The Reiki Digest for January 31, 2007: Chi (ki, qi) and me
First things first. We must begin this edition of The Reiki Digest with a correction. The 2008 Reiki Symposium at the New York Open Center will be February 18, 2008, NOT January 18 as we reported last week. So if you marked your calendar, as I did, you'll have to re-mark it.
That wasn't our only major "Oops!" in the past week. You probably didn't notice, but for a few hours last week, our main page vanished from the Internet due to a simple but effective mistake on my part. We're back now, and wiser for it, freshly reminded of the fact that computers do exactly what we tell them to, even if it's not what we intend. Some might call it ironic that our follow-up report on the Reiki in Cyberspace session at this year's symposium will be delayed as a result of those computer-related difficulties. In the past few days I've learned, all over again, that laughter helps alleviate some of the side effects of computer frustrations, especially when we laugh at ourselves.
I've been spending way too much time at the computer lately, dealing with necessary business matters, and not nearly enough time enjoying one of my favorite pastimes: qigong. Even with my long to-do list, I make time every single day for at least 20 minutes of qigong -- also spelled chi kung or chi gong or other variations -- ancient energy exercises that have been practiced for thousands of years in China. I've been practicing qigong for more than 20 years now, and I intend to continue for the rest of my life. More recently, when I discovered Reiki, it seemed to me that Reiki energy and qi energy must be the same thing, or different aspects of the same thing. After all, how many universal, transcendent forms of energy can there be in one universe?
I'm now a Reiki Master in two lineages, and I still don't know if I can tell you in an objective, authoritative way what the difference is. "Ki" is the Japanese spelling of qi, and Reiki founder Mikao Usui is said to have practiced kiko (that's the Japanese spelling of qigong). We have no word for qi in English, so we have to use a phrase: "universal energy" or "universal life force energy." Add "rei" and you get something along the lines of "spiritual," "spiritually guided," and even "ghostly universal life force energy."
What I can tell you about the difference between Reiki and qi, for me, is the difference in how I work with each of them. When we think about "spiritual" or "spiritually guided" energy, we usually think of the spirit in question as being universal and transcendent. But what if we think of it on a smaller, more personal scale: What if the spirit doing the guiding is our own?
That doesn't mean aiming Reiki like a laser beam, or placing our hands on a client and trying to direct Reiki to an ailing gallbladder or heart. It means focusing our own selves, our own energy, on giving Reiki to ourselves or others. And it tends to work better if we're focusing not on any anticipated or hoped-for results, but simply on the act of giving Reiki.
As we say in qigong, "The mind leads the qi."
In Reiki, the energy flows through us. In qigong, we gather and mix the energy that is all around us, then store it in our three energy centers at the abdomen, heart area, and head. Can we really do that? "The mind leads the qi," so if we intend for that to happen, if we exercise our imaginations along with our bodies, that's what happens.
Now for the practical difference: for me it all comes down to where I place my tongue. When I practice qigong, I keep my tongue lightly touching the roof of my mouth just behind my front teeth. I keep it there for my entire practice. That closes one of the most important energy circuits in the body, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. When I practice Reiki, I start each breath in that position, but when I exhale I let my tongue relax enough for the circuit to break. That one small internal movement tells me with each breath what I'm doing with the energy, reminding me of my intention, whether I'm gathering energy for myself or allowing it to pass through.
For those who weren't able to attend the Qigong for Reiki Practitioners session I led at the recent Reiki Symposium, and for those who were there but are ready for more, we're going to have a little qigong session right now, right at the computer (or, if you're reading the printable PDF edition, right there wherever you are.)
Begin seated in your chair with both feet flat on the ground. Imagine that your spine is a string of pearls, suspended from above through the crown of your head. Feel yourself being pulled up as the string of pearls extends upward. Your head tilts slightly downward as you feel a tug at your crown, and your jaw relaxes.
Take your dominant hand and place it on your abdomen, with your thumb in your navel. Place your other hand over it. Breathe deeply and slowly, relaxing your abdomen on the inhalation, contracting it on the exhalation. Imagine that from your feet, energetic roots are reaching down into the floor beneath you, and further down into the earth. As your energetic roots grow downward, the string of pearls pulls the crown of your head a little higher. Repeat for nine breaths.
Now, rub one hand with another, then switch. Repeat 10 times. If you find a sore spot, give it extra attention. If you're in a place that's private enough, give yourself a footrub, too.
Next, grab your earlobe. Reach over your head with the other arm and grab the top of that same ear. Use both hands to massage the ear, then repeat with the other ear. If you find a sore spot, give it extra attention.
(Note: Glasses-wearers might want to take them off for this next exercise.) If you have enough privacy, rub the palms of your hands together as if you were trying to start a fire. Keep going until you build up some heat. Keep going as long as you can stand, then place your warmed palms over your closed eyes.
Now give yourself an extra energy boost by practicing this simple breathing exercise that can be done most anywhere, most anytime: breathe in, in, and out. Repeat many times, now and throughout the day, anytime you want a little more energy.
To finish, return your dominant hand to your abdomen and place your thumb back on your navel. Place the other hand on it, relax and breathe.
More on Qigong for Reiki Practitioners coming soon.
Ask the Masters
Last week, questions, this week, answers. The questions are from Anna, a Reiki 2 practitioner in New Jersey; the answers are from Reiki Master Nicholas Sweeney of New York City.
