Time: October 2007
Frans’ Shinpiden class in Oct 2007 in NYC was exactly what I needed. All those nagging questions were answered, every last one of them, and in a way that made a lot of logical sense (satisfying my left brain) and a lot of intuitive sense (satisfying my right brain) and just resonated in my heart (the only test that ever matters, in my experience).
For sharing the real depth of what I felt and experienced and knew in this class, I am going to turn to an email I wrote to Bronwen and Frans after this class, expressing my gratitude to them:
On Friday, day-1, I decided to arrive early and take a chance to see Frans before others arrived. Most good teachers come a bit ahead of time to prepare the space — and sure enough at 8:50am or so, Frans was already there. I saw a very simple and approachable person there, one with whom my heart warmed instantly! I dropped my guards and shields and walls and barriers — everything in this half-hour chat I had with Frans before class began. I committed to remaining in an open state through this whole workshop! And the miracles happened again and again and again each day.
In the very first 15 minutes on day-1’s class, Frans gave me the most critical element, the foundational element that changed everything in my mind. “Reiki is universal energy”, Frans said, and for the first time it seemed like I “knew” it. I’ve read that statement a hundred times before and I had an impression of it, but it was a duality-based view *always*, a view of the energy around us and not in us! The tower I had built of ideas and impressions that described Reiki to me started tumbling — the first salvo had struck at the very foundation of my beliefs. Reiki wasn’t a kind of spiritual energy, it was THE spiritual energy. It wasn’t a frequency or spectrum of the energy around us, it was THE energy itself, and not just around us, but in us, and from the right perspective of viewing existence as such, it was all there ever WAS and IS!
I sat in rapt attention soaking and reveling in these newfound “know”ings! One puzzle piece after another, things started falling in place. The gazillion misconceptions around Reiki started melting away systematically, leaving me with a stunningly simple picture that was at the same time profound and complete.
Not only did I intellectually get what I was looking for, but I experienced much in the class that was all absolutely necessary to complete and balance the picture for me. I attribute this very much to Frans being able to present the potential for me with the space he held being himself, and my own open-ness to accept without blocks (at least without the conscious blocks I’m aware of) whatever was right for me. On one occasion, I experienced reality briefly beyond the labels we apply to things — a window wasn’t any longer a window but many things, a roof wasn’t the concrete deterministic thing we know but many things. I felt the pangs of fear at the changes happening in me and around me and with the onset of fear, this reality disappeared quickly leaving me in the world of labels and boxes and limited potential. On another occasion, I saw a glimpse of myself — past the clothing of this body. Yet another time, I saw and felt Frans’ presence in more than one ‘place’ at the same ‘time’! When Frans demonstrated a form of Reiju sans rituals, I felt a wave of truth that melted me away altogether — Intellectually I knew he had taken a risk here that he normally doesn’t, to show something like this because many won’t understand what this meant or the depth of wisdom in it, while experientially I saw and felt what I knew was possible and within the realm of our potential.
I couldn’t say that any better today even if I tried, because those words tumbled out of my heart in gratitude towards Frans’ class. And look at what this class did for me – once more, I am going to borrow from the same email cited above:
Look at the sum total of what this class has done for me:
– Many misconceptions about Reiki have disappeared, the most significant among those lies in the establishment of “Reiki is universal energy” as the foundational truth — for me, this means *so much* and it behaves as the light of truth that will dispel most, if not all misconceptions about the system of Reiki as practised today!
– I see Reiki as a clear spiritual path with many layers (and therefore depth)
– I see that the path of Reiki is very well structured and simple (many paths are complex, esoteric, and rarely do you see an outline of what progression may be like — the practice itself may take decades, but the view of the progression talks to the rational organization of the system itself)
– I see the precepts as the foundation — something that matched my own intuition
– I see the mantras, symbols, techniques etc., all as tools (“training wheels”) — and I have registered the warning that Frans clearly directed at me “Be careful when you discard the training wheels” — this is an important warning for me because I can “feel” the world without the training wheels at some level, and left to me I might try to reach for it in one big step and surely fail and anguish from the failed effort.
– I see healing as an effect of the practice of the system and not its sole goal — I’d intuitively felt that, and it was good to see this reaffirmation!
– I see the system having concrete parts and fluid parts
– I see that I can teach in whatever manner is most suitable in a given condition, i.e. a full 2-day program isn’t entirely necessary to teach, say, Reiki I
– I see that everything I’ve taught so far needs to be gutted and that I’ve got to return to a simpler, more consistent teaching method that is fitting of the truth I’ve now understood — not at all intimidating because I had already stopped teaching because of all the inner confusion about the system!
