(read Part 1 of Sundar’s journey)
Time: July 2007
By July 2007, I had practiced Reiki for about 6 1/2 years.
My first Reiki teacher was an awesome person, Dr. Susan Verghis, a Reiki teacher in William Lee Rand’s lineage, who I first met in January 2001. I learned all three levels of Reiki from her in Bangalore, India, where she resides. She got me started with this awesome gift of regular Reiki practice, and I experienced amazing healing miracles and much more in my life from 2001 through 2004.
In 2004, I made a commitment to go deeper in my learning, understanding and practice of Reiki and begin teaching it to others. To this end, I decided to seek out William Lee Rand, who was the most experienced Western Reiki teacher in Susan Verghis’ lineage. My thinking was that by climbing up closer to the source, I’d get more direct glimpse of this powerful system. My Fall 2004 ART/Reiki Master class with William Lee Rand didn’t disappoint. My experiences in William’s class were so strong and deep, that my commitment to Reiki teaching and healing work became stronger. I found William’s guided meditations in the class to be incredible, and was inspired by his command and teaching style. I started teaching Reiki in winter of 2004. The technology entrepreneur that I am, I went to work and produced a comprehensive 100 slide+ Powerpoint presentation for my Reiki-1 classes and another 60 slide+ presentation for my Reiki 2 classes, and was very proud of my knowledge and experiences of Reiki. About 30 students later, I realized that my knowledge was on shaky ground. In my geeky teaching style, I couldn’t provide logical and rational explanations of how a hands-on-healing session worked, or why symbols were bestowed with the power they were said to be bestowed with, or why original Reiki has only four symbols and not more, or what the mechanics of operation of a distance healing session actually was, or why there were 100+ branches of Reiki, or how could non-enlightened people claim to produce a system more powerful than Reiki which was produced by an enlightened Mikao Usui, or why there were only five precepts and not four or seven or whatever other number, or how does an attunement really work, or how does an attunement produce awesome results for someone when I’ve forgotten 30% of the steps and so what the heck are the steps for anyway … and on and on and on (Did I mention that I am technologist with nearly 25 years of experience in developing commercial software products and a strong left brain? Sigh!)! The questions mounted with no coherent answers. Experience told me that there was something amazing at work with Reiki. I had no doubts about it. As my experiences surpassed my understanding of the experiences, and as the number of unanswered questions grew, I did the only logical thing that I could do, and that was to quit teaching Reiki. It felt absurd and farcical for me to stand up for a day or two days in front of people and pretend that I knew what the heck I was talking about. Don’t get me wrong, my healing experiences continued to be incredible at the same time. I just didn’t want to continue that farce of Reiki teaching any more, and I abandoned teaching Reiki in early 2005.
I knew the answers to all my questions were surely there. Somewhere, someone knew it. I briefly flirted with the idea of getting “more powerful attunements” from one of the may tantalizing new branches of Reiki, including one that promised to give me attunements to dozens of Reiki branches in one single “package” (on sale at steep discounts) along with a collection of 50+ symbols – this may seem silly to some of you, but to me, at least briefly, this seemed like one possible path in which I could find my answers. Apparently, my logic was that I could load up with all the Reiki power possible, and armed with 50+ symbols I’d be in a better state to understand what Reiki was, or at least I would be wielding more Reiki power than most! Luckily for me, the absurdity of this choice became so apparent, that it embarrasses me no end to consider that, for a small period of time there, I flirted with this idea. The answer to my quest lay not in the branches created by non-enlightened people (well meaning for sure in most cases, but non-enlightened people), but closer to the source of this system.
