New Updated UREI 110 Classes Begin This Sunday

New Year, New Syllabi. Please note on the UPDATED syllabus (see below) that there is a homework reading assignment scheduled prior to class on 2/5/17.

(42 Hours) Twenty-one 2-hour weekly seminars
Cost of class is free, however students will need to purchase associated class materials unless a need be greater. Students are encouraged to make a donation to any local community organisation such as Black Lives Matter, Citizen Action NY, the Albany Social Justice Center, Albany Free School, Grafton Peace Pagoda; or Densho, a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving, educating, and sharing the story of World War II-era incarceration of Japanese Americans in order to deepen understandings of American history and inspire action for equity.

Meeting Times: Su 11:00AM- 2:30PM,
Meeting Location: Downtown SUNY Albany Campus, Husted Hall.
135 Western Ave. Albany, NY 12206
Meeting Room: HS110 (Rudolf Room)

Returning students may retake and/or audit the class for $19.


Introduction to Shoden: Usui Reiki First Teachings UREI 110

$ZERO (42 Hours) TWENTY-ONE 2.0 hrs. Seminars

This class is offered as an ecourse and locally with an interactive online component. Level 1 focuses on physical self-healing as you learn how to take healing into your own hands. This course expands approximately six months, which will give each student hands-on practice and facilitate a better understanding of Usui Reiki philosophy and cultural context. It is here where students are introduced to Smrti mindfulness, and bhavana meditation. Students will be required to complete 10 hours of unpaid reiki therapy and 5 hours of community service at a local place of worship, garden, park, hospital, homeless shelter, nursing home, or non-profit. In order to receive certification, students will keep a journal documenting a Usui 21-day detox for purification and energetic clarity; and 19-day challenge, and a Final Random Acts of Kindness Project over the period of this 21 week course.

Before going any further, view this:
UPDATED 7/2/17: UREI 110 shoden-usui-reiki-syllabus UPDATED



OSHO Day 1: What is Meditation?

“When mind knows, we call it knowledge.
When heart knows, we call it love.
And when being knows, we call it meditation. ” ~Osho
“Meditation is a state of no-mind. Meditation is a state of pure consciousness with no content. Meditation is the awareness that “I am not the mind.” When the awareness goes deeper and deeper in you, slowly, slowly, a few moments arrive – moments of silence, moments of pure space, moments of transparency, moments when nothing stirs in you and everything is still. In those still moments you will know who you are. This is meditation.”

Thought for the day: “Today I begin my journey beyond the mind.”

Osho once explained that His name is derived from William James’ word ‘oceanic’ which means dissolving into the ocean. And is this not what we do in meditation? Dissolve into the ocean?

Is this what it means to be “beyond the mind?”

By changing ourselves, by going “beyond the mind” into the ocean of our inner world we can utilize meditation, connect first to our bodies, and reach toward enlightenment and higher consciousness.

Osho tells us that meditation is a natural ability, it is our natural state as children, that we are all born with, but have since forgotten, but it can be regained. Because we have all known it before.

Because, we are not our mind.

Meditation is how we learn the science of creating a distance between us and our own thoughts.

Because, with a little digging we will find it again, the memory of what we have forgotten.

Meditation Technique

Do. Don’t go on thinking. Start doing it. Walk with awareness. Don’t be discouraged. Be alert. Take every step with knowing. Eat, chew with your food with awareness. Don’t do things mechanically. Do them with full alertness. Be conscious. Do. Reach for something pick it up. Then be aware of your hand, feel it, from the inside out. Let go of tension. With awareness reach for the object again. Pick it up. Feel its texture, see how your hand wants to respond to this object. To play with it or to hold it still. Be aware. Feel the change. Walk with alertness and grace. Feel the difference. Observe the difference between doing things mechanically vs. doing them with awareness. Do. Do with pleasure. Taste. Be alert. Chew more. Feel tastes more. Feel fulfilled. Meditate while doing regular things with awareness.

