Think You Think Too Much?

A lot of my students who are learning the correct principles of meditation will at one point or another complain about thinking too much. It's an affliction that we all suffer from but it becomes really apparent during meditation, at times when we can't focus, or can't fall asleep. I wonder why we worry about it? Perhaps we read articles claiming that thinking too much makes us fat.

Ok quick! Stop thinking!

Actually, it's impossible to stop. With an estimated 65,000 thoughts going through the average human mind within a single day, with both processing and sensing (as in psychic ability) perhaps at the speed of light, could there really be such a thing as over thinking?

Think again

The good news is that the mind is designed to think. Thinking is natural: it's critical to our survival and our functioning. Humans have the ability to process vast amounts of information, and to be doing this consciously. This is part of what makes us human. 

Don't believe the hype

The painful part about thinking too much (and no, it's not the fat thing), is that we have a tendency to believe our thoughts, develop feelings about the thoughts, feel they are ours and want to do something about them. It's like an addiction. A massive human trap! 

Google it

For example, a thought arises in the mind in the form of a question. In the thinking process, there is no satisfying answer. There comes a stealth but powerful disliking at not knowing the answer. The irritation is enough to breed a strong desire to find that answer. Curiosity builds. We want that answer. We Google it. 

It's like an itch we want to scratch. An addiction.

Or let's say we have the thought or opinion that a particular sports team should win. It's the worst team in the history of sport, with an abysmal losing streak, but because we believe it's our team, we still want them to win. Why? Because if they win, then we feel like we win and that will make us happy

Thoughts breed

We shouldn't blame thoughts. Thoughts alone are neutral. We don't see that in addition to thinking there is also believing, feeling, association and desire. These need each other to breed. A whole stream of these appears in the form of memories, daydreams and stories. Each thought breeds a liking or disliking and that emotion breeds more thought, more emotions, or action. The investment of emotion causes fatigue. Imagine having to act on each thought we have. What torture!

No wonder we don't like it. It's exhausting.

Don't stop thinking, start knowing

Naturally our first instinct is to kill thoughts. We think meditating (our image of this is sitting lotus-legged banishing any thought that dare trespass) can work. But that's not the way. It's actually pretty impossible, and more painful and unnatural than the thinking was in the first place, which is why those who attempt this often give up.

The Buddha taught mindfulness, which involves practising getting good at knowing when the mind has gone off thinking. We don't practice mindfulness by trying to stop thinking and feeling, we practice by simply watching and knowing what the mind is doing. 

When we catch thinking and feeling happening, the thoughts and emotions halt in their tracks like deer caught in the headlights. No matter how cute you might be, it's hard to breed or spawn anything when you're startled, exposed and motionless.

To practice the right way, we just watch and accept the thoughts and feelings coming and going. Without holding on too tightly to any of them, they are more easily let go of so we can see what happens next. It's like the brain in this Oatmeal comic (ok probably not exactly like this but you'd be surprised). 

So next time you're lost in a trance-like stream of thinking and catch yourself, rather than feeling like your mind is something bad, go ahead smile. You just snapped out of it. This is what it means to awaken. Just in that moment you awoke to what the mind did. And then don't stop. See what happens next.

Reiki for Kids!

Over the years, I've had a number of parents and caregivers bring children in for Reiki. They are usually clients or students themselves first, and after seeing just how healing and beneficial Reiki is, bring their children in to receive Reiki treatments too.

Often these kids have been given a diagnosis of ADHD, cancer, a developmental delay or learning disability (receiving a diagnosis and living with it can be hard in itself). What I always notice is that these children are some of the most amazing people I've met. And, their Reiki treatments are some of the most fun and amazing ones I've given!

Can Children Learn Reiki?

While children under 13 are too young to learn and be attuned to Reiki themselves, they make excellent candidates for receiving Reiki treatments. I've heard many of my students and other Reiki practitioners mention that they'd like to give Reiki to their children but they are too rambunctious, have too little patience or attention to receive a Reiki treatment. So here are a few things that I do when giving Reiki to kids:

1. Time goes out the window

Children are sponges. They only need to hear some things once and they will remember them for life. They readily sense healing and often readily absorb it. If you're used to giving hour-long sessions, try 30 minutes, or 20, or just start with 10 and go from there.

2. Simplify Hand Positions

Toddlers' and young children's bodies are small, so standard hand positions may do double duty. Front of the face and side of the face may be merged, as can solar plexus and tummy. Don't worry about form as much as connection. The happier the child, the bigger the smile, the more laughter, the more contentment, the more they will relax, release and receive the  healing.

