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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Reiki Digest for November 1, 2006: Would you like a cookie?

Between last week's edition and this one, The Reiki Digest staff (that's me!) has been on the road, traveling to Chicago for a three-day intensive Shinpiden (Level III) class at The Reiki Council with Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki. As a result, I am now a Reiki Master in the traditional Japanese practice as well as Western Reiki.

As I have often confessed, I am a Reiki addict: I just can't get enough. But even if you don't crave Reiki as much as I do, if you're serious about Reiki as either a personal practice or professional one, I highly recommend that you consider training in more than one lineage. In the class I just finished, I learned not only from our teacher, but also from my classmates, most of whom were already Reiki Masters, licensed massage therapists, or other natural health practitioners.

The class was a wonderful, life-changing experience and I recommend it, just as I recommend the year-long Reiki Master program I did with Reiki Arts Continuum in New York City.

But recommending, however emphatically, is one thing; insisting is another. That's a lesson repeated so many times, in so many ways, in our class this weekend that it became a running joke. With permission from Frans, I'm sharing it with all of you.

When you give someone Reiki, you're offering it to them, not stuffing it into them.

"It's like a plate of biscuits," he told us. "You offer it. If people want one, they take it. If not, they don't. Some may take two or three. Some may take the whole plate. It's not up to you -- you're just offering it."

Frans is originally from Holland, and now lives in Australia, so what he normally calls a biscuit is what we in the United States would call a cookie. On subsequent references, he switched to the local lingo and started saying "cookie" -- although the point is just as valid for the baked delicacies we call "biscuits" here as well. (I'm working up an appetite writing this, and would welcome either a biscuit or a cookie at this point!)

At lunch on the first day of class, we went to a local chain restaurant where employees were going around to the tables with an actual plate of cookies, offering them to all the customers, but not insisting. I gratefully accepted one myself, fresh, warm shortbread, and it reminded me of the lesson we'd just had. Yum.

At lunch on the second day, we were once again exploring the concept of offering, but not pushing, Reiki energy, when a visitor walked in with two large plates loaded with individual servings of fresh chocolate cake. There's a church across the hall from our classroom, it was the pastor's birthday and there was more cake than the congregation could finish, so the church secretary decided to share. We eagerly helped them take care of the excess cake and enjoyed having another delicious chance to digest the lesson we were learning.

Sure enough, on the third day, we were offered cookies at lunch once again, chocolate chip this time, and again we gratefully accepted the tangible, chewable illustrations of our teacher's words, now inscribed not only in our minds but our stomachs as well.

On the plane ride home, I had a chance to keep the energy flowing. As our evening flight was delayed for an extra hour of sitting on the tarmac, my seatmate complained that he hadn't had time to eat dinner before boarding. I didn't have either cookies or biscuits with me, but I did have an extra fruit and nut bar, so I offered it and he accepted with thanks. Turns out he was familiar with Reiki, as his late mother in New Delhi, India, was a Reiki practitioner.

The cookie lesson came to my mind again as I was researching this week's edition of The Reiki Digest, because of a strange legal case in Texas that tangentially involves Reiki. It's a case that might not even have happened if the Reiki enthusiast involved had learned to think of Reiki as cookies.

In Baytown, Texas, a former employee of the Exxon Mobil Baytown Olefins Plant has filed suit claiming that her former supervisor and other employees insisted that she go to a natural health practitioner who practices Reiki, among other modalities. If I understand the story correctly from reading the newspaper articles about it, the supervisor and colleagues were so eager for the woman to go to the practitioner that they bought her "a day of pampering" with the practitioner. That was in 1998. Four years later, in 2002, the woman was fired for "authorizing incorrect data on a product sample." She claimed the real reason for her termination was that as a devout Christian, she objected to Reiki because it was a religion.

The first court to consider the case issued a summary judgment in favor of the employer, but the woman appealed and the case is now going to trial.

They say you can sue anybody for anything, and the fact that this case has gone so far certainly illustrates that. Five minutes of research online would have informed all parties involved that Reiki is not a religion. Many Reiki practitioners are Christians who find no conflict at all between Reiki and their faith. Many Reiki practitioners watch television, or drive SUVs, but that doesn't mean Reiki is a television or a car. Sometimes Reiki is practiced in churches, but then, so is bingo, and bingo isn't a religion, either.

Unfortunately, the case is now being referred to as the "Reiki trial," even though it isn't really about Reiki.

This week's Reiki Roundup finds numerous examples of Reiki practitioners of another faith, since today is the beginning of the Pagan new year. That means reporters looking for a different angle on the annual Halloween story have turned their attention to Pagans, much as they pay attention to people of African descent during Black History Month each February. (Pagans do have other holidays, but reporters tend to notice them only around Halloween.) Some of the Pagans interviewed this year are also Reiki practitioners, but again, that doesn't mean that Reiki is a Pagan practice.

In New Jersey, a story in the Asbury Park Press brings together martial arts and Reiki, as martial-arts students raise money to provide services, including Reiki, for hospice patients.

And in England, Reiki made the news because the 34,000 employees of the city of Leeds were offered numerous healing modalities, including Reiki, as part of the city's annual Well-Being Week. So far, not one of them has complained about the opportunity, let alone filed a lawsuit.

This week's edition of The Reiki Show podcast features Dr. Jeri Mills, a physician who also practices Reiki, talking about "coming out" as a Reiki practitioner in the hospital.

Our Celeb-Reiki this week is Scottish footballer Michael Stewart, a regular Reiki recipient who hopes it will help him have a long and healthy career.

Next week, our Reviewing Reiki Online Project will take shape with a standardized form for site reviews. Meanwhile, there's still time: if you're willing to review Reiki-related web sites, or if you would like to offer your site for review, post a comment (if you're reading this on the web site) or reply to this e-mail (if you're reading this in your inbox).

And if you're a Reiki Master Teacher and you'd be willing to answer some questions from our readers, please volunteer for our Ask the Masters feature. Or, if you have a question, post it here and we'll Ask the Masters for an answer.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Janet,
Thanks for the recap of our wekend in "Chi" town. My mind half expected a pun on Reiki "Digest" and the there it is
Love & Light

10:40 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

Thanks for the comment, Joe. And thanks for making the connection between the word "digest" and all those yummy lessons. I guess it took a nuclear physicist to see that!

10:53 AM  
Blogger Doreen said...

Hi Janet,
I'll second Joe's thanks for the recap of our class. What I learned about being non-judgmental, down-to-earth, sensible, and compassionate with respect to Reiki and energy in general, all of which can be applied to massage and body work also, for that matter, was worth the price of the tuition alone. And I consider every other student in the class to be my teacher as well. Thanks for the Digest. I'll be checking in every week and catching up in the archives.
Peace to you --Doreen

2:32 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Thanks for your comment, Doreen. I hope to see you here again soon. Meanwhile, I'll check out your blog from time to time.

If you -- or anyone else reading this -- tried to subscribe to The Reiki Digest and got an error message, I've fixed the link so it should work now.

Thanks to Rick at The Reiki Council for letting me know about the broken link.

3:59 PM  

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