Be Compassionate to Yourself and Others – Part 2

Bronwen and Frans StieneArticles, English 42 Comments


In last week’s blog we began an in-depth look at the precept show compassion to yourself and others. Today we want to have a look at yet another layer of this precept which is often not discussed in Reiki classes.

Many Reiki schools teach that you need to protect yourself when you perform a hands-on healing session; protecting yourself from others – their negative energy, their pain, their cold, their emotional issues, you name it.

But is this in line with the precept; show compassion to yourself and others? It may well be considered as being compassionate to yourself, but the precept clearly states that we also need to be compassionate to others.

So what would this precept have meant in Mikao Usui’s lifetime? In his time compassion was an act of love, openness and a letting go of the self/ego.

Accordingly, if you wanted to be truly compassionate to others you would do quite the opposite of what many teach today. Instead you would perform a treatment with the intent to take on the burdens, the pain, the discomfort, the cold, and the negative energy of others.

You will find an example of this intent in a mother whose child is very sick, or dying. A mother doesn’t hesitate to clearly set in her mind an intent such as this – please let me take on my son’s cancer – and to offer her light to her son.

We can see how and why a mother would hold such a selfless intent. But could we do the same for a neighbor, especially one with whom we have had some conflict? If we are in the right space of compassion we could, although this is not an easy path to take.

What we do know is that the more we want to protect ourselves from the suffering of others, the harder it is to set the intent to be compassionate to others. Taking on someone’s pain, illness or discomfort is compassion for others. What you will find is that by setting that intent you will also help yourself, as the practitioner, to deal with your own fears and attachments, which in turn will awaken your own inner compassion for yourself.

By practicing compassion in this way you also begin to also deal with some of the other precepts, like Do Not Anger and Do Not Worry.

Your fearlessness is your protection. Your fear is your illness. A mother doesn’t actually physically take on the cancer of her son, a mother simply gives over to the immeasurable power of the pure intent of love and compassion.

So, give it a go.  Next time when you do a hands-on healing session set your intent to take on that person’s suffering and intend that your client receives all the light you have.

This practice is the real antidote to your own pain and suffering.

Comments 42

  1. Avatar of Tanya Wilson

    I agree with holding compassion for all living things.  I would like to talk about extending this compassion to animals.  I have become vegetarian (almost entirely) since I started courses with Frans.  I try not to kill spiders and aunts in my house.  Now I have a mice and flee infestation ( I have two dogs.)  I am ready to sign a contract with a pest control company because of all my family has gone through with these “pests.”  I am in conflict with my desire to show compassion to all living things, and my desire to keep my kids and family safe in a house environment where we can thrive.  We have been under a lot of stress.  Does anyone have a suggestion or comment?

  2. Avatar of sheila

    yes this is the ultimate goal, to have that Divine Level of Compassion, the Ultimate Compassion of the Christ consciousness, the Mary Magdalene Consciousness.
    As wounded beings, we FIRST need to discover, then empower ourselves to create,  healthy energy boundaries. THEN as we mature as Be-ings, and are consciously, actively, connecting our being-ness to SOURCE, we are able to flow more and more of our Com-passionate being-ness in a healthy, vibrant and dynamic way.
    AND, to respect each being’s journey. It is not OUR decision to remove another’s suffering, it is that being’s soul contract for growth and development. There’s paradox every where we turn!!
    to Tanya; I love how you have stated that you try not to kill spiders and “aunts”!!. presume u mean “ants” but that makes me laugh.
    I noticed your word “stress”, a great place to connect with, self examine, old issues, boundaries etc.
    What are the “pests” reflecting to you about yourself? IE, You VALUE compassion to all living beings, You VALUE a healthy safe environment for your family and pets. You VALUE stress-free home life. Focus on these beautiful VALUES, with your whole family. do an Energy house clearing, with SAGE, CEDAR, bells, gongs. etc. Invite in energy beings to clear and protect your house, send the “pest” energy into the LIGHT, offer REIKI. 
    try an “animal communicator”, ask the angels to help. May all Beings be healthy, safe, happy, full of Light, love and compassion!! many blessings to you!

  3. Avatar of Colin Powell

    Hmm…for me, setting an intent to take on someone’s pain and suffering doesn’t sit well with me as a Reiki practitioner. To me, showing compassion to someone in the context of a Reiki session is being there as a willing participant in providing an opportunity for the other person to begin a healing process in which their mind and body can move back towards balance and harmony. Also, on a deeper level, by connecting with or becoming aware of their true nature they may also become aware of the source of their pain and suffering and take steps to avoid that source or make changes in their lifestyle or life choices.

