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    Interview with Amy Rowland


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    Interview with Amy Rowland

    Post by Milarepa on Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:37 am

    Amy, can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background with Reiki, who you trained with and what service you provide now?

    My life is not unlike many other Reiki practitioners’ and teachers’ lives: I begin and end each day with Reiki practice and recitation of the principles; during the day, I do Reiki and send Reiki as much as I can. During the week, I work as a community college adjunct instructor near where I live with my 82-year-old father in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. Although my community college teaching responsibilities can be demanding, I still have some flexibility to schedule Reiki client treatments and writing time for books and articles. My weekends are usually spent teaching Reiki classes, coordinating shares, or working with other Reiki practitioners to actualize shared goals. When I can, I enjoy talking long walks, snuggling with my cats, and in the summer, caring for a kitchen herb garden.

    My primary focus is teaching Reiki. I would rather empower someone to do Reiki for the rest of his or her life than treat the same person for an hour or two, even if the experience of healing is amazing and miraculous in the moment! I want as many people as possible to be able to experience Reiki’s benefits in their own lives and to share these benefits with others, long after they have met me and learned from me.
    I do love to write, and I particularly love to write about Reiki, because I feel the Energy flow through my fingers as they tap the keys. My books about Reiki include The Complete Book of Traditional Reiki (2010), which is an updated and revised version of Traditional Reiki for Our Times (1998); Reiki for the Heart and Soul (2008), and Intuitive Reiki for Our Times (2006). These books have all been published by Inner Traditions International’s Healing Arts imprint and are available in print and eBook format. I do have a couple more books about particular aspects of Reiki in mind, but I am determined to first finish a young adult fantasy novel that I have been working on in between Reiki books, during the last five years. Then I will be glad to sit down and sketch out the chapter outline of the next Reiki book.

    My background with Reiki is that of a seeker on a spiritual path, who looked for a key to deeper healing from a very young age and stumbled upon it at the perfect time: in 1986, when I first heard the word “Reiki,” I knew intuitively that I wanted to learn it; in March 1987, I had the opportunity to take Reiki I from Rev. Beth Gray, a master student and beloved friend of Hawayo Takata, the first Westerner to learn Reiki and to be declared a master, certified to teach the Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho method by her teacher, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, in 1938. In September 1987, when Beth Gray returned to the area to teach again, I took the Reiki II class with her. I practiced Reiki for eight years before studying at the master level with Frank DuGan, a former police detective and a fellow student in Beth Gray’s classes; he certified me to teach in December 1994. At the master level, my lineage traces back to Virginia Samdahl, another of the twenty-two Reiki Masters trained by Hawayo Takata in the mid- to late 1970s. In 2012, I will celebrate twenty-five years of Reiki practice!

    It has also been my privilege to study historical Japanese Reiki techniques and attunement methods (Usui Reiki Ryoho) and Gendai Reiki, with Tom Rigler, who is one of those who sponsored Mr. Hiroshi Doi on his first trip to the West in 1998. I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Doi and Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto before the Usui Reiki Ryoho International Conference in Toronto in 2002. Visiting Niagara Falls is certainly awe-inspiring, but doing so in the company of such gentle, compassionate, wise souls added a dimension to the experience that made it life-changing. It convinced me that I wanted to deepen my practice of Gendai Reiki and learn Komyo Reiki, which I later studied with Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto in 2007.

    Most of the Reiki classes I teach are Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho, the basic course (Level I), the advanced course (Level II), and the master course (Level III); I also teach a two-day workshop on “Reiki & Intuition” and a one-day workshop on the Reiki Principles as continuing education for Reiki practitioners and teachers. Truly, I believe that such exploration deepens practice and strengthens and refines the subtle awareness of the Reiki Energy. Since I first began teaching in 1994, I have taught thousands of people Reiki I and II, and more than sixty people to the master level. Since 1998, most of my classes have taken place at the Dreamcatcher (www.dreamcatcherweb.com ) in Skippack, Pennsylvania. However, I have also traveled to teach from New York to Florida, and I have often taught in the Washington, DC, area.

