Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Healing for the World

 When there are dramatic world events, such as the pandemic, it is natural to want to send healing to the world.  When we are touched by such events, empathising with those who are suffering, it is natural to want to do something.

However, I recall hearing Phyllis Furumoto advising against sending Reiki to world events.  Instead she suggested we examine what it is in ourselves that is touched by this particular event and send Reiki to that.  I resonate with this suggestion.

I too am touched by things I hear on the news.  I would like to be able to help, but given that I do not know the people involved how can I know whether my help would be welcomed or my assessment of the situation accurate?  Am I trying to fix something that isn’t broken due to my own filters and assumptions about how I would feel in the same situation?  Does this event resonate with something in myself that needs healing?

When my thoughts caught up in an external drama, I can miss things that are closer to hand, like when I was out walking with a dog recently and, preoccupied with some world drama, failed to notice that the dog was having difficulty walking due to the thistles and nettles that were pricking her paws!  In a similar way we can miss signs and clues about our own health and that of those around us, while worrying about the problems of someone we don’t even know.

I understand the desire to change the world for the better, to heal what we see as wrong or the suffering we perceive.  Working towards a better world is a wonderful thing to do, but to achieve transformation many teachers have counselled that we start with ourselves.  Gandhi for example advised “Be the change you want to see in the world” and as Michael Jackson suggests in his song ‘Man in the Mirror’: “If you want to make the world a better place; Take a look at yourself and then make that change”.   One of the core teachings of Reiki is that we start with self-healing, which prepares us for healing others. 

By becoming a calmer, happier person through our Reiki practice we make a difference in the world.  Once we are healthy and resilient enough, we can be more effective in creating change.  This will be most effective when we focus on something concrete in our immediate sphere, where the help is welcomed and needed. 

A great example of this is a new project – Reiki Medic-Care - that is sending Reiki directly to
individual doctors, nurses and paramedics who are suffering stress and burnout through being on the front line in the current circumstances.  If you want to send Reiki to help the pandemic, rather than sending to ‘the NHS’ in a general way, this project offers a way to give concrete help  - more practitioners are needed to meet the anticipated requests. 

There is no issue about permission because the staff request treatment themselves.  Practitioners know who they are sending to and have a time requested by the recipient at which to send.  This exciting project uses Reiki to support people who are in need, improving the well-being of NHS staff.  This will no doubt also benefit the patients they treat whose doctors, nurses and paramedics will be less overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted.

So we can still benefit the wider world by focusing first on our own well-being, then that of our immediate community or another community we have personal connection with.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

The Value of Rest

 One of the great benefits of Reiki is that it encourages us to rest.  Reiki treatment, whether self-treatment, hands on or distant, is not generally received while doing something else or rushing around.  We are encouraged to lie down or sit for thirty minutes to an hour to receive the treatment.  One of the people I regularly send distant Reiki to commented that if nothing else it means she lies down and rests for half an hour.

We need to rest because it is during the body’s resting state that we heal, both physically and mentally.  When we are in a stressful state most of our energy is diverted away from our immune system and other important bodily functions such as digestion, to make energy available for fighting for our lives or running away.  When your life is at stake you have no time to digest a steak!  At a time when we need our immune systems to be strong in the face of the novel coronavirus, it is therefore more important than ever that we remain as much as possible in the resting state.

Sleep is the obvious time we rest and quality of sleep also matters.  A stressful day can cause poor sleep, because there is an echo of any daytime rise in adrenaline (the stress hormone) during the night, which can cause us to wake up and possibly find it difficult to go back to sleep.  We need a certain amount of deep sleep during each night, which is

the time when repair of the body mostly occurs.  We also need to dream, which is healing for the mind.  To strengthen my immune system, I always prioritise getting the best sleep I can and I find having Reiki in my hands very helpful for this.  I know that many of my students practice their self-treatment at bed-time because it helps them to drift easily into sleep (they often report falling asleep before finishing the hand position sequence).  Those who wake in the night also find that it is beneficial to be able to give themselves Reiki which, if it doesn’t help them go back to sleep, is at least healing.

It is important to ensure rest for the mind too.  Modern life is full of distractions that keep our minds busy even when we think we are relaxing.  Many people find it difficult to stop checking emails or social media on their phones.  TV programmes that are violent or where the characters undergo emotional stress, especially if it resonates with our own experience, will get our stress hormones flowing, even though we are slouched on the sofa.  This is not real rest.

