Reiki is not a Religion

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People often ask me if Reiki is a religion. This is not only a valid question, but also a very important one.

Since the question comes up so often, I thought I’d write an article about it.

Dear friends, Reiki is not a religion. However, it is most definitely yes a spiritual path.

And what is the difference between religion and a spiritual path, you ask?

Good question.

Let me tell you a story. I was raised in a strict religious family. My grandfather was the pastor of our Presbyterian church and my mother the director of the choir. I was sent to strict Christian schools from preschool all the way through high school.

One word that aptly summarizes my upbringing is: oppressive. Religion was my life, and religion was all there was, but religion rarely brought me any comfort. In fact, religion usually brought me the opposite. Religion usually presented me with endless opportunities to judge and hate myself. The God I was offered by my grandfather and school teachers was a stern God, a God full of anger, jealousy, and even vengeance.

Though I couldn’t have articulated it in this way back then, the God I was offered in my childhood was not inspiring. In fact, he was not even particularly loving. The God I was taught was, actually, kind of a jerk!

In my experience, religion is about fearing and trying to appease some big, powerful entity outside of ourselves. Some sort of bearded wise man in the sky. Supposedly, that entity is more awesome than we are—in comparison, we humans are supposedly mostly rubbish: flawed, sinful, innately corrupt. We are bad. God is good. Or so goes the logic.

As I was growing up, I was taught that I should do good deeds in order to receive later reward, in heaven, after the death of my body. I was also taught that the resources of the planet all “belonged” to me and other humans. I was taught humanity was the center of all life. I was taught that animals had no souls and that the most important kind of creature that existed on the planet was human beings: those who had rightful “dominion” over all other creatures. I was taught that anything that deviated from heterosexual monogamy was evil, and I was taught that women who used their voices too much were suspect. I was taught that it was “of the devil” to read tarot cards, have sex outside of marriage, or adore nature.

In the traditional, conservative, monotheistic religions (especially the Abrahamic religions), there tends to be a kind of moral superiority: our way is the “best” way; our way is the “only” way. And these religions compete with each other for dominance: this ranges from heated debate to the bloodiest of wars and genocide.

In my experience, traditional religion can be categorized as the philosophical mode of the old paradigm. It is simply the limited human mind trying to comprehend something as numinous as the Universe. It is the old way. It is the darkness, groping toward the light.

While traditional religion requires us to defer to an outside force, to a kind of stern cosmic parental figure, spirituality on the other hand asks us to take responsibility for our own lives. There is nothing on the outside that will lead us to salvation or guide us to peace. There is no savior but ourselves. Everything, every single thing we need for our journey is located on the inside.

Life is an inside journey.

Spirituality is a way of approaching our life experience with an open, compassionate heart. Spirituality is being curious about and willing to learn the wisdom traditions of other cultures across the globe. Human beings, in their myriad forms, are seen as beautiful expressions of the Divine.

Indeed, spirituality is vastly different from religion.

Spirituality is a way of approaching our daily lives with the wisdom that comes from living in the present moment. We don’t do certain things in order to receive some future reward. No. Life is all about living in the now, with as much love, peace, and compassion as we can muster—and not because we “must” or “should” …but because to live this way feels more wonderful.

On a spiritual path, we are internally guided. There is no bearded father-figure in the sky who passes down commandments we must follow. In fact, if we immerse ourselves in the present moment, if we immerse ourselves in the beauty of this moment of life, we find there is no external “God” at all.

What we find on a spiritual path is extraordinary, revolutionary, truly amazing. We find that we are that which we have been seeking.

There is nothing outside of us to search for. God dwells within. In fact, we are God. God is us.

The practice of Reiki is certainly not a religion. Rather, Reiki is a spiritual path. A way of awakening.

Through Reiki, we feel the energy of life flowing through our hands. We feel that because there is such power in the hands, that there must be infinite power everywhere else, too. Surely Earth is a good place, full of good people. We feel happy to be alive. We feel light.

When new clients come to me and ask, in worried tones, “Is Reiki a religion?” I totally understand their concern. I empathize with their worry. They don’t want to get tangled up in an old system that they’ve worked so hard to break free from. As someone who has spent many years de-conditioning herself from all the Sunday sermons, I have great empathy for those who fear walking back into something that requires trust in what is unseen.

Many of us who have fled religious upbringings have turned to the rational mind, to intellectualism, to the University, to systems of science and logic. That may be the arena that feels safest at that point. However, after awhile, many people begin to feel that something is missing.

Although religion has been, in many ways, quite a harmful force on the planet (the cause of much hatred, vindictiveness, and bloodshed), what religion did do (and does do) well is that it inspires people to open their hearts beyond their limited perceptions. It inspires them to feel deeply. It inspires them to hope, to dream, and to love. This is religion’s power. And many of us who have turned away from religion eventually find ourselves circling back—but, this time, from greater awareness of what it is we are indeed seeking.

When we receive or give a Reiki healing session, what we are seeking is not a “God” outside ourselves, but the God within. What we are seeking is empowerment, self-love, and a sense of magic in our everyday lives.

No, Reiki is not a religion. It is, rather, a very deep, profound spiritual path. A way of waking up.

As more of us wake up on this planet, paths like Reiki will become more and more widespread, as we seek to heal ourselves from the limitations and disappointments of religion, boldly stepping into the power of the present moment, and building a human future that looks nothing like we’ve ever seen before.

That time has indeed come.

Tarot for the Soul ~ week of May 22, 2017

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Welcome to your weekly Tarot for the Soul reading!

If you have been guided to this reading, then you are in the right place, my friend. This reading is meant for you.

As always, I have drawn two cards from my Osho Zen Tarot deck, offering you guidance for your week ahead.

The first card represents the gifts that will be showered upon you this week by the Universe/Spirit/God (whatever you want to call your higher power). We always have gifts being delivered to us—spiritual mastery lies in slowing down enough to be able to recognize them and cultivate gratitude. Our soul longs to say “thank you,” and, so, by taking a moment to give thanks, we generate more positive energy so that more and more gifts may manifest in the future!

