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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Reiki Digest for October 25, 2006: The Reiki Gokai: Lost, or gained, in translation?

Just for today...

For today only...

Namely today...

One day only!

Which of those phrases is NOT a translation of one of the Reiki gokai, also known as the Reiki principles, the Reiki precepts, the Reiki admonitions, or the Reiki ideals?

You'll find the answer at the end of this edition of The Reiki Digest.

If all the world's Reiki practitioners were fluent in Japanese, we'd probably still have many different interpretations of what the gokai really mean, and how we should implement them in our lives and Reiki practice.

The various translations of the gokai we've encountered, so far, are so different that there isn't even any clear agreement over how many principles/precepts/admonitions there are. Five? Six? Seven?

Because most Reiki practitioners study with only one of the many different Reiki lineages, and tend not to jump from teacher to teacher, lineage to lineage, most of us have just one version of the gokai, the one we learned in Reiki 1. But those who switch teachers in midstream, or go for multiple certifications in more than one lineage, learn more than one version.

For example, here are the Reiki Principles as I learned them in Reiki 1:

A mystical path to creating happiness.
A spiritual remedy for all afflications.
Just for today don't anger, just for today don't worry.
Please appreciate everything and show gratitude.
Strive to embody the teachings in your actions and be kind to people.
Morning and evening please place your hands together in prayer position.
Center your heart, mind and voice.
Well being for the spirit and body. Usui Reiki Treatment.
Founder, Mikao Usui

And here are the Five Precepts as I learned them in studying a different Reiki lineage:

For today only:
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be humble
Be honest in your work
Be compassionate to yourself and others

(You can also listen to the gokai in Japanese on that same site.)

Here are some other versions:

Don't get angry today.
Don't worry today.
Be grateful today.
Work hard today (meditative practice).
Be kind to others today.

Just for today, do not worry.
Just for today, do not anger.
Honor your parents, teachers, and elders.
Earn your living honestly.
Show gratitude to everything.

The secret art of inviting happiness
The miraculous medicine of all diseases
Just for today, do not anger
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude
Devote yourself to your work. Be kind to people.
Every morning and evening, join your hands in prayer.
Pray these words to your heart
and chant these words with your mouth
Usui Reiki Treatment for the improvement of body and mind
The founder , Usui Mikao

Whatever the translation, in every Reiki style and lineage I've encountered so far, the gokai are considered an important part of Reiki practice.

In my daily Reiki meditations, and even in everyday life, I enjoy pondering the gokai. Keeping them in mind throughout the day doesn't take up a lot of mental space, and I find it helps me focus on the things that really matter, thereby wasting less energy on the things that don't. I usually begin my day with a little Reiki, before I even get out of bed, and focusing on the gokai right then and there helps me plan my priorities for the day. I don't mind the many different versions -- instead, I find them fascinating.

What do you think? And how do you use the gokai in your life and Reiki practice? Tell us by adding a comment to this post on The Reiki Digest web site, or reply to this e-mail if you're a subscriber reading this in your inbox. I'd love to make this post, with comments, the most comprehensive collection of Reiki gokaitranslations anywhere.

I'd especially like to find translations directly from Japanese into languages other than English.

And maybe someday I'll learn more than a few phrases in Japanese myself.

That was the gokai roundup, now for this week's Reiki Roundup.

We begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Reiki helps a young child with a form of autism, and helps his parents as well.

In Austin, Texas, Reiki Practitioner Naomi Thompson comes across very well in a newspaper article even though it's not an exceptionally good article.

Final stop, Rockford, Illinois, for "Clinical Reiki -- that is, Reiki for health-care professionals.

On to the Celeb-Reiki report: This week we venture into the sports world, where cyclist Hayden Roulston of New Zealand, who had retired after being diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition, is now racing again. Roulston has made it clear that he believes Reiki has been a big help in dealing with his condition. Editor's note: While Reiki can be helpful for any condition, it is not a substitute for medical care.

From sports, we move to the world of theater, where we meet this week's other Celeb-Reiki: Toronto-based set and costume designer Dany Lyne, who uses Reiki in her work. She made headlines for winning Canada's biggest theatrical award, the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize.

This week's Reiki Show podcast from the International House of Reiki features British Reiki practitioner Jan Robinson about her work with those traumatized by war and disaster. Robinson is the founder of the Healing Hands Network.

Speaking of the International House of Reiki, I'll be in Chicago this weekend for their Shinpiden course at The Reiki Council. Last I heard, there was still one spot left in the class, so maybe I'll see you there.

