K. Scott Teeters is a Reiki Master and author of It’s Time To Wake Up: Reiki & Other Essential Tools For Spiritual Awakening published by Llumina Press. He lives in Medford, New Jersey with his wife and business partner Karen, their beagle and two cats. Scott’s website, http://www.itstimetowakeup.com, is “a metaphysical candy shop loaded with essays, insights, awakening tools and tips, amazing images, and fun, conscious living gift items”. His postal address is, Wake Up Publishing, Scott Teeters, 18 Stanwood Court, Medford, New Jersey 08055.
What’s going on in the world? What’s going on in my life? If you pull back, you can see that there is the “outer world” that we see played out in the news and through observation. Then there is the “inner world” that we experience through our own perception. The outer world can delight, amuse, frustrate, sadden, and anger us. Often the outer world seems out of our control. Our inner world often seems that way as well, but does it have to be that way? Are there ways of creating inner peace and serenity without selling everything we own, and moving to the mountaintop?
People have been asking these same basic questions for ages. Fortunately, the same answers have been coming through inspired writers and teachers for ages as well. They are so common that they have become platitudes to which we do not pay much attention. Expressions such as, “We become what we think about,” “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”, and “We are all One”. In the face of worldly and inner challenges, these words can seem like sayings in a Hallmark greeting card.
But these are inner spiritual perspectives that, when understood, lead you to an “awakened” experience of life. While integrating these understandings is a challenging task, it is not impossible. Actually, it is completely do-able by everyone. How do we know this? It is a matter of understanding that if someone else has done it, so can you!
You start to see a pattern. We are asleep, then we wake up, then we go back to sleep, and on and on. Once you have awakened, and know that you have awakened, this seemingly nonstop going back to sleep can be maddening. Living an awakened life can be the most challenging, yet rewarding, thing you will ever do. It is the effort of a lifetime – meaning that you will be doing this for the rest of your life.
That’s the bad news and the challenge. The good news is that there is plenty of help. As individuals most of us have marginal impact on the world stage. Outside political and natural forces can most definitely change our experience of life, and sometimes make us feel helpless. However, “we” are in complete control of our inner life. There’s a Zen saying that states, “If you think so … so. If you think not so … then not so”. (Those Zen dudes always have an out-of-the-box way of saying things.)
Never before has it been easier to find resources to awakening. Just stop and consider the fact that as little as fifty years ago, if you wanted to learn the secrets of life, you had first to find a metaphysical bookstore, then hunt for the books you wanted. Or even more challenging, you would have to travel far and long to find your teacher on a solitary mountaintop or ashram. Now, all you have to do is go to your local mall, and visit one of the national chain booksellers. All of them now have large “new age”, “metaphysical”, or “inspirational” book sections. And if you don’t like to read, many of the best selling conscious living/metaphysical books are now on tape or compact disk. It couldn’t be much easier.
There is a common misconception that once you have had a mystical experience, that’s it! “TA-DA! I have arrived! I got my mantra, my beads, my charged crystals, and I wear lots of purple. But my boss is a jerk, my kid won’t listen or clean his room, and my car is a junker!” As Ram Dass used to love to say, “How do you stay conscious when the stuff hits the fan? Because it will and you can”. It’s called, “normal life”, and for a newly awakening individual, it can slam you right back into snooze-land.
Ah, but there is a bright side to all of this. Once the process of awakening begins, there is no going permanently going back to sleep. “Catnaps” will happen from time to time, but completely going back to sleep is out of the question. Fortunately, when it comes to awakening tools, there’s something for everyone.
What Is Awakening?
What is this elusive state of “awakening”? Being “awake” is always a “right now” thing. It’s is being in the present moment with as much awareness as possible. Reflecting on the past and planning for the future are important, but your “experience” of life is always right here, right now. This understanding came to me in the early 1980s, and is something that I have shared with many people over the years. But an interesting thing often happens. I have observed that “rational, linear thinking” controls our society. Of course, in a technological society, linear thinking is critical. The space exploration program is no place for ambiguity or vagueness. Computer software is right or it’s wrong. There are so many places in our culture where linear thinking has produced spectacular achievements that we tend to look toward those achievements as proof that linear thinking is the best.
