The other day I was pondering the most ‘healing’ people I had ever met and I was wondering what it was that made being in their presence such a balm. There was Sister Mary Malone, the charge nurse on a children’s ward, another nurse – a gorgeous Creole woman who called everyone ‘honey chile’, the Dalai lama and a few others. What they all have in common is that being with them you feel totally safe – no matter what, that everything’s ok. They generate a feeling of spaciousness, warmth and nurturing – that I could be anyone or thing and their love and compassion would never waiver for an instant; that they can see all of me and it is just fine. Where everything, no matter how frightening can just Be and people can trust themselves and their feelings more. They reflect back, not just the parts of my being that I reveal, or my pain and my stories, but All of me. In such spaciousness much is possible; there is a lot of freedom to move. We don’t need to hold onto our beliefs so tightly or our fears and anxieties or insist we are right. All too often we just focus on the bits we don’t like of our being. They offer a gift of whole self. These people teach me the value of simply ‘being with’ someone. That nothing really needs to be done except seeing the person for who they really are and acknowledge our common humanity. magine the relief and freedom at being with someone who’s not judging us in any way, not making assumptions, not wanting anything.
These people inspire me because they are so ‘real’. They seem to see the Truth of reality not just our facades and ojections. Their heart seems constantly open and not ‘pulling back’ or dodging issues. It’s the withdrawing or not seeing of all that people are, of limiting them with our perception that reinforces pain. Our attitude and presence is often more important than the modality we practise.
I was 20 when I met Sr Mary back in the mid 80’s. She inspired me and triggered off years of question asking: how can one stay in an open hearted space without being overwhelmed by the suffering and pain of others? What is ‘helping’ and is what I’m doing actually ‘helping’? In 1991 I found my way to a Reiki workshop and felt that I had touched a way that could help me find some answers to those questions.
Reiki is a form of spiritual healing. The word Reiki in Japanese simply means Universal or all pervading nature or ‘God’ force (Rei). ‘Ki’ represents the chi, prana or personal energy/vitality of the body.
In simple terms it means the merging of spirit with matter, the manifestation of spirit in physical form. Reiki as a practice and philosophy was created by Dr Mikao Usui in the early 1900’s in Japan. Combining different teachings and spiritual practices, Usui wanted people to be able to connect more with our true nature – that luminous being, the clear light nature of mind; to be able to acknowledge our Unity with all and deepen our connection with life. He wished for all beings to be happy and that people could be motivated by compassion to help reduce suffering for self and others. Mikao Usui wanted his teachings to be available for everyone and easily accessible, not limited to one particular spiritual tradition.
Although there is a Buddhist basis to much of the Reiki philosophy, Mikao Usui drew upon his martial arts background (he was born into the Samurai class), as well as upon Shintoism, Buddhism and Shugendo, which is an amalgamation of ascetic aspects of Buddhism, shamanism and Shintoism. (refer to Frans and Bronwen Steine’s book ‘The Japanese Art of Reiki’ for more details) The aim of Reiki practice is to break down our old patterns of being and perceiving, to clear our obscurations to recognising the true nature of our being and that of the world around us. It is also an invitation for us to understand that healing need not be an externalised process we receive from a practitioner but that one that lies within all of us. The only ‘prerequisites’ for practising Reiki are a body, an intent and choosing to practice being within a heart space.
Reiki is a way of connecting with the wisdom of the body. Reiki energy doesn’t ‘cure’, in and of itself but supports the body’s inherent vitality and healing capability. The energy always flows to the cause. Often people will say ‘oh I can feel the energy in my knee’, when my hands are on their head or elsewhere. As practitioners we need to leave our expectations and assumptions at the door. It is not up to us to decide what needs to be ‘done’ for or to a body. We don’t need to direct the energy flow. I leave that up to the person’s being, and focus on being as present as possible and centered in a heart space. As we ‘be with’ a person and acknowledge them as whole, just as they are, much can shift. The most profound gift we can offer anyone is to be fully present with them, to see them as greater than their issues and diagnoses. In this way we are not reinforcing a person’s perceptions and projections. Such neutrality allows an opportunity to shift many things. It is only our perception that creates limitations.
