There is no “a” in Reiki


“a” Reiki Practitioner, “a” Reiki Master, “a” Shihan kaku

We are a society so invested in labels, achievements, and status. Even the use of the letter “a” serves as a subtle indicator of the separateness we seek about each other.  We use it to announce that difference. I am “a” doctor, “a” teacher, “a” CEO for a Fortune 500 Company, “a” college graduate, “a” stay at home mom, etc. We even use “a” to define the boundaries of religion, she is “a” Catholic, “a” Muslim, or “a” Jew. And our love partner choice, “a” heterosexual, “a” homosexual, “a lesbian”, (further separated from gay, as we never say “a” gay).

Dropping the letter “a” before a title or label softens the space between you and me. It shows that I trust you to know who I am and what I love, and believe in, with no sharp edges for you to feel the need to seek protection. It invites you to see my being-ness. How I am in the world. How I am in your world. We are connected by similarities – not differences.

Without that separateness, we have a responsibility to live the defining word, or words, as an outward indication of our life experience. As what we profess our lives to be about. Making a choice, followed by the commitment to ourselves to live that life true and open and whole.

When someone comes to me for a session, or to learn Reiki, I remember that I am Reiki first and the label “a” Reiki (something) is only an outward indicator for ease of conversation, for marketing. Dropping the “a” is an acceptance of who I am, and to me, becomes a celebration of who you are. In this state of being-ness I can recognize the soft spots in you, and also the areas that hold sadness, hurt, fear, love, happiness, and joy. I am both familiar, and gentle with them all.

Reiki. Is a state of being-ness, and not a label that separates me from you. I practice and teach Reiki and invite you to come close and share the space Reiki has created in my life.


Expansion on a theme . . .

Cranes on a Pine Tree   Hokusai, 1832-33

Cranes on a Pine Tree
Hokusai, 1832-33

I used to think once I attained Master level, practiced and taught for nine years, I would have arrived at some Reiki knowledge pinnacle. Once there, I could indulge in what I called, side-to-side learning, or expanding on a theme. So I continued in a straight line to “Master”, and  took “advanced” classes to round out my training. With certificates in hand, a strong client and student base, I felt I reached my goal.

After all, once you have experienced the five taste bud sensations, sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umani (savory), everything else is just a variation of their intensity or a combination of these flavors. This is what I expected to find in giving Reiki to others year after year. Everybody’s organs and internal mechanics are basically the same. Illness, like taste bud sensations, manifests on varied levels of intensity and in combination with other factors. I just had to pay attention and continue to compile this information to develop my expertise.

I became an expert and knew pretty much from experience what to expect under my hands during my sessions. Every now and then I would feel an intensity, or knowingness, during Reiki that, as I look back over the last nine years, had been shown to me on the level I was presently aware of in both training and spiritual acceptance.

Let me say that again, . . on the level I was presently aware of in both training and spiritual acceptance. The first part is easy. Things that were out of my realm as a Level I Practitioner were not recognizable to me. Then Level II, (distance), Advanced (crystal grids), Master (attunements), Karuna Reiki® (other energies), and Jikiden Reiki®* (byosen, and a most effective spiritual technique). Each level and school of Reiki brought with it new discoveries of ways to access the Reiki energy, or intention for a specific condition, and a better overall understanding of healing in general.

The second part, spiritual acceptance is a more personal affair. Planning to do “mainstream Reiki”, I pushed the word spiritual deep down to almost a whisper. I had to present Reiki in a more scientific/concrete way. My audience demanded it. A spiritual person myself, I believe in God, the Virgin Mary, the Archangels, my Guardian Angel, the fairies, dragon flies and elves others say live in the tree outside my Reiki room, Spirit Guides and helpers, but that’s me.  I have seen some of these in my mind’s eye and smelled their sweet fragrance now and then during a session. I even had a psychic tell me how “they” sometimes put their hands in mine when I work. But I couldn’t tell. My hands seemed to always be hot, then very hot, and sometimes cool. That’s Reiki.

Until last week after a client returned from a spiritual retreat. She shared her exceptional experience and I delighted in the stories she brought back, declaring to her, that I believed everything she said. I felt it in my soul. Then I realized that at this session, I was present on a new level of spiritual acceptance.

I always knew it wasn’t me doing the healing. The energy was coming through me, and like others, I learned it was just out there and somehow funneled into my crown and through my hands. It was an accepted mystery. Maybe that is how it happens, but I think now, the energy has a guide and when both the practitioner and the client invite (intend) their presence, you can feel the power at the core of compassion coming through you for them, and maybe a little for yourself too.

After having sampled this new taste sensation, I humbly asked for forgiveness in my “Master” plan. Laughing together, we will work as one to help others to wellness: with them providing the spiritual light, and me the vehicle. And that whisper in my throat has found a voice. Reiki is a Spiritual modality and that’s what people are looking for most these days. To touch spirituality even if, for now, it has to be through another person.

