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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wii Fit and Reiki

As we all know, Reiki is not a substitute for medical care. Neither is it a substitute for regular exercise, which happens to be a passion of mine. I've practiced qigong for more than 20 years, and, especially in the past five years, I've made a point of adding regular aerobic exercise along with some yoga most every day. So my daughter decided that the perfect Mother's Day gift for me would be the new Wii Fit. They didn't go on sale here in the USA until last week, and mine arrived the day after the product launch. By then, was already sold out of them, although they managed to restock a couple of days later. Earlier this week, the Nintendo World store in New York City was also sold out, and the device is already sure to be one of the all-time best selling game products.

Since I've been lucky enough to play with a Wii Fit for the past week, I thought I should offer a few words about it for all those still waiting to get their hands -- or actually, feet -- on one, and even those who aren't sure they'd want one. And since this is The Reiki Digest, I'll be focusing on what, if anything, it has to do with Reiki.

If you're wondering what a Wii Fit is, here's its creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, demonstrating how it works:

And there are already hundreds of videos of users playing with the new device available online.

The Wii Fit is an attachment to the Wii, which uses handheld controllers. Called a "Balance Board" in both English and Japanese, it's essentially a sturdy four-part scale that can measure weight shifts sideways, backward, and forward. Add the Wii interactive software, and you can use the Balance Board for yoga, strength and balance exercises, and aerobics, not to mention weighing your dog.

Like the system of Reiki, the Wii Fit comes to us from Japan. Like Reiki, the Wii Fit includes among its practices a breathing exercise that involves breathing into the lower abdomen and then exhaling as we envision a sphere of light and energy expanding around us. In the case of the Wii Fit, we see three concentric circles: an outer blue ring that contracts when we inhale and expands when we exhale, a small yellow circle that serves as the target area, and a tiny red dot that represents our constantly shifting center of gravity. In Reiki, the idea is to breathe into the hara center, or tanden, an energy center about 2 inches below your navel and a couple of inches inside from there. In Wii Fit, for some reason, the yellow circle is centered over the virtual trainer's elbow area, and the goal is to keep the red dot in the center of it for two minutes.

Reiki helps us learn to focus and direct our attention, and waste less of our own energy. The Wii Fit does the same thing, simply by measuring us constantly in four directions as we use our virtual heads to fend off virtual softballs, enjoy sports we'd never try in real life (like ski jumping or boxing). Regular practice with Reiki keeps us balanced and healthier, and regular practice (in moderation) with the Wii Fit does that, too.

Reiki teaches us not to worry, and so does Wii Fit's virtual ski jump. Even if your Mii (the game's customizable cartoon icon representing the player) tumbles down the run in a ball of snow, you won't need a trip to the emergency room -- unless you get a little too caught up in the game and jump off the Balance Board.

The Wii Fit's incessant measuring keeps us accountable, just as the Reiki precepts tell us to be honest. And it is humbling, since our scores are there staring us in the face: one reviewer's article was headlined, "I'm in my 20s, but Wii Fit thinks I'm middle-aged!" It makes us more compassionate to ourselves, since we're doing our bodies good by playing with it (in moderation). Does it make us more compassionate to others? Yes, if we're willing to share it, since only one Balance Board can be hooked up at a time. It does cause family members to pay more attention to each other's health and fitness, since it keeps records on all participants in the household, and players compete for the top scores in everything from relaxed breathing to hula-hooping to step aerobics.

The longer you work with Reiki, the more it pays off. And the more you work with the Wii Fit, the more exercises become available to you. We've reached the most advanced balance exercise available so far, Lotus Focus, in which you sit still on the Balance Board while a virtual candle burns in front of you and a series of distractions try to draw your attention. The trick is to ignore all those distractions to keep the candle from flickering out. Reiki also teaches us to filter out distractions, and for that matter, to stay balanced, to keep the light inside us burning steady and strong. One of the early reviewers complained that the Wii Fit's yoga program didn't include a spiritual component. Apparently she was not a Reiki practitioner.