The second card represents your areas for growth this week. Remember: there is no life without challenge…no light without dark, no yin without yang. Life in human form is a mixed bag of circumstances and lessons. It is in our highest wisdom to recognize and embrace all aspects, even the ones that are painful. Our soul needs challenges in order to grow and learn. So, stand and face these growth opportunities with an open, courageous, loving heart.


 

~ YOUR READING ~

WEEK OF MAY 22, 2017

 

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GIFTS:

 

Dear friends, this week I have drawn the Flowering card (queen of rainbows).WP_20170514_002

This card represents a beautiful occurrence that has manifested after a time of great patience. It represents a mountaintop moment, a moment a bliss, a moment where the clouds part and the sun shines through so brilliantly. At this flowering moment, words seem to fail and all you can do is FEEL.

This card points to an accomplishment, promotion, or advancement that takes place in the physical world of form. It could be in the area of finances, career, or a personal project. A seed you planted is now ready to blossom.

When you feel the beauty of this moment, breathe deeply. Life in human form may not always, as you know, feel quite so magical. Take some time to savor this. Remember to lift your hands in thanks. And, most importantly, share the abundance and the joy you feel with others! Spread your love around, like the wind! Help others to savor the flowering fragrance in the air.

 

GROWTH:

I have chosen “The Source” card (ace of fire)photo_Fire Ace

This week, your challenge is learning how to let go. (This is a continuation from the lessons you learned from last week, with the no-thingness card.)

This week you will be challenged regarding how to let go of the part of you that falsely imagines it “knows” all things.

This week, you will be presented with the opportunity to release some of your ego. In particular, there is an arrogant and judgmental/critical aspect to your earthly personality that is ready to be released.

Dear friend, please understand that there are higher wisdoms than the wisdoms that we can fathom. There are realms of bliss and light outside of what the human brain can comprehend. From these realms, love shines down into our realm. Wisdom enters, through the heart.

There are beings—angels, guides, ascended masters—and others who dwell in permanent connection to Source wisdom. These beings have much to share with us—if only we will allow them to. If only we can be brave enough to receive.

Indeed, it is so important for us this week to be able to admit: “I am open to the wisdom of higher realms.”

Please note that when I speak of “higher realms,” I am not doing so in a framework of judgment or blame or hierarchy. The higher realms do not look upon the lower realms with disdain. Another way of speaking about what I am speaking about is to say that there are realms with beings who are more evolved than we are. Just like a human being has more complex wisdom than a squirrel, so too do the higher realms have more wisdom than the normal mundane wisdom of this planet. There’s no judgment in this.

In fact, when we speak of more “evolved,” we also, simultaneously, speak of “more love.” More wisdom means more love. More love means more wisdom. The two always go hand in hand. Always.

Therefore, it’s safe to let down your guard, drop your shields, and relax into your heart-space and consciously open yourself up to the Source wisdom that wants to grace your life this week. Set the intention to be humble, open, and ready. Be ready for the wisdom. Be ready for the love.


 

Dear friends, I’ve enjoyed connecting with you through this reading. You are all so beautiful.

If you found this reading helpful, please let me know in the comment section below. I want to hear from you!

May you be blessed.
May you be abundant.
May you shine your radiant light.

And so it is.

 

Sending All My Love,

Anya Light

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Please click here to schedule your private reading with me! 

Living in the Breath: A Meditation of Divine Consciousness

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About the Practice

All is one. Each of us is a unique embodiment of One Consciousness which is the first cause and from which all of creation flows. The dance and dancer are not separate, just diverse expressions of the whole. The wave and ocean are not separate or divided, but both aspects of the same fluid essence.

Within the absolute, there is no division and no separation. Within the realm of the absolute all is one, all is whole and all is united. The essence of infinite pure being, pure awareness, pure presence, pure consciousness in expression constitutes the whole of un-manifested and manifested creation.

Non-existence or non-being is not an experience which can be known or realized. Therefore, it doesn’t exist except within the perceived absence of awareness. There is no such existence that all-encompassing consciousness truly isn’t, so the concept of actual death is merely an illusion we’ve temporarily bought into. How can we come to know our self completely until we’ve perceived what is seemingly not-self? All experiences in our life form the journey to know and express our authentic self.

Going inward, we’ll find presence, awareness, pure being. When we look for and seek this treasure outside of our self we may temporarily feel comfortable but always end up feeling emotionally chaotic, agonized, pained, and like life is a struggle. We can never be truly separate, but sometimes it may feel that way when we are, seemingly, looking in the wrong direction. Seeking the greatest treasure outside of our self creates pain and struggle, while going within brings peace and harmony.

Aligning with our authentic whole self regularly until the point of becoming one with pure being, pure presence, absolute awareness as a constant state, is what is commonly called enlightenment or self-realization.

When we awaken to our infinite nature that resides within we have access to the force that breathes life into all of creation. By giving birth to our authentic self, we allow our physical form innate connection to infinite divinity expression. To express from our inherently divine nature each moment is what the mystics term self-actualization. We each have a connection to the force that creates worlds within our very own being. When we allow that alignment and express from that awareness, we will start to create a life beyond our wildest dreams!

How to do the Practice

Part One

Close your eyes, breathe deeply, having all the attention of your focus on your breathing; focus only on the movement of energy flowing in and out.

Allow all thoughts to come and go, but always bring your focus back to here and now, completely following your every breath.

When breathing in, allow your focus to follow the energy and breath coming into your being. Then on the out-breath allow your focus to follow the energy outward, allowing yourself to relax and surrendering your whole being, your body and mind to this very experience.

With each breath, allow your being to be more and more relaxed.

Each breath is a perfect expression of both yin and yang, allowing all naturally. Any forcing, trying or effort occurring should be relaxed by the focus of your out-breath. It is a natural flow, not an efforting practice.

