Frans: Well, thank you for inviting me! I’m in Holland in a place called Haarlem. It’s 7 A.M in the morning, so I had to wake up nice and early which is great. Might go to bed after this! No, maybe not. Thank you for inviting me!
I’ve been teaching the system of Reiki for almost over 20 years worldwide, and when I first started to practice the system of Reiki it was a bit of a jumble. Don’t get me wrong, it was great and it was still wonderful. But over the years when I started to train more with Japanese teachers it became clearer and clearer. Since 2012 I’ve been training with a Japanese priest in Japan and then it has become more and more clear that Mikao Usui really gave us a fantastic system. Of course there are lots of different ways of practicing – one way is not better than the other, there are plenty of different ways. When we look at the system of Reiki in the way that Mikao Usui left us, we can see some very clear pointers on how to practice and why to practice.
For me I see it like making a cake. So the first thing we have to do is to know how to make a cake, what kind of cake it is and why we want to make a cake. We’re not going to make a cake to just let it sit there and go stale. We make a cake so we can eat it ourselves, maybe we have friends coming over or maybe we want to give the cake to someone. So first of all: why do we want to make the cake – why do we want to practice. For example, say I want to make a cake for Anita, and I know she has a nut allergy. Then I’m not going to make a cake with nuts, right? Because that would not be good for her. So I have to know why I want to make a cake in the first place. Why do I want to practice? The more I understand why I want to practice then I also start to see the outcome of the practice. So, if I want to make a nut cake then I’m going to get a nut cake. If I don’t want to make a nut cake and I put nuts in it – well then I still get a nut cake.
So this is what they call the seed. What seed are we planting? For example, if I’m planting an apple seed I won’t get pears. It’s very simple. We can see this within the precepts – if I plant anger, then my life will be angry, if I plant worry then my life will be worrisome and if I plant gratefulness etc. This is a wonderful teaching. Some people like to look at the past too much or maybe even ‘past lives’, but let’s just say the past. We can really easily check what happened in the past by looking at how we are right now. What have we planted in the past is what is giving us fruit right now. So if in the past I have been planting anger and worry, then today I might not feel really stable within myself. I’m quickly angry and worried. Sometimes we like to focus too much on the future and say, “oh I wonder how the future will be”. But with that we must also look at the present moment. What are we planting today? Within the precepts we see the word today. So what are we planting today? Am I planting anger, am I planting worry? That will give fruit maybe tomorrow, next year or in five years time. Or am I planting kindness, gratefulness and being true to my way and my being. We can see that it is very important to know why we practice and what we are planting. So sometimes we say “I’m practicing to heal the pain in my knee” or “I’m practicing to help someone else heal the pain in their back” – which is wonderful. But that is only the outcome of what you’re planting. So if I’m only focusing on healing my physical body, then we might not necessarily heal the mind. My knee might be healed but I’m still an asshole! Does that make sense? If you are a Reiki teacher, then you would understand that in Reiki Three we work with the symbols and mantras – if you literally translate reiki it means ‘great bright light’, and this is the light of your true nature, your true self and who you really are. That is the outcome. So the outcome is not healing my knee or healing pain in your shoulder.
From the very beginning Mikao Usui pointed out that the outcome is a state of mind. We can very clearly see this within the precepts – do not anger, do not worry, be grateful, be true to your way and your being (these can sometimes be translated as ‘work hard’ or ‘practice diligently’, but we can talk a little bit about that later), and show compassion to
yourself and others. These are all a state of mind! There is nothing about pain in your head or those kinds of elements. If we really think about it, the most profound healing is not necessarily healing ourselves from cancer or pain in the knee, but it’s really that state of mind. It would be great if we could also heal our cancer or pain in the knee, but we all die one day – we cannot stop it. Therefore the precepts are also important as to how we die. Do we die with anger, do we die with worry? Or do we die without anger and worry? We can die gratefully (or gracefully), true to our way and our being, having been kind and compassionate. Because it’s not a physical body that we take with us. We all know that if we see someone pass away – one moment that person or animal is there and the next moment the person has left. The body hasn’t left, the body is still there but something has left – what we really call the person, that is their great bright light, their mind, their essence and their true self. So this is really what we need to heal. And that is the seed we have to plant from the beginning. Already in Reiki One, or maybe if we’re teaching or practicing Reiki One, then we already have to say, “okay I’m doing this practice to lay bare my great bright light, my true self”. So within that is also physical healing, but that physical healing doesn’t always happen. We all have some weak points in our body from birth. Maybe it doesn’t heal – we all die, right. But again, we can change our mind. Therefore when we do get physically sick, and we all will at some point because we all grow old, then we can deal with it – because we have healed the mind. Does that make sense? When we learn from the start ‘why do we practice’, then we also know how to prepare ourselves and what we should do. For example – climbing a mountain. If I know why I walked to the mountain, then I have to investigate how do I climb the mountain. Maybe with my physical build I might not be able to climb straight up, I might need to circle around the mountain or maybe I can zig zag up the slope.