    To me, offering Reiki to another is a compassionate act with the intent of allowing the other person to choose to remove their own pain and suffering rather than a decision from me that I will take their pain and suffering away from them. Reiki can provide the opportunity but it is up to the receiver how they choose to use that opportunity.

  4. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi All,
    This topic is not an easy topic 🙂
    Yes we offer Reiki (spiritual energy) with the intent that the person receives whatever she needs. The intent to take on the person’s suffering is not about grabbing the “negative” energy during a treatment and pulling it out; this would be a mistaken view.

    The intent to take on the person’s suffering actually creates an openness in which the client can let go of what she needs to let go of. By setting your intent as a practitioner that you are willing to take on the client’s suffering helps you to get rid of your own ego, your holding on to your “I” which in turn helps you to merge more with your client.

    The intent of taking on someone’s suffering is one of the highest levels of compassion, you are even willing to lay down your own body for someone else, not that easy. To really understand this takes many years of personal practice and a deep level of understanding interconnectedness. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a go.

    So, your willingness to take on a person’s suffering is like holding your hands open and saying to your client: please give me what you don’t want anymore and I will deal with it.
    It is not you who grabs it but you who opens up your hands to receive whatever your client wants to let go of.

    Enjoy the journey!!!

  5. Avatar of Rebecca Holton

    I think that it’s all to do with fear – I mean on a universal level – fear of anything we see as “other”. Being open enough to offer to take on someone’s illness or suffering is an acknowledgement that the person and that illness and suffering and part of us already. It’s something happening in that moment that makes it all one – emptiness in action, this is a definition of compassion. I think it’s the original state of being – our natural state of being. It’s the thing that’s there when we see through all the layers – like light.

  6. Avatar of Rebecca Holton
  7. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  8. Avatar of Colin Powell

    Maybe I have not yet reached the lofty heights of enlightenment and oneness yet but surely, it is better to remove the causes of suffering (or at least offer an opportunity to remove the cause of suffering) rather than moving the suffering from one place (or person) to another? As Hawayo Takata was so fond of saying “Remove the cause and there shall be no effect!”.

    Why would we want to take on the suffering of others when Reiki can help us (givers and receivers) to remove the cause or at least bring the cause to light so that the sufferer can choose whether or not they want to remove it?

    If a person is suffering, is that not ultimately a result of their karma (their previous actions, thoughts and words)? Who then are we to interfere with their karma and intend to take on their suffering for them? Do they not need to realise the cause of their suffering in order to learn and progress in their development? By offering to receive their suffering onto ourselves are they then also not relieved of the opportunity to discover the cause of their suffering and learn from it so that the suffering does not recur?

    Even if we look at it in terms of we are all really One so the suffering and fear already exists, what purpose does moving that fear and suffering from one part of the Oneness to another part really serve? If we begin with ourselves (our own part of the Oneness) and recognise and remove the causes of our suffering, or connect with our true nature and become a Great Bright Light then we can shine out as an example through the Oneness and, through offering Reiki to others, allow them realise they can do the same.

    For me it is not so much a question of fear of taking on someone else’s suffering but more a question of why would we want or need to?

    By the way, I am a Reiki practitioner, not a Buddhist, so I apologise if I have incorrect understandings of these things.

  9. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi All,

    A mother who sets her intent to take her child’s pain does not have to be a Buddhist.
    A father who sets his intent to take on his wife’s suffering does not have to be a Buddhist.
    A Reiki practitioner who sets her intent to take on a clients suffering does not have to be a Buddhist.

    In common wording this is called Love.

    When we really love someone, no matter who, we are more then happy to do this kind of act.

    As a practitioner you can still set your intent that the person takes from your session whatever he/she needs, but you can also extend this with the intent that you accept what ever the client gives you.

    This practice can only really be understood when we experience it directly, not in an intellectual way. So try it out, set your intent and see what happens and what you feel? Do you feel fear? Do you feel compassion? Do you feel openness? Do you feel discomfort?

  10. Avatar of Colin Powell

    Hi Frans,
    Thank you for your patience and understanding as I try to get to grips with what it is that does not seem to sit right with me. After meditating upon this (and doing a little more research, although I do agree that there is no substitute for direct experience!) I think I have found what I have difficulty with: it is the phrase “take on…the suffering” as opposed to “take away…the suffering”. My understanding of compassion is recognising the suffering in another,  imagining what that suffering is like, *as if* you were that person, and by an act of compassion intend to remove that suffering because you want their suffering to end, because you know how happy and grateful you would be if someone else did the same for you…and this whether you know or love that person or not.

