A day doesn't pass where I am not asked: What is Reiki? And the day also arrived where a dance colleague of mine admitted,, face to face, that she does not agree with the practice of Reiki. I think that Reiki as a practice is largely contestable for many reasons, including that it is spiritual in nature and yet not connected to a specific faith or group of people. Christians have re-appropriated the practice of yoga to fit the paradigm of their faith to co-opt the benefits of the Practice. Reiki has managed to stand apart from this commodification process, laying underground. The community does not associate with a specific creed. It is essentially love. In a pure way without expectation, no frills, just practice.
I take this person's opinion to heart because she is a massage therapist by trade, and works in the field of alleviating suffering in the world through touch. Reiki, although it can be practiced fully with hands off the body, most often the practice is a full on body contact treatment. I look forward to speaking with this colleague about her concerns involving this long tradition of treating illness and malaise with Reiki.
Touch can be precarious in the world we live in. Amid abuse scandals, and distrust that has developed in holistic circles between student and teacher, there is a prayer or mantra (above) that is specific to this very dynamic. It asks that there be no quarrel, no animosity between us as we work, it prays for peace. May we be protected, nourished and work together with great energy. Three Shantis are for three parts, for oneself, for nature, for divine forces. For a long time I lived in fear of this unearthing, same as with the #metoo movement gaining traction. That if it is true for some to have abused their power then I have to be very careful in my work. I have dismantled the layers of fear in me in working closely with people for their health and betterment. I made very clear my intentions and values for myself as a teacher and healer; and in that way the ethos of my work is indestructible.
I don't advertise the service of Reiki a part from my website and occasional newsletter. When I teach Yoga and work hands-on with people they remark about how my touch feels markedly different. As I was in the hospital this week visiting a friend, he kept asking for my magic hands. To participate in a practice where it is imbued with quiet sacred qualities or feelings of "coming home," of finding meditative spaces within and total relaxation, it is a privilege to work with people. We are brought to the attention of the preciousness of life through the practice.
I think it can be hard to believe in oneself as a "healer or shaman" this day in age, when there is scrutiny on every side, looking for proof or a way to insinuate some lack of virtue. A friend recently reminded me how powerful a healer I am, something that I do not speak about out loud even to myself! Hearing it from an outside source, especially a source that I respect and admire was reassuring. I encourage you to find people who you can exchange this kind of encouragement with as you continue on this journey of healing and exploration. I recently returned from a Zegg Forum Facilitation Training weekend. The purpose of this community gathering is to create a space for people to openly express and navigate the internal mechanisms that sometimes get stuck in the wheels or cogs of consciousness (by way of fear or complex, etc). We learned over the weekend how to emote and share in ways that are not variably possible in our day to day interactions. Feeling open to receive feedback is a gift. I look forward to finding ways to dialogue about the infinitely personal and idiosyncratic relationship between facilitators of healing and those on the receiving end.
As I always remind people and even as I told my father recently, the Reiki practitioner acts as an "activation code" to speak in more technically-minded terms, allowing the receiver in their own body to do the work of bringing balance with only the facilitation of practitioner's hands or presence as valves to turn on Light Energy. The receiver is not taking in the energetic value of the practitioner, but is interacting with a much larger universal force.
I've been doing a lot of spring cleaning in my life as of late. Clearing out old things that have been sitting in rooms, in boxes and in places in my heart. Reiki has provided me the solace to know that I am my own medicine, and that I am undefended love*. I have been living in a space of unknowns for sometime, of great instability at others. The practice of teaching yoga and treating people with Reiki has provided me a groundedness amid the chaos that I am ever grateful for. If you are curious about Reiki, I invite you to find local resources, it doesn't take very much to scratch underneath the service to find people who serve with Reiki. Amber and I co-host a monthly Reiki Share in Lancaster which is open to newbies and longtime practitioners both on the second Tuesday evening of the month.
*This is a book that was introduced to me by Zegg Forum facilitators of New Culture, Debby Sugarman and Indigo Dawn.