A photo of Dr. Arun Swarup

Dr. Arun Swarup

Mumbai, India

Reiki Healing Rage

I was a very, very, very aggressive person. Very short-tempered. So much so that if a bus would drive rough against my car even without touching it, I would jam the car, go into the driver's cabin, and trash him out. Not because of my fault, it was because at that point in time I used to be insane. My behavior used to be absolutely irrational. Worse than an animal. Today, because of Reiki, you can irritate me as much as you want. It's difficult. I'm not saying it's impossible. Even today I have times when I do get annoyed, but it's really calmed me down. Mellowed me out to a very big extent. 

The word ‘God’ is man-made. So to me it has no meaning. But obviously there is something which is holding the planets together, making the Earth take its orbit, making the Sun give out energy. So I believe entirely in energy. You see, about 15 years back, a patient of mine told me that there was a system that believed in energy, in harnessing energy and using it to do purposeful work. She's the one who introduced me to the system called Reiki. That's where you harness energy and use it for its full purposes. I have trained as a Reiki I, II and III. In Reiki I, they open up your chakras. In Reiki II, they give you a few symbols. And in Reiki III, you get the symbol for healing. There is a Reiki 3b course level that as a student you can [learn to] attune other people and open their chakras.

Daniel’s Reflection

I met Dr. Arun Swarup in his dental office in Mumbai. His energy was big and positive. He also had some pretty damning things to say about religion, which I understood. His greatest wish was to see the world and humanity united without reference to race, land boundaries, and religions.  

Dr. Swarup believes deeply in humans’ ability to harness life force energy (chi) and its ability to promote health and well-being. This practice is known as Reiki. It is a Japanese healing technique developed by Mikao Usui in the early 20th century. Reiki is not a religion, nor is it medicine; however, it is often used alongside both of those practices. A practitioner has been trained by a Reiki master who can trace their lineage to Mikao Usui. It takes three sets of workshops to be trained in the method. A practitioner places their hands just above or on the fully clothed body of the client to promote the flow of chi through the practitioner to the client. Most people understand this energy to be love from God or the Higher Power. The Reiki healer or practitioner is a conduit for this Universal love and life energy. The client only receives what they need. After a Reiki session, most people report feeling energy sensations, deep relaxation, release, and comfort.

What fascinated me so much about Arun was his deep knowing that Reiki helped him with healing his dental patients. He even told me about his experience of giving Reiki to his wife’s x-rays prior to extracting her wisdom tooth. He swears that when he forgets to give Reiki to a patient, the outcome is not as positive or as easy of a procedure for him.  

Prior to becoming a Reiki master, Dr. Swarup described himself as very aggressive and short-tempered, easily going off on anyone who annoyed him. Now he’s described himself as calm. I found him to be very loving and fun. 

I have also experienced becoming more grounded and less reactive when I’ve experienced  Reiki. I asked Alison Boynton Ledbetter, Reiki master, and meditation teacher, about the connection between healing anger and Reiki. She said:

"The process of internalizing an unexpressed emotion like anger actually creates stuck emotional pain in our bodies. We can fill up with rage or sadness and become emotionally disconnected from love as a result. Reiki is spiritually guided life force energy that helps a person to emotionally process and release any stuck emotional pain stored in the body. This includes anger. The release of emotions can lead a person to self-awareness, peace, liberation, forgiveness, self-love, and even compassion. When Reiki releases the anger, we find a deep alignment with love."

Many people say the most powerful part of Reiki are the precepts that Mikao Usui gave his students for proper living. It is now understood that these are a simplified form of the Buddhist Eightfold Path used in the Tendai sect of Shugendo. I understand these precepts to prevent the kind of energy blocks that Reiki works to release and heal. Usui’s precepts for living are:

"Just for Today…
Do not anger
Do not worry
Be humble
Be honest in your work
Be compassionate to yourself and others "

It brought me so much joy to meet a dentist and Reiki healer in the middle of Mumbai! And I also loved that Dr. Swarup was open and humorous about a number of contradictions in his life.  For example, he told me that he unconsciously makes the sign of the cross when he passes by a church or folds his hands when passing by a Hindu temple, even though he believes in neither. Also, he has a small altar in his office with several Hindu deities, which he describes as a spiritual way of connecting him and his patients, despite his disbelief. I find no difficulty in understanding his deep connection to energy healing and the great loving energy of the Universe despite this rejection of religion. This is part of the new understanding of faith and spiritual journeys that I celebrate with this Portraits in Faith project.

Thank you, Dr. Arun Swarup, for your compassionate and fierce, loving, and healing stance in the world…with one dental patient at a time and with everyone who crosses your path.

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