Cincinnati Reiki Retreat 2015

Cincinnati Retreat 2015

Cincinnati Retreat 2015

Lightning never harms the clouds.
Only when you cling or resist do you provide a target to strike.
Be like space; become formless and invincible.

For the last four years (although it seems much longer), I’ve been fortunate enough to learn/practice/train in a inward-meditative focused approach to Usui Reiki Ryoho via IHReiki’s Frans Stiene in Cincinnati, Ohio. It all started with a chance encounter with the Reiki Sourcebook and (now At that time, I was already practicing and teaching Reiki for a few years, trained in modern Reiki methods at a number of different venues (four or five depending how you count).

Despite all that training, I still wanted a bit more “clarity” about of this seemingly magical healing practice; credibility and legitimacy was/still is important. Maybe I could find what I was looking for in “Traditional Reiki”?

I’d heard of “Traditional Reiki” before, and thoroughly read Maureen Kelly’s book on “Reiki and the Healing Buddha”. I was very surprised and interested in that book and briefly considered visiting the author in Australia. I thought if I wanted to train in “traditional Reiki” I’d have to save money and go to Japan or Australia or something. Unfortunately, Ms. Kelly had passed on before I had the chance. Also, such a trip just wasn’t possible at that time in my life.

In the meanwhile, I reverted back to my usual approach of reading books and soaking up whatever info I could. One day, during one random Reiki search, I happened upon a few pages of the Reiki Sourcebook via Google Books. Eventually I found The Reiki Sourcebook, (Revised edition) on Amazon and summarily read the text from cover to cover in a matter of days. The “ah-ha” moments and resultant questions / curiosity were innumerable. I finally had words and concepts for experiences I’d had but didn’t know what to make of (for example, stumbling upon a Gassho meditation version of seishin toitsu).

Near the end of the book I found the authors had a website; (now After reading a few pages on the old IHReiki site, I realized something was different about it all; something more realistic, less “woo-woo” and yet still Reiki all the same.

Later, I realized that one of the authors teaches around the world, including the US. My interest and excitement was definitely piqued. Initially, I reached out to the Chicago organizer looking to attend one of the classes there. For reasons I’ve learned better than to question, that class didn’t work out. Thankfully, that organizer pointed me south toward Cincinnati. In a way, it way all uphill and downhill from there.

I’d never gone that far south in my life. All of the (endless Ohio) farmland was very foreign to me. I knew I’d definitely traveled south when I’d heard some of my classmates’ slight yet distinctive and charming Kentucky/Tennessee border accents.

Frans Stiene

Frans Stiene

After the first meeting (public talk) at the New Thought Unity Center, I felt something was quite different about the whole experience. These folks were normal – warm, welcoming, and…real? Honestly, after the previous 4-5 different Reiki seminars and practicing with some people, I’d come to expect the usual new-age-y stereotypes. While there were definitely a few adoringly eccentric personalities, I didn’t feel that same “weird factor”. Maybe the Borg fully assimilated me…?

Anyhow, little did I know I’d be laughing, learning, practicing, growing and just Being with these people (my new family) for the next few years.

Fast forward to 4 years later 2015 and to my 5th time training/practicing with Frans and the Cincinnati Reiki group; I’m still falling down the rabbit hole.

This year’s gathering was (as usual) like a family reunion; old faces, new faces, missing faces, life changes, etc. In a way, this sense of familiarity is what made this year’s event so special. It’s amazing how you can be apart from someone for a year and catch up like you’ve only been gone a week.

Speaking specifically about this year’s meditation retreat, I feel like I continually had a “confirmation” of sorts; that my earnest practice is definitely having an effect. Embodying the practice (precepts, meditations, etc.) is a daily and very gradual shift. This shift is so subtle you may miss it. Thankfully we can see each other, help one another, and play as “mirrors” so to speak.

On a more practical note, I’ve finally learned how to let go, relax on the note taking, and to simply practice. This is a big shift from years ago when I believed the more notes the better. Subconsciously I believed there was some sort of “magic formula” and how you must transmit and practice exactly as shown. Basically I was a bit stiff. Thankfully Frans is well aware of this and knows how to shake things up (to say the least). Frans’ totally clear, light-hearted, and unique approach allows us to be both human with regular issues, yet learn how to grow beyond it. Nothing fake or spiritually stiff (overly pious) about it. Yet totally honest and rooted with honest compassion.

This perspective and understanding allows me to appreciate the value and place of experiential growth. Experience is a much stronger pointer to Being Truth than any note on paper can point to.

Transfiguration Spirituality Center

Transfiguration Spirituality Center

As this was a meditation retreat, we worked on all sorts of meditations /practices with a general emphasis on developing and/or growing with our kokoro (heart/mind). Examples included:

  • Sitting meditations, moving meditation, sitting/moving meditations.
  • Partner practice, group practice, individual practice.
  • Hands-on healing, breathing, moving, chanting.
  • Love, laughter, and a bit of chocolate in-between.

Having approached so many practices left me a bit confused. Once again I slipped back toward previous thinking, trying to understand a formula or method to this madness. I think I asked the same question 3 different ways on 3 different days. By the end, only after giving up and not seeking the answer did the answer become apparent.

Though and by practicing with these various methods, we allowed a full range of flexibility in practice while mainlining a firmness in the development of the mind and body. The tools or methods are simply that, tools. The practice itself is the most important part.

By letting go, with no expectations, and just being, you invite the universe, radiate the universe, and simply are the universe. With no-mind, the mind can remember its truth; its original, limitless, bright nature. From here there is a dynamic stillness. A full emptiness. A healing beyond sickness and health.

A great example of this universal harmony / dichotomy was after the “formal” practice session during an outside chat. Suddenly, mid-conversation I noticed the universe in the trees.

Cincinnati-Retreat-2015-03Seeing fireflies light up the night’s trees
Like shining stars in the universe of me

While I can get all airy-fairy about visions and write an inspirational poem, it was actually very simple. The trees were dark and the innumerable lighting-bugs in the trees looked like stars in a clear night sky.

Despite my cognition of this fact, the powerful symbology in this observation (universe on Earth) reaffirmed my appreciation for nature and confirmed the depth of the wisdom and clarity these practices offer.

Being able to share, learn, grow and practice in a welcoming environment is very important and has helped me grow immensely. Understanding the value of such motivates me to share and provide practice environments for others who may wish to grow in similar ways.

Usually, near the end of these trips I feel a bit sad; we’ve been socially trained to (grasp) understand saying goodbye as a painful and difficult thing. However, this year I really didn’t have much of that. In one way, you could say we are never really apart. This may initially seem like whimsical thinking, but practice long enough and you’ll feel / see / know how real this is.

When you learn to let go of “you”, life is able to flow freely without restriction. When you learn to live fully and let go, the stress of change evaporates. Consciously knowing and experiencing the stream of life allows you to understand the preciousness of each moment life and how to give it its due respect.

Lightning never harms the clouds. Only when you cling or resist do you provide a target to strike. Be like space; become formless and invincible.

I’m learning just how true this is, more and more, each day both in body (Ki flow) and mind (Ki flow). Ki really is life if you look at it that way. Reiki is just simply acknowledging the sacredness inherent in life, both in ourselves and everywhere else (no difference). An honest method of inviting many blessings indeed.