Some people turn to mindfulness practices or meditation to help to relax their mind.  Reiki is often described as bringing peace of mind, with many people finding it calms their thinking effortlessly.  I remember the first time I experienced this in the early days of grieving for my father, whose sudden and unexpected death certainly caused me a high level of stress.  The first full Reiki treatment I received helped me to relax and bring my mind out of the stressful state into the resting phase.  I could not recall ever feeling so calm and peaceful.  It was wonderful!

Lockdown has offered some people a chance to rest, but for some this situation is creating more stress.  I hope you are able to find some time to rest and perhaps Reiki can help.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Accessing the Unseen

Reiki practice offers me a way to connect with the unseen, including emotions, mind and the spiritual energy that I believe flows through and connects all things.  It is understandable that some people are sceptical about this, yet we all have some experience of things we can’t see, hear, touch, smell or taste.  We are all very accustomed now to the invisible waves that connect us via the internet and mobile phones.  Such invisible things also exist in Nature – Reiki is how the Japanese would describe the energy you feel in a beautiful forest.  The understanding that what is unseen can affect the physical world has long been understood by spiritual teachers.  Buddha, for example, said: “We are what we think.  All that we are arises from our thoughts”. 

In the current situation we are facing a virus invisible to the naked eye that has had the power to change all our lives.  Some are sceptical about it, because if you rely primarily on an understanding of the world that is based on your senses, this virus is beyond comprehension.  Similarly, it is understandable that some are sceptical about Reiki as an energy that can be transmitted between people at a distance.

Love is an invisible energy that the current situation is showing us that it can still be shared and felt even when we are not able to touch or even be physically in the same space.  We can still send our love out into the world, in the same way Reiki can also reach any part of the planet.  Perhaps it is when relatives are able to comfort a Covid-19 patient, so that they know they are loved, that gives them a better chance of survival.   It is the one factor doctors have no control over that may explain the differing survival rates of those who are most ill.

At present, unable to give Reiki in person,

Kate Jones sending distant Reiki treatment
I feel blessed to be able to continue to offer comfort and support through distant Reiki treatments.  It can take a leap of faith to accept that receiving Reiki from any distance is possible, yet experience over many years has shown me that, like love, it can be sent through space and time and is safe for all concerned, even with Covid-19. 

The Reiki Association Care Service is available for members to request distant Reiki treatments from a team of volunteers.  We have received many reports of positive outcomes, unexpected by doctors.  We frequently hear of the healing, comfort and peace of mind these treatments bring, including at the end of life.  I’ve received similar reports from the treatments that the Community Clinic volunteers have been doing.  These reports include better sleep and reduction in need for pain medication. 

I am always looking for ways to develop my Reiki practice so, following an inspiration during a self-treatment, I now offer distant Reiki treatments via a live Zoom link, which means that I can be present with the person I am sending to through their treatment via an internet connection and they can be aware of what I am doing.  I don’t even need a photograph to send Reiki but meeting via Zoom we are able to see each other and talk before and after the treatment (we can also talk on the phone).  Reiki offers many ways to explore the unseen and I am enjoying this time and the opportunity to expand my distant treatment practice.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Why I'm not teaching Online Reiki 1 and 2 Classes

I am unable to meet students in person to teach 1st and 2nd degree classes during the current situation.  This can be frustrating, but I hope you can wait, because the initiations, an important element of both classes, are not something that I would consider doing from a distance.

Some Reiki masters are offering ‘online’ initiation/attunement.  This is not a new thing, but due to current restrictions, it may seem to be an obvious solution to those wishing to continue making a living from Reiki.  Reiki Council, which represents practitioners from many different schools of Reiki,has been discussing this recently.  The conclusion was that for practitioners who wish to give treatments to the public, initiations need to take place in the physical presence of their Reiki master.

I would go further: my practice is that all Reiki initiations need to take place in person.  Reiki is not just healing energy, it is something that benefits us in the context of a specific form of practice.  This form guides us in how to benefit from it, just as a glass is a container that enables me to drink water.   I teach and practice Usui Shiki Ryoho and one of the essential elements of this form is Oral Tradition.   