Desire & Destiny: Who am I? A 21- Day Meditation.

desire and destiny

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”  —Mark Twain

Who Am I?

Welcome to our 21-Day Experience, Desire and Destiny! We are delighted and honored that you are joining us, as together we expand our understanding of ourselves and we open to the magnificent lives we are meant to live—our destinies.

Our deepest, most heartfelt desires are like stars in a constellation
. . . brilliant, twinkling lights that show us the way and create pathways to our true destinies. It is our soul’s mission to connect with, cherish, and realize our desires in order to live our lives to the fullest and make our greatest contributions to the world. In fulfilling our heart-held dreams we flourish, serving ourselves and others from a place of bliss, generosity, and love. Our journey starts at the beginning, in the center, as we go within to listen to our deepest truth.

Our centering thought for today is:

“I am my deepest desire.”

Our Sanskrit mantra for today is:

“So hum.” I am


Today is a new beginning, the first step on a very special journey. Along the way there will be new sights to see and concepts to learn. As you travel through this day, take time to acknowledge yourself and celebrate your choice to live mindfully and wholeheartedly! With your mind and heart open, you are creating the space to manifest the life of your dreams.

We look forward to embarking on this rich and wonderful journey with you.


Well, we are here again. Day 1.

“I believe that we each have purpose and destiny and it unfolds when we are still enough to hear the whispers of our truest desires.”- Oprah

Over the next three weeks, we will shape our intentions, thoughts, and actions; and light a path towards our destinies.

Week 1 – We will shift our perceptions for creating space to feel our true essence.
Week 2 – We will open to the whispers of our deepest heart whispers to create a blissful life.
Week 3 – We will bring everything together and share our light with the abundance of the world.

So, let’s take a deep breath, and invite this new energy in.

What is desire and destiny?

“Desire isn’t a selfish distraction which when indulged pulls us away. Desires are seeds planted to do just the opposite. They lead us to our divine passion and purpose, to our dreams and divine wishes. They are signs. They help us connect to our destiny. Our destiny is shaped by the deepest level of intention and desire. When we plant the seeds of desire into the ground of potentiality, our destiny unfolds naturally like a bulb turning into a flower or an embryo turning into a child.” -Deepak

Where do we begin?

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare

We seek and discover the truth within. We ask ourselves, “who am I?” We ask it everyday. And we quietly listen for the answer.

Who am I? I listen deeply and receive every whisper. 

I am a healer.
I am a light, and I am a shadow.
I am a lover.
I am a day, and I am a night.
I am a writer.
I am sun, and I am moon.
I am a seeker.
I am grateful, and I am forgiving.
I am a teacher.
I am my deepest desire.

“You are what your deepest desire is. As is your desire, so is your intention. As is your intention, so is your will. As is your will, so is your deed. As is your deed, so as your destiny.” -The Upanishads

There is still time to sign-up for FREE. All it takes is 15-20 minutes a day. You owe it to yourself to create time to nurture your mind, body, and soul. So, today we envision ourselves as the divine beings that we are and focus on today’s centering thought. Will you join us? 

I am my deepest desire, who are you?

On Halloween, the past and future live

Children play behind a pumpkin carved and lit for Halloween, on October 30, 2013 in Monterey Park, California.

*Photo of children playing behind a pumpkin carved and lit for Halloween, on October 30, 2013 in Monterey Park, California.

So, last night was Halloween. How did you celebrate this ancient holiday? How will you continue to observe this ancient season of liminal transition? Of all the things that can be done and played and experienced during this time of year, the best thing to have is mindfulness. Mindfulness enough to honour the ancestors, and even ourselves, because afterall, as Starhawk writes in the article below, “Know that you are an ancestor of the future, and your choices, your actions, your human hands can turn the wheel of fate.”

So turn the wheel of fate in the right direction towards healing and love and understanding and responsibility this Samhain season.

