What’s with the Baby Buddha? (What’s Reiki got to do with marketing)


Meeting a friend for coffee at lunch time, and feeling tired and frustrated from a morning spent dealing with technical and practical hiccups, the conversation seemed to suddenly become fiery when we touched on the subject of ‘branding’. What’s branding got to do with Reiki, you may wonder? Bear with me.

I had only just finished developing a strong new brand identity for ‘Complete Health Borders’, the wellness centre in the Central Borders that is home to my Simply Jikiden Treatment and Training Centre in Galashiels.

Complete Health BordersThe Maori concept of ‘koru’, the unfurling fern, seems to me the perfect embodiment for Complete Health Borders’ vision and aspiration: to offer a (near) complete range of tools and methods for unfolding personal potential: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual (if that’s what you want). A truly holistic approach to health.

At the risk of being immodest; I LOVE the visual identity that our designer has developed for us from the spark provided by my idea (the ‘koru’ representing unfolding health and the expression of life). My friend confirmed that even though not everyone may instantly pick up on the full depth of the concept, its essence: harmony with nature, unexpressed potential ready to spring to life, energy and vitality instantly communicate on a gut level. That’s what you want from a brand, and having a taste for the elegance of simplicity, I expressed a slight feeling of jealousy (as I’ve developed the koru brand identity for someone else’s business, although the day-to-day running is my job).

When I first found my vocation in life; Reiki practice, I didn’t have a clue about either marketing or business. In fact both were alien to me, as I would never want to sell anything that I didn’t truly believe in, and I have never been motivated primarily by money. It took the realisation that I can only express my purpose and contribute my gift, if I can also feed my family, to prompt me to brush up on those particular skills.  How fortunate then that I do truly appreciate the value of Jikiden Reiki.

“No need to feel jealous”, my friend says. “Your Buddha is an amazing brand ambassador, it’s so solid (made of stone), yet gentle and radiating peace. Also humorous and a bit quirky.” Now, that dear friend, made my day! If ‘brand’ is the visual signifier of an essence, of embodied values and aspiration, then my Baby Buddha IS perfect for SimplyJikiden:

blogbuddhaThere’s nothing ‘fluffy’ in Jikiden Reiki, it’s solid, practical, down-to-earth and backed up by experience and deep roots: rock solid. My friend comments that I don’t talk much about the spiritual nature of Reiki practice. That’s because I don’t need to: a sense of peace and spirituality embodied in every-day life is its very nature. Compassion in action.

(The humorous bit, that’s a part that my students and clients sometimes appreciate about me, and the quirky, well, I’ve always felt like a bit of  a one-off-kind-of-animal: I’ll choose to take it as a compliment).

Postscript:

My friend and I made an agreement that we would both blog from the moments of inspiration that we struck in our conversation. My blog post was to tell the story of the Baby Buddha, and how the image came to me.  As that part of the deal remains to be delivered, keep your eyes peeled for part 2!

Flying by my own colours


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Recently I stumbled into something precious. Synchronistically. Attracted by unqualified, instinctive resonance.

Do you sometimes feel drawn to something without consciously knowing why …but feeling the pull and trusting it?

Finding Reiki was like that for me. I had never even heard of it, and as a young adult, that is, before a traumatic and life-changing experience in my life, I would have been certain to run a mile. Ten miles in fact. But aged 33, it was Reiki that stood out in a pile of 10 books on complementary therapies, and synchronicity quickly lead me on my way. (I have never looked back).

Bon Buddhism. I know nothing about it. Each time it is mentioned I prick up my being. I have to pay attention.

So, the only time and place that I can catch the Tibetan Buddhist Lama on his tour of Scotland is in Edinburgh, for a talk on clearing negative karma. The history of Yungdrung Bon Buddhism is mentioned, and again I feel this inexplicable resonance, a sense of recognition.

The gifts I receive are immense, immeasurable. Practically speaking, this takes the shape of being initiated into a mantra to clear negative karma. Experientially , energetically, personally it means more clearing of traumatic impressions left behind on my soul.

I’m a kinaesthetic learner, and if you give me a mantra in Tibetan, even if perfectly phonetically transcribed, it’s going to take me time and effort (and a lot of repetition) to learn. One evening is clearly not going to be enough.

