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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Homework

Last weekend I attended a Reiki-related class that not only lasted all day Saturday and Sunday, it included a Saturday night homework assignment. I like to think of myself as a good student and I try to keep up with deadlines, but I confess I only did one of the two assignments -- a description of Reiki in 25 words or less, aimed at a specific audience.

The other assignment was to write a description of my daily Reiki practice. Fortunately, the instructor did not ask us to turn in our homework, so nobody noticed -- lucky indeed since I don't have a dog I might have blamed for eating my homework. But just to keep myself honest, I'm presenting it here.

We'll return to the subject of the class in another edition soon, but for now I'll just say that while the instructor and I don't agree 100 percent about Reiki (who does?), we do have one strong point of agreement: every Reiki practitioner needs a personal daily Reiki practice.

I'm telling you about mine mostly because I'd like to hear about yours, even if it's very different. Reiki has many lineages, and is practiced in a variety of ways. I've studied in two lineages so far, and my daily practice draws on both of them. Here's how it goes on a typical day:

Around 4:30 a.m. -- I wake up and become aware that I have been granted the gift of another day in this world. I remind myself of the Reiki precepts, to set the tone for the day. I use this translation:

For today only:

Do not anger
Do not worry
Be humble
Be honest in your work
Be compassionate to yourself and others

I visit the bathroom and climb back into bed to sleep for about an hour. As I doze back off again, I do hands-on Reiki self-care, placing my hands at various places but not following a set protocol. I have some of my most vivid and fascinating dreams during this time.

5:30 a.m. or so: I wake up again and once again recite the precepts to myself. I reach for my glasses -- like the precepts, they help me see the world with greater clarity. I do some qigong warmup exercises, a little yoga, and I make some tea, with the assistance of Reiki.

Around 6:30 a.m., I begin my morning meditations with the wai khru (you can read it here and hear it here) from Thai yoga, another modality I practice. In Thailand it is recited every morning at every hospital, doctor's office, and other healing-related establishment, so I honor my teachers by continuing that practice here.

The wai khru is traditionally done in seiza position, but with the toes turned under, and the hands in a position familiar to every Reiki practitioner as gassho. You can see a famous character with his hands in gassho here, and that makes him a Celeb-Reiki. After I finish the wai khru, I relax my feet and sit on a seiza bench for the formal portion of my daily Reiki practice, performing the kenyoku-ho dry bath and then returning my hands to gassho.

I spend at least 20 minutes meditating with the symbols and mantras familiar to all who've studied Reiki 2 and above. Some days, I also do my daily hands-on Reiki self-care at this point, but most days I save that until after lunch. I finish with another dry bath.

After Reiki comes qigong, also for at least 20 minutes, and then I spend at least that long doing either yoga, aerobics, more qigong, or other exercises. Eventually I finish my exercises and and breakfast before I begin my workday.

After lunch is my favorite time for Reiki self-care. I return to my seiza bench, do another kenyoku-ho and then do some hands-on Reiki, again not following a fixed protocol, for about 20 minutes. I am fortunate in being self-employed and doing much of my work from home, so I have more control over my schedule than many people. If I know that I will be at my office in Manhattan or elsewhere during the day, I do my seated self-care with my morning exercises.

I don't usually do any more hands-on self-care until I go to bed at night, but I find myself practicing Reiki all day long. When I make a phone call, wait for the bus, do the laundry, go to the post office, or post another edition of this publication, I am practicing Reiki. I practice Reiki, Qigong, and yoga all day long, and my goal is to do so with every breath, thought, and movement. I don't know if I will reach it in this lifetime, but I work toward it every day (some days more than others). There is more to each of my meditative practices than what can be seen from the outside, and for me they all work well together. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Thanks. I feel better now that I've done my homework, even if I didn't finish it on time.

Speaking of lineages and teachers, today New York City welcomes, from Sydney, Australia, by way of Thailand and Europe, Reiki authors and teachers Bronwen and Frans Stiene, authors of The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, The Reiki Techniques Card Deck, the A-Z of Reiki, and Your Reiki Treatment. They'll be in town through October 22 not only for the Shinpiden (Master/Teacher level) course October 19, 20, and 21 plus a One-Day Advanced Workshop for Shinpiden graduates, but also visits to The Reiki Dojo October 15 and October 22 as well as a talk at the New York Reiki Meetup October 18. At press time there are still a few spaces left in the Shinpiden class, none at the Meetup, and all are welcome at the Reiki Dojo meetings from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. ($10 donation). Both The Reiki Dojo and the Shinpiden class are sponsored by The Reiki Digest. New York is the last stop on the Stienes' 2007 teaching schedule, and the next New York City Shinpiden class is scheduled for October 2008.

If you'd like more information on the Shinpiden class, contact editor@thereikidigest.com.

I found someone I know in this week's Reiki Roundup: she was a Thai Yoga classmate of mine several years ago, and she was the person who introduced me to Reiki. After our turn to work as partners in the Thai class, we finished a few minutes early and she asked me if I wanted some Reiki. Sure, I said, though I had no idea what it was, and five minutes later I was hooked. I haven't seen her since then, but I was happy to find her in The Baltimore Sun this week in an article about Reiki in one of the most hectic, intense parts of a hospital: the trauma center. The otherwise excellent article is not well served by the headline, "From a Curiosity to a Cure," which attributes more power to Reiki than its practitioners do -- Reiki is not a cure. Newspaper headlines are written some time after the articles, and by a different person who probably doesn't discuss it with the writer.

A Bloomberg News story headlined "Talk about Reiki for Dogs for 7 Minutes" isn't about Reiki, dogs, or Reiki for Dogs, but it's still interesting. This UK newspaper article on Reiki for dogs, however, is on topic.

Also in the United Kingdom, a Reiki practitioner is seeking clients willing to part of clinical trials on Reiki.

Reiki gets a mention -- but no explanation -- in an article about a Wisconsin aromatherapist who also practices Reiki.

Can Reiki literally help you find your way safely through turbulent waters? In a CounterPunch series on an outdoor adventure, we discover "a genuine Reiki master" -- as the writer put it.

You might need to keep a tissue a handy as you read about this week's featured Celeb-Reiki, Eliot Lubar, whose life was changed irreversibly in an instant when someone ran into him in a crowd. I saw his mention of Reiki first in a chat he did with Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel readers, and then I read the article that led to the chat. After that I went back and read the chat again, this time with a better understanding of the context. Once I finished all that, I had to step away from the computer for awhile. You might feel like doing the same, so that's it for this week's edition.

You can tell us about your personal Reiki practice either by posting a comment to this post on our web site, or by emailing editor@thereikidigest.com.

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