Monday, September 03, 2007

What is reiki really, and why does it work?

I found myself giving a talk the other day on reiki. As a reiki practitioner/teacher, you'd think that would come easy to me. Well, I will make a true confession: after all these years, Reiki is still one of those things that is easier for me to give and experience than it is to explain.

I found myself gravitating to the question -- what is reiki???? -- probably because my own intellect has never been completely satisfied by any of the answers I've heard or read over the years. My students listened respectfully as I explained that Usui Reiki is a type of energy work in which the practitioner becomes a channel for Universal Ki life-force energy that has a wisdom to it of Its own. As a reiki practitioner, we don't have to guide it -- it does far better when we get out of the way. We don't have to build up our Ki to share with others, as in other types of energy work, because we aren't using our own energy. We're like an extension cord attached to a Universal Source of Wise Energy. There's never a shortage, and we can never be depleted through giving treatments.

What's more -- we don't learn how to channel reiki in the ordinary sense that learning is used. There is very little technique involved, and the process of "learning" reiki actually happens during an "attunement," or a process of shared intent between the teacher and the student during which a short prayer-like ritual occurs.

That's all true, but it may not help us understand -- How can this work? Where does reiki come from? And what is this wisdom that guides it?

I don't really know how to answer these questions definitively, however, reiki is still in my life because it has positive effects in my life. It is not a panacea for all things -- if it were, then reiki practitioners would rule the world! (joke) However, when I use it I feel a shift in energy -- I get sensations -- it almost always makes me feel better -- my young kids (and skeptic husband) ask for it when they have a physical illness or pain -- and when I work with others, they often feel the benefits, too.

Here are some other ways of thinking about reiki, and hypnosis, and all healing that I have come to:

  • As a reiki practitoner and a hypnotherapist (even as a mother, a wife, a worker, and a friend), if I let go and allow Spirit to guide me, there is the potential for great healing -- for my "client" and myself.
  • We are all part of a greater mind --but this mind is split. We have a part that is aware of our Source connection (Spirit) that is always on a path to healing. And we have a part that is unaware of our connection with Source and is fearful (ego). It is this second part that causes the "dis-ease" in our lives.
  • This Source-connected part of our mind may "communicate" with us through many different forms -- through a medical intervention, through hypnotherapy, through the forgiveness we receive from a friend, through some ordinary experience -- like the birth of a child -- that brings us extradorinary peace, or through some kind of "miracle." No matter what the form, healing is always a process at a deep level of the mind.
  • The mind runs the body, which itself is neutral.
  • Healing always comes with greater feelings of peace -- and it sometimes comes with physical effects that look like healing.
  • It is not important what form that healing seems to take. I do not think reiki or hypnotherapy are better than other modalities. I think I have been called to practice healing for myself and others in these ways, but they are not for everyone or for all situations.
  • It is very important not to judge the effects of healing through the physical form -- I do my part, and then I "Let go and let God."
  • I do not take credit for healing, and I do not charge for healing or energy. I charge for my time and hypnotherapeutic skill -- healing happens as a gift to both of us.
Ultimately, these principles -- which I reserve the right to continually evolve as I make my way through this life's "classroom"! -- have become more important to me than answering the eternal "Why?"

So why does Reiki work? I will leave it with this no-answer answer: Reiki works between two people sometimes, because it does (see above).....just like chemotherapy and aspirin, mother's kisses and laughter (see above again).