Holly: Today we have with us Panda Hirabayashi, a Reiki Master, meditation teacher and soon to be yoga teacher here to discuss his work and ways of spreading love, joy and positivity.
Panda: Hello, Holly! It’s an honor to be here!
H: Welcome Panda. I thought The Reiki Panda was a very clever and cute business name and then, I realized your first name actually is Panda. Out of curiously, do you have any back story with your name or symbolism you would relate to the Panda and yourself and if so, how do those traits tie into your business model?
P: That’s actually kind of a funny story. My birth name isn’t Panda, it’s Jean-Luc. A couple of years ago, some friends and I were doing basic millennial things, scrolling through Instagram and looking at memes when we came across one with a panda. It read: “Don’t hate, be like a panda: black, white, and asian.” My racial background happens to be Japanese, black, hispanic, and French/euro-white (for whatever that’s worth..I’ve been in the United States my entire life, so I think claiming races is kind of arbitrary), so of course, one of my friends made the connection: “Hey, you’re a panda! Holy sh*t!” The name started out as a joke, and then I kind of adopted it and it stuck. I feel like it’s a perfect symbol for our times, though. To me, it showcases unity and (in a weird way) my heritage in a time where there is a lot of racial discord, and I think that’s important. I love my birth name (yes, my parents were Star Trek nerds and that’s how I got my name), but Panda seems to fit pretty well. As far as tying into my business model, I’m at a very interesting place. I’ve chosen to build a brand around myself and my message in an industry that is about taking care of other people. I know that my services can help increase the quality of someone’s life, but I also realize I have to get in front of their eyeballs first. Promoting yourself in an arena that is about healing/helping others is a very precarious balancing act, and I intend to walk that line by offering negotiable prices, trade exchanges (in the event someone doesn’t have the financial ability to use my services), and just always pledge to put people first. To me, healing or improving your life should never be about the amount of money you have. If you want to seriously take the steps to get in a good mindset and get your life on track, I’ll figure something out for you. I’m sure it’s weird coming from a business owner, but in my experience, putting profits over people never works out and it never feels good. I would much rather get a wonderful thank you note from someone who I truly helped instead of getting an $1000 check from them. One of those things will touch someone forever, the other is just gonna help me pay my rent. There’s a bigger picture here.
H: Until I met you, I didn’t know that a Reiki Master could be trained in psychological techniques; can you explain what this means and how it benefits your clients?
P: Admittedly, the “psychological techniques” have nothing to do with Reiki or meditation, although I’ve learned far more about psychology and people because of those modalities. I come from somewhat of an interesting background: I joined the Army National Guard at 19 (while I was still enrolled in college), I have 4 years of restaurant/bar management experience, and I’ve worked in the service industry in some capacity for 7 years overall. I’ve dealt with almost every type of person you can imagine in my time in the military, managing, and bartending. (For reference’s sake, I turn 26 in April). While the military did provide some body language and tactics skills classes, I actually say that I was trained in psychology because of my management experience. Believe it or not, when you have to deal with making a schedule for 50+ people, dealing with over-sharing drunks, shady co-workers, horrible bosses, and/or some really cool peeps, you learn how people tick. At this point, I can tell just by how someone is standing or looking whether or not they’re actually paying attention and absorbing the information I’m putting out. Based on that, I structure my approach to that person. In my mind, life is kind of a grand social experiment, and you’re constantly learning the patterns as you go along.
There are so many different and beautiful kinds of people in the world, how could you not just want to learn more about everyone? To me, that’s really where the love and benefit is. I love seeing people succeed, it just makes me feel really good. You could call it almost selfish. So, to that end, to know how a person achieves success, you must understand what motivates them. With this understanding, you can engage them at their level. Talking down to someone never works, but if you meet them where they are, someone is much more likely to learn. Each person responds to outside stimuli differently, so you really have to take a unique approach to everyone you deal with. If you can’t get someone motivated or excited to learn a new skill, chances are, they aren’t going to learn it very well. You have to show people how something will benefit them before they commit, and there are a lot of psychological factors that play into that. I thank my blessings for my experiences in the military and the service industry. Without that exposure to a multitude of cultures, I definitely wouldn’t think like I do today.
H: Besides this technique I’d like it if you could give us some background about how you got into Reiki, how it has improved your own life and what your clients get out of a session?
