Saturday, March 31, 2012

The soft voice in the lotus

For people who come to my Hospice unit, they are not without Hope, but they have been failed by conventional science. And for each and every one we seek to find the strength that they have within them .... for some it is family, and community, and their organized religion, but for others they are alone, and conventional ritual doesn't resonate for them. After all .... when I enter each room, it is not about me, but about the person i am trying to help.

A Reiki friend wrote that "in spite of the best efforts to stamp it out, the voice of the compassionate elemental still whispers in the ears of our collective consciousness."

What do we mean by "compassionate elemental?" We were trying to seek not that quality which is represented by a "word" or "name" but the underlying quality that each culture is seeking to grasp, understand and name. For while concepts like "God" or "Ki" may translate language to language, culture to culture, human beings using these words are enmeshed within their own cultures concepts of the word ...... they are seeking something common, but they know they are referring to something slightly different.

This concept of syncretizing" is commonly discussed ....for example in Japan, there were Maria-Kannon statues during a time of persecution of Christians, the statue representing to some the Goddess of Compassion widespread in Buddhist Japan, yet at the same time to the adherent representing Mary, the mother of Jesus. And in the same way, as Christianity was sustained in a hidden way in Japan, throughout Africa, and Central and South America the Goddesses of the communities were suppressed in favor of Mary, but within the churches of communities adherents knew that the statue of the Mother of Jesus for them was Tonantzin, or Yemaya or other Goddesses, unknown perhaps by some - but revered by tens of thousands of adherents, even after generations of suppression.

Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all embody a concept of God, compassionate, gracious, and merciful. And yet what sometimes would seem so simple can seem so difficult, being kind and compassionate to others, especially those whose words for describing that which we hold most dear are different.

So what we need to seek sometimes is something deeper than simply clarity, or compassion, or peace of mind, but a mindfulness that leads to peace of spirit. A quiet place inside ourselves where all universes meet...."for the whole universe is him and he dwells within our hearts."

So we can .... keep in mind all our science and conventional knowledge, and at the same time, listen to that quiet voice that has not given up trying to reach us. It urges us when we have the honor to care for anyone, to approach them from "their own place." And in a time when they are the most fragile, assist them in using the voice they hold most dear. It places us beyond compassion, in a place of tranquility....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

a mission from the heart

From the Long Term Care Medicine 2012 meeting in San Antonio, AMDA dedicated to Long Term Care Medicine, "A Mission from the Heart."

Two years ago, and again last year, we presented sessions asking physicians to have open minds and open hearts, and to open dialogue regarding complementary medicine. Both of the past two years we had 35-40 attendees in what are known as "concurrent sessions." But this year, our session on Pain Management: Pharmacologic and non Pharmacologic drew nearly 200 attendees and our session room was closed due to capacity 10 minutes prior to our session.

The weight of evidence is compelling many physicians to express interest - and one of the most moving parts of the day is having some physicians publicly and some privately, acknowledge their own experiences and interests.

My colleagues for this session were Dr Michael Gloth, who teaches at Johns Hopkins Medical School and Dr Chuck Crecelius, a past president of AMDA and chair of our public policy committee. Neither of my colleagues themselves practice complementary techniques, but they were supportive of having open minds and open hearts, and I am grateful to them for supporting this dialogue.

The program committee also permitted me to do a one hour session demonstrating techniques from a perspective of Komyo Reiki Kai. I was careful to be supportive of all styles of Reiki, but wanted to use Komyo at this session for its simplicity, its motto "Go placidly in praise and blame" and its use of Hatsurei Ho as a Shoden technique. There was no thought of teaching a "level" of doing any Reiju in this setting today, but there was an intention of allowing physicians to feel Reiki energy, and to learn a few limited Reiki tools for self mindfulness. Our Keynote Speaker, Dr. Robert Wicks had set a tone by stating that physicians can share a sense of their own peace with others. He stressed the "necessity of appreciating the building blocks of mindfulness," and i was seeking to provide some simple tools - for use only on oneself.

What i was able to demonstrate is the Gokai, the 5 principles of Reiki, breathing, Gassho, and I was able to take 50 physicians through the elements of Hatsurei Ho as described in the Komyo Style, Sitting, Mokunen, Kenyoku, Joshin Kokyu Ho, Seishin Toitsu, and Mokunen.

Perhaps the ripples from this will include some physicians being more open to work with Reiki practitioners, perhaps a few physicians will seek a Reiki teacher - at the least I believe there will be more discussion - and hopefully more open minds and more open hearts.

My colleagues still know me as a conventional evidence based physician, I have been fairly clear that there are Reiki practitioners and teachers far more knowledgeable about Reiki than myself - and that my mission in the sessions was to share my own practice experience, and to encourage dialogue for our patients.