So I respond to the call to practice coming in via email from the organiser next day. Expecting to attend the first day of a three-day-training event in Glasgow in order to practise the mantra that I had been given.

Instead, I am given the foundation teachings of Yungdrung Bon Buddhism and I take refuge. This is big, and I know it. The Lama points out how lucky we are: 90 percent of Tibetans (or some high percentage like that) have never had access to these powerful esoteric practices.

During the empowerment (or before, I can’t now be sure), Rinpoche points out that if received with a pure, devotional mind, one particular part of the initiation has the power to clear at least 50% of one’s negative karma. The aim of the path and these practices is Enlightenment, and human life is precious, he explains. (So let’s not waste it)

Devotion comes naturally to me, it is part of who I am. Perhaps a residue from my native Catholicism, or more deeply woven into the fabric of who I am. Or both.

And I do feel lighter.

Embodying Mindfulness

I have always had reservations about spiritual names. When my friend, after years of committing to Buddhist practice, came back from retreat with shorn hair, requesting I no longer call her Bernadette, I felt compelled to adjust; out of respect. And I got it: that this practice of taking on a new name can be both powerful and meaningful. But to me, when encountered more casually, it can also sometimes have a whiff of vanity about it.

So, I have never sought the opportunity to have a book signed (no need to put each other on a pedestal), and I have never wanted a spiritual name.

I am given one. It is the antithesis of where I am and where I have been for the last two or three years. An invitation to embody mindfulness. A tall order.

When I have been chronically overwhelmed, both with practical commitments, and with the experience of diving deep into my shadow. On a journey to becoming lighter, letting go of what no longer serves, the hidden stuff. At times barely conscious of what day-to-day everyday life requires of me, running most of my duties on auto-pilot (or also not, as the case may be).

Samten Lhamo. A challenge. Another gift.

Commitment

So what do I do with these gifts? They ask for commitment and practice in return.

An invitation to practice the foundation teachings arrived in my inbox this morning. (And practice I need, if I am ever going to learn anything in Tibetan!). What I am going to do?

My gut already knows the answer. I have been asking myself this question ever since, by life’s divine intervention, I accidentally (re)discovered Bon, a few weeks ago.

I accept the gifts I have been given with a deep sense of gratitude and I appreciate the help I have received on my way.

I honour and respect the teachings I received by committing more deeply , and yet again, to the path I am already on: Jikiden Reiki.

I see the value and beauty and truth of what I have been given, and return to where I am best aligned now: the simplicity of authentic reiki practice.

‘This Is Reiki’ by Frank Arjava Petter – a review


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‘This is Reiki, Transformation of Body, Mind and Soul, From The Origins To The Practice’ by Frank Arjava Petter (Lotus Press)

Review by Lorraine George

Books don’t usually come with a caution label, but this one should. Be prepared to: be mesmerized by the flow of words on a page; be warmed by Arjava’s passion for the subject; inhale the story of Reiki’s journey at the level of your soul; and most of all, lose track of time.

If you’ve met Arjava, you’ll recognize his voice. It’s as if he is sitting across the table, sipping a hot coffee, relating his delightful adventure into the Japanese world of Reiki. He introduces us to Usui Sensei’s ancestors, and gives us a peek into the original Reiki Ryoho Gakki. We travel in time from Usui Sensei’s birthplace to his memorial. We meet Hayashi Sensei and the Yamaguchi family. This is an up-dated…

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Hand Healing: Are you serious?


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“I am a traditionalist when it comes to medicine and although I had a vague idea about Reiki, it was not something that I particularly wanted to experience. Reiki to me meant vaguely hippy people with a faint whiff of 1960’s incense. Not so for Jikiden Reiki!”

A chance encounter with Jikiden Reiki practitioner Gisela Stewart persuaded Mags Fenner to give the method a try. Having fractured her spine in a riding accident, Mags had felt considerable pain relief from just 10 minutes of casual treatment at a networking meeting. Now curious about this incredibly simple Japanese hand healing system, she agreed to a course of treatments and found that the sessions not only helped with the physical pain, but also with the emotional trauma caused by the accident. “For me Gisela’s Jikiden Reiki treatments came along at just the right time. I believe that they dovetailed with my hydro and physiotherapy sessions to give me the ideal rehabilitation programme. In a perfect world, I would love to see Jikiden Reiki being included as an option for anyone involved in rehab, the benefits to me were clear and as tangible as those I received from physio.”

