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Thursday, May 15, 2008

To the mountaintop

Makalu, the world's fifth-highest mountain

photo by Ben Tubby (some rights reserved)

We never know where our Reiki journey will take us, do we? Here at The Reiki Digest, it takes us around the world every week, in search of anything having to do with Reiki. This week, our search takes us to the Nepal/Tibet border and the world's 5th-highest mountain, Makalu, (8,462 meters or 27,762 feet), where Reiki practitioner Santiago Quintero of Ecuador reached the summit on May 11.

Quintero was a mountain climber before he became a Reiki practitioner. He didn't discover Reiki until after he lost most of his toes to frostbite on a 2002 expedition to the top of the highest mountain in the Americas, Aconcagua (6,962 meters or 22,841 feet), becoming the fifth person ever to climb that peak solo. Rather than retiring from climbing, Quintero has since scaled several of the world's highest mountains, some of them solo.

"I discovered the true purpose of my life in the mountains," he said in an interview with just before his Makalu ascent, "and without them my eyes have no light."

In addition to advice from other climbers who had lost toes to frostbite, Quintero said, "On my own I have discovered Reiki therapy, meditation, various books about motivation, special vitamins -- all combined with my experience it results in many valuable lessons."

Many valuable lessons indeed, even for those of us who aren't world-class mountain climbers.

For one thing, Makalu does not look like this:

Yes, it should be obvious that mountains rise up to a peak, not from a peak, but I and other Reiki teachers are surprised at how many students don't understand that when it comes to their own Reiki practice. If a mountain could exist upside down, even for a moment, it would quickly give in to gravity and topple. Like a mountain, Reiki (or any other practice) requires a solid, broad foundation before reaching for the summit.

For another thing, there is more than one way to get to the top of a mountain. On Makalu, for example, there are routes on the north face, the northeast ridge, the saddle, the southeast ridge, and the West Pillar. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but that doesn't mean one route is correct and the others incorrect. I am reminded of that whenever I'm in a group of Reiki practitioners from different lineages, or even people who work with similar energetic practices.

Despite their differences, all those routes have one important thing in common: you have to travel them one step at a time.

And even those who've never climbed so much as a foothill can identify with these words from Quintero, because we all have mountains of some sort to climb in our lives:

". . .I never imagined anything so beautiful. The ascent was very demanding. At the sight of endless inclines and never ending rock sections; I wanted to turn back so many times. But then I reached the edge and knew that I would make it."

(For our Spanish-speaking readers, here's a link to Quintero's original message.)

Finally, even after you've reached the summit, you need a new goal to strive toward. Quintero's is the world's second-highest peak, K2 (8,611 meters or 28,251 feet), which he plans to scale next year.

We not only congratulate Santiago Quintero and wish him a safe journey down the mountain and back home, but we also thank him for the inspiration and honor him as this week's Celeb-Reiki.


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