Frans Stiene on Violet Reiki Radio about the Inner Heart of Reiki
Transcript of Frans Stiene Interviewed on Violet Reiki Radio with Rose Jimenez (Edited for length and clarity)
Rose : Frans on the line
Frans : Hello Rose.
Rose: Hi, how are you?
Frans: Very good, thank you. Thank you for inviting me to the show.
Rose: Thank you; I love having you. I did promise when Inner Heart of Reiki comes out we will have you back. We have lots of exciting things to talk about. You have been, my friend, barreling down the road, all over the world: touring, teaching, developing. Frans! Are you doing super Reiki on yourself? How do you keep up with you?!
Frans: (laughs) Something like that. Sometimes people ask, do I ever sleep? I do like my sleep. But for me, when we go deeper within the system of Reiki as spiritual practice, not just hands on healing but meditating on precepts and symbols, chanting mantras, practicing meditations like joshin kokyo ho and hatsurei ho daily, we go more in our mind space where we let go of what I call the three times of past, present, future. I found when I started to have direct experience, I somehow had more time. I think we limit ourselves with time: "oh I only have an hour." If we let go of that, it feels within ourselves we have more space, more time to do things. Yes, I have been travelling a lot this year, teaching in Europe, the US and Australia, promoting my book. I am really happy with how it unfolded.
Rose: I have the book here on my “to read” pile. I promise I am going to get to it, because I am anxiously waiting.
Frans: For many reasons I wanted to write this book. We had written Reiki Sourcebook, Japanese Art of Reiki, Your Reiki Treatment; we started writing in 2001, Reiki Sourcebook came out in 2003. When we do our meditation practices daily within the system of Reiki, there will be changes. Therefore the way I started to teach, to see things, became different. I started to train with some Japanese people in Shugendo and Shingon, Tendai Buddhisim to get the overall picture of what Usui's timeframe was about, what they were practicing. That started to give me different insights into Mikao Usui's tools and myself, how we can use these tools for spiritual development or rediscovering our true self. So, I thought it was time for me to put it on paper. We can only do so many classes, can only reach so many people. And when we think about the system of Reiki, the majority still think of it as a hands on healing modality. But for me it goes so much deeper than that. That's really the message I wanted to spread: that the system of Reiki was a spiritual practice that included mindfulness practices: focusing on symbols for yourself, chanting a mantra, practicing joshin kokyo ho. All of those things really inspired me to write Inner Heart of Reiki.
Rose: Right, there is so much more than just hands on healing. From what I have seen you posting about the book and in general, there is much more to Reiki that people don't know about; this book delves in to that. Am I right?
Frans: Absolutely. The one thing we can all commonly agree on is the precepts: do not anger; do not worry; be grateful; practice diligently, show compassion to yourself and others. Different translations here and there but if we really think about that, within the precepts is the foundation. It doesn't say anything about hands in healing, or initiation. It talks about a way of life, way of being. It is a way of being which is free of anger, free of worry, where we are grateful for whatever comes into our lives, where we practice these diligently all the time, much as we can. If we make a mistake, that's OK; then we can be compassionate to ourselves and others. If we look deeper within the precepts, we come across compassion; we can ask ourselves, what is the most profound healing, the kindest, compassionate healing we can do for ourselves? The kindest, compassionate healing we can do for someone else?
If we think about it, that is really about rediscovering our true self, our inner great bright light, as Mikao Usui pointed out so beautifully in his Reiki 3 symbol and mantra. Hands on healing is a wonderful tool; really the basic step into feeling more contact with ourselves, love for ourselves, compassion for ourselves. But often we hop into bed, place hands on ourselves, and fall asleep; we say we had a great session. But for me it's more about a much deeper aspect, very consciously and mindfully laying the hands on ourselves, mindfully doing the meditation practices like Joshin kokyo ho, all of those. And Rose, also I started to discover when I went to Japan and trained with Shingon,Tendai priests, or with Shugendo priests, that when I talked about mantras - for example CKR, HSZSN, SHK or DKM - they all had quite an interesting aspect of, "Oh yes, this means that." "Oh, of course; that makes so much sense!" So we talked a lot about it with certain practices, to have the direct experience. For example, in the book, I talked about HSZSN meaning "my original nature is correct thought" or one of my teachers explains it as "I am Right Mindfulness." So it's already saying we have to be in Right State of Mind. Then what is right state of mind? Right state of mind is again pointed out in the precepts. So it's really about the embodiment and looking deeper into what does it mean. Each time asking ourselves what does it mean, can I go deeper in the meaning?