The energetic aspects of this practice are allowing, being, surrendering, flowing, easing, relaxing and contentment. All thoughts within the mind should be allowed, but come back to your breath each time you realize you are thinking or following a train of thought.

Allow all the attention of your focus to be on breathing, relaxing your whole being and slowing your mind and thoughts.

 Part Two

When the thoughts have slowed completely down to the point of dissolving and you are very relaxed, release all focus entirely and just reside within the expansion of pure creative potentiality; allowing yourself to be the observer of all, attached to none.

Letting go of all control, force, and focus, we surrender to the expansive space of pure presence.

By not consciously directing our focus, we allow it to expand. No longer direct your awareness, just completely allow it its own direction.

Just be, not dictating anything, letting go of all.

You are no longer your body, but your body is the physical vessel contained within you. You are no longer the thinker of the thoughts, but thoughts are allowed and observed through this space of presence that is the essence of who you really are. It is no longer the processes of your being that you identify as, but the infinitely creative essence, the peace and the eternal awareness beyond all form, which you really are.

The pure presence of absolute awareness is the complete consciousness that you really exist as. Be that. Allow that. Honor that. Enjoy that.

Part Three

Now bring that awareness and pure presence of your authentic being fully into your physical vessel, as you live your daily life.

Feel your body. Feel through your senses. Experience what your sight shows you in your current view.

Allow your self to be aware of your experience without analyzing it; without thinking about it or dissecting it. Just allow it to be without judgment.

Experience the physical sensations you are currently feeling on or within your body. What sensations do you feel through touch? Maybe a whispering tickle on your head or something within your hands or on your fingers? Don’t think about or label everything, just allow it to be as it is. Just experience it, just feel it; feeling it purely without analyzing any of it.

Allow yourself to listen to the sounds you hear. Experience the sounds within this moment. Experience all the smells and tastes. Purely feel all the bodily sensations; allowing all sensations to really captivate your now moment experience.

Living fully is to experience without analyzing, labeling, judging and dissecting. It is what’s termed as living in the moment; divinity expressing in physicality.

We are bridging the gap between our meditative state and our everyday life, which is usually called walking or waking meditation. By embracing each and every moment fully, we truly live life as it’s meant to be.

Being present means we are fully aware and embrace our physical experience, but that we are not identifying with our thoughts. There is no psychological attachment to that which our mind perceives. We are purely living; we are thriving. We are living purely by feeling through our heart and feeling through our body’s senses.

Focusing on our breath, relaxing into now and letting everything go; letting everything just be, completely content as things are, in the still quiet space within, surrendering all focus, control and force, allowing our awareness to expand exponentially to encompass the all-pervasive energy of being, and residing within this infinitely creative space is to align with absolute awareness.

When we allow that space to be where we reside while engaging in life, we are expressing as pure presence and are fully ‘in the moment’. When we commune with nature we are connecting to this same essence, which is the foundation of all.

Being fully in the moment is to live in alignment with the realm of infinite wisdom. There is no question here, no doubt, fear, analyzing, labels, or identification with our mind and thoughts.

When we are seeing from the perspective of our inner heart space, we’re seeing from the perspective of divine consciousness.

headshot_Anna Horst

 

Anna Horst is Creator, Energetic Empress, Psycho-Spiritual Consultant, & Empowerment Adviser at ConsciousManifesting.com

Tarot for the Soul ~ week of May 15, 2017

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Welcome to your weekly Tarot for the Soul reading!

If you have been guided to this reading, then you are in the right place, my friend. This reading is meant for you.

As always, I have drawn two cards from my Osho Zen Tarot deck, offering you guidance for your week ahead.

The first card represents the gifts that will be showered upon you this week by the Universe/Spirit/God (whatever you want to call your higher power). We always have gifts being delivered to us—spiritual mastery lies in slowing down enough to be able to recognize them and cultivate gratitude. Our soul longs to say “thank you,” and, so, by taking a moment to give thanks, we generate more positive energy so that more and more gifts may manifest in the future!

The second card represents your areas for growth this week. Remember: there is no life without challenge…no light without dark, no yin without yang. Life in human form is a mixed bag of circumstances and lessons. It is in our highest wisdom to recognize and embrace all aspects, even the ones that are painful. Our soul needs challenges in order to grow and learn. So, stand and face these growth opportunities with an open, courageous, loving heart.


 

~ YOUR READING ~

WEEK OF MAY 15, 2017

 

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GIFTS:

 

This is going to be a deeply spiritual week for you, dear friend, as I have drawn the No-thingness card (V of Major Arcana).unnamed (1)

This week you will feel the pressure of your Small Self (the part of you that is ruled by the ego) release into moments where you feel you are dissolving into nothing at all. Empty. Blank. The void. A clear space of nothing. You will feel totally calm and free. You will feel boundless: a part of everything and yet nothing at all.

This will happen outside of your meditation practice, outside of any formal spiritual practice that you do. It will rise up and naturally occur on its beautiful own. Watch for it. When it happens, do not cling to anything. Feel free to sit as long as you like, eyes open or closed, and simply feeling the space where there is only space. Drop your To Do list, and don’t move to do this or that. Don’t answer the phone; don’t pretend something is more important than This.

When the ego is dissolved, fear is healed. And when fear is healed, you can then enter the world with a residual glow from that experience. Others can sense it. You have a certain twinkle in your eye. You have a certain light.  A certain freedom.

 

GROWTH:

This week, your challenge will be to grow past some outdated tendencies. I have drawn The Miser card (4 of rainbows).unnamed (3)

During this week, you will feel an abundance of blessings pouring in, and you will be faced with a choice: Do I share, or do I hoard? Do I give freely, or do I cling?

The tendency to want to squirrel away happy feelings, material abundance, energy, or wisdom is a natural human impulse. However, this week, through your gift of No-thingness, you are moving, more and more, beyond the human realm. You are transcending the “normal,” the everyday, the common, the accepted.

