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.