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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Challenging times

What a challenging week it's been so far!

It started out on a positive and constructive note with this week's waka, Practice, which got me thinking that perhaps this week's edition should focus on that as a theme. As longtime readers know, I believe that personal practice is far and away the most important aspect of the system of Reiki. And it seemed to follow nicely after last week's edition, when we asked, "Has your Reiki gotten rusty?"

Then, to put it mildly, all heck broke loose.

The already-shaky world financial markets went into a panic that pulled first the weak and subsequently even healthy companies down into its vortex. That was Monday. Then on Tuesday, I got a call from my mom, letting me know she was OK even though she and nearly 2 million other people in her region had been without electricity since the remnants of Hurricane Ike roared through Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania last Sunday -- an underreported disaster far from the television crews covering the storm from Texas. My brother's situation was even worse: at his house, no electricity also meant no water. Mom was cheerful, even though she'd heard it might take more than a week for all the power to be restored. Then on Wednesday, we got the news that my mother-in-law is in the hospital. Oh, and most of our retirement funds vanished in the panicked financial markets. Now it's Thursday, and this morning my husband and many of our neighbors bravely picked up their briefcases and headed to their Wall Street jobs as usual, not knowing whether their employers would still be in business at the end of the day.

So where does our personal Reiki practice fit into these trying times? Everywhere! The trick is to remember it in the middle of all the distractions.

These past few days have reminded me of the time I inadvertently booked an advanced Reiki workshop into a room next to a children's tap-dancing class. As the children's cacaphonous footwork thundered through the thin wall between us during quiet meditative moments, I apologized for the distraction, but our teacher wisely pointed out the bright side: It's easy to meditate on a quiet mountaintop retreat. It's quite another to do so in the midst of our busy everyday lives. And then when those everyday lives are disrupted by sudden and dramatic shifts, we may find little time or opportunity left to continue our regular practice, even as we need it most.

Worse, distressing events might throw us so far off-balance that we simply forget to use our Reiki. We don't just forget to do hands-on self-care, but we even forget the Reiki precepts. Even though I've practiced repeating them morning and night for years now -- and trying to live by them the rest of the time -- I confess that the precepts even slipped my mind a time or two during this stressful week as I wondered what would happen to us if the financial meltdown continues. There have been moments when, reflecting the fearful spirit of the times, I got so caught up in worry about my own family's problems that I forgot to be humbly grateful for the blessings all around me even during difficult circumstances. I admit to feeling flashes of unfocused anger at the whole situation. When that happens to me, the precepts will eventually kick in again, out of habit.

When things got too stressful, I found my daily hands-on self-care Reiki sessions to be even more comforting than usual, even if they might have been a little shorter. I made a point of including the financial markets, the electrical grid, and the people affected by all the turmoil in my daily Reiki meditations.

Practicing Reiki professionally also reinforces personal practice: when I'm with a client, that's where my attention is focused, so doing private treatments is a welcome respite from the distractions of the outside world.

I know there are Reiki practitioners on Wall Street and in the world's other financial centers. I don't know if this unidentified man-on-the-street is one of them, but when the TV reporters stuck their microphone in front of him and asked how he was dealing with the crisis, he replied:

"You can either go, oh my God, my life is going down the drain, it's a disaster, we're all gonna die, or you can go, wow, it's like, a beautiful day and life is great."

I was happily reminded the other day of an upcoming one-day Reiki retreat focusing on the precepts: Inviting Happiness: Exploring the Reiki Principles, with Pamela Miles, author of Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide, and Susan Mitchell, a Reiki practitioner since 1978 who studied with Hawayo Takata herself. As Pamela says, the precepts "are as valuable now as they were 80 years ago."

How true. It's good to remember that the world was going through some pretty dramatic changes in Usui's time as well: for all the talk about "tectonic shifts" in the financial landscape, today's worries are nothing compared to the great Kanto earthquake of 1923, when Usui and his students took their practice to the streets to help survivors.

Pamela had some important things to say about personal practice in a podcast interview she did with Phyllis Lei Furumoto, Hawayo Takata's granddaughter, especially about dealing with the frustration of plateau phases when it may feel like we're not making any progress.

How about sharing your own thoughts on the subject? How do you keep up -- or catch up with -- your own personal Reiki practice during difficult times? If you're an experienced practitioner, what advice do you have for those who are just beginning, or for those who have let their practice lapse? Handy hints, words of caution, lessons learned -- all those things would be helpful to your fellow Reiki practitioners around the world.

To add your voice to the mix, just click on the word "comments" at the bottom of this post on our web site, or email your thoughts to and we'll post them for you.

Most everyone who reads The Reiki Digest is a Reiki practitioner, which makes us a peer group of hundreds of practitioners in 114 countries around the world. That's quite a resource, so let's tap into it and support each other in our individual practice with Reiki. Let us know what works, and what doesn't work, for you.


Blogger Janet said...

All that talk about practice and I forgot to include a link to my Instant Hands-Free Reiki Self-Care article. That's the PDF, or you can read it online here.

And thanks again to Luis Romance in Barcelona for translating that article into Spanish, available here in PDF.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Thanks for all you do - this is another great list of things to read! Just wanted to let you know I left you an award on my blog! (

6:40 AM  

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