This week, you are being asked by the Universe to share more with others. Serve more. Go out, in little ways and big ways, and serve your community, your family, your friends, and even strangers in shops and on streets. (Maybe especially strangers in shops and on streets!)

You have an abundance of wisdom, love, compassion, wealth, and kindness to share. You are an Infinite source of blessings to be shared.

Can you bless others? Can you take the time to forget yourself, and simply serve, without condition?

Selfless service is doing for others without thoughts of return. It is expanding the circle of love outside yourself simply because it feels good to do so.

You know that in order for this world to heal, you must first offer the world the healing that has been bestowed upon your own heart. You must share what you have learned, all you have received. And you have learned so much!

When we serve, our own gifts are multiplied. This is a law of the universe.

So, this week, the Miser card challenges you to open your heart and move beyond the miser mindset. Get out of your own little box and move into the wider expanse of our broader human family, seeing every face as a different version of yourself. Seeing every heart the possible recipient for your own deep love.


 

Dear ones, these are your gifts and your areas for growth this week. If you liked this reading or found it helpful, please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

May you be blessed. May you be abundant. May you shine your radiant light.

And so it is.

 

Sending All My Love,

Anya Light

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Please click here to schedule your private reading with me! 

Tarot for the Soul ~ week of May 8, 2017

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Welcome to your weekly Tarot for the Soul reading!

If you have been guided to this reading, then you are in the right place. This reading is meant for you, dear one.

As always, I have drawn two cards from my Osho Zen Tarot deck, offering you guidance for your week ahead.

The first card represents the gifts that will be showered upon you this week by the Universe/Spirit/God (whatever you want to call your higher power). We always have gifts being delivered to us—spiritual mastery lies in slowing down enough to be able to recognize them and cultivate gratitude. Our soul longs to say “thank you,” and, so, by taking a moment to give thanks, we generate more positive energy so that more and more gifts may manifest in the future!

The second card represents your areas for growth this week. Remember: there is no life without challenge…no light without dark, no yin without yang. Life in human form is a mixed bag of circumstances and lessons. It is in our highest wisdom to recognize and embrace all aspects, even the ones that are painful. Our soul needs challenges in order to grow and learn. So, stand and face these growth opportunities with an open, courageous, loving heart.


~ YOUR READING ~

WEEK OF MAY 8, 2017

 

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GIFTS:

This week I have been guided to the Conditioning card (XV Major Arcana).WP_20170429_003

This week you will be able to see more clearly all the ways you have been conditioned by society to believe you are worthless, small, helpless, needy, fragile. You will be shown, through synchronistic events and through the voice of your own intuition, lessons about your own power, and how that power directly contradicts with the false voice of society.

In the picture on this card, you see a lion who has lost his way. He believes he is a sheep. He lives among the sheep, and he even has one tied to his paws, which he carries upon his back. His load is heavy. See the look of sadness upon his face.

As this week unfolds, your higher power wants you to see how there is an ever-widening contrast between how you used to regularly feel and how you tend to feel now. You used to be the sad lion…but now you are, in general, happier. You have a sense of joy that you did not have before; a sense of deep peace and acceptance. This is because you are following your inner guidance. You know, more and more, who you truly are. You are able to experience your own truths rather than listen to the dictates of a sick society.

As you wake up to the false truths you’ve been taught, as you wake up out of the false conditioning, you move away from the sheep and realize the lion within.

Welcome this week with open arms, as you thank your Creator/Spirit/Angels (your higher power) for the blessings of clearer vision and a more open, receptive heart. Take some time this week to congratulate yourself for how far you’ve come. It’s truly remarkable!

 

GROWTH:

This week is the week of Integration (XIV Major Arcana). WP_20170429_001

Before I discuss this particular card’s meaning, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that, this week, I’ve drawn two cards from the Major Arcana. Thus, it is certain that this week will be particularly loaded with opportunities for spiritual growth. This growth may feel quite intense at times, but do not fear, do not worry. Simply notice the worried thoughts that tend to enter your mind, and, once you notice them, simply let them go. Release them like a balloon into the wind. Clear the negative self-talk out of your mind, clear the doubts, the hesitations, the critical thoughts, and, simply, return to the present moment of now.

This week is all about the realization that life is more magical than you ever believed to be so. Ancient wisdom will be coming through to you from unexpected sources. A teacher will pop up for you in the least likely of places. Be open to this teacher. If this teacher speaks of things you do not quite fully understand, do not allow the mind to trick you into distancing or closing yourself off from this teacher, but rather breathe and notice how your body feels relaxed and peaceful around this person’s teachings. This relaxation is the true sign that you are meant to learn from this teaching.

This week’s growth is about the balancing of seeming opposites. Of an inner alchemy. On the card you notice there is both the eagle (known for its fire and fierceness) and there is also the swan (known for its watery peacefulness). Both of these are beautiful, are they not? Yes. Both are beautiful for their own unique aspects they bring to the world. One is not more beautiful than the other; one is not more “special” than the other.

Who is the swan inside of you and who is the eagle? Can you sense both parts? Do you favor one part and tend to stifle or discount the other?

So, this week, your challenge will be to absorb these deep teachings of integration, of inner alchemy. No need to rush out and share them with others quite yet. Just sit with them yourself. Be quiet, be still, and know in your bones that as you allow yourself to integrate the seeming opposites (seeming duality) within yourself and learn to find All as beautiful, All as right, then what you will do is, naturally, begin to unravel the conditioning of the human-made world within yourself. You will heal. You will create the inner alchemy within yourself, to prepare you for the next stage of your journey.

And so it is.


 

Dear ones, these are your gifts and your areas for growth this week. If you liked this reading or found it helpful, please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

May you be blessed. May you be abundant. May you shine your radiant light.

And so it is.