Your mileage may vary

As the price of petroleum products continues to soar worldwide, attention is turning once again to fuel efficiency: smaller cars, smarter cars, or even alternatives to cars. Here in the USA -- the only country on earth that still hasn't converted to the metric system -- we generally refer to fuel efficiency as "gas mileage," and we have a saying that applies to much more than fuel: "your mileage may vary," or simply "YMMV."

Last week we briefly mentioned a post on using Reiki to improve fuel efficiency from the Reiki Help Blog by Pamir in Hollywood, Florida. The next day, we happened to see a NewsHour television report on how Americans are changing their habits in response to high oil prices, in which interviewee Stephen Reich of the University of South Florida gave us this food for thought: "Aggressive driving alone can reduce your fuel efficiency by one-third." Now there's a way Reiki can help even more with fuel efficiency! Aggressive drivers tend to be angry, and possibly worried that they won't get where they're going on time. Hmmm. Anger. Worry. Once again, the Reiki Precepts come to mind. If we follow them, and let go of anger and worry as we show compassion to ourselves and others, remembering to be humble and honest, we are much less likely to drive aggressively. So following the precepts can not only keep us calmer and healthier, it can save us money on fuel!

Since I don't own a car myself, I'd like to ask our readers to give the precepts a try while driving and see if it pays off at the pump. If you try it, let us know if your mileage really does vary as a result.

Reiki Roundup: What the devil?

Here we go again: Nearly two years ago, a a controversial Catholic priest pronounced Reiki "the work of the devil" even though many other Catholics, including nuns, practice Reiki themselves. Now another controversial Catholic priest has made headlines from England to India with his charge that Reiki, yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and horoscopes "can lead to possession by the devil." The priest, Father Jeremy Davies, exorcist for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor in the United Kingdom, apparently has not read the latest edition of the Western Catholic Reporter (which calls itself "Canada's Largest Religious Weekly"), featuring an article about the 50th anniversary of the Queen's House of Retreats in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where Reiki is one of the resources offered. Our guess is that Father Davies may not be familiar with the therapies he criticizes. Why not just claim that anything could lead to possession by the devil (if you believe in that concept), without specifying individual practices? For some in his profession, being a priest has led to some devilish behavior, for which the head of his organization has apologized profoundly, so why pick on Reiki or yoga or acupuncture? Our guess is that it has something to do with promoting his new book: after all, outrageous controversy = free publicity. Unfortunately, such ludicrous claims have consequences: at least one Catholic hospice in the New York City area no longer allows Reiki for the dying and their families. One volunteer there was told that she could keep on practicing, but under another name: "Just call it Therapeutic Touch," a staff member advised. Actually, that's a different modality, so it wouldn't be honest to apply the name to Reiki.

Meanwhile, in Bangor, Maine, USA, Reiki has recently been added to the therapies available at Eastern Maine Medical Center. WCSH-TV in Portland has a great video report in which patients talk about how Reiki has helped them.

And in Beverly, Massachusetts, residents of the Essex Park Rehabilitation Center talked to The Salem News about how they've benefited from a Reiki pilot program there. The center is gathering data to apply for funding so that Reiki can be offered there every day instead of just once a month.

Finally, in Strasburg, Virginia, USA, Reiki is among the therapies mentioned for sleep disorders in an article in The Northern Virginia Daily.

Kevyn Burger: Radio personality, blogger, breast cancer survivor, and Celeb-Reiki

This week's Celeb-Reiki is Minneapolis/St. Paul radio host Kevyn Burger, who says Reiki is among the therapies that she says "helped me stay sane" during her treatment for breast cancer. Kevyn hosts the mid-morning show on the Twin Cities' 107.1 FM, and she's also a blogger, telling the story of her battle with invasive ductal carcinoma in her own words. It's been a year since her diagnosis, and she's now past reconstructive surgery and free of cancer. Congratulations, Kevyn!