3. Connect

Children may not be used to having an adult work on them on a table. If they have, it's usually been with gloved hands, cold stethoscopes, directives to sit still and sadly, injections. Establish rapport. Allow them to talk if they want to. Be interested in their lives and get them to feel happy and comfortable.

4. Communicate

Children are young and open. Often they are told to sit still, behave, pay attention, be quiet and even grow up! Ask them questions. A simple, "how does this feel?" can go a long way. When you sense the energy in the Reiki treatment, even just colours, communicate what you sense with them. Have them visualize coloured lights enveloping them like soft blankets or bubbles of protection. Not only will it help make the time on the table more exciting, you will be helping them see that it's okay to sense things that most grown ups dismiss.

5. Toys!

When a child comes into my healing studio, I immediately put on a bit of happier, more upbeat music, and bring out the tray of crystals. I ask them if they'd like to include crystals in their treatment and if they say yes, I ask them to select a few that they like the best. Kids intuitively sense what they like and what feels good. They often even know when the crystals are done - and hand them to me telling me so! If your child has a special toy - a stuffed animal or doll - that they love, invite their toy into the Reiki treatment. Often children will feel safer with these happy companions by their side.

6. Don't sit still

Adults are sitting most of the day. Kids, on the other hand like to move about. If the child is restless during Reiki, it could mean that they sense they need a good release. I always go with the flow. I will often ask them if we can do some movements, and then take their arms or legs and shake them about, or give them a side to side swing. Sometimes I get them to open their mouth and make noise with me. This often ends with smiles and big belly laughter!

7. Hugs and Cuddles

When it comes to our kids, Reiki doesn't have to be given formally. Often I will feel the energy coming out of my hands when I am cuddling up with or hugging my niece or nephew. They love it so much at bedtime and when reading books together. In fact, I often get the biggest hugs from them! So if you have learned Reiki and wish to share it with your kids, give them lots of hugs and spend time cuddling, watching TV or reading together. 

8. Boo-Boos!

Don't forget it's often our first instinct when a child has an injury, to place our hands over the affected area. Spot healing works wonders with children, so even if it's not a full healing, your child will benefit from the energy and attention on just one spot that needs attention the most!

What About Teens?

The above are just some of the ways I approach Reiki for young kids. For older kids and teenagers, privacy is often really important to them. We always make sure they know that I'm not talking about anything confidential outside their session. If there are things they wish to communicate to their parents but don't know how, I often model and we role play so that they can listen and talk to their parents from a supported and empowered place.

No matter whether you are giving Reiki to a child or sending your child for Reiki, it is a wonderful gift for them and helps with their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and development.

Want to take a Siam Reiki Course? Find out when the next one is offered here.

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How to Choose a Great Reiki Instructor and Course

"When the student is ready, the master will appear". I was lucky that this was my experience, but it's not the case for everyone.

You may want to research a bit before choosing a Reiki Master Teacher. And rightly so. I've had a number of people contact me who want to be "re-attuned" after learning Reiki elsewhere, and others who haven't learned and are shopping around for the right teacher. To help you, here is what to look for.

The ideal Reiki Course will have:

  • About 16 hours of training. A Level One course is focused on Reiki only and is spaced over two or more days, but all completed within a week. 
  • A small group size. Two to eight students are ideal and actually manageable by an instructor. This way, you get the benefit of sharing learning with other students, who you practice with, while receiving enough individual guidance from your instructor. If there are more than eight students in the attunement room, don't be one of them.
  • Qualifying students. Attunements should never be given to those hospitalized, under 13 or to those who are more than three months pregnant. Anyone having terminated a pregnancy must receive a Reiki treatment by a practitioner fluent in spiritual healing prior to their course.
  • Four individual Reiki Level One attunements. Four attunements will give you the full ability to channel Reiki for yourself and informally for others.
  • Practice Time. At least one self-treatment over the course time, and at least two treatments on others under the guidance of the instructor. 
  • Reiki Manual covering Reiki History and Practice. The manual is a complement to what is taught in the class; history, theory and practice elements should all be present in a manual.
  • Ongoing / Continuing Education and Practice. Good teachers offer monthly Reiki Shares - where students come to practice Reiki with further guidance and coaching and receive treatments from other students and share experiences. 
  • In-person training. I can't stress this enough. Learning Reiki online is questionable to begin with and will not benefit you in the long run because you will lose out on a personal connection with the teacher, and a community to practice and continue practising with. If you don't have an instructor in your area, consider travelling for a course or getting a group to learn together and inviting an instructor to come to you.