Therefore the clearer we know why we want to make the cake, then we also know what kind of ingredients we need to buy. So if I need to make that cake for Anita who’s got a nut allergy, then I know I should not buy nuts! I need to buy flour, maybe even check the ingredients to see if there are nuts in the flour – because I want to help Anita to her fullest. So, then we get the cake ingredients. Now we need to know how to make the cake! First of all we prepare. So preparation in our practice is also important. For example, the first thing I do is clean the kitchen bench. If there is lots of stuff there and it’s filthy, dirty and mouldy – then my cake will also be filthy, dirty and mouldy! Because I’m gonna make the cake on this filthy and dirty kitchen top. So that’s the first preparation. We prepare a spot where we’re going to make the cake – so we prepare a spot where I’m going to practice. That could be just a simple chair, but is the chair the right height? Does the bench or pillow I’m sitting on make me slouch, sit back or does it make me sit straight. Very simple! Do I feel comfortable here, is it the spot where I feel I can practice. Is it a nice clean tidy spot? The other day I had someone come and visit my apartment who lives underneath me. I live on the 11th floor and she lives on the 10th floor. She’s 72 and she was like “oh wow your apartment looks so different to mine”. It’s exactly the same apartment! She said hers is very cluttered. But for me, if I have a space that is nice and open and not cluttered, automatically my mind will also start to be much more in that space.
So then we grab the ingredients and we put it on a kitchen top. Well, when we make a cake we’re not just grabbing all the ingredients and putting them all together in one mixing tool or cake tin. We do it in a very specific order, because if we don’t do it in a very specific order the cake that comes out is probably not good. So Mikao Usui actually put a very specific order in his system. They are very easy! We can see this within Reiki One, Two or Three. We don’t learn attunement, reiju or initiation (whatever you want to call it) in Reiki One. We learn it in Reiki Three. In Reiki Two we learn very specific symbols and mantras and those are also in a specific order. Do you know what I’m saying? So we can see that he placed them in a very certain order for a very specific reason. The more we know the reason, the easier it is to make the cake – the easier it is to get this very specific outcome. So if I want to make an apple cake then I need to put the apples in. Then we need to put the flour and maybe the eggs in according to a certain order. I’m not so good with cooking, but you get the gist! If I don’t do it in that order then maybe what comes out of the oven might not be edible. This is very important! So if I want to make a cake I need to look at why and how and only then will I get a decent result. Then I can check the result. Is it an apple cake – is it a nice apple cake?
For example, if we really want to get the fullest out of the system of Reiki then we should look at the precepts. The word ‘precepts’ in English can also mean ‘instructions’, so they’re instructing us how to practice, but also the outcome of the practice. So if I practice correctly, like making that cake in the right order, then after my practice I might actually start to feel less angry, less worried and I might begin to feel more grateful, more true to my way and my being and more compassionate. If after years of practice it is not happening, then I need to have a look at how I’m practicing. Am I actually practicing in the right way, am I making this cake the right way? If each time I make an apple cake it comes out so bad that I can’t eat it or give away to Anita, then I need to investigate. I need to investigate what I am doing wrong. Because I know I’m doing something wrong. Therefore if we truly know why we practice we also start to see how to practice, and then we see what the outcome is. If life goes smoothly and we think that we’ve got it really down pat and feel really stable, I have less anger and I’ve got less worry etc. If suddenly something happens in life, maybe we get an illness, a divorce, someone dies, we get covid or whatever – can we then maintain this state of mind as much as possible. The biggest hurdle we all have is when we die.
So this is really what Mikao Usui is pointing out in the precepts. We don’t see anything written about energy, that we need to “feel energy”, “feel hot hands” or that we need to see colours, angels or flying unicorns. It doesn’t say anything like that. If I really want to feel energy, it’s not so difficult. I just have to stick my finger in the powerpoint and I feel energy. It’s quite easy. If I want to see colours it’s also not that difficult! I just grab a metal bar, hit myself on the head, and then I will see beautiful colours and stars for a day if I hit hard enough. But what is really difficult is to have no anger, worry, being grateful and true to our way and our being in our daily life. That’s the hardest thing! We all know this. We might feel like that on our meditation pillow – but that is not today. Today means when we wake up, when we go to bed, when we are asleep and when we do our actions in our daily life. Traditionally in Japan it means we should do that in every action we do today. That doesn’t mean just when we do hands-on healing on someone.
