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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The all new Reiki Dojo opens December 1, 2008

Visit The Reiki Dojo web site for more information.

Or call us at 917-512-1330, or email

Janet Dagley Dagley, Founder and Director

The power of gratitude

What you are about to read is one of the best examples of "counting your blessings" that I have ever seen. It was written by one of our regular readers, Pamela of Houston, Texas. Pamela is not a Reiki practitioner -- yet -- but she has long been in the habit of following one of the Reiki precepts, making a point of expressing her gratitude every single day. That practice helped her stay calm in the midst of a storm. This storm, the third most destructive hurricane ever to hit the United States:

Hurricane Ike, September 11, 2008 (photo by NOAA)

Those of us who regularly read Pamela's emailed expressions of gratitude understood when we didn't hear from her for a few days. Millions were without electricity, so we knew that even if she had escaped the storm's damage herself, she would be unlikely to start emailing again anytime soon. Still, we were eager for news from her.

Finally, on September 20, we heard from Pamela again:

[I'm grateful] that that we had a generator going right after the power went out at 7:00 on Ike arrival night. That we had a good dinner that night. That when the water got in the generator it alerted us to rising water. That we got across the street to higher ground in three trips to get clothes, animals and ourselves out when the water rose. That we got the power off and gas turned off even though the gas meter was under water. That our neighbors home, a bit higher than ours, where we went to after the water came up remained standing even after he lost his roof. That the sheet rock that fell in around all of us during the night didn't hit us. That we were given a 35 foot travel trailer to live in until November. That we had the funds to buy a 2nd generator. That the rental car i was using didn't flood, and my van, in downtown houston didnt flood either. That we had the funds to get my van out of the shop after blowing up my engine. That hubby is on a bbq team and has cooked almost all of the meat we had in the freezer before it went bad. That we have another generator and hot water, while most of the people on our street don't. That we are able to help some of the older folks, and younger folks too. That people are helping us. That my hubby and daughter didnt get hit when, fatigued from storm repairs , hubby pulled into a 2 way intersection and a truck missed them by inches at highway speeds. That i am able to come to work today to repair my hangar. That I have a job and hubby does too. I could and will go on and on :) but later :) got work to do now :)

Thank you, Pamela, for that very personal lesson on the power of gratitude.

From Pamela in Houston we turn to Pamela in New York: Reiki author and teacher Pamela Miles, who is expressing her gratitude with a gift to us all: a chance to get together and talk about the practice we share -- free.

Pamela Miles writes:

Every time you place your Reiki hands on yourself, you enhance your own health and well-being, and uplift the world around you, the world that we share. Thank you, each of you, for being Reiki’s presence in our world.

As an expression of gratitude for your practice, I am dropping the registration fee for next week’s
Talking Reiki phone mentoring session. Do you have a question about Reiki you’d like to discuss? Be my guest, literally. Email me [] to register and receive this month’s phone number and code. Talk to you next week.

Thanks, Pamela! What a lovely gift to the Reiki community. 

Beth Lowell wrote: "I'm grateful for the last minute, unexpected bookings that come up that help carry me through when my petsitting business is slow. They help pay the bills and remind me that things usually work out in the end. I'm grateful for the free time I have when business is slow so I can get to all those things on my many "to-do" lists, including building quiet time into my day. I'm grateful for my health because I see so many around me whose health is poor or who have lost loved ones at unbelieveably young ages due to cancer (and I admit, partly because I don't have health insurance.)"

My first Reiki teacher, Margaret Ann Case, has posted a wonderful writeup on her blog, titled "Please appreciate everything and show gratitude". Thanks, Margaret Ann. I'm grateful for everything I learned in your Reiki master program.

Lilia Marquez, a nurse, Reiki teacher, hypnotist and all-around integrative practitioner, posted her gratitude list on her web site and tells us, "I'm thankful for the many blessings that I have thus far. Reiki is a Blessing."

We're grateful that Robyn wrote, "I'm Thankful for The Reiki Digest. It is a wonderful fun ezine and I'm grateful to receive it. Thanks."

And we're thankful that Nancy Schroeder wrote: "Thank you for sending this very thoughtful and thought-provoking edition. It's wonderful to be reminded to be grateful for the 'challenging' as well as the 'good' we think we are asking for."

To all of you who took the time to share your comments, to the guest writers who have contributed their articles, and to all our other readers: Thank YOU for giving your kind attention to this publication each week. And whatever storms you are weathering, may the power of gratitude see you through both troubled times and brighter days.