By the end of your course, you will have experienced shifts in your sensitivity to energy, be encouraged to practice on yourself daily, and can confidently give Reiki treatments to others.

The Ideal Reiki Master Teacher will have:

  • The ability to read auras and sense energy congestion and the root cause of that congestion.
  • The ability to sense and help clear away emotional and spiritual blockages.
  • An understanding of what Reiki energy is and where Reiki healing comes from. 
  • A personal dedication to self-care (daily or regular self-Reiki practice, meditation and ideally other forms of self-care). 
  • Experience. A true Reiki Master Teacher has taken her or his Level Three / Reiki Master Course and waited at least a year with lots of training before taking their Reiki Master Teacher course, just to be able to teach Reiki Level One.
  • The ability to look at a prospective student and assess where they are energetically, rather than simply welcoming anyone who wants to pay to take a course at any level. 
  • The ability to clearly tell you where your own energy is congested and how to balance it.
  • The willingness to speak with you and answer your questions thoroughly before you take a course. 
  • An openness to having you contact existing students to inquire about the instructor / course.
After your training, your instructor should continue to provide ongoing support and opportunities for further learning and developing beyond your Level One course.


Once you have completed your Reiki training according to the above requirements, you will have been properly attuned to channel Reiki for yourself and others and can harness Reiki for life. There is no need to be re-attuned. Even if you don't practice often, pick it up again by giving yourself a few consecutive daily self-treatments.

In fact, if you've been properly attuned to Reiki by a qualified instructor, you will notice a lot of development coming from your own daily self-practice. Like the saying goes, "You get out of it what you put into it". If however, you continue practising and feel as if something is missing, that you aren't developing a heightened sensitivity, you can always find a qualified instructor who you feel is the right one to be assessed by and receive training from.

Know that a new Reiki Master Teacher can only teach Level One and cannot start teaching Level Two students until one of her or his own Level One students returns to request to learn Level Two. One of her or his own Level Two students must return to request to learn Level Three before the Reiki Master Teacher can teach a newcomer Level Three, and the same goes for teaching Level Four, the Master Teacher Level. There is quality control built in. If the teacher doesn't have students returning to request a higher level of training, surely something is amiss.

Each Level has its own Training

Over time, you may want to take the Reiki Level Two course to learn how to send distance healing and find and clear away the deeper mental and emotional roots of symptoms. A Level Two course should be taught independently from a Level One course as it is a huge step forward and there are four distinct attunements for Level Two and these will open you up to be able to harness double the amount of Reiki energy. Taking a Level One and Level Two course together waters down your learning and would require eight attunements -- too powerful to experience all at once. The Level Three or Reiki Master Course is another leap forward, has four attunements and requires a high level of practice, experience and work with the instructor before the course can be taken. Level Four, which is teacher training or the Reiki Master Teacher course, requires at bare minimum, a full year of intense practice and preparation.

In many schools Levels One and Two are taught together and Levels Three and Four are taught together, which is an indication of poor quality of a course and lack of understanding of an instructor, and even of the instructor him or herself being improperly attuned or not attuned at all to Reiki.

Many students are eager to learn and develop, which is fantastic, but there is no substitution for thorough training and practice. Many people are eager to rush the process. This is the reason why few Reiki Master Teachers themselves are properly attuned and why Reiki has become so watered down. It is also the reason why many clients come to a Siam Reiki practioner and are blown away by the quality of healing they receive. I've been told by a client that one Reiki treatment was the equivalent of ten years of therapy!


Many people ask me how Siam Reiki is different from Usui Reiki. All Reiki that is practised today has come through Master Mikao Usui. Although Reiki itself is timeless, Master Usui is the person who harnessed this energy and made it available for use in our modern day. The word "Reiki" is a Japanese word, simply because Master Usui happened to be Japanese. So no matter what school of Reiki you learn from, if it's called "Reiki", it is all Usui Reiki. The different lineages are branches of his students, including Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who took Reiki beyond Japan and taught it far and wide.

Siam Reiki is a very powerful lineage of Master Usui's, mainly because it has the highest standards known in Reiki and due to the purity of the Reiki energy channelled. Students in Siam Reiki develop an intuitive capacity that is cultivated and highly encouraged, the result being that they channel very powerful and specific healing that greatly benefits those they treat.

Self-Reiki BadgeDo You Want to Learn Reiki?

