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.