Comment on the Reiki Precepts

From Kaddu in India:

Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will not be angry.
Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
Just for today, I will show love and respect to all living beings.
Just for today, I will live the attitude of gratitude.

These are the Reiki principles I repeat to myself whenever I feel stressed or low -- and they have always succeeded in bringing me back to the present moment! The moment I start saying these words in my mind, I immediately regain my center and balance. It's like the veil of illusion is suddenly lifted away and once again, I gain clarity about the reason for my being here!

Thanks, Kaddu!

Let's keep the discussion going. . . .

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pretty precepts

In response to our discussion about the Reiki Precepts, Reiki Master Scott K. has contributed this lovely illustrated version of the precepts, which he uses as the background image on his computer. Scott writes:
"Besides morning and night I am reminded of the precepts whenever I look at the background of my computer. If you would like you can offer it as a download in The Reiki Digest for free. It would make me happy if others would be able to benefit from it."

Scott includes these simple directions for Windows users who do not know how to change their background.

Download and save to a location you know like “My Pictures”
Right click on the desktop background
Choose Properties (XP) or Personalize (Vista)
Choose Desktop (XP) or Background (Vista)
In the “Position” pull down menu make sure stretch is selected
Select Browse – go to where you saved the picture
Select the picture “Reiki_Precepts_illustrated_by_Scott_K.jpg”
(or whatever name you saved it as)
Press OK
You're done.
Thank you, Scott!

Some readers may recall that Scott was the winner of last year's "What Does Reiki Look Like?" contest. The winning image is available as a magnet here, and other versions of his winning image are available on T-shirts, mugs, and even a wall clock at his CafePress online shop, ReikiIsOne. (He didn't mention that when he sent the precepts photo, but we thought it might be of interest.) There are more than 2,000 Reiki-related products available at CafePress, many of which feature some version of the precepts.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The weekly waka


Slowly setting sun
Paints the sky orange and red,
The reflected blaze
Scorching the very ocean
That daily drowns its bright flame.

(by Michael Dagley)

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Reiki Precepts in Japanese

If you'd prefer to work with the Reiki Precepts in the original Japanese, or if you'd just like to hear what they sound like, here are two places where they're available online in audio form:

International House of Reiki Traditional Reiki Practices page (scroll down to find the audio of the precepts in Japanese) page on The Five Usui Principles in Japanese (unfortunately the speaker refers to Mikao Usui as "Dr. Usui", which is incorrect, but it's an old recording from 1999 so that may explain it)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Morning and evening

Are you one of the thousands of people who've studied Reiki but just can't find the time to practice every day? It's OK: you don't have to admit it publicly, and besides, that situation is about to change. By the time you finish reading this, you'll have an easy way of practicing Reiki not once, but twice a day, without giving up any of the time you spend on other things. Yes, even if you're not the multitasking type. In fact, you can do this practice even if you've never been initiated or trained in Reiki.

This easy method even comes with a guarantee: if you try it for 21 days and discover that you really, truly can't find the time for it, let me know and I'll do it for you by including you in my own daily meditations.

You have nothing to lose, and much to gain, because with time and practice, this easy method can help you preserve and even reclaim more of your own energy. I've done it every day for several years now, and I can't imagine ever not doing it.

It starts the moment you open your eyes in the morning, or even before that: the instant you begin to make the transition from sleep to conscious awareness. If you're awakened by an alarm clock, do it the moment you shut off the alarm. At that very moment, repeat the Reiki precepts (translation of your choice) to yourself as you welcome another day.

Here's the translation of the precepts that we use at The Reiki Dojo in New York:

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

And in the evening, just as you're falling asleep, recite the precepts again.

That's it. If you'd like to follow Reiki founder Mikao Usui's instructions to the letter, place your hands together in gasshô.

Here's the line that comes after the precepts themselves in that same translation:

"Do gasshô every morning and evening
Keep in your mind and recite."

Click here to see a famous character demonstrating gasshô.