    Besides these Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho courses, I have taught workshops on the historical Japanese Reiki techniques (Usui Reiki Ryoho) and Gendai Reiki. I have not yet taught Komyo Reiki, although I believe it to be a very meaningful way to learn Reiki, and I hope to do so someday.

    2. How would you interpret the word 'Reiki'?

    When I teach a class, I offer my students the usual Western translation of the word “Reiki” as “universal life force energy.” This is how I first heard the word translated from my own teacher, Rev. Beth Gray. I like this translation because of its inclusion of the word “universal.” To me, this is accurate: anyone can learn to do Reiki and anyone who is willing to experience it can benefit from it. I also like the word “universal” for another reason: the Latin origins of the prefix and root allude to “one word.” This reminds me of the passage in the Bible from the Gospel of John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God”; it also echoes one of the verses in Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching: “The word that can be named is not the true Word.” Both statements have always seemed to me to suggest that the creative source of the universe and of all life might be Energy, with a capital “E,” a force that exists even before human language.

    If I digress in this way in teaching a class, I acknowledge that it is absolutely not necessary to believe in God or to belong to any particular religion in order to be able to do Reiki. My own classmates included atheists and agnostics, still happily practicing Reiki these many years later. My students have also included atheists and agnostics, as well as people from widely different religious backgrounds. (I have even been privileged to teach Reiki to a Hindu priest and a Christian pastor.) The experience of Reiki is available and accessible to all.

    After discussing the translation of the word “Reiki” as “universal life force energy,” I discuss the dictionary definitions of the individual kanji for “Rei” and “ki,” which offer another way to understand the word’s meaning. The denotative meanings of “Rei” include “spirit,” “soul,” and “ghost”; “ki” is “life force energy.” This is helpful in understanding Reiki as “Spirit-guided” or “soul-guided” “life force energy.” The spiritual dimension of this translation also seems accurate to me.

    So how do I now understand the word “Reiki”? When pressed for a quick description, I say that Reiki is a form of bodywork, energy medicine, and spiritual pathwork for those who choose to pursue it as such. However, for me personally, through many years of experience with Reiki, it has become much more – the infinite Source of healing and of light; the flow of pure consciousness; the home of my spirit: the place from which I come, which I remember always, and to which I will ultimately return.

    3. What do you think is happening in a Reiki session?

    During a Reiki session, Energy from Source flows through the practitioner to the client in response to the client’s need for healing on a variety of levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The healing benefits that the client experiences may range from mildly relaxing to miraculous.

    However, the practitioner is not “the healer,” but a channel for the healing Energy of Reiki. Because of this, the practitioner is also able to receive some healing benefits when doing Reiki on a client. Just as the flow of water through the inside of a garden hose keeps it flexible and in good repair, so the flow of Reiki through a practitioner helps to keep the practitioner healthy, relaxed, and filled with well-being.

    Sometimes, during a Reiki session, the awareness of the flow of Energy, for both practitioner and client, is such that they feel some boundaries dissolve. The practitioner’s hands may feel as if they have disappeared, or the client may feel another pair of hands at work. I think of these sessions as inviting a greater awareness of the spiritual nature of Reiki and of our unity in Source.

    4. What do you think is happening, at a basic level, in a Reiki attunement/initiation/reiju?

    An attunement expands, stabilizes, reinforces, and seals the student’s already existing connection to universal life force energy. Because we are alive and connected to Source before we ever learn Reiki, we are all already healing to one another. During a Reiki class, each Reiki attunement increases our conscious awareness of the subtle flow of healing energy from Source, particularly through our hands, so we are able to offer treatment to others that is sufficient to their need for healing. In other words, this enhanced awareness enables us to become more effective in offering healing to one another. There is an additional benefit: an attunement supports our healing and growth as well.

    When I teach a Reiki I class, I describe the attunement in a variety of ways: a ritual of initiation or transformation; a danced prayer; a meditation. I want very much for each student who is attuned to feel comfortable receiving the attunement and to be able to enter into it as deeply as possible, for it is a life-changing event, however gentle it might seem.