However, life has many subtle aspects that are outside of rational, linear thought processes. To a linear thinker, talk of the “Eternal Moment of Now” can sound like nonsense. In discussing this with people, many have said to me, “You mean, live for today and the hell with tomorrow”? This is an excellent example of black and white, you’re with us or against us, polarized thinking. When we think in narrow compartmentalized ways, we are missing the shades of gray that are inherent in all things. This is different from the linear model of thinking. A very powerful way of “being” is to use BOTH ways of thinking. It is believed that people who use both the right and left sides of the brain are very balanced and extremely successful in life. Here is a more creative way of perceiving everyday reality.
You understand that you are in the Eternal Moment of Now, but that you also have previous experiences of what was once a “now” experience. You call this your past. You also have events that you have not yet experienced. You call this your future.
While in your current moment of Now, you reflect on your past … look at it … and examine what happened. Don’t judge, criticize, or condemn … just observe. Try to “see” it as clearly as you can. Notice what was right, what worked, what didn’t work, and what was the quality of the experience. This is “learning” from your past, please do not indulge in judging. Our culture is so habituated to judge, criticize, and condemn (because it “makes sense”) that almost all of us do it unconsciously to others and especially ourselves. I would ask that you simply suspend, for the time being, such indulging.
The next step is to envision your future. Motivational speaker Brian Tracy likes to remind us that it is very important to think about your future because that is where you will be spending the rest of your life. But our culture has us habituated to thinking of the future in fearful ways. You only need to look at our fear-laced entertainment to see clearly how we tend to envision our future.
But despite what rational thinking people might claim, this fear is not a requirement. Always being prepared and having an open mind is a good mental habit. In the Middle East they have an expression, “Trust in Allah, but tie your camel”. Or in western terms, you could say, “Trust in Jesus, but lock your Chevy”. Be mindful of Our Oneness, but keep your eyes and senses open.
If you take the middle ground of neither fearing nor anticipating your future, and simply look to see what is possible for your life, you will see more possibilities than you had previously realized. This is an excellent place to ask yourself as you start to stay awake for longer periods of time, “What would be my ideal experience? What would I most like to be?” Envisioning your ideal scene and what you want to “be” are powerful tools for manifesting. This is a relatively new wrinkle in goal setting technologies. Quiet your mind, and envision what you would most like to be, and your Higher Self will reveal what you originally intended to do and be. All of the things we “do”, we are doing so that we can have a “beingness” experience. You exercise so that you can “be healthy”. You go to school, learn, do a good job, so that you can “be successful” and “be happy”. You work extra and save your money so that you can “be secure”. You groom yourself and develop your personality to attract a partner so that you can “be happy in a relationship”. This is a pattern that maps over in all areas of our lives. We are always seeking a “beingness” experience.
When you start living an awakened life, you work with your past to see what worked and what didn’t, and then project your most desired future into your mind’s eye. You become your ideal, no longer judging yourself. Learning from your past while using a projected possible future as a goal, gives you this positive goal to live your life into.
So, Now What?
What does an awakened life “look” like? From an external view, it may not look like anything unusual. Another Zen expression offers this wisdom, “Before Enlightenment, there is chopping wood and carrying water. After Enlightenment, there is chopping wood and carrying water”. A person living an awakened life may still have all of the challenges, stresses, and troubles as before … but with a difference. She sees challenges as opportunities to show herself what she’s capable of achieving or experiencing. She sees stress as an indicator that she’s taking things too seriously and needs some perspective. She sees problems as opportunities for new learning or to remember solutions forgotten. After a time, it will seem as if there is a new person inside of an existing body. Serenity will have a transforming affect on your inner and outer world.
Have you ever been around someone who is supremely serene, peaceful, and calm? In his book As A Man Thinketh, James Allen writes, “Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. They are like shade giving trees in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm”.
If you have ever been around someone like that, you know that they are unmistakable. Ken Keyes Jr. was such a person. Many years ago, I had a chance meeting with Ken after one of his talks. At that time, I was not familiar with Ken’s landmark book, Handbook To Higher Consciousness. Even though he was wheelchair-bound, Ken filled the room with his love and pure presence. Everyone was getting a contact high just from being close to him. Later, I learned that Ken was a supremely peaceful and serene man, despite the fact that he was in a wheelchair and could barely move one of his arms.