Rose: In my work I deal with people who all think they are imperfect and have problems, can't heal themselves. But thinking of HSZSN, "I am in my Right State of Mind“ - wouldn't you think maybe the translation could be "no matter what I am in right state of mind because even though I know I have imperfection, I am imperfectly perfect."
Frans: Absolutely. I think that is another very clear message I see within Mikao Usui's teachings; I really like his metaphor in Reiki 3 - Great Bright Light. Great bright light in Japanese teachings, you see it a lot in spiritual teachings; in a lot of Buddhist teachings. Clear light, bright light; often it's a metaphor for spaciousness. We can be very confused - dark clouds, confusing clouds - but those clouds have no effect. Ultimately, under lies blue sky, and blue sky is always beautiful, clear. So we have to remember that even when we don't feel really well, just a layer beyond that is a beautiful clearness and brightness that is always there. We don't have to adjust it, we don't have to add anything to it, we don't have to take away anything from it. It's always beautiful and bright and that's what I start in the beginning with the book: the metaphor of beautiful bright light. Normally what we do with this bright light, we cover it up with lamp shades: the lampshade of anger, of worry, of fear. Suddenly we think we are in the dark, confused, but actually that light still is burning. It's never gone out and all we have to do is look beyond those lamp shades; oh yes - actually the light is always burning. But we have to purify ourselves with the practices Mikao Usui showed us in his teachings; they help us to peel away these lamp shades. Then that light of compassion shines outwards. And I really see too, Rose, that if we have a beautiful bright light, if we put our hands closer to the light, it feels warm. That's the warmth of compassion. That's the warmth of the kindness mentioned in the precepts. That's the warmth when we don't feel angry and worried, the warmth of being grateful. We all know that when we receive a hug or kind words, we feel grateful. When we don't have anger or worry, we feel that warmth within our whole being, not just in our hands but our whole being. This light also needs electricity or energy to be bright, and that's the energy sometimes we can feel not just in our hands but in our whole being. Ultimately for me, the system of Reiki or inner heart of Reiki is this beautiful brightness. It's the precepts; it's the embodiment of that compassion and kindness. One of the reasons I wanted to write this book also is to say to people, Reiki is actually very simple. It just means compassion and love. It's as simple as that, but we try to make it complicated.
Rose: Definitely. Reiki is love. To me it's the same vibration. Everyone tries to overcomplicate it. In the West the mind set is, if there is more it's got to be better. So they keep adding to it; all these additions just confuse people.
