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Thursday, January 29, 2009


Do you keep your eyes open or shut -- or somewhere in between -- when you practice Reiki? 

Reiki practitioner Michael Swerdloff, our correspondent in Korea, checks in with an article on that very topic:

I had the opportunity earlier this month to participate in a Reiki Meet Up in Seoul, South Korea. Since Reiki is not very popular here in Korea, I was excited at the opportunity to share and receive some Reiki, and meet some good people. I was not disappointed. The group had lots of positive energy and everybody was respectful of each other. I felt welcomed from the minute I arrived and as usual, as a male, I was in the minority. I was grateful there was another male present, the group facilitator. In all, the group was made up of nine people; a few had never experienced Reiki previously and seemed to have very positive experiences. As is typically the case, I find the “proof” of Reiki success is in the change in the color and brightness of the eyes, cheeks and skin of each person as they slowly eased off the table. Our face and energy say what we are not always able to communicate verbally.

It was during the actual “table time” itself that has caught my attention and reflection since then. I have been fortunate to receive training from a very dedicated and focused Reiki Teaching Master who I think would prefer to stay anonymous, so I will honor that intention. She has instilled in me the wisdom of utilizing all our resources to support someone’s process. I am speaking specifically about using the eyes as a means of transmitting Reiki. I leave my eyes open when working with someone else. I know this has become rare these days in the Reiki community but I have had enough experience to convince me of its merits. In fact, I consciously ask for Reiki to flow through the eyes, belly, root and feet, as well as the hands. Why place limits on Reiki? I find using all three eyes increases the intensity of the energy. My experience is that the eyes are more powerful than the hands, almost without exception. The energy tends to be cleaner and tighter. I know others access their eyes during Reiki counseling, I do not understand why it is not consciously included during hands-on work. That is none of my business. I do what I do because it has been effective for me, and those I have been fortunate to pass on Reiki Teachings.

Another added benefit besides the increased energy is increased focus. My experience has been that I am more present and focused when I look at whom and where the energy is directed. My whole Self is present. I do not drift and space out as much as I used to with my eyes closed. I do not get lost in my own stuff, or get caught up in things that I do not need to be getting involved in when working with someone else. Like most Reiki Practitioners, I take our responsibility serious and try my best to honor and respect those who have been sent our way. I feel if I can stay present even a pinch more, it is worth my effort.

A third reason I appreciate working with my eyes open is the added opportunity to “see” the physical effects of the session. Seeing their breathing slow, the body relax, eyes stop twitching, belly rising and lowering naturally and all the other physical signs that I missed with my eyes closed. Since I first received Reiki Attunements and training, I have sensed what other’s process and systems functioning. This is an inner process and supports the core of Reiki for me. I am grateful I have been guided to not stop there and include visual evidence of what is happening as well. Again, why limit the possibilities? I do not say this from the perspective that I do not have enough faith in Reiki to do what it needs to do. Like most of us, I have experienced and witnessed shifts, changes and transitions that cannot be accurately described due to their at times miraculous nature. Reiki has changed my life and I have significantly more Faith in Reiki than myself. That is why I want to give myself every opportunity to stay focused, present, engaged and aligned with the Reiki lineage as much as possible. Reiki is an honor and I want to embrace that honor to whatever lengths I can. I know there have been questions and conversations about how much intention matters in Reiki, but my experiences to date strongly support the power of intention and its effectiveness. If my intention is to include my whole body and being in the process, how can it not increase the effectiveness of the process for all involved? If folks ask for Reiki to pass through their hands, why stop there?

This is not to judge or disrespect any other method that we practice as Reiki Practitioners; I am just sharing my experiences. This reflection came about from this Reiki Meet Up I participated in when folks were sharing about their process and how they didn’t know where their hands were, or where other’s hands were, etc. Keeping our eyes open and still maintaining our connection to the Source of Reiki seems a positive way to support our work. I hope for those who give it a try find the same positive effects that I have experienced.

Peace and love,

Thanks, Michael. I hope other practitioners will share their thoughts, by adding comments to this post on our web site or by emailing

Personal Responsibility and Being Reiki: further discussion

Once again we must thank Heather Alexander for the post that started a great discussion on personal responsibility, being Reiki, nonduality, and more. And we thank Reiki authors Pamela Miles and Bronwen and Frans Stiene for contributing their comments. This week we hear from Pamir Kiciman of Reiki Help blog, who is also a featured contributor on

I too wanted to respond when I saw the tangent the dialogue took in the other post, but was concerned about continuing a polarizing conversation which doesn't serve Reiki well. However, since the cat's out of the bag...

I feel like 'medical' Reiki has been greatly advanced by someone like Pamela & this is a very good thing. She has carved out a special place in the interface of these two worlds. I respect that enormously.

