My Reiki Journey with Frans Stiene Part 2 – How did I get here?

Sundar Kadayam Articles, English 15 Comments

(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.

Comments 15

  1. Yes, when the student is ready the teacher does appear. This happens all the time to me. This is how I was led to the IHReiki and Frans and Bronwen. Looking forward to the next installment. namaste

  2. Hi Sundar,
    Like your comment: “how could non-enlightened people claim to produce a system more powerful than Reiki which was produced by an enlightened Mikao Usui,”
    When we look at the founder of the system of Reiki we need to acknowledge that he spend 21 days on a mountain top fasting. This also means that he had done lots of personal practice prior to his fast, you can not just go and fast for 21 days on a mountain top!
    I personally do not know any modern Reiki teacher who has ever done this!
    As it states in the question and answer section of the Reiki Ryoho Hikkei (a booklet handed out in the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai in Japan): This method is to help body and spirit with intuitive power, which I’ve [Mikao Usui] received after long and hard training.
    So we can see that he had a very deep personal understanding of the nature of things. This is why he was capable of creating a system which is till around today.

  3. Hi Frans and Sundar,
    Many people have forgotten the importance of fasting for extended periods of time. Yes, it helps clean out the pipes, so to speak, but it does so much more when you approach it with a purpose. I had no purpose with my last fast. It was only for 8 days but I realized why I was doing it on about day 2. So, sometimes we don’t know really why until we are part way into it.

    I do not know if Mikao Usui went up the mountain with the intent of enlightenment, and really that doesn’t matter now. I am just glad he did, for all of us. Truly a man of compassion.
    Namaste

  4. Frans: As you point out, Mikao Usui’s personal practice enabled him to have such a deep understanding of nature.  It is indeed evident in the amazingly simple, yet profound, system of Reiki that he founded.  When I grew up in India in the 60s, 70s and 80s, fasting was a very common part of life, especially with my grandparents’ and parents’ generations.  The older folks in the family typically ate only in the morning / afternoon and would skip dinner – or maybe just have a piece of fruit.  And then there were religious days that would be sprinkled across the calendar which would motivate full day fasts.  Living here in the West, I’ve lost that aspect of tradition I grew up with.  And when I think about a 21-day fast that Mikao Usui undertook, it feels daunting!  Just how deep must his practice have been to be able to even attempt that sort of thing!  What an inspiration for us – to look at our own practice and commit to strengthening and deepening it!

    Kathi: That you even fast is just wonderful!  As you say, its value and importance has been forgotten over the years.  Mikao Usui’s mountain top fasting often reminds me of the stories in Hindu mythology, of similar penances and practices that sages and saints did (and we hear such stories of yogis doing this even in contemporary times in the Himalayas), culminating every so often with the blessing of a deity.  The blessing that Usui received in this process does indeed live on now, a 100 years or so from when that happened!  Just amazing!

  5. Hi Sundar,
    To really see what the system of Reiki is about we need to look at Mikao Usui’s own life, personal practice and training. Who were his teachers for example? Who told him to go up the mountain and die (as the story goes)?
    For example, in Shugendo there is a traditional 21 day fasting meditation called Mizudachi no Gyo, is this what he practiced!?

  6. Frans:  That perspective you share is indeed wonderful.  Looking to see the influences on Mikao Usui’s life, would indeed shed some light on his personal practice and training.  At this time, how much do we know about the kinds of questions you pose here?  For instance, I’ve wondered about who Usui’s teachers were – do we know something concrete about that?

  7. Hi Sundar,
    As you know his history is shrouded in mist, but if you look at the elements taught within the system of Reiki and what was commonly practiced at that time in other spiritual teachings, you will start to see traces of esoteric traditions like Shugendo within the system of Reiki. You might find this article in our blog section interesting to read: Researching Reiki Training From a Japanese Viewpoint
    As Hyakuten Inamotu once said in a class: The Reiki which we practice now should be called Hayashi’s Reiki as it is really his system we practice.
    This is why it is so important to go back to the system of Reiki before Hayashi.

  8. Frans: The article “Researching Reiki Training From a Japanese Viewpoint” was a fascinating read.  As you and Bronwen write in it, there are so many approaches we can take to research this topic. There are probably layers and layers of insights to uncover from that sort of research.  What I found fascinating is this thing you said in the article: “Experience is one of the most difficult forms of research as it requires dedication, perseverance and the guidance of a qualified teacher.”  How true! Experience enables personal glimpses into the Truth. But, as you say, it is very hard, requiring the patience, perseverance and commitment to practice.  And I’ve been fortunate to find the “guidance of a qualified teacher” in you!

    Hyakuten San’s comment that it is Hayashi Reiki that we conventionally practice is so spot on. Your commitment to going back to the system of Reiki before Hayashi is helping a whole lot of us who have found something missing with the depth of the practice and also the many mystifying aspects to modern Reiki.  It is helping us find our way! Thank you!

    – Sundar

  9. Hi Sundar,
    We can discuss or argue Mikao Usui’s history over and over again but in fact it doesn’t get us anywhere. The most important element of his system is to get the direct experience. This is also why we should not believe the teacher straight away, we need to check for our self if what he/she states is the truth! For example, we teach that the CKR (first symbol/mantra) is connected to earth energy, we can straight away believe this as a student, but in fact that is not too smart. As a student we need to check this. We can check this in a couple of different ways, research it and check if what the teacher has told you is correct, but in reality research is not enough. The best way to check if the teacher is speaking the truth is to apply the tool the way the teacher has instructed, so in our way of teaching the student goes home and meditate on the CKR every day and for many months.
    This way the student can check if the CKR is really connected to the earth energy.