Frans: Another thing my Japanese teachers were saying…one of them actually had done a Reiki class out of curiosity to see what is taught in Japan nowadays. And his feedback, when I was there with him in Japan for 7 days doing some one on one training... what he saw taught as System of Reiki or Mikao Usui teachings, he said even for traditional Japanese spiritual teachers, it doesn't represent those teachings. It's too westernized, too modernized. It's not that clean Japanese...you know, flower arrangements of just a few flowers, calligraphy just one single beautiful stroke and it's pure. He said that's really what he was referring to (simplicity and purity.) And for him he could clearly see that in Mikao Usui's teachings, but not in more modern Western or even more modern Japanese teachings. And I really wanted to show people that we don't have to add all sorts of things to it. Just keep it simple. Use the tools that were already taught by Mikao Usui as much as we can. Of course we can never say this is the true teachings of Mikao Usui, because who knows? Even if we ask 5 different teachers of Mikao Usui, if alive, they probably will say 5 different things. Because we all know, we go to a movie and we get different things from the movie. It is said Mikao Usui taught his students according to their spiritual development. For example, Hiroshi Doi knew of an Akido teacher whose grandfather was Mikao Usui's student. And he was taken into Mikao Usui's room and shown the DKM and some other Mikao Usui students weren't shown the DKM. For me that made perfect sense, because at that time it was much more strict. At that time I think Usui would have said, "oh, you are ready to really step into that space" and "that particular student needs to still train." Ultimately it's like how we train now, how we play guitar for example. We suddenly cannot give someone a really complicated guitar set to play. We need to start from the beginning and give that person the very complicated music to play when they have the skills to play it, else they might get disheartened with it. My daughter plays guitar and I was talking to her teacher...I said "I really like your style, how you are teaching." He said, "When I started to teach, my teacher gave me this very complicated piece to play. I couldn't do it; I packed up my guitar and didn't play for 10 years." So we need to give the students at the right time, the right moment, the right teachings. And teachers at the time of Mikao Usui did exactly the same...we can see the difference. One is not better than the other, but I really like to show people that another aspect is not just hands on healing, but actually a very deep spiritual practice.
Rose : Right. I do the same with my students. Someone comes and for instance if they have a very spiritual nature, doing spiritual practices all their lives, they are going to move along quicker than someone not designed that way.
Rose: Same thing with psychics, empaths, intutives...that's their innate nature; they move along. Then people who have no experience or inclination towards the spiritual, coming to Reiki because it interests them, for the "Hands on healing" as well as personal development and spiritual aspects, we start them in another place. As a teacher, I don't believe you can start all your students in the same place and expect them to move along at the same rate.
Frans: I agree; ultimately it's a very individual Journey. I'm having a student here this weekend. We're doing an intensive 4 days where we for 45 minutes might chant mantra CHR, 45 minutes we do jJoshin kokyo ho, 45 minutes meditating on precepts, so each time we go deeper. If I have a beginning student and we do that 8 times a day for 45 minutes, we might have some troubles. So we need to do that skillfully and I think the word compassion really shows that. Because we can only be compassionate when we have connected to these beautiful bright lights...light gives us clarity on how to teach each particular person in their way. And I think that is such an important thing.
Rose : Right, you know I've got a situation here in studio Frans My cat just popped up on the desk here, sat in front of me and is listening to you through the headset. She is purring...at one point she reached with her paw up to the microphone "I have a question for Frans"...she loves Reiki. (Frans laughs says - "meow meow") and I guess she loves you. You want to ask something to Frans that will help, so you can assist Mama? (Frans and Rose laugh.)
Frans: We have some animals where I live and when I do chanting of some mantras, a lot of the animals feel very connected to it. Sometimes I sit in the garden and chant and can see some of the animals coming closer. I don't necessarily direct to one of them; for me it's more be like the sun and each animal or person can take from the sun from this great bright light, whatever they need. But, yeah, I find that they feel very connected to that space.
Rose: Animals resonate so well to Reiki. Kathleen could attest to that too with the animal Reiki and SARA and all the good stuff she is doing.
Frans: One of the other things I did with Inner heart of Reiki was I peppered it with quotes from Japanese spiritual teachers - well known Zen teachers, Shingon or Tendai teachers - to show people that those teachers actually come to the same conclusions and say the same thing. When I was in Japan and talked to these more traditional teachers like Shingon or Tendai and Shugendo priests, one of the things they were emphasizing is that if you were look at all of these different traditions like Akaido or Zen, Tendai, Shingon, Shugendo, system of Reiki, you come across the same concepts. Therefore they were also saying, if these concepts are not taught within the system of Reiki, then we already know that it is modernized and not really coming from that very rich Japanese culture / background where these more traditional teachers still teach from. And I put quotes in to show the similarity - that this concept is not something I have thought up but actually these are concepts within the Japanese culture, heritage in Mikao Usui's time, even afterwards and before that. So we can see that his teachings are really steeped in all of these very traditional Japanese ideas and concepts. Of course it doesn't mean we have to adhere to those, but they give us pointers to really rediscovering our true self that beautiful inner great bright light.
