Reiki Retreat

Dennis FoxArticles, English 4 Comments

by Dennis Fox

Reiki Retreat 2
Reiki Retreat 3

I recently attended Frans Stiene’s The Way of Reiki workshop in Cincinnati. The workshop was four days and my first time with Frans, and I’m excited to share my experience. 

The event was hosted by Maria Kammerer of Attune: The Art of Reiki and held in a beautiful hall in the Hoffner Lodge in Northside, Cincinnati. This hall was like an old music and dance hall from the early 1900’s, although I don’t know the history. I’d never been to Northside, and it was a quaint area with wonderful eating options in all the surrounding establishments.

Immediately upon arriving for the workshop the easily recognizable Frans came over to me and greeted me with a big, warm hug as if Frans had known me for years. Over the next four days I would come to realize this is genuine Frans in all he does and is the embodiment of Reiki. Open, jovial, engaging, and contagiously high spirited. 

Briefly about me, I’ve been practicing Reiki for the past seven years. Between my Reiki II and Reiki III, I discovered Frans’s books and found answers to questions I had as I was developing my practice, but I was stuck in book knowledge and lacked the coaching to expand my practice. My practice was stuck between passion and belief, and lack of direction and clarity. This weekend provided me the direction and clarity I was looking for.

After everyone arrived, we made our introductions across the attendees, and I was surprised how many people had attended many of Frans’ training and workshops. It was a diverse crowd, and I was excited about being able to learn and experience Reiki from so many experienced Reiki practitioners. I was ready to soak in their knowledge and experience and I was in the perfect spot for it; I had inadvertently picked the “hot” seat and happily became a training aid. No better way to immerse myself.

Over the course of the four days, we would discuss the foundation of Reiki, the precepts, and it was refreshing to spend so much time on what, in my experience, has been something that others gloss over. My experience has been when people think of Reiki, they immediately jump to hands on/off healing and skip over the foundation of Reiki practice. Frans made it clear and simple that the foundation of Reiki is the precepts, and the other elements are in support of the precepts.

Frans constantly reinforced that Reiki practice is not a solitary practice, but a practice we bring into our everyday lives, all day. That we infuse the precepts in everything we do and there are countless opportunities everyday to bring yourself back to the precepts. So simple, yet not so obvious until it is pointed out. For example: the guy in front of me cut me off…Do Not Anger, Do Not Worry, Be Grateful. Show this person compassion, the precepts. And another: Oh no, I must get this done…Do Not Worry, I will get it done, let it go, don’t serve it tea, and continue my day with kindness to myself and others. And maybe it didn’t get done today, but it got done the next day and I didn’t worry about it, I just did it. These are examples of how I began infusing the Precepts in my daily encounters.

A word about Tea. One of the first quotes Frans referenced is from Shunryu Suzuki, a profound Zen monk and teacher, and it is: “Leave your front door and back door open. Let thoughts come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.” This quote immediately landed with me, and I began using this continuously to reduce or curb distractions that would take my attention. My internal mantra has become “no tea for you” and the thought passes. Or there may be thoughts I’m going to need to have a little tea with, but not too much; this is not distraction, it is attention when appropriate. Knowing the difference is the awareness.

Chanting. We chanted a lot and I loved it! I had never chanted before and immediately took to it. When I read about chanting in Frans’ book The Way of Reiki I had no context or experience of chanting, so I glossed over it. Thankful for this workshop to introduce me to chanting. We chanted the precepts and the mantras. The experience of chanting immediately provides a focus that removes distractions. When expressing outward with the chant, there is no holding back, only pure action and focus. Chanting is a breath mediation as you find a breathing rhythm to support the tempo and timbre of the chant. Most impactful is the vibration chanting creates within yourself and outward to others that seems to regulate the interconnectedness and create greater connection with those around. Chanting with our group was an amazing experience and hearing others chant was receiving compassion from each person. Since the workshop, I have continued to chant the precepts daily for a minimum of 20 minutes. Find a place where you won’t disturb anyone or get arrested, and chant deep from within your Hara, expressing your energy outward in all directions. And use your mouth. All valuable lessons from Frans. 

A word on 20 minutes that I learned from chanting and breath meditation during our workshop. I learned that for me nothing happens before 10 minutes. Chanting or meditation for 5 minutes, I’m just going through the motions. Frans had us chanting and meditating, such as Joshin Kokyu Ho, for a minimum of 20 minutes each. I believe this is by design from Frans’ training and experience. After 10 minutes or more of chanting or meditating, there is a settling into the pace and rhythm of breathing and chanting. And somewhere near 15 minutes, the chanting and breathing becomes more effortless. To continue to chant for longer periods and daily is to eventually embody the Precepts. Making the effort to be effortless was one of the most valuable lessons I experienced over our weekend.

The weekend with Frans and all the attendees brought home one important realization that has helped push me over my insecurities with Reiki and that is to keep it simple. Frans would say many times “keep it simple, always come back to the precepts, all day.” In my life one of my superpowers has been to complicate everything. For me simple is not easy, but Frans’ makes simple easy from his teachings, experience, and stories. And talking with, getting to know, and sharing with the great group of people who participated in our workshop showed me what Reiki is all about. 

Thank you to Maria for hosting this event. Thank you to Frans for your teachings and sharing your experiences, for your friendly and loving openness and kindness, and for your mentorship. Thank you to all my new friends in Reiki for your openness, experience, and sharing. I will be back next year for The Way of Reiki workshop in Cincinnati and I’m looking forward to revisiting with all of you. 

Finally, a heartfelt thank you to my dear friend who I attended the workshop with. She reignited my passion in Reiki last year and is the reason I attended The Way of Reiki workshop. I cannot thank you enough! It was transformative!

Comments 4

  1. Avatar of Yolande

    Beautifully phrased, Dennis. This actually describes my own personal initial experience with my first Shinpiden course with Frans about 8-9 years ago. Furthermore, re-sitting the Shinpiden course with Frans continues to deepen my understanding of Reiki and continues to support my personal growth. And each time the course is slightly different: the basics remain the same but we all keep growing when we practise and each time you meet sometimes old friends and you make new friends. And of course Frans, but also all these friends provide new insights along the course.
    Thank you Frans. Thank you Dennis for posting your experience, it brings back so many beautiful memories and made me smile.

    1. Avatar of Frans Stiene
    2. Avatar of Dennis
    3. Avatar of John Dingledy

      Awesome summary, Dennis. I learned a lot despite not knowing about or attending the event in Cincinnati. You can bet I’ll be trying to catch one soon based on your excellent account. tAppreciate it!

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