As the late John F. Kennedy said many years ago, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

Carnival of Healing, Saturday, November 29

The Carnival of Healing returns to The Reiki Digest on Saturday, November 29.

What's the Carnival of Healing? It's a weekly round-up of personal blog posts on the topics of holistic health, wellness, spirituality, and self empowerment. The Carnival travels continuously through cyberspace, setting up camp at a different site each week.

Why should you submit an article? Aside from sharing your creative work with others, posting to a blog carnival is a great way to increase the visibility of your blog or web site.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The weekly waka


The autumn harvest
Brings families together
To commune, give thanks,
Renew the bonds of kinship,
And put aside old grudges.
(by Michael Dagley)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What are you thankful for?

The first snowflakes of the season blew past my window this week, and most of the leaves have fallen: it's almost time for our national day of Thanksgiving. And that reminds me of a hot August day when Reiki Master Lisa Oz spoke about an exercise that could create a day filled with gratitude in a different way.

It's simple: Practice saying "thank you" every day. At first, just say "thank you" to everything that happens, good or bad. Just be grateful for it all. Then try alternating: one day, say "thank you" for everything that goes your way; the next, say "thank you" for everything that doesn't.

"The goal is to see how often things really do go your way, and to see the gift in things you thought were negative," Mrs. Oz said.

I've done that exercise many times since that day more than a year ago, though I've never been able to remember to do it for a full day nonstop. But that's not the point, really. In addition to the goal Mrs. Oz mentioned, there is an even greater benefit: even intermittently remembering to say "thank you" at every opportunity can cast the whole day in a different light. 

I say "thank you" when I wake up in the morning, "thank you" when I go to bed at night. I say "thank you" to the bus driver when I step off at my destination, "thank you" when someone holds the door for me. And I'm getting better at saying "thank you" when it doesn't come so naturally: "thank you" to the oblivious person who steps in front of me when I'm hurrying along the sidewalk, "thank you" to the person making outrageous demands, and "thank you" to other challenges and obstacles. Mrs. Oz is exactly right: what seems to be negative often turns out to be a gift. Frustrations can turn into blessings, or at least be accompanied by them.

Many translations of the Reiki precepts include some form of "be grateful," while some advise us to "be humble." To me, that means that practicing gratitude is part of regular self-care.

So for next week's special Thanksgiving issue, I'm inviting you to join me in expressing your gratitude. If there's something, anything, for which you feel like saying "thank you," add your comments to this post on The Reiki Digest web site, or email me at to express your gratitude for anything that's happened to you this year. 

I hope we'll have a feast of responses.

A Celeb-Reiki studded gathering in Dubai

At least three Celeb-Reikies will be among "scores of celebrities" in attendance at tonight's $20 million gala celebrating the opening of the new Atlantis resort in Dubai: Kylie Minogue, Lindsay Lohan, and Agyness Deyn.

According to the New York Daily News, the "new Atlantis 'The Palm' resort includes an open-air aquarium and one of the largest water parks in the Middle East. It is located on the man-made, palm-shaped island of Palm Jumeirah."

Carnival of Healing returns Nov. 29

It travels continuously through cyberspace, setting up camp each week at a different web site. And on November 29, the Carnival of Healing returns once again to The Reiki Digest. Readers, this is one of the best ways to raise the visibility of your web site, so why not contribute an article and reach a wider audience than you might otherwise? It would be wonderful to have a bunch of Reiki-related submissions. 

Ongoing discussions. . . and how to join them

Many thanks to all who have contributed comments to recent posts, including the first of Jenn Givler's monthly advice columns last week, our discussion on the issue of permission, the question of whether the Reiki symbols should be public (and Pamir Kiciman's article in response), the waka in response to our post asking whether President-elect Barack Obama might practice Reiki, and Beth Lowell's question about whether animals should receive attunements.

We're still waiting for comments on using Reiki with Alzheimer's patients, so if you have some experience in that area, please share your thoughts and suggestions here

It's easy to add your comment: just click on the word "comment" at the bottom of any post on our web site. A window will pop up with any previous comments and an area in which you can type your comment. You may see a place to log in or create an account, but you can ignore that and choose the "anonymous" option if you prefer. 

Or you can email your comments to and I'll post them for you. Thanks and let's keep the discussion going!