 

Sending All My Love,

Anya Light

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Please click here to schedule your in-depth, private reading with me. I look forward to working with you! 

The Real History of Reiki

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Around a century ago, a Japanese Buddhist monk named Mikao Usui founded the Reiki system of natural healing. He began to teach students. His students taught their students, and then those students taught their students. Two women, Barb Hay and Lia Ricci, taught me. And now, through this blog, I teach you. This is our lineage.

However, within this lineage, there is also a paradox. While it is certainly beautiful and fitting to honor our founder, Usui, we must also balance that honoring with an acknowledgement of the deeper truth of our practice.

Usui did not “invent” Reiki. He did not start it nor begin it. Rather, what this gentle monk did was remember Reiki. What he did was remember a force that transcends space and time.

Usui did not “invent” Reiki. Rather, what this gentle monk did was
remember Reiki.

The power to heal with the hands is a natural human birthright. It has existed as long as human beings have been. If we study the histories of indigenous cultures everywhere, we find equivalent systems of hands-on healing across languages and borders.

The power to awaken with light is also a natural human birthright. If we peer into the varied religious and spiritual traditions of humanity, we will find belief in a universal life force energy. The concept is ubiquitous, inescapable. Just as the notion of “God” seems to be everywhere, so too is life energy. There are a thousand names for it. In China, it is chi; in India, prana; in America, it is known as the holy spirit. High in the Andes mountains, the Quechua people invoke ushai energy during healing ceremonies, and in Mongolia, hiimori is the intuitive and powerful “windhorse energy” that uplifts and animates all beings.

No, Usui certainly did not invent anything new. It would be more accurate to say, rather, that he remembered an ancient wisdom. He helped uncover what our modern culture forgot. He remembered what is most important: He remembered we are light.

Life force energy is light. It is energetic particles vibrating at high frequencies—and the higher the frequency, the stronger the light. With more light comes more harmony, more ease, more intuition, more joy, more compassion, more creativity, more bliss.

When we are new to Reiki practice, the story of Usui is a beautiful and necessary story to learn. We need to honor him. Eventually, though, we come to see Usui’s story as the story of us all. The story of every soul.

Eventually, we come to see Usui’s story as the story of us all. The story of
every soul.

We—all of us—have an innate craving to learn, grow, and heal. We journey onto this planet in order to fulfill that destiny. Whether through Reiki or through other practices, we begin to tap into the cosmic, Universal force that opens our hearts and strengthens our natural intuitions. We break out of man-made limitation, and move into the realm of universal love. And we stop relying on the rational brain to run our lives. We step back, and channel the life force through us, for our own wellbeing and for the wellbeing of all.

Reiki was not really invented in the early 1900s. It was not really invented in Japan. It is not really a system that can be traced and tracked with clocks and calendars. No. Reiki defies all of our mental comprehensions.

The real history of Reiki is that it has no history. It is timeless. Eternal.

As we practice, we learn to honor our human stories…bow to them…yet we also learn to move beyond them, recognizing that the story is simply a seed. It shall blossom, in time, to so much more.

Reiki Practice for World Peace

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It is a rose seed’s destiny to bring forth roses. Sooner or later, when the soil is watered and the sun shines, roses will come.

Reiki is one path among many beautiful paths. It is one road among many. At the start of our Reiki journey, we enter a phase of jubilation and awe. We feel as if we have discovered “the truth.” Yet, in time, we remember the wisdom of the mystics since time immemorial: All paths lead to the same place.

           All paths lead to the same place.

If we plant a seed and care for the soil, roses will appear. Sometimes the kinds of seeds that others may choose to plant may seem to be—on the surface—strange seeds. We may scratch our heads, not comprehend why they do as they do. We may feel there is no chance for them to blossom.

Perhaps we cringe when we look at the religion of our parents. Perhaps we condemn the strictly rational viewpoint of scientists and atheists. Or perhaps we roll our eyes at the get-rich-quick manifestation teachings so prevalent in new age circles. There are many things with which we may not agree.

And yet…over time…if we observe those who follow the paths with which we do not agree, we will always find growth. Let me repeat that: Every path offers growth.

          Every path offers growth.

Although it may not be in this particular lifetime that people are enlightened with the pure Love of the Universe, it will be that each lifetime holds growth. Whether it is subtle growth or more obvious growth—this is not our place to judge or criticize.

If there are those in your life who are following a path you think is foolish, I invite you to stop and ask yourself: What is it about that particular path that provokes negative reactions in me? How might this reaction be symbolic of a deeper issue, a shadow within me? Have I been “hurt” by the worldview of that particular path? What part of me is feeling defensive or worried?

Through this deep inquiry, we develop a deep sense of peace. We recognize what the visionary playwright Tennessee Williams said was true: “Every path is the right path.”

A good way to practice peace is through self-healing Reiki sessions. Or, we can receive healing sessions from others. As we are enveloped in the gentle radiance of the Reiki light, we can open ourselves, setting the intention to flow with whatever comes, without disagreement or contraction.

On the inhale, we whisper: I accept every path.

On the exhale, we whisper: All paths are perfect.

 

With time, roses come. They always come. To everyone, whether in this life or the next. It’s not our place to judge time. The Universe works in rhythms, fits, and cycles. Peace comes from resting in this wisdom.

Indeed, the quiet, simple, restful wisdom that all paths ultimately lead to the same place is a wisdom that is a vital step in our awakening process. We cannot skip this step. We must go through it—and in going through it, we dissolve the anger, judgements and fears we have about those who follow different paths. We forgive previous versions of our own self who may have been confused or convinced of something different. We make peace with everyone. We make peace with everything.

Tarot for the Soul ~ week of May 1, 2017

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Welcome to your weekly Tarot for the Soul reading!

If you have been guided to this reading, then you are in exactly the right place. This reading is meant for you.

As always, I have drawn two cards from my Osho Zen Tarot deck, offering you guidance for your week ahead.