No matter where you learn Reiki, if you are properly attuned by a true Reiki Master Teacher, you will notice that Reiki is a catalyst for change in your life. It opens up new understanding and is a wonderful tool for positive change, whether in the quality of health, relationships, success in work life, or spirituality. If you follow the guidelines here, you will have a great Reiki Course and instructor and in turn, Reiki itself will change your life.

Want to take a Siam Reiki Course? Find out when the next one is offered here.

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3 Things I Learned from Giving Reiki in a Hospital Ward

My mom (a 3-time kidney transplant recipient) has been admitted to the hospital three times in two months, nauseous, vomiting, reeling and barely able to walk or hold up a fork. Hardly a walk in the park for her or the family. Nonetheless, somehow each time she was admitted she seemed to be getting happier. It confirmed something that I had sensed before. Giving someone Reiki in the hospital is one of the best things for them. I'll tell you why.

1. Sleep Kicks In

Search the internet for "sleep" and the results will turn up thousands of articles about how to sleep better. If we are a culture of people obsessed with a health issue, it's sleep. Why is this? Perhaps because we realize how tired we are, yet can't seem to rest.

Once someone ends up in a hospital bed they're in a state of trauma and total exhaustion. Then there are all these smells, and noises from machines, from the ward, from stranger room-mates who could simply be breathing too loudly for our taste. Half the time I give Reiki, the recipient will tend to fall asleep for at least a few minutes. It's a good thing. During deep sleep, the body releases most of its growth hormone, which doesn't just make you taller; it stimulates your immune system.

2. Heart Rate Goes Down

Heart rate variability (the range at which the heart beats) is an indicator of health. The larger this range the better off we are. Why? Because an increased heart rate indicates the heart's ability to react quickly and appropriately in the face of imminent danger, and a lower heart rate indicates its ability to return to a restful, repairing and more healing state once out of danger. All too often, the heart rate increases through stress, and stays there.

Over a year ago, a family friend suffered a heart attack. After her emergency catheterization she was in the Cardiac ICU, hooked up to heart monitors, unable to sleep or relax in the ward. While I gave her Reiki, her son was sitting in the corner of the room. He not only remarked that she had finally fallen asleep during the session, but that the monitors showed her heart rate had decreased ten points while Reiki was in progress. This ability to recover from an unnaturally high heart rate means our systems can more readily heal from truama, shock, and stress.

3. Side Effects - and Tumours - can Vanish

For those undergoing cancer treatments, the physical side effects of therapies like chemotherapy can be debilitating. Added to this, there are many emotions under the surface that have played a part in the illness and that will surface during the illness, diagnosis and treatment. Fear, anxiety, anger and dread can exacerbate the body's immune system and its ability to detect and eliminate toxins.

I've worked with many people who have and have had cancers. By receiving Reiki before going for chemo, they sense real changes in the mind and body. Even getting Reiki after chemo can obliterate its side effects. It can also enhance mood. Fear and anxiety can subside, giving way to a more supported feeling and healing. And yes, I've seen cases where tumours were proliferating and the person was told they had a few months to live, and yet the tumours all disappeared and the person went on to live for years.

The Perfect Complement

In our 2-Day Revel One Reiki Course, we talk about how Reiki is the perfect self-healing tool as well as the best complementary therapy to conventional medicine. It's highly portable (all you need is your own hands). It's always available when you need it. Most importantly, it is completely safe as it works from the highest of good.

If you've ever been hospitalized or have visited someone who's been in hospital, you know that it can be a boring and depressing. What better place to do Reiki? It may feel weird and awkward, and yes a hospital bed is very clunky to get around, but you can get creative. Interestingly, nurses and doctors love to see their patients receiving care from Reiki healers. While doctors may dismiss medical intuitives, preferring evidence-based diagnostics and conventional therapies, there are signs that the medical community is slowly coming around.

In fact many of the world's top hospitals and health care institutions now offer Reiki as a service for patients and clients. At the time of writing this, some of these currently include Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Harvard University in Boston, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in western Australia, University College London Hospitals NHS in London. Canadian hospitals offering Reiki as a complementary therapy include: Wellspring Westkirk House at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre in Toronto, Princess Margaret Hospital / University Health Network in Toronto, Bruce House AIDS hospice in Ottawa, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre in Ottawa, Tamara's House in Saskatoon and Wellspring with locations across Canada.

Beyond the Ward

So in the end, my first intuition (which was that one of my mom's medications was making her sick) was spot-on. Following several tests, she was taken out of isolation and then released with new medications that are vital and better tolerated by her system.

And even though she's out of the hospital, she's still getting Reiki everyday.

