kabbalistic and Sufi thought. Usui came at a time when light was pouring into European Art and Literature, and when the world was beginning to connect at a more rapid pace. In a series of inspirations, Usui, and Hayashi, and Takata each brought simplicity and structure to Reiki, so that it could be learned by anyone, and so that barriers could be brought down. The basic principles set forth are such that they do not conflict with one heritage or another, they are neither the first word nor the last but a very real and simple path.
As 2009 turns to 2010, it seems that people are being brought together, and that random acts of kindness are occurring at a faster rate in the world. One can see it as a scary place, or a place or hope and faith.
A common human spirit binds people from many different parts of the world. As Monet was drawn for inspiration from Japan, so Reiki came from Japan to the US, to the world, to Japan and back around again. Exactly where it started may be less important than the energy that is shared. That which is shared enriches us all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reiki and Perception and Technique

There is a correlation between Reiki and Music in many ways, both in terms of the importance of perception and the role of teaching technique. In both cases much can be made of the differences in technique (so much so that we could view Reiki as tremendously divided - but - simply imagine violinists discussing how to phrase a passage).

What is in common is that to do Reiki, just as to play music, all begins with the perception of what is vibrational energy. Sound energy is in fact a form of vibrational energy, simply, it has been more studied and can be scientifically measured. Some people can hear sounds more clearly than others, and can differentiate "perfect pitch" - that is hear an exact vibration as compared to a band around a vibration. While Reiki is a much higher vibrational band, and while it is not "visual light" (though often so described for lack of adequate language), it is a form of high energy that cannot yet be measured scientifically. We see the effect and presume the cause, or, some of us actually perceive the cause. The more precisely one can "perceive" the vibrational energy - the more accurately one can impact it.

And so as with Music, nothing can replace hours of teaching and practice, likewise, with Reiki, nothing can replace teaching and practice. At the same time, teaching and practice are necessary but not "sufficient." There needs to be a talent to perceive the energy.

And so to the mantra "anyone can learn Reiki" - this is true to a point - just as anyone can if taught precise technique, learn to play a simply song, but to attain a mastery, one needs a level of talent.

For som students, it will not be a question of "going beyond their master," but more simply a question of finding what is the path for themselves that the Music (or Reiki) draws them toward. We hear a sound or "see" a light, and are drawn toward it in a way.

And so I have asked this question of musicians and of Reiki masters - can you tell a lineage by watching how one plays (or attunes) or by closing one's eyes and "perceiving" what is being done with sound (or energy)?

At the end of the day, each student with adequate talent will be drawn to "play" in that way which best reflects themselves.

And so with Reiki what can we say constitutes "authentic" Reiki? (what constitutes authentic Music?) - it is that which moves our spirits in a positive way.

We find that Reiki Masters Hands heat up during doing Reiki (strangely - whether we are doing touch or distant); Reiki has at its core 5 basic principles that reflect a method of approaching living; in Reiki we perceive and work with a form of vibrational energy that is real though it cannot yet be measured scientifically.

In this regard, respect for lineage is important, but end of day, the Reiki is about the energy and not the lineage. No human being is a "copy."

With a realization that all living things are connected, and a joy in respecting the differences that the creator chose to make, we can be enriched by Sharing and Respecting differences.

Both Music and Reiki, forms of energy, can touch the human spirit.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reiki and Reconciliation

Last evening we watched a DVD of the movie "The Reader." A teenage boy in then West Germany has an affair with a working class woman; years later as a law student he sees her again, but this time in a trial for her role as an SS guard during the war. One day she had been guarding over 300 Jews, and had locked them in a Church. Allied bombings began of the town, and the Church caught fire; she failed to unlock the Church, because her duty was to see that they did not escape, and so they burned to death.

Europe and the United States had chosen a method of Retribution for crime, and so, she was punished by sentence to life in prison.

Did it revive the dead? Did it reduce the hatred in the world? Does anger help? Just last week I became aware of another path. One of our Pastors in hospice had the opportunity to study with Desmond Tutu, and to visit S Africa and stay with families of all racial backgrounds. He described to me the path of Reconciliation. The focus was on truth, stories were told, and those who came forward and told the truth could be forgiven of their crimes.

Which method is more effective? As a Jewish child, there is no question that I concur with President Obama that denial of the Holocaust, or any similar event, is "ignorant and hateful." To deny human suffering is to negate the humanity of others. It is difficult to imagine a just God that does not love all children, every one created by God. How can we Glorify God by suggesting that God creates children, and loves some and not others?

Yet, there are those who rejoiced at Nuremburg, and those who deride Reconciliation. Does Retribution either bring back loved ones lost, or remove hatred?

Reiki would teach us to give up anger. In giving up anger, it is not simply that our forgiveness is a gift to another person, for the murderer lives in his own hell, and forgiveness alone cannot change that which was done. What forgiveness does, is take away the hatred that continues to eat away at the insides of the person carrying it. Letting go of poisonous hatred is a path to healing oneself.

In Hospice, patients near what can be the most important days of their lives. We all carry with us disappointments, hurts, anger and hatred. Before transition, there is our last chance to get rid of these harmful emotions. While science cannot prove or disprove a continuation of consciousness after death, Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Indigenous people all over the world share an almost "hard wired" belief that this exists. The common belief is that we are all connected through a common lifeforce, whatever language or words we use. What use to carry these disappointments on with us from one existence to another?

Reconciliation as we see it from a Reiki perspective, is not simply a gift for the Perpetrator, it is a release from anger and continuing suffering for the Victim. Must we define our lives by that which causes us hurt and harm, or can we redefine our lives through our own act of compassion.

Just for today I will not worry; just for today I will not be angry; just for today I will be grateful; just for today I will work diligently; just for today I will give kindness to others.

Mikao Usui said this was the path to both Happiness and Healing. However we find different Reiki traditions are divided by method or energy or lineage, this is what we share in common. It is a precious gift.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Reiki and Agnihotra

Reiki began in Japan, and the Japanese forms of Reiki have an elegance and simplicity in their approach to energy. But "lifeforce" is universal, and cultural sharing is enriching.
Rather than fretting over the purity of lineage, we benefit from appreciating the synergies of cultural sharing.
Recently I visited Karme
and experienced a joy at being exposed to the sense of sanctity and peace, calm and love of life, that exists there. It is nourished by Ann and Tom Couto and Patricia Norton, and a group that has practiced both Agnihotra and Reiki for over 25 years. Pictured here is one of the two houses, and a view of the koi and lotus pond. Imagine it as a quiet and tranquil place to experience Reiki or Yoga.
It is interesting to compare the elegant and simple principles of Reiki to those taught by Shree Vasant in the practice of Agnihotra.
Reiki Agnihotra
Do not worry today Perform symbolic Agnihotra to purify the atmosphere and one's own
Do not be angry Practice sharing of assets (DAAN) to attain humility and
reduce attachment to worldly possession.
Be grateful today Practice training the body and mind to react to circumstances
with Total Love (TAPA)
Work hard today Perform KARMA (every action for self purification only and thus no
expectations which bind us to the world.
Give kindness to others Practice SWADHYAYA - my work on the planet is self-study
Mikao Usui from Japan taught us that his 5 fold path is "The Secret Method to Invite Happiness. The Miracle Medicine for All Diseases." And Shree Vasant's teaching from India reflects "for happy living on the planet. By practicing the Fivefold Path you become better members of your society, group, relgion, community.
This wisdom is not limited to Japan or to India. Mrs. Takata said that Mikao Usui was seeking a Healing Method from the time of Moses and Jesus, and, whether Mikao Usui was a Christian Monk as Mrs. Takata taught, or a Buddhist Monk as history now suggests, her deeper reflection on his roots may in fact be true. This deep wisdom underlies all religions and cultures that seek to revere the planet we live on, and consider ourselves connected to our fellow human beings on the planet which we share.
Whether in Sufi wisdom, or Kabbalistic wisdom, or the Cloud of Unknowning, whether in indigenous cultures, or Reiki Teaching, there is something basic that connects living things. And in respecting contributions of others, (persons or cultures) we enrich ourselves.
In Hospice we learn that human beings are all the same (and yet all unique). Life has a great mystery to it, and being at peace with it has great joy.
For those wanting to learn more about my friends at Karme, there is an article at
These are good people who have spent many years praying for the wellbeing of others, and of our shared planet.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reiki and the Purple Stones

