Holistic Healing and Alternative Medicine for Your Total Health
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IN THIS ISSUE:
1) BEYOND “UNIVERSAL ENERGY”: DEFINING REIKI
2) 6 SUPERB FOODS FOR SUPERB BONES
3) MACADAMIA NUTS TO LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL
4) ADVERTISE WITH ME
“Natural Forces Within Us Are The True Healers” ~ Hippocrates
1) BEYOND “UNIVERSAL ENERGY”: DEFINING REIKI
Copyright © 2002/3 James Deacon
While the term "Reiki" is used to describe both the system of healing & spiritual development developed by Mikao Usui, and the therapeutic 'phenomenon' at the heart of the system, it is this latter - the 'Reiki' itself, rather than the system - that I wish to focus on here.
When it comes to the matter of a definition of Reiki, a commonly held view amongst Reiki practitioners, it seems, is: "don't think too much about it - Reiki is experiential - just do it.." - and of course, in one sense, this is true.
But, on the other hand, as the Shakyamuni Buddha is credited with saying: "With our thoughts we shape our reality".
So too, I would venture to suggest: "With our thoughts we shape our Reiki..."
Takata-Sensei's Explanation of Reiki:
When asked what 'Reiki' meant, Takata-Sensei frequently gave a very simplistic answer, along the lines of: Rei means 'Universal', and Ki means 'Energy'.
[Yet it has been said on more than one occasion that this particular explanation was something that only came to prominence, probably during the latter 60's, to fit a more generalised 'frame of reference' of the people drawn to her as potential students]
However, in attempting to transmit a deeper understanding of the meaning of Reiki to her students, Takata-Sensei spoke of Reiki as:
"...a universal force from the Great Divine Spirit"
"...a cosmic energy to heal the ill..."*
and yet more specifically, as:
" It is not associated with any visible material being.", she said of it, "It's an unseen spiritual power that radiates vibration and lifts one into harmony. This power is incomprehensible to man, yet every single living being is receiving its blessings..."
[This interpretation of Reiki as: 'God Power' has lead many to the conclusion that, in giving the 'simplistic' interpretation: "...Rei means 'Universal', and Ki means 'Energy'...", Takata Sensei was actually using 'Universal' in the sense that many mystics have used it, i.e.: as being a contraction of: 'the Universal' - an alternative (and intentionally less religious) term for 'the Divine', ' the Numinous' or 'God''.]
The usual way in which Reiki Teachers tend to explain Reiki to new students, is to opt for the simplistic approach [generally a very good place to start] - the "Rei" part of the name being translated as "Universal" (though some do explain that in essence, it refers, more properly, to something Spiritual or Sacred, and can mean "Soul"), and "Ki", translated simply as "Life-Force Energy" (though a few mention that it also implies 'Spiritedness', 'Feelings', or the effect of energy in action.)
Some Reiki Teachers, seeking a middle ground between, on the one hand, the more ''Newtonian' / 'scientific' concept of 'Reiki as Energy', and on the other, the more 'Spiritual' concept of 'Reiki as the Power of God', express Reiki as: "Spiritually-influenced (or "Spiritually-guided") Life-Force Energy"; or even as "Charismatic Healing Radiance".
Others, seeking to play down the (I personally feel, undue) emphasis on the concept of 'Reiki as Energy', without necessarily using terminology implying 'Things of the Spirit', prefer to speak of Reiki as an 'Experiential Phenomenon'.
'Reiki' - in common Japanese usage:
In many modern Japanese-English dictionaries, the term Reiki, (written using the modern style kanji-pair) is given (in common usage) as meaning: 'Aura'.
'Reiki' can also refer to the 'Holy Atmosphere' one experiences at a Shrine, Temple Holy Mountain, or other sacred site.
And of latter years, probably due to the re-surgence of interest in the modality and its growing popularity - 'Reiki' (written using the 'traditional' or 'old style' kanji-pair) is beginning to appear in some modern Japanese-English dictionaries to denote the 'Healing Method'.
The Reiki Kanji themselves:
As a general guide, the meaning of a kanji-pair is derived from a synthesis of meanings of the individual kanji making up that pair; and so, the meaning of 'Reiki' is ultimately derived from meanings attributed to the individual kanji: 'Rei' & 'Ki'.
