REIKI I: HEALING YOUR SELF (PART 2)
If you haven't already, check out Part 1.
At this point you should understand that reiki is a system of accessing universal life energy, something that is available to everyone. Once you've been attuned to that energy it will flow into your crown chakra, down your spine into your heart chakra, and then split in two to travel down your arms and ultimately exit through your hands.
While an attunement will forever open your chakras to channeling this energy, you still can control the flow. Many teachers explain that when you want to channel energy, you should "turn it on" by saying something like "reiki on" or rubbing your hands together, or announcing your intention. This part can be unique to you, but it's a way to signify to the universe that you want to channel. When you're done you simply say "reiki off" or place your hands in water or on the ground, or, again, something unique to you that symbolizes your desire to stop the flow.
Many a reiki practitioner (myself included) have experienced the energy flow activating in their sleep or at a time when they did not expressly turn it on. While there may be reasons for this that the practitioner should investigate in order to deepen their spiritual development, they still ultimately have the control to turn it off. When I use the word control here, I mean an innate ability of all people to make a choice. The practitioner can choose to start or stop the flow of energy at any time. It's that simple.
It may be difficult for people to identify and feel the energy right away, which is why I highly suggest adding some weed to your practice. Smoking some marijuana or eating some edibles (try CBD products if you're not comfortable with getting high, though, I think it's worth it) can drastically improve your ability to feel the energy moving through your body. We'll talk more about this later when we discuss self-attunements.
What does self healing look like?
Let's assume you've received your attunement and you can now feel the energy flowing through your body. Now is a great time to experience the true gift of reiki: self healing.
In order to do this I recommend sitting in a quiet place (nature is always best, but a couch or chair will do fine as well!) in comfortable clothing. Make sure nothing too restrictive is on your body (perhaps undo your belt). This seems to work best when none of your appendages are crossed, so place both feet flat on the ground and let your hands rest on your lap.
Breathe deeply and close your eyes. If possible, continue to breathe deeply (but comfortably) through your nose. Initiate the flow of energy through vocal or mental methods ("reiki on!") and state your intention out loud or in your head. This could be something like "it is my intention in this moment to channel universal energy into my body for the purpose of healing and balancing." If you have a headache or something like that you can change your intention to fit your need: "It's my intention to channel universal energy into my body to clear the blockages in my head and restore balance in my body."
Once you've done that, remain still for a few moments. You'll feel the energy start to move within your body, eventually travelling down your arms and out your palms. You'll get "reiki hands" in which your palms can get pretty warm. This is how you know you're channeling.
Put your hands on the part of your body that you want to move energy into. If you have a specific ailment you can put your hands there. If you don't, put your hands where they feel most comfortable. I generally put my hands on my belly, my chest (one hand on my sternum, one a little lower), or on the tops of my thighs. Some reiki teachers will tell you that it's important that you keep your fingers pressed together and your hand flat. In my experience, this is very subjective. Sometimes it feels like I get the best flow with my hands in a rigid position like that, other times it doesn't feel necessary and my fingers are comfortably spread out. Try different things and use what works best for you in that moment.
If your intention is to put your hands on several different points on your body, you may feel the typical reiki energy flow. Once you place your hands on a given spot you'll feel the energy flow increase, reach a maximum flow, and then decrease. Once the energy has decreased to its minimum, you can move your hands to the next point. If your intent is to keep your hands in one spot, you may feel cycles of that flow, or you may feel a constant high flow of energy that doesn't show any signs of slowing. This latter type of flow is what I've felt most often when I perform reiki after I've smoked weed. It can be intense and almost euphoric.
You'll want to continue this ritual for as long as you feel comfortable doing so. I like to keep a notebook and pen nearby because when I'm in this state of channeling energy, I frequently receive messages. I need to write the message down or else it will continue to circle around my brain. It's almost like I need to release it to paper for the ritual to continue.
What kind of messages? What does the energy feel like?
While these answers can vary considerably, I'll tell you my experience.
I receive messages from my spirit guides or, sometimes, from the universe itself. If I'm doing a reiki session for someone else, I often can receive messages from dead loved ones of my client, though I do have some training in mediumship. I typically need to ask my spirit guides to bring me mediumship messages if that's what my goal is.
The messages I receive for myself are usually tips and suggestions for how to live my best life, business ideas, or advice that I might need. The idea of sharing my knowledge on reiki for free and exploring the concept of self-attunement were actually messages that came to me recently while performing self-healings in the woods while high.