The first card represents the gifts that are currently being showered upon you by the Universe/Spirit/God (whatever you want to call your higher power). We always have gifts being delivered to us—and spiritual mastery lies in slowing down enough to be able to recognize them and cultivate gratitude. Our soul longs to say “thank you” for these gifts, and, by taking a moment to thank, we generate more positive energy so that more and more gifts may manifest in the future!

The second card represents your areas for growth this week. Remember, there is no life without challenge: no light without dark, no yin without yang. Life in human form is a mixed bag of circumstances and lessons—and it is in our highest wisdom to recognize and embrace all. Our soul needs challenges in order to grow. So, stand and face these growth opportunities with an open, courageous heart.


~ Your Reading ~

Week of May 1, 2017

 

this week's reading

Gifts

This week is very interesting indeed! I have drawn the Fighting card (Knight of Clouds).

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Normally when this card comes up in a reading, it signifies a warning or a negative aspect. However, this week, it wants to communicate to you something different than usual.

This powerful card wants you to know that, this week, it would be in your benefit to notice and appreciate the power of paradox.

Paradox is when two (or more) seemingly opposing things are simultaneously true.

Here is an example of a paradoxical situation. If we value something too much, we cling to it. In clinging, we thereby de-value it and ultimately destroy what we love. Paradox #1.

What we have destroyed, however, we will then always possess, because it is linked to us in a karmic chain of remembrance. Once we realize the danger of clinging, we can then take a step back, and we can then learn to value all things equally. In so doing, we then learn the true meaning of love. To love is to value all things, simultaneously, and yet not depend on anything at all. To love is pure immersion in life, and, also, pure detachment. As you can see, multiple paradoxical layers exist in these seemingly opposing realities.

A specific example of paradox that this week’s card is prompting you to consider is: “What, or with whom, have you been fighting? How has this fighting served you in the past? What benefits did you receive from the conflict? What reasons do you have in the present to let the conflict go, while still cultivating gratitude for the fact that you used to fight?”

Paradoxes are powerful because they unfold at precisely the right moment to blow your mind open. They happen in precisely the way you need and at the time you need to reach your next level of growth.

Your gift this week is to delve into the power of paradox. Paradox shows us that our world is bigger than we imagine. It opens our mind. It expands our heart. It shows us the mystery of the Universe, reflected within the comings and goings of the story of our own life. This is why paradox has been studied by Zen masters, yogis, and mystics for ages.

Perhaps you are already aware of paradox’s power. Or perhaps this is a new concept for you. Regardless of where you are in your current journey with paradox, I invite you do take an action step for healing. This week, keep a Paradox Journal. Use the tool of writing to reflect upon the power of paradox in your life.

In addition to answering the question about fighting (mentioned in the paragraph above), write down moments in your daily life where you notice paradox. Write down your reflections, questions, observations. Then, when the thinking-mind has had its fun, move into 5-10 minutes of meditation afterward. Find a comfortable seated position and place your hands on your heart, feeling the breath of life flow into your heart-space. Relax and allow thoughts to drift in and out, not clinging or attaching to any one particular thought. Feel your presence. You’re your life force. And when you emerge from meditation, say a quick prayer of thanks to the Universe/God (whatever you call your higher power) for the power of paradox.

 

Growth

This week you are prompted to re-connect with the wisdom of The Source (Ace of Fire).

source cardThere are many ways you have been feeling disconnected—not just in this lifetime, but in previous, countless lifetimes. This particular lifetime is different, because you have the opportunity, like never before, to observe how you have been fooling yourself.

The story of separation, of disconnection from Source, is as old as humanity. We created it for a reason. But now the story is ending. Can you feel it?

The planet is shifting, and you are a great part of this shift. But in order to take the helm in your rightful place as guide and comforter for others, you must look deeper within your own body-mind. Ask yourself: Where do I feel tension? What aspects of my life feel discordant with my true self, my true passions? What emotions am I repressing? What shadows have I been denying?

The Source card wants you to know it’s all going to be okay. The wisdom you need is always there, inherent within you. If you can slow down the pace of your life, take time for meditation and self-care, take time to reflect on the deeper questions of life, you will begin to be more easily able to observe in your own body the patterns that have been erected over years and lifetimes—patterns such as fear, tension, anxiety, jealousy, sadness, or even despair. These are very human emotions most of us carry. It’s okay.

The Source card wants you to know that this is a very sacred, special time. It is a time where the momentum of energy on this planet is such that transformation is much easier than it used to be. Even ten or twenty years ago, growth like you are able to achieve now would take decades. Now you can do it in a few weeks, a few days. Sometimes a single day will feel like twelve lifetimes.

Your opportunity for growth this week is your purposeful re-connection with Source wisdom. (In truth, you were never really disconnected—it only appeared to be so.) Allow yourself to sink into the deep wisdom that can only come from Source—which is you, in your body, in this lifetime.

Your body tells the tale of how connected you feel or how disconnected you feel. Pay attention. If you feel stress or strain, that is an indication you have lost sight of your true self, which is the perfection of Source. Life is meant to be beautiful, and we truly are in the midst of birthing a new humanity. Stay strong, stay the course, breathe, and know you are supported by spirit guides and angels at all times.


 

Dear ones, these are your gifts and your areas for growth this week. If you liked this reading or found it helpful, please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

May you be blessed. May you be abundant. May you shine your radiant light.

And so it is.

 

Sending Love,

Anya Light

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From Darkness into Light: My Journey of Becoming a Reiki Master

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I used to be sick. Really, really sick. I was so sick, in fact, that sickness was all I knew. Sickness was my life.

One of my earliest childhood memories is of lying in bed with a fever. My mother is hovering over me, holding pills and orange juice, a concerned look on her face. I have just returned from the doctor’s office. Yet again. All my friends are at school, and I am missing it. I am always missing it.