Correspondents wanted

We are continuing our search for correspondents in locations around the world. If you'd like to write for The Reiki Digest, tell us about yourself and what you might like to say by adding a comment to this post, or emailing

Advertise in The Reiki Digest

Space is available for a few carefully selected advertisements in The Reiki Digest. If you would like to reach hundreds of Reiki practitioners in more than 120 countries with your message, contact for more information.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The weekly waka


During late autumn
Trees cling to fiery leaves;
Winter approaches,
North winds a cold reminder
That growing means letting go.
(by Michael Dagley)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ask Jenn: Introducing our new advice columnist

Dear readers,

This week we are thrilled to introduce a new regular feature: an advice column. Each month, Reiki Master and intuitive business guide Jenn Givler will answer questions from professional practitioners -- or those who'd like to be. Before she became a coach, Jenn explored numerous aspects of holistic business, including her own private Reiki practice as well as creating, manufacturing, distributing, and marketing her own line of aromatherapy products. Now she focuses on helping other practitioners develop and market their own businesses. I've been a fan of Jenn's for about a year now, and I'm glad to be able to share her enlightening and encouraging advice with all of you.

Next week, Jenn will also launch her weekly
BlogTalkRadio podcast. We'll definitely be clicking in for that.

Without further ado, here's Jenn:

Ask Jenn

By Jenn Givler
Reiki Master and Intuitive Business Guide

Hi everyone!

I am honored and thrilled to be here. Thank you Janet for your support, and for asking me to come and be a part of your wonderful community.

Let me start off by giving you an idea of what my philosophy of business building is. The main way we build our practices is through marketing. And, marketing sometimes has a bad connotation because it’s been used and abused in the past. It only took a few people coming from fear and lack mentality to pull marketing out of its core purpose. The core purpose of marketing is to help the people that need us, find us. And the way we do that is by connecting, building relationships, and nurturing those relationships.

We create marketing materials and marketing strategies that help us do that. So things like advertising, newsletters, web sites, fliers – they are all part of the larger plan and the larger plan is a beautifully developed marketing strategy that puts us in touch with our potential clients and helps us get to know and understand them.

One of the things I love to do in my business is interact with like-minded people. I’m really excited about my involvement here because it gives me yet another way to reach out, connect with, and build relationships with people. So, while as you may have guessed, this community is part of my marketing strategy – more important is the connection I’ll be making with you. And – just as important – I’ll be able to provide help and information that will surely help your practice in a very practical way.

As you can see, over to the left, there is a link where you can submit your practice-building questions to me. Please, feel free to submit your questions – I welcome and encourage it! For each column, I’m going to be choosing 1 or 2 questions to answer.

For this week’s column, I’ve chosen two questions – because although not seemingly related upon first glance, the subjects of both can be woven together nicely.

Dear Jenn,

I'm a new Reiki practitioner, just got my Level 2 certificate, and I'm looking for clients. I admit I don't have much experience, but we all have to start somewhere. Clients naturally tend to prefer practitioners with more experience, so how can I convince them they should come to me instead?



Hi Newbie! I completely relate to how your feeling. I remember being a new practitioner. And I remember wanting so much to get out there – but then feeling so self-conscious about my seeming lack of experience.

First off, I would like to challenge your assumption that clients prefer to go to someone with more experience. The truth of it is the clients that resonate with you, prefer to come to YOU.

From a marketing standpoint, this is one reason we choose a niche (a defined group of people who you want to serve). In this busy world, choosing a niche allows us to speak directly to a certain group of people, rather than shouting generally at “everyone.”

What this means directly to you is that there is a whole group of people out there waiting for you. And they don’t care if you just became a practitioner yesterday. They know that you understand them – their very human, very defined needs.

And when you speak to them through your marketing materials, they’ll make a connection with you and there will be no question in their mind who they should come to.

Now, onto Unpaid Volunteer’s question (and then we’re going to weave them together):

Dear Jenn,

Most of my Reiki practice is volunteering. I enjoy it and find it very rewarding, but I'd like to build on my volunteer work to turn it into a professional practice. It's hard to ask for money when I've been doing it for free, so how do I make the transition? Some people even say it's wrong to charge money for Reiki because the energy is free so how can we ask people to pay for it?


Unpaid Volunteer

Thanks so much for submitting this – it’s an issue I’ve discussed many times. When you first start with Reiki, it’s wise to do it on a voluntary basis. Volunteering gives you experience, and can help build your confidence. And, it can help you work with many different types of people and determine who it is that you might want to identify as your ideal client.

When you are ready to come out of volunteering, and you’ve built up a community of people who have been coming to you for free, there are some things you need to get very clear on.

First, are there people in this community that you will continue to treat for free? You may have included volunteering at the Senior Center, or at a homeless shelter or church in your work. And you may have worked with friends and family as well. Are you going to keep those folks in the “free” category? I imagine you will.