*Jikiden Reiki®, taught me a new level of spiritual practice in Reiki, and identifying byosen levels and patterns, which looking back, prepared me for this next level of “training”.

Frank Arjava Petter returns to San Diego in May to teach Jikiden Reiki® seminars. Contact me for more info.

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

Lotus Press 2012

‘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 history of Reiki, based on written journals, documents, family photos, and interviews. Arjava tells us the background story – the history and spiritual culture of Japan – so we get a better understanding of the events that influenced the development (and later decline) of Reiki in its place of origin.

And then we are off to Sacred Reiki sites. More than a travel guide, Arjava uses personal stories, and at times, humor, as we meander from one site to the next. This chapter is plush with photographs.

He goes on to tell us about the deities and spiritual practices that are rooted into some of the beliefs and techniques of the Reiki we do today. This tapestry of spiritual identity helps to explain the dynamic realm of guidance and power, available to us in Reiki practice.

The final chapter covers healing with Reiki, including perception exercises, Gassho Meditation, and Japanese techniques. There are also interviews with Fumio Ogawa Sensei, and Chiyoko Yamaguchi Sensei.

Although designed for those who teach, this book is a valuable resource for everyone who practices Reiki. I would also recommend it for those who have an interest in learning more about this simple, yet powerfully effective, Japanese healing art.

Lorraine George is a Jikiden Reiki® Shihan Kaku, and Usui/Tibetan and Karuna Reiki® Master. She can be reached at

Frank Arjava Petter returns to San Diego in 2013, on May 24-28 for Shoden/Okuden, and May 29-30 for Shihan Kaku seminars. Contact Lorraine George for course and registration information.

Reiki – on a paper coffee cup

Written in black marker, on the side of a white Starbucks coffee cup, I have been referred to as Lorene, Loran, Lorain,  Lauren, Laurene, Lori Anne, and my favorite, Maureen. To the barista making my grande-soy-latte, it’s all me: the lady waiting patiently at the pick-up counter for her morning coffee.

The same with Reiki. Frank Arjava Petter teaches that it doesn’t matter what you call it. That what comes out of our hands is Reiki. The energy is all the same no matter what we call it. Reiki is Reiki. And it doesn’t matter to the person in front of us about to receive it. (The part that is important, is we represent ourselves and the modality with honesty. If we add anything to it, then we have a responsibility to tell our clients what it is and it’s origin.)

When I heard about Jikiden Reiki® I was intrigued. It was Reiki from Japan without western influence.

This western influence was indeed confusing to me as a new Reiki Practitioner. I was taught to keep my ego out of it, as Reiki would flow better that way. A hard pill to swallow, since I couldn’t help but wonder what chakras had to do with anything Japanese? And why did we play New Age piano music instead of traditional Japanese music during a session? We had westernized it. Put our stamp of approval, our collective handprint, and borrowed East Indian and Native American concepts to help explain it. Big time ego.

Maybe I was jealous. While a teenager during the 60’s, I never got to be a hippie; and at the height of the New Age, I was a single parent who couldn’t take time to lose myself into the ethers, even for one minute. When I came to Reiki in 2004 I had no previous experience with chakras, meridians, crystals and drumming over people on a massage table, or using anything with aroma that wasn’t purchased from a major department store. My learning curve was long. At first, I waited to see if I could catch-up, and then finally decided to forgo the extras and concentrate on doing just Reiki.

I continued to do my best, and forget the rest. My hands were on, no matter what words were used to describe it. But somewhere in the back of my mind I really wanted to learn about Reiki and it’s history and the history and culture of Japan in Usui Sensei’s time. That’s what was missing for me. The questions kept coming. How did Reiki come about? What really led Usui Sensei to Mt. Kurama? Why wasn’t Reiki being taught in Japan? Did it die along with Dr. Hayashi? Learning Jikiden Reiki® was my answer.

So is my Reiki better than yours? That’s not the point. Jikiden Reiki® fits better with who I am and what I can comfortably represent as an Energy Medicine (NIH-CAM), or as a relaxation technique to my clients. It’s Reiki, pure and simple, as taught by Dr. Hayashi to Mrs. Yamaguchi as it remained in Japan for all these years.

In case you are wondering, I am trained in Usui/Tibetan Reiki, Karuna Reiki®, Jikiden Reiki®, and Reiki taught by Beth Gray’s lineage which I teach as an Advanced Level II. And yes, when I represent each of these, I do it with an open heart and with much respect for each of my teachers.

So the next time you are at your favorite coffee shop, notice the menu on the wall. Espresso, Latte, Americano, Cappucinno. It’s all coffee with a slight influence to make each one different. If you are new to Reiki, or a new Reiki Practitioner, try not to let the words get in the way. Just do Reiki. And make mine a double shot with extra foam!

Frank Arjava Petter will be in San Diego May 2013 to teach Jikiden Reiki@ Levels I and II and Shihan kaku (Jr. Teacher). I serve as his host in San Diego, and also teach Jikiden Reiki® Level I. Please contact me for more information.