It was last February that I sat down to meet with Dr. Gary Applebaum, and decided to bring him on board at Season's Hospice doing home visits. Dr A had been the CMO of a large Healthcare enterprise, and had retired 4 years earlier, we had crossed each other's paths but had never worked together. What I did know was that before he had retired, he was considered one of the top Geriatricians in the country, and that his reputation was of one hard working decent person. His resume exceeded mine, and led me to remark at the time, "if you come to work with me you'll end up my boss." Sort of prophetic.
Dr A is now the Executive Director of my Hospice, and we are still working together, but he really is "the boss." He brings with him a special spirit and a special sense of mission.
One day Dr A brought in Purple buckets of stones, and asked each Team member to take a stone, symbolic of the mission of ripples of compassion that we are committed to bringing into the world. Here is one of the buckets!!
Every day Team members reach out to help patients, family members and the community. This is a Hospice that has championed Open Access (where we use high technology to help patients have a little extra time if they choose to fight the battle), Music Therapy, and Reiki Therapy. We have been encouraged to use whatever methods we have to continue to Care, even when we cannot Cure.
It does take a special spirit to be a Hospice worker. And Reiki in Hospice is not the same as Reiki for the challenges of day to day life.
Not long ago, a Nurse co- worker loaned me a VHS copy of "My Lie." This movie starring Michael and Nicole Kidman, tells the story of a high-powered executive diagnosed with terminal cancer, who makes a movie of his life for his unborn son. In the midst of his life crisis, he finds a Reiki Master, Mr. Ho, (played by the late Dr Haing Ngor) who helps him realize that these days could be "the most important" of his life.
For anyone who wants to see the power of Reiki in end of life, portrayed in a movie, consider watching "My Life."
For those who do Reiki, and also do Hospice, this purple bucket also represents the connection, and the compassion, and the ripples, which are our mission to toss into the world. Please feel free symbolically to take a stone from the bucket, and do a random act of kindness, and watch the ripples spread.
To Dr A, and all the Team members from Seasons Hospice, thank you for helping me really understand the meaning of Reiki, and the meaning of Hospice!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reiki and Sacred Places

There are those special experiences in life, where one encounters a place of incredible energy. In some cases, these moments can be repeated, but some opportunities have passed, and that which is within memory, is special, not only for the event, but for the inability to repeat it.
My last Blog explored my work at Niagara Falls, in 1969, the year that the American Falls were stopped by a human dam. I do not ever again expect to have that opportunity.
This photo is another experience, that may never be repeated in the exact same way. In 1970, Joan and I traveled to England and drove to Stonehenge. It was at the time, nearly uninhabited, desolate, and lonely. We walked alone amongst the timeless rocks, and experienced a sense of energy. In truth, it has only been in later years that I have realized how special this occasion was, and how fortunate we were.
The person I am, and my sense of Reiki energy, is influenced by the places I have had the opportunity to visit. Many of these places, could constitute places of high energy, or places, considered sacred by some.
It is with this in mind that I wanted to reflect a realization, that no matter how powerful the energy in a place, and no matter how sacred a place, that the souls that have touched my life have been more powerful and more important.
When we experience elements of lifeforce in places, and in rocks, whether we refer to this energy as Ki or Qi or Chi or Prana or Ruach (or in countless other languages), the sacredness of the energy within a soul is more powerful and more sacred.
And so this is sort of a Blog of thanks, to those people who have Shared a Journey with me, and have Shared elements of their own story. People's stories are fascinating and precious and powerful!
In caring for people in Hospice, and in doing Reiki, we are fortunate to have people Share freely with us. It is a precious opportunity.
And so for so many reasons, in this Blog - I recognize the reasons to be Grateful, even if just for today.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Reiki Earth and Water

In 1969, I worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers for the summer. I was hired to be a surveyor's assistant, and ended up touring reporters and photographers on the "dry bed" of the American Falls.
To study the "talus formation," or fallen rock at the bottom of the Falls, a dam was built blocking the American Falls for the summer, and we could walk across the Niagara River bed, and across the base of the falls. It was in retrospect a spectacular opportunity.
There is an area called Goat Island on the American side, and one can walk from Goat Island across "Three Sister Islands" and one is standing at the base of rapids leading toward the Canadian or Horseshoe Falls. This summer, with the American side blocked off, the Horshshoe rapids and Falls were spectacular.
One of my Reiki Teachers, Rick Rivard, recently posted that he visited Niagara Falls for the first time in 1969, and this photo of me was taken that year. Another small irony in the connection between Rick and myself.
He wrote, and there is a wisdom to this, that the energy between Earth and Water is especially powerful, and that one feels this at certain points on Earth more than others, and that Niagara Falls is such a point.
I would sit by the rapids, at the edge of Three Sister Islands actually very close to the powerful cascading water, and think about how much the river itself stayed the same, and how much the water itself was ever changing. Through a great cycle of life, through Earth and Water and the energy that bind them, all living things are connected. Atoms that are breathed by one person, make there wasy into the water cycle and are breathed by other persons, we all live on one Earth and we are all connected.
I think sometimes, that feeling the powerful connections between Earth and Water, is part of what drew me to to Intuition, and to Reiki, and in some regards to Healing. Living with a sense of connection is so much richer than living in a state of loneliness and isolation.
In Sharing with family, friends, and other Reiki masters, one is drawn to reflect on and better know oneself, to remember days 40 some odd years ago, when the energy of Earth and Water helped form the person I am today. Life is a Journey, and it is better for the Sharing.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Reiki and Sharing the Journey

One of the joys of Reiki is being connected

to people who wish to give compassion to others. Recently I have had the opportunity to work on an email project with two Reiki Masters, Lorinda Weatherall

and Gabrielle Gietzen

These Reiki Masters have dedicated a huge portion of their lives to studying Reiki energy, using it to help others, and teaching Reiki.

It has been an honor to work with them, and I recommend both of their web sites.

Lorinda is a student of Rick Rivard, and studied with Inamoto Hyakuten. Gabrielle studied first with Frank Arjava Petter, whose books, "Reiki the Legacy of Dr. Usui" and "The Hayashi Reiki Manual" are major works about Reiki. They have both also studied in the tradition of Tadao Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi Sensei and Inamoto Sensei were both students of Mrs. Yamaguchi, who was a student of Chujiro Hayashi prior to Mrs. Takata.

Without Mrs. Takata, Reiki would doubtless not be known to the world outside Japan, and she made changes that must be considered "inspired." Yet, for many, seeking earlier roots of Reiki is important.

It may sound strange to refer to Mrs. Takata as an American form of Reiki, since she was Japanese, yet, she lived her life as American and indeed began a conformation of Reiki to Western culture. The Japanese forms of Reiki taught by Hiroshi Doi Sensei, Tadao Yamaguchi, and Inamoto Hyakuten, have a special value, and retain much of the spiritual source of Reiki energy.

I appreciate these Master's sharing Reiki with me.

And as to the picture - it reflects a visit my wife and I made to Quebec a year ago. There on the battlefield upon which the British defeated the French for control of North America, French Canadian children were training for a reenactment. Hearing the students who were pretending to be "British" shouting commands in French, brought us to a moment of reflection.

For the British and French were at War, and now, friends and allies, and likewise, the United States and Japan fought a terrible War, and now are friends and allies. And so one might ask, who today, are "enemies" who might someday be friends and allies?