Many Eastern traditions are taugh through Oral Tradition, with the master and student spending time together, the student learning from everything that takes place.  This means not just what the master says, but also what they do and the quality of their being is important.  The master embodies the practice and energetic transmission takes place when teacher and student are physically together.  

As a member of the Succession Core Team, I have enjoyed Reiki development online with other Reiki students, but when we were later able to meet and hug in person it brought home to me the difference between the virtual and real-world experiences.  It’s a bit like imagining eating a wonderful meal compared to actually eating one!  There is a richness of experience that is possible in physical presence that is simply not possible when we are in different places.  I am committed to giving my students an experience that is as rich as possible when they take what I consider to be the important step of learning Reiki. 

So why is initiation different from distant treatment, which our practice does include?  Distant treatment is usually part of a series that will normally include some hands on treatment.  It’s an option to support treatment when it is not possible to be physically together (such as during the current restrictions).  The difference with initiation is that, in Usui Shiki Ryoho, it is a unique one-off event.  Initiation means a new beginning, a doorway to a new way of being.  I would not want to offer a limited experience for this significant moment.  Having performed thousands of initiations over the years, each one has been unique and, to me, sacred.  

Another reason I would not perform the initiations remotely is that there can be no doubt the initiation has taken place if we are together in physical presence.  The student sees me, receives the touch of my hands, we breathe the same air and hear the same sounds at the same time.  A virtual touch is simply not the same experience.

Reiki has the potential to transform your life, so I feel it’s important to give this moment a full celebration, something that would feel very different remotely, just as singing is better when we are together than via Zoom!  So, difficult and frustrating as it is, I will wait until the full experience is possible again and I hope you will too.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Can being more healthy change how Covid-19 might affect me?

I’ve been interested to hear how Covid-19 affects people differently, because I had already noticed that when my health improved, through reversing type 2 diabetes, my body’s response to common   I didn’t get ill as often and I was really interested to notice that even if I did catch something, the effects were less severe.  In the past a cold would often go onto my chest and cause bronchitis, sometimes requiring antibiotics to shift it.  More recently it’s just been a cold lasting a few days.
viruses changed.

At a Reiki retreat a couple of years ago, I caught a nasty chest bug.  Other people in the group become feverish and ill for several days, with a persistent cough after that.  I had feverishness and muscle aches, for which I took some paracetamol, even though these days I take very little medication.  From past experience I expected to take more and for these symptoms to last several days, but after 24 hours I felt better, so only took that one dose of paracetamol.  I had expected the cough to go on for weeks and become more severe, but I was completely well within just a few days.  I am convinced that the difference was due being healthier, with an improved immune system, thanks to Reiki and reversing my diabetes.  I believe there is evidence that having less sugar in your bloodstream is beneficial when fighting infection.

As a type 2 diabetic I am at ‘moderate risk’ of developing more severe symptoms from Covid-19, so I am ensuring that my health is as good as possible before I put myself at risk of catching it and being at home offers an ideal opportunity to focus on this. Here are some things I’ll be doing over the next weeks to foster good health:

Sleeping well: Although good sleep can’t be guaranteed when there is a lot of stress around, I know things to do and not do that will help, such as being in bed by 11.00 pm most nights, not looking at my phone before bed and not eating after 7.00 pm.  I find that good sleep is particularly helpful in managing stress, which in turn helps me eat better.

Eating well: I am ensuring that my diet is as nutritious and well balanced as possible, with almost no sugar, plenty of vegetables, protein with each meal – mostly nuts, seeds and fish.  I also take various vitamin and mineral supplements, including vitamins C, D, and the Bs, fish oil, chromium and a probiotic.

Staying hydrated: I am ensuring I drink plenty of water – around 1 ½ to 2 litres a day.  Some of this will be herbal teas.  

Exercising: Like most people, I have been walking every day.  I have also been doing some relaxation and more active movement with my online singing groups each week.  I plan to increase my exercise to build muscle strength.  

Keeping stress levels down: Reiki practice, including daily Reiki self-treatment and sending and receiving distant treatments, helps to keep my thoughts calm and positive.

I hope you are also finding ways to stay healthy so that, if you do catch the virus, your immune system is strong enough for it to be just a mild illness and you can enjoy your 14 days self-isolation relaxing and doing something you enjoy!