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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Reiki Digest for February 7, 2007: Attention

This edition of The Reiki Digest comes to you from 24,000 feet above the earth, somewhere over Pennsylvania. I'm on my way from frigid New Jersey to snow-covered Ohio, traveling to the funeral of my cousin Linda, who died last Sunday at age 58 after a long battle with cancer. If you are among the many who sent Reiki her way in response to her requests, thank you and please keep it coming, for her family and her spirit.

At the moment she passed, I was in a classroom learning a new healing modality: hypnosis. Our teacher, also a Reiki Master, explained that Reiki and hypnosis bear a family resemblance to each other because both are methods of focusing the attention.

A few hours later, I got another lesson in focused attention, as much of the United States turned its attention to the annual ritual of the Super Bowl. Not only did millions of television viewers focus their attention on the game, but the players focused their attention even moreso.

In hypnosis class, we watched a video in which a woman had surgery on her legs with no anesthetic but hypnosis. Doctors cut a rectangle about the size of an iPod in her calf, then reached in with their tools to repair damaged veins, and all the while the patient chatted cheerfully with the surgical team.

In the Super Bowl, the rain was pouring down, but the players gave it little attention, even as it soaked them to the skin and left both field and football more than a little slippery. At half time, the performers ignored the rain as well -- although Prince (and the illuminated marching band) did acknowledge it with a topical rendition of Purple Rain.

Meanwhile, advertisers paid top dollar to try to catch some of the attention focused on the annual altercation, each trying to outdo the other with the most innovative, entertaining commercials.

For the convenience of viewers whose attention may have wandered, or for those who gave the big game no attention at all, this year's crop of Super Bowl commercials are available online on demand. How thoughtful!

The focus of this publication's attention, of course, is Reiki. When we give Reiki, whether to others or ourselves, we focus our attention on the recipient, in an unfocused kind of way. We go into a meditative -- you might even call it hypnotic -- state, concentrating on the ritual of our practice and the Reiki energy itself, rather than the client's specific aches, pains, or personal issues. We let the energy, and our intuition, guide us as we work.

Reiki energy aside -- and that's a big aside -- the simple act of one person focusing fully on another is a rare treat in today's multi-tasking world.

"All he could pay was attention," goes the line from an old country song about a man whose pockets were empty. But as any Super Bowl advertiser can tell you, attention is one of the world's most valuable commodities. Here's hoping we spend ours mindfully, without letting it get scattered all over the place. And thank you for the attention you give The Reiki Digest.

Now let's turn our attention to this week's Reiki Roundup, starting with this week's Celeb-Reiki feature. Our first is a double feature: Celeb-Reiki renowned complementary and alternative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil features on his web site one of the best-known names in American Reiki, Pamela Miles, author of Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide.

Our next stop on the Reiki Roundup is Oregon, where the Mail Tribune has an article about Reiki Master Alissa Lukara and her new book, Riding Grace.

We move on to Columbia, Missouri, where the Tribune features an article headlined "Teaching the Right Touch." The article almost, but not quite, lumps Reiki into the same category as massage.

And we stay in Missouri for our next item, an article in the St. Louis Review, the weekly newsletter of the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis. Unfortunately this one includes Reiki in an inappropriate category: "occult activities." It also says the same about hypnotherapy, a respected medical practice, so Reiki is not alone in being mislabeled. This same article tells us about a person on a hunt for UFOs who hears voices and has visions, but it doesn't call that "occult." It's too bad the St. Louis Archdiocese isn't aware of the many Catholics, some of them nuns, who practice Reiki with the blessing of their church. Again, in case you missed it the other gazillion times, Reiki is not a religion. Neither practitioner nor client need believe anything in order for Reiki to work.

Finally, if you don't want to see the once-secret Reiki symbols on a set of stones, don't read this item at

There'll be a slight delay in the publishing of the printable edition of this week's Digest. Look for it here on Friday.


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