NOTE: We should always remember that the 'romanised' five-letter word: 'Reiki' is simply a transliteration of the Japanese, and just as in English where (for example) the words 'rite', 'write' and 'right' all have the same sound, so too in Japanese there are often many words that sound the same, yet are written in different kanji - and have very different meanings.
As distinct from 'Reiki' i.e. the spiritual/therapeutic 'phenomenon' associated with Usui-Sensei, there are also several other, un-connected, written forms of the double-syllable: 'rei-ki', each having their own distinct meanings - including: sacred ground or sacred precincts; established rule; cold, chill, cold weather, cold wave, cold air; & (electrical) excitation.
Here, obviously, we are concerned solely with the 'Rei' and 'Ki' kanji as used to denote 'Reiki' - the spiritual/therapeutic 'phenomenon'.
As is the nature of kanji in general, the kanji 'Rei' & 'Ki' can have many levels of meaning.
A linguist (or for that matter, a good academic Japanese-English Dictionary) will explain that -
'Rei' encapsulates/refers to:
The Divine, the Numinous,
A supernatural Being or Spirit,
The Spiritual nature,
Luminosity of the spirit; the luminosity of a God or Sage,
Charisma, charismatic power,
Inconceivable spiritual ability,
Something Pure, Unpolluted,
Something wonderful; a wonder,
A shaman, a person or being with spiritual or supernatural powers,
A rainmaker, a diviner.
'Ki' primarily encapsulates/refers to:
Spirit (in the sense of 'Spiritedness'),
The generative forces of Heaven & Earth,
The material force of the Universe,
Steam (the kanji for 'ki' implies steam rising from a covered pot of rice cooking over a fire, with the lid of the pot being lifted by the steam.),
The effect/result of energy being expended.
Reiki as 'Energy' or ...
When we speak of Reiki in terms of 'energy', what do we understand by this - many have a perception akin to that of electricity flowing through a wire, to others it may be one of 'emoting' or motivating force, yet others still will hold a perception of 'Love'.
As mentioned, Takata-Sensei also referred to Reiki as 'God Power' - something Spiritual or Sacred.
It is commonly expressed that "Reiki has its own Intelligence" - that it is "Spiritually-influenced" or "Spiritually-guided".
Would this not put it more in the category of 'Energy-Presence' or 'Energy-Sentience'?
Since the latter part of the 19thC, when metaphysical, mystical, and spiritually minded people began to adopt a 'more scientific' vocabulary in which to attempt to express their conceptualisations, it has been a common (and often unconscious) practice to substitute terms such as 'energy', 'energies', 'vibrations', etc. for supposedly 'less scientific' terms such as Spirit, Spirits, Presences, etc.
So just where does 'Energy' end and 'Spiritual Entity' or 'Presence' begin?
Depending on the given context, the word Reiki can be used to suggest a Spirit, an Aura - even, in certain cases, to refer to the influence of a Ghost or Ancestral Spirit.
The manifestation of some form of Numinous Being or Presence is a common concurrence with instances of kantoku (visionary mystical experiences) or satori (lesser-enlightenments) in Japanese Culture.
The following is an extract from the writings of Morihei Ueshiba - the founder of the Spiritual Discipline and Martial Art: Aikido - describing his 'satori'-like mystical experience out of which the art of Aikido was created:
"Then in the spring of 1925, if I remember correctly, when I was taking a walk in the garden by myself, I felt that a golden Spirit sprang up from the ground, veiled my body and changed my body into a golden one.
At the same time my mind and body turned into light. I was able to understand the whispering of the birds, and was clearly aware of the mind of God, the Creator of this Universe..."
Now, in the account of Usui-Sensei's experience on Mt. Kurama, recorded on his monument, it states:
"One day he went to Kurama Yama on a 21-day retreat to fast and meditate. At the end of this time, he suddenly felt a great Reiki over his head and received spiritual insight into the Reiki healing method..."
"...a great Reiki over his head..." - this is usually interpreted as meaning he felt 'Reiki energy' but it may in fact be simply stating that he had a kantoku visionary experience of a great (in the sense of 'important') Spirit over his head. A vision of, as Takata-Sensei put it 'God Power' - the Power of God - what in western terminology we might refer to as the 'Holy Spirit' - an 'energy' in the sense of a Numinous Being (in the Japanese conceptual view, possibly: a kami, butsu, or bosatsu) rather than 'energy' in our Newtonian understanding of the term.