    To me, imagining as fully as possible the suffering of another, or even imagining that you are that person and experiencing their suffering, is not the same as actually taking *on* that suffering. However, it would certainly motivate you to want to take *away* that suffering.

    To help me explain more clearly what I am trying to say, here is an article about compassion that I came across. It describes what compassion is, why it is beneficial to be compassionate and how to relieve suffering through compassion in a way that I can relate to as a Reiki practitioner, without having to *take on* anyone’s suffering.

    Who takes on the suffering of the Reiki practitioner once they have taken on the suffering of the client?

    I guess I am struggling with the fact that usually Reiki practitioners are taught that when practising Reiki, we do not take on the symptoms or illness or pain or suffering of others because the energy flows (or emanates) through (or from) us and it is not us who actually does the healing but the receiver, whose soul (or Higher Self or Consciousness or Mind) becomes stimulated to move towards a more balanced state.

    If I change the phrase “take on” to “take away” then I feel much happier and agree with all you say! 🙂

  11. Avatar of Kris Azzarello

    Hi Frans,

    I haven’t gotten to the point of taking on the other’s pain and suffering yet, but I have come to a place where I consciously sit and be present with the person in their pain and suffering, without looking away or trying to “fix” them.  Simply being fully present, without flinching, with another in their pain and suffering has taught me you can be surrounded, and even immersed in the the pain, but it will not devour you unless you collapse into fear.  I know this isn’t exactly the question asked, but it is where I am right now on the journey.

  12. Avatar of Rebecca Holton

    The “taking on/taking away” thing is interesting.
    For me the concept of “taking on” is very simple, it means being able to be completely open in an energy space with someone and not having to actively impose anything at all on it. The acceptance of “taking on” means that there will be no barriers at all. The practitioner has not left anything in between themselves and the other person.

    “Taking away” implies something more active. A kind of doing.

    I’m thinking about how these 2 situations fit within a healing space or siituation. The first one feels clearer and more open to me.

  13. Avatar of Colin Powell

    Hi Rebecca,
    Yes, the “taking on/taking away” thing is interesting and just goes to show the difficulty in using/comprehending words to try and describe what is really an intangible process.

    To me the word “take” is active…period, whether it is to take on or take away. The net result is the same, e.g. the suffering is removed from the client. The difference is that in the first case, “taking on”, the suffering is transferred to the Reiki practitioner and in the second case “taking away”, neither the Reiki practitioner nor the client need suffer – the cause of suffering is removed or transformed so the effect no longer exists.

    However, harking back to one of my earlier posts, I think that all we can do as Reiki practitioners is provide the opportunity for the cause of suffering to be taken away or removed. However, I don’t think that it is our action that actually removes the suffering. Through the practice of Reiki, we can provide the stimulus or the opportunity for the client to choose to become aware of the cause of suffering and then decide on how they will remove that cause: be it to accelerate their body’s repair or toxin removal mechanisms or to make a lifestyle change or see something from a more positive perspective, or as a learning experience.

    If we were to take on the suffering of our clients they could become dependent upon us doing that, rather like some Catholics regularly attend Confession, to offload all their “sins” (or guilt which causes them suffering)  onto the priest (who presumably then has to ask God to take those sins away) and, after a few “Hail Marys” are free to commit more “sins” and collect more guilt and suffering because they know they can offload it again at the next Confession. Please note that I do not intend to offend Catholics here as I know most do not behave in that manner but I also know that some certainly do.

    On the subject of taking on suffering from a Christian perspective (I was brought up as a Christian by the way) it is said the Jesus died on the cross to redeem us all of our sins, he took on all our suffering and that is what is symbolised by the crucifixion. If you like, his compassion was so great that he was willing to take on all our suffering and die for us. However, if we take a look around the world today (and even very soon after the crucifixion) did mankind benefit/learn from that selfless act? I think the best way to remove suffering is to remove its cause. But first we need to become aware of the cause, which is where “being completely open in an energy space with someone” with “no barriers”, no judgement and no active participation in the process by the Reiki practitioner, other than providing that space and opportunity,  can be really effective.