Answer: "One day only!" is a phrase commonly found in advertising, but not a translation of the Reiki gokai.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Reiki Digest for October 18, 2006: Digest meets Podcast

This week The Reiki Digest and The Reiki Show podcast converge for a special program in which yours truly gets to turn the tables on regular co-host Bronwen Stiene of the International House of Reiki. As guest host, I got to interview Bronwen about the books she has written with her husband (and Reiki Show co-host) Frans: The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, The Reiki Techniques Card Deck and The A-Z of Reiki.

We spoke across space and time -- she in Australia on a Tuesday morning, I in New Jersey on a Monday evening -- so we had to work around a slight delay as our voices bounced off the satellite.

Click here to listen to the program.

That makes Bronwen Stiene this week's Celeb-Reiki! Congratulations, Bronwen. (Regular readers may have noticed that last week's edition did not feature a Celeb-Reiki, partly because of the Ask the Masters feature and partly because the previous week featured a long list of Celeb-Reiki's.)

Keeping in mind the Reiki precepts' recommendation to be humble, we nonetheless recommend the show to our readers, and welcome the many new subscribers who discovered The Reiki Digest via the podcast.

Some of those new subscribers have already volunteered to help with our Reviewing Reiki Online Project, and if you'd like to get involved, it's not too late. If you'd like to be a reviewer, or if you have a site to submit for review by our readers, just leave a comment on our web site or, if you're an e-mail subscriber, reply to this message.

The next step is developing a standard set of criteria for rating the sites, and your suggestions on that are welcome as well, whether or not you want to volunteer. We'll be choosing the Top Ten Reiki Sites of 2006, announcing the winners in early 2007.

Also in early 2007, January 15 to be exact, the New York Open Center will hold its first Reiki Symposium, an all-day event featuring experiential presentations, interactive lectures, Q & A forums, a panel discussion, master sessions, and more. I'll be among the Reiki Masters making presentations, including an active morning workshop on Qigong for Reiki Practitioners and a presentation (with fellow Reiki Master James Rosenow) on Reiki in Cyberspace. If you reserve your space now, you can save $25 off the door price. For more information, speaking of Reiki in Cyberspace, check out the new Reiki Symposium blog. With the blog, the Reiki Symposium can stretch beyond a one-day event, since we can begin our discussion via the site's comments feature now even though the Symposium is still months away, and we can keep the conversation going long after the event is over.

Reiki Roundup

This week's roundup of Reiki in the news begins with The Times Online in the United Kingdom, where Reiki is one of the bright spots in the stranger-than-fiction, but true story of a novelist who was paralyzed for a time, and left permanently disabled, by an infection from unpasteurized dairy products.

On to Albany, New York, where the Times-Union features a doctor who also practices Reiki in an article headlined, "Soothing the Spirit to Help the Body."

In the state of Washington, The Olympian includes a brief listing requesting Reiki practitioners and other "comfort therapists" to volunteer for a hospice program. I include it here simply because I like the term "comfort therapists" and hadn't run across it before.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, a program for cancer survivors is also looking for Reiki practitioners.

In Moline, Illinois, WQAD TV features a news item headlined "Dealing with Pain - Reiki" that is not exactly the most accurate, as illustrated by, among other things, the misspelling of "chakras" as "shakras," and this generalization: "There are colors a relaxed Reiki patient can see when their eyes are closed during a session..." While Reiki recipients (and anyone, really) sometimes see colors with their eyes closed, that is not specifically a feature of Reiki and doesn't happen in every session.

Finally, take a look at the definition of Reiki as distilled by Google at Googlism, a site that turns Google search results into a sort of cyber-poetry.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Reiki Digest for October 11, 2006: Ask the Masters

Ask the Masters

Today we introduce what we hope will become a regular feature: Ask the Masters.

Reiki Master Teachers of various Reiki lineages and styles are standing by to answer your questions.

Our first answering Master is ...

Margaret Ann Case, BA, Reiki Master, RPP, of New York City. For more than 14 years, Case Sensei has been a recognized leader and innovator in the teaching of Reiki and spiritual healing, as well as an esteemed healing practitioner. She is a former business executive, opera singer, and a life-long student of holistic and wisdom traditions. Case Sensei is the founder and director of Reiki Arts Continuum and maintains a private practice in Manhattan. She also directs the Reiki program at the New York Open Center. She is also my teacher, and therefore one of the people who made The Reiki Digest possible. One of the distinctive features of the Reiki Arts Continuum master program is its emphasis on Reiki as a profession, and one of the requirements is a comprehensive business and life plan. The Reiki Digest and its nascent siblings are a direct result of that assignment.