So, while the commonly-held perception of Reiki may well be that of Healing Energy - possibly even 'Spiritually-influenced' or 'Spiritually-guided' Healing Energy, perhaps it may help to deepen the quality of our connection if we allow ourselves to perceive Reiki - not so much in terms of a 'Universal Energy' - as in terms of a 'Universal Spiritual Presence' - a 'Holy, Healing, Spirit Presence'.
In this perception, Reiki as a system can truly be claimed to be a system of Spiritual Healing - a charism - a 'Gift of the Spirit'.
*It seems that in hearing Takata-sensei speak of Reiki as a "...a universal force from the Great Divine Spirit" and '... a cosmic energy...' , many of her students took this to mean that Reiki - as an 'energy' - was something outside of ourselves: something 'out there' - beyond us. Something we 'channeled', rather than something arising within us. And this is the understanding these students passed on to their own students.
However, this idea of Reiki as being something external is perhaps only part of the truth...
In a diary entry dated Dec. 10 1935, Takata-sensei wrote about Reiki being:
"...Energy within oneself " - and also about how we must "...meditate to let the "Energy" come out from within."
Concerning the "Energy" she said: "It lies in the bottom of your stomach about 2 in. below the navel."
Source: Reiki Pages www.aetw.org
2) 6 SUPERB FOODS FOR SUPERB BONES
By Frank Mangano
The bones are an important component of the human body because it provides support and gives structure. Without our bones, we will be likened to wobbly gelatin – we cannot stand, run, or jump. Aside from this, the bones act as protective structures to various important organs inside the body. For example, the bony thorax protects the heart and the lungs from external forces that may cause harm. Another important function of bones is that it is also responsible for the production of blood cells needed by the body. Red blood cells are formed inside the bone marrow, and these red blood cells are the ones that carry nutrients and oxygen to various human tissues.
Knowing how important our bones are should give us enough reason to ensure that we maintain its good health. This is the reason why we need to be aware of what we can do to help promote healthy bones such proper diet, enough intake of the necessary vitamins and minerals, regular exercise, and avoiding unhealthy habits.
Below are 6 superb, readily available foods that could help you in your quest for superb bones:
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Yogurt is actually a fermented dairy product which is a result of the addition of good bacteria into milk. The process of yogurt making is based on the transformation of lactose, the sugar in milk, into lactic acid; this gives yogurt its tart flavor. A cup of yogurt can actually give 45% of the body’s daily calcium needs of a regular adult. But it is not just calcium in yogurt that contributes to the bone building. According to studies published in Endocrinology 2004, yogurt is also composed of lactoferrin. Lactoferrin is a protein that binds with iron and helps in enhancing the activity and growth of the cell that builds bone, called osteoblasts. Additionally, it decreases the formation of the cells responsible for the breaking down of bones, called osteoclasts. By this combination, it reverses the possibility of getting osteoporosis.
Sardines are small forms of pilchards. They are small, oily, silvery fish that are related to herring. There are different types of sardines. That means that the canned sardines may be of different species. It is recommended that sardines are eaten with bones as the bones are rich in nutrients, particularly calcium, which is important in the human bone building process. But aside from calcium, it is also rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium. Without vitamin D, the hormone calcitriol cannot be formed; calcitriol is considered as the “active form of vitamin D”. If vitamin D is depleted, the body increases the breaking down of bones, which therefore results to its weakening. So if there is enough vitamin D in the diet, such as the one received from sardines, breaking down of bones is reduced. Aside from calcium and vitamin D, phosphorus is also present which is helpful in strengthening the bone structure.
Green, Leafy Vegetables
Among the green, leafy vegetables, the best ones for bone building are kale, collards and spinach. According to Sarah Booth of Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center in Boston, green, leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin K, as part of their photosynthesis. According to one study, vitamin K is important for the proteins which are dependent on bones to function properly. Because the bones break down all the time to balance the calcium needs of the body, these bone-dependent proteins are important in the rebuilding process of the bones. A normal adult male should get 120 micrograms of vitamin K, while a normal adult female needs 90 micrograms. A half cup of spinach can already give one 440 mcg of vitamin K; that is enough support for the proper functioning of the bones.