Reiki believes that all living things are connected through a common creator. It is not a "religion," but, it does lead to a path of life, where compassion is encouraged. Hating another reflects on oneself, and being compassionate, changes the essence of who we are.

I pray today for the end of war, and for compassion to all people. May he who brings peace to the heavens bring peace to all the Earth. In the meantime, those of us who work in Hospice, give Caring to each person we can, one day at a time.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reiki and Influenza

I am being asked a lot of questions about influenza these days. And it has been especially moving in light of 2 events this week, one, that we had a patient admitted to our hospice unit, a young woman under 30 who was dying of H1N1, and the second, that our Reiki share had a request from an RM at Shock Trauma, to send Reiki energy to a another young women under 30 at risk of death from H1N1.

Normally, there are about 25,000 influenza deaths each year in the United States, but the highest proportion of these, in fact almost all of these, have been over 70 years old, and most of those in fact over 80 years old. And while every transition is a sadness, deaths of young people strike us more emotively, and are sensed by almost all of us as more tragic.

So that while the worldwide death rate from the H1N1 pandemic is not large, and there may or may not be more deaths from influenza in the United States, what we are seeing is a tragic loss of life, especially in younger women.

How should Reiki view such as situation? Certainly Holistic Practitioners have concerns about the "flu vaccine," and especially about the fact that the flu vaccine still contains thimersol.

First of all, i want to remind everyone of the quote "Reiki cannot replace modern medicine. Reiki should be used in addition to modern medicine as a supplemental treatment. Modern medicine takes care of physical condition. Reiki activates vital energy, natural healing power and immunity power."

Who said such a thing? Well i am quoting from the Gendai Reiki-ho Essence packed version from Rick Rivard's Reiki web site, and the statement is attributed to Sensei Hiroshi Doi.

So it is clear that it is "good Reiki" to respect modern medicine, and to include Reiki as a "supplement." And modern medicine answers questions based on science, and Reiki goes where science cannot tread.

The best current information from modern medicine on H1N1 is at the CDC web site

It is important to understand that the CDC are good people, who are seeking to understand what is happening as best they can. Their intentions are good, and they are talented people. They are not right all the time, no one is.

A lot of questions are being asked specifically about thimersol. A detailed description of the issue occurs at

In brief thimersol contains a mercury substance that could be toxic, it was added to vaccines to combat widespread contamination in vaccines in 1928. It has been eliminated from vaccines of children under 6, but still exists in adult vaccines, including influenza, and there has been no evidence that it has caused harm - i wish it were not present in vaccines - but the problem of combatting contamination is real.

There may be no easy answer here. We do not want to utilize vaccines that can cause harm, but absent vaccines, the death rate from many illnesses was very high.

Measles was a horrid childhood illness that has mostly been wiped off the earth, as has polio. Yet, there are concerns that measles vaccine may cause autism. We have the greatest sympathy for parents battling autism. This is extremely difficult for parents and for all of us. But in fact a study in England not only did not find a link to autism from the vaccines, but did not find a higher incidence of autism after widespread measles vaccines were used, as compared to prior to the vaccine being developed and implemented.

For Reiki and other complementary or alternative methods to be widely respected as they should be, Reiki practitioners must respect traditional practitioners, who though not perfect, and sometimes practicing in the dark with the best tools they have at hand, are struggling as a part of the same effort, to give compassion, and to help other people.

I cannot tell people what to do about the influenza vaccine - the choices this year are difficult. My own tendency is to follow the CDC on scientific matters, and to use Reiki as a supplement. In so doing, I believe I am being true to both my training as a physician, and the principles set forth by Hiroshi Doi Sensei for Reiki in our time.

While using the best scientific knowledge that we have, and attempting to stop a pandemic from taking young people from our midst, let us not ignore the knowledge and light of science. At the same time, let us join in sending Reiki energy to those victims of illness that science has not helped, and follow the principle "Reiki cannot replace modern medicine. Reiki should be used in addition to modern medicine treatment as a supplemental treatment."

We all join in the hope for healing in the world.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Invitation to Reiki Share - November

The Seasons Reiki Share will be Tuesday Nov 3rd from 5:30- 8 pm at our NWHC in patient unit.

All Seasons Team members, employees and volunteers are invited - there is no charge for the share

Email me any questions

Dr Bob

Reiki Spirit in Jerusalem

Last week at this time I was in Jerusalem, or as it would be pronounced in Hebrew "Yer-u-sha-layim." The Hebrew comes from the words for city, pronounced as we would say "ear" and the word for peace, "shalem." City of Peace.
In the pictures above, I am standing in the area before what is called the "Kotel," which means in Hebrew "wall."
In the other picture, taken from higher up - one can see the golden dome of the Mosque built on the spot from which Muslims believe Mohammed ascended to heaven. Not seen, but close by behind me is the Church of the Holy Sepulcre, built on the site of Golgotha, where history holds that Jesus was crucified by the Romans. Such a small geographic area, and so much history.
What does Reiki have to do with such a place? Well - first of all - it is hard to describe to others that which must be experienced to be understood. For some reason that I do not understand, the spiritual forces that one feels within this city, and even more so neat the Holy sites, is very intense.
There is a Kabbalistic tradition that Lord God created mankind as the height of creation, and that man was created in God's image - not the "physical" aspect of man, but man's "spirit." God wanted man to have "free choice" - and this duality is complex, because mankind is at the same time connected to God, and "individual." Humans are at the same time connected to each other, and alone. To facilitate choice that is "free," the tendency" or "gravity" if you will to "evil" must be equal to the tendency to "good." Now - while this question can be made very complex - at some levels it is really very simple - a) in any given place or time, the more the attraction to "good," the more the attraction to "evil" must also be present - (else a person would not really have free will - they would simply be drawn to "good" and have no "choice.") - and so - in a place where God has placed the strongest spiritual forces for Peace and Goodness, compassion, kindness and humanity, there must logically also exist the strongest forces for cruelty, arrogance, and selfishness.
In my prior visits to Jerusalem, before studying Reiki, i felt pummeled by intense emotional forces, but I was unable to separate the waves and currents of the Spiritual energy. And in this visit, it was all very clear. I could sense (how limited the word "see" seems) intense forms of light, and understood the compelling calls to God, and to the rejection of God, to caring for others and the wish to harm others, to humility and to arrogance, to serve and to enslave - and what is really important in Jerusalem, is to understand what one is feeling, and to allow the energy currents that are like "siren calls" to evil pass through one and not touch one, and to accept the energy of kindness and compassion and humility within oneself.
There are stories in the Talmud about Manasseh, son of Hezekiah. I will not detail his evil here, it is all in the Books of Kings and Chronicles, but he was a student o Isaiah, and one of the most learned and most evil Kings. In the Sanhedrin Talmud tractate Yerushalmi 10:9, God accepted repentance even from Manasseh, because no one understood the evil inclination that Manasseh was faced with. It would be well for those who are judgemental in the name of God, in this day, to understand the story God taught the angels as regards Manasseh, and the nature of the inclinations God places in the world to create free will, and that for that reason, only God can be the righteous Judge, and man cannot judge in God's name since no human being knows the degree of difficulty in the life of any other human being.
So - here we have the Temple Mount - there is so much construction, walls and buildings made by the Saracen Turks, after recapturing the city from the Crusaders, that one sometimes forgets the geography that the Temple Mount sits above all that surrounds it - a platform on a mountain top, looking down on valleys below. From the platform itself this perspective is lost.
While the early portions of Genesis are somewhat obscure, the dating that occurs from the time of Joshua's conquest of the land is very linear within the Bible. Today is 5770 in the Hebrew calendar, and, Joshua's death is considered to be 2503 or, 3267 years ago. King Solomon who built the First Temple reigned from 2925 to 2965 of the Jewish calendar, and the Temple built by Solomon was destroyed in 3338 (or 423 BCE - it is noteworthy that the Western Cannon has the destruction of the Fkirst Temple as 586 BCE - but - this is a question for another essay).
Solomon built the first Temple on the Temple Mount that was understood to be the place on earth where Adam was created, where Jacob struggled with the Angel, and where Abraham took Isaac to be sacrificed.
When the Second Temple was built - it was reconstructed by Ezra and Nehemia on the same site. History has it that the Second Temple was all but destroyed in Civil War, but rebuilt again by Herod, and that when the Romans burned the Temple to the ground, all that remained was the "Western Wall" built by Herod. I once asked a Rebbe, a famous teacher, why the Kotel or Western Wall was considered a Holy Place, since, it was not at the site of the Holy of Holies, where the Mosque now sits, and he answered, " it was sanctified by generations of tears."
Jesus was killed near this site, and Muslims believe that from this place, Mohammed ascended to Heaven - and so the dilemma we face today - that - this site which should bring humankind together, with humility and compassion, caring and kindness, in an awareness that we are all connected through one guiding spirit, this same site, is that place over which mankind may be headed toward War, and in the name of this site, people kill "in God's name" (whatever the language).
I ask anyone reading this essay to understand what these inclinations mean, and to allow the Spirit of Arrogance and Hatred to pass through you like the wind passing through a tree, and to accept the spirit of Peace and Humility, compassion, and kindness, and be connected that all that God created,
This is the message from Jerusalem.
Pray for Peace. Care for others. Do not worry - have faith that God will find a way to guide us. Do not be angry, no one really understands the difficulties other's face. Be greatful. Work hard and give kindness - all just for today.
"He who makes Peace in His heights, may he make peace upon us and upon all Humankind"