I do agree that the evolutionary practices of Reiki are integral to its hands-on practice, and that without these practices hands-on Reiki is untethered.

I also feel that only the hands-on practice of Reiki isn't sufficient for true personal evolution.

As for the historical context...I can understand how right around WWII one might practice caution with a teaching of Japanese origin. What I don't understand is why Takata, who taught into the 70s, didn't bring the West up to speed on the uniquely inner & nondual practice of Usui's Reiki.

The answer seems to be that what she received from Hayashi didn't include these teachings.

Takata has a revered place in the history of Reiki. Yet, I'm frustrated by her legacy which is repeated stubbornly in book after book, and website after website, perpetuating core untruths about Reiki & Usui's history.

As for America being exposed to nonduality (apart from the names cited by Bronwen & Frans)...

Wikipedia: The first Japanese temple in Hawaii was built in 1896 near Paauhau by the Honpa Hongwanji branch of Jodo Shinshu. In 1898, Japanese missionaries and immigrants established a Young Men's Buddhist Association, and the Rev. Sōryū Kagahi was dispatched from Japan to be the first Buddhist missionary in Hawaii. The first Japanese Buddhist temple in the continental U.S. was built in San Francisco in 1899.

The American Transcendentalists and associated persons, in particular Henry David Thoreau took an interest in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. In 1844, The Dial, a small literary publication edited by Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, published the first English version of a portion of the Lotus Sutra; The poet Walt Whitman also admitted to an influence of Indian religion on his writings.

Perhaps the most significant event in the 19th century history of Buddhism in America was the Parliament of the World's Religions, held in Chicago in 1893. Although most of the delegates to the Parliament were Christians of various denominations, the Buddhist nations of China, Japan, Thailand, and Sri Lanka sent representatives. Buddhist delegates included Soyen Shaku, a Japanese Zen abbott; Zenshiro Noguchi, a Japanese translator. (End Wikipedia.)

This list is long and the story of American Buddhism continues strong to this day.

The Parliament of the World's Religions held in Chicago in 1893, also brought Swami Vivekananda to the States, representing Yoga & Advaita Vedanta, the yogic version of nonduality.

The Yoga tradition was later firmly established in the US by Paramahansa Yogananda, who lived out his years in America, establishing the headquarters of his work in Los Angeles.

As with Buddhism, American Yoga thrives today.

It seems to me that it's high time to stop being a Takata apologist, and take seriously the place Reiki & Usui have in the world's wisdom traditions.

Thanks, Pamir. If any other readers would like to contribute to this discussion, just add them as comments to this post on our web site, or email them to

What's your favorite Reiki music?

In a professional setting, Reiki is usually practiced with soothing music in the background, and many practitioners enjoy the same sort of background sounds when doing their personal meditations and self-care. 

Reiki Master Teacher, critical care nurse, hypnotherapist (and more) Lilia Marquez of New York City sent in a list of her favorite Reiki music in response to Beth Lowell's reviews of meditation CDs in last week's edition.

Here's Lilia's list:

1. Reiki - Hands of Light, by Deuter
2. Reiki Offering, by Shastro and Nadama
3. Sound Healing, by Dean Evenson and Soundings Ensemble
4. The Heart of Reiki, Merlin's Magic
5. Reiki Forest, by Sambodhi Prem
6. Merlin's Magic Angel Symphony
7. Shajah The Healing Touch
8. Merlin's Magic REIKI Space of Peace and Love

Thanks, Lilia. We invite other readers to add their own lists of favorite Reiki music, so that we can put them all together into one big list as a reference for all. To contribute your list, just add a comment to this post on our web site, or email them to

Reiki Roundup

Our first stop on this week's Reiki Roundup isn't a stop at all: it's a journey -- made by a group of Pakistani women along the Pakistan-India border as part of a month-long cross-border signature campaign to press for a resumption of dialogue between the two nuclear powers, and to call for peace. The women, one of whom is a Reiki master, have made headlines as far away as Italy for their efforts.

On to the United Kingdom, where the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council has begun registering practitioners. Massage therapists and nutritional therapists are now allowed to register, and Reiki practitioners will be invited to sign up later this year. In its coverage of the new registry, The Economist jumps to an erroneous conclusion in claiming that the UK had not only begun registering alternative practitioners but outlawing them:

"...Consumer-protection laws new in 2008 specifically forbid false claims that a product can cure a disease. This could make life difficult for purveyors of alternative medicine....," the article states. Actually, ethical natural health practitioners do not diagnose, prescribe, or make any claims of cures. 

Some UK Reiki practitioners are not only working within the law, they are the law. A growing number of law enforcement officers in the UK are moonlighting, some of them as Reiki practitioners.

