Often we do not realise the value of a teaching until long after the book closes, the course finishes or we move on from our teacher. So it is with my journey into Reiki. When I decided to take Reiki Certification Level 1, it was simply out of curiosity. I had heard about “feeling energy” but never quite understood what the fuss what about. I thought perhaps only certain people could develop their senses in that way, and I likely wasn’t one of them. Yet, I couldn’t discount anecdotes of benefits from spiritual healing, ’laying on of hands’, Qigong, Reiki and other energy-based work. There must be something to it. My own body had benefit from the work of gifted practitioners, but I couldn’t quite imagine being one of them. Then, soon after our family dog was attacked by two other dogs in Thailand, I held little Vanilla on the vet’s table, praying for peace and healing for her. I felt her fear shift as she relaxed her body into my embrace while something warm and strong was flowing through me …could it be energy flowing from above? It was palpable but beyond description and beyond my regular sense of myself.
Her wounds were soon forgotten, but not that moment of peace being poured through me into her. Perhaps it was God, or Pure Consciousness or energy, qi or some other word for a wordless experience. With heightened curiosity, I enrolled in my first Reiki training with Cory Coryman of the Asian Healing Arts Centre in Chiang Mai, Thailand. As a former Austrian Diplomat, Cory brought a direct, no-nonsense approach to the teachings as she infused our days with a sparkle in her eye and passion for her work. ‘Fake it till you make it’ could have been my motto through that training. I occasionally felt tingling in my palms but mostly I still wasn’t sure. But it was enough to keep the flame of curiosity alive as I signed up for level 2…then 3….and finally, Reiki Master Training Certification.
The journey between the levels included weekly volunteer work providing Reiki to patients undergoing cancer treatments, psychiatric patients in a hospital and in a residential institute. My confidence grew as I felt energy shifts in the patients as they opened to new ease during the treatments. Their desire and appreciation was expressed in Thai language, or with a sparkle shining from their eyes despite otherwise depleted bodies. Those without verbal abilities would ‘wai’ tenderly (Thai tradition of bowing), shimmy themselves each week into their waiting positions on their beds, and sometimes wedge themselves between me and the next patient I was about to treat. Together with my teacher and other students, we passed instructions and healing ‘attunements’ to caregivers of the patients. I learned from each patient and caregiver and began to trust the teachings of Reiki on a new level. I began to sense different qualities of energy, associated with varying conditions and exposures. Chemotherapy, radiation, heavy medications, anxiety, love…all began to show me consistent patterns. I sensed this work was to infiltrate my life deeply, but not specifically as a healer. I see my life purpose not as a healer but as one who helps others to heal themselves and to learn skills to use in-line with their own life purpose.
So, when I moved back to Canada, I treated some patients but mostly I allowed my Reiki hands to help me in therapeutic yoga work with clients, to be a part of my family first-aid kit, and to restore my energy as needed. I use Reiki to send love and healing energy from a distance, to protect loved ones, my car, a pilot, my luggage, to energise my food….the applications are limitless.
Now, as I appreciate the teachings I received years ago, I am ready to share them with those who are curious. I am fascinated with similarities between wisdom traditions and faiths of varying kinds. Some of the Reiki meditations are similar to those of yoga nidra, with a nature of welcoming and allowing rather than directing or fixing. The more I learn about different paths, the more I see Reiki as not separate, but as a universal form of connection, healing and protecting. My father summed up Reiki best when, somewhere around this 80th birthday, I gave him a Reiki treatment without telling him what it was. When I asked later what his experience was like he replied with misty eyes, “It felt like love flowing through your hands”. My wish for you is that Reiki, or another tool for ease and healing, becomes one of your skills for ease, peace, clarity and joy in your life and those around you.