Rick Rivard and Reiki

Rick Rivard is one of the important leadeers in Reiki in our time. His personal story is available at

Rick not only relates his own personal path in Reiki, he states at the end some goals, and principles, which, are worth meditating on, and ends with Quoting a Moody Blues song.

Rick was one of the principle organizers of URRI (Usui Reiki Ryoho International) which occurred 1999-2003 and brought together Reiki masters of different lineages from all over the world in important sharing sessions.

For those who simply want to use Reiki, and do not care about its historic roots, or understanding the reasons for the different lineages, or theories about how Reiki works - you should know that Rick's site is the epicenter of information on these concepts.

One of the wonderful things about Reiki - is that it is simple - it connects us to the life force within ourselves, and that swirls around us - anyone can learn Reiki -

But - as with so much in life - what we receive from an endeavor has a lot to do with what we put into it - so Reiki may not be "over the mountains or across the seas" - and may be easy to find within ourselves, but to the degree that we practice the basic principles, and commit ourselves to

Not worrying just for today
not being angry just for today
being greatful today
working hard today
and doing an act of kindness today

We get more out of it - and it begins to transform us. Rick offers people tools not simply on how to heal others, but on how to bring Reiki into their own lives.

He calls it "Sharing from the heart" - and - when we share from the heart - we become better healers, and happier people.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

About my "Caring for the Ages" article

An article which I wrote was published this week in "Caring for the Ages," the official newsprint publication of the American Medical Directors Association.

The article itself can be found full text at:

To download a pdf file of the article go to this site and locate the link to the pdf file (near the end of the listings for the issue).

The intention of this article was simply to make a personal statement about Reiki, and introduce Reiki to the readers, predominatly physicians and staff at Skillled Nursing facilities and other long term care venues. It is my hope that in some small way, this article will increase the dialogue and understanding about Reiki, and other complimentary methods of pain management in end of life.

Together with my colleagues, Chuck Crocelius MD and Sharlene Rajapakse MD, I will be presenting a workshop on Complimentary methods of pain management in end of life at the AMDA Annual Symposium, "Long Term Care Medicine." Our workshop with be March 12, 2010 in Long Beach, California.

My friend, and Reiki Master Teacher, Robin Hannon, who still offers me support, provided the following review of my article.

"Dr Bob explains in a very simple but effective manner how Reiki is applied in Hospice for those that are dying. The article is very well written, and it’s points are tangible and heartfelt. I was very touched by Dr. Bob’s article. It was a wonderful meld of science and complementary medicine from a Doctor who has practiced and experienced both in treating patients in end of life care."
Robin Littlefeather Hannon
Abiding Reiki

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reiki FAQs

The next Seasons Reiki Share will be Tuesday Oct 6, from 5:30-8 at our in patient unit 3rd floor NWHC.

All levels are invited (beginners included)


What is Reiki? Reiki is a Complimentary method of Healing that works using "Simple Touch."

Does Reiki replace conventional medicine? No! Reiki is complimentary. Evidence based medicine should always be used when it can be helpful. Unfortunately, especially in Hospice, many patients are beyond benefit from evidence based medicine. Reiki is especially appropriate for Hospice, when our goal is to care even if we cannot cure.

Do you have examples of what Dr Bob has seen with Reiki? Yes - try my website at

Is Reiki a religion? No, definitely not. Reiki is a method. It does not require faith. For those who have faith, Reiki can be a path for making a connection with their own source of strength. But no affirmation of faith is required.

Where did Reiki start? Reiki originated in Japan. The word Reiki can be translated in several ways, but the simplext is "Spiritual Energy." When you hear the Japanese phrase Usui Reiki Ryoho, the word Usui is actually a name, Mikao Usui, of the founder of Reiki who passed away in 1926. Ryoho means "method." Thus - the Usui method of working with Spiritual Energy.

What exactly is Spiritual Energy? Well - In Japanese the word is "KI" and in Chinese "QI" or sometimes "CHI." In Sanskrit it is referenced as "PRANA." In Hebrew the word "RUACH" has a similar meaning. In the Kabbalah there is reference to God forming each human being by breathing God's own "breath" or "spirit" into the form giving it Life. Without Life Force life does not exist. Science cannot measure this Life Force as yet, but, in Hospice we all sense it and understand it. When a person dies, there is a moment before and a moment after - and at both moments the "matter" and "energy" measured by science are the same, but, there is a difference, and that difference is the "Spiritual Energy" (or Ki or Qi or Prana or Ruach) which has departed.

What is transition? Well - we in Reiki refer to the End of Mortal Life as "Transition." A mainstream Bishop taught me that we should not refer to "death" as "End of Life" since we are only qualified to speak of the End of Mortal Life. The fact that we cannot prove that the "consciousness" continues after "Transition," does not mean that one knows it does not. If one were to flip a coin 100 times and 95 times it came "heads" would we say that was meaningless? No - but - even though all indigenous peoples believe in continuation of spirit after death (or transition), and all major religions also so believe, science denies this feature that seems almost "hard wired" into humanity.

What is the difference between Pain and Suffering? We frequently see patients with conditions that would be very painful, enter a state where they suffer less. What makes the difference? Fear exacerbates suffering. Loneliness exacerbates suffering. Hopelessness exacerbates suffering. A place of calm reduces suffering. Companionship reduces suffering. Hope reduces suffering. Reiki provides a human connection that replace fear and loneliness with mindful companionship and Hope.

What is "Grounding?" Grounding is a Reiki techniques for focusing our intention on the here and now.

What do you mean by intention? When we do Reiki, we ask the Universal Spirit or LifeForce or God (whichever you prefer) to intervene on behalf of our patient. We focus our mindfulness on our intention, or request, on behalf of the patient.

Is Reiki massage? No - the is no "rubbing" or "light touch" or "deep touch" - it is basic simple touch while fully clothed. In Level 2 or Level 3 Reiki focuses on working without actual physical contact.

What are the basic principles of Reiki? There are 5...

I will not be angry just for today
I will not worry just for today
I will be grateful just for today
I will work hard today
I will do an act of kindness or compassion today.

If you believe that learning techniques to focus your intention on these principles would help you, or help you care for your patient, you are welcome at our Reiki Share.

