Mila Brener is one of our favorite people! If you know Mila, you know she has a passion for teaching Reiki energy healing. She has been instrumental in bringing Reiki to Quiché, where Global Healthworks Foundation practitioners use acupuncture treatments and Reiki simultaneously during our biannual jornadas (medical missions) and weekly mobile clinics. GHF has trained more than fifty health promoters to use Reiki as a healing method to develop nonviolent domestic environments in their communities. Read all about Mila’s story with Global Healthworks Foundation below.
Teachers Teaching Teachers: The Journey to Reiki Master
Six women sit in a circle in a small room overlooking Quiché’s endless landscape of mountains and pine trees. The mood begins to calm as a faint scent of sage wafts in between their chairs. Through the low chatter of five quichelenses, a soft, heavily accented voice instructs: “Make yourself comfortable. We will now continue our journey to becoming Reiki Masters.”
The five Quiché natives—four health promoters and one interpreter—have not seen their teacher, Mila Brener, for six months. They began their journey more than two years ago and are set to complete the final step to mastery over a three-day period during Global Healthworks Foundation’s October 2014 jornada (medical mission). The goals of their work, Mila explains: “to bring Reiki into their communities and teach others about it in order to: develop nonviolent domestic environments for women and children; heal war-related emotional trauma; promote self-care through healing, meditative techniques; and develop community bonding by organizing Reiki circles and local events.”
During the Foundation’s jornadas and weekly mobile clinics, health practitioners and volunteers use acupuncture treatments and Reiki simultaneously. Using the two together, Mila explains, allows for “a very powerful healing and spiritual practice” for both patient and practitioner. The idea to combine the treatments arose during a free clinic in New York opened by Foundation volunteer and acupuncturist, Peter Panken. While treating clinic patients with both acupuncture and Reiki, volunteers noticed an improved response to treatment, Mila explains, due to Reiki’s ability to induce a deeply relaxed state.
In addition to it being effective, she continues, Reiki is “not too difficult to learn.” Since the first jornada in 2012, the number of Reiki Level I practitioners in Quiché has grown from ten to fifty, with nearly half of the promoters continuing on to receive Reiki Level II training. The five women in the Master class are the first group to receive the highest level of training from Global Healthworks Foundation. Topics covered in their class include: how to use new Reiki symbols; attune others—or open and connect them to Reiki’s healing energies—and conduct their own classes and Reiki circles. Once training is complete, the women will be able to teach others, increasing the scope of both Reiki practitioners and recipients throughout Quiché. “That is why we are here,” Mila says. “We are teachers teaching teachers.”
Originally from Ukraine, Mila has lived in New York since 1992 and volunteered on four jornadas over the past two years. She works full time in information technology and carries her laptop with her to Guatemala, praying for adequate Internet. “I still have to work when I come. But,” she says, “this [teaching Reiki] is my passion. This is why I come.” Ever the student-centered teacher, Mila provides opportunities for individualized practice and understanding. In pairs—and between giggles—the women practice attuning each other; remembering the new symbols, however, proves to be somewhat of a challenge. “It’s okay to make mistakes now, but you need to remember the symbols to attune your students,” Mila says, smiling.
It is obvious that the Reiki class is as much a source of joy for Mila as it is for her students.
From watching her interactions with the women, it is obvious that the Reiki class is as much a source of joy for Mila as it is for her students. “I see the transformation in them,” she says. “They are very bright ladies.” Bright, indeed—and also excited to continue to grow as Reiki Masters and share their knowledge with others. “Es un privilegio (It’s a privilege),” Doña Sebastiana, a health promoter from Chichicastenango, states. “Me siento muy agradecida. (I feel very appreciative.)” “Estamos emocionadas (We are excited),” Doña Rosa adds. “Ahora tenemos mucha experiencia que podemos usar para mejorar nuestras comunidades. (Now we have a lot of experience that we can use to better our communities).”