Second, you are going to have to let people know that you are going to start charging. And there may be some people in your volunteer work community that fall into this category. No getting around it, you will have to have a candid conversation with these folks and let them know that you are ready to move into a paid service business, and you’ll begin charging.

Most people understand this evolution. If you give people a transition date, and explain why you are making this move, they are usually understanding.

One thing you can do is to increase your prices incrementally. Let’s say your target rate is $75 per session. You could start out at a lower rate, and gradually increase it until your clients get to the target rate.

As long as you’re up front and honest with your clients, and you have a schedule of when you’ll start charging and what rate you’ll charge, they’ll feel prepared, and they’ll totally be on board.

And the ones who aren’t, you probably don’t want as clients anyway ;)

Let’s talk about the issue of charging for the energy. You are not charging for the energy. You are charging for your time, your training, and your personal energy that goes into creating the Reiki practice itself . We can’t effectively charge for the energy itself – it’s impossible since it can be accessed by anyone attuned to it.

What we are asking for energy exchange for is our time, our training, the overhead that makes it possible to create the space for the practice, and our personal energy. We need to be reciprocated for those things. Without them – the practice wouldn’t exist. And without the reciprocity of the energy exchange, you’ll burn out as a practitioner. You can’t give without being receiving, or before long, you’ll run out of energy and spirit to give.

Ok, now, let’s see how these two beautiful questions fit together to help you build your practice.

1. If you’re brand new, you can begin volunteering to see which clients you most resonate with, and to get some experience under your belt.

2. Set a schedule when your volunteering will end, and the fee structure will begin.

3. You are not charging for the spiritual piece of this work. You are charging for your time, your energy and the created space.

4. No matter what experience you have with your Reiki practice, it all adds up to being in deep service to the people who need you. They will be grateful that you are doing what you’re doing, because you’re the only one that can help them in the way that only you can.

Building a Reiki practice is different than building a “traditional” business. Not only is it something that comes directly from your soul, but you’re providing healing and touching others’ lives in a deep way. It’s not something to take lightly, so I can see why these questions come up for discussion so often.

If you have follow up questions, please feel free to post them here in the comments section. I’ll be checking in regularly and would love to continue the discussion. Thanks for submitting these really important questions, and I look forward to being with you all again next time!

Reiki 'symbols': To or not to?

Editor's note: We are happy to welcome back guest writer Pamir Kiciman of Oasis Reiki in Hollywood, Florida. When we reported a couple of weeks ago that's holistic healing guide Phylameana Iila Desy had published versions of the Reiki symbols online, Pamir added a comment to the discussion. He then went on to write this article for his Reiki Help blog. Whatever anyone might think about making the symbols public, a good discussion has ensued, and we thank Pamir for giving us permission to republish his excellent article in its entirety. If you'd like to contribute to the discussion, just add a comment to this post on our web site, or email

Reiki Master Teacher

If you’re Level II Reiki or above, you’ve been introduced to the infamous Reiki ’symbols.’ I use quotes because they’re not really symbols, but more on that later. The “To or not to” in the title question refers to whether these symbols ought to be published for the general public to see. My position has always been to not make them available to untrained eyes, and my reasons may surprise you.

The often repeated reasoning is that since the symbols don’t work unless one is Reiki-trained, then there’s no harm in publishing. With that reasoning, then why publish them? How does it help the public? And those who’ve been trained already have the needed information. Another perspective may or may not be helpful if one isn’t grounded in the explanations given by your teacher. And such a perspective can always be indulged sans images.

When I think about any Reiki-related subtlety my bottomline is always: Does it contribute to Reiki’s and humanity’s knowledgebase? When it comes to Reiki’s innermost teachings my answer is “no” and here’s why:

The symbols suggest Reiki is mechanical.
The symbols are misleading because they are merely representative.
The practitioner is entrusted with specific teachings, thus it isn’t dinner conversation.
The symbols are not a commodity.
The symbols are secondary to the use of primordial vowel sounds.

Geometric shapes hold a certain power within a specific pattern. Various geometric symbols have been part of human psyche for eons. Our imagination and unconscious have much invested in symbols. Today this also shows itself in corporate logos, or global signs such as these warning of industrial hazard:

The Reiki ’symbols’ and what they really mean is on an altogether different order. Let’s explore how…

1) The symbols suggest Reiki is mechanical: We’re surrounded my machines and gadgets. We drive a machine to work or take our kids to school in one. We wash our clothes in a machine and stay in touch with a gadget. It’s natural for us to easily relate to the workings of the mechanical and physical world.

