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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Reiki Digest for January 17, 2007: Our biggest, most interactive issue EVER!

Last week, as you recall, we took note of the elephant in the room. This week, we bring you not just elephants, but whales, and beyond that, a whole circus of features. Not only do we have a jam-packed Reiki Roundup, we offer a guest article -- that's right, a whole article, written expressly for The Reiki Digest by a Reiki Master Teacher who's also a registered nurse.

We have a report from the First Annual Reiki Symposium at the New York Open Center this past Monday, as well as more from controversial cyber-Reiki purveyors Chikara-Reiki-Do, along with a few words from one of their online students.

But wait...there's more! Our new printable edition made its debut at the Symposium. Starting with the January 10 issue, The Reiki Digest is now available in convenient, printable PDF form. You'll still have to go online to follow the links, but now you can print out The Reiki Digest and take it with you. Yes, you can even copy and distribute The Reiki Digest, because our "some rights reserved" license allows copying for noncommercial purposes as long as you don't change the material, and as long as you credit the source. Read The Reiki Digest on the subway (but not on the highway!), print out a copy for a friend or for your files. Best of all, it's still free. We'll always be publishing the original edition first, followed by the printable version by the following day.

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this edition of The Reiki Digest.

Click here to download a printable PDF version of last week's edition of The Reiki Digest.

The Reiki Digest has gotten bigger, and so has our community: Greetings to our new reader, or possibly readers, in the African island nation of Mauritius (just east of Madagascar). We now reach 38 countries! Only 155 more to go!

A day ON

We don't have many traditions yet for Martin Luther King Day, one of the newest United States holidays, but there is a growing movement to make January 15 a day ON, rather than a day off. It certainly was a day ON for me this year, a day ON spent at the New York Open Center's First Annual Reiki Symposium. We had an invigorating Qigong for Reiki Practitioners session (nearly two hours!), numerous panels and discussions, classes in aromatherapy with Reiki and using Reiki with candles (that classroom smelled so good!), and of course our much-touted Reiki in Cyberspace discussion. If you were there, or even if you weren't, we'll have additional class resources available soon, including a list of our Qigong exercises so you can continue gathering qi at home, and a Reiki in Cyberspace blog.
(Update: To the many who've asked -- yes, we will have more detailed coverage of the Reiki Symposium next week, as well as links to the still-to-come supplemental materials.)

Speaking of Reiki in Cyberspace, we've had further conversations with Judith and Chris Conroy of Chikara-Reiki-Do about their controversial attunements by webcast and self-attunement materials. I commend them for taking our questions so graciously, and was surprised when they objected to one of the words I used last week. Apparently in British English, the word "tout" has a negative connotation that it doesn't in American English, and while we have been speaking frankly, we didn't mean to insult anyone.

The Reiki Digest: I learned about your upcoming attunement webcast from your press release, headlined "Squeals of Protest in the Reiki Community." Have there actually been "squeals of protest"? If so, could you give us an example or two? Your press release refers to "extortionate prices" being charged by others -- the word "extortionate" carries a strong negative charge. An observer might conclude that you are seeking controversy as a way of publicizing your work. Would that be a fair assumption?

Chikara-Reiki-Do: Yes, there have been many squeals of protest sent to us by Reiki Masters, who have used our own web form to contact us.

Each and every time they do this they do not have the courage to leave their names and always use false email addresses...

...very, very frustrating we can tell you.

But the messages always take a similar format - you should be ashamed of yourselves, you have cheapened Reiki, don't you realise the bad karma you're creating etc etc etc.

Obviously we don't keep any of these messages, as they are just purely abusive and do not have anything constructive to say.

We do not consider using the word extortionate as controversial, merely factual... as it is the most common description used by our customers when referring to the Reiki Master pricing structure around the world today.

The Reiki Digest: The people receiving attunements -- or learning to do their own attunements -- from you: do they get Reiki Master certificates from you as well?

Chikara-Reiki-Do: Yes, all our Reiki Master attunement ceremonies are fully certificated.

The Reiki Digest: What is your own Reiki lineage? Do your online students then become a part of that lineage?

Chikara-Reiki-Do: Our Reiki Lineage follows two bona fide lines, and yes, our participants (for us, there's no such thing as a student) do become part, and can receive a copy, of this lineage.

Chikara-Reiki-Do also sent along a testimonial they received from one of their 'participants':

"Hello. I am writing to request my certification as a Reiki Master. I have trained as a Reiki Master here in the U.S. but have yet to recieve my certification due to the death of my instructor's husband. His passing struck her really hard and I'm not sure whether she'll return to teaching.

Divine providence brought your literature to me in a very serendipitous manner. I must say that the attunement ritual is absolutely lovely. I was touched far more deeply than I ever was in a class. Thank you so much for making this information available. I also have a greater understanding and appreciation of the symbols and their use. You have answered the questions no one else seemed able to. Namaste!"

