Reiki Principles

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in Adam Miramon’s Intuitive Reiki Level I course through the Reflections Mystery School. Like others there, I had received a Reiki attunement previously, but I wanted more in-depth study and reflection on the practice from someone who does this professionally. Adam is a kind teacher and obviously a dedicated healer, and he did a wonderful job.

The class is called Intuitive Reiki because it fuses regular Reiki as a self-regulating energy system with the energy healer’s own intuitive perception of what’s going on in the client, using that to direct or shape the Reiki energy being provided. I think most Reiki practitioners do this to some extent, but Adam has spent a lot of time reflecting on this and cultivating his own approach. As part of the class, we did exercises to strengthen our intuition, and they were a good challenge that helped me learn more about how to work with the various and sometimes hard-to-express ways my intuitive perception takes place.

Adam also covered some history of Reiki and the principles of Reiki. He encouraged us to find a translation or adaptation of the principles that works for us, and in that spirit, I offer my own adaptation here. It draws on the metaphor of orienting myself in time and space, which connects it to grounding and centering for me, and uses simple gestures:

Here and now, (open hands)

I am not angry about what lies behind me,

nor worrying about what lies ahead of me.

I work diligently (raise right hand to chest level)

and live gratefully (raise left hand)

as I respect the oneness of all. (fold hands in prayer mudra)

Of course, if you are left-handed, you may want to reverse the actions.

Adam will be teaching a Level II course in December, and I’m looking forward to it!

Battlefield nursing and magic

One of my favorite writers about health care, oncology nurse Theresa Brown, described her envy of some aspects of battlefield medicine as a way to illustrate the crushing burden of charting on nurses in her latest piece, “Caring for the Chart or the Patient?” But then, demonstrating her amazing ability to keep her sights on what matters most, she took a left turn into talking about compassion:

The care we give our cancer patients is obviously much different from what we do for soldiers who’ve had their legs blown off by an I.E.D., but the threat to life and limb is no less real. I have no drop-down menu for charting “Empathized with patient over fear of metastatic disease and death.” And yet, that’s exactly what the patient needed.

“If it isn’t charted, it isn’t done,” we hear. But as the paperwork demands proliferate, my worry is that if it can’t be charted, it won’t be done.

On the other end of the caregiver-patient relationship, I can say that her worries are well justified. In fact, I think that the way empathy has been marginalized by efficiency in “modern medicine” is fueling the interest in alternative medicine.

From a skeptic’s point of view, a lot of the benefit from therapies like acupuncture or Reiki comes from things incidental to what’s being touted as the treatment; they argue that a lot of the “therapy” is in fact therapy in the psychological sense: the patient gets to share her problems with someone who cares. I think there’s some truth there, and it’s a shameful commentary on “modern medicine” that people with health problems aren’t getting that empathy from the mainstream medical establishment. On the other hand, I don’t believe the skeptic’s reduction explains it all. I’ve felt what can only be described as chi moving along meridians and been surprised by the specificity of Reiki. There is more going on there than “just” the power of empathy. But even if empathy is the major contributing factor, Ms. Brown, and all good nurses and caregivers, recognize that’s powerful medicine. So powerful, in fact, that it’s almost magical.