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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!

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The Reiki Digest
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Anonymous John@Guided Meditation Audio said...

Reiki meditation allows practitioners to heal themselves as well as others by channeling the healing energy of Reiki to harmonize and balance the patient’s energy field.

11:41 PM  

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