Rose: Right and I believe I read where Mikao Usui did study religion. He was Tendai Buddhist but he did study Shingon and Shugendo, correct?
Frans: Tendai buddhisim traditionally, and also in Mikao Usui time, is very interwoven with Shamanic practices - Shinto practices, mountain practices. So we can see traces of all of these in kind of one practice. What we say as a westerner or a modern practitioner and even in Japan, modern Japanese they say this is Catholic, this is Christian, this is Tendai, this is Shinto: really dividing it. But traditionally in Japan it was undividable. There were all part of the one soup. They would have called Shinto deity a different name than in Buddhist traditions, but concepts and ideas were very similar, sometimes actually exactly the same. So, my plan for, actually it's more my teacher’s plan (laughs) for next year is to go even deeper into Mikao Usui’s footsteps. Mikao Usui, it's said he was a lay monk and my teacher wants me to become a lay monk from one of the prestigious Shugendo temples in Japan. When you become a lay monk like in Mikao Usui’s time, you actually get access to more teachings: it opens more doors to you. Not just as a foreigner but even as a Japanese person, those doors stay closed. So he said if you want to know more, I highly recommend that you step into Mikao Usui footsteps and become a lay monk. A lay monk also means you can have family , you don't have to be in the temple. I can keep my hair although it's thinning out and graying out.(Rose laughs). It will be next year in May. I am planning with my teachers for 2 weeks in the mountains. Probably will be just my teacher and one more person so really sitting in a cave doing a meditation practices, going into the mountains. Very similar, of course I won't be doing the 21 day fasting like Mikao Usui did because I am not ready for that. But definitely a taste. I am really looking forward to that and seeing what kind of doors that open for me. I do this for two reasons. I do it for my own self development but another very big reason for me is that -
A. - Not everybody has a possibility to do it
B - Not everybody has contacts to do it; in Japan you need to be invited. You can’t just roll up and pay some money. You need to gain the trust of the person; it might take 5, 10, 15 years depending on who you are. So I can take those kinds of teachings back into the modern world and say, this is also part of the whole cultural heritage. We can see the system of Reiki and how this connects - that doesn't mean we have to become a monk or a nun .or a lay Monk or nun. As my teacher says - you have the ability because you can have both feet, one in the modern world and one in our traditional world. We can help you to become that bridge. How can we bring these more traditional teachings with very in depth spiritual practices - what Mikao Usui was practicing himself - and form them in a more modern jacket? For them, they say we cannot do that; we have too many rules and regulations. But because you stand with one foot in either side, you can do it. We can allow you to do that. So that is a really exciting thing that I am really looking forward to next year. And who knows what comes out of that, but we started already with this book, Inner heart of Reiki, delving deeper into that true self. For them really, the most important thing is not that we learn the history of Reiki or we can say the precepts or we know how to draw symbols. Actually for them it’s really that you sit down on your butt and do your practice. Say, meditate on the precepts 20 minutes a day, meditate with joshin kokyo ho 20 minutes a day. And they have the ability these people, they go into the mountains, for…one of my teachers did a 21 day meditation practice. No eating, no drinking… they have such a gift of seeing if you actually apply the practices, have embodied it not just in your head like “Mikao Usui: born on this day, died on this date”, or “Precept is Do not anger, Do not worry,” but it oozes out of you, it's in your heart. That is really the thing they are looking for, and I think this is also what I try to promote more. Because we can all know the precepts in our head but as we know, it's really difficult in our daily lives. We are being pushed and pulled left right and center by violence, by greed, by toxins, by devastation, deforestation, animal cruelty, you name it . So I think it's time in this world that we say enough is enough. But to make the change it doesn't need to come or actually I don't think it can come through intellectual state. We have to embody it; therefore we have to be more diligent in our practice to embody it and be the change we want to see in the world, like what Gandhi said.