    Sometimes, I compare myself as a teacher to an electrician wiring a house: when I attune student, I am “rewiring” the student’s energy field so that the student is able to comfortably transfer the healing Energy of Reiki.

    5. Do you think Reiki can be used to help situations and inanimate objects as well as living things?

    Yes, absolutely! Sending Reiki to a situation helps to uplift the individuals involved; it brings greater harmony to relationships; and it helps to ensure the outcome that is for the highest good. Sending Reiki to an inanimate object helps to clear away negativity and to charge with light and healing. Practitioners often use Reiki to clear and charge crystals, for example, but Reiki can also be used to transform the atmosphere of a room, a house, a school or office building, or a natural environment.

    6. Reiki is now becoming popular within the medical system. What role do you believe Reiki plays in the traditional medical system?

    Reiki practitioners have been quietly volunteering and working at clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and hospices for many years. One of the very first Reiki stories that I ever heard another practitioner tell (c. 1988) involved his work as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician. Since I began teaching Reiki in 1994, I have taught countless nurses, massage therapists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Every day, all over of the world, more healthcare professionals and volunteers choose to learn Reiki. All of these people have a significant impact on Reiki’s increasing acceptance in traditional medical settings. Simply by doing their jobs, with Reiki flowing from their hands to their patients, they help to relieve pain, induce restorative sleep, and to accelerate healing. In addition, those Reiki practitioners who visit the bedside of someone they know and love and offer Reiki also contribute to the acceptance of Reiki in traditional medical settings. This is very much a grassroots revolution.

    Since the 1980s, when books about Reiki were first published in the United States, there have been some Reiki practitioners and teachers with medical backgrounds who have made significant contributions. The first books about Reiki in the traditional medical setting date from the 1990s. Nancy Eos, M.D., wrote about her experiences as a Reiki Master and Emergency Room physician in Reiki and Medicine (Grass Lake, MI: Nancy Eos, M.D., 1995). The following year, Libby Barnett’s and Maggie Chambers’ book, Reiki Energy Medicine: Bringing Healing Touch into Home, Hospital, and Hospice (Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1996), offered a long list of clinics and hospitals which had invited them to teach or sent them students (starting off with the Harvard Community Health Plan). Much more recently, Pamela Miles’ Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide (New York: Tarcher, 2008) has focused on providing Reiki in a medical setting; her work has been endorsed by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Christianne Northrup. However, to get an idea of how extensive the literature about Reiki in medical settings has become, I recommend using LexisNexisAcademic or a medical database search engine. The number of articles that have been written about Reiki in medical settings in countries around the world since 1980 is truly astonishing.

    Reiki is useful in many different situations and settings within the traditional medical system, and I believe that its use will only increase. I think it is wise to regard Reiki as complementary medicine, although I understand and respect people who choose to use Reiki as their primary treatment method. My teacher, Rev. Beth Gray, shared Takata’s belief that “Reiki can heal anything except amputations and congenital defects, given enough time.” I think that is an important caveat: Reiki is gentle and usually heals gradually. There are sudden and dramatic healings, but the possibility that treatment may require an interval of time (for Hawayo Takata, for example, three months) should be carefully considered.

    7. Distant Reiki and permission has always been a topic with many pros & cons what's your view on this given the earthquake disasters in Haiti and Chile?

    When I was taught Reiki distance healing by Rev. Beth Gray in 1987, she shared her perspective on the idea of asking permission. When we send Reiki, we connect to the client, and then we offer Reiki healing. We acknowledge that the client is free to accept or to reject the Reiki offered for the highest good. This is a spiritual offering that acknowledges the free will of the recipient. For this reason, I do not hesitate to send Reiki to people I have never met or to situations that I have not observed in person. I do not ask a parent for written permission to send Reiki to a child, just as I would not ask for written permission to say a prayer. When a disaster occurs somewhere in the world, I offer Reiki distant healing to all those involved and affected – and I trust those individuals to have the soul-level wisdom to accept or to reject the healing for their own highest good and the highest good of all concerned.