This year, much has been brought to light on the level of health of not only our planet, but our own communities.

By acting with mindfulness, we will be able to turn the tides towards a new year filled with not only death, but with rejuvenation and rebirth.


“What is remembered, lives.”

It’s Halloween!  Shop windows are full of decorations—Witches and ghosts and pumpkins galore.  For those of us who are Witches — that is, who practice the ancient Goddess-centered traditions that hail from Europe and the Middle East — this time of year is both beloved and dreaded.  Suddenly Witches are everywhere!  But the Witches of the pointy hats and the spooks and cobwebs of your haunted house are themselves only faint ghosts of the real mystery of the season.

For us, Halloween is the time of year when we come together to honor our ancestors, to mourn our beloved dead and celebrate their lives.  In this autumn season, when the year itself appears to by dying.  As the leaves fall, and the harvest is gathered in, we celebrate the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain or Summer’s End.  The veil between the worlds is thin, we say, and those who have gone beyond can now return and visit us again, reminding us that death does not destroy our connection to those we love.

Death and loss come to us all, in life, and to get through them, we need community.  When we suffer a profound loss, the deepest comfort for our grief comes from the care and love we receive from friends and family and community.

In our Reclaiming Pagan tradition, we proudly call ourselves Witches, in alignment with those who were burned and persecuted for holding to the old ways, those who guarded the ancient healing practices and mystical knowledge, those uppity women of wisdom and courage.  We celebrate Halloween with intimate gatherings to honor our own beloved dead and with big, public ritual extravaganzas like the Spiral Dance we hold each year in the Bay Area, with elaborate altars, a full chorus, dancers, stiltwalkers, musicians, drummers, and a spiral danced by more than a thousand people.

And we enjoy those common customs that still retain echoes of the old mysteries.  For when the veil is thin, the Mysterious Ones come walking through.  Once we expected spirits to come visiting and lit their way with candles and gave offerings of the harvest.  Today they are likely to take the guise of children dressed as princesses and cowboys asking for a trick-or-treat.  But children are, after all, the ancestors returning, and we still light their way with jack-o-lanterns and give them offerings.

But this Halloween is different. As fires rage and radiation pours into the ocean, as climate change spins into an unstoppable cycle, the deep dread we carry is this:  Will we leave a living world to those who come after us?  Will we fail the ancestors, those who have gone before and those who return?

In the old traditions of Witchcraft, the year is a cycle.  Every ending, therefore, is a new beginning.  The time of death is also the year’s rebirth.

We can remember that lesson as we face the huge challenges and immense losses of these times.  We need to make deep and profound changes in the way we live, if we want future generations to inherit from us a viable planet.  Change can be frightening, but it can also be exhilarating.  Halloween tells us to connect, to forge bonds of love that death cannot sever, to support one another as we face those things that are hard to face alone.

Light a candle.  Remember a friend.  Cook a favorite dish of someone who has passed.  Tell a story about their life.  Pass the memories on.  Trust that the ancestors want to help us, they want us to succeed.  Accompany the little witches and cats and superheroes as they collect their candy offerings.  Don’t eat it all at once, but savor the sweetness as the days grow darker.  Know that you are an ancestor of the future, and your choices, your actions, your human hands can turn the wheel of fate.

Starhawk is the author of twelve books, including The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, and her latest, The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups.  She is one of the founders of Reclaiming, an extended tradition of Pagan spirituality, and directs Earth Activist Training, which teaches permaculture, ecological design with a grounding in spirit.  Her website is

Are you appropriating someone else’s resources or time?


I don’t feel as though I do, but sometimes our actions or location can have unforseen consequences.

We forget that the things we take for ourselves, means that there is now less for others, which is why it is always wise to only take your fair share. Otherwise, you can at least expect to have a guilty conscience or at worst see heavy jail time.

When we take things without others’ permission or take up and infringe on their valuable time we aren’t necessarily acting from a compassionate and selfless place.

