Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Reiki is Not Just for Stress Reduction!


When I took my Reiki practitioner training my teacher liked to joke that her energy healing teacher used to complain that Reiki is "Gumby does healing." What she meant was that you don't have to have the awareness or faith of an ant to do Reiki. It's that easy! You just believe what your teacher taught you and move your hands from one prescribed position to the next, 5 minutes in each place, for an hour or so and, voila!, you've done a typical Reiki session! And your client usually reports that they feel better, too. The average person who uses Reiki for "healing" work is a massage therapist who added the technique to his or her practice by taking a weekend workshop. They think of it as "stress reduction", they tell their clients it's for stress reduction, and that's all a lot of people think it's for.

Please forgive me if you found this blog by typing "Reiki" into Google, you're a massage therapist, and you know better than this! I'm not talking about you! But I just spent a fair bit of time on a forum trying to dispell myths about Reiki and explaining what it is a bit and "killed the threads" I was on. That means that, even though I was quite polite and trying to be helpful, all the people who were participating before stopped talking and nobody else jumped in to participate either. Maybe it was because I did a good job ... but it's really weird when it happens anyway so it's on my mind a bit today.

Okay, so for those of you who don't know, what is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese healing art in which the practitioner channels healing life force energy to themselves or their client for healing benefit. It's very easy to do. The practice is passed on through a series of attunement ceremonies in a Reiki class. Students, depending on the level, are usually taught at least one symbol that they are supposed to memorize, draw and visualize at specific junctures of a healing session. Supposedly the symbols themselves hold the healing power... at least most teachers share the information that way... but most of us who take this practice seriously for any length of time learn that it's intention and growing faith that does the trick.

Back when Reiki was first brought to this country people gathered in Reiki classes that lasted weeks and months -- not just a weekend or two or three. Demonstrations happened each time and students grew deeper in faith through these experiences one step at a time together. Not unlike a church meeting with evangelical healings...except we're talking about a practice associated with Buddhist belief systems here. Students were given additional Reiki attunements in a measured way while their faith grew and solidified. Eventually, they could attain the level of Reiki Master and were trained to pass attunements and teach other people. This process could take years of practice and cost up to $10,000.

Current day Reiki practitioners are often shocked that anyone would charge $10,000. Hey, Reiki should just be given away! That's the Diane Stein battle cry! Diane Stein wrote Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art, what is probably one of the only best-selling books on Reiki around. The book publishing company I used to be an art director for, Crossing Press, published it. The publisher felt that making "secret" but beneficial healing and spiritual practices available to one and all was part of her mission. And I don't fault anyone for that.

But Reiki used to be thought of as a powerful practice that could have profound effects! Miraculous cures for serious medical conditions, sometimes instantly, but also step by step over time. And people wouldn't give up on the healing if it took several sessions. 10 sessions or so was not unusual. You learned that it's okay for healing to happen incrementally if that's the level of faith and ability to integrate it most people happen to have. That's the benefit of regular practice with other people. You see it work with witnesses -- instantly OR over several sessions. You have verifiable results either way that other people can attest to as well. It doesn't have to be all or nothing in a single session -- most people outside of evangelical tent revivals don't assimilate that. But you don't feel crazy for "believing" in it anyway--you don't have to "believe" when you have proof!

When you simply give the attunements away, teach a few basic hand positions, tell people to memorize some special symbols -- in purple no less -- and send them on their way.... they miss the heart of the practice. It's about scientifically trying the work out, getting verifiable results, and repeating them.

Reiki teachers try to teach people that Reiki isn't "faith healing." You don't have to have faith in order for it to work. But where does true faith come from anyway? If you see the results, you "believe" in it! Reiki "teaches" you! Believe it or not, if you get results with Reiki and keep getting it, faith will build itself. And the more you receive results, the better at channeling Reiki you become. That's where "mastership" legitimately should come from. And that's what faith healing is all about.
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My "I Heal with Reiki" design is available on T-shirts, posters, postcards and all kinds of cool stuff from my Zazzle gift shop. I also infuse all my Mama Love flower essence aromatherapy products with Reiki, too.

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