I had the opportunity to trade with Jeff Leoni, yet another of my fellow practitioners at Philly Community Wellness. Jeff and I both work with crystals, in our own intuitive ways; and both have training in Reiki, Reflexology, and IET. Where do we differ? Well, as some of you may have read on Day 4 I came to discover Reiki through a “paranormal” experience. Jeff, on the other hand, has a background in the Martial Arts. When he was 16, he began to notice an ease when working with the energetic component of Martial Arts, and went on to work with qigong and Taichi. He is a second degree black belt in Okinawan kempo. The link between Martial Arts and Reiki goes all the way back to Mikao Usui, Reiki’s Founder. Every time I work with Jeff, I can’t help but to think of Usui.
Usui reportedly practiced Aiki Jutsu, a predecessor of Aikido which has been explained to me as far more spiritual and energetic than physical. I’m also to understand, through knowledgeable friends of mine who practice Martial Arts, that Aiki Jutsu has a more subtle, direct and calculated approach to taking down an adversary when needed. In other words-no big fight scene, just a quick disabling of the opponent with few if any actual “blows” coming from it. Indeed, it seems a great choice for a Buddhist monk-get in, take down, walk away.
Mikao Usui was born into a Samurai family. Although they were far past the days of running around in the woods fighting each other, their family enjoyed the high rank and status of nobility in Japan’s caste system. When he was about 6 years old, the Meiji Emperor disbanded the Samurai, and Usui and his family tumbled down to a lower caste. This may go a long way in understand his connection to energy, and his dedication to helping people help themselves. His sect of Buddhism, Tendai Mikkyo, is a lay practice-in part meaning that instead of living at a temple, Usui as married and had children. Also important-they focused on spreading the Buddhist teachings to the masses, rather than being paid to pray for the Community. This excerpt, from the about page of Tendai.org, sums it up beautifully:
One of the most important teachings, if not THE most important teaching, of the Lotus Sutra is the teaching of skillful means (upaya) – that the Buddhas teach according to the capacity of the listeners, and that the teachings thus may appear to differ, though they in reality are all just different perspectives on the One Buddha Vehicle (ekayana) to perfect enlightenment.
So Usui was teaching Buddhist principals and Reiki in what was known to be a “Beggar City” following the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923 (which was on par with what happened in Haiti last year), and had students that included a Buddhist Nun (Suzuki San) and a Surgeon in the Japanese Imeprial Navy (Chujiro Hayashi). First, under Meiji rule, these things could have had him thrown in jail or worse-a badass after my own heart. Second, teaching people in a voice they can best hear, the “capacity of the listeners”? It takes a special kind of teacher to take a healing modality like Reiki and get it to such a diverse bunch of people so quickly-he only practiced Reiki for four years, and taught teachers for three-until his passing in 1926.
This link to martial arts is something I see today as well. My practice, as many of you know by now, is not “typical”-I offer affordable sessions in South Philly, which gives me the opportunity to work with individuals some would be surprised to see in a Reiki practitioner’s office. At one point, my clientele was about 80% male, compared with some of my colleagues elsewhere in the City with more “common” practices which report around a 10-20% male client base. So, if all these Men had not heard about Reiki on the Dr. Oz Show or by picking up a pink flowery business card; how did they know about it? Well, a decent amount of them had or still did practice Martial Arts, which exposed them to energy principals. They can talk at length on their feelings and experiences of energy quite comfortably. In fact, these awesome, hard working regular Joes in South Philly would likely have loved the company of Usui. But if we are going to have a party, I am also told that Yogi Bhajan, who is credited with introducing Kundalini Yoga and Sikhism to the United States, was a sucker for a slice of Pizza and a Diet Coke-so all hail the everyman (and the Yoga nerd) and send him an invitation too.
Jeff is also a Clinical Psychologist with a Doctorate from Pepperdine University. This makes him the most well educated Reiki practitioner I know of! I also know Jeff to take great pride in his Psychology practice, in which he utilizes Buddhist/contemplative approaches. Wow, that’s some Usui like stuff there, Sir!
As Jeff’s session had me blissed out beyond belief, Jeff finished the session with reflexology. I truly love how grounding that can be! As I shook off a deeeeply relaxing treatment, Jeff had some words of encouragement from a “visitor”. Jeff didn’t know his name, but when he described an Angel holding a lantern like the one in Doreen Virtue’s Archangel Oracle Deck (pictured above), I knew who it was. Archangel Uriel. The message he had for me I’d like to keep to myself, but it was something Jeff could not have understood or known about. And that visit, and that message, really meant a lot to me.
Thanks for another great session, Jeff! (and for passing along the message).
The sources I used for the information in this piece were found in:
The Reiki Sourcebook by Bronwen & Franz Steine
For further reading, also try “Modern Reiki Method for Healing” by Hiroshi Doi (good luck finding it, used copies are sold on amazon for hundreds of dollars) and anything written by Frank Arjava Petter.
Special thanks to Jeff Leoni for this session.
Jeff is a Level II Usui Reiki practitioner. His Reiki journey began at age 16 when early in his karate training he discovered that he had strong chi flow and a natural affinity for energy work. Jeff has been practicing Reiki since 2008 and was trained by Usui Reiki Master Diane Coleman. His inspiration to learn Reiki was born of seeing relatives experience chronic illnesses and desiring to help others ease the pain and stress of these conditions. Jeff is also a clinical psychologist and utilizes Buddhist/contemplative approaches in his practice. In addition to Reiki, he practices reflexology and Integrated Energy Therapy (IET). He is a second degree black belt in Okinawan kempo and was trained at the dojo of Grandmaster George Dillman of Reading, PA. Jeff lives in Exton with his wife and daughter and is a liturgical minister providing Reiki services at a local hospice. Jeff seeks goals to help his clients experience all the benefits of Reiki and and maximized personal wellness.