That image is from Thailand, where putting the hands in gasshô or prayer position is called wai. But the gesture of placing the palms of the hands together goes beyond any particular culture or name. It's a way of centering oneself, connecting the left and right sides, and focusing -- your hands can't do much else when they're in gasshô. Reciting the precepts while you're centered and focused is bound to be more effective than when you're not. (Though it can be good to remember them in any situation).

The precepts don't specify that we should do hands-on self-care, though morning and evening can be an ideal time for that, too. But since this is for those who don't have time, we won't specify it, either. This week's waka (see below) succinctly explains how the precepts can help us stay in the moment.

Give it a try and let us know how it worked for you.

And if you're a practitioner who's been working with the precepts for awhile, perhaps you'd like to tell us about your own experience.

You can speak up by adding a comment to this post on The Reiki Digest web site, by emailing, or by clicking here to speak to our 24/7 Grand Central voicemail.

Rest in peace

Reiki Master Beth Gray, 1918-2008

The Rev. Beth Gray, a student of Hawayo Takata, died May 13 at her home in San Carlos, California, at the age of 90. In addition to being her student, Rev. Gray also ordained Mrs. Takata as a minister.

After her initiation as a Reiki Master in the mid 1970s, Rev. Gray devoted her life to teaching and practicing Reiki. She retired from public teaching and travel after a stroke in 1993.

For more information, see her obituary at

Our condolences to her family and friends.

The Reiki Roundup

Somewhere, USA -- As the cost of gasoline keeps rising, one Reiki practitioner/blogger suggests that Reiki can improve fuel efficiency.

New York City -- BlackBook perpetuates an unfortunate misconception in referring to Oscar winners "thanking their Reiki masseuse." Reiki isn't massage!

Des Moines, Iowa, USA -- The Des Moines Register introduces us to a pet sitter who offers her four-legged clients Reiki as well.

Coventry, UK -- In an article headlined "Mum of three tells of crack hell", a 28-year-old recovering drug addict says Reiki has helped her as well as her children.

Hampshire, UK -- Stressed executives have a chance to study Reiki and other meditation techniques in order to become relaxed executives instead.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates -- Reiki Master Joanna Macdonald likes to do polewalking in the sand, and there's plenty of that in Dubai, so it's no wonder that the sport has become quite trendy there.

The Celeb-Reiki Report

This week's famous person connected to Reiki is a re-Celeb-Reiki: supermodel (and now musician) Agyness Deyn made the cover of The Independent Magazine last Saturday. Her Reiki practitioner mother gave her that name, as well as her original name, Laura Hollins.

Deyn joins the band Five O'Clock Heroes for the song "Who." Here's the video:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The weekly waka


Anger points backwards,
The mind blindly nursing ire –
Worry points forwards
The fearful heart lacking faith –
Flowers bloom in the present.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Another important point on mountain climbing

From my own Reiki sherpa, a contribution to our discussion on mountain climbing:

Dear Janet,

First of all thank you again for the wonderful newsletter.

The story "To the Mountaintop" in the last newsletter was very inspiring and also made me laugh when I saw that upside down mountain!

There's something else important about mountain climbing, especially for novices, that might be worth discussing.

When we climb a mountain we need a guide; someone who can help us climb to reach the summit. This guide needs to have been on the mountain many times before, a professional guide, so that he/she knows how to guide you all the way to the top. If the guide hasn't been there him/herself, it becomes like the blind leading the blind.

Not only does the guide need to be good at leading you on your path but the guide needs to have traveled many of the different paths to the summit before. In this way he/she knows which paths are the best to be climbed and by whom.

Initially the guide will ask you many questions and will look at how you behave during the first part of the climb. This gives the guide an idea on how to progress with you. Some climbers might do better on the east face while others might find it easier on the north face of the mountain.

This is the same within the system of Reiki; the Reiki teacher needs to have walked the path in order to know how to guide the student or it becomes like the guide on the mountain... the blind leading the blind.

