Reiki has been a part of my world for the past 3 years. It has woven its way into the fabric of my life; initially through receiving hands-on-healing for several months and later by participating in Level I, II, and III training with a Canadian Reiki Master over the following year. The personal benefit of receiving Reiki treatments was clear and coincidentally I discovered it supported the therapy I offered in my Private Practice as a Registered Psychologist, work that I had begun 30 years ago.
As I completed each level of training I dutifully performed my 21 day cleansing process and practiced the specifics I had been taught. Following that, I continued to recite the precepts several times throughout a day and do hands-on-healing. I memorized the symbols and performed the attunement process on my stuffed bear. I spent a lot of time perfecting my techniques, ensuring that my hands were placed correctly, held for the required number of minutes and the symbols were drawn and visualized correctly using the appropriate colours. I also sought the “messages” that were bound to result from the treatments of others and got caught up in interpreting them for the benefit of my clients.
During those months I often felt the need for ongoing support and wished for a group of Reiki practitioners in my area that I could meet with to continue my own development as a practitioner. I needed to simplify the practice as there were so many “do’s and don’ts” that I often was confused. I yearned for the same professional support I had enjoyed with other psychologists, counsellors, and medical doctors over the past 30 years. Unfortunately I discovered a jealous, secretive and competitive attitude existed within the local Reiki community. Reverting to my own devices, I read books and scanned web-sites in hopes of meeting my needs.
Thankfully, in late fall of 2009, the Universe in its infinite wisdom led me to “The Japanese Art of Reiki”, written by Bronwen and Frans Stiene wherein I discovered the simple straightforward Reiki system which they teach with such joy and passion. I began to learn all over again. I was able to sift through all I had been taught, keep the jewels and let much of the secrecy, competitiveness, and unnecessary add-ons fall to the wayside.
I bought more books published by IH Reiki, completed the 21 day program and finally glimpsed the possibility that Reiki holds for everyone. I attended the Shinpiden Reiki Level III program in Philadelphia with Frans and experienced myself aligning with earth, heaven and heart ki. I learned that the precepts, techniques/meditations, hands-on-healing, symbols/mantras, and reiju/attunements knit together to hold and guide me in a daily spiritual practice. I learned to “share Reiki” with my clients rather than “do Reiki”. I learned that Reiki is not magic, it is profound and I am truly blessed to have embraced this way living. I learned that whenever I think I know Reiki, I am wrong and I learned that when I think I don’t know Reiki I am also wrong.
Throughout August and September I dabbled with a daily personal Reiki practice. My intentions were good, my follow-through often abysmal. Sensing the need for more structure, I participated in IH Reiki’s Hands-on-Healing in depth web-class . Finally I did establish a daily personal practice. The obvious benefits to a daily practice have emerged. I am calmer, less frenetic, and my clients are receiving what they need during their sessions.
Then, on January 3rd I received the most amazing gift from a personal Reiki practice. I discovered there are hidden benefits waiting to present themselves if ever I might need them. That evening I was driving home on a highway that was slick with a light layer of newly fallen snow. Per chance the front tire on the passenger side of my car dropped off the edge of the pavement. I corrected as usual however road conditions resulted in my vehicle sliding out of control. In the course of the next 10 to 15 seconds, I steered into two 180 degree spins, which both corrected at the last possible moment. After a further three moderate fish-tail spins my car came to a stop on the correct side of the road facing in the correct direction.
I found myself sitting calmly in an upright posture breathing into the hara with a smile on my face. This was followed by a natural gassho to the Universe giving thanks for the absence of any oncoming traffic that undoubtedly I would have slammed into during the skid. Although I expected to review the event in my head with many admonitions regarding my poor driving, nothing of the sort occurred. Much to my surprise I found that I was not shaking uncontrollably, nor was I hyperventilating. I did not need to pull off the road, call someone – anyone – and make this event BIG. Instead I simply continued on my way home amidst the gently falling snow.
I pondered this inexplicable reaction while journaling the following day. It occurred to me that I must be changing in subtle, “too small to notice” ways. Curious, I reread my journal, intrigued with the possibility of other hidden benefits resulting from my daily spiritual practice. Excitement and joy set in as I discovered the treasure within the pages of the journal.
Another hidden benefit is that I have shifted to a conscious awareness of my energy levels. I now take time out during the working day to replenish my energy reserves with 10 minutes of breathing techniques or a short meditation, instead of reaching for another couple of coffee. The simple chores of life — dishes, dealing with the garbage, laundry, feeding the cats, shovelling snow, making meals– are becoming effortless. My life is unfolding with ease when I pay attention to my mind, spirit and body. I have discovered joy in doing things I once defined as mundane and boring. There remain times when I do not listen, especially to my own tiredness. Then I mindlessly return to my home office and “do stuff”, which admittedly needs doing, but all pleasure in the doing has vanished. I prefer the joy!
At Christmas my husband and I attended a social function related to his legal profession. A traditional dinner event which I rarely if ever enjoy. This year inexplicably I had a wonderful evening. I was greeted with many warm, sincere hugs, lots of laughter and several wonderful conversations. I have known many of these people casually for 15 years and I have never experienced such pleasure in their company. Who had changed, them or me? I realized it was me! As I become more open and accepting of myself, I am also becoming more open and accepting of others and THEY SEE IT. The personal Reiki spiritual practice has quickened the pace of my personal growth.
I realized I have spent scores of years “living my life from the outside in”, focussed always on what other people thought, needed, demanded, expected, judged, concluded etc. I compromised my health many, many times in pursuit of the approval of family, friends, bosses, lovers, and enemies. I believed that juggling all these demands meant I was balancing my life. I developed auto-immune diseases (arthritis), depression, anaemia, migraine headaches and at one point years ago experienced “professional burn-out” a euphemism for nervous breakdown. Yet it was not until I began my personal Reiki spiritual practice in earnest that I have embraced “living my life from the inside out”.
I am delighted to have discovered these hidden benefits and pleased to share them with you. I believe it is important to mark our personal journeys with sign-posts. I am learning each day to be in charge of myself and allow others to manage themselves. I am being present to people without feeling responsible for their behaviour. I no longer believe that I know THE ANSWERS. Through practicing the precepts, techniques/meditations, hands-on-healing, mantras/symbols and reiju/attunements, I have uncovered a never-ending journey of adventure. My life no longer stretches out in front of me with false security. My world is very full and I am as happy as I have ever been in my lifetime.
My struggles continue as I learn to balance my mind, my body, and my spirit; yet they are no longer onerous. I do not want to run away, or escape, or simply stop. Instead I want to practice more, study more, learn more and live as fully as is possible in whatever time is allotted to me. I am grateful to have found a daily practice with such obvious and hidden benefits. I know it will sustain me and that no matter what there is always more to it than I can possibly know.