  14. Avatar of Rebecca Holton


    For me, the concept of “taking on” is not an active action at all. This may sound like a contradiction in terms but to be healing at this depth is to work within the realms of Oneness or Emptiness. In this space the concepts of client and practitioner do not exist in the same way that they do within the ordinary relative spaces of what most people think of as normal life. So in effect, there is nothing to take and no-one to actively give or take anything. There is, however, a starting point of intention which is moving the practitioner in the direction of being able to work more and more fully within this energy space. This is what the intention of “taking on” does. It doesn’t do anything active in the relative, normal sense of the word, but it does enable the practitioner to work more within the spaces of Oneness and Emptiness because it helps them remove a fear block of something that humans normally call “other” – illness and suffering.


  15. Avatar of Colin Powell

    Hello Rebecca,

    Thanks for discussing this interesting topic!

    I agree that in the realms of Oneness or Emptiness, the concepts of client and practitioner do not exist but then neither can the concept of pain or suffering – there is therefore no one to take it on and nothing to take on! This is the perfect state, the original state before anything was and although this realm undoubtedly exists behind this veil of illusion we know as life, in the realms where most of us exist we are dealing with people’s perceptions of reality not actual reality.

    The fact that in this realm we do have clients who perceive that they are suffering come to us for help means that we have to deal with duality. Although we may be able to move into the spaces of Oneness and Emptiness (after a considerable amount of spiritual practice and experience) most of our clients may not. Even if we are able to give our client a brief glimpse of such a state and the experience of Oneness where there is no suffering, at the end of the Reiki session they are back in their “real” world having had a beautiful experience but still, most likely, experiencing suffering (unless they have understood the ultimate cause of suffering, which most clients would be unable to do to such a degree that their suffering ceases to exist). However, I would agree that in some cases, particularly in the case of serious and/or life-threatening illnesses, the client may return to their “real” world with a new understanding of their condition, less fear of it, a better quality of life and less suffering. This, to me, would be a healing on a deep level even though it is not a cure. To be able to achieve this kind of deep healing, I also agree that the initial intent and compassion of the Reiki practitioner does play an important part in the process, providing the opportunity for the experience of the realm of Oneness and Emptiness, which for me is the realm of Reiki itself.

  16. Avatar of Rebecca Holton

    Hello Colin,

    You describe Oneness as if it’s a kind of heaven. For me it’s not like that at all. It’s here,  only perceived differently. I only have a little experience so I can only talk about what I know but, for me, things don’t stop exisitng in Oneness. They just exist differently. Things aren’t better but they are real in a different way. I said the concepts of client and practitioner do not exist in the same way, I didn’t say that they don’t exist. For me, they do exist in Oneness. It’s the same with pain and suffering. They are there but different. The experiences I have are limited, but, for me, pain and suffering are very real in Oneness, they become universal experiences, not individual. So the concept of “taking on” causes no movement. The pain and suffering in Oneness is universal already, so to work in this state we cannot help but take them on. Maybe this is where the fear comes in. I know it was a big shock to me.

    Not sure if any of this helps at all.


  17. Avatar of Colin Powell

    Hi Rebecca

    No, I don’t think that Oneness is a “kind of heaven”, i.e.somewhere above the clouds or not here. I think that Oneness is everywhere but it is usually obscured by our perceptions, which create our reality. Oneness, to me, is actuality the source from which everything arises. By definition no-thing can exist there because it is One, so the concepts of practitioner, client, pain, suffering, joy, happiness also cannot exist. So, I can only think that what you refer to Oneness is rather a higher state of consciousness than our normal state – something that is possible to occasionally experience. Others may refer to that state as the plane of Spirit or the astral realms perhaps? Whatever we call it, if things exist it cannot be true Oneness.

    It is said that Reiki is non-dual so it could be said to be the realm of Oneness or Primordial Consciousness, the Ain, the Tao etc. In other words the realm of the pre-manifest because as soon as something exists there is duality – some thing differentiated from some other thing.

    I do agree that in higher levels of consciousness experiences become universal rather than individual and we can experience glimpses of the interconnectedness of everything or the lack of separation but this is still, to me, not the same thing as Oneness. As you said, the client and practitioner still exist in the state of interconnectedness but although they may be connected, with no separation, they are still client and practitioner and therefore not truly One or non-dual.

    I too have occasional glimpses of a higher state of consciousness when practising Reiki and experience a deep sense of connection not only with the client but everything. I presume it is still me who is having the experience so I don’t consider it as an experience of Oneness.