Frans Stiene

Thanks, Frans!

By the way, Frans will be in New York City in October to guide students through a Shinpiden (Master/Teacher) class as well as a One-Day Advanced Workshop, "Reiju and the Essence of Universal Energy", sponsored by The Reiki Digest and The Reiki Dojo.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mountain-climbing Reiki practitioner back in base camp

Another lesson from mountain climbing is that the descent can be even more difficult than the ascent. We're happy to pass on the news that Mountain-climbing Reiki practitioner Santiago Quintero has made it back to base camp with the help of supplemental oxygen, his fellow climbers, and two sherpas. Although he made it to the summit of the world's fifth-highest mountain without supplementary oxygen, he came down with severe altitude sickness and needed help on the way down. reports that he is now in stable condition recovering from high altitude cerebral edema. His fellow Reiki practitioners from around the world send healing energy his way, and best wishes for a swift and complete recovery.

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.

Reiki Roundup

We begin this week in Washington, D.C., USA, where the Washington Post featured articles on Reiki, yoga, qigong, and meditation all on the same day, all under the heading of Chilling Out on the Cheap. The Reiki article focused on Luann Jacobs of Arlington, Virginia, who practices at George Washington University Hospital.

Our next news item was broadcast nationwide on ABC News and is now available online on-demand: in a health report headlined Popularity Grows for Reiki Therapy. Unfortunately the report includes some common errors: it refers to Reiki as "ancient" (it's 86 years old) and says it was developed by a doctor (Reiki founder Mikao Usui was not a doctor, even though that's what many students were taught). In the six-minute interview, an eternity on broadcast television, a Reiki master and the father of an autistic child discuss how Reiki can be helpful.

Next stop, Binghamton, New York, where her own pain in the wake of back surgery led nurse Kate McHugh to look into other forms of pain management. That in turn led to the Comfort Zone at one United Methodist Homes skilled nursing facility, where Reiki is among the modalities offered, and so far 75 percent of those treated there report a decrease in pain after their visit.

From there we travel to San Francisco, where in Advertising Age, Phil Johnson offers tips for establishing a branch office. Unfortunately, one of them is: No Reiki.

In Boca Raton, Florida, we meet dentist, author, and Reiki practitioner Dr. Pirjo Friedman, known as a pioneer in the art of painless dentistry. “I helped my patients overcome their fears by becoming a certified Reiki Master and using those powers to relax them while I worked on their teeth," she is quoted as saying. "Some patients actually fell asleep in my chair during their dental procedures."

On to Dublin, Ireland, where painters Mick Mulcahy and Suzy O'Mullane have found love, and Reiki.

Next, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where women still aren't allowed to drive, but now (since January) they're permitted to check into a hotel without a male family member or permission in writing from a male "guardian." That change has led to the country's first female-only hotel, where Reiki is among the offerings.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Weekly Waka


A bulb buried deep
In fall, frozen in winter,
Will bloom in the spring,
Breaking through barely thawed earth –
So, too, human intentions.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A cup of enlightenment

I've always been fond of tea, so much so that it seems fitting that my home is in a building that once housed the largest tea factory in the U.S. Each morning I gather my thoughts over a steaming cup of white or green tea, and throughout the day I make my way through a rainbow of colors and tastes, choosing from an assortment including red rooibos, blueberry, blackberry, violet, ginger, sage, jasmine, peppermint, and of course the occasional black tea. Back when this was a tea factory, old-timers tell me, our floor was where the tasters worked, and sometimes as I enjoy a sip I wonder if their spirits are still here somewhere.

This week I'm finding even more pleasure in my teacup, thanks to a visiting Reiki teacher from Kyoto, Japan: Hyakuten Inamoto, founder of Komyo Reiki. He taught a master class here this past weekend, preceded by an evening talk, and I was fortunate enough to attend both. One point Inamoto-sensei made in both the class and public talk is that a cup of tea can be a shortcut to enlightenment.