Also, there is no mention in the precepts about hands-on healing! It’s all about a state of mind. We need to remind ourselves that when we do hands-on healing and we’re angry or worried then we’re not being grateful or true to our way and our being. We’re not being compassionate. When I do a hands-on healing session and I am not angry or worried and I AM being grateful, true to my way and my being and compassionate. There is a difference! Of course we all know there will be a difference. Very simple. Have you ever gotten a hug from someone who is angry or worried? They are not focussed because when we’re angry we often think about the past. When we worry, we worry about the future – one or two minutes or ten years away. It means we’re distracted. If you get a hug from a distracted person who is angry and worried then that feels very different. Then you get a hug from someone who is really focused. I have a friend here in Holland and we occasionally go for dinner and when we talk she is super focused and you really feel like someone is listening. When someone hears what you have to say it feels very different than when you talk to someone who sits there just nodding their head saying “yeah, no, that’s nice, okay”. It’s because that person is less focused and therefore we feel less heard and less healing takes place. It’s very simple. So it’s the same as when we do hands-on healing. Sometimes people say it’s okay when we do hands-on healing while distracted. We can watch television or we can talk. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, we can still do some healing. But it’s the same as when someone talks to me and is talking to me without paying attention or without eye contact. When we are really focused it feels very different, doesn’t it! It feels like a very different communication taking place between the person who’s really focused or the person who is really distracted. This is exactly the same as hands-on healing. It is all about that state of mind. If I do hands-on healing on someone while I watch television – maybe I watch an action movie or the news. What sometimes happens when we watch the news? We get angry and we have feelings and sensations. This ends up becoming infused into your hands-on healing. This is why Mikao Usui put these pointers in the precepts.
Okay, so we have the preparation. The preparation for hands-on healing on ourselves and others (but also for meditation practice), is that we must first put the body in the right posture. If the cake tin is not right (the physical aspect) then we might not even get the cake out of the tin at all. We can also see this in the precepts where Mikao Usui says “put your hands in gassho”. In Japan gassho is not just the physical part of you putting your hands together, but it is your body posture. Use your body in the right way! Then it says “chant” or “recite with your mouth”. So the word ‘mouth’ and ‘chanting’ in Japan is linked to ‘breathing’ and ‘energy’. So put your breath in the right position. Now if we look at anger and worry – where is my breathing? If I’m angry and worried it’s shallow. For example when we’re angry we get a red face because our mind and breath is really up here. So if we look deeper within the precepts we see we have to breathe deeply into our belly, into our centre. Traditionally in Japan the centre is the hara.
The next instruction is “keep in your mind”. So that is the state of your mind. Not just for one moment, but as much as possible, in all we do during our day to day life. So we have the body, we have the breath and the mind – in Japanese this is called san mitsu. But that is a little bit hidden within the precepts. We can see the precepts written down, but if we learn more from a traditional Japanese perspective then we can see these instructions – making sure we put the body in the right posture, the breath in the right position and then we put the mind in the right space. But we all know this already. So just before all this, I saw Anita sitting with a baby. When we hold a baby we need to put the body in the right position. If I put the baby on my lap and my hands are in the air, then the baby might roll off. I’m sitting on a chair and the baby falls on the ground. Simple, right? The more I sit straight, the easier it is. If my mind is in the right place, if I’m not distracted by other things, then I can hold the baby much better. The baby starts to feel this energy, this love, this interconnectedness. The baby starts to calm down. It’s very simple. We all know this, but often we don’t see it within the system of Reiki. So these are all instructions we have to follow.
Now what do we do once the preparation is done? We do what we did with making the cake, the same when we plant seeds. I have a beautiful park outside my apartment and if I’m just planting it somewhere here without preparation or planning it might not come up. I might plant it under a tree and there is no sun or rain. So we might say “this is what I want out of the system of Reiki, I will embody the precepts in all I do”, but if that’s all I say, then it’s like planting a seed underneath a tree and it’s never going to come up. To prepare the garden then I have to water it. I have to look at the instructions on the little seed packet to know how to water it. I don’t want to water it too much or not give it the right amount of sunshine. It’s not going to grow. So, again, first I want the embodiment of the precepts in all I do. Hands-on healing is great, don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful. But it’s limiting. We particularly saw this during Covid. Everything was in lockdown, people didn’t really want to be touched. So I got lots of “can we not do hands-on healing?” Of course we can keep healing! Just be kind to people, show people love and just be grateful to people. No anger and no worry. Does that make sense? Be that great bright light pointed out in Reiki Three. Or even in Reiki Two there is a meditation practice called hatsu rei ho, that means ‘emanating a greater amount of spirit’. This spirit is light, this spirit has no anger, no worry, is being grateful, is being true to its way and its being and being compassionate. So the precepts are actually a description of your spirit, of that great bright light. Your essence is not angry or worried! What is your essence? Your essence is being grateful, being true to your way and your being and being compassionate. That’s it!
So when we can emanate that, people in our daily social bubble can benefit from this. During covid I had this really interesting experience. I was traveling less (hardly travelling actually) and here in Holland, probably the same as Australia, a lot of times we were in complete lockdown. I think this happened in January – I was at a cafe just getting a takeaway coffee and a little cake before I had to go to a meeting. So while I am ordering from the woman at the counter there are two ladies behind me. So I said good morning, and I can’t remember what I said, I had no clue who they were. Then about two hours later after my meeting, I’m walking back to my house and I pass this cafe again – it’s almost lunch time, maybe I get a little croissant and a coffee to take away. So I ask Anne-Marie for a coffee and she says “I have to tell you something Frans! After you left this morning and the two women came to the counter while I was making their coffee the one woman asked if her friend knew you. She said ‘Yeah I’ve seen him around! He’s always so happy and when I see him I start to feel happy too. I don’t know he just makes me happy!’”. So that in itself is healing. We don’t always have to do hands-on healing. People might say that happy is not healing. Of course it is! What happens to your body when you feel joyful? What happens to your energy when you feel joyful? That is healing. Mikao Usui was really pointing that out – today infuse everything you do with the precepts and that in itself is already healing. If we then come across someone while in that space who wants hands-on healing, then fantastic! If not, we are still emanating this great bright light. Unfortunately most of the time this great bright light is being covered up by our anger, worry, fear etc.