    For me, the emanation of Reiki, especially whilst in a higher state of consciousness, is the closest we can get to providing a space in which true healing can occur but I still believe it is the client (or the client’s soul or higher consciousness) that chooses to take that opportunity to heal and whilst the practitioner *can* offer to take on the pain and suffering of the client, from a place of deep compassion, I don’t believe it is necessary to actually do so.

    However, I doubt that we will progress much further with discussions of such deep philosophy because it is so difficult to describe adequately and unambiguously, using words, without actually experiencing each others experiences! 🙂

    Also, we do seem to be hogging the Comments somewhat (and maybe drifting a bit off topic)! lol 🙂 I thank you again for your discussion and sharing your experience but it would be lovely to hear comments from others as well.

    Thanks again,

  18. Avatar of Scott

    Great discussion Colin and Rebecca,
    One of the problems, as Colin eludes to is trying to describe something with words, that there are no words for.  If we just look at the word “take” it is a transitive verb, implying that there is by definition some action on something.  But don’t you find that during a treatment or meditation that the less you “do” the more open you are and the treatments/meditation becomes deeper.
    From the unconditional love of the mother example given by Frans, isn’t that also accompanied by fear, worry, angry when the mother is in that dire situation with her child.  We surely don’t want to take that whole package of emotions into the treatment.  Additionally, not to take anything away from the intent of the mother, but at some level she must know she actually can’t take on or trade places with the child.
    It isn’t logical to me to actually to take on someone else’s sickness, going back to the mother example, what if she has other children, who will take care of them?  Or a doctor that has gone through years and years of training and education, to “take on” the fatal illness of their first patient, they can not help anyone else after that.
    So, can “take on” mean something else other then the conventional sense of it.  I guess that is up to individual interpretation.
    May be it is just another tool/exercise for us to use, actually for ourselves in a way.  As mentioned by others, having that intent could reduce our fear, additionally it could enhance our understanding and depth of equanimity, compassion and empathy.  With all that, would we be more open to whatever is?
    Not sure if I’m making sense, but anyway that is what is going on in my head.
    I think I will try it and see what happens.

  19. Avatar of Rebecca Holton

    It’s one of those topics that you could study for ever, isn’t it 🙂

    What do you make of the Heart Sutra’s take on how things really exist:
    Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.

    There’s a good translation in new edition of The Reiki Sourcebook.


  20. Avatar of Colin Powell

    Thanks for joining in,  Scott!
    Yes, I think that “taking on” can be understood in more than one sense and maybe the only way to understand that deeper sense is to “try it”!

    Rebecca: Yes, we could study and debate such subjects for ever (and indeed they have been debated by people for thousands of years!) 🙂

    I have just had another read of the Heart Sutra in The Reiki Sourcebook. To me, “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form” implies that all form is really emptiness or all form arises from emptiness. Emptiness, for me is the true state of Oneness, where the only thing that exists is   an indefinable emptiness because there is nothing to relate that emptiness to because all there is is emptiness. But that emptiness (again words do not help much here!) is not really empty! Perhaps it could be called No-thing-ness because in this state of actuality, although there are no things yet manifested into reality there is the potential for everything to arise!

    When some thing arises or manifests it becomes real (able to be perceived by our consciousness) it also becomes dual because there is then this thing and also not this thing, which is how we are able to perceive it as a separate thing. However, in actuality, it is still emptiness, the emptiness does not disappear or change (it cannot because all there is is emptiness). Our consciousness, which also arises from the emptiness allows us to perceive other forms which have arisen from the emptiness. This is what we perceive as our reality but in actuality it is all emptiness! Although we can achieve states of awareness when we can experience and know on a very deep level that everything is connected and there is no separation (I am the Universe and the Universe is me) we still cannot truly experience the Oneness that is Emptiness without ceasing to be manifest and, even then we cannot experience it because experience does not then exist either!

    From my point of view, the Prajna Paramita Mantra (Perfection of Wisdom) is one way to work towards the realisation that form is emptiness and emptiness is form but if we want to remain conscious of the experience we can only realise that state and not actually experience it. The sense of interconnection and no separation is probably the closest we can come to it.

    I also think that another way to work towards this realisation is through diligent practice of the system of Reiki where we aim to become, or at least experience the reality of, the Great Bright Light – i.e. achieve Personal Perfection!