The role of intention, motivation and focus is very important. They are the guiding force of how we connect with another being, how we perceive them, the rapport we develop and enables us to ‘listen’ to their being, wholeheartedly. Every thought we have is generating pattern that is emitted into the world. Everything we do, every breath and thought has impact – and collective impact. We are accountable for what we’re choosing to communicate to another being. I like to think of practising Reiki not as ‘doing’ another modality but as a space of Being. As such, it enables us to develop further awareness of unconditional love and compassion. You don’t ‘do’ love, you are love. Unconditional love has no object. Such a space creates a profound invitation for us to recognise more of who we really are, the Truth of our Being and this allows the potential for much movement and change.
Energy is continually flowing through us, through our subtle anatomy, our meridians, through every atom of our being. Matter is composed of light and sound. All we are is energy, in constant vibration. With Reiki we are starting to work with frequency a little more consciously. Reiki is ‘taught’ by a series of attunements. These attunements don’t give us anything new or different but support an increased awareness of ourselves as energetic and spiritual beings. They provide an invitation for the heart chakra to open more, allowing the heart to be a balancing point of the body. This encourages our development of compassion and love and our ability to acknowledge the Oneness of being. The attunement process is not a magical ‘gift’ or makes a teacher ‘special’ in any way. All it is, is a reminder of who we really are.
As we start to shift our focus from the ways we separate ourselves from other people and experiences, then automatically there is a greater flow of energy through our being. We are already connected, already at One with all, the only thing that alters is our awareness of it. This is the gift of the Reiki attunement. I think of it like a tool or a vehicle to enable us to get from A to B, to go from dualistic awareness and the way we clutch onto some things and reject others, to a space of recognising that there is nothing that we are not, that all exists in Unity. Meditation techniques and other spiritual practices are also just as effective.
I think the reason why Reiki is so incredibly popular is because of the ease at which we can start to experience these insights.
As we still ourselves and bring our focus to connecting with the heart, energy flows through the practitioners’ body, ‘topping them up’ then radiating through the auric field, through the hands and other chakras. Reiki practitioners usually say that they feel less tired when working and more energised at the end of the day. This is because energy is continually flowing through us. We are not using our own ‘reserves’. Reiki can be of assistance in many ways for clients, animals, or plants. People commonly say that they’ve never felt so relaxed (many fall asleep) or it’s the first time they’ve been without pain (or in less pain) in ages. Reiki can be useful for some people in supporting pain relief.
Working with Reiki is a spiritual practice, not just something I ‘do’ when clients come in. It is something I can practice throughout my day, a state of mindfulness. It is so easy to sit on my hill and meditate and feel virtuous, it’s another to get off my cushion and act within this state; when stressed, with clients, when cleaning my teeth, driving. When we are centered in the heart and choosing to Act from within this space it impacts on our whole environment and all within it. I like to do ‘community service’ work by walking down the street or in Coles in this space. My intention is that it be an offering to be of benefit in
any way, for anyone. Practicing Reiki supports the development of us learning to be kinder, more loving, generous and hopefully wise. To understand that we are not all separate but exist in Unity. As my own heart gradually chinks open a little further then I recognise the levels to which all beings experience pain and suffering in their lives. All that any of us really wants is to be happy. Reiki promotes alleviation of suffering not by addressing a ‘problem’ or by a ‘fix it’ approach, but by inviting us to recognise the True nature of reality, that we are all, always whole and don’t actually need to be ‘healed’. As we can acknowledge more that we really are then our perception can start shifting and our reactions and judgements. This has a flow on effect through our physical body.
Working in this Reiki ‘space’ of openheartedness enables me to practice being more present with other people in a genuine and more neutral way. Often we ‘pull back’ from the pain of others, out of our own vulnerability and fear of overwhelm. For me Reiki is about developing a fearless heart; a heart that doesn’t close down in any circumstances, so that I can be with anyone without withdrawing or going into judgements and reactions. Reiki teaches me how much support is available moment to moment. It’s never just ‘me’ but me plus all that is available. As I connect with this space it provides an invitation for others to tap into it as well. It’s a process of self empowerment. As you radiate joy and love it enables others to connect with their own joy, clarity, and love. For me, Reiki is Coming Home.
This article is reprinted with kind permission from Pure Natural Therapies. All acknowledgements and credits for article to Jacquelyn Bushell.