1. Is it possible to have a private attunement from a Reiki trainer (i.e., could you give me some or any of the Reiki 1 and 2 attunements again for a fee)?
So, I believe this question is coming from an already-attuned Reiki practitioner, and you are wondering if you can be re-attuned at level 1 and or level 2?
Among Reiki Masters and Teachers, there are different schools-of-thought about the subject of receiving additional attunements. Some believe it is unnecessary to receive additional attunements, but I believe the majority of Reiki Masters and Teachers believe that additional attunements, if requested for the appropriate reasons, can be very helpful for one's personal and spiritual journey. Also, there is much historical information that has been recently revealed that suggests that Mikao Usui gave regular attunements or REIJU to his students.
I believe it is important to understand one's motivation for seeking additional attunements. It is easy to become addicted to the "Reiki high" that can follow after the attunement process. Therefore, many students may only seek additional attunements for the thrill factor, in which case, no harm may be done, but the deeper function of the attunement would go unappreciated.
The purpose of the attunement is to remove the energetic obstacles that keep one from realizing his or her inherent connnection to life. If one has been committed to one's personal and spiritual growth and using Reiki in his or her daily life, additional attunements would most likely accelerate one's growth and healing.
If you would like additional attunements, there are teachers out there who will offer them to you! Search your own heart to learn what is best for you.
2. I can feel the energy when putting my hands on myself or an object, but when I send Reiki energy to my desires (all the desires written on pieces of paper in my box), how does sending the energy to the pieces of paper also send energy to the desires themselves? Thanks if you can clarify this.
I have often asked myself this question, as I attempt to wrap my mind around Reiki and the process of healing. The following is my current understanding of the distance-healing process.
When I send Reiki to my desires for support, healing, balance, success in projects, etc., I often feel the energy flowing within me as if I were giving myself a hands-on treatment. When I feel this flow, I intuitively know that the Reiki is working on opening and healing the places within my own being that need it in order to bring about the fulfillment of the desires that I have written on my piece of paper. Reiki is intelligent, and it understands the essence of my desires. The words on the piece of paper are merely a tool to help me become focused and set my intention. Then Reiki knows exactly where to go in order to bring a harmonious result for all concerned. So, in essence, I'm not sending Reiki to my desires; I'm sending Reiki to myself to help me manifest my desires!
When sending Reiki for your desires, requests for healing, goals, etc., observe the flow of Reiki. Tune-in to the energy and see if you can intuitively know where the Reiki is flowing. See what your own inner wisdom has to say about this mysterious process.
Nicholas Sweeney is the founder of Phoenix Wisdom Healing, a holistic healing practice located in Manhattan. Nicholas wears many hats as a Reiki practitioner, Magnified Healing practitioner, Astrology and Tarot consultant. His love affair with Reiki began in 2003. Reiki "popped the question" in 2006 when he graduated from the Reiki Master Program at Reiki Arts Continuum and committed his life to his own healing journey. Currently, Nicholas is training to become a Reiki Teacher and enjoying the day-to-day blessings that continue to inspire him as he grows with Reiki.
This week's Celeb-Reiki list stars British actress, and Reiki practitioner Deena Payne, star of the ITV soap opera Emmerdale. Payne is having a "healing room" added to her home, and says she keeps up with Reiki and other natural health practices as much as she can despite her busy work schedule.
In other Celeb-Reiki news, the American TV series "Real Housewives of Orange County," on the Bravo channel, featured a real Reiki practitioner last week, practicing psychic readings rather than Reiki. Intuitive Healer and Reiki 2 practitioner Jennifer Norton gave some advice to presumably real Orange County housewife Jo De La Rosa about what she might do with her career and love life. Too bad -- now people who saw that will come to Reiki practitioners for advice rather than Reiki.
Reiki itself became a Celeb-Reiki this week, thanks to Cranky.com, the new search engine for people over 50. The word "Reiki" was number 8 in the new site's search terms; number 1 of course, was "sex."
Our Celeb-Reiki feature is brought to you by Miriam's Well Healing of New York, New York, specializing in the health and well-being of performing artists.
In other Reiki news this week, a Reiki class at the University of Minnesota was interrupted by an evacuation order after someone noticed a large piece of concrete was missing from the outside of the building. University officials say the building may not have to be condemned, but for now they're keeping everyone out.
We were singing the blues here last week (aren't you glad you couldn't hear me warbling?), but this week a British newspaper is offering readers suggestions for dealing with the winter blues, and Reiki is one of the recommendations.
Speaking of singing, a North Carolina newspaper article headlined "Sing Your Way to Spiritual Health" tells us about a gathering of musicians and artists with Reiki practitioners, acupuncturists, and others.
For some reason the Reiki-for-dogs story is especially popular this week, with articles in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, and New York City, and a Reiki-for-cats article in Long Island, New York.
Reiki makes the local news, complete with photos, in the town of Kelso in the U.K., and in Loomis, California.
The Sounds of Reiki: This week's podcast of The Reiki Show from the International House of Reiki features Beth Goldring, a Buddhist nun and Reiki practitioner working in Cambodia with AIDS patients.
Speaking of the International House of Reiki, if you asked to reserve a place in the International House of Reiki's Shinpiden class with Frans Stiene in New York City April 14, 15, and 16, 2007, you should have received a registration form by now. If not, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. We might still have room in the class, but if not we can add your name to the waiting list.
Remember, The Reiki Digest is now available in a printable, portable PDF edition: click here to download this week's printable edition.