He prefers café latte himself, so it isn't just tea: coffee drinkers can find the same experience in their cups, too, he told us.

Hyakuten Inamoto
photo by Marta Hernández

He began his talk on Friday evening with a Reiki self-healing meditation, leading the group through a brief hands-on self-care session.

"Wow, my headache's gone," said a woman sitting in front of me when the meditation ended. She seemed a bit surprised.

Inamoto first studied Reiki from a Japanese translation of a book written by an American Reiki master, and after that he began looking into the Japanese roots of the practice. He is a lifelong resident of Kyoto, near Mt. Kurama, where 86 years ago, Mikao Usui is said to have found not only enlightenment, but the natural hands-on healing method he called Usui Reiki Ryoho, now known outside simply as Reiki.

As we all should do, he makes a clear distinction between Reiki, the energy, and the system of Reiki. Rei, he said, is "something mysterious, subtle, also sacred." Ki "is like qigong, the same character as in Chinese. So Reiki is the mysterious sacred energy of the universe." The full name of the practice, he said, can be translated as "Usui Reiki healing art" or "Usui Reiki healing system." Contrary to what many practitioners have been taught outside Japan, the word Reiki did not originate with Usui. "It's a common noun in Japan," he said.

It's also not true that Usui "rediscovered" Reiki or found it in ancient sutras, he said.

"It was not the result of his study or research. It was a Godsend. He was given a gift, and he decided to share that gift with as many people as possible," Inamoto said.

"The practice of Reiki is the art of surrender," he said. "It’s so easy to learn Reiki, so simple. All we do is put our hands. But it's so deep.

"For us, it's very difficult to surrender," Inamoto said. "We want to do everything in our power, but when we think that way we are not doing any healing. Our human ego gets involved. Because we are here, alive, there is ego. If we die, no ego. Ego is the proof that we are here. Ego is our good friend, but it can also be a bad companion, or even our enemy. We have to put our ego aside or make our ego smaller and smaller. As we do, our Reiki channel becomes clearer and more open.

Reiki Ryoho has two aspects, he told us: There's the hands-on healing, therapeutic aspect, but "Reiki Ryoho is not only to cure diseases, not only for stress relieving. It has an end: satori, or enlightenment."

A Buddhist monk long before he became a Reiki practitioner, Inamoto named his own branch of the practice Komyo Reiki, komyo meaning enlightenment.

"That is our goal: to reach enlightenment in our daily life. In the hustle and bustle, we need to be calm and peaceable. Our reality is the world of duality: up and down, black and white, with everything two sides of the same coin. We cannot escape this duality as long as we are in this world, but we can transcend." People need time and space to do that, he said.

"But there is one simple way of escaping the world of duality," Inamoto said: "A cup of tea. Or for me, a café latte. A cup of tea means a cup of enlightenment."

That's one of the mottos of Komyo Reiki, he said. The other is: "Go placidly in the midst of praise or blame."

"What did Usui do before he discovered Reiki?" one student asked during the Friday evening lecture.

"He changed his job about 30 times," Inamoto said. "That was very unusual. In Japan, we don’t change jobs. He was a spiritual seeker, always seeking the purpose of life."

Reiki Roundup

This week's Reiki Roundup covers the past several weeks, so grab a cup of tea (or coffee) and sit down for a long read.

We begin in the United Kingdom, where 24-year-old singer Christopher Sands has been hiccupping persistently for the past 15 months. He's tried every folk cure that's been suggested, along with "hypnotherapy, yoga, reiki, herbal medicine and an oxygen chamber," The Daily Mail reports, but nothing has worked. Scans of his brain, chest, and abdomen have found nothing. Desperate, he's about to undergo surgery in hopes that will fix it. We wish him luck. Sands is far from the world hiccupping record, however: that belongs to a man who hiccupped for 68 years.

Also in the UK, we meet a fireman who not only rescues animals, but gives them Reiki treatments.