Reiki Master Teacher and registered nurse Katherine Simonton of Concord, New Hampshire, was inspired by last week's issue of The Reiki Digest to write the following article, and she has given us permission to publish it here:

Reiki Paradigms

By Katherine Simonton, R.N., Reiki Master Teacher

The topic of “free Reiki” has at times frustrated and upset me. My story to myself about that has been that “they” are unprofessional, inauthentic, give Reiki a bad name, are not practicing “real” Reiki, compete with those who are charging for Reiki, etc. However, I have realized, in reading your article, that it no longer holds much of a charge for me. As a student of the Abraham teachings, I am deepening my understanding of how Law of Attraction works and how I can, through the power of my thoughts, influence my own reality. By spending a lot of thought energy on my perception of the “wrongness” of this other style of Reiki, I was in fact, moving away from the direction of the precepts and going down a rocky, unpleasant feeling road and creating a lot of resistance. Gradually, I shifted my focus, worked with Reiki as I understood it and continued to seek information on Reiki that resonated with me. While I do not personally support the idea of “free Reiki”, I am willing to allow that there are supporters. I will give my opinion, if asked, and I try not to make a judgement – each of us has our own path to follow and our own lessons to be learned. I personally choose to put my energy into being (becoming) the most authentic Reiki practitioner/teacher that I can be and charging a fee for my services. That is not to say I never share Reiki for free - I do at times, as part of promoting Reiki and as part of my volunteer work, when appropriate.

However I do not teach Reiki for free. Sad to say, in this culture, we associate monetary amounts with things we value and we tend to assign lesser value to those things that are “cheap” or “free” (even though we all look for bargains!). We also, paradoxically, tend to provide, on average, lower salaries to teachers, some healthcare workers, ministers/spiritual care providers - for services we say we value! I consider Reiki and training in the system of Reiki to be highly valuable. As for the comment that we all have Reiki within us and a teacher doesn’t “give” it to the student, I agree. The fee isn’t for Reiki energy, the fee is compensation to the teacher for her time, the space for the class, resource/teaching materials, the teacher’s experience and expertise obtained over time and at a cost, etc. The fee can also be seen as part of an energetic commitment by the student - money is energy and often, without the money, the energetic commitment is missing.

To me, saying Reiki is made available for free to those who “can’t afford it” is disempowering and supports “lack - consciousness”. Offering someone the possibility that they COULD afford it and supporting them in that belief opens space for that possibility to become a reality - often in the most serendipitous ways! I’m also aware of people teaching Reiki for free in underdeveloped countries – is that right or wrong? I don’t know – it just is.

To some degree, much of this is really a matter of opinion and perspective - and paradigms. Paradigm is defined as a model or pattern. We all operate on the basis of a whole variety of paradigms that we have learned or absorbed. This applies to the world of Reiki as well. I see Reiki as something you”be” as well as something you”do”. It is the “doing” of Reiki as it interfaces with our Western paradigm of healthcare that is challenging us in “being” Reiki. The paradigms of particular relevance here are those related to Alternative/ Complementary Medicine, Western Medicine and Holistic or Traditional Medicine.

The paradigm or model for Western medicine is based on curing ( relieving the signs and symptoms of disease) and views disease as the result of mainly external causes. It uses primarily pharmacological and surgical interventions and has a “fix-it” approach. It also claims to be scientifically validated. The practitioner is primary - he/she prescribes and directs the treatment, the patient receives/experiences the treatment and both hold an expectation for certain results.

Holistic or Traditional Medicine (also known as Alternative and in a broad sense refers to Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Energy Healing, Homeopathy, Chiropractic) is rooted in a holistic & energy based paradigm. This model holds the perspective of wholeness - body, mind, spirit are inseparable, interrelated. The concept of energy is primary and blockages, stagnation, excesses or depletion of energy is believed to be the root cause of dis-ease in the body, mind or spirit. Interventions are aimed at facilitating healing, “making whole”, restoring balance & healthy energy flow, reconnecting all the parts. Healing is usually a process, which can be spontaneous or can take various amounts of time. Outcomes are related not just to the skill of the practitioner but to the openness & willingness of the client to change. Practitioner and client work together to support & restore the innate health of the client. Most of these practices have not been scientifically validated, but they do have consistent, positive anecdotal history extending from the present back over hundreds of years.

The term Alternative Medicine, later called Complementary and now called Integrative Medicine, is newly evolved and still evolving. It is a response to the influx of Holistic/Complementary practices being offered and utilized by healthcare consumers. Can you see the challenge here? We have two very different models trying to combine. It is my belief and experience that as Western Medicine absorbs these practices, it changes them to fit the Western model - everything needs to be scientifically validated, practitioners face licensure issues frequently regulated by non-practitioners, consumers want insurance to pay for these practices - insurers want scientific validation, the Holistic interventions get costlier, the underlying, holistic paradigm gets diluted & distorted as it gets applied as a “fix” for specific disease states, healthcare consumers are confused by conflicting messages, practitioners are competing, etc. My preference would be to see both systems work side by side, honoring and respecting what each system does best and the right of individuals to choose their care.