Meaning ‘direct teachings’, this purely Japanese approach to energy healing is free from western New Age influences and takes a practical, treatment focused approach. Practitioners learn to observe the body’s natural healing response by paying attention to the sensations they feel in their hands when touching the receiver’s body. This helps to identify the problem areas where treatment is needed most, and an experienced practitioner can make assessments as to whether they are dealing with an acute or chronic problem, and on the frequency and length of sessions needed to have the best chances of improvement.

“Jikiden Reiki provides a remarkably simple route to tapping into your body’s own healing ability using energy to accelerate its natural healing processes,” Gisela explains. “Wound healing is a great example, as you can literally watch the healing process being speeded up in front of your own eyes. I remember my daughter falling off her bicycle onto gravel and sustaining the kind of deep grazes along her spine that you know would turn green and seeping if you covered them up with a plaster, and would take at least a week, probably longer to begin to heal. Giving first aid Reiki treatment immediately, a crust had formed within half an hour. That’s all we did. In fact she then put on her T-shirt (no plasters needed), and went back out on her bike. The grazes were gone without a trace within the space of a week.”

This authentic form of Reiki healing has become available to Westerners through the Yamaguchi family. Tadao Yamaguchi, teaching in London and Edinburgh in September, has grown up with Reiki from childhood. Having seen conditions big and small improve with his mother’s and other family members’ healing skills –  including illnesses as serious as tuberculosis, which in his mother’s youth was thought of as incurable – Reiki to Mr Yamaguchi is as natural as water and air. He insists that even beginners can use energy healing successfully. Tadao sensei’s mother, Chiyoko Yamaguchi, who had learned the healing art from Chujiro Hayashi at the tender age of 17 and had practised on a daily basis for over 65 years, used to stress that the Reiki coming from her and the Reiki coming from you and me is the same energy, and that perhaps the only advantage an experienced practitioner has is that they may feel the body’s healing response a little more easily. Mr Yamaguchi emphasizes that with lots of practice, any practitioner can get to this level within half a year or so.

A big thanks to the Big Issue Scotland for first publishing my article in the 2013 Edinburgh Festival edition reaching thousands of readers. If even one or two are now curious about a healing modality that they may not have known much about or may not have previously considered, it will  have been worth the effort.

Things I love about Reiki #1

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In harmony with Nature

Things I love about Jikiden Reiki #1

No need for words: Whether you process your feelings by talking or in silence, Reiki can help


Reiki trip to Japan

Reiki works so well with very different personalities: those who have a need to talk through their experiences (who often gain considerable clarity with Reiki treatment), and those who choose to keep their inner landscape private. Importantly, Reiki works equally well for those people who prefer privacy, a way of processing feelings and experiences without going into or sharing their ‘story’. Over the years, I have worked with Reiki with a number of very ‘private’ clients, what a relief to them not to have to talk….and still come out so much lighter.

photo credit: Zlatica Retzler

Well, how Did I get into Reiki? Reiki Journey Part II


Japanese Water Garden (Jikiden Reiki trip to Japan)

Related reading: Well, how did I get into Reiki, part 1

I love it when every piece of the jigsaw fits. This is my experience with my Reiki practice. If you saw my cv, you’d be surprised at what may seem like a steep number of blind alleys and cul-de-sacs. Threads I’ve pursued for a while and then discarded. Or have I? The last thread before Reiki was particularly hard to let go of and cost me many tears. I was passionate about aspects of my research into Scottish Folklore at the School of Scottish Studies, and although if felt right to give it up for the sake of bringing up our children, this was a painful process that only feels complete now that I have made my peace with the fact that someone who could have given crucial support chose not to.