Living an Awakened Life is simple, but not easy in the beginning. But like the old joke, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!”, it does get easier the longer you are actively engaged in the process of awakening. So take heart, and remember that what others have achieved, you can as well.
The Reiki Nap
Ahhh…. naps. What a delightful thing. Even the expression “taking a nap” has a nice sound to it. It sort of rolls out in a relaxed way. Yea, but who has the time, right? Years ago when my daughter was young, we used to say jokingly, “Naps are wasted on the young. WE’RE the ones who need a nap!”
Most of us can remember a time when a nap was the last thing we wanted. Remember that? “I DON’T want to take a nap!” Maybe you didn’t say it, but you probably thought it. Then you got older and came to see naps as wonderful little breaks from what’s going on. It’s not as if you are announcing, “Well, good-night everyone, I’m off to bed now.” There’s an understood message that says, “I’m going to sleep for a short time. Relax, rest my bones, and recharge a little. But I won’t be too long. See-ya” I think the Europeans have it right. For them, a nap is an important part of the day. Hey, it’s what my dog does almost the entire day!
So What’s A “Reiki Nap”?
The short answer is this. A Reiki Nap is simply my expression for a Reiki Self-treatment that is used in an unusual way. Reiki is a gentle, hands-on technique for relaxation and healing. Pronounced, “Ray-kee”, it is a compound word that means, “the flow of Life Force Energy”. With the use of a few simple, easy-to-learn protocols, anyone can learn how to ground, focus, and allow Ki, , or the Universal Life Force Energy, to flow through them and into other people, animals, plants, and minerals. There are so many different uses for directing Ki. Space and time are not obstacles because Ki moves through the ether, and is not restricted by space and time. It can be sent into specific events in your future to clear away any negativity. This is especially useful if you know that you are going to be in a meeting or an exchange that you know will be challenging. Ki will flow to where your intention directs it. When you direct Ki, it is always for the highest and best good for the person or place you are sending it to, as well as yourself. Before I describe to you how I do a Reiki Nap, let me tell you how I discovered this.
When I learned Reiki in 1995, I had a very stressful job in the design department at a major toy company in New Jersey. Everyone used to think that my job was just like what they saw in the Tom Hanks movie, “BIG.” No way! It was a tough, competitive, corporate environment that often left me frazzled by the end of the day. I have always been a high-energy person; but, often as much as two times a week, I would have to lie down for a nap when I got home because I was so drained.
That sounds like a reasonable, smart thing to do, doesn’t it? You’re tired, so lay down. But what I was experiencing was that about half the time, I would wake up and feel very groggy. Often it would take some time to shake off the grogginess, and sometimes it was with me for the rest of the evening. Too often, the nap wasn’t worth it.
Learning the simple practice of Reiki took much of what I had been learning for the previous eighteen years, and bundled it into an easy to use set of protocols. I discovered that when the energy called Reiki is sent, amazing things can happen. After my Reiki Master, Bill Moore, had attuned all of us for Reiki Level I (there were 13 in my class) and had shown us the traditional Usui hand positions, he mentioned to us that we now knew enough to be able to do Reiki on ourselves. I remember asking, “Really!?” Bill went on to explain that once you have Ki flowing in and through you, it is perfectly acceptable to direct the Ki into each of your own Usui positions. In other words, give yourself a Reiki session.
Learning Reiki was a very profound experience for me. About six weeks later, I was back with my entire Reiki Level I class to take Level II. Bill and I later became very good friends, and he told me that never before or since did he have a class that size where everyone moved to the next level together.
Within days of my Level I class, I began using my new Reiki skills. I came home from another one of “those” days. As I was about to take a nap, I thought, “Oh, I should do Reiki on myself.” So I went through the protocols I had just learned, and gave myself a Reiki session. About thirty minutes later when I was finished, I sat up, and the best way to describe this is that I felt like, “PING!!!” Not “buzzed” as in having too much coffee. It was more like a tuning fork tone: clear, vibrant, and alert.