    An analogy comes to mind to try and help explain what I am trying to articulate: think of one of those wonderful sand sculptures that one can often see on the beach. Maybe it is a finely detailed a fairytale castle with pointed turrents, a drawbrige, portcullis and you can even see the patterns of stonework. We can perceive this level of detail and experien

  21. Avatar of Elly

    Deep stuff, everyone! To quote Miyamoto Musashi in “The Book of the Void” (literally “The Book of No-thing”), “By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist… In the void is virtue, and no evil. Wisdom has existence, principle has existence, the Way has existence, spirit is nothingness.” Or no-thing-ness.

    To get back to Frans’s original post, I think it’s disgraceful that people teach Reiki students that they need to “protect” themselves, which, as Frans rightly points out, sets up immediate barriers where none should exist. Fear (the cause of worry, anger, unkindness, selfishness, and separation) is the antithesis of compassion; it is itself the great barrier, the fear of “the other,” whether that other is an illness or someone from another culture or [your favorite here]. Usui Founder in his wisdom gave those of us on the Reiki path a simple, perfect tool to dissolve fear and awaken compassion: Put your hands down, let Reiki flow, stop thinking, stop worrying, stop anticipating, and just be. In this state of grace, without barriers, there is no you and no other, and every particle of every cell the Reiki touches will know that it is loved. There is no greater healing. It is the ability to love all things unconditionally that our own hearts yearn for, and it is why when we encounter that rare being in whom this great light shines, we are drawn to them, be they Saint Francis or Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama or Eknath Easwaran or the neighborhood trash collector.

    Which brings me to Tanya’s dilemma. Tanya, I feel your pain; I’ve been a vegetarian all my adult life. It has never been easy for me, but it seemed such a small sacrifice, a gift I am able to give to others on this life journey. However, your family and pets deserve your compassion, too, and they are suffering. In your case, I would take the Native American approach of extreme respect, love, and appreciation for the lives you are about to take. A ceremony would be appropriate. Explain to them what you’re about to do and why you are doing it, and ask for their forgiveness and acceptance. Then, please, once the house is flea-free, use preventive measures so you don’t have to go through this again! And bless you for your kind heart.

  22. Avatar of Scott

    Colin – your last post made this come to mind
    If you touch emptiness it becomes form, if you examine form it becomes empty.

  23. Avatar of Colin Powell
  24. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi All,
    As a practitioner I set my intent that my client receives whatever she needs, it is up to the client to deal with their issues. But what if the client is ready to let go of her suffering and says; please take it, I don’t want it anymore? What do you do as a practitioner? Do you put your hands out and say; just give it to me and I deal with it? Are we open, compassionate and strong enough in our own personal practice to do this? This is really what it comes down to.

    As Rebecca said: The practitioner has not left anything in between themselves and the other person.

    So this intent will in fact help the practitioner to go deeper into his own personal practice.
    If the practitioners is in a state of mind that there is, no receiving, giving and gift, then there is no issue at all. He knows that the client wants to give him her suffering because the client might not be in the state of mind of, no receiving, giving and gift, this is why the practitioner might say, of course please give it to me and I deal with it because he knows there is nothing to give. What a journey! Not that easy to understand and this is why we need to have direct experiences of this.

    All of these are tools for our own personal spiritual development. And if we teach the system of Reiki as a spiritual practice then this is definitely part of this spiritual journey, no matter if we are Buddhist, Christians or whatever, as it is pure love.

    Lets look at it from this angle. In Japan fire is often used as purification, like the Goma ritual for example.
    Say a practitioner practices a technique where she visualizes that she sits in a fire which burns away all her suffering and pain. For this fire to burn we need fuel, so what if we add to our fuel the fuel of other peoples suffering! By doing this we create a huge bonfire, adding in all other peoples suffering as fuel. This will therefore help the practitioner to burn more of her suffering, isn’t it.

    So many hidden layers with the spiritual practice of the system of Reiki, this is why it is a life time practice and this is also why a Reiki teacher needs to keep delving deep within herself.

  25. Avatar of Rebecca Holton

    Hello All,

    Just a little thought to add. I think as we practice over the years, this adds to our capacity for “burning up suffering” that Frans talks about. The client may have a lot of suffering but not much capacity for burning. The practitioner may have many many years of consistent practice behind them and have developed a large capacity for burning suffering. So they add their own capacity the burning by being open enough to take on the suffering of the client. It’s all one though, so this has exponential potential.

    Not really sure if this is what you meant Frans, apologies if not – it’s a picture in my head.

