Q. Can you please tell us a little about yourself and how you started on your Reiki journey?
I was working as an expatriate in Hongkong. When I was 37 years old, I had a personal crisis. My wife gave me a Reiki treatment which I received full of skepticism, but it was so powerful that consequently both my wife and I became Reiki Masters in 1992. We have been professional Reiki Teachers since then.
Q. How has Reiki affected your life?
Even as a teenager, I had an inner knowing that one day I will do something “different”. But first, I had to pursue a career. What “different” meant started to reveal itself with the first Reiki treatment I received. In short: Reiki, and more precisely, initiating people to Reiki became the very core of my being.
Q. Who did you train with, and how long have you been teaching?
I trained with John and Esther Veltheim, and have been teaching full-time since 1992, for 21 years.
Q. How would you explain Reiki – is it a spiritual practice, energy healing or something else?
All three – and most of all the latter, ie. something else; proverbially as an expression of wonderment as well as literally because Reiki transcends the confinement of labeling.
Reiki’s foremost value lies in its holistic effectiveness. So in one person Reiki can have a predominantly “spiritual” and in another a more physical impact.
The regular treatment of oneself – often initially motivated by a physical or psychological ailment – can become a spiritual practice. Dr. Usui’s 5 precepts bring the question of what Reiki means to the individual Reiki practitioner into focus. He or she then individually answers the question.
Q. What makes Reiki different from other forms of energy healing (like Qi Kung / TT / Pranic Healing)?
“Energy” methods I understand to deal with Ki, which of course exists in many different forms. Maybe the most obvious and simplest energy method is a simple caress. We all know how pleasing, soothing and ultimately healing the gentle touch with a hand is. We also know how this same hand can slap and how that stings. The Shaolin monks can direct their Energy for healing purposes or they could use them to kill, too. This shows that such energies can be directed for a given purpose. And that is exactly how Reiki differs from “energies” in the traditional sense. We cannot stir Reiki to a purpose which we choose. Reiki has its own mind, so to speak. That is where the “Rei” comes into the picture. “Rei” in the sense of “essence” or the more contemporary term “the field”, “matrix” or “subatomic world”.
Q. What is the most misunderstood thing about Reiki in your opinion?
The characteristic of Reiki whereby we can neither harness nor harvest Reiki, that it transcends our influence and our comprehension, that when applied it works mostly on a causal plane unknown and invisible to us, all that makes Reiki so difficult to understand. It is almost contrary to human nature to control and heal in the sense of removing symptoms.
And that to me is what makes Reiki so exciting. Haven’t aspects of what we describe as human nature been so detrimental in the past for our and the planet’s health? And isn’t it high time to add to well tested and tried strategies of the past with a few new ones? In what appears as a paradox in Reiki, holds to me the promise of solution, salvation even.
Q. What really happens in an attunement?
I like to differentiate between Initiation and Attunement even though both aspects are part and parcel of one and the same process.
Attunement / Initiation is the procedure a Reiki Master applies when introducing his client to Reiki. On various levels of the client’s existence this creates a “shift” or an “expansion of the person’s energy field”. This basically sets up the system; I call it Initiation. Additionally the hands are activated so that the Reiki can flow once they get in touch with disharmony; I call it Attunement.
In modern terminology, one can say that the Reiki Master downloads a software. The Reiki flow by touch is the application.
I would need to delve much deeper to try and explain what really happens in an attunement – instead let me emphasize that Initiation is much more than merely “switching” on the Reiki in ones hands. It is a spiritual gift of great karmic relevance, even if the person never once practices the Reiki thereafter.
Q. As a Reiki Master, what was the most challenging question posed to you by your student, and how did you answer it?
Remember you had a class-clown in your school? Normally a boy in the last row always cracking jokes.
The situation: 300 students between 14-16 years old. The evening before, most had been at a party. For the last 30 minutes before their summer vacation they had to listen to my Reiki introduction. It was late and wanted nothing else but the long-awaited bell. At the very back a boy raised his hand: “Sir, can Reiki change one’s sexual orientation?”
The crowd roared with laughter. Before I could answer the bell rang. I was greatly relieved.
(To my surprise about 20 students came to listen to my answer “no, but Reiki will help you to live with it”, and including one Indian girl whom I remember fondly who wanted to know about Reiki and spirituality.)
Q. Can you share with us your most unforgettable experience concerning Reiki?
As a Reiki Master it is the Initiation which is the most breathtaking experience in my practice. Like I said Initiation is a spiritual gift – not only for the one receiving it but also for the one giving it. As such, it would be almost unseemly to put one experience above others. But the truth is there are some which stand out. The Initiation of a mentally and physically handicapped man, for example. Or of my own mother. If I had to choose one then it would be the Initiation of a nun in a nunnery, where I was ‘smuggled’ into against the order of sister superior. The nun was rather old and had not left the monastery in decades. She was mentally completely alert. She also knew that she was dying soon. We met in a tiny office where I assumed we would do the Initiation. But no, she had prepared the chapel and wanted to have it done in front of the symbols of her faith. Many years later and quite by coincidence I found out that she belonged to the same order as the nuns in charge of the home of mid-wives where I was born.
Q. What do you hope to see change for Reiki in the next five to ten years?
The current Zeitgeist seems to favor “quick fix and back to business as usual”. While emphatically navigating through the here and now, I hope that Reiki practitioners find whatever strength, courage, trust and confidence they need to stand tall for something which appears(!) to take time, is beyond our comprehension and influence, so as to allow a future completely new and different from anything we believe we know.