Next stop: suburban Chicago, where a newspaper feature describes Reiki as "touchless massage." While Reiki is sometimes done with near-touch, most practitioners use a light touch most of the time. The article also quotes a Reiki practitioner as saying that clients who believe in Reiki are more likely to be helped, which is not consistent with the words of Reiki founder Mikao Usui, who said that "it matters little whether you may doubt." Overall, the article is an interesting twist: instead of receiving a Reiki session, the reporter becomes a practitioner for a day (or part of one).

An award-winning Celeb-Reiki

Congratulations to this week's Celeb-Reiki, Reiki teacher Theresa Rose, whose new book, Opening the Kimono: A Woman's Journey Through Life's Biggest Challenges, has won the Royal Palm Award from the Florida Writers Association. The book is a "tell-all, diary, rant, confession, and healing guide all rolled into one," Theresa explains in her YouTube video about it:

Monday, January 26, 2009

The weekly waka


When great rivers freeze,
Blocking all ferry traffic
With huge ice boulders,
Travelers must be patient
While waiting for the spring thaw.
(By Michael Dagley)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reviews: Reiki meditation CDs

Dear Readers,

Please welcome The Reiki Digest's new reviewer, Beth Lowell. Beth is an animal Reiki specialist in New Jersey. Thanks to her generous efforts, we are able to resume reviewing Reiki-related material after a hiatus of more than a year. We welcome other reviewers, so if you'd like to volunteer, contact us at While reviews may be edited for clarity, grammar, and punctuation, all reviews are the opinion of the reviewer, without any editorial influence.

By Beth Lowell

There were some benefits to the recent cold snap here in the northeast; one of which was that no one needed an excuse to stay inside. During this winter respite I had the pleasure of listening to and reviewing two meditation CDs from two of the leaders on today’s Reiki scene – Pamela Miles, a lifelong yoga devotee and integrative health expert who collaborated with musician Steve Gorn to create the meditate CD, and Bronwen Stiene, co-founder of the International House of Reiki, whose CD, Reiki Meditations for Self-Healing, presents the world with healing meditations from the traditional Japanese point of view.

While I’ve read books by both Pamela and Bronwen, I’ve never met either one and it was wonderful to hear their voices as they shared the knowledge they’ve gained through years of practice. Each delivers her message clearly and eloquently, incorporating visualization, breathing techniques and explanations in her own unique way. Listeners will probably respond as I would if asked, “Do you want the Miles or the Stiene?”

(My answer? “Yes!”)

Unlike many of my fellow Reiki practitioners, I don’t come from a yoga background. Meditation was new to me when I learned Reiki, but I knew it was key to my success as a practitioner. I just wasn’t sure how to go about it. Meditation loomed large and intangible in my mind. I envisioned that after years of practice I would be able to go into some sort of a white zone where my mind could become an empty slate. I was eager to do it, but the problem was that when I sat down to practice, I could barely endure two minutes. My goal seemed impossible. If only Pamela Miles’ and Steve Gorn’s meditate CD had been available, my problem with meditation would have been resolved quickly and painlessly.

Accompanied by the incredible music of Steve Gorn, Pamela Miles welcomes the listener in the opening track and immediately gets to the heart of what makes it so hard for many to embrace meditation. She explains how meditation “brushes the tangles out of the mind” in a way that makes meditation more accessible, and therefore offers a real possibility for the listener’s success. She hones in on common misconceptions about what people think meditation is or should be, and simplifies the process, immediately putting the listener at ease.

Pamela drills down to the significance of music as a gateway to awareness and explains the healing effects of the tamboura, the flute and the gong, which are featured throughout the CD, and her points about flexibility and non-judgment of the experience allow the listener to understand the essence of what meditation is, fostering confidence.

As the CD unfolds, Pamela weaves in detailed information about the relationship of the body, mind and breath. She guides the listener through posture and breathing, giving practical advice on variations of the techniques for those who may not be flexible enough to sit cross-legged or breathe through their nose. Along the way, Pamela also explains how each part of the posture contributes to the overall experience. As she takes the listener step by step through positioning each part of the body, she notes its effect as the listener feels what it’s like to sit in the space between heaven and earth and ultimately to receive the highest understanding of being human.

Those who are not new to meditation will love the CD just as much as beginners will. Pamela shares so many insights gained from a lifetime of practice that with each subsequent playing, new understanding will be gained. Users can program their listening devices to repeat instructional tracks and skip to whichever evocative musical piece they prefer. I’ll be listening to this CD for years to come. I know you will be, too.