Keep this in mind: the messages you receive will be unique to you, but I want to offer a warning on the content of those messages. Remember that universal life energy is essentially positive in nature. While it does serve to create balance, it also intends to grow and change and expand and evolve. If you are receiving dark or negative messages, look at them critically. Don't assume them to be "the truth" and definitely seek out a trusted friend or practitioner to help you with them. Similarly, remember that while you can control the flow, you cannot control the energy itself. You don't have the power, you simply engage with it.
As far as the way the energy feels, this is also subjective, but for me, it is typically a warm and tingling sensation in the palms of the hands. I can also usually feel the energy exiting my palms, meaning that there is a sensation of something literally coming out of my hand. If I smoke weed before practicing, the sensations can increase quite a lot.
When stoned, I feel the energy moving into my crown, though my heart, and especially through my arms and hands. This feels like some substance (maybe water or smoke) slowly entering my body, moving through it, and then exiting. It's especially intense in my arms and hands where it feel like there is literally a substance inside my body, and, beyond that, it feel like there is slightly more energy inside my body than it can physically accommodate. It's hard to describe but it's not at all painful or uncomfortable. It feels as though my physical body is being stretched ever so slightly, like the energy has moved me to the resilient edge of resistance (a term I've borrowed from Barbara Carrellas), and it causes pleasure and euphoria. Frankly, it's transcendent.
What else do I need to know?
Reiki I classes usually have a large unit on the chakras, the microcosmic orbit, breathing and grounding techniques, and meditation techniques. None of these are unique to reiki, and therefore, I will not recite them here.
A quick google search comes back with lots of free resources for learning about these systems and techniques. I suggest doing some research and getting a basic idea of what these are and how they work. You don't need to be an expert in any of these for your reiki practice to be beneficial, but knowledge of terms will be helpful as we move into the other levels.
Not many people come to reiki completely new to new age or metaphysical thought, so teaching these subjects is a great way to pad out a class that cost $100+ per person.
Let's get that attunement!
As I said, what differentiates reiki from many other energy healing modalities is the attunement, and this is where the most contention sits. Who can do an attunement? How does it work? Do I really need it?
When it comes to energy healing generally, you have four options: Seek an attunement from an existing reiki master in person (this is the most common); seek an attunement from an existing reiki master at a distance (where the master will pass an attunement to you psychically); attune yourself; or lastly, don't bother with the attunement at all.
Reiki attunements serve to attune your chakras to universal energy and they do this by placing reiki symbols in your aura and on your chakras. The problem, though, is that reiki I students typically are not taught reiki symbols. How do we get around this?
One option would be to simply conduct a regular reiki attunement on yourself, altering it to fit the circumstance. It's not hard to find attunement ceremonies online or in books (a great one can be found in Essential Reiki by Diane Stein).
This issue here, in my opinion, is that the ceremony always requires the use of reiki symbols. You will either be conducting the ceremony without knowledge of the symbols (which renders them useless) or you will need to study the symbols before you do the attunement. This is, I think, problematic not only because the symbols aren't traditionally taught until reiki II, but because I think learning symbols and attunement ceremonies at this stage only muddies the waters.
At this point, what I'd like you to do is not worry about the attunement. Meditate and practice self-healings regularly and while doing so, appeal to the universe. State your intent to learn reiki and to work with energy. Ask the universe to help you do that.
It is my assertion that doing this will essentially result in the universe attuning you to reiki I. You'll know if this worked for you if you feel unusual sensations or have unusual visions during your healing. You can also check and see if your hands get hotter than when you started.
Let your body be your guide here. Ask and you will receive.
Many reiki masters will tell you that self-attunement is impossible, yet Mikao Usui was attuned by the universe on a mountain in Japan. If your intention is pure and your desire to heal and expand your spirit is true, I believe that you can make that connection with the universe on your own.
That's all for reiki I! Experiment, practice, read, write, and keep learning! In the next unit we'll discuss the reiki symbols and how to use them to bring healing to others.
NOTE: When I've taught subjects in the past, I've gotten feedback that this is something that the student could have done on their own at home. Yeah, I know, that's why this is free. This is something you CAN do on your own at home and something that you should absolutely try out! If you've tried this and have feedback (positive or negative) on self-attunements, I encourage you to comment on this post or let me know in some other way. I believe we have access to much more than we think, and that many people try to erase that fact so they can make money off of us and gain power. I think there is another way. This whole unit on reiki is an experiment. My goal is to expand the attunement process at each level to further increase your energy flow. Stick with it!