Here’s another wonderful story, from the same cafe actually. This only happened two weeks ago. I was sitting inside chatting to one of the staff members, and I was sitting right next to where you can pick up glasses of water. This woman walks behind me and I pour a glass of water for her and she makes a little bit of eye contact, said something in English and then left. I was sitting for another twenty minutes in the cafe and then when I walked out this particular woman was sitting outside. She again made eye contact and started to engage in a conversation. She asks me what I do and I told her I teach Reiki. She said “Oh this is great! Just the other day I said to someone I want to try a Reiki treatment”. I’m not sure where this came from but I said “Well let’s do one right now”! So she finishes her coffee, puts on her jacket and follows me home – no questions asked, we just chatted on the way. I put the massage table up, she lay down and I did a hands-on healing treatment. During it she started to cry. Afterwards she said she’s had a really difficult two months. She said she quit her job to become a coach and as soon as she quit her job she realised she was pregnant. Then she found out that her boyfriend had been cheating on her and then she had a miscarriage. So she went to take some time off and go visit a friend in Holland (she was from Germany). Her friend is working right now so she ended up in Haarlem, sitting in that cafe and there you go – perfect. She said “I don’t have much money because of everything that has happened”, and I said “that’s okay, you don’t have to pay, this was great, thank you!” So if I was angry and worried would that person have talked to me? We already know that we engage more with people who are more open. Those who say good morning, how are you etc. Therefore that is also your entrance into hands-on healing. It’s quite simple!
Okay so we’ve done the preparation! We know that if I stand like all lazily and half do hands-on healing, my mind is not there so of course it’s not going to be good. So with hands-on healing we want to make sure that we put our body in the right posture, the mind in the right space of love, kindness and compassion and make sure that our breathing is stable. We all know that during hands-on healing sometimes certain things might come up. We need to know if we can deal with that – do we feel stable, do we feel secure? So now that we have put everything in the right place we have to practice in the right way. First we might have to whisk the eggs and then we might put some flour in etc. So we make that cake in a very specific order. We don’t put everything in the oven first and then start mixing it! So in Reiki One the first thing we learn is the precepts – it’s basics, it’s the foundation. It’s the recipe we read on how to make cake. First: take these ingredients, put them in a bowl in this order etc. Then we learn more traditional Japanese practices like joshin kokyu ho, breathing in the hara and making us feel grounded, centred and stable so that we don’t get bowled over. When we feel more grounded and centred we can ask ourselves “if I’m more grounded and centred do I feel more or less angry”. Well it’s very simple. We feel less angry and worried. Automatically when I’m grounded and centred I feel more grateful, I feel more that I can be myself and be truer to my way and my being. Therefore I will feel more compassionate. In the precepts compassion comes last. Why? Because if I have a lot of anger and worry then it’s very difficult for me to be compassionate.
So start with the precepts, then joshin kokyu ho – breathing in the hara. In Reiki One we also have seishin toitsu. Seishin toitsu is another meditation practice that focuses on the hara and also focuses on bringing the energy through the arms and up. Not just the energy but also the mind. Seishin toitsu really means concentration. So we are already learning how to concentrate. When our mind is more concentrated our energy is also more concentrated. We all know that if my mind is distracted while I’m making this cake, something might go wrong. I might be cutting an apple while distracted and suddenly my finger is in the cake instead of the apple! Therefore the more I’m concentrated and focused the better the result. This is also why we have these meditation practices within the system of Reiki. Traditionally it teaches us how to stay focused. If I’m unfocused in my daily life do I get more or less angry and worried? If I’m focused do I get more or less angry at work? These are the questions we can ask ourselves. Then we have to answer – if I’m more focused I’ll get less angry and worried because anger and worry is worse when we are unfocused. When we get distracted by the past and start thinking ‘they did this to me last week’, well then we’re not focused on the present moment. If I’m worried about next week then I’m also not focused on the present moment. So anger and worry means we’re not focused.
So we have the precepts, joshin kokyu ho, seishin toitsu, meditation practices and then we have hands-on healing. In Reiki One hands-on healing is for ourselves. How does it feel, how do I touch? Do I touch with the precepts in mind, with that focus? Or not? So they’re in a very specific order for a reason. First the precepts and then we learn the meditation practices that will help us be more stable and focused. Only then is it much easier to do hands-on healing on ourselves. Does it make sense? Do I feel more focused when I do hands-on healing or do I feel distracted? Try it at home! It’s quite simple. You do hands-on healing while you talk and while you’re distracted, or you do hands-on healing in a very meditative and focused way. Only then will we definitely start to sense and feel different things in our lives. Maybe don’t try these just once, try it one week really unfocused then a week of really focusing and see what the difference is.