As a student of the International House of Reiki, I was delighted to be asked to listen to and review Bronwen Stiene’s CD, Reiki Meditations for Self-Healing. There is beauty in the simplicity of traditional Japanese Reiki, but despite its simplicity, there are subtleties within the system that can be confusing for practitioners new to the Japanese way of thinking. Bronwen Stiene masterfully explains the intricacies of the Japanese perspective to Reiki practitioners and non-practitioners alike through explanations, meditations and parables that get to the essence of this self-empowering practice.

The CD set is divided into two sessions. Session One is devoted to learning about and experiencing Reiki’s energy through working with the three diamonds. The listener follows as Bronwen explores the three energies of Earth, Heaven and Heart and their relationship to the body’s internal energy centers, or haras. Through meditations, the listener feels what each energy is like, and learns how the benefits of each meditation cross over into daily life. An explanation and practice of hatsurei-ho is also included. Hatsurei-ho is a technique that helps the practitioner build the flow of energy in order to become more balanced and supports the practice of hands-on healing. Bronwen adds to the listener’s foundation by including details about the purpose for body posture and hand positions, as well as the importance of ritual in preparation for practice and setting intent. These details help practitioners eliminate distraction and learn to develop strong practice habits.

Session Two explains the five elements that make up the system of Reiki. Having gained a solid understanding of how the energy works through practice, listeners are introduced to the Reiki precepts or guidelines for living, hand positions for healing, techniques for further development, mantras and symbols (also known as training wheels for Reiki) and the reiju, or spiritual blessing. As in Session One, these concepts are accompanied by meditations to help the listener integrate and internalize them without intellectualizing, as Bronwen delves more deeply into philosophical observations on non-duality, luck and what it means to be whole and at one with the universe, a thought that echoes back to her closing of Session One, in which she reminds us that the magic of Reiki lies not in some external system, mysterious symbols or mantras, but within ourselves.

This CD set is invaluable to Reiki practitioners of all backgrounds in its support of their practice, as well as to non-practitioners looking to find tangible ways to create positive change in their lives. It might just be the thing you need to receive at this moment. It came at a great time for me.

Thank you, Beth!

Interested in becoming a reviewer for The Reiki Digest? Contact us at

Publishers: If you have books, CDs, or other material you'd like to submit for review by The Reiki Digest, please send it to:

The Reiki Digest
P.O. Box 3146
Hoboken, NJ 07030

Materials will not be returned and reviews are not guaranteed. For more information, email

Personal Responsibility and Being Reiki: our discussion continues

Heather Alexander's article on her own New Year's resolution, Personal Responsibility and Being Reiki, has led to a lively discussion, with a contribution last week from Reiki author Pamela Miles, and this week from Reiki authors Bronwen and Frans Stiene.

From Bronwen and Frans Stiene:

Thank you Heather and Pamela for the stimulating discussions!

There is no disputing that Hawayo Takata capably brought teachings across to the USA from Japan. What exactly were these teachings and what was her influence upon them? And lastly, did these teachings focus on non-duality in any guise?

Firstly, were these teachings those of Mikao Usui? In part, yes. Though teachers in Japan, like Hyakuten Inamoto, believe that what Takata taught might better be called Hayashi's Reiki. Chujiro Hayashi, you might well say, 'revolutionised' the teachings – bringing them into a more treatment based arena in accordance with his own interests and education. Whether this practice of Hayashi focussed on non-duality it is unknown. It is known that he moved away from the early Reiki society, the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, and focussed on his own unique Reiki teachings which included treating people at a formal clinic. Today many also believe that he is the author of the more medicalised treatment manuals that exist from those early days. This supports the understanding that his direction was new and different to that of his teacher.

To gain a clearer idea of what some of the differences were between Hayashi's teachings and those of Usui we can listen to Takata. A student of hers, John Harvey Gray, wrote a book called Hand to Hand which includes information about the tapes he holds of Takata teaching. He writes that in the tapes she speaks of a trip she took back to Japan where she met with Japanese Reiki practitioners. What they practiced, she explained, "was highly complex, required years of training and was closely intertwined with religious practices". She had never said this of Hayashi's teachings and her response to these "Japanese citizens" she met indicates that the practices she had witnessed were different to what she had known. John Harvey Gray also writes that Takata often claimed to have "simplified" the teachings. This tells us two things: Usui's teachings were different from what she had initially studied and that she had taken Hayashi's teachings and simplified them further.

Did Takata, then, teach the concept of non-duality or even understand it's implicitness within the system? There are no known records of Takata talking or writing specifically about non-duality. As Pamela stated last week, a major reason for Takata to have simplified the teachings may have been that she felt constrained by the negative cultural sentiments that existed in her lifetime due to the Second World War. This may have initially posed an issue, yet this reasoning loses weight when faced with the records of other spiritual teachers in the West during the mid 1900s teaching Asian oriented concepts such as non-duality. These were popular teachers like Thomas Merton (1915-1968) and the French philosopher Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov (1900-1986). Even Zen master Shunryu Suzuki was teaching in the USA from 1959 till 1971. So there was definitely interest in non-duality and meditation during this era.