However, with mindfulness, all this can be avoided.

Are you stealing others’ resources and time? How might you correct your actions?

Solar question posed by Caitlin Matthews, Celtic Devotional.

Do you over-consume the world’s resources?


Today, Caitlin Matthews prompts us to meditate on the question of our own consumption.

The world is filled with many luxuries, and if you are one of the privileged who doesn’t live in a “third-world” country, the perks seem almost endless.

I do my best to balance the scales: I vote green party, recycle, compost where I can and when no one else is looking. I eliminate as much as possible my use of plastics. I use my dollar to purchase fair trade and eco-friendly products. Local foods fill my belly. Purified local waters quench my thirst. But I do consume a lot more I feel than I give back. This almost seems like a symptom of being human, but there are many in this world who have a much less carbon-footprint than us Westerners. We take long showers, leave lights on, burn enormous amounts of fossil fuels, leave sinks and engines running. The list can go on.

But there are other things that we do do in order to make an amends, and I named a few above.

There is a binding factor for all of these things in relation to consumption, and that is mindfulness.

Mindfulness of our actions, and not just the direct results, but the effects of those results for not just the next generation or the next, but for all future generations to come. If we start small, we can work, individually and as a family to work towards a better future for each other. We need to learn a bit from our lessor advantaged cousins in underdeveloped countries.  We need to learn a bit from our ancestors, when they didn’t need all the glitz and glamour of modern accommodations that aren’t sustainable.

The following is from The Worldwatch Institute, which was founded in 1974 by Lester Brown as an independent research institute devoted to global environmental concerns.

I hope it will help you to analyse whether or not you over-consume the world’s resources, because they are not ours alone.


Solar question posed by Caitlin Matthews, Celtic Devotional.
Permaculture photo from The We Are All Farmers Institute

“By virtually any measure—household expenditures, number of consumers, extraction of raw materials—consumption of goods and services has risen steadily in industrial nations for decades, and it is growing rapidly in many developing countries.”

By one calculation, there are now more than 1.7 billion members of “the consumer class”—nearly half of them in the developing world. A lifestyle and culture that became common in Europe, North America, Japan, and a few other pockets of the world in the twentieth century is going global in the twenty-first.

Worldwide, private consumption expenditures—the amount spent on goods and services at the household level—topped $20 trillion in 2000, a four-fold increase over 1960 (in 1995 dollars).

As incomes rise, people are gaining access to a multitude of consumer items associated with greater prosperity:

  • In 2002, 1.12 billion households—about three quarters of humanity—owned at least one television set.
  • There were 1.1 billion fixed phone lines in 2002, and another 1.1 billion mobile lines.
  • The Internet now connects about 600 million users.

“The economies of mass consumption that produced a world of abundance for many in the twentieth century face a different challenge in the twenty-first: to focus not on the indefinite accumulation of goods but instead on a better quality of life for all, with minimal environmental harm.”

Consumer advocates, economists, policymakers, and environmentalists have developed creative options for meeting people’s needs while dampening the environmental and social costs associated with mass consumption. In addition to helping individuals find the balance between too much and too little consumption, they stress placing more emphasis on publicly provided goods and services, on services in place of goods, on goods with high levels of recycled content, and on genuine choice for consumers.

Governments can reshape economic incentives and regulations to ensure that businesses offer affordable options that meet consumers’ needs. They also have a role in curbing consumption excess, primarily by removing incentives to consume—from subsidized energy to promotion of low-density development.

A New Role for Consumption

  • Several European governments are implementing or considering reforms to working hours and family leave benefits.
  • Industrial countries can help developing nations lower the impact of increased consumption by assisting with the adoption of cleaner, more efficient technologies.
  • Governments could rein in high consumption by removing economic subsidies for everything from gas-guzzling vehicles to suburban homebuilding—which total around $1 trillion globally each year.