Then, of course, we also have reiju (initiation or attunement) in Reiki One. What does that do? Reiju traditionally means ‘spiritual blessing’ so it helps us to lay bare our own spiritual
nature. What is this spiritual nature? It is called spiritual because it is no anger, no worry, being grateful, being true to our inner being and being compassionate. Really that is what being spiritual is. It’s not about feeling energy or seeing colours and unicorns! That can actually sometimes be the opposite of anger, worry and being grateful. I’ll give you an example. Say that I really focus on my practice, on seeing energy, a unicorn or feeling stuff. Then when I really focus and I have those experiences does it really make me less angry and worried? Does that make me grateful or not? Sometimes not. I know you all have encountered people like this. People who say “I can feel energy, I can see colours. I can read you!”. It becomes arrogant. It doesn’t necessarily make you become more grateful and compassionate. When people say “I can sense this! I’m an empath but you’re not”. Is that compassion or not? We have to be very careful about how we look at these things. Does that make sense? It becomes very ego based. Therefore it’s very important that we know the structure of how and why we practice. Only then do we get the right result – then it doesn’t become ego based. “I’m a healer! I can heal you” – this we come across a lot. Therefore if I know why I’m practicing, because it actually helps me to become more humble and embody the precepts. Only then can I check myself – I can check the cake. I open the oven to just check the cake to see if it is ready. I know what the result should be, so I know when the cake is ready. If I don’t know what the result is of this cake, I take the cake out and give it to Anita but the cake is not cooked so she can’t eat it. It won’t taste good. Here we can very clearly see that exactly the same thing happens within the system of Reiki.
So now we’ve done Reiki One. Then we wait. And this is not your standard cookie cutter waiting style. Each person is ready in a different way. For example, I have a simple kitchen, I have an oven/grill all in one thing, so my oven is quite different than if you have one of those fancy ovens from a professional kitchen. Of course the cake will have to cook for a different amount of time in my oven than in a professional oven. So it’s the same with people. We have different people, some people can move from Reiki One to Two a little bit faster and some people need a longer time. Once we are at Reiki Two we start with symbol one. If we look at the traditional order of these symbols and mantras it’s really building a foundation. For example, let’s look at it like a house. First we build the floor. We don’t start with a roof and then do the floor because that would be very unstable. So we first start with connection to grounded-ness and earthiness – feeling really good and solid within ourselves. Only then do we slowly start to build the rest and slowly grow. First we make sure that the body is healthy and feels good, that we feel really grounded. Spirituality is not outside of our body and it’s not sitting on a cushion distracted. If I think that is spirituality then I cannot take that with me into my daily life. I need to take that with me in my body. My body goes to the supermarket, my body goes to work. So if I’m just spaced out on my meditation pillow then I’m probably spaced out in my daily life. Therefore I cannot really see everything that’s happening in my daily life – I cannot help people. Therefore the first symbol and mantra is really grounded-ness and then slowly starting to build on that.
Maybe then when we go to Reiki Three, we start to get that whole package. Believing that I am Reiki! It’s not something that hangs out there, I am this great bright light, I am this luminosity and I am in this space of no anger, no worry, being grateful, being true to my way and my being and being compassionate. And if I do get angry or worried then I have the tools to centre myself again – to bring myself back to my base, to my grounded-ness, to focus on that luminosity. If I do get angry and worried, I’m going to be compassionate to myself and say “It’s okay Frans”. The other day, I got a little bit angry and worried when they cancelled my flight. I was saying to a friend yesterday that although I’ve been flying around the world for about twenty odd years, this is the first time ever that this situation has happened. Normally when a flight is cancelled you ring up and they say, “No problem, we can book you in tomorrow/in two days time”. This time, after spending about two hours checking their computer, “sorry sir, all the flights for July are booked out and there’s another 10,000 people waiting before you”. So when we do get angry it’s okay to fall back on your practice. So it is really important, no matter if we’re just practicing for ourselves or if we’re teaching, to know that very specific structure. Why do we practice? If I know why I practice then I know what to get out of it. Apple cake, pear cake or nut cake? Then I can get the right ingredients, do the preparation – I have to clean everything, measure how much flour and how many eggs etc. So it is exactly the same.