Please feel free to ask questions and please RSVP

My Certificates and Websites of my Teachers

My thanks to my teachers, Robin Hannon who instructed me in Usui Reiki Ryoho, Amy Rowland who taught me Shoden, Okuden, and Shinpiden levels of Reiki, and Rick Rivard who taught me Shoden, Okuden, Shinpiden, and Shihan levels of Gendai Reiki.
Robin Hannon - Abiding Reiki
Rick Rivard - Threshold Reiki

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Reiki and The World's Birthday

Yesterday and today, for Jewish people represent a holiday called Rosh Hashanah, which in Hebrew means the "head" of the "year," or roughly a Holiday of New Year.
But this holiday, which is symbolized by a Ram's horn, is more complex. In the bible it actually is referred to in the Hebrew as on the first day of the seventh month counting from the Exodus from Egypt. In tradition, this day corresponds to the 6th day of "Creation," the birthday of Adam, and in a sense the birthday of the world.
Now in saying the world is having its 5770 th birthday, we understand that a day is not a day and a year is not a year in comparing Biblical to modern day terms. What is meaningful, is the sense of connection that exists for all humankind to each other, and to a common unifying LifeForce.
Major faiths such as Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all share a common sense that human beings are connected to the Creator, and that human beings are connected to each other. Reiki is not a religion, or even a faith, but simply a method that we can use to feel that sense of connection.
I received an email from a co-worker today, facing one of life's challenges. As she was trying to help other people, she was as we always are, facing simultaneously the challenges in her own life. She wrote to me, "the perspective of a bigger picture was a relief."
So it is with Reiki. We work on grounding, to focus in the moment, to focus our intention on an area where we can make a difference. Without worry or anger, we retain a sense of gratefulness for what we have, and just for a moment we attempt to share kindness with others.
I like Reiki because it is simple, and not really magical. It does not actually "cure" anything, or change the physical state of being. It simply helps us to have a sense of connectedness, and to live the moment effectively as we can.
There has been a musical playing on Broadway for about 7 years, called "Avenue Q." This musical starts with all the characters singing a muppet like song, "My Life Sucks." And each one competes to explain and describe why their particular situation is worse than everyone elses. And everyone on Avenue Q is unhappy.
Somewhere along the way, something happens. A character decides to focus on not worrying about his own misery, and decides to help someone else, to help a friend. All of a sudden, the whole dynamics change for everyone.
Hospice is like that and Reiki is like that. People decide that just for today, they will put aside whatever is stressing them and help others. In a way, it isn't magic, and yet, in another way, perhaps it is. It is very simple.
For the year 5770, I offer prayer and Reiki Blessings to each of my family and friends, co-workers, colleagues, patients and fellow human beings for a good year. Health and Happiness to all. If that which is shared in common by humankind's major religions is true, we are all connected.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Reiki Just for Today

It was during my first year in practice that i came upon a patient at a Nursing Home who was laughing about as hard as one can laugh. Not that often to find a Nursing Home patient that happy, so i asked him "what happened?" He handed me his morning paper and said, "my former doctor died."

Now - this did not strike me as extemely humorous, but, trying not to be judgemental, i asked him "what happened?" He could see that i was a little taken aback, "sit down doc."

"Three years ago when they diagnosed me as having cancer, these two docs said i had less than 6 months to live. One died last year and the other one just died. They were so certain that i was going to die soon, and i outlived them both."

And i learned a lesson in that moment. We use science for what it can do, swe practice medicine as best we can, but we never really know who is to live and who is to die. There is a higher power.

I have tried to keep this in mind over the years. I have never shirked telling patients as humbly as i could, that modern medicine could not cure them, but i have tended to add that there is a higher power, and that i would pray for them. Most often what they have responded is "i will pray for you too doc."

People seem to respond better to honesty, when it is laced with some humility, and i can never get over the willingness of patients facing terrible illnesses, to have the compassion to pray for others, their family, their friends, their caregivers, and sometimes their doctors.

We are a nation that has placed a man on the moon, and made incredible scientific advances, and yet, from the episode of the Challenger to the Levees of New Orleans, we are reminded again and again that we have limits.

In point of fact, the one area where we may perceive ourselves as most limited, but where we may barely touch our own potential is the "Spiritual" area, the capacity to connect to the Life Force that runs through us all, and to connect with all living things.

We can at the least put aside our own worry if only for the moment, forego our anger just for today.

I will need to grateful for what i have, and for the energy that i have and commit to work as best as i can today. Hopefully - i can find someone to gift with a little bit of kindness - just for today.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Reiki or Random

For some of us, the world is a place filled with awe, if not outright mystery. These photos of an Albatross, taken on an island of the Galapagos, and a New Zealand Pidgeon, taken on Kapiti Island, represent a sense of "connection" that exists, that we are not alone, and that we are able to connect to something greater than ourselves and something very beautiful. And, in saying this, we need not feel diminished, humanity need not be the center of the universe, simply being a part of it is a wonderful opportunity.
Reiki simply is a philosophy of life, a path, a way of approaching this world we are a part of. In sharing rather than conquering, in connecting rather than isolating, in focusing on the journey rather than the destination - the quality of our own lives change and we become happier. And Mikao Usui seems to teach, that in this process of connecting, and sharing, that we can both become happier and help to heal ourselves and others.
After learning about Reiki from Robin Hannon, i studied with Amy Rowland learning Shoden, Okuden, and Shinpiden levels from Amy (the Japanese versions of Level 1 and Level 2 and Level 3 Reiki). In the past month, i took additional training from Rick Rivard in Vancouver.
Rick has a wonderful web site, Threshold Reiki - he is a fabulous source of Reiki wisdom, Reiki history and Reiki teaching.
In 1926, Mikao Usui, a teacher, healer and founder of Reiki passed away. By 1939, Mrs Takata, living as a Japanese American in Hawaii, thought she was the only living Reiki master, the sole inheritor of a precious teaching. At the time of her death, Dec 12, 1980, she had taught 22 Master's who had taught hundreds of thousands of students all over the world - by the mid 1990's Reiki had been reintroduced to Japan.
For those interested "Living Reiki Takata's Teachings" by Fran Brown is an invaluable biography of Mrs Takata, and Frank Arjava Petter's book, "Reiki the Legacy of Dr Usui" is a marvelous telling of the re finding of Reiki's orginal and truthful roots.
By 1999 Reiki was attempting to integrate a) the differences between Takata and original Usui techniques and b) Reiki and other forms of complementary healing into the constellation of healing and c) adapting the original Usui thoughts and Takata thoughts to a world heading toward Globalization and the 21st century. Takata, like Usui, was born into a world where a man had never run a mile in under 4 minutes, no man had climbed Mt Everest, no man had walked on the moon, penicillin and all other antibiotics had not yet been discovered and communication took days to weeks - there were no TV's (let alone no internet and no email)
In 1999 over 60 Reiki masters from all over the world gathered in Vancouver, Canada and, again in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003 these meetings URRI or Usui Reiki Ryoho International occurred. While there is no "Grandmaster" like Dr Usui or Mrs Takata in Reiki today, Hiroshi Doi of Japan was widely acknowledged to be a wise Teacher, with a capacity to bring together methods from many lineages of Reiki.
Doi-Sensei founded taught Gendai Reiki, in a way, an effort to integrate Usui Reiki with the changes made by Takata and her students, but, as well, with a sense of modernity brought by Doi Sensei.
From 1999-2003, the English Speaker who had the most time with Doi-Sensei was Rick Rivard, and, although Rick was prior to meeting Doi-Sensei an established, intuitive talented Reiki master, much of his work is dedicated to teaching the techniques and philosophy learned in URRI (1999-2003)
My own approaches to Reiki are heavily influenced by the Reiki teachings of Hiroshi Doi and Rick Rivard. I encourage that Rick's site be viewed as a "threshold" to Reiki.
This is not a religion, it is simply a journey and a method - we seek to Share and to Connect and to offer Compassion to other people.
This simple and spiritual approach is consistent with and part of the core being of Hospice. In listening to music, or in practicing compassionate health care, or in studying nature around the world - i cannot believe that what i am seeing is "Random." But - i know of no known "controlled study" with which to prove this belief. I am content to act upon belief.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Seasons Reiki Share September

Seasons Reiki share met September 1, 2009 on our GIP unit at NWHC. Thank you again to Michele and the Team on the unit for supporting our group, as well as to the Sleep Center for allowing us use of an additional room!