  26. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Rebecca,
    Yes, also the practitioner has a larger capacity for burning up suffering due to personal practice. (well as long as the practitioner has a healthy ongoing personal practice :-))

    Here is an example, if a practitioner can clearly “see” certain “things” within the client in a very direct way, then she only has to touch the client at specific spots to trigger healing. A practitioner who doesn’t practice might not have this ability to “see” these “things” and therefore the healing is not as direct. With this I mean very direct seeing, not byosan or any other method of scanning or whatever we might call it.
    It is seeing things As it Is 🙂

    I need to say this again and again, even if it is just for myself: There are so many layers to discover within the spiritual aspect of the system of Reiki.
    If we think we know it we have put the system in a box and there is no openness for further development.

    Such an amazing journey!!!!

  27. Avatar of Colin Powell

    Yes, Frans, an amazing journey! 🙂

    For me, “seeing” certain “things” is more of a “sensing” or “knowing” intuitively and, as you say, not always because I have have detected a byosen in that particular area where my hands are drawn to – often only for a very brief moment! I feel I don’t need to know why or even whether that brief touch really made any noticeable difference – I just know that it was right in that moment.

    Chujiro Hayashi used the analogy of the process of healing being like the peeling back of one sheet of very fine paper after another. I think that Reiki practice is also like that – each sheet of fine paper we remove allows our Great Bright Light to shine ever brighter, becoming more visible to ourselves and others, until eventually we realise it is really our true nature and we are the Great Bright Light.


  28. Avatar of kathi richards

    Tanya, in answer to your practical question about what to do about the mice and fleas…
    Mice – live traps work great just make sure that you take the mice at least a mile away from your home.
    Fleas – Neem oil or powder mixed with diatomaceous earth and yarrow flowers in powder form. Neem is powerful stuff but smells a bit, okay, a lot nasty, but it repels the fleas.
    Also you can offer the be-ings Reiki. I do that with the flies here.

  29. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Colin,
    Yes it is like removing sheets of paper. But this can only happen if the system of Reiki we practice teaches us how to remove the sheets of paper. If it is only externally based then it will be very hard to remove these sheets of paper.

    This is why, for example, Okuden is called the Inner or Hidden Teachings, it helps us to discover what is hidden within ourselves, the Great Bright Light. But if we use the tools taught within Okuden, the symbols/mantras, externally, then it will be very difficult to discover what is hidden inside of ourselves.

    This is also why the teacher needs to have his/her own very dedicated personal practice so that he/she can be an example of removing these layers.

    It is only through removing these layers that we start to see the concepts of this blog question, for example. The practitioner and teacher will start to see different elements within the system of Reiki due to removing these layers, this will then bring up certain discussions and insights for both the teacher and the practitioner.
    This is why it is a life long practice, never ending.

  30. Avatar of MARGIT PEACHEY

    I see compassion as having empathy, true concern for anothers plight and a willingness to assist.  I do not see compassion as literally taking on another’s illness etc.  We all walk our own path and even another person’d illness may be part of their journey for reasons we may not understand.  We, as reiki practioners are availing ourselves to that person for the time we are required.  We cannot decide an outcome.  We too have much to learn.  Fear is a big issue.  We all have deep fears, some of which come to the surface in unexpected ways.  Part of our journey is to learn to deal with these fears.  Who wants to touch a leper???  With practice our own energy fields strengthen therefore we are already protected and more and more we can set ourselves free to be compassionate.

  31. Avatar of Joe Moon

    For many years I viewed the situation as Colin 13 and 15.  Not really offering to take on the suffering of others literally but as “…provide the opportunity for the cause of suffering to be taken away or removed. ”  This view is convenient but can take us only so far.  I also agree with Colin that compassion has a great deal to do with the healing process.  As my practice continued, I realized what I formerly believed to be compassion was in fact not compassion at all but more of a societally canned version.  With further practice (it took years for this to become apparent) , I came to different and better understanding of compassion (at least as I think I know it today) and it began to grow within me naturally.

    I now am beginning to see as Margit 30 has said that fear is a big issue. My practice took a giant leap when I came to grips with fear and this is a considerable confrontation.  Still working with it on a personal level of coarse but, that said…  In essence and in practice, the willingness to view healing as a willingness to take on the suffering of others directly appears to have some advantage of being a powerful shortcut if it can be directly engaged compassionately and without fear.  As Frans says in 9…just try it and see what happens…
    Today I believe it is only when we become more fearless (our fearfulness has subsided) and our compassion has had a chance to grow naturally that we reach that point where our compassion for the suffering of others overcomes our fearfulness and we can engage more directly with the Reiki healing process as it pertains to hands-on-healing for others.