But this isn’t the only world we occupy. And Reiki is our means of access to that other one, the one we yearn for and crave. The one that expands possibilities, deepens meaning and propels consciousness.

Reiki has been reduced to a modality by many as it is! Overexposure of the Reiki ’symbols’ perpetuates the fallacy of this toolbox mentality. If Reiki were that, then we could just as easily pop an Aleve or Claritin.

Fortunately, Reiki is a process of inner growth. It’s non-mechanical, non-linear and doesn’t depend on power tools.

2) The symbols are misleading because they are merely representative: While all symbols hold some potency, transformative ones like the Reiki ’symbols’ derive their force from the living energies they represent.

Even if we were to understand them only as symbols, it’s a mistake to limit them to two-dimensional, flat line drawings on a page or online. These shapes are at least three-dimensional, generate certain qualities and initiate a lot of dynamism.

And most importantly, Reiki ’symbols’ stand-in for various living energies and spiritual truths; they are means to an end. In and of themselves, they are nothing but a curiosity.

3) The practitioner is entrusted with specific teachings, thus it isn’t dinner conversation: Let’s settle the most popular interpretation that the Reiki ’symbols’ are sacred but not secret. “Secret” is a derivation from Latin secretus, from past participle of secernere to separate, distinguish, from se- apart + cernere to sift. Another derivation is “to set apart.” How well this fits where we need to be in relation to how we respect the teachings of Reiki. There’s no hint of how we use the word “secret” today to mean “hidden.”

Spiritual teachings help us sift through our patterns and habits, our neuroses and weaknesses. We distinguish the wheat from the chaff. And spiritual teachings are set apart from other types of learning, having a special place in our heart.

Reiki is sacred. This necessarily means that we don’t make everyday fodder from any of its inner workings.

4) The symbols are not a commodity. Thus they have no place on jewelry, T-shirts, bags, CD covers, Reiki manual covers, Reiki webpages as decoration, watermarks, candles, crystals, fountains, art or any other medium.

5) The symbols are secondary to the use of primordial vowel sounds.

Reiki is a living teaching that contains primordial forces, which when utilized with understanding transforms you. I’ve written a lot about Reiki as consciousness on this blog. Before there can be energy, there has to be consciousness. Energy is a densification of consciousness, and matter is a densification of energy.

There are sub-frequencies in the overall spectrum of Reiki that relate to creation in its cosmic and natural formation. Two of these (there’s more) are identified as Earth Ki and Celestial Ki. This is the stuff of life and the universe we get to interact and play with in Reiki, that grows us and gives us an opportunity to enhance life through spiritual practice.

We are actually composed of these polar forces, which actually point to a unity. The founder of these teachings Usui Sensei, emphasized a vibrational approach to better embodying and integrating Earth and Celestial Ki. For a long time he gave his students only primordial vowel sounds that have the ability to open up these energies within us like the morning glory in the warming sun.

Intoning seed syllables is a vibrational practice that brings in a set of qualities associated with each syllable or a certain sequence. It really makes sense to use a vibrational method to become consciously one with energetic forces in and around us; it’s direct and thus much more effective.

The Reiki ’symbols’ were later included to give a visual representation, which was an easier connection for some students. The symbols were and are an additional method, and don’t replace the practice of primordial syllables. These sounds are not the names commonly associated with the symbols.

I don’t send MP3s of Reiki’s sacred sounds to the uninitiated. By the same principle, keep Reiki’s symbols in your heart. Practice sincerely and consistently. There’s no good reason to risk dilution, or making the sacred profane through overexposure. The banal and the mundane are already abundant. Let’s leave some things apart and distinguished. Please.

Express your gratitude in our special Thanksgiving issue

This year The Reiki Digest will celebrate Thanksgiving with a special issue on gratitude, and we invite all of you to tell us what you're grateful for, and why.

Please send your stories and expressions of gratitude to, and watch for our special gratitude issue on November 27.

Karyn Crisis: Celeb-Reiki with a punk/metal edge

She doesn't look like your typical Reiki practitioner. She doesn't look like your typical anything. That's probably because she's anything but typical. This week's Celeb-Reiki is Karyn Crisis, metal/punk singer, painter, Reiki Master, and wearer of long, long locks. The former lead singer of the band Crisis has just signed to do her first solo album. She also just launched a blog.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The weekly waka


Incandescent smiles,
Fanned into flames of laughter
By kindly humor
And warm loving sentiment,
Kindle the warm glow of health.
(By Michael Dagley)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Memories of Hawayo Takata

Reiki Master Susan Mitchell remembers the exact moment when the course of her life was changed forever: it was in the summer of 1978, and her husband, Paul, a student at San Francisco State University, had just attended a talk by a woman named Hawayo Takata who practiced a little-known healing art called Reiki. 