Foods made from soybeans are actually helpful in protecting the bones, especially for women who are in the menopausal stage. In a study conducted by a group of researchers, results showed that the isoflavone contained in soy foods inhibits bone loss and stimulates formation of the bones. In order to fully obtain the health benefits of soy and soy products, it is important that we make the right choices.
There are generally two types of soy to choose from: non-fermented and fermented. Non-fermented soy products such as tofu, soy milk, flour, whole dry soybeans and fresh green soybeans contain phytic acid, which prevents the absorption of important nutrients such as iron. Once this happens, the availability of the isoflavones that are supposedly found in soy is decreased and this defeats the purpose of soy intake.
Fermented soy, on one hand, would be an excellent choice as it reverses the effects of non-fermented soy as the availability of isoflavones increases. And since the process of fermentation causes the production of good bacteria, or probiotics, this actually helps in nutrient absorption. Tempeh, miso and natto are fermented soy products that promote better health by building healthy bones and a healthy heart.
The lovely pink hued salmon is a favorite among fish lovers and even to those who are not fond of fish. Salmon is rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D is responsible for the absorption of calcium into the bones. With an increase in the ingestion of vitamin D rich foods, the normal breaking down of bones will be reduced. According to studies conducted at Boston University, among the many fish, wild salmon contains the highest amounts of vitamin D. In fact, 3.5 oz. of wild salmon contains 147% US RDA of vitamin D compared to farmed salmon which contains 75 percent less than what is contained in wild salmon.
What is in nuts that help in the protection as well as the building of bones? Magnesium. Two-thirds of magnesium is in fact stored in the bones. Magnesium helps in balancing calcium. Without magnesium, calcium will not be able to be fully used in the body and there will be under-absorption of calcium. That is, if magnesium is decreased, less calcium will be absorbed by the bone since the calcium will be used in the muscles and nerves. A decrease in calcium causes weakening of the bones. Therefore, to balance everything, there should be an increased intake of magnesium to decrease the breakdown of calcium stored in the bones. Nuts are rich in magnesium. Among the nuts, cashew nuts, walnuts and peanuts are all rich in magnesium.
3) MACADAMIA NUTS TO LOWER YOUR CHOLESTEROL
By E. Farnworth
How many times have you said, "nuts to the diet." Well now perhaps it should be "nuts in the diet." It seems that macadamia nuts may be a good addition to the daily diet, particularly if you want to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Nuts are generally high in fat which is usually bad. But it all depends on the type of fat. Like olives, macadamia nuts contain high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown in many studies to reduce levels of blood cholesterol. Attention was directed towards monounsaturated fatty acids when it was observed that people eating a "Mediterranean diet" had lower than expected rates of cardio-vascular disease.
Macadamia nuts like all non-animal foods contain no cholesterol. But they are remarkable in the fact that their fat contains over 86% monounsaturated fatty acids. The average macadamia nut will also add about 18 calories to your diet. Oil from the macadamia nut is used in the cosmetic industry because of similarities between the nut oil and human skin. Macadamia nuts grow best on volcanic soil in tropical climates and problems related to the harvest of the nuts affects their cost.
A team at Hawaii University reported that subjects that had added macadamia nuts to their diet for only one month had total cholesterol levels of 191 mg/dL compared to others who were consuming the American Heart Association Step 1 Diet (193 mg/dL) or those eating the typical American diet (201 mg/dL). The greatest effect of the diet change was on the low density lipoprotein (LDL) fraction of the blood total cholesterol. For the macadamia group, crushed unsalted macadamia nuts were added to sauces, casseroles and other recipes. Because of the high calorie content of the nuts, the researchers warned that the macadamia nuts should be used as a substitute for sources of saturated fats in the diet. Simply eating macadamia nuts on top of a normal diet would only add extra calories and probably negate any benefits.
Eating healthy does not mean eating boring, low fat tasteless food. Careful planning, knowing what is in the food we eat and how these nutrients affect our metabolism allow us to eat and enjoy even exotic nuts like macadamia nuts.
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Thank you for reading!
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