Our next sessions are Tuesday October 6 and then Tuesday Nov 3
from 5:30-about 8 on the NWHC in patient unit.

Dorothy Kenny has trained to Master level and was assisting me, and Barbara Hanley came to help teach, and than you to Ann Couto and Patricia Norton our Reiki Master friends from Karme, who came to share and help teach.

We were able to subdivide into two work groups, allowing practice at different levels, as well as spending some time all together. Thank you to Kim Boucher, Kathi Storey, Jane Fisher, Sashi, Serena Markowski, and Louise deVille for attending. Louise is working toward Master level.

New students are now always welcome, as we have plenty of advanced students and masters to assist and, we have have enough masters to have a masters share and Reiju session!

One sadness is i just found out that Robin Hannon lost her dad, anyone who knows Robin please send her Reiki support and or email of support. Robin Hannon []
Robin's love of Reiki and our class are very much appreciated.

Every month i visit several patients prior to the class, to determine if the patients want to share in Reiki with us. This month, for the first time, our alert patients did not want Reiki. And i want to point out how important it is that Reiki not be done without consent, and that our approach to patients is to offer all our services in such a way that the patient feels Empowered. The essence of hospice is to bring sharing instead of loneliness, caring when curing cannot occur, hope in the future after transition rather than fear of death, and empowerment instead of a sense of futility. Our willingness to offer choices and provide service as the patient wishes it, rather than as we see to offer it, is a gift. We do not need to provide Reiki to a patient, for Reiki to impact our interaction with patients, since, Reiki starts by impacting us. Our spirit of caring, and empowering, are a gift.

With one patient, she felt Reiki might conflict with her way of worship, and i asked if i might just simply pray for her, and she readily agreed and offered to pray as well for me. How often patients in hospic wish to be able to still be a force of prayer for others is uplifting to me. And another patient said firmly "no" to Reiki (and i do not ask "why" - no is no!) and i asked "is there anything else i can get you." She wanted "a glass of water." Ike was with me and he got that for her quickly - and - we were of service in the way that she wanted.

Thank to all the staff and volunteers in Seasons for what you all do every day, and thank you to those who continue to attend the Reiki "shares."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Upekkha Reiki - Reiki for the dying

When i was training with RM Robin Hanon, we shared the vision of the Bodi tree at the top of my Blog; leaves falling off, but a bright Reiki light shining through. And it reflected our sense of Reiki near the end of mortal life. We called it "Upekkha Reiki," reflecting a sense that equanimity and peace were needed in the time near "transition."

Robin has been struggling with her father's illness, and with her permission i am including her essay on her recent experiences.

Reiki for the dying

In recent weeks my father has been making the transition between life and death. In this transition I have been using a Reiki technique developed by myself and Dr. Harold Bob of Season’s Hospice to ease his pain, and to make his passing more comfortable and less fearful for him.

The technique used is slightly different from the Reiki used on people who are not in the active dying phase. When someone is transitioning, most of the energy below the waist begins to shut down and no longer functions. Normally Reiki is used to regain this function and get the energy flowing and aligned properly. In this case there is no attempt to align the energy or re-establish its flow. Instead what is worked on is the upper body where the energy is still flowing, mostly around the head area, and sometimes the throat and heart. Eventually the only place left flowing with any energy is the head. It is suspected that when one finally does depart it is through the head area where the energy was the last to shut down.

The idea of this sort of Reiki is to help acceptance of this transition, and to allay fear and anxiety, along with pain which may be present in the individual. Breath work along with focus on the Bodi tree brings forward a very healing and supportive energy that assists in the dying process bringing peace and equanimity to the one in transition.

Not only has this process helped my father, but it has also helped me. I have actively been able to not only ease his suffering, but as well to ease my own pain and grief. I have been in the moment as I have worked on him. In this place there is no past, no present, only that moment. There is a sense of connection, peace, and a purity that seems to present itself as I work with him. I have seen his face wracked with pain, and then ease as I work on him. I have seen him drift off to sleep as I work with a smile on his face. At one point he almost seemed to glow with contentment and the beauty of this brought tears to my eyes. I am both humbled and honored to have been part of his process, and I know that when he finally does let go I would have had a small part in his passing in peace and comfort.

Robin Littlefeather Hannon

Robin Littlefeather Hannon

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reiki and Movies

I have been trying to explain, in as simple a way as i can, the concept of "Sacred Space." It is the essence of what we do in Reiki.

We take a moment, and ground ourselves in our Earth, and reach into Spiritual Space, to connect to the lifeforce that sustains all living things.

And how exactly can one explain what that means? It is so near to us - but seems so far away and mysterious.

And so i think of two of the most popular movies of all time. In "Saving Private Ryan," there is a scene where an old man, flanked by his family, walks along the rows of graves at Normany, until he comes to the grave of the man who died saving his life. How did they become connected? Why did one life end, and another go on? What does it all mean? These men met for but a brief time in this tumultuous movie, but, for the one character life ended, and for the other, a moment, a "Sacred Space" occurred, that he would carry within him all the days of his life.
The other movie that comes to my mind is "Titanic," and love it or not the song by Celine Dion, is one of the most popular of all times.
"Near, far, wherever you are I believe that the heart does go on Once more you open the door And you're here in my heart And my heart will go on and on"
A young women and man meet, and they connect in an incredible way. And he dies. She lives a meaningful life, but we see her now as an old woman. She is brought back to the place in the ocean overlying the sunken Titanic. All her life she has hidden a jewel of immense wealth, and she throws it into the Ocean. She has carried more than a physical jewel her whole life. She has carried a memory, a "Sacred Space" that has lived on within her.
These are just movies. But they represent for so many people, what we take for granted because we see it on a Hospice unit each and every day. People honor us by sharing moments, and they share thoughts about their lives. We find wisdom every day in places we did not expect. And what Reiki does, is simply help us to listen, ground ourselves in our Earth, and listen to that portion of what we are being told that is Sacred. It is that about a person's life which rises above the Earth, and connects which the Spiritual essence that is central to a human being.
We have the opportunity to create and share Sacred moments every day. We can connect with other Human beings, and, these moments do not have to last forever or even for long to be meaningful.
Our Spirits indeed do go on.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Reiki and the "language" dilemma

Right now, we have reached the point that many university centers are bringing "Integrative Medicine" into the "mainstream." And along with this we are seeing the mantra that "all treatments must be subjected to the same evidence based analysis."

And much of this is good.

But there are some dilemmas.

My wife and i were learning French as a second language, we traveled to France and were fortunate to have the opportunity to "immerse" by staying with a French family. And we were really looking forward to being "forced" to speak and to think in French. But our French hosts were learning English, and shocked and joyful in any case to find Americans wanting to learn a second language, they wanted to speak to us in English!

Of course we found compromises, but one thing we learned is that we could not effectively speak English and French at the same time. The one compromise that did not work, that they would speak to us in English and we would speak to them in French, taught us that the languages reflect different cultures, and translations are not "exact." In some ways - i am a slightly different "person" in a French or English "personna."

It is the same with "scientific based" medicine and "alternative medicine." Much of western medicine excludes the spiritual, and focuses on breaking down the whole person into "lab values" and "specialties." And much of "alternative medicine" focuses on integrating the person, not only holistically within themselves, but in a connected sense with their world.