In modern times, non-duality and Oneness have become household names with numerous websites devoted solely to these subjects. In this process they appear to have become mere terms and, consequently, oversimplified. It is understood that true non-duality is where you reach a space of directly experiencing the universe as it is, or, as it is said in many Eastern philosophies, you have a direct experience of emptiness. To know this experientially takes many, many years of dedication and personal practice, perhaps a lifetime for some – or longer if that is possible.

No matter which spiritual practice it is that we are discussing, spiritual practices have always included large doses of meditation. Therefore, it is understandable that the system of Reiki in Japan traditionally included meditations such as hatsurei ho as one of its foundation practices.

Through research we have pinpointed 5 main elements that form the system of Reiki. They are precepts, hands-on healing, symbols and mantras, meditations/techniques, and attunements/reiju. It is these elements together that create the system which ultimately supports its practitioners to move into that space of Oneness or non-duality... after many, many years of dedication and personal practice – and then to move on to help others if they so wish.

On reflection, the hands-on healing element of the system may initially have been only for use on others, evolving from the physical ritual of attunement/reiju. There are correlations, for example, between the hand positions of the reiju and Hayashi's head positions in his manual. Healing with the hands was popular amongt the naval officers (of which Hayashi was one) as an alternate form of 'first aid' and was taught to them as such. The meditative practices on the other hand were very clearly utilised for spiritual self-development. Kaiji Tomita, a student of Usui, taught in his 1933 book of a 5-day plan. This appeared to be his foundation practise and its aim was to unify and purify the mind. The practise was simply hatsurei ho and Japanese waka practised everyday for ½ an hour over 5 days. It was this practice that then enabled the practitioner to go and help others with hands-on healing.

It is, therefore, possible to see that the element of hands-on healing is not a major self-practise technique, but, rather, something that a Reiki practitioner can do to help others after working on oneself with traditional Japanese Reiki meditation practices. This is not to say that hands-on healing for the self is is not beneficial. It has come to be a tool which you can use to support your own healing practice in the same way that you would help others. But to go deeper into your own spiritual practice and to sustain your healing practice, other elements of the system of Reiki were provided. It is the meditation practices coupled with the system's other elements of precept work, symbol and mantra work at Level II and III, and the attunement/reiju that develop the practitioner's growth toward non-duality.

All this talk of Oneness and non-duality still hasn't addressed the issue as to why it is so important that a Reiki practitioner/teacher work with the system's elements to reach this space. When a Reiki practitioner/teacher reaches a non-dual space, then he/she realizes that the 'I' has disappeared. It is at this stage that he/she also realizes that there is no giver, receiver or gift during an attunement/reiju or Reiki treatment.

At this moment in time, you, the practitioner or teacher, are at your most compassionate as you expect nothing for yourself from the practice.

And it is compassion (as described in the Reiki precepts) that grows through the practice of the system of Reiki. If compassion is not a result of the teachings, then we are not practicing the teachings properly. As in all spiritual practices, non-duality and compassion can be found to be holding hands, gently supporting each other with pure love.

We have written some articles on these subjects which you might find interesting including:

It's Raining Rei
Breaking the Reiki Code

Christ prayed that all men might become One as He was one with His Father, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit. Therefore when you and I become what we are really meant to be, we will discover not only that we love one another perfectly but that we are both living in Christ and Christ in us, and we are all one Christ. (Thomas Merton)


Frans and Bronwen Stiene of the International House of Reiki

Thanks, Frans and Bronwen, and thanks again to Pamela and Heather. We hope other readers will contribute their thoughts to this enlightening discussion, either by adding comments to this post on our web site, or by emailing

Chat with Celeb-Reiki lottery winner Feb. 1

This week's Celeb-Reiki news comes from Mystickal Voyage New Age Gift Shop, Coffee Shop and Holistic Center in Nottingham, Maryland, USA, where a prior Celeb-Reiki, the Rev. Bunky Bartlett, will be hosting a chat in person and online on Sunday, Feb. 1. Bartlett, a Reiki Master and Wiccan who won $330 million in the Mega Millions lottery, will chat with participants about "anything they wish to talk about." If you can't make it to the live chat, either in person or online, the video will be available for download afterward.

Infant receiving Reiki

Rest in peace

Reiki practitioner Joan T. Morency, 80, Nashua, NH, January 15, 2009.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The weekly waka


Falling freely down
Into the river's cold flow
Being lifted up
Playing in the miracle
Realizing our shared dream
(By Michael Dagley)

Friday, January 16, 2009

The miracle outside my door

Ever wondered just where The Reiki Digest world headquarters is located? Today it's easy to find out: just look at any news organization's map showing the site of yesterday's miraculous Hudson River plane crash: we're just a few hundred meters west of the spot where the plane went down.