    8. Many Reiki practitioners say you can go back into the past and heal it. What's your take on this issue?

    My experiences have taught me that sending Reiki into the past can mitigate the impact of recent negative events. For example, I attuned a woman who had a strep throat infection on a Thursday. During the attunement, she coughed several times; as this was occurring, I noticed an unusual degree of heat around my own throat. Late the following Tuesday afternoon, I felt my throat become very scratchy and remembered that I had been exposed to a strep infection the week before. I sent Reiki back in time to the hour of my exposure. The Reiki flowed for about ten minutes or so. By the time I had finished sending Reiki back in time, the scratchiness in my throat had gone away. I realized then that the heat I had felt around my throat as I did the attunement five days before was the Reiki energy I had just sent back in time – five days later.

    Reiki sent back in time can also heal the emotional wounds of traumatic events in the more remote past and help the client to move forward in the present. One of my Reiki II students had been in a serious car accident two years before she learned Reiki. She requested that her classmates and I send Reiki back in time to help her to recover from the emotional trauma of that event. After sending to her, we shared intuitive impressions that had arisen as the Reiki flowed. We were able to help her to identify and release some of the anger that she had been carrying since the accident.

    9. Have you had any notable experiences concerning Reiki that you could tell us about?

    So many! I’ve tried to share some of them in the books and articles that I’ve written. I’m sure that I will continue to share my experiences with Reiki in future books and articles.

    My first experience with a client, a lame horse, was significant in that it showed me clearly that I am a channel for Source-guided healing energy; the dramatic healing that occurred for the horse was far behind my layperson’s veterinary knowledge.

    Soon after, I experienced my hands turning on like stadium lights as I sat passively in the passenger seat of a car headed south on Route 95 through Philadelphia; a multi-vehicle car accident had occurred ahead of us, hidden by a high, curving, concrete wall. Because I had no way of knowing this accident was occurring before my hands turned on, I reflected on intention: I realized that it is not my intention which supports Reiki healing, but the intention of Reiki itself.

    Last year, my 17-year-old calico cat suffered a stroke. I did my best to truly let go of the outcome of the Reiki healing I sent, because she has been such a devoted friend for so long – and I did not want to hold her here if her time had come to go. Yet as I held bowls of broth up to her to drink, I felt Reiki energy pour from my hands into the liquid – and she lapped it up! Today, she is remarkably well, and I continue to be grateful for her good company and, of course, for Reiki.

    Here is one story that I don’t think I’ve written about before: one summer, after teaching a Reiki I class, for a period of about three weeks, there seemed to be an electrical short circuit affecting the hallway light outside my bedroom door. I would notice the light on during the day, turn it off, and find it on again when I returned. I thought it odd, but dismissed it. Then one night, I was awakened by a thumping noise that sounded like the dryer in the laundry room had been left on. I went downstairs (fearlessly!), flicked on the light switch, and discovered that the dryer was on. I opened the door, but there was nothing in the dryer. At that point, I connected the on-again, off-again light in the hall with the dryer and realized that somehow the house had attracted a ghost. Since it was a modern house and no one had ever died there, I realized that the ghost had probably tagged along to the Reiki I class with one of my students.

    I considered what to do: Reiki is my answer to just about every problem or dilemma, so I decided that I would send Reiki to this individual, name unknown; in addition, I would call the 24-hour hotline at the World Ministry of Prayer and ask for prayer for this person. After sending Reiki and prayers, the “problem” disappeared. I am grateful to this individual for teaching me that Reiki has a positive, healing impact on folks on the other side, too. (Other experiences have corroborated this.)

    10. Can you describe your relationship with Reiki, and how it's affected you?

    Perhaps that is something truly beyond words. I don’t feel that I am in a “relationship with” Reiki. I feel that it breathes me, lives in me, flows through me, and I breathe and live and (sometimes) flow through the Reiki-infused universe. I know that Reiki has saved and healed my life, blessed me in countless ways, and brought me into contact with the most amazing, kind-hearted, inspired, and genuine human beings anyone could meet. Reiki is the path I walk, and the consciousness of life with which I walk the path. Reiki guides and informs everything I do. When I do Reiki, I stand under the waterfall of Spirit’s unconditional love, and I am cleansed, healed, touched by joy – and then I have the opportunity to share this healing and joy.