"Paul came home, and he was so excited. He repeated her stories in every detail," Susan recalls. One thing Mrs. Takata had said was pivotal: "She said you never pick up anything from other people when you do Reiki." At the time, Susan worked in a psychiatric halfway house, "And I didn't know what boundaries meant. I was a sponge. I vowed to never again do anything that had to do with healing."

Even as she made that vow, Susan knew better. "Obviously I really did want to do something with healing," she said.

Susan and Paul both began studying with Mrs. Takata, and they've been practicing Reiki ever since. They went on to invite their teacher to stay with them when she was in the San Francisco area to teach, and they learned from her not only in class, but in daily life.

Susan talked about her time with Mrs. Takata last month in New York City at a special presentation, "The words of a Master: My time with Hawayo Takata," sponsored by another well-known Reiki Master, author Pamela Miles. The Reiki Digest had the good fortune of attending the talk. This report is based on our notes.

"I had never met someone I would consider a spiritual teacher," Susan said. "I wouldn't have used those terms then because I didn't have that language, but that's what she was."

Back then, "Nobody I knew even knew what a massage table was. We used a coffee table." Mrs. Takata demonstrated the basic hand positions, but the students didn't practice on each other in class. They also weren't allowed to take notes. 

"I would run home from class as fast as I could and write everything down," Susan recalled. 

"She was very direct, and she had a clear sense of what was and was not helpful," Susan said. "She told story after story after story. . . she was leading us to a place where we could soften that intellectual approach. Our background was academic and mental. The storytelling process created a climate where we were much more capable of receiving.

"Her capacity to bring healing to people became apparent," Susan said. The day before class started, Susan had suffered a concussion in a head-on auto collision. Takata treated her with Reiki, "and I had no doubt that she could heal, that Reiki brought healing. I also had absolutely zero confidence that I could do this."

With time and practice, Susan and Paul developed confidence as they worked with Reiki, and over the past three decades they have treated thousands of clients. 

"When she stayed with you, there was a regular routine: breakfast, and then you treated her, and she treated you," Susan said. "Every day. One day I had been feeling kind of punky, kind of cruddy. She was treating my abdomen. And I got up and vomited. I had fever, and chills. And as I walked away to go lie down in bed, Mrs. Takata told Paul, 'Not sick. Healing crisis. You watch.' " Susan slept for awhile, and then Mrs. Takata made lunch and said to Paul, "Go tell Susan it's time for her to eat." She had made scrambled eggs mixed with potatoes and leftover fish. Her authority -- I could just feel it. She knew what was needed. By 4 p.m., I felt fine. And when we had class that evening, there was no problem."

At the time the Mitchells met Mrs. Takata, "She had been practicing Reiki for 42 years," Susan said. "She was such an inspiration for what you could become as a human being. To see how she lived, how she functioned, was a wonderful demonstration of what it is to live the Reiki principles."

Susan described how Mrs. Takata discovered Reiki. "Her story started at the beginning, when she was born. Her mother had had a first daughter who died shortly after birth. As Mrs. Takata told the story, her mother said, "I want you to be strong and healthy, so I'm giving you a big name." She named her daughter Hawayo, after the big island of Hawaii.

At the age of 21, Hawayo married, and 13 years and two daughters later, her husband died of lung cancer. "Out of her grief, she became ill. She had asthma, a tumor, gallstones," Susan said. That was in the 1930s, and Mrs. Takata's parents had gone back to Japan. It was common in those days for Japanese-Americans to go to Japan for medical treatment, if they could afford it, because they had a strong mistrust of western medicine, Susan said. Mrs. Takata went to Japan herself, not only to visit her parents but to seek treatment herself. "The doctor told her she needed surgery, but she was not strong enough for an operation. After several weeks, she was on the operating table, all prepped for surgery. In the operating room, she hears a voice: 'The surgery is not necessary.' She looked around -- no one was there. She heard it again, and she pinched herself. She told herself that if I hear this voice again, I'll do something. She heard it again. And she responded with a question: 'What do I do?' Ask, ask, ask, was the answer she got.

"So she jumps off the table. 'Mrs. Takata, what are you doing?' the nurses asked. The doctor came in and asked, 'What's the matter? Are you afraid?' And she asked, 'Is there any way I can recover without surgery?' The doctor said yes, but how much time do you have? It might take awhile.'