I got up feeling great, mowed the lawn, fixed a few things, and had a very nice evening. It was like being recharged, just enough to get me energetically through the evening. Since that time, I have done Reiki on myself many times and the results are always the same, but the experience is often very different. After a lot of experience and considerable thought about this, I have several understandings that will help you to better grasp what this is all about. Then I will describe exactly how I do a Reiki Nap.
I consider a Reiki Nap or a Reiki Self-treatment to be a form of active meditation. Meditation isn’t just sitting in a meditative position and tuning into the cosmos. There are many forms of meditation. What is always consistent is that the meditation leads you to a place of being completely in the moment … then the moment … then the moment … for as long as you are meditating. Of course, one of the highest attainments is living your entire life, always in the moment. But that’s another article.
Whenever I do this, I follow the exact protocol taught to me to initiate a Reiki session. I do this as if I were about to do Reiki on someone else. In Reiki Level I you are taught the Usui Reiki Hand Positions. These are specific locations on the recipient’s body, and the order of where you start and finish for a complete Usui Reiki treatment. These positions correspond with the body’s chakra points. Chakras are energy portals that start at the base of the spine and move up to the top of the head. There are seven major chakra points on the body and dozens more in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. There’s also an eighth chakra that is located over your head. Each chakra point has specific energetic qualities and corresponds with body function in that location.
When you are giving a Reiki session, you are allowing pure Ki energy from the Ether to enter into your crown chakra and flow down through your heart chakra and out the minor charkras in the palms of the hands. It is like clear, flowing water that is pouring warmth and new energy into the chakra points, displacing anything that is not like itself. Out it goes. Afterwards the recipient feels balanced, relaxed, and calm. If a Reiki session is done in the mid-evening, you can almost guarantee a very restful sleep. It also has a “mellowing” affect.
Receiving a Reiki session can put you out like Mr. Sandman. Doing Reiki on yourself is a very different experience. Because you are the one placing your cupped hands over your own chakra points, you really have to stay with it and pay attention. Here is where you use the power of your mind to stay focused on what you are doing and not allow yourself to slip through the “alpha-state barrier” into dreamland. And this can easily happen. Depending on how physically tired I am, sometimes while doing Reiki on myself I begin to realize that my mind has drifted off into a dream fantasy. Then I gently say, “come back … come back … we’re doing Reiki here …” And I’m back in the alpha-state … relaxed, but very aware. I find that if I stay focused on the feeling of the Ki moving and flowing, it keeps me aware. Then when I begin to notice the flow slowing down, I recognize that is an indicator that it’s time to move on to the next chakra point. Then before I know it, I’m finished. I sit up, fully alert. PING!!! And ready to move into the evening.
Reiki Nap Instructions
Here is exactly how to give yourself a very powerful Reiki Nap. I do all of the same things I do to start any Reiki session. Comfortably dressed, I begin with a brief “shake out.” That’s where you shake you arms and shoulders and bounce on the front balls of your feet. This helps break up any kinetic energy that we have stored in our body. Next I do a brief “grounding” visualization. I envision powerful roots growing from my feet with great speed. They are growing deeper and deeper until I can begin to feel the energy of the earth pulling up through the roots, up the back of my spine, over my head and back down into the ground where it returns to the energy source, thus creating a constant flow of Earth energy.
Next are the Kanji positions. These are three hand positions that take you through a process where: 1. You make a request to your higher self and the ascended Reiki Masters, asking for assistance; 2. You make contact with the ascended Reiki Masters; and 3. You experience the flow of Ki from the Either, into your crown chakra, down through your third eye chakra, your throat chakra, your heart chakra, and out through the chakra points in the palms of your hands. By the time you get to this point, you will be completely relaxed, in the moment, and alert. Then, inside my head, I think, “Reiki on”. Now you are ready to go.
If you have had Reiki Level II, you can also use your Reiki symbols here. Part of Reiki Level II training includes an explanation and the use of three of the four sacred Reiki symbols. Each symbol is an energetic portly that has a specific purpose. They are great to know and use, but not necessary to give yourself a first-class Reiki Nap.