  32. Avatar of Carol Williams

    I like a phrase of a song I heard years ago from an artist by the name of Jewel.
    It came drifting through my mind as I read the comments.
    “A place where your soul can be seen and be safe” is how I like to look at the concept
    of compassion.

    In response to the lady with the “Aunts” my Uncle says its ok to be Spiritual but you still need to feed the dog.

  33. Avatar of Joe Moon

    When, as Frans says in 9, we just try to enter uncomfortable territory (such as intending to take on the suffering of others directly onto ourselves) whether in a hands-on-healing situation or other situations, we can immediately see (in the energetic sense) what issues we have remaining on the surface and if we are very lucky, a glimpse into the deeper layers that need work as well.

    We can approach this situation with the intention of compassion for ourselves but the follow through shows us where we are in courage/faith/fearlessness (all melding together in that moment)

  34. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi All,
    Just wanted to share part of an email (with permission) from a student. Isn’t it wonderful how we can all learn so much from each other.

    From Grace:
    Now I understand why you keep calling what you teach as the “system of reiki”.  There is so much more than just learning various exercises to connect with the energy, and aha! there are more layers to the precept than I first thought!  But until I actually experience it, I’ll never be able to have thought of what the next layers are!  Very clever system.

    I learned that reiki or healing isn’t about doing something for someone, but more about living peacefully and in tune with nature and living in the moment.  <end>

  35. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi All,
    Just read this, from Sheng Yen:

    In Chan Buddhism, wisdom and compassion are inseparable. In Chan practice, you cultivate wisdom, which is the absence of self-centeredness. You can only be free from self-centeredness, however, if you have compassion: an awareness of the suffering of all sentient beings. Compassion allows you to give selflessly. If you are selfish, you will not have much compassion—or wisdom! Therefore, wisdom and compassion are inexorably linked; if there is only wisdom, your practice is incomplete.

  36. Avatar of Joe Moon

    Could we also surmise that neither wisdom nor compassion can co-exist within an ego-centric (self-centered) paradigm?  This makes a great deal of sense to me.  We have a great deal of difficulty understanding what compassion actually is (experiencing its arising within us directly) until we can see beyond the intoxicating veil of the “I” perceived as an entity seperated from and in constant struggle with all that is. When we are successful at being an “I” it fosters great arrogance and indifference to the plight of others that must necessarily be diminished as the “I” is emboldened/empowered.  When we are not successful at being an “I” it fosters depression, and others ills such as jealousy and anger/rage.  We only need to drop the pretense and “see” that we are not separate from all that is in order to be shot of most if not all of these malevolences/afflictions and begin to cultivate wisdom/compassion and overcome fear naturally.

  37. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Joe,

    I think you are right Joe, we often think we have the wisdom and compassion, but as you say, we are having difficulty understanding what real compassion and wisdom is.
    We only have to look at our current situation in the world to see that we really do not understand compassion and wisdom, look at all the animal cruelty for example, look at all the destruction of the land, look at all the people who walk in the street, you name it.

    I agree with you too that if we are not being successful at being “I” we foster jealousy, anger, depression and rage. If we look closely at the system of Reiki we can see that it is all about letting go of the “i”, not an easy task and very confronting as well.

  38. Avatar of Rebecca Holton

    I think one area that can cause a big “penny dropping” moment is that from the point of view of working on our “I”, both very successful and very unsuccessful people can be just as attached. Not all attachments are to do with being the best, many people have got attached to being the worst. So feelings of jealousy, anger, worthlessness etc… are just as muxch an attachment to our I as feelings of pride in our achievements, self-worth, importance etc… are.

  39. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  40. Avatar of Colin Powell
  41. Avatar of Joe Moon

    Thank you Colin for posting this article link.

    Rebecca, I whole heartedly agree with you about attachment. I think of it as a higher order affliction than not being able to ‘see’ that there IS no ‘I’.  As you have pointed out, it exacerbates the delusion that we are separate from all that is whether we are weathering it well or not.  Once the layers begin to peel back it is still a very prominent affliction even after we have begun to discover that we are all in this together.  It gives us comfort but at the same time it is a tenaceous roadblock.  For meditation, it is in essence the parade to the prayer and not the prayer itself

  42. Avatar of Caroline Eddy

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