P: Well, to give you a little background on my experience, I’m actually a relatively new Reiki Master; I was attuned to Reiki III/Master/Instructor in November 2017. I actually had a back injury and I was searching for holistic ways to attack the problem when I came across Reiki. Being Japanese myself and finding out it had Japanese roots immediately drew me to it. I found Caring Palms Massage and Reiki in Jacksonville Beach, FL , went for a couple of sessions, and saw immediate improvement in my back. I was sold. I signed up for Reiki I and received my first attunement in August 2017. If August-November sounds like an incredibly fast time to move up to level III, it’s because it is. My teacher, Brian Dean, explained to me that I was on an accelerated path. As almost anyone who is a light worker can tell you, there has been a massive shift in energy happening, and it’s my personal theory that the huge number of potent new light workers can be attributed to that. I did feel a little trepidation at first, you know, that maybe I had rushed it. Once again, Brian was there to reassure me: “If I didn’t want you to be here and the energy didn’t want you to be here, you wouldn’t be here.” With that in mind, I’ve been practicing Reiki daily on myself, family, friends, and anyone who is interested since. Reiki has been absolutely transformative to my life. Knowing that everyone and anyone has the ability to channel this healing power makes me that much more stoked to spread the word. ANYONE can do Reiki, and if someone tells you differently, they’re probably just after your money.
I also realize that not everyone wants to learn this skill and that is totally okay. I’m more than happy to offer sessions for those who just want some of that good healing energy! (: After my sessions, my clients usually report feeling very relaxed, less stressed, blissful, and peaceful. Some report temperature changes in my hands (such as getting very hot) while I’m working on them, while others have said they felt “almost like a static electricity”. The experience differs for every person.
H: I know you offer both hands-on Reiki and distant Reiki Healing sessions, can you tell us the difference between the two, your process in-person vs. over distance and, if there is ever a time that one is ideal over the other?
P: Really, it comes down to convenience and belief. You mentioned psychology earlier; belief is a HUGE part of everything I do. If you don’t have confidence in me and what I’m doing, the healing WILL NOT be as effective. That may seem convenient, but if you think about it: that’s a rule of thumb for everything. How many times have you believed something bad was going to happen (possibly even for no reason), and it did? As humans, we are EXTREMELY powerful and that includes our thoughts. The power of negative belief is so overwhelming strong, it can interrupt how someone experiences healing. That being said, if someone believes a hands-on method will work better than the distance method, for that particular person, that will absolutely ring true because it is what they believe. Reiki energy is accepted or rejected on a soul level, so your mindset going into a healing session is extremely important. Personally, I like to start out with hands-on sessions, because to me, the proof is in the pudding. If I put my hands on you or show you how I channel energy, you’re gonna feel it, whether you believe in it or not. I’ve turned non-believers around just by having them sit down and putting my hands on their shoulders. Having that foundation of knowing it works lets someone be more accepting of distance healing. However, the nature of Reiki is that is works no matter the time, distance, or place; so I believe that it’s going to be extremely beneficial to you no matter what kind of session you choose. Also, it’s impossible for me to be everywhere at once, and I’m not currently in a position to travel for hands-on sessions, as much as I’d like to. I still want to help people, so I offer distance Reiki for the people I can’t get to in person. However, if someone wanted to offer a travel-for-Reiki swap, I’d totally be into that. 😛
As far as my methodology between the two, local Reiki is FAR more intimate and personal, so I take the time to make sure the other person is completely comfortable. With local sessions, I’m going to have my hands on you, so everything is going to be clean, comfortable, and professional. Because I’m working out of a mobile office at the moment, I’ve been performing sessions at people’s homes. In the very near future, I will have office space, but since I’m still starting out, I’m just rolling with it for now! Distance Reiki can performed anywhere at any time and doesn’t require the other person to be present. All I need is a picture, a name, and some quiet space and I can channel the healing energy over space and time.
H: You also offer Reiki sessions ranging from 10 min. to over an hour; for someone considering Reiki, how would you advise they know how much time is needed to meet their needs?
P: It’s entirely what you’re comfortable with. The 10 minute session is a nice little teaser and will get you acclimated with what it feels like if you’re new to it. As far as needs, it’s hard to say what someone will need until they’ve done at least a session or two. Reiki reacts differently with everyone, so some people can be completely taken care of in one session, while someone else may need 7 or 8 sessions. It’s all dependent on how the client feels.