Then you begin with the first position with the hands over the front of the eyes, and you let the Ki flow into your own third eye chakra. A common question for us when we begin learning Reiki is, “how long do I stay on each chakra point?” Unfortunately, there is no sacred number of seconds or minutes that you should be at any particular position. Ki has a mind and a knowing of its own. When we practice Reiki we are a conduit, or a pipeline. Granted, it’s a porous conduit because when you practice Reiki, you absorb some as well. If you experience being drained during a Reiki session, check your energy connection. Ki should only flow through you, not from you. Set that as your intention, and it will be so. Remember, much of this is “intention.”
When you are allowing Ki to flow through you, it has a sensation. Ki will flow until it knows when to stop, and you will feel it slowing down. When you are focused on the flow, you will stay alert to that sensation. When it slows down, that is the indication that you are finished at that point, and it is time to move on to the next chakra point. Briefly, here are the standard positions, and the ones I use for a Reiki Nap.
Reiki Nap Hand Positions:
1. Hands over the eyes and the sixth chakra.
It is at this point that you are engaged in active meditation. You are very relaxed, your thinking slows down, and your mind becomes quiet, yet alert. You are in an alpha-state. This is the airy-fairy zone we all pass through as we drop off to sleep and as we are awakening. Sometimes, if we are lucky, we can hear the whisper of your higher self, or of God. Our higher self is very quiet most of the time and difficult to hear because of all the junk that is blasting through our head usually. It’s what I call the “Radio Voice.” It’s like bad talk-radio playing in your head all the time, complete with music, commercials, call-ins from the people of your past and wild previews of coming attractions. Some call this the “reactive mind” or “monkey-mind.”
To continue …
The protocols of the Usui Reiki session can be a tremendous help in getting you to the place where you can hear, sense, and learn from your higher self. Sometimes I will get pieces to a life puzzle I’ve been working out, or a really cool idea will arrive completely formed, or sometimes I will get the whisper of a direction I might want to take if I want to move closer to a desired outcome. And then there are times when I hear nothing at all, but am relaxed, alert, and recharged.
Why This Is Useful
The road of Life can be bumpy and harsh for some of us, and very long for a few. I recommend to anyone who is interested in spiritual awakening to learn this simple yet wonderful tool. We all endure many slings and arrows, and all of us have our ’story.” I believe that we are all here to create who we most want to be, remember who we really are, and gently help others awaken if they express an interest in doing so. Being on the path towards your own fulfillment helps to create an inner light of peace. We don’t see it often, but we all have known people who are supremely calm and serene. They have an inner light that can make the homeliest person look radiant. We all have also seen the opposite – a sour-minded, bitter person whose face shows the wear and tear of their inner discontent.
Learning Reiki and using it, can energetically take you to a new level of awareness. After I had some experience of what directed energy could do, it opened me up to a whole new level of understanding of what this is all about. Using Reiki on myself was one of the best things I ever did to start the process of living my life “now” and forward. Choosing to let go of the dumpsters full of old, dysfunctional ideas of what is possible.
I mentioned in the beginning that this is a form of active meditation. The key word here is “active.” I have known people who have taken a Reiki class, hardly used it, and said they didn’t get much out of it. Although we all have our own unique resonance with different methods, at least give it a thorough try. We’re all familiar with the old Bible expression, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Whenever someone uses this line, everyone always nods in agreement, “yes, that’s true.” But there is a missing step in the formula. Here it is. Now that you know “how to fish”, the next day, YOU gotta go out and fish!
The Reiki protocols are so simple and easy to do, they’re almost impossible to forget. So if you have had Reiki training but never thought about doing a session on yourself, you might be in for a surprise. If you haven’t had Reiki training and find this interesting, consider that nothing happens without a reason and it may well be that it is time for you to seek out a Reiki class. My advice is, “Go for it!” A good place to start to look for a Reiki Master is your local metaphysical book store or health food store. If that doesn’t work for you, look up The Directory of Reiki Practitioners online at: http://www.nlp-reiki.ca. Reiki won’t make you into a wizard or anything like that. But if you let it, you will be opened up to a whole new realm of what’s possible.