We can't see it from our home office because our windows face away from the river, but I happened to be in the lobby checking the mail at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon when I noticed that everyone but me was at the window by the water. I joined them and saw an unbelievable sight: a jumbo jet floating in the water, with New York Waterway ferries and other vessels converging on it from all sides. 

By now you've probably seen it, too: images of the disaster-turned-miracle of US Airways Flight 1549 are all over the news, all over the world, under headlines proclaiming, "Miracle on the Hudson." All 155 people on board survived, with no serious injuries. It was the first time in history that a passenger jet had successfully ditched in the water.

The Reiki Digest office is a few hundred meters to the left of this photo.

"That guy's a hero," said a man behind me. "He managed to get the plane down without hitting the buildings on either side."

"Yeah, who knows how many lives he saved?" said someone else.

"I hope everyone gets out safely," I said. 

"That would take a miracle," somebody replied.

I took a deep, slow breath into my lower abdomen and immediately began actively practicing Reiki meditations, reaching out energetically as I exhaled to include everyone in the scene I was witnessing, and I kept it going with every breath.

Spectators who were closer were able to do more, of course: local commuters on the ferries that rushed to rescue the plane's passengers spontaneously surrounded the frozen, wet victims as they were picked up, literally hugging them to fight off the hypothermia that was already setting in on what happened to be the coldest day of the season. They handed them Blackberries and cellphones to call their loved ones, and even entered the phone numbers for those whose fingers were too numb from the cold. They pulled off their own coats, even their clothes, to get those who were soaked and shivering into something warm and dry as soon as possible.

I can't prove to anyone that my emergency distance Reiki made any difference, nor would I even try. I can say without question, however, that whether any of the people on that plane or on those boats has ever heard of Reiki, practically everything that happened from the first sign of trouble -- "All the Right Moves" is how CNN put it -- was in accordance with the precepts that are the foundation of this practice. And the calm composure demonstrated by those people in a life-or-death crisis also shows us the advantages of staying steady and in the moment not only in emergencies, but in plain everyday life. After all, that's when emergencies always happen: right in the middle of ordinary life.

For those just joining us, these are the Reiki Precepts. There are many different translations, but I tend to use this one the most:

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

For today only: Pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III stayed in the moment when a flock of birds was sucked into both the plane's engines, knocking them out, with at least one engine catching fire. The rest of the crew stayed equally present, shouting instructions to passengers on how to prepare for impact, getting the doors open right away. While some passengers understandably panicked, most kept their heads, enabling a swift, orderly evacuation and rescue. They also were compassionate, urging rescuers to save the people already in the water as they stood patiently on the wings, ankle-deep in the near-freezing river. That's not just compassion, that's humility. And the aw-shucks comments from the ferry workers as they were hailed as heroes -- "We just did what we were trained to do" -- that's humble, too.

Did they worry? Of course. But they didn't let fear take over, and the group took care of the few who were too panicked to act, literally tossing them into the rafts if necessary. Nor did they indulge in anger. Sure, there may have been a few moments of irritation as 155 strangers scrambled to stay alive, but no one had time or energy to waste on that as the seconds ticked urgently by.

Be honest in your work: Or, as some translations put it, work diligently. The US Airways crew, the ferry captain and deckhands, the police divers, firefighters and other rescuers worked diligently indeed, not only saving lives but even securing the waterlogged plane to a downtown pier overnight.

It was indeed a miracle, but even miracles aren't stress free. And even though I continue to include all affected by the crash of Flight 1549 in my Reiki meditations, I'd like to offer something more direct. So if you were on that plane, or one one of those boats, I'd like to offer you a free hands-on Reiki mini-session at The Reiki Dojo. Just call 917-512-1330 or email to make an appointment.

And to all our readers, we apologize for the delay in publishing this week's edition of The Reiki Digest, and thank you for your patience as we rewrote and re-edited to incorporate this breaking news. We'll be back on our regular schedule next week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A slight delay

Dear readers,

There will be a slight delay in the publication of this week's edition of The Reiki Digest -- a passenger jet just crashed into the Hudson River right outside our home office. All of the more than 150 people on board were safely rescued, according to initial reports. If you practice distance Reiki, please send healing energy to US Airways Flight 1549 and the rescue crews on the scene.

More on Personal Responsibility and Being Reiki

Reiki author Pamela Miles added this comment in response to Heather Alexander's Jan. 8 article, Personal Responsibility and Being Reiki, and for those who receive the Digest by email and may have missed it, we are republishing it here. Thanks, Pamela, and thanks again, Heather. To contribute your comments to this discussion, just click here to add a comment on our web site or email

Here's Pamela:

Thank you, Heather, for your beautifully written and inspiring article.