Want to take a Siam Reiki Course? Find out when the next one is offered here.

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The Morning Routine

Good Morning!

The other day someone posted this to facebook:

That's right, folks you will be UTTERLY EXHAUSTED!

How about treating YOURSELF with all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster?

That's how I start my day every day, beginning with giving myself a Reiki treatment. So if you have taken a Reiki course with me, you know at the end I always say, give yourself a Reiki treatment everyday (at which point you may have looked at me like I was nuts). The whole point is, whatever you do, start with yourself.

So in the spirit of starting with myself I'm going to share...

The Morning Routine 

1. Wake up. 
Yawn, stretch, breathe, blink and look around. I always marvel how well I can see first thing in the morning. Then I check the time, like all of us. I sleep with the wifi off, so I'm not tempted to check email just yet.
(1 Minute) 

2. Clear my mind. 
Waking is one of the times I'm flooded with all sorts of brilliant and useless ideas. I just write them down. They can be messages or feelings that came up in a dream, inspirational words, or a burning action item for my "to do" list. Whatever it is, I get it down on paper and off my mind.
(1 Minute) 
Yours may be fancy. Mine's just a phone.

3. Give myself a Reiki treatment. 
This is by far the BEST investment of time first thing before getting out of bed. Especially a cold winter morning. I'd used to wake up with my hands buzzing and immediately place them on my eyes. The first Reiki position is doubles as the most useful eye exercise, called Palming.

If you don't have an hour, do 40 minutes. If you don't have that, do a quickie in 15. Key placements: Front of face and back of head, throat and heart, solar plexus and pelvis, feet (repeat at bedtime).
(15-60 Minutes) 

If you're strapped for time, do a quickie

If you don't have any time, take two minutes and remember:

I give thanks for my many blessings.
Just for today, do not worry. 
Just for today, do not anger. 
Honor your parents, teachers and elders. 
Earn your living honestly. 
Show gratitude to every living thing. 

4. Meditate. 
This is alone time. It doesn't matter whether you practice with the breath, a mantra or practice mindfulness. The point is do what you like to do. A beautiful practice to set the tone for the day is a "metta" or loving kindness meditation (listen to a guided session here). When I feel too restless I walk, or mindfully...
(10 Minutes) 

5. Light and Water.
Open the windows / blinds, water your house plants and drink a glass of warm or cold water. You can add lemon or apple cider vinegar to boost your stomach acid and cleanse your system. Let's face it we all need light and water. Let it stream in.
(5 Minutes) 

6. Stretch, dance, sing, move! 
Get out of breath! This is the time for yoga, exercise or whatever physical activities you need in your morning. Go outside barefoot, do chi-gong,cycle or run around. Do what you gotta do to break a sweat. 
(10-20 Minutes) 

I should mention that by this point in my day, there is a very small, chatty and boisterous human being climbing all over me who needs lots of attention and moves around a whole lot. If you have one of these delightful people (or beloved animals) in your life, be grateful. And let them join in the fun. This can be social time.

7. Shower.
Ahhhh. Nothing like dissolving into water. Another one of those times when I'm flooded with brilliant insights or useless ideas... Another great time to practice mindfulness.
(5 Minutes) 

8. Breakfast. 
Normally this entails fruit in either a salad or oatmeal with nuts and cinnamon or shredded coconut, or an anything or everything smoothie, or Montreal style bagel with avocado and tomato, or omelette with pesto, olives, sun-dried tomato and basil, or French toast with fruit! Clearly I love breakfast. Wholesome and simple. If you have a little one around, get them to help. If you don't, this is more time for mindfulness!
(20 Minutes) 
70s TV: Just Like Mom: stay in charge of recipes at all times.

The Only Rule is Actually an Exception

This whole process is 1-2 hours long. Before you protest, there is one rule: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You don't have to do it all. There are days I skip the plants (let's face it sometimes they are not thirsty) or the yoga (I might promise to take myself swimming later) or the breakfast (I can always grab something in town after my shower if I'm in a rush). 

And trust me, there are plenty of days when I admit I succumb to email or text messaging before the yoga or shower. I can't do TV, news, talk-radio and increasingly, music. But these might be your exceptions.

The point is I don't kill myself over the exceptions. Remember that thing about caring, being kind to and understanding yourself? That's right. It's the spirit in which all things happen, not the happenings themselves. 

So beginning today, care, be kind to and understand yourself. Your day -- and everyone else's around you --- will be much better for it.

See Also:

Learning Reiki to Heal Yourself and Others

Learning Meditation and Mindfulness

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