And with hindsight what a blessing that was, as the academic career I had dreamed of as a young woman would have deflected me from where I can perhaps contribute the most. When I first learned Reiki from one of the first  teachers in Scotland who had trained in Reiki in Japan (in a westernised form) in the 1980s, I instantly fell in love with this simple healing practice and had sometimes remarkable treatment experiences. So much so that my Reiki Master commented he thought that with Reiki I had really hit on my path. Eight years later this feels more true than ever. My first Reiki teacher having gone abroad soon after teaching me the first two levels, I was then left looking out for a new Reiki Master, someone who I could fully trust to take the next step into the unknown with, as Reiki in its Western incarnation seemed a little mysterious to me and I had not yet found its more down-to-earth Japanese counterpart. A year or so of fortnightly meetings (I cannot be sure now, all I remember for certain is that I became a Western Reiki Master in early 2006) taught me to fully open my mind and my heart.

While I loved Reiki practice and had good experiences, I always keenly sensed what seemed to me like inconsistencies and contradictions in Reiki as it has become so well known in the West. And most of all, I longed for more insight into the Japanese roots of the practice, and as soon as I realised that these had just become accessible to Westerners through the Yamaguchi family, I jumped at the first opportunity that presented itself to train with Tadao Yamaguchi in Duesseldorf in 2006. And almost everything else that I have done or experienced before my encounter with Jikiden Reiki, be it teaching, journalism, media studies, exhibition interpretation, research, my family background or my psychological wiring all seem to come together to support me on my mission to make Japanese Reiki more accessible to the public. Even my early fascination with theorists such as Walter Benjamin or artists such as Brecht and Eisenstein comes in handy now, as I feel that their theories on building context from fragments have helped me grasp the potential of social media quickly and easily.

It’s not at all that it’s always been easy or that it is always easy now. Rather it is the deeply anchored sense that I am exactly where I want to be that sustains me in times when many people appreciate what I do as well as in those when it seems as if noone else cared. It simply does not matter, and when temporarily the going has been tough there is always my inner knowing that with Reiki I am on a path that is right for me.

Frank Arjava Petter’s workshop in Edinburgh

The incredible strength that comes with being aligned with a meaningful purpose, for me (and using me to demonstrate), was beautifully illustrated by an exercise we did last week-end at Frank Arjava Petter’s Japanese Reiki techniques workshop.

Or, in the words of the Dalai Lama: “When you do what you love, synchronicity starts happening. And because you enjoy what you’re doing, there’s less need to give up when your expectations aren’t met straight away. You have the will and the faith to keep going.” The lesson I learned from organising this particular workshop is that when I let go and trust, things fall into place as if by themselves.

View some photos of the workshop with Frank Arjava Petter here

Related reading: Well, how did I get into Reiki, part 1

Photo credit: Jikiden Reiki practitioner Zlatica Retzler (many thanks!)

Is Reiki physical or spiritual? Guest blog by Amanda Jayne


Shinto spiritualityPeople often ask if Jikiden Reiki is a physical or a spiritual treatment. My answer is that it is primarily a physical treatment, used on the body to enrich and empower the body’s innate natural healing wisdom. However, as with all things in life, it cannot be separated from the whole. When practicing Jikiden Reiki, each person places his or her hands on and energy flows into the body, enhancing healing by helping the body to eliminate the build up of toxins – usually quite fast. The primary emphasis is on practical physical treatment, though there is also an effective psychological treatment – Sei Heki – used to help with fears, habits or anxieties that people want to let go of. Continue reading

Tadao Yamaguchi speaks in Edinburgh!


You’ve heard about Reiki, and want to know more about this simple,yet effective energy healing modality. You’ve trained in Reiki, but found some of the information confusing or contradictory. Perhaps you are a medical or care professional open to holistic ways of bringing about health? Continue reading

Stop, and do Reiki!


In Jikiden Reiki, we teach a special technique used only for First Aid: cuts, grazes, bruises, sprains and even burns. It works beautifully and tends to get fast, clean healing results. The bleeding stops more quickly, and sometimes you can literally watch the blood congeal and a crust form in front of your eyes. It’s as if watching the healing process through a time-lapse camera. As a mother, I have plenty of personal experience here using Reiki to deal with the countless scrapes and grazes that come with early childhood. Continue reading