In spring 2005, my quest to get closer to the source of Reiki teachings, took me to Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto. An incredible human being, Hyakuten San is practicing Buddhist monk in Japan, who learned Reiki from a student of Chujhiro Hayashi. I got news from Reiki circles that he was coming to Asheville, NC, for a 3 day Japanese Reiki workshop for a system of Reiki he had founded called Komyo Reiki. Hyakuten San was a role model of a person teetering on being in that non-dual state of existence, and that is how I felt his presence. His teachings were laced with lessons and learnings from his Buddhist traditions – fascinating and illuminating stuff. But one thing happened to me in the class — after being attuned by him, I felt a huge shift in the quality of the energy flow I was used to. After William Rand’s class and attunements, I had experienced Reiki flowing in me as this raging fire coursing through me all the time, hot and strong. One attunement by Hyakuten San and that whole experience of Reiki flow in me changed to this wispy, almost not-present, but present type of deal! Also, intellectually, Hyakuten San’s class did not provide me with the coherent answers I was looking for about the system of Reiki, though it gave me a permanent glimpse into what the purpose of Reiki practice was – satori, or enlightenment. Returning home from his class, whenever I started a healing session, I could barely get a sense or experience of energy flow, if present, it would be like those wispy cumulus white clouds in a clear blue sky, sometimes there, but not there the next moment. This was a source of great consternation for me. And Hyakuten San’s Komyo Reiki uses different symbols than what I learned in William Rand’s Usui/Tibetan Reiki. I was thoroughly confused in my healing sessions as to what symbols to use! And in time, I stopped using symbols most of the time. But the amazing healing experiences continued and I couldn’t really figure it out! Whether I do the attunements right or not, they worked (I had tried this on some family members)! Whether I use the symbols or not, the healing materialized! Whether I could feel the energy or not, the recipient got better! My left brain was put to its utmost test in these times, trying to rationally understand the experiences happening to me.
In fall / winter of 2006, I was led to a situation involving a young man in his late teens who was diagnosed with Level IV Glioblastoma Multiforme, a devastating form of brain tumor. As I worked with him (along with some wonderful Reiki healer friends), my healing experiences went up a few notches into a space I could only label as “unbelievable”. I was led to incorporate some elements of my Hindu spiritual tradition during these healing sessions, that forever changed my practice of hands on healing and distant healing. This young man staged an unlikely recovery to the relief of his parents and family and friends, and to the bewilderment of the medical establishment, and with it came my experience of deep gratitude. However, I had no idea anymore what I was doing in these healing sessions. I was experiencing an unusual number of spontaneous reversals of symptoms in different recipients, and what was amazing to me was that, often, these people were 3000 miles to 10,000 miles away from me. What was even more unbelievable to me was that in the most powerful healing sessions, I only had 20seconds to 30seconds of time available to “do” healing work. This sort of did not agree with my left brain! What the heck was going on here? The most powerful sessions of healing including those with total spontaneous reversal of symptoms were the ones in which I did nearly nothing! WTF!!! So, what was I really doing or not doing or whatever in these sessions? Was it Reiki any more or something else?
For a few months, I stopped talking about Reiki, except in broad abstractions with most people, except with a close knit group of trusted Reiki practitioners. And then dawned what seemed like a big idea to me. Maybe I was blessed with this amazing new healing gift, and a system of practice that is more powerful than Reiki, and it combined aspects of Hindu spirituality with aspects of Reiki! Maybe it was my destiny to bring this to the world! And for a few weeks there, I was deadly serious in my pursuit of springing a new form of Reiki upon this world, a 108th or 109th branch of Reiki if you will. And for a while there in summer of 2007, I found a suitable name for my new healing system, and found a domain name for it, found that it could be trademarked, and thought about my teaching content. I have to admit that some of those days were heady, as I imagined myself, all famous and stuff, teaching 1000s of people and changing their lives! Heady stuff indeed! And then a little voice spoke to me in a quiet moment one day in late June 2007, “Maybe you are misinterpreting the healing experiences and reaching the wrong conclusions about what is going on! Maybe you should just wait a bit longer before you go on this path!” Call it intuition or whatever, I’ve been blessed with two things in my Reiki journey, the ability to receive these signals from within, and the courage to blindly follow them. So, that’s what I did. I put my Reiki branch 108/109 project on hold! And waited for answers. Every day, I’d eagerly await answers from somewhere. This was a time, I’d get messages like this: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear!” and I simply respected this sort of signal and patiently waited.
One day in July 2007, I got this information about a class in NYC by Frans Stiene. Some time before that, I had purchased and devoured the wonderfully geeky Reiki Sourcebook by Bronwen and Frans Stiene. I loved the careful research, the logical organization of content, the in depth coverage of facts and stuff about Reiki and its origins and the myriad branches. Loved it. This was my moment, I suppose, to be led to Frans’ class. It was incredibly tough time to take a break as I was just starting my new company, Zakta (shameless plug: in July 2011, as I write this, we just put out the world’s first search engine that enables people to search together). But I committed to the class. And with that act of determination and choice, following my intuition as I’d learned to do, my life changed.
Frans’ Shinpiden class in Oct 2007 in NYC was exactly what I needed. Coming in Part 3.