My Relationship with Reiki
So here I am back in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the place I cannot seem to get away from. I am back to spark my relationship with Reiki.
Some of you will know Reiki, others will be wondering who or what Reiki is. I tend to find myself engaged in professions and ‘things’ that are sometimes not so easily explained, so in this case I am going to provide definitions as defined by Oxford Dictionary, reiki.org and International Association of Reiki Professionals. This should give you a sense.
[Reiki is] A healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words – Rei which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and Ki which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually “spiritually guided life force energy.” Source: http://www.reiki.org/faq/WhatIsReiki.html
Reiki is a spiritual healing art with its roots in Japanese origin. The word Reiki comes from the Japanese word (Rei) which means “Universal Life” and (Ki) which means “Energy”. Reiki is not affiliated with any particular religion or religious practice. It is not massage nor is it based on belief or suggestion. It is a subtle and effective form of energy work using spiritually guided life force energy.
Reiki is the life energy that flows through all living things. Reiki Practitioners understand that everyone has the ability to connect with their own healing energy and use it to strengthen energy in themselves and help others. It is believed that a person’s “ki” or energy should be strong and free flowing. When this is true a person’s body and mind is in a positive state of health. When the energy becomes weak or blocked it could lead to symptoms of physical or emotional imbalance.
A Reiki session can help ease tension and stress and can help support the body to facilitate an environment for healing on all levels – physical, mental, and emotional. A session is pleasant and relaxing and is often utilized for one’s personal wellness. Source: https://iarp.org/what-is-reiki/
So why am I doing this here and now?
First of all, it feels like a very natural thing for me to do. My current journey isn’t about the ‘travel’ for the sake of seeing new places and things, that’s a ‘bonus’. It’s more about the bigger picture of continuing to develop myself, not only for my own improvements but also to be in a position to continue to help others improve their lives.
I chose to come back specifically to Asian Healing Arts Center [AHAC] for my training because, they are the first that I’ve seen that incorporated extensive hands-on experience. They also limited the number of participants to a maximum of six, keeping the training more personalized.
As you probably figured out by previous posts, I find the whole concept of ‘energy’ fascinating.
Over the past two – three years now, I have been more ‘aware’ of my energy, especially after certain types of meditations and when practicing yoga.
I’ve also been a recipient of Reiki for some time now, but only recently realized it, as my practitioner never explicitly called out what they were doing as Reiki. It was only a part of the services my practitioner provided.
So here I am, no time like the present. I’ll share some highlights of my experience, not go into the details of the training.
Some of the questions that were running through my mind before I began were:
Am I really capable? When I look at my practitioner, I thought the skills she had were ‘special’, unique and inherently born with.
How will I know? How will I know if the energy is there? How will I know if / when it will make a difference to the client?
We start with a nice small group of three [Tom, Cassis, myself], guided by Amporn, Mary and Cory on various days. There are different levels of Reiki training which primarily include Reiki Level 1, Level 2, Master and Teacher. The three of us signed up for Level 1 & 2 training.
Throughout the training, we learn about Reiki history, are shown techniques, provided with best practices, and more. The most interesting concept for me however, is that ANYONE can work with Reiki, should you choose, for your own personal self-healing or to help others.
As it’s mentioned above, Reiki is the life energy that flows through all living things. We all have access to it but we may not be consciously aware of it. With Reiki, it is ‘transferred’ from a Master [somebody trained] to the practitioner via what is called an attunement. An ‘attunement’ helps you access this energy and bring it into your awareness.
The main purpose of the Reiki attunement is to activate the innate healing ability of the individual [Source: Reiki Rays, Attunement Demystified].
As I am literally preparing to study for my NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) certification as I write this update, I find it appropriate that I’ve just come by an NLP metaphor for attunements, which I’ve included here.
One of the principles of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is that in order for us to be able to function, our subconscious minds are obliged to take the millions of bits of information that come in through our senses every second, and ditch most of them by using ‘filters’ that distort, delete and generalise what is coming through to us.
Without this we’d never move; we don’t have the processing power to deal with all the inputs that come to us.
One of the ways that we filter thing is based on what we have been focusing our attention on. Many people will have noticed that if they are thinking of buying a particular brand of car, they suddenly start to notice that car everywhere they go. Examples of that car have always been around with that sort of frequency but they were previously unimportant to us and so ‘deleted’ from our conscious awareness.
A new ‘filter’ has been set up that says, “notice this type of car” and our unconscious mind brings into our awareness something that has always been there but which is now within our awareness.
Attunements do this too, setting up a new ‘filter’ that brings to our attention something that has always been there, an integral part of you, but hidden behind a veil.
So rather like someone who shouts to you, “Hey”, clicks their fingers a few times, saying, “look at this, here, look, notice this, feel this”, attunements help to bring into our awareness something that has always been there.
And once you are able to notice those high-pitched sounds, for example, you can always ‘tune into’ them. As with Reiki, once you’ve been given the knack of focusing on and becoming aware of what is there, you can always do it.
There may be better analogies but I hope this helps you get a sense of an attunement. I’ve also included an excerpt at the end of this blog from reikirays.com ‘Attunements Demystified‘.