Indeed, doctor’s offices, hospitals, waiting rooms, and cold, sterile medical facilities were the norm of my everyday life growing up.  I was always in danger of being held back at school—always in danger of of having to repeat a subject or even an entire grade—on account of the fact that the number of my present-at-school days sometimes surpassed my sick-at-home days. Whole years became blurs of prescription bottles, shots, inhalers. The doctors were as mystified as I was. Life was awful.

There was not only physical illness throughout my youth, but also emotional and sexual abuse. Certain members of my biological family were quite lost: lost in conditioned patterns of fear, neglect, and outright violence. They unwittingly repeated to me what their parents had done to them. The nasty cycle continued. I had no idea, until years later, that my brain was being wired into a state of constant anxiety and panic. (Years later, a helpful counselor diagnosed me with Complex-PTSD.) I was abused by others, and then my own brain began to abuse me. My own brain became my enemy.

At age twenty-five, my body felt utterly broken. I felt like I was one hundred years old. I felt so tired. There was no cure or relief in sight. Yet, somehow, I entered graduate school. I may have been sick, but I was still mentally determined. I had a strong will and an insatiable work ethic. My goal was to become a professor of English. I had always admired the English teachers in my life: to me, they were these living beacons of hope and wit. I wanted to be like them. Despite my flagging body and the emotional chaos within, I entered grad school, thinking, “I can do this.”

I worked hard. I worked so hard, in fact, that by the time I was midway through a PhD program, I was nearly completely burnt out. I had developed a severe form of adrenal fatigue syndrome, among other chronic illnesses, including migraines, chronic sinus infections, severe food allergies, and leaky gut syndrome.

Although I had published more articles and presented at more professional conferences than any of the other students in my doctoral cohort, I was not able to enjoy any feelings of professional success. I was ready to give up. Suicidal fantasies bombarded my brain every morning, as I struggled to lift my aching body out of bed. I was sicker than ever. I was drinking nearly a gallon of coffee every day, just to get through the day. I was shoveling sugar, breads, and other “quick energy” foods into my mouth so as to not fall asleep at my desk.

I almost dropped out of school. One day, I called my dissertation advisor on the phone. My fever was raging at 103 degrees and I had just had an allergic reaction (yet again) to  what was probably the tenth round of antibiotics that year. I remember the tears and the feeling of defeat. I sobbed into the phone: “I just can’t do it anymore.”

Somehow, she convinced me not to quit. A few weeks later, though, I remember talking to my husband about wanting to die. I simply couldn’t take it anymore. Each day was too much effort. Each day was a little bit worse than the day before. Nothing held hope; nothing held light.

One day, during an afternoon seminar, one of my favorite professors, Sue, notices me holding my throbbing head in my hands. She softly touches my shoulder. She says: “Would you like a free massage gift certificate? I have an extra one. Maybe a massage might help with your headache?” I smile, thank her, touched by her generosity. She hugs me. There is kindness in her eyes.

A few weeks later, I find myself on the table of a particularly gifted massage therapist. As lovely Anna works with me, kneading and releasing my sore tense muscles, she gently inquires if I’ve ever heard of Reiki. Just hearing the word, Reiki, ignites a feeling of excitement. There is a little zing in my spine, a little burst of energy. She then refers me to a Reiki Master who works in the same studio.

About a week later, a beautiful Reiki Master named Barb Hay places her hands on the crown of my head. There is soft music playing. The springtime trees are blossoming, wafting their soothing smells through the two-story window.

Almost immediately, I feel strange sensations pulsing from her hands into my body. Her hands are hot—like an oven!—and my skin below her hands are tingling. As she moves her hands from my crown to my forehead, and then down to my chin, I begin to wonder how all of this is possible. How is there such a great amount of heat if her hands are resting still on my skin? How is there such vibration? What is happening? What kind of crazy magic is this?

A few minutes into the session, I begin to lose control. My body begins to twitch. My arms, legs, and head are thrashing, jerking about. My breath is coming deep and fast, and there are moans and sighs. I begin to breathe out what feels like nasty toxic sludge. As I breathe, I suddenly realize all that I have carried, since childhood. In this moment, I realize how truly sick I have been.

I begin to cry. Barb asks me if I am okay. I say “I am okay, please continue.” I am somehow aware that the best thing that I can do right now is not to think. The best thing that I can do to heal is to trust and to simply experience exactly what is happening even though I can’t logically understand it. And I can quite literally feel the love pouring from Barb’s hands. Her heart is speaking to my heart, without words. Her heart is gently whispering: You are well. You are home.

After about an hour, I sit up and rub my eyes. I swing my legs off the side of the table, and turn toward Barb, who is now seated in a chair across from me. Her eyes are wide and sparkling. There is a smile upon her face.

“What just happened?” I ask.

“I will teach you,” she says.

♦♥

Fast forward six years. I am now a Reiki Master, carrying on in the footsteps of my beloved teacher Barb. These days, there is more light than darkness. These days there is more joy than grief.

I am still healing, too. Even with all the miraculous changes in my body, mind, emotions, and spirit, I still get triggered some days into anxiety and anger.

As I work with people who are waking up, I notice I have a lot of gratitude for the darkness. And I remember the deepest of truths: that I chose to incarnate onto this planet into the specific family, time and place that I did. Nothing was by chance. All of it, my whole story, including the darkness and the sickness, was my soul’s desire.

In order to be able to help others, I needed to get lost in the darkness for a while. I needed to have that experience, so that I could empathize with others. I needed to understand illness and trauma not from a merely conceptual point of view—but I needed to live it.

I chose to have the circumstances that would shape me into who I am today. A healer. A teacher. These choices were made by my soul before birth. In truth, we all are given these choices.

Thus, understanding and integrating this knowledge means we can release victim-consciousnss. When we can view every circumstance of our life as a divinely-orchestrated moment of profound perfection, we shed the darkness of victimhood and step into the Light.

Hopefully, by my telling you the story of my own life and past darkness, you will begin to feel clearer and more confident about your own journey. About your own life purpose.