H: Besides providing Reiki services, you are also an instructor, can you tell us a little about the classes, who might want to pursue this and how they might get involved?
P: Absolutely! So, Reiki is generally taught in at least 3 levels (usually written as I, II, and III), but it is important to note that there are several different schools of thought when it comes to Reiki. Much like any skill, everyone teaches it differently; there are variations like Holy Fire, Earth, Dolphin, and much more. I teach the base level classes of I (intro: healing self and others), II (distance, group, and group distance healing), and III (master/instructor). From there, I encourage people to explore different modalities of energy healing, whether it be the different Reiki variations, kundalini, white light, healing touch, etc. The biggest things I’ve taken away from Reiki and energy healing thus far is that
- ANYONE can do it, it just takes the desire to learn and
- Energy healing is only limited by your imagination.
Everything I teach is up to interpretation. If something I do doesn’t work for you and you try something different and get the same result, GREAT! Do it! Energy is ethereal. To think it can be contained in one methodology or a rigid set of rules is very limiting. As far as getting involved in this, you can email me at email@example.com! I’ve been taking students on a case by case basis, and until my volume increases, I’ll keep doing it this way. All I want to hear is why you’re interested in Reiki, what you think it can help you with, what timeframe you have to start, and some other details. Essentially, I’d be setting up a consultation with whoever is interested to see if the fit works for both of us. Pricing on these classes is negotiable. I don’t like to put financial restraints on learning.
H: I know as a writer, blogger and native English speaker, you are very passionate about words and language; you are also very passionate about Meditation and as such, offer to write personally created mediations for people. Can you tell us a little bit about why someone might want to have this done for them vs finding a guided meditation online and what your end product looks like?
P: I think everyone loves a personalized touch. If it’s made for you, you almost feel like it works better (going right back to that psychology 😉 ). Whenever I found guided meditations online, I always thought they were super helpful, but it would’ve been cool if I had a specific kind of meditation at my fingertips instead of searching for it. With this service, I cut out the middle man AND you get something personalized for you. As far as final product, I’ll try to offer as many different options as possible, but it’ll likely be in mp3 or audio/music format, yes. Alternatively, I may create a video with a passive screen and audio background.
H: I absolutely loved your quote “Meditation and light work isn’t just for gurus and monks anymore, it’s for anyone and everyone.” On that note, you also offer mindfulness training but, I’m not really sure what this is so, if you would please tell us a little about the concept, how people use it and to what end?
P: I’ll have to admit to a little meditation faux pas here: in this instance, I’m using mindfulness as a replacement for meditation. The term “mindfulness” itself is a subcategory of mediation, but it is so popular, some use it interchangeably, although it is technically incorrect to do so. Mindfulness refers to full awareness and being present in the moment, and this is done by focusing on the body, breath, or environment. There are other modalities of meditation that involve various mantras and mudras out there, but I focus on 3-4 for my training (mindfulness being one of the main ones). If a student is interested in expanding beyond the modalities that I teach, I wholeheartedly encourage that, and I’m planning on adding more material as I mature as an instructor.
H: It sounds to me like you’re someone that wants to keep exploring your personal development and spiritual growth with the intention of passing along that knowledge and benefits; that being said, do you have any upcoming plans or offerings?
P: You’re 10000% correct. I love what I do and the fact that I can help change people’s lives is an absolute honor and a privilege. I may just be starting out, but I know big things are on the horizon! In April, I’ll actually be headed down to the Sacred Valley in Peru to take my RYT 200 yoga teacher training with my partner, Alanna (my first Reiki I student). Past that, I’m going to continue to try to grow my business consciously, spread truth, love, and light, and just see where life takes me. This has been a wonderful journey thus far, and I’m stoked to keep it going!
H: Before we go, did you have any closing thoughts and how can people get in touch with you?
P: Really, I just want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this. I want to try and touch as many people as I can and I’m very grateful you’ve been so accommodating to me. You’re awesome! I’m gonna continue to speak my truth and light up the world, and you’ve helped me accomplish that today, so thank you! As far as getting in contact with me, I’ve got various avenues of communication, so feel free to hit me up on any or all of them!