"His sister was a dietician in that hospital. She had been ill, in a coma, and [Chujiro] Hayashi [Takata's teacher, one of the master students of Reiki founder Mikao Usui] treated her. The sister had also learned Reiki. So the sister takes Mrs. Takata to Hayashi's clinic, and after four months of treatment, all the symptoms were gone and she had developed the desire to learn Reiki. She asked Hayashi, and he said no, it's only for Japanese people. He saw her as American. She persisted in asking, and went to her doctor to ask him to intercede with Hayashi. 'He has saved my life, and I want to save other people's lives,' Mrs. Takata said. The doctor got a calligrapher to put together a scroll, formally recommending Mrs. Takata and asking Hayashi to accept her as his student," Susan told the gathering. And the rest is Reiki history.

"When I look back at what I gained from her, her embodiment of Reiki, by demonstration, without explanations, that awakened in me an awareness of something that was really possible. Imprinted in me is this trust that with persistence and commitment I can trust that Reiki will provide what's needed," Susan said. At first, she was unsure about the power of Reiki. "I did things to jazz it up. I had these angel cards. . . But I didn't know yet what I had. I had the seeds, but I didn't really know it yet. 

"It's so utterly simple: Reiki is for everybody. It doesn't matter what your beliefs are, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation. This was a tool that anyone could use," Susan said.

"Mrs. Takata's focus was on the first degree level. The first level is complete in itself. Most people don't need anything else. Self-treatment also helps us in moving through the obstacles to practicing the principles. When we see the anger and worry in ourselves, we have a tool."

For more information on Susan and Paul Mitchell and their work with Reiki, click here to visit their web site.

A day devoted to the Reiki precepts

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were scheduled to go on vacation -- but circumstances changed and we weren't able to take time off as planned. Fortunately, during that time I was able to take a whole day off for a very important reason: to focus on the Reiki precepts at a daylong retreat led by Reiki Masters Pamela Miles and Susan Mitchell. That one day wasn't exactly a substitute for a vacation, but it was the next best thing. I came home that evening relaxed, refreshed, and even more dedicated to living according to the simple but powerful principles that Reiki founder Mikao Usui developed.

There are many different translations of the Reiki precepts, but for the purpose of the retreat we worked with Reiki teacher Hyakuten Inamoto's translations of the precepts written on Usui's memorial stone:

Today only 
Do not anger
Do not worry 
With thankfulness 
Work diligently
Be kind to others

I was already familiar with the precepts, of course, having worked with them for several years now, through three different master programs, my personal and professional Reiki practice, and in ordinary daily life. I recite them to myself every morning before getting out of bed and every evening before going to sleep. I like every translation I've ever seen, and there are many, but I also learned to say them in Japanese in an attempt to get even closer to the source. So the precepts retreat, titled "Inviting Happiness," was exactly what I needed. 

In keeping with the idea of a retreat -- i.e., a day off -- we weren't allowed to take notes, which left me at a slight disadvantage since that has been my habit for decades. But it wasn't really a problem, because it was good for me to shake up my routine and experience the retreat in the moment without trying to record the details for later. Instead, I summed it up in 31 syllables with this week's waka. 

There are many techniques to learn in Reiki: hand positions, breathing techniques, meditations. But the precepts are the foundation of it all, and the more I study and practice Reiki, the more the precepts are woven into every aspect of my life, and the more I value them. 

My only regret was that I wasn't able to bring all of you with me, but fortunately there's a way to make up for that. Pamela and Susan will be doing a reprise of "Inviting Happiness" -- this time as a teleclass taking place on five Monday evenings beginning November 17. I recommend it to anyone who's serious about practicing Reiki, whether personally or professionally.

A week or so after the precepts retreat, I found myself intensely focusing on those simple, powerful principles again during a particularly difficult day. I'm in the process of migrating from my old desktop computer to a laptop with a different operating system, and as I make the transition, I'm using both machines. During my difficult day, the desktop computer's mouse stopped working, and the graphic design program I was using for a project on deadline started going haywire, with words on top of words, misplaced images -- it was a nightmare. 

I sat down to take a break with some tea and give myself a reboot, only to spill the tea all over the rug and myself. Then I decided to go buy a new mouse in hopes that would solve the problem. I put on my raincoat and boots and stepped outside, only to discover that I had a hole in my boot. As I schlepped along through the rain, with one wet foot and one dry one, I repeated the precepts to myself. And though I admit to getting a bit frustrated, the precepts, and my habit of using them, helped me avoid making the situation worse with anger and worry. 