Through your own healing journey, you guide yourself out of the darkness. You love yourself, into the light.

My story is the story of a Reiki Master. It’s a particular story. And there are so many stories.

So…what’s your story?

This is such a beautiful time in history to share our stories. As a collective species, we are waking up. And by telling our stories, we give each other the energy and inspiration to keep going, to stay the course.

Yes, I’d love to hear your story, friend, and I bet others would, too. Please share your healing/awakening story in the comments. Or, alternatively, you can feel free to reach out to us if you’d like to share your story as a contributor to this site. We will be launching a new segment on the blog soon called “Stories from the Heart” and we’d love to share yours.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

∞ Be blessed ∞

Ashtanga Yoga: A Practice of Faith

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Awakening is recursive. In Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, the breath leads the body in a sequence of memorized poses (asanas), the yogi comes to the mat daily to practice that sequence, and the teacher offers additional asanas one by one as the student is deemed ready. In this style of yoga, the wisdom in the dynamic, conscious repetition is that it is never truly repetition, but rather an energy of awareness that reverberates in a folding and unfolding. The awakenings that develop repeatedly fall back to sleep, only to be revived when the student returns to the breath and to the spirit of the practice.

The practice

Ashtanga is a 6-day-per-week, early-morning practice. There is no practice on Saturdays, New or Full Moon days, or during Lady’s Holiday (the menstrual cycle). On all other days, there is practice.

Mysore-style Ashtanga—the method that is practiced in Mysore, India, where Shri K. Pattabhi Jois (“Gurujii”) developed the Ashtanga Yoga Institute, and where his grandson Sharath leads the institute now that Gurujii has passed—involves an intimate relationship between student and teacher. Around the world, those who have been trained in Mysore are given permission to cultivate this relationship with students in the shala, the yoga space. Traditionally, the student arrives at the shala each day and begins the series of asanas that they have been practicing. There are 6 series, and everyone begins with Primary series. Asanas are given by the teacher to the student when the teacher deems the student ready. For each student, the practice progresses uniquely: although there are standard sequences, the work of the teacher involves helping each student to find the shape in their body. Fundamental to the practice is the philosophy that all humans can do it, regardless of age, sex, gender, or limitation. Moreover, amid the enculturated pressure to compete or to worry about lack of accomplishment and the constraints of time, there are these traditional words from Gurujii: “Do your practice, and all is coming.”

7th Series

Gurujii used to say that family life is 7th Series. After practicing Ashtanga for many years with beloved teachers, I returned to school full-time to study nursing and nurse-midwifery. In my previous career as a professor, I could connect with my children before leaving for the shala; but my new nursing school schedule meant earlier morning classes, and I could not bring myself to go to the shala in darkness without bonding with my small children at the beginning of the day. The choice was as natural as the commitment to practice itself had become.

And so, my practice is now self-led at home, where I place my mat right in the middle of the morning’s motions—roll it out, chant, begin. From my mat, I watch my little ones eat breakfast and wiggle into their day. In the 90 minutes that it takes to move from first asana to last, I negotiate the breath and body while wiping a nose, relaying a reminder about putting one’s bottom in one’s seat, snuggling, settling a dispute. My partner moves through the space between kitchen and table, in charge of the morning’s routines while I practice, and the breeze of the back-and-forth is ever present.

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Me, in Kapotasana at 37 weeks pregnant

On some days, it feels especially challenging to work around obstacles like sickness, interruption, stiffness, soreness, or stress. But the difficulty works with and through the soul, and I strive to rest in that difficulty. In this contested space, I do the same asanas I have been doing for years, and each asana is a new iteration because change has occurred in each one of us. This practice is “mine”—it happens to my body, my mind, and my soul. But the awakening that emerges—so unlike the one before it—is a synergistic event in which I become more aware of my pain and fear, my purpose in my world, the ever-developing energy of my children, the inspired growth of my partner, expectations, presence, memories, sensory connections, fatigue and renewal, will, and love. Although I have much to gain when I reconnect with a teacher in the shala, my practice in my home amid stormy, delightful family forces is also a powerful teacher.

Mind, breath, body, light

The noise in the mind is as loud and incessant as torrential rainfall. In this yoga, we move with the audible ujjayi breath from asana to asana, choosing to devote our attention to the breath and away from the mind noise. The asanas ask us to develop comfort and calm in the challenge of discomfort—to find opening in the body as we breathe through struggle, fear, and the egoic joy of accomplishment. The practice offers a way through darkness. The series is a dense forest, with gnarly roots, creatures known and unknown, patches of clearing, the sound of adventure, and the ache and vulnerability of getting lost. With its spirit of healing and inquiry, the practice has accompanied me off the mat through childbirth, relationships, parenting, decision-making, anxiety and depression, work. It has light and lightness to offer in exchange for a deep commitment, even when doubt persists. The body opens, the mind’s Watcher witnesses, and awakening occurs.

No two humans in the same asana experience revelation in the same ways—and yet, the connection is there because revelation is happening and we honor the breath that keeps us alive. Not only do we realize that we have strength in the arms, legs, and belly, but we see how that strength—and the calm that accompanies it—radiates through us and into the lives around us. The deep awareness that grows in awakening leans toward peace and humility, and into fierceness of compassion. The asanas become a practice of faith that we vow to continue, and the challenge of maintaining that practice presents resistance that we decide to overcome. When we move through struggle, we see possibility and hope. As we bend, we listen. As we experience lightness, we offer light. Beginning the day in a conscious nexus of mind, soul, and body is not an inoculation for what is to come—it is a heartfelt immersion in being. In our humanness, we connect; in our connection, we transcend our humanness.


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Rebecca Ingalls, Ph.D., BSN, RN, is a former Associate Professor of English, and is now a registered nurse and a nurse-midwifery student. She is a mother of two, and she has been practicing Ashtanga for nine years. She lives with her family in Philadelphia.