Our first question comes from a netizen known as buddy don, author of the blog Wandering Hillbilly. He is not a Reiki practitioner, but is a fairly regular recipient.

Buddy Don writes in the somewhat obscure Appalachian dialect, on his blog, and in his question here:

"do ye git as much outta receivin reiki as ye git frum givin it?" (That is, "Do you get as much out of receiving Reiki as you get from giving it?")

Case Sensei answers:

For me each way of receiving Reiki has its own gifts. As a practitioner, when I receive Reiki for another person, I receive the gift of sharing and assisting someone in their healing journey. When I receive Reiki from another practitioner, I receive the gifts of healing and transformation. And when I receive Reiki by giving it to myself, I receive the gifts of empowerment and deep inner connection. So, yes, I do get as much from receiving Reiki as from giving it.

Many thanks for the question and the answer.

If you have a question for Ask the Masters, post it as a comment on The Reiki Digest web site, or e-mail it to:

If you'd like to ask a question but are feeling shy about giving us your name, you can comment anonymously as well. You don't have to be a Reiki practitioner or even know anything about Reiki to ask -- all legitimate questions about Reiki are welcome.

And if you're a Reiki Master Teacher who's willing to answer a question or two here, send an e-mail to:

Hello, World

Although nearly 90 percent of our readers are in the United States, The Reiki Digest also has visitors from around the world. So far, our global Reiki community here includes Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, The United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela, as well as the U.S.

Reviewing Reiki Online Project Update

Thanks to all who responded to our request for recommended sites, and volunteer reviewers, for our Reviewing Reiki Online Project. We'll be selecting the Top 10 Reiki Sites for 2006, announcing the winner in January 2007. Many other sites that don't make the Top 10 will be on our recommended sites list. If your web site is about Reiki, or if you would like to recommend a site about Reiki to be reviewed, nominate it by replying to this message (if you're an e-mail subscriber) or posting a comment (if you're reading this on the Reiki Digest web site). All sites must be primarily about Reiki to qualify for review.

Reiki Roundup

We begin this week in Appleton, Wisconsin, where the Post-Crescent offers one of the most accurate articles about Reiki ever to appear in the mainstream media.

From there, we head to North Carolina, where Katrina survivors in the Raleigh-Durham area are using Reiki and other natural healing methods to help with the stress of losing their homes to the storm.

Still in North Carolina, the Japan East Center at Eastern Carolina University in Greenville will include Reiki at its upcoming Wellness Japan event November 2.

And in Greensboro -- not to be confused with Greenville -- North Carolina, we find an article headlined, "Reiki Master Guides, Enlightens Others."

Congratulations to North Carolina for being such a hotbed of Reiki this week!

In Livingston, Michigan, we find a Reiki Master and interfaith minister who's establishing a new church.

On to the UK, where The Independent features an article titled "How the power of touch reduces pain and even fights disease."

This week's edition of The Reiki Show features an interview with Rick Vrenios of Chicago, who, with his wife Connie, developed a Reiki/massage combination modality they call Reiki-ssage.

Our last item this week is a heartbreaker: In Montreal, Canada, The Gazette tells the story of how Reiki, among other things, helped a woman deal with the deaths of her husband and then her two grown sons.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Reiki Digest for October 4, 2006: Reviewing Reiki Online

Mikao Usui, the man who developed the system of natural healing we now call Reiki, was not a doctor. Yet if you do a Google search on the term "Dr. Mikao Usui," you'll find (as of today) more than 112,000 sites referring to Usui as a doctor.

He was not a Christian, but if you search for the words "Usui" and "Christian," you find more than 98,000 sites, some of which attempt to correct the record, while others claim he was the head of a Christian boys' school in Japan or perpetuate other claims of a Christian/Usui connection. Usui was actually a Buddhist, but a search for "Usui" and "Buddhist" returns only about 78,000 sites.

Similarly, although there are many claims that Reiki originated in ancient Tibet, there is so far no solid evidence of that, despite more than 877,000 sites that include the words "Reiki" and "Tibet."

We understand how these myths were spread -- Hawayo Takata, the American of Japanese origin who brought Reiki from Japan to the rest of the world, herself claimed that Usui was a doctor and a Christian. We also understand that with the strong anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States during and after World War II, Mrs. Takata seems to have felt that those claims would make Reiki more acceptable.