As a result of an attunement, one may shift and release energies no longer needed. I’ve talked about releasing energy a little bit in past updates, [eg. John of God, Silent Meditation, Silent Meditations] so this is along the same lines, but the cleansing process could take up to 21 days. I’ll keep you posted on anything significant that comes up.
One of the most exciting aspects of training at AHAC is the amount of hands-on practice. Of course we practiced as a team amongst ourselves, we practiced self-reiki on ourselves, but we also had the opportunity to practice at rehabilitation centers, cancer centers, dog shelters and more.
Three of my highlights are:
Our first experience was at a woman’s psychiatric ward. Halfway through treating patients I find myself in complete tears. Oh no, here we go again! There was no logical explanation for this, it was just a feeling of energy. It’s also possible that while treating patients, I was also being treated and healed with Reiki myself. I was releasing and clearing energies [hmm, a part of my clearing process?].
Spending time at the dog shelter was fascinating. The dogs come to you for healing. It was apparent they just seemed to know what was going on. In my case, they seemed to que up in a line. When one dog was finished with their healing, they would move on and the next one would make their way over. It was an amazing experience to be a part of but also astonishing to watch them.
The third highlight was at the cancer center. This was especially rewarding as all of the patients seemed to relax and fall asleep during their treatments. For some, sleep has been incredibly difficult given their state. They were also the most verbal in giving feedback about what they experienced during the treatment; their expressions and emotions said it all. This really helped to cement that Reiki was working for them, but mostly it was great to see them finding a little comfort in their very painful circumstances.
Earlier, I said it felt natural to learn Reiki. After completing our training, I thought to myself, why hadn’t I done this sooner? It IS absolutely one of the most natural things I’ve done in my life.
Just two weeks after the training I felt like Reiki had been with me all my life. Although I feel this way, I do know this is just the beginning of my relationship with Reiki. Yes, my relationship. I am very much looking forward to working with Reiki as a tool for my continuous growth and in helping others with theirs.
Have you had any experience with Reiki, you’d like to share?
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Now I can leave Thailand, right? Stay tuned to find out.
More Info & References
From reikirays.com, Attunements Demystified:
What are Attunements All About? By Angie Webster One of the most strange and mysterious things about Reiki to those first investigating it is the attunement process. Even the word “attunement” leaves a bit of mystery. It sounds like a vague and unknown thing that is impossible to wrap the mind around because there is nothing in the experience to compare it to. This can even make it seem a little scary to some. So let’s explore the attunement and bring some understanding to what it is, what it does, how it feels and what happens afterward.
An attunement is a part of the Reiki training process. It is something that only a Reiki Master is trained to do. The process can be seen as accomplishing two things. One is to do a very intense healing on the recipient, which goes very deeply into the energy channels, opening and clearing them. This makes way for rapid healing to begin for the newly attuned Reiki practitioner. Opening and clearing these energy channels not only allows for a greater healing, it allows for the Reiki energy to flow more freely through them, so that the recipient of the attunement will now freely receive Reiki at all times, particularly when intending to receive it, and will also allow Reiki to transmit through them, flowing more easily through these energy channels.
We all have Universal Energy flowing through us and around us. It is everywhere, in fact. The Reiki attunement allows us to open up to this energy and become more aware of it than we normally are. It literally attunes us to it.
When we come into the world as infants, we are much more in tune with this energy and as we become habitualized to this world, we lose the awareness of it. A Reiki attunement helps us to open our awareness to it.
Most people who have a Reiki attunement, even at the first level, can feel the energy flowing through their body, their hands, and sometimes their feet right away, sometimes even as the attunement is being done. This doesn’t happen to everyone and a few only report minor sensations or none at all. They may not feel the energy flowing through them, but when they practice Reiki on another, they will be told that the energy is felt and shifts will be seen. In doing Reiki self-treatment after an attunement, even the newly attuned will feel peace, even if they don’t feel a lot of heat or other sensations coming from their hands. The perception of the sensations are somewhat different for everyone and will vary from session to session, which is normal.
During the attunement, …
People experience various different things during an attunement and your experience will be your own. Whatever you experience is exactly what is appropriate for you at the time. Don’t get concerned about comparing with others or with what you read on the internet. Many people feel sensations of heat or tingling or of vibration rising up their spine or flowing down from the crown to the base of the spine or the feet. Some feel their hands grow hot. Many see colors or have visions. A few hear sounds such as music or bells or angelic voices. There are many possibilities. It is a rather profound and moving experience for many.
In the days after an attunement, many people have a healing response, often referred to as a healing crisis. This can last for up to two or three weeks, fluctuating in the symptoms and severity, and many teachers will teach that you should expect it to last 21 days. In truth, it varies from person to person and from one attunement to the next.
Some people have no healing response at all, for some it is very mild, others are very sick for the first day or two with flu-like symptoms and then feel a lot better, with only mild emotional fluctuations for a week or two after that. For some, the healing response is almost entirely emotional, with emotions arising and releasing, maybe with crying spells or anger coming out and releasing. It may be gentle or not. It is best to simply observe and let the energies pass, journaling and processing as needed.
Nearly everyone will notice that their life changes in some way after an attunement, even if it is only that their responses to things shift. Keeping a journal in the weeks after and attunement can help you track the process and is very interesting to look back on later, even if the changes seen mild or insignificant at the time.