Rose: Frans, why don't you fill us in as far as what you will be doing in the States and your classes, online seminars and how our listeners can get hold of you.
Frans: I will be teaching February in Hawaii a Shinpiden class and Reiki Play-Day. Shinpiden is Reiki 3 class, teachers - some people call it Master class - it's a 3 day class and 1 day Play Day where we go deeper within the system of Reiki. I will do the same in Los Angeles after that and then I am in Ben Lomond, outside Santa Cruz, for a 2 day workshop called The Inner Heart of Reiki. It's based on the book; we focus days on delving deeper into that. Next year I have three 4 day Reiki retreats - California, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts - really intensive, going deeper. There will be Shinpiden classes in Sonoma, in New York… some other things… I will be teaching in Holland next year where I'm originally from. Actually I am working on teaching from my hometown where I was born, so that would be kind of making a full circle again. I was just in Netherlands when I was teaching in Europe and met up with some friends who I haven't seen in 25 years; they were saying, “So you are teaching Reiki - what is it that?” (laughs) So there will be classes and the retreat in Europe and classes in Australia, my Japan trip next year for two weeks, maybe three depending on if I meet up with another teacher. Lots of things happening next year. I'm working on a new Reiki book as well, so yeah: lots of exciting projects.
Rose: Looks like a lot coming down the pipe. Very good and if anyone wants to find your website, it is Ihreiki.com?
Frans: That's it; and I’ve got two Facebook pages - Frans Stiene and International house of Reiki. I always try to post something; my daughter says, "Dad you're always on Facebook." I say no way and afterward she says, "Dad, you need to lose weight; you are getting a bit of a tummy." We were having lunch together, laughing, so anyway it's the good life when you meditate all day and you eat some nice food, then you get a big tummy.
Rose: I think you are kind of a foodie, you really enjoy food.
Frans: I like my good food!
Rose: Good quality food (laughs)
Frans: Good quality food. That's one of the things I enjoy when I'm traveling and teaching everywhere: trying out different restaurants. You are from New York area; they have some great vegetarian/vegan restaurants. I love it, you know so that's always good. Lots of plans, lots of ideas; you never know what life brings us, right?
Rose: You never know; you have to be open at all times. Everybody plans their life - I want want - and I find the only place that you choose is misery. I stopped planning years ago, even stopped making my daily agenda. I mean okay I have a class to do, an appointment, and sessions - those things go in the book, but as far as other things in my life I just wing it. (laughs) If doesn't get done today, thentomorrow; if not, the next day, and I find in the course of the week everything gets done whether I obsesses over it, push it, try to help it, manipulate. Like the precepts say, don't worry. I think we were taught to worry. I don't think it's in our innate nature to worry.
Frans: No, it's one of these obscure things we’re kind of pushed into by family, society etc. But I don't - of course I plan the classes; I need to do that - but then I let go and jump into river of life and see where it takes me. (laughs)
Rose: Really, that's just so much easier. I remember saying to a friend about all this craziness we all do. I was meditating one day and this thought came to me: the universe just wants all of us to have fun. You can say the universe has put upon us all these crazy demands, stresses and whatever - that's not what the universe wants. The universe wants all of us to relax and be free and enjoy life and have fun. We have done it to ourselves.
Frans: I start the book with a poem I wrote and it's called “Digging for the Truth: a Glimmer of Hope.” Maybe if you like, I can read it out.
Frans: I wrote this poem a while ago: “Digging for the Truth: a Glimmer of Hope”
"A storm blows through my mind,
I am dragged away to the past, present, and future.
Memories are grabbing hold of me like the cold iron fist of winter.
Worry engulfs me as if I am drowning in a lake, and the fear is overwhelming.
My energy is shaking like a shorn sheep in the bitter night of early spring.
Yet deep underneath all of this turmoil in my confused, turbulent mind I can see a glimmer.