In some regards, both the strength and the weakness of the Scientific method, is that it is "freed" from Faith, and cannot include it, and mankind to be whole seems not to be able to live without it. The fact that Science is unable to measure certain elements of the universe, does not mean that these elements do not exist.

Spirituality remains a central part of who we are.

It is a particularly difficult task for physicians who are trying to "integrate" holistic care and evidence based care. Most "alternative" physicians, end up doing less in an "evidence based manner," but in trying to do both, we must be careful, just as with languages, to not try "to speak French and English" at the same time.

We know that there are two methods that are significant for our patients. Neither one is complete alone. And so, just as we have learned to "integrate" medicine and surgery, so we must in caring for human beings, integrate scientific method and holistic care.

In no area is this more important than in Hospice. For in Hospice we know that we sometimes are not able to "Cure," but we are always able to continue to "Care."

Reiki is not a religion, but it is a method that can help us use "grounding" and focus our "intentions," so that we can work for the best of fellow human beings using multiple skills.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Reiki and Music

Reiki and Music both have the capacity to create for a person, or for a group of people, an experience that i refer to as a "sacred space." There exists for people a state of "connectedness," which can be personal or shared, where one steps outside the day to day "reality" and finds oneself in touch with things that matter more.

And we see this every day in many different places. A friend whose mother is critically ill, took off from her job, to spend precious time with her Mom, writing to me, "now i know what really matters."

In our jobs, and in our lives, we go about thinking how important certain things are, and indeed, in a sense they are important. Arriving on time, dotting the i's and crossing the t's, sending a check on time, and for a doctor, completing one's charts in medical records! These things, and the "clock" drive our days - and if we ignore these things, they all have consequences. But in a larger sense, they do not "really matter." I learned that myself when i had a C5-6 spin injury and needed surgery, and until my surgery, and until i had recovered, non of the things that drove my day before mattered at all. And when i went back to work, i understood that i had to be on time, and to do my medical records, but the "human things" would never again recede in value to the "time based things" having faced the potential of my own disability and mortality.

Some deny the "sacred space" that can be caused by Music or Reiki or Prayer or other endeavors that connect us directly to our creator. These are moments that can be understood in an intuitive way, but cannot be measured or dissected. They are both real and non "evidence based."

One of my Reiki students wrote me of an awareness that sometimes people can "perceive those thoughts which float around on the surface of the mind. I wonder if it is because one is well grounded in their own thoughts--sometimes you are able to pick up thoughts but most importantly, to recognize the difference between that person's thoughts and your own. I have been thinking a lot lately about the importance of grounding as I take on this journey into energy healing. One thing which hits home to me about meditative practice-- is that meditation is not something to be achieved. It should have neither mission nor goal. Instead, it is, simply, sitting with oneself, in the midst of all the mind's messiness. It is recognizing and appreciating those seemingly muddled thoughts which scatter about our consciousness during the course of the day. The aim of this recognition is not to change, move, or eliminate thought patterns, but to know them."

People often break music, or sound, down in an analysis of chords, and rhythyms, just as Reiki is almost always taught in terms of certain symbols. We analyze things to be able to understand them and teach them, but with spiritual things like Reiki and Music, often the more we analyze something the farther we really are from the "point." Describing my class, the student noted the symbols and explanations "makes the practice something tangible, but it also externalizes it. The more I practice Reiki, the more I feel that the physical techniques we use is half the lesson. I find that the more challenging thing to learn is how to hold myself (spirit+mind) while practicing. I think that before each lesson, we should have an opportunity to meditate and ground ourselves before practicing. I think that this enhances awareness, and increases our ability to connect with....." the persons whom we are serving.

In doing Reiki and playing Music or Praying for a person who is ill, we are seeking on their behalf a connection to the creator, the lifesource of energy that "really matters," for someone who has been on chemotherapy that has failed, it is like finding an oasis rather than continuing to wonder in a desert.

Every major religion teaches us that while Mortal life comes to an end, Life does not, and creating a "sacred space" within which we are connected tom our own internal faith, worry and pain become banished. In this space there is light instead of darkness and joy instead of suffering.

I had a patient in my office yesterday who has severe hert disease and severe arthritis in her knees. If she did not have the severe heart disease, she would have a total knee replacement, and if she did not have the diseased knees, she could help her heart by walking. And after talking about the medical options and choices, as i am obligated to do as an evidence based physician, i just listened to what she had to say about how she felt.

She started by telling me that she was a singer in her choir, and an usher at her church, and that she was not going to let her prognosis get in the way of her serving God as long as she was physically able. She trusted me and her cardiologist and orthopedist, but once we could not really help her she was going to trust in God. She closed her eyes and she started to pray and started to sing. Her voice praised the Lord and asked for his help for "every cell and sinew" in her body. She did not know that i did Reiki, i had not told her, but she placed my hands on her knee that was hurting her. She prayed aloud that energy came from the Lord to heal her knees.And i simply listened, and placed my intention in joining hers for the Lord to provide to her what she needed.

We were enveloped for a moment in a sacred space, defined by her Music and my Reiki. When she was finishing her prayer that the Lord would allow her more time to do his will in her Church, she added a prayer for me, my family and my practice. And then the sacred space ended and we were back in the "conscensus reality."

I had done my job. She had her prescriptions and knew her prognosis, i had fulfilled my duties as a doctor. An additional 5 minutes had been added to "my busy day" (at no extra charge billed to the insurance company, for how would i describe it). In some ways, the moment of Reiki and Music was the most important 5 minutes in my day, because a doctor is always to start with at the core, a human being.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Reiki meets an incredible person

Each day, we never know who we may meet, or what we may learn. Yesterday, several of us had a very moving experience. It will stay with us all for a long time.

I met a patient named Tim, and introduced myself to him as one of the doctors on our unit. Tim is a young man, and he is very wasted physically, but very mentally alive. He says he "has had more than his fair share of bad luck." He asked me, "Dr Bob, i need you to get me more pain medication, i'm having a lot of pain."

I told Tim that i would do that, but asked if he would let members of our Reiki share work with him first to try and relieve some of his pain. He agreed, and Diane, our visiting RM, along with Dottie and Louise and Tandra began working together in bringing Reiki energy to Tim.

I went off to teach some other members of the group, but returned to see how things were going. Tim was in a deep state of relaxation. He was not in pain, the change i was seeing was dramatic, and Tim allowed me to join in the Reiki. After awhile he said to me, "Dr Bob, i have been in and out of Hospitals, and this is the first time i have felt that anyone cared about me as a human being. These ladies, doing Reiki, have made me feel that someone cares about me."

I said to Tim, "you are a child of God, and God loves you, and we care about you." And he said, "now i know that God loves me."

We had not given him more morphine, but he was comfortable. He asked that we visit him and do Reiki with him again before he left on Thursday. He wanted to be at home for as much time as he had.

I stopped back to the unit today - it was not my day to be on the unit, but i wanted to see Tim one more time before he went home. "Hi Dr Bob, thank you for coming back to see me. Those ladies doing Reiki yesterday, they really made me feel better."

Tim said "I'm cold," so Michele and i covered him up with a blanket, and then with his permission we did Reiki. He went into a state of deep relaxation. And i said, "Good bye."

This is a very brave young man. He has had a lot of "hard luck," has suffered a lot, but right now, is grateful for whatever is done for him, and not worrying about the future, as he says, "now i know God loves me. He sent people who cared for me."

As a doctor, i know it is a wonderful thing when we can cure a patient's illness, but, that is not always the case. When we cannot cure someone though, we can continue to care. Somehow, that fact is not always learned in "evidence based training." Reiki helps us do that, i cannot prove it with an "evidence based study," but i know from patients like Tim, that "Yes we Can" continue to care.

I will remember this brave young man. And i ask that those reading this message today, send distant Reiki energy to Tim, and to all those persons who feel alone, and without hope. Send Reiki to let them know that there are those who care.