How often do I need to practice? Do I just practice once a day or do I practice once a month and that’s it. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes lie in bed, put my hands on myself and then fall asleep. But that is not really hands-on healing! I’m sleeping! I might even dream that I’m being eaten by a tiger and wake up worried and fearful. That’s not really focus and concentration. Of course we might say that it felt nice and I fell asleep quickly which is perfect. However, does that really help me to become less angry and worried? If all I do every day is go to bed, put my hands on myself and fall asleep with the intention of practicing Reiki, does that really help me to lay bare my great bright light? If that was the case we would see more enlightened Reiki teachers! Or Reiki practitioners who are less angry, worried and are being grateful. So sometimes you need to sit down and ask yourself (but you have to ask very honestly) – over time in my daily life have I become less angry? Do I feel like I’ve softened my worry and do I feel I’m a little bit more grateful? Not just for the good things, but also for the not so good things. Normally we’re only going to be grateful for a nice coffee and for my great friends, but not when I get cancer. Some time ago I was teaching in New York and I went to this wonderful place in the evening for dinner (it’s called ‘eatalia’), and the tables are pretty close to each other. So I’m sitting there and there are these two women sitting next to me with a younger child, and they are being served something that looks great. So I lean over and ask, “Excuse me, what are you eating?” and the woman tells me what she ordered. She then asks if I want to taste it and she cuts it off a bit, puts it on a little plate and gives it to me! I’d just been teaching all day, I was with two other guys, and I said, “Oh that’s very kind”. We engaged in a little bit of conversation and then she tells me, “I’m so grateful that I have cancer”. I almost dropped my fork! We had just have been talking about that exact thing that day during class! I said, “Can I ask you – why do you feel grateful that you have cancer?” and she said, “Well, I realised after I got cancer, that I was in a very toxic marriage, so we got divorced. I also realised after I got cancer that I was in a very toxic and stressful work situation, so I quit my job”. It was mind blowing! She mentioned a couple of other things and she said, “I still have cancer but I’m so much happier in my life than I was before! Therefore I’m really grateful for the cancer. Cancer has shown me what I need to let go of”. I was just sitting there thinking, wow this is fantastic.
So these are little things that we can use the precepts for, we can use them to check on ourselves. You shouldn’t be wanting to ‘see more energy’ or ‘see more colours’, but really wanting to be more kind to your fellow human beings. Can you be more compassionate? That is where true healing really starts to take place. This is how we can emanate this greater amount of light in all we do. That is so important! Particularly if we look at the current situation of our world – that would be great! If we have a society where we can all be compassionate to each other, wouldn’t that be the most profound healing experience. Wouldn’t we all feel more relaxed? More safe, more calm, more happy and more joyful. What do you think would happen to your body? How many people these days are burnt-out, stressed or take anti-depressants? That is already an indication that our society is in the wrong shape at the moment. So, what happens if we all soften our anger and worry? If we are being more grateful, more true to our way and our being and being more compassionate then we create a healing society! So this is all coming from a more traditional Japanese perspective and how they see the system of Reiki. Traditionally in those systems the word ‘Reiki’ means ‘kami’ or ‘Buddha nature’. ‘Kami’ means your own divine being, or your own Buddha nature. So it means that through your practice you lay bare your divine being, your great bright light, your Buddha nature – the essence of which is love and compassion. It always starts with ourselves and that is a really important element to realise.
I was in Japan some years ago with this priest (a teacher of mine), and at that time I’d been a vegetarian for quite a while. Some people know this story, but it actually taught me a lot! I was vegetarian for twenty years – so I didn’t eat fish or meat. So I’m staying at this temple with this priest and he cooks every night. The first night is vegetarian food, the second night is also vegetarian food. The third night there is raw fish on the table. So we eat. Afterwards he was very kind, the whole evening asking how my stomach was, and the next morning “Are you feeling okay? You ate fish after twenty years, it might affect your body”. So he was very kind! But why did he give me the fish? I call it ‘ruthless compassion’. Because he wanted to see if I got angry or worried or if I was actually grateful that he went to the market, cooked for me and that I had something to eat. Or was I not grateful? Did I eat it or not eat it? Was I true to my way and my being? Was I compassionate? So if we only look at one precept, we might say, “Frans, but you could have been true to your way and said ‘I’m not going to eat it’”. But then is that compassionate to him? Or is it compassionate to me? Or is that anger and worry? So the precepts are packaged as a whole, we cannot pull it apart. It’s the same with a recipe where we need eggs in a cake. If I take the eggs out then maybe the cake is not edible. So after this teaching I think, wow, sometimes we put ourselves in these boxes – “ I’m vegetarian” or “I’m a meat eater”. We put ourselves from one limited box into yet another limited box. We say this is the ‘meat eating box’ and this is the ‘vegetarian box’ but we’re still in a limited box, we have still boxed ourselves into a limited mindset. So we still get angry, worried and fearful. I have a friend who’s vegan and she got really sick. She said, “I eat healthy and I grow food from my own garden and eat it”. Now, she didn’t like that I said this unfortunately, but I said, “Yes that’s all correct. But why do you still get sick all the time? Have you looked at your mind? You are always so angry. You’re so angry about non-vegan people. You’re so angry about how we misuse nature etc. You can eat whatever healthy food you want, but if you’re constantly eating it with anger you’re just eating anger”. So we have to be careful! Are we putting ourselves from one limited box into the next limited box?