The critical piece that we are Reiki is usually lost in translation. Although the essentially non-dual interconnectedness of all reality is implicit in Japanese culture, this understanding does not exist in mainstream European-based culture. Reiki initiations and practice do not give us something that is outside us; rather, they open our awareness to our own essential being.

Once we understand Reiki in this way, we can see that Mrs. Takata also understood. Perhaps she felt constrained by the times from expressing it more explicitly, sensing that even after the animosity of World War II began to subside, such an Asian approach was more than the public could absorb. And because Mrs. Takata stressed the importance of disciplined daily self-treatment, she knew that in time, her students would come to understand the essential non-dual nature of reality from within (whether they would ever conceptualize it that way is another matter).

The current time is very different than the time in which Mrs. Takata so capably brought Reiki out of Japan. We can express such concepts as non-dual reality openly without fear of being persecuted (although some may vehemently disagree with us). Because much contemporary Reiki training does not stress the importance of consistent daily practice, it may be a service to be more explicit about how profound the fruit of Reiki practice can be.

We are Reiki. That is neither magic nor entitlement, but rather responsibility. Reiki initiation empowers us to practice self-treatment, and thereby reconnect with our essence. When we practice self-treatment every day, we are more able to honor the Precepts and live Reiki mindfully and responsibly throughout the rest of our day. What a simple and effective way to address not only our own suffering, but also that of our struggling world.

More Reiki resolutions for the New Year

Many thanks to all who have contributed their Reiki resolutions for the New Year. Here are a few more:

Amanda wrote:

Ah I missed this because I wasn't checking blogs over the break - thanks for keeping it open longer :o)

I only make resolutions when I really mean to keep them and this one I do: Gratitude is my word for 2009 and I promise myself I will live this word by giving and receiving in a gracious manner. This means, in Reiki terms, taking the time to simply "be", more time to heal myself as well as others, building my blog to be the place of interest and community I always wanted it to be and sharing the wonderful gift by beginning to offer attunements.

Hope that resolution wasn't too long winded - I couldn't make it any shorter :o)

Scotto-san wrote:

"Here is my New Year's resolution -

work towards - being compassion

Though not likely to be accomplished in a year and possibly not in a lifetime but it is worth trying!"

Thanks again to all and Happy New Year once again!

The Celeb-Reiki Report

This week's Celeb-Reiki is Australian footballer Ljubo Milicevic, who credits a "special lady" with bringing Reiki into his life and helping him make a new start after a difficult 2008. In his interview with ("The ultimate football website"), he talks about learning to let go of anger and bitterness. If he keeps going in that direction, Milicevic may also have to let go of his old nickname: Mad Dog.

Rest in peace

Reiki Master Shaiyena Joan Thomas, 76, Ellensburg, Washington, December 10, 2008.

Reiki Master Teacher Deborah Ann Look Mahler, 50, Weiser, Idaho, December 20, 2007.

Reiki practitioner Eileen B. Tureo, 71, Morristown, New Jersey, December 31, 2008.

Reiki practitioner Marion B. (Renkowicz) Strange, 75, Manchester, New Hampshire, January 1, 2009.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The weekly waka


The ancient pine tree
Stands against the arctic blast,
Evergreen reminder
That in the coldest winter
The seeds of spring are planted.
(By Michael Dagley)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Reiki resolutions for 2009

Happy New Year to all in the global Reiki community! We hope all of you got to enjoy a little time off at the turn of the year -- we certainly enjoyed our holiday, and we're looking forward to 2009. 

During the break we invited you to share your New Year's resolutions, but only a couple of people did so. So we're leaving it open for another week and once again inviting you to post your resolutions publicly and perhaps be more likely to keep them.

Next week I'll be sharing my own resolutions, but for now, here are some of yours:

Beth the Reiki Artist said:

"My New Year's Resolution is to find at least one new way I can be of service with Reiki."

Beth Lowell wrote:

I'm not much one for resolutions, but this year I've decided to focus on wellness. I've taken my health for granted and I think it's time I paid attention to better nutrition. I've also decided not to call my intentions for better eating 'resolutions', but perhaps 'precepts', because they are more forgiving of transgressions. ;-) Happy New Year to all!

To contribute your New Year's resolution(s), add them as comments to this post on our web site or email them to 

See below for another New Year's resolution that's an entire article.