Next stop: Islamabad, Pakistan, where the Associated Press of Pakistan reports that a study is beginning to test the efficacy of Reiki given by practitioners who have been trained as well as initiated versus practitioners who have been trained, but not given initiations (also called attunements). The report doesn't say when the results are expected, but we'll be on the lookout for them.

From there we move on to the USA, where tax rebates are being sent to most taxpayers in an effort to stimulate the economy. One Rhode Island woman has decided exactly what to do with her rebate: "I'm going to be a Reiki master," says the headline in The Valley Breeze.

In Redmond, Washington, USA, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports on a school for animal massage where Reiki is also on the curriculum.

The Post-Crescent in Wisconsin features an interview with an former auditor who is now a Reiki practitioner and massage therapist.

In the United Arab Emirates, Reiki gets a mention in an article at Unfortunately the mention erroneously describes Reiki as a type of massage: it isn't.

And in this month's issue of The Reiki Times, published for members of the International Association of Reiki Professionals, there's an article by yours truly that may look familiar: Instant Hands-Free Reiki Self-Care.

The Celeb-Reiki Report

Congratulations to Elissa Carioti, determined breast cancer survivor and occasional visitor to The Reiki Dojo in New York on her first television appearance, which makes her a Celeb-Reiki. Elissa is featured this week on New York's Fox 5 News in a special report by Dr. Sapna Parikh on breast cancer's next generation: women who know they are at increased risk because their mothers had breast cancer.

This week's other Celeb-Reiki, Grammy-award-winning singer and Reiki practitioner Erykah Badu, has earned the distinction before, so the feature on her in Newsday this week means she's a re-Celeb-Reiki.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Weekly Waka


Rising purple clouds
Concealing blue skies, gold sun,
Swelling to a head,
Burst in rain on parched brown fields,
Repainting them in rich greens.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Please welcome our heckler!

In stand-up comedy, they say you should never encourage a heckler, but this isn't stand-up comedy. A couple of weeks ago we got a comment from an anonymous reader disparaging Reiki. The comment showed up on the April 17 post Reiki caught in UK Crossfire, which was about a new book criticizing the Prince of Wales, his Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health and several natural modalities including Reiki. Coincidentally, the comment arrived shortly after someone in the United Kingdom found The Reiki Digest while doing a Google search on the book's co-author, physicist Simon Singh.

For those who missed it, here's the comment:

Dear Janet. I love your blog, but actually they used 4,000 clinical research studies plus all the Cochrane reviews. As you know, the Cochrane people actually offer rewards for people who can prove their resarch wrong - they actively encourage review - so it might be worth your while to set up a team to do that work and claim the money? My problem with reiki is the usual one: would you pay a car mechanic US$100.- to wave their hands over your busted car? I don't think so. What's nice about reiki is the time you get to spend with a human being, but you might as well call it talking rather than reiki for all the actual effect that reiki has

Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. Considering your feelings about Reiki, I don't know why you would love The Reiki Digest, but thanks for the compliment just the same. I don't read the Cochrane Reviews myself as the $285 annual subscription fee is beyond our budget and the articles there have little to do with Reiki: my search for the word "Reiki" there turned up only four articles anyway. I would not pay a car mechanic any amount of money, whether to wave a hand or a wrench, as I don't own a car. In any case, I don't buy your analogy that a car is the equivalent of a human or other living being. Cars may have power windows, multitrack stereos and talking GPS devices, but they are not equipped with life force energy or consciousness. I know that mainstream science has yet to acknowledge the existence of life force energy (also known as ki, qi, chi, prana), so to a pure scientist I suppose cars and humans might not seem all that different.

Beyond that, rather than responding further to your comment myself at this point, I'm going to ask our readers if they'd like to join in the conversation, anonymously or not.

Readers, what do you think? You can post your responses as comments to this post on our web site, by emailing them to, by phoning them in using our Grand Central web call feature, or by mailing them to The Reiki Digest, P.O. Box 3146, Hoboken, NJ 07030 USA.