So this is also what is in the precepts! It’s exactly what you are learning within the system of Reiki, it is not just about hands-on healing. The system of Reiki is a way of life! Are we leading a way of life with no anger and no worry? Are we being grateful, being true to our way and our being and being compassionate? That is the ultimate healing we can give ourselves. So I’ll finish with this one question. And I’m also going to answer it for you! So don’t worry! If we look at the precepts – what is the most compassionate thing we can do for ourselves? It is to lay bare our true nature, our divine being. What is the most compassionate thing we can do for someone else? It’s helping them to lay bare their great bright light, their divine being. Because that is the most important element! And that is heavily interlinked with being in the right state of mind. The mind of compassion and kindness. I hope this all made sense! Question time – if there are any questions? If not I’ll just keep drinking my water!
Jaimee: Hi there! You were talking about energy, healing, hands-on healing and how the system of Reiki is not only about energy. At least that’s not the focus. But my question is: what do you think about protecting your energy? If you do go on to hands-on healing, what’s your preparation in terms of protecting yourself or clearing your space?
Frans: That is a really good question, if we had another hour to talk! I’ll try to do it very quickly. Here we come back again to the right practice, in the right way. So first of all when we look at the precepts, the first one is already telling us not to worry. So we have to ask ourselves – if I protect myself, what is the basis of this protection, why do I feel like I need to protect myself? Worry. Fear that I might pick up that person’s energy and I might pick up the person’s issues. If I’m doing hands-on healing on Jamiee and I need to protect myself as the practitioner because I might pick something up from Jamiee, then in reality, I also have to ask Jamiee to protect herself because maybe she picks something up from Frans. Because Frans has issues as well! I’m not yet this great bright light! And as we all know, touching is a two way street. If Jamiee was to stand still and I come over and give her a hug, then we say Frans is giving Jamiee a hug. But that is a limited viewpoint! Because you are standing still and I’m doing the action. Therefore we say Frans is giving Jamiee a hug, but at the same time that I hug you, you’re hugging me back. Even if you don’t do anything with your physical body, we’re still hugging each other. So it’s the same when we do hands-on healing on someone else. We might say ‘Frans is doing hands-on healing on someone else’, but at the same time I touch you, you are touching me even if you might not physically put your hands there. In other words, if I touch this glass then ‘Frans is touching the glass”, but at the same time the glass is also touching me. I can feel the coolness (or the heat) of the glass! If the glass is really hot I burn myself. Therefore the glass is also affecting me. So if I say I have to protect myself during hands-on healing,
then I also should say to my client, “You have to protect yourself”. But now that we are both protected, how is the healing going to take place? We have put boundaries! Why do we feel the need to put up boundaries? Because there’s a certain worry or fear.
Sometimes I think we go into hands-on healing on other people way too fast. Yes, in my Reiki One classes I teach some hands-on healing on other people (on family and friends), but if you really want to practice it on other people you need to move to Reiki Two. Why? Not because you learn very specific techniques, but hopefully it will be done in the right way, in the right order. Just like making that cake! We’ve been making this cake every day so we know exactly how it feels, how long etc. By doing hands-on healing on ourselves, through these meditation practices that are the core of the system of Reiki, through grounding and centring ourselves, we will feel less like we need to protect ourselves. So in the beginning we might still say to the student, “If you feel the need to protect yourself, go ahead. But do not see it as putting up a barrier, but really grounding yourself in your body”. You need to feel really grounded and centred in your body. Here’s another question we can ask ourselves. I live here in the city, so it’s a two minutes quick walk and I’m downtown. If I walk fearfully and I put protection over me, or if I walk at ease being wide open – in which state do I get abused or attacked? When I walk afraid and protected the attacker sees I’m vulnerable. I had a really interesting experience while I was in Cincinnati, America. It was evening and these three young dudes with gold chains and cool electric scooters were doing all kinds of tricks. As we walked towards them it was a little bit intimidating. It was a very quiet area, I was walking with a friend Maria, and so we’re walking and I just stayed open. The one screeches to a stop in front of me, and instead of being scared or angry, I said, “Hey man that looks so cool! I’ve never been on one of those, can I try it!” Their energy flipped immediately! They guy said, “Yeah man! That’ll be great, yo!” And we chatted, I had no clue how it worked so he showed me and I tried it. They were laughing! I didn’t do well of course, but they left in a very different space, saying thank you, instead of being in this intimidating space. The way we look at protection is how our state of mind sits. Does that make sense?
It’s not easy. If we still have a lot of worry and anxiety over lots of fears, then maybe we need to do more practice. Maybe we need to do more correct practice so that we feel really stable. To be truthful I don’t protect myself during hands-on healing or even in my daily life. I feel that being wide open is the best protection. To be in a state of mind of spaciousness, but grounded spaciousness – not spaciousness where we are off with the fairies, but actually in a very grounded spaciousness. If we feel wide and open like space, that is it. For example, we can see the space here in front of my computer but I cannot hurt it! I can take a pair of scissors and cut it, but nothing happens. Of course we can be hurt physically, but if my mind is very spacious then I feel less angry and worried about that. Does that make sense? So again, the precepts are pointing to that state of mind. I hope that makes sense!
Jaimee: Yeah, that’s very helpful. I’m just reflecting on my own journey, and it’s all about working on yourself, while maybe having some clients, and moving through the stages. I’m looking to teach, but not just yet! You’ve got to keep moving through the stages. So yes, that all makes sense and resonates with me. Thank you.