    11. Do you feel that Reiki needs standard guidelines across the board for practitioners to obtain certification?

    No, I do not. I appreciate the need for some standards in teaching methods. I myself teach in a traditional way, and I advocate adhering to the standards of traditional teaching. However, I would resist mightily any attempt at government regulation of those teaching methods for “accreditation” or certification. This is spiritual pathwork, as well as bodywork and energy medicine. One of the reasons that Reiki has become so widespread is that ordinary people, who have no special training, can learn it easily in a day. It is natural. It feels comfortable and familiar. The increased awareness that follows Reiki attunements feels novel and wonderful. The experience of receiving and giving Reiki feels deeply relaxing and healing. Does the simplicity of that experience need to be measured, gauged, dissected, and analyzed in order for standards to be created? I think not.

    Importing certification standards from other disciplines or fields is also likely to make it more difficult for ordinary people to learn Reiki. Would Mikao Usui, who taught Reiki so widely in Japan, approve of this development? It does not seem in keeping with his approach.

    12. Is there anything that I/we have not asked that you find is important when talking about Reiki?

    Practice Reiki by treating yourself every day. Offer Reiki gently to those who are open to the experience of healing. Honor the Founder’s intention by reciting the Reiki principles and attempting to live by them each day. As Rev. Beth Gray often said, “Don’t waste your hands. Listen to your hands!” Trust the Energy…

    13. What are your hopes & aspirations for the future of Reiki?

    May all Reiki practitioners and teachers join hands, circle the world with good will, and save the planet, humanity, and all life on earth.

    Last edited by LightBody on Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:09 pm; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : Cleaned up the code and corrected formatting of paragraphs.)

    "That which is able to save your body and soul is naohi given by God". Onisaburo Deguchi.

    I'm only interested in invalidating my own views. So gimme a hand..


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    Re: Interview with Amy Rowland

    Post by Milarepa on Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:07 am

    A brill interview. Thankyou for taking the time to share what you have, and for believing in our interview concept. I especially love answer 13.

    Much, respect, appreciation & love,


    "That which is able to save your body and soul is naohi given by God". Onisaburo Deguchi.

    I'm only interested in invalidating my own views. So gimme a hand..


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    Re: Interview with Amy Rowland

    Post by chi_solas on Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:59 pm

    Amy for sharing your
    Reiki thoughts/experiences with
    the RLL members cheers

    Last edited by chi_solas on Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:05 pm; edited 1 time in total



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    Re: Interview with Amy Rowland

    Post by LightBody on Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:10 pm

    Hi Amy, thank you for the interview.

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    Re: Interview with Amy Rowland

    Post by Colin on Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:56 pm

    Thank you, Amy, for sharing your wealth of experience and insightful answers! Smile

    I too was initiated into Gendai Reiki and Komyo Reiki by Tom Rigler and have met up with him several times since when he visits the UK. He is a fascinating person!


    Ai to Hikari

    Reiki: pure & simple


    The divine is not something high above us. It is in heaven, it is in earth, it is inside us. (Morihei Ueshiba)

    Reiki is what happens when you make friends with the Universe! (Colin)

    Ki flows, Reiki glows! (Colin)


    Re: Interview with Amy Rowland

    Post by Pachamama on Wed Dec 14, 2011 5:47 am

    lovely thoughts and words Amy...I really enjoyed reading your comments...

    'I don't feel I am in a 'relationship with' Reiki. I feel that it breathes me, lives in me, flows through me and I breathe and live and ( sometimes) flow through the Reiki-infused universe.'.... Beautiful! I love you

    I also find it incredibly fascinating that your hands 'turned on' before reaching the scene of a car crash, what a truly amazing gift we have in Reiki.

      Current date/time is Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:29 am