  10. Hi Sundar,
    Was thinking about direct experiences and wanted to share this.
    Say we want to know more about trees. We can buy a Tree Book and read up on what a tree is. But this book is written by someone else, and who knows if the book is right or not, so this knowledge is limited.
    We can cut down a tree with chainsaw, count the rings,get a microscope etc. But again this is a limited kind of knowledge.
    The best option is to become One with the tree, now we know exactly what a tree is like. But this is not that easy and takes lots of practice, but we can not deny that this is really the best option!

  11. I have been on Face Book a lot lately and I was just looking for the “like” button on what you said Frans. It is all about being connected.

  12. Frans:  Excellent points all. I loved many things about your comments. 

    First, your suggestion: “This is also why we should not believe the teacher straight away, we need to check for our self if what he/she states is the truth!” is a breath of fresh air. It takes a certain depth in a teacher to be able to make that declaration to the student. In fact, in my experience that is quite rare, because teachers are often threatened by a highly inquisitive students who questions and tries to get to the bottom of the truth, and they are often threatened by the prospect of being contradicted.  This explains why so much dogma has entered some of the modern Reiki practice where a teacher might say, for instance, “you need to put CKR on all walls and ceiling and floor before doing Reiki”, and the student would simply follow that without questioning. A good teacher, like you do, would and should empower the students to go and ensure that they “get” the teaching in a manner that they can believe it and use it.

    Second, your tree example, hinted to me the phenomenon of layers in our understanding of things.  I might take a book and get to know about the concept of trees and how they grow etc. – call this bookish knowledge.  Then, when I venture outside, and go to a tree, I can see it with my full vision, hear the rustling of the leaves in the wind, feel the roughness of the bark with my touch, experience the coolness of the shade of the tree and so forth – call this experiential knowledge using the senses.  Then, I might carry on my experience of the tree, by observing it over various seasons, see it blooming in spring, producing fruit in summer, having the leaves fall in autumn, go into hibernation in winter – call this a deepening of my experiential knowledge of the trees through an extended observation of their interaction with the world. Then, I might actually meditate and connect with the presence of the tree, and get a whole new layer of knowledge from doing so.  And the knowledge discovery may happen in many more layers like this, until, as you say, “become one with the tree”.  Then we know the tree for real. 

    This sort of layers exist with pretty much anything we approach to “know” in life, and very true about the system of Reiki – particularly since I’ve met you and learned from you.  Any time I get the feeling that “I know this”, I am reminded about the precept on being humble.  Without that humility, there is a finality, a judgment made on the matter on which I have declared “I know this”, and with that, I’d have reached a dead-end with it. The truth, in fact, is that there are always more layers to be discovered, until one is in that stage of satori or the great bright light.  This is the third thing I found fascinating in your comments – there was a connection back to the precepts around being humble!

    Thanks much!
    – Sundar

  13. Hi Sundar,
    Like your description of the layers and the tree, this is why we need to keep practicing. This is with anything in life.
    If we don’t practice we think we know it all, but if we really practice we realize we don’t know anything! It is a life long journey.

  14. Sundar,
    I had many of the same questions as you during my pre-Frans training.  The attunement issue you mentioned and the idea that you drew symbol 1 over an area that needed more Reiki (why not do it everywhere?) for example.  Things just didn’t add up in my left (pcb designer) brain.  I had loads of questions.  Also, I felt it was pretty egotisitical that Reiki “Masters” got together and channeled symbols to create a “higher vibration” of Reiki.  But everyone around here was learning it so I did take the classes to the teaching level and resonated with the chanting aspect but again, things didn’t add up.  Plus, it just got more and more complicated!  More symbols, longer attunements!  (Do you know a friend told me her attunement involved a lit candle under her seat?!)  Upon further research, these new channeled symbols appeared in other new forms of Reiki, so what’s up with that?  I found the Reiki Sourcebook and was determined to study with Frans.  Lo and behold, there was so much more to learn on the symbols, precepts, etc!  YaY!  Now my practice opened up, and guess what? There is chanting too!!
    Frans,
    Thanks as always for your insights and feedback.

  15. Kelly: I am happy to hear that these questions and experiences resonated with you. I think that people whose professions have required the greater use of their left brain like us, have something quite interesting happening on the journey.  On the one hand, by seeking rational answers to some of the information and experiences, we may not be flowing as easily as some of the practitioners do (my first Reiki teacher is a great example of this – she was so totally Reiki in her presence and her work, even if intellectually she couldn’t lead me there) and I really should only speak to my own experience only in this regard, but on the other hand, our desire to have information and experiences pass that rational muster behaves like a bullsh*t filter, and won’t let us totally accept anything and everything that comes our way!  Frans has been wonderful in this regard – elsewhere in these posts, Frans comments that students should really not take what the teacher says at face value, that they should research it to make sure that what the teacher said was true, but more importantly, move to where they can experience it directly and see if what the teacher said was true!  What a breath of fresh air!  And how fortunate for us!

    – Sundar

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