Now back to Reiki - where we face some similar issues. Many people want Reiki to be accepted into the halls of Western medicine and in some ways, it has been. What now? Now we have to “prove” that it works, now we have to show outcomes, now there is drama over who gets to practice “professionally”, now we have Reiki sessions offered at Spas for $100/hr and offered free, by volunteers, in hospitals and over the internet. We have “my Reiki is better than yours” attitudes and confused healthcare consumers (and confused Reiki practitioners). Should Reiki be free or for a fee? Is it a medical treatment or spiritual/energy healing? How do you “prove” that it works? Who gets to decide? As Reiki has developed in the West, it seems that there has been a distortion of the original paradigm. New Age paradigms and now Western medical standards have been overlaid upon it. Yet, the model offered by Mikao Usui and now being re-discovered, was one of spiritual self development, first and later, the hands on healing was incorporated. In my opinion, we have skipped lightly over the spiritual self development and quickly moved on to the hands-on healing. Without that grounding and foundation in the fundamentals of the system of Reiki, distortion, confusion and misunderstanding result.

Fortunately, we have individuals now who are committed to researching the roots of the system of Reiki, committed to spiritual self development and committed to bringing it much needed clarity & grounding. If we can continue our individual & collective journeys using the guidance of the precepts to light the way, it is my belief that the answers will present themselves.


The Reiki Digest: Many thanks, Katherine, and thanks again to Judith and Chris from Chikara-Reiki-Do. Let's keep the discussion going. Feel free to add your comments, or e-mail them to

Reiki Roundup

We begin this week's journey in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where the Sun-News features an article about Reiki that includes most of the key points, as well as the oft-repeated untruth that Reiki founder Mikao Usui was a doctor. My favorite quote from the article: "If people would just get one Reiki treatment and see how they felt, it would blow them away." My favorite nonquote: For one thing, the existence of life-force energy has not been proved scientifically. (In my opinion, the fact that we can distinguish the living from the dead is proof that life-force energy exists, but of course I'm not a scientist.)

The subject of Reiki for cancer patients comes up again in this week's roundup, with an article in the Camarillo, California Acorn on a camp for cancer patients. And a Philadelphia television station finds Reiki in the holistic approach of the local Cancer Treatment Center of America. And a cancer survivor in England says Reiki (and reflexology) helped him recover from cancer that destroyed one of his vertebrae.

Next stop, Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota, where we find a labyrinth with, among other things, a Reiki station.

In Norwalk, Connecticut, we find a hospital chaplain who is both a Reiki Master and a rabbi.

Reiki turns out to be a popular search term among the over-50 crowd, according to a San Francisco Bay-area newspaper.

And now, our Celeb-Reiki feature, brought to you by Miriam's Well Healing of New York, New York, specializing in the health and well-being of performing artists: First, an update: last week's Celeb-Reiki, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota), who is recovering from brain surgery, is now able to talk again.

Another prior Celeb-Reiki turns up in the headlines again: Boy George, or more specifically, his parents, Gerry and Dinah O'Dowd. Gerry became a Reiki master late in life and is said to have used Reiki to help his son kick the drug habit, but Boy George's mother, who by then was divorced, disputes that in a new book about her late ex-husband.

Reiki is a gentle art; NFL football isn't. Reiki Master, and Celeb-Reiki, Philip Clark has practiced both: before he took up Reiki, Clark played for the Chicago Bears, the Dallas Cowboys, and the New England Patriots. Clark was interviewed for a suburban Chicago newspaper article on current Bears quarterback Rex Grossman.

Finally, we travel 3 years into the future, a future in which by-then-former British Prime Minister Tony Blair may (or may not) have become a Celeb-Reiki, according to the new play "The Trial of Tony Blair."

The Sounds of Reiki:

The Reiki Show: In this week's podcast, Bronwen and Frans Stiene follow Reiki into the dentist's office, where we meet Pam Ross, a Reiki practitioner who specializes in giving Reiki to patients in the dentist's chair.

Whale music is back in fashion, especially for Reiki,, according to the UK's Guardian Unlimited. They even offer a few samples of whale sounds in case you're curious, or perhaps nostalgic.

Shinpiden Class update: There are still a couple of spots left in the Shinpiden class with the International House of Reiki's Frans Stiene in New York April 14, 15, and 16, sponsored by The Reiki Digest.

Rest in Peace

Reiki Master Jan M. Nicolai, 53, Manitowoc, Wisconsin


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