The Deeper Layers of “Distance” Healing
Within the system of Reiki there is a practice which is commonly called "distance" healing. Many modern Reiki schools teach that you do this by "sending" something to someone - by using a pillow or stuffed animal, by placing your hand on your leg, by making a bridge, etc...
However, traditionally this was not the case at all. We can see this clearly when we look at Mikao Usui's teachings within Oukuden Reiki Level II.
First of all, Okuden means "inner teachings" which means when we do "distance" healing, we need to bring it inwards - inwards into our mind/heart. Using a pillow, making a bridge, using our leg - all of these things make the practice external, "sending" our focus outwards.
Secondly, when we learn "distance" healing we learn the symbol and mantra Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen 本者是正念.
Translated, Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen 本者是正念 means; "my original nature is a non-dual thought." As you can see, it says nothing about "distance" healing. Rather, it states that we need to realize that our original nature is a non-dual thought. Traditionally this was done through extended periods of meditating on the symbol and chanting the mantra.
If we teach our students to use a pillow, a leg, a bridge, or that they are “sending” something, then we keep reinforcing the idea that there is a distance which we need to overcome. But if we really look deeply into the true nature of reality, we will see that there is no distance at all. We are all interconnected.
This is also why when we perform "distance" healing we have to let go of the idea that we need to connect to someone, or an animal, or a tree, as we are already interconnected. The more we install the idea that we need to connect, the more we teach ourselves that we are not interconnected at all. So better straight away to teach that we are already connected and that all we need to do is remember that we are interconnected in the first place - no need to connect!
But why do so many people teach that we need to connect and that it is all external? This is because there is a lot of worry and fear involved, which in essence comes from our ego. Think about it; if we realize that we are already interconnected with a friend who has cancer and we are one with the person, then we are also one with the cancer! This concept can trigger a lot of worry and fear for the untrained practitioner. (It also can lead to the idea that we need “protection” in our practice, but that is another topic altogether!) This is why traditionally "distance" healing was taught in the latter part of Okuden. By that time the student had overcome most of their worry and fear already, which is also pointed out within the precepts. Contemplating and meditating with the precepts is a fundamental practice in Shoden, Reiki Level I.
Thus by practicing that we are all interconnected when we perform "distance" healing - without the need for a pillow, a leg, a bridge, or sending - the practitioner starts to loosen their worry and fear. This is why traditionally this practice was also for the practitioner, to soften their ego, their grip - attachment - on their small self. In this way, the practitioner can become more open, moving toward and embracing their true self instead of clinging to a small, fearful, worried self.
This is why it is so important to practice the deeper aspects of "distance" healing, so that we can realize our true nature, our inner great bright light in which we realize that we are all interconnected already. This interconnectedness will also help us to become more compassionate to ourselves because we have let go of our own ego and self cherished concepts; this in turn helps us to becomes more compassionate to others.
So next time when you perform "distance" healing, give your ego a kick in the butt and instead feel the interconnectedness with your friend, with your animal, with their illness. Feel the interconnectedness with all that is and take a step deeper into the spiritual teachings of Mikao Usui.