Personal Responsibility and Being Reiki

By Heather Alexander, Reiki Master Teacher

Hello 2009, goodbye 2008 and good riddance! Not the most uplifting start to a new year but nevertheless it is the phrase I've heard more than any other over the festive season. That and 'pass the Christmas brandy' anyway - maybe the two are linked! 2008 spiralled rapidly downwards for many - personally I've known people facing tragic losses of friends and relatives, houses ruined in hurricanes and tornados and then there's the general malaise of the economy. We will start 2009 with a new President who has promised change - a coming together of a previously divided nation but I wonder whether the message going forward should really be about personal responsibility. It seems practically everyone wants a bailout at the moment but in the long run it strikes me that the only way to really change is not to call on someone else to do it for us but to take on the challenge ourselves.

It's a thought that's been building in my Reiki practice too. The catalyst was a Shinpiden class I took back in October taught by Frans Stiene of the Australia based International House of Reiki. The key idea was of Reiki as something we are, not something external.

It is clear to me that there is a human tendency to look outside ourselves - we pray to a God to make things better, we expect the government to fix the country, we look for our handsome prince so we can live happily ever after - we first look outside for a bailout. In Reiki this tendency seems to have manifested itself in some views of the attunement and in the use of the symbols. I've read many times the attunement being described as the student being opened up to the flow of Reiki energy from a God consciousness and this has never felt very empowering. Not really in line with the central idea that the system of Reiki is about self healing - it would be more like god consciousness healing. With the symbols - they've been talked about as being what activates the energy - so are we now symbol healing?

Research into what have been claimed to be Usui's earliest teachings moves away from these tendencies. It is difficult or even impossible to know for sure how accurate the information available on these teachings is and its thought more will come out in the future. But the effect on me personally was immediate. That was because once I got to the idea that I am Reiki then I could really get down to the business of being Reiki in my everyday life using the tools of the precepts and the meditations. I didn't need to need to spend so much time trying to get Reiki from somewhere else. It made me look at how much effort the auto makers have put into trying to get money from the Government - if only they had spent as much time beforehand trying to build up their reserves by themselves. Similar for the banks.

So going into 2009 my resolution will be to personally respond to the situation by practising being Reiki. At times I'm sure it will seem much easier to ask for a bailout, then if it didn't work I could just say ''well the bailout wasn't good enough or large enough or well designed enough''. But in the end I know that only I can look after my own happiness because only I know what that is and that's an incredibly positive thought. There is an underlying eek factor - but then just for today I won’t worry about that. And if I remember to be compassionate with myself and others I can keep taking new positive steps and hopefully at the end of 2009 we'll all be saying 'wow what a great year that was!'

Heather Alexander has been working as a reporter for BBC News for almost 10 years covering stories for TV, radio and online all over the world - from the UK, to Australia, to Africa. It was on a trip to Thailand in 2000 that she first discovered Reiki. A fellow traveller did a session for her on a table in a restaurant on a remote island. It was 5 years before she sought out her own teacher but she's not looked back keeping up practice of this wonderful system with teachers in London and in New York. She is now starting to teach Reiki herself. You can contact her at

Trend watch: An increased demand for Reiki?

Could this be a trend in the making? Our first Reiki Roundup of 2009 brings in story after story about the increased demand for Reiki and other natural healing modalities in response to stressful economic times.

Here's a sampling:

Hong Kong, China: This South China Morning post article isn't available to read free online, but the  lead sentence says it all: "The future of the spa industry looks rosy despite the economic downturn. . . ." The article mentions that energy medicine, including Reiki, are the top trend for spas this year.

(And here in New York City, a growing number of first-time clients at The Reiki Dojo are saying they decided to try Reiki to help deal with the stress of these difficult economic times.)

In other current Reiki-related headlines, we find the best example ever of the reporter-gets-a-Reiki-session story in the Windham, New Hampshire Independent: "Rookie Reiki client sold on alternative healing technique."

And this one's not available online yet, but Natural Solutions magazine has an article about Reiki and grief this month.

A Celeb-Reiki with a musical resolution

As our New Year's celebration continues, let's add some music to the mix. This week's Celeb-Reiki, singer-songwriter and longtime cancer survivor David M. Bailey of Charlottesville, Virginia, was on the list of people we include in our weekly group meditations at The Reiki Dojo in New York City this past Monday, and while we were meditating, he recorded the first draft of a brand new song and posted it on YouTube! It's called "Brick By Brick", and even without watching or listening, you can get an idea of how inspiring the song is by reading the comments on YouTube

David's doctors gave him six months to live when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor back in 1996. He left his corporate job, picked up a guitar, and has been recording and touring nationally and internationally for the past 12 years, with 18 CDs to his credit so far. He is getting ready to tour again after surgery for a recurrence of the tumor last fall.

Thank you, David, and we hope you continue to heal and create.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The weekly waka


Resolutions made,
Ready to attack the year
With best intentions,
We know our adversary
Self alone might trip us up.
(By Michael Dagley)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Thank you!

Thank you!