– I see that there are deeper, original teachings of Master Usui that can strengthen one in their journey on the path, and knowing that this may be accessible for me when I deserve it, via Frans himself is just too good, because I’ve come to trust him in these few days
– I see the motivation for commitment to a daily practice starting with the CKR chant — Frans made it even easier by helping me understand the wisdom of consistent practice every day versus a forced expectation of a certain amount of time of practice every day — Even 5-minutes on a given day is better than setting the bar for 1/2 hour and failing to do anything at all on a given day!! How cool and practical and logical is that!
– A great personal lesson for me — integrate lightness and humor with the profound material to do justice to this awesome teaching. I loved Frans’ teaching style and there’s much to learn from it for me.
– I see that a teacher doesn’t have to be stand-off-ish but can be approachable and offer to help the student on an ongoing basis. Most teachers don’t seem to do this, and the few that do pay lip service. Few seem to extend a truthful, warm offer to help on an ongoing basis. Frans’ commitment in this regard is something to emulate!
– I see clearly the need to be compassionate with myself (a message that kept circling in the class back to me) and not be so hard on myself and my failings on the spiritual path. Something I can use is this: “I treat myself as the fragrant, unique, 1000-petaled lotus in bloom, and let the petals unfold in their way in their time, only concerning myself about supplying the nourishing conditions for the same”!!
All that massive change I experienced was summed up in this testimonial I wrote for their web site, which I wrote in the form of an open letter to fellow Reiki Teachers:
Prospective and Fellow Reiki Teachers! You have been given a gift in your hands to help others heal themselves. An inherent aspect of Reiki is the amazing way in which it brings miracles of healing and other blessings into our life. It is easy for us as practitioners to get carried away with the miracles themselves and get caught up in ego trips, or detours that take us into “more powerful forms of Reiki” and such.
Reiki is “universal energy”. Going after a system that a) promises a more powerful form of energy, b) offers more symbols, c) offers “Unique”, “More Powerful” tools etc. — all this simply speaks to the staggering spiritual ignorance of those involved, as their very words betray a deep spiritual ignorance of the nature of the world around us. This system we call Reiki is a profound and deep system based on the sound spiritual teachings of Usui Mikao. While hands-on-healing is a distinct benefit of the system, there is a lot more for us as practitioners to learn and grow. Only by doing so will we fulfill our purpose as practitioners and teachers of the system.
Look beyond the special effects and the pyrotechnics that the practice of Reiki often produces, to its depth and its simplicity. The truth can more easily be found by tracing the teachings back to what the enlightened master Usui Mikao taught, and not further away into newer branches that take the system of Reiki further away from the roots, its depths, its simplicity and real power. For me, after 6 years of Reiki practice and three Reiki Master teachers, I found the right teacher in the internationally acclaimed author Frans Steine. I love and respect my previous teachers very much for what they’ve added to my life, because without them, I wouldn’t be here, writing this to you! But it was Frans that showed me the truth and the depth about Reiki. I understand the simple, complete and profound system created by Usui Mikao. I understand the fallacy of trying to devise a system “more powerful than Reiki” — only a person ignorant of what Reiki really was and meant could even say something like that!
I understand the deep, spiritual roots of the system, something that gives me comfort in taking on a life-long practice that will build the needed depth in me, which in turn will make my healing practice stronger and my teachings more truthful and my students more empowered in a deep system themselves.
Only four days with Frans Steine has turned my view of Reiki upside down and shockingly now the right side is up and it makes sense and feels right! The useless appendages to Reiki as I had understood it before have fallen off, the superstitions have vanished and a simpler system stands before me. I, the student, the practitioner, the teacher have come back into the center of the practice.
My personal practice is the price. My personal freedom, perfection in my life and healing work, and truthful personal teachings are the prizes!
Frans combines in his approach humility, honor for the truth, and humor to make his classes delightful. I open-heartedly recommend his classes to you. Go in with an open mind to his classes, and when you leave, it is possible that you will feel gutted as the old beliefs and untruths leave, but what you will be left with is the truth in its beauty and its simplicity. Here’s intending that you too go forth and bring the light of truth into you and through you into your world!
To sum this up – In Frans’ class I learned a lot about the spiritual roots of Reiki, and I also learned the evolution of Reiki from being a spiritual path to a healing system to its barely recognizable 80-100 different forms in the Western world today. For me, the hodge-podge of things band-aid-ed together with Western Reiki disappeared, and at the same time, the mysterious sounding Japanese techniques I had glimpsed in Komyo Reiki and in The Reiki Sourcebook were also put in their place for what they are — just “techniques”. In its place arose a simple, coherent system, with a spiritual path at its foundation, the practice of which enables one to pay attention to and heal oneself first and then others as needed.
If my interactions with Frans would have stopped here, I would still owe a debt of gratitude to Frans and Bronwen. But my journey with Frans doesn’t stop here! Coming in Part 4.