Frans: I always say to people, “In a way it’s so easy to do hands-on healing, it’s so easy to teach. But dealing with your clients and students shit, that is a whole different game”. Because stuff comes up! And if you cannot deal with it then maybe you should first work on yourself. Make sure that you are very stable, centred and grounded before helping other people. This also plays into the ‘why do we practice’. If we enter the system of Reiki just to make a business out of it, “I want to become a healer, I want to do treatments, I want to teach”, and that is the reason why we start to practice then we don’t get the right outcome. If the motivation is from that then we might not practice to become more stable, grounded and secure. If we don’t try to become less angry and worried then it will not be infused in how we do hands-on healing and how we teach. Therefore our teaching and hands-on healing will be very unstable. Does that make sense?
Jaimee: Yeah, a hundred percent. Just for context, I still have a full-time job, so when we talk about that spaciousness, having spaciousness between clients and being grounded is super important. Still being able to have that joyful and grateful life on our own. Thank you.
Frans: Absolutely. It is so important because it means you shouldn’t make a distinction between your practice, your hands-on healing, your teaching, your spiritual practice and your daily life. They’re actually the same thing! Normally we say, “now I’m doing my spiritual practice” and “now I’m doing my work” or “now I’m with friends”. We divide it, but it should not be divided! Our life should be a spiritual life. It doesn’t mean that we cannot say ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’, but it means ‘are we less angry and worried in our daily life’. Can we infuse our daily life with that kind of spiritual quality? We should be kind and compassionate in our workplace, how we interact with the neighbours, with people out on the street, with our boyfriend or girlfriend (or both boyfriends and girlfriends, I’m not sure what you are up to). Do you know what I’m trying to say? So don’t compartmentalise your spiritual practice and your daily life, in fact they should be the same thing.
For example, say I’m in a cafe and I sit there. I might need to wait two minutes for my coffee. Well instead of sitting there angry that it’s taking too long, or worrying if the coffee will be good, or being angry about something that happened the other day, or worried about something that’s going to happen – I can just do a couple of deep breaths into the hara, into your belly. I can think about the precepts for a second. So I’m in the same cafe as before, it’s my favourite cafe and I go there once a day if I’m home. It’s just around the corner, and there’s one lady behind the counter. She says, “Frans, I noticed something. When you’re in this cafe the majority of people who come in here acknowledge you. They say hello! You might even have a little chat. There are some other people who have that, but most people don’t. They just sit there. There’s something about you! What is it about you?” I said, “Well I’ll sit here and try to be as open as I can at that moment in time.” Of course the more we are open, the more we engage in an open way with the world. If I’m closed and need to feel protected and safe, not many people are going to interact with you. Then we might start to feel lonely etc.
Here’s another thing. The more I feel the need to protect myself during my hands-on healing or in class, then that is what I’m training myself to do. So if I’m not careful that
might slip into my daily life. Suddenly I go into a cafe and it’s a little bit overwhelming and then I feel the need to protect myself. Suddenly I wonder why I’ve been feeling very lonely lately. Well, because you’ve been protecting yourself you’ve been training yourself to do that and now it starts to spill into your daily life. So if I instead train myself to be very grounded and centred I can absorb whatever needs to be absorbed. If I feel stable and grounded in my meditation practice, then this starts to infuse in my daily life. So again we have to look at why. Then we can really change our lives and our practice. When we practice correctly, I make the cake correctly and then I can share the cake. But if I practice incorrectly and I still have all this fear and worry, then I’m just sharing anger, fear, worry and anxiety. Then society will not be great because I’m part of that sharing. It’s very important to see how our practice can alter our life in lots of different ways. The way I make my cake can alter the way the cake comes out of the oven. Can I eat it? Can I not eat it? Is it an angry cake or a compassionate cake? What seeds am I planting in the garden? Am I planting the seed of anger and worry, or am I planting the seed of compassion? If I’m planting the seed of worry in my practice, then that starts to grow. It’s very simple but sometimes we don’t see it. Then we begin to wonder – why am I worried all the time?
This is a true story – I have a friend who practices some very specific martial arts, a lot of bodyguards do it and they actually practice with real guns and knives etc. They reenact all of this stuff. I saw her last year and I asked her how she was doing. She said, “Frans, it’s strange. I’m practicing as this martial artist, I am strong, I have muscles and I practice combat training for if there are dangerous situations happening in the world. If I need to be a bodyguard I could. But I feel really fearful in my daily life. I’m becoming more fearful when I just go about my daily life.” I said, “Well this is what you’re planting! This is what you’re training to do. You’re not training with compassion and kindness.” So this is what we have to be really careful with. What are we planting? This is really very simply said in the precepts. So I hope you all enjoyed this talk for ARC today. Thank you so much for inviting me ARC, it was absolutely wonderful! Anita: Thank you Frans, on behalf of all of our members. Thank you so much for such an amazing presentation – so informative. It will help us to bake that amazing cake and bring it into our lives.