It's a bit more difficult to understand the claims of a Tibetan connection, which did not originate with Mrs. Takata. I first read of it in Diane Stein's 1995 book Essential Reiki, and was intrigued until I realized the only attribution for that claim was the author's conversation with an unnamed "Tibetan nun." Since then, I've seen it elsewhere, and I've also encountered Reiki practitioners who find it important to tell me that their training included "Tibetan" Reiki information and was therefore more powerful than mine.

At least the Wikipedia entry on Reiki has been updated and improved -- Wikipedia is open source, so anyone can contribute and help edit the entries.

In any case, it's time that all of us who practice Reiki take responsibility for setting the record straight. Meanwhile, let's all keep in mind that you can't believe everything you read on the Internet.

It's also time that we come up with a better way for people to research Reiki online than sorting through those hundreds of thousands of sites.

To that end, The Reiki Digest is hereby inviting everyone in the world who has a Reiki-related web site to submit it for our new directory. It may take awhile, but the plan is to take a close look at each site and review it, so that cyber-seekers will have a better chance of finding accurate, meaningful information.

Whether or not you have a web site, The Reiki Digest also invites you to become a reviewer.

Of course, checking out each and every Reiki-related web site is as impossible as dining in each and every restaurant in New York City -- however diligently one might approach such a project, there are just too many, and they change too often. So maybe the best we can come up with is a short list of sites that have been reviewed and recommended by other Reiki practitioners. That would not only be an easier task, but a more positive approach than seeking out all the sites with inaccurate information.

So, is anybody here up for such a project? If so, please add you comment to this post (if you're reading The Reiki Digest on the web site) or, if you're an e-mail subscriber, just hit "reply" and volunteer. Rather than trying to review the whole web at once, we'll start with three sites for each reviewer and see how it goes from there.

At this point, we can offer little in the way of compensation to reviewers except the good feelings and glory involved in seeing your name here in boldface letters.

But we CAN offer a reward for good web sites. Regardless of how many reviewers volunteer, The Reiki Digest will be putting together an annual listing of the Top Ten Reiki Sites (aside from this one, of course). We'll announce the 2006 winners by January 1, 2007.

Speaking of cyber-misinformation, it appears that some Reiki practitioners are being targeted by e-mail scammers who write to ask about taking Reiki classes, offering to pay in advance, then trying to get the practitioner's bank information as in other e-mail scams. If you happen to get any of these suspicious e-mails, please let us know.

Next, our weekly Reiki Roundup, featuring Reiki in the news (on actual media web sites, presumably a bit more reliable than the average site).

First stop, Lanarkshire, Scotland, where the National Health Service is spending £27,700 ($52,200) this year on alternative therapies, including Reiki.

"Aromatherapy, reflexology, Indian head massage and reiki have been shown to be highly effective in helping patients cope with stress and pain," a spokesperson for the National Health Service said.

In the Daily Mail (also UK), we find this headline: "Could Spiritual Healing Actually Work?"

Also in the United Kingdom, we find an article headlined "Noble Retreats," about the growing number of mansions-turned-spas, many of which offer Reiki along with other therapies.

This week's Reiki-for-pets story is in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Just published, the October issue of The Reiki Times, published by the International Association of Reiki Professionals and available to members only (if you join, be sure to use the discount code in the IARP ad on this page!) This month, articles about developing your Reiki practice as well as Bach Flower Essences, craniosacral therapy, and offering CEUs to nurses, doctors, and other professionals who study Reiki with you.

On this week's edition of The Reiki Show podcast, guest host Jennifer Thibodeau interviews Frans Stiene (usually co-host of The Reiki Show and co-author of several great books) on the subject of historical inaccuracies about Reiki.

The results on the new video search features online are improving somewhat. This week we can recommend two videos, one a free meditation, and the other a brief glimpse at a Japanese garden (in Germany).

This week we have more Celeb-Reikis than ever, thanks to Darcy Lynch, a Rhode Island Reiki practitioner and massage therapist who mentioned a long list of celebrity clients, including:

* Neil Young (and son)

* Mic Fleetwood

* Willie Nelson

* Lynyrd Skynyrd

* Brian Setzer

* Bonnie Raitt

* Angels and Airwaves

* Taking Back Sunday

* Crosby, Stills and Nash

* Keb Mo

* Rascal Flatts

* John Fogerty

* Michael McDonald

* Santana

* Megadeath

Next week, the debut of our new Ask the Masters feature. Meanwhile, if you've got a question for our panel of Reiki Master Teachers, ask away (post a comment, or reply to this e-mail). And if you're a Reiki Master Teacher who'd be willing to field a few questions, please let us know.