Funny thing was, I kept thinking that all those things going wrong were keeping me from putting together my article about the precepts retreat. By the time I gave up on mouse shopping, came back home and took off my wet boots, I realized that all those frustrations weren't a distraction from the precepts: they were yet another lesson, another type of day focused on living in the moment, not giving in to anger or worry, working diligently and being compassionate. Before going back to the computers to try once again to debug the problem, I sat down to repeat the precepts to myself once more. At that moment, I glanced at the back of my old computer and saw immediately what was causing the problem. 

I can't claim that using the precepts can help you fix what's wrong with your computer (or your car, your boss, your co-workers, or any other frustrations in your life). But I can tell you that they can help you maintain the presence of mind to deal with those frustrations better, and that can help you find a solution faster. 

For more information on the Inviting Happiness teleclass, click here.

Does this man practice Reiki — or does it just seem that way?

(Photo courtesy

Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama, not only for winning the election but for being named this week's Celeb-Reiki

He's definitely a celebrity, but -- you may ask -- what does the soon-to-be 44th President of the United States have to do with Reiki?

If we were to practice the sort of spurious journalism that was all too common during the marathon presidential campaign, we might put it this way: Obama was born in Hawaii. So was Hawayo Takata, the person who brought Reiki to the world outside Japan. And some of the years that Obama lived in Hawaii overlap with some of the years that Takata lived in Hawaii. So there's a connection, right? They might have even passed each other on the street, or the highway. They might have shared an elevator at some point, and it's even remotely possible that they might have met each other. If not that, then it's possible that Takata might have met Obama's mother, or his grandparents, all of whom lived in Hawaii. And then, having brought up that tenuous possible connection, we would take the suggestion to the cable news networks, where the talking heads would yammer on and on about the question of a possible Obama/Takata connection. "Some say Obama knew Takata," one of the TV pundits might say. "Others say there's no evidence of that. But what's the REAL story?" And of course, there would be photos of both Obama and Takata next to each other on the screen behind the "reporter" doing the speculation.

We could do that, but we won't. The world has had quite enough of that kind of pseudo-reporting.

We could also say that since there once was a web site called, someone might have run across that site and followed the suggestion to send Reiki to Obama.

But we're not going to do that, either.

Instead, our speculation about a possible Obama-Reiki connection is simply this: whether or not President-elect Obama has ever even heard of Reiki or the Reiki precepts, he seems to practice them. From everything we saw during the nearly two years of his presidential campaign, he keeps his attention focused on the here and now. He doesn't indulge in either anger or worry, although he's certainly had plenty of provocation. He's humble, and grateful: Within an hour after the news networks called the election in his favor, he told a crowd of supporters that the victory didn't belong to him: "It belongs to you," he said. From all appearances, he seems honest, hard-working, and compassionate. 

More circumstantial evidence: Since the election, many pundits have been saying that Obama will be a healer, helping the nation and the world repair the breaks and bruises of the past eight years. And his election certainly brought about an energy shift to a more positive level, within our borders as well as without. 

None of that is even remotely enough evidence to make a case that Obama practices Reiki, of course. But it is enough of a connection to make him a Celeb-Reiki.

Disclaimer: Another thing that Reiki and Obama have in common is that neither is a substitute for professional medical care. But at least Obama seems likely to make that medical care available to more people who need it.

Reiki for Alzheimer's patients?

This week's question for our readers is from Reiki Master Teacher Joan Learmann:

I am asking for some help from your readers. I work with Alzheimer's and Dementia residents and need some feed back from any of you out there that are doing the same thing--and if so what is the Reiki doing to help. I can find information on how it works in hospitals but have not been able to find much about using it in nursing homes. I hope you can help me out.

Joan Learmann RMT

Thanks for your question, Joan. I hope readers who have personal experience using Reiki with Alzheimer's and dementia patients will be able to help you.

Meanwhile, the subject of our first Reiki obituary in 2006, Sister Roseanne Kasayka of the former Heather Hill nursing home in Ohio, used Reiki with some of the home's residents. That facility is now part of the Cleveland University Hospitals network

Readers, if you'd like to answer Joan's question, just add a comment to this post on our web site, or email

Coming for Thanksgiving: a special issue on gratitude

This year The Reiki Digest will celebrate Thanksgiving with a special issue on gratitude, and we invite all of you to tell us what you're grateful for, and why.

Please send your stories and expressions of gratitude to, and watch for our special gratitude issue on November 27.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The weekly waka

Keep yourself on course
Practice going deep within
See things as they are
Then emerge and remember
That connection to oneness.

(by Janet Dagley Dagley)