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 http://drharoldbob.blogspot.com/

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 http://www.abidingreiki.com/
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 [feather@abidingreiki.com]
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