A glimmer of hope.
I need to dig deep underneath the soil,
getting my hands dirty,
leaves in my hair,
a kind of wild look on my face,
as I dig deeper than I ever have.
But the more I want this glimmer, the deeper I need to dig; it never seems to stop.
This glimmer of hope keeps eluding me as if I am trying to grasp air with my bare hands.
Each time my hands close, I peek inside as if I finally got it, but nothing is there.
I am tired of digging, tired of the storm in my mind, tired, oh so tired…
I finally give up, my doubt as big as the tallest mountain.
My doubt that I am not strong enough, like an ox, to dig.
I fall on the moss, moistened by my tears, giving up, and I let go.
The earth starts to shake, suddenly the clouds depart and the sun shines in all its glory.
My eyes are closed,
a light deep inside,
heat blazes through me,
devouring all my doubt and my turbulent mind.
Layers upon layers are just falling away like castles made of playing cards.
Nothing is left; I am naked.
The truth shines right into my heart.
Just Be, just Be, just Be, it is whispering."
Rose : Wow that is great…thank you so much.
Frans : One reason I wrote that…I felt that, for me, it embodies my journey into the system of Reiki.
Rose: One of the things I had my students do in one of my first shows on Violet Reiki Radio was compare the book by John Miguel Luis, Four Agreements, with the Reiki precepts. I keep seeing more and more people saying from years ago when he wrote that and subsequent books, that we’re just as good and better… just in those four moral agreements, the whole crux of the book is basically saying look, we are all trying to live somebody else's dream of what life is about. You have to break away from that and dream your own dream. Basically he's saying you make your own life, live your own life, why are you trying to live somebody else's life? If you just keep to those four agreements, you will be fine and you can then construct your own life. I think we often spend too much time being like other people even as a generation, parents or grandparents. I think this is now the time, especially now the new age and millennium and everything. Be who you are. More importantly go back and be who you were born to be and where you are born from your original state which is a state of love! That's all you have to do.
Rose : Just be and just be love and you will be fine.
Frans: Yes, this is an interesting concept Rose. For me, I see two things in that -
A. The word Gyo o and Gyo o hage me has been translated very simply like “work hard” but it can also mean “practice diligently.” But gyo o hage me has a much deeper layer; in one layer gyo means a pure experience and the pure experience of Gyo is the pure experience of your True Self. Not Rose's experience, but my pure experience. And your experience is not Frans’ pure experience; no, this is Rose's experience .
Rose: It’s the essence of your own soul.
Frans: Absolutely and therefore gyo o hage me also stands for “be true to your own way and your true self.” I think this is such an important element. What we have to realize and therefore for me, the system of Reiki is not you have to be to true to Frans' way of teaching, true to Betty's way or to Suzuki's way or to Toyota's way…
Rose: In essence it needs to be authentic, just be authentic in your way.
Frans: That’s it. The teacher is there to help you to find your authentic self and we call it true self or true nature or great bright light, Buddhahood, goddess, higher self - doesn't matter what we call it; sometimes we get caught up in all of that. We can just call it Reiki, spiritual energy or true self… I think nowadays we say oh this Reiki is different than Tai chi, different than Buddhism, different than Christianity. The practices are different but in essence it’s all the same because all of those teachings want to go back to the same thing and that is love and compassion.
Rose: They're all connected by one common thread but different names.
Rose: Connections are the same, practices are different.
Frans: That's it, but the rest is all the same and therefore it doesn't matter what we do as long as we remember that beautiful great bright light. It doesn't matter what path we follow as long as the path is helping us to become kinder, more compassionate, less angry, less worried¸ less fearful - and that's the most important element.
Rose : Right, right. Well Frans, It's 10 o'clock in New York.
Frans : Wonderful; it's 2 p.m. here.
Rose: (laughs) We have come to the conclusion of another episode of Violet Rose Reiki. Thank you so much for being my guest. I wish you well; I will see you around on Facebook
Frans : Probably and thank you Rose for inviting me.