Reiki Share News

Next classes

September 1, 2009 Tuesday 5:30-8:00 pm NWHC Seasons Unit

October 6, 2009 Tuesday 5:30-8 pm NWHC Seasons Unit

Thank you to Diane Heath, RM who was our visiting Master at last evenings share! Jean Jordan completed Level 2, and Janine Marie Boulad completed the first two symbols toward level 2. Thank you to Jean and Janine, who were helpful in organizing the first Seasons Reiki Share June 24, 2008.

Brenda Jackson and Diane performed attunements.

Having visiting Masters is important, we respect the many traditions of Reiki, all based on compassion and all working on the same energy.

Michele was incredible in gaining access to additional space for us, and thanks to the Sleep Center for allowing us use of a Room! Michele had to run back and forth, as we had 6 unit admissions last evening!! Dr Burton was on the unit till pretty late seeing new patients on the unit.

Michele has agreed to schedule the next two classes on the unit - and the conscensus is that so far this has been our best site, as we have had the opportunity and honor to assist patients through Reiki.

Diane, Dottie, Louise, and Tandra worked together with Tim, and, my next posting will be devoted to that experience.

Thank you for attending, all members of the Seasons Team are welcome for the next two classes.

August 4, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

Reiki and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

We were to visit the BBG (Brooklyn Botanical Garden) after Saturday brunch, but crossing the street my wife tripped on a hole in the street. She heard and felt a "crack," and limped over to the curb, sat down, and looked at me, "what do we do." I had visions of spending the day in the emergency room, and her foot in a cast. We waited, and after a while, the pain reduced and she was able to limp over to the restaurant leaning on my daughter and i, and hopping on the other leg.

At this point, she said bravely, "i don't think its broken." And we agreed to have brunch before going to the hospital. "Try Reiki on it," she said."

We got her shoe off, and i very gently placed my hands around her swollen ankle. We sat there, and i was focused on creating a healing space, unaware of people watching us from other tables. After awhile, i could feel the pain leaving her ankle. I stopped and closed our auric fields.

"How do you feel?" i asked.

"I could feel the pain just release," she said. "Your hands had gotten really hot."

We finished brunch, and got up to leave the restaurant. "Can you walk, or should we get a cab?"

"I'm fine. Let's go to the Botanical Garden as we planned."

She was walking without a limp, we went down the subway steps, took the train, and spent the day walking through the Garden. One area was a Japanese Shrine, and water pond. It was surrounded by a wooden fence, and we went inside.
This area was built in 1915, and, the dedication included 3 Kanji, two of which are central to Reiki, Dai and Myo.
There are times when i do not understand, nor need to understand, what happens in the world. Sometimes, it is enough to be thankful, and to enjoy the being with family or friends, the sun, the day, the garden, the moment ...... and accept a gift when it occurs.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reiki and Thanks to Robin

The Blog today is dedicated to Robin Hannon, my friend and Reiki Master who provided my Reiki attunements. Robin also assisted in initially setting up this site, and created the drawing at the top of the site. In emailing Robin, i had a vision of Reiki in Hospice that involved a Tree, losing its leaves, but in its loss of foliage, an intense light was shining through the tree. It symbolized what in Reiki we call "transition," the physical semblance of this life, the leaves fall off, but the light and love of the universal life force, draws the consciousness, and the Tree is connected and continues into another Season. After completing my RM (Reiki Master) training with Robin, i started the Seasons Reiki Share, and Robin assisted me, and taught with me, until i was ready to work on my own. Most RM's, after completing Level 3, and having a Master attunement, are not ready to teach "on their own" right away - and Reiki is not simply a method of healing others, but a way to change and grow oneself on an ongoing basis. For all these things, i thank Robin and ask readers of this note to send her Reiki Love and Light. Robin wrote a brief piece, explaining Reiki in a simple way, her article and web address follow. Thank you Robin.

Explaining Reiki
Reiki is a simple technique to relieve stress and pain and promote wellness. It promotes the flow of energy in the human body which in turns allows the body to function in a more holistic manner. To demystify this concept let’s look at a carburetor in a car and then relate it to energy work and Reiki.
T­he goal of a carburetor is to mix just the right amount of gasoline with air so that the engine runs properly. If there is not enough fuel mixed with the air, the engine "runs lean" and either will not run or potentially damages the engine. If there is too much fuel mixed with the air, the engine "runs rich" and either will not run (it floods), runs very smoky, runs poorly (bogs down, stalls easily), or at the very least wastes fuel. The carburetor is in charge of getting the mixture just right. By the same token when energy flow in the human body is not moving, stuck, or in some way hampered, the entire body will run poorly. Symptoms of this vary, but some of the more common symptoms may include decreased energy levels, lack of mental clarity, emotional distress, and physical pain and or illness. The goal of a Reiki Master Practitioner is to ensure the proper “mix” or flow of energy which will then promote wellness and allow the body to heal itself.
One might ask how a Reiki Practitioner influences the flow of energy. When a carburetor is plugged up the technician will remove or clean the ducts then replace it in the car. An energy worker obviously cannot remove physical parts and then replace them. What an energy worker does is to lay their hands on a client. A Reiki Practitioner can feel the ebb and flow of energy through their hands the same way that a technician can diagnose the ebb and flow of air through a carburetor. Once the Practitioner feels the flow or lack thereof of this energy, they are able to move it with certain techniques taught to them among which is intent, breath control, and as well mental images to focus on. Through this technique they then balance the energetic system.
Benefits of Reiki may include:

Increased Energy Levels
Increased Mental Clarity
Personal Ability to Grow
A Sense of Calm or Balance
Emotional Healing & Stability
Clearing & Balancing of Chakras
Can Provide Relief from Chronic Pain
Boosts & Strengthens the Immune System
Compliments & Supports
Conservative Medical Treatment
Helps to Deal with Suppressed or
Blocked Emotions & Feelings
Reduces Stress, Tension, Anxiety, & General Emotional Distress

Robin Littlefeather Hannon

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thoughts on 3 stories

This posting is dedicated to three people and one Hospice Team. The Hospice Team is the hard working people of Seasons Hospice, who bring compassion to the world every day.

I have the honor and joy of reading through all the Team emails, and every day there are stories of overcoming hardships - and as we seek to give compassion to others, sometimes, we cannot go on without being restored by God - i think - everyone who works in Hospice knows that. Reiki refers to the energy we receive as the Universal Life Force, but for me, i just think of it as a gift from God.

The first web site is that of Lance Armstrong.

Lance after 3 1/2 years out of competitive cycling, returned to the Tour de France and finished 3rd, competing against the best cyclists in the world. His example in the years Tour de France was a journey of courage - but for those who do not know, on October 2, 1996, Lance was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer and liver and brain metastases, and his chances of survival were considered small. Lance dedicated his ride in this years Tour to his Foundation, "Livestrong" - and for those not aware of Lance's story in his battle against Cancer, or his battle to help others, this link is to his Foundation's Manifesto. Lance also has Hospice links on his site, as, not all battles against cancer are as successful as his own.

The second web site is that of Nick Vujicic
This unbelievable web site which affirms "I Love Life" was sent to me by a cousin, and i simply found the story of courage hard to believe. It is an inspiring message.

The third web site is that of Randy Pausch who died July 25, 2008
Randy was the teacher who recorded "Yhe Last Lecture," and there is a link to that lecture on this web site.

I do not think it is accurate to say that Lance "lost" the Tour de France, or that Randy "lost" his battle to Cancer. Or that Nick Lost" his struggle to sit up.

Each of these struggles are stories of human victory, and they are examples to us all. Thankful to God, connected to each other, we have the opportunity to allow kindness to pass through us.

The truth is that, in Hospice, we see stories of suffering like Lance's and Randy's and Nick's every day. The challenge is to "Love Life," "Livestrong," and help each other.

To those who share the journey of bringing compassion into the world, i give thanks. My admiration to those who help light the way for us all.