Mindfulness & Reiki

May 26, 2008

A Reiki attunement opens the healer up to becoming a pure, flow-through channel for reiki energy. There is absolutely NO NEED for a Reiki healer to invest any of their own energies into a performing a treatment. The healer can direct a treatment via the use of symbols (given in Level II training and above), or through intent, but at NO time are they required to utilize any of their own personal energies in the healing.

Some systems of energy healing ask the healer to consciously draw energy for one source or another (the Earth, the Heavens, a particular spiritual Master, etc) into themselves, and then re-direct that energy into the person they are healing. This easily results in the practitioner inadvertently sending some of their own energy along with the surplus they just pulled in from somewhere else. Some systems even ask the healer to pull negatives energies out of the client and in to themselves, relying on the healer to transmute the negative energies. I’m sure you can see the risk to the healer in that kind of technique! Reiki works differently in its methodology and includes spiritual safe-guards, and is therefore safer for the healer and the client.

One unfortunately common occurrence in today’s Western Reiki community is that people misunderstand the nature of the Reiki safe-guards. While the Reiki system itself makes no energetic demands on its practitioners in and of itself, most novice practitioners need specific instructions and meditations to help them learn how to keep from unintentionally involving their own energies into the treatment process. Often inexperienced Reiki healers want so much to heal their clients that they end up pushing a lot of their own energies into the healing without even realizing that they are doing so. They do so because they have been told that with Reiki they will not be using their personal energies ever. They are then very confused when after a treatment they feel drained and weak and exceptionally tired; some even become ill themselves shortly thereafter. While the Reiki healing itself did not exact an energetic price on them, they (consciously or unconsciously) pushed their own energies into the treatment. This is extremely common in new or inadequately trained Reiki practitioners.

I’ve met several people who had sworn off performing Reiki healing because they got so sick doing them. I’ve also seen websites decrying Reiki saying that Reiki isn’t good because the healers always get sick (of course those websites are promoting different energetic healing systems which are said to be “superior” to Reiki). I offered one “former” Reiki healer I met a couple of simple suggestions for meditations and visualizations to help them grasp the concept of being a “tube” for Reiki and remaining unattached, and it was like an epiphany for them. They said they wished that those lessons were taught in Reiki training…I answered that they SHOULD be and ARE part of Reiki training, and if they aren’t the student should think about training elsewhere!!

All of this could easily be avoided if more Western practitioners kept the Eastern roots of the system firmly in mind. Reiki developed out of the Buddhist tradition, where adept Buddhists and Chi Kung practitioners were using it for healing – adepts who had already had years of training in the art of non-attachment. Modern Reiki students need to be aware of this, and make sure that their Reiki training involves lessons on how to cultivate an attitude of compassionate non-attachment while giving a treatment. One certainly doesn’t need to be a Buddhist monk to perform Reiki, but one does need to become skilled at “letting go, and letting the Divine”. Learning to release attachment as to the specific result of a treatment, and simply practice being present during the treatment while holding the intention of the energy working for the highest good (whatever that may be) is very important to the proper Reiki healing method. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most simple, but powerful ways to begin cultivating a state of non-attachment that you can call upon during a Reiki treatment.

Non-attachment is one of those important topics that get skimmed over, or not addressed at all in many Western Reiki classes nowadays. People are told “Reiki cannot cause harm” and “Reiki is safe – there are no unhealthy energetic exchanges between practitioner and client”, and people trust this and take it at face value as the gospel truth. And it IS 100% true when Reiki is being used correctly by a proficient, properly-trained practitioner. HOWEVER, in the efforts to present Reiki as a non-sectarian, non-religious practice, what is forgotten is that Reiki DOES come from the Buddhist tradition, and within the Buddhist tradition one is trained in the practice of non-attachment (or what I like to call “compassionate detachment”) from the beginning.

One of the more prevalent ways that non-attachment is taught through the use of mindfulness meditations. Mindfulness practices help train the mind to stay in the experience of the moment, without getting caught up in thinking about the details and outcomes. It helps cultivate a state of “just being”. It sounds simple enough, but in truth it takes time to become great at this art – but even a little bit of practice at mindfulness techniques can bring about new states of quiet concentration, heightened awareness, and compassionate detachment. These are all states that are very important to the Reiki practitioner.

Many novice Reiki practitioners (and even some very experienced ones who never taught and also never quite figured out this key) inadvertently involve A LOT of their own personal stores of energy into a treatment. This is extremely common and nothing to be ashamed of…but it is of concern in the long-run and should be brought to the attention of the student practitioner. It is very common for new Reiki practitioners to feel unsure about what they should be “feeling” when they give a Reiki treatment. In an effort to “make sure” that they are transferring the proper amount of Reiki (remember, the Reiki will flow as needed and in the amounts most appropriate to the situation without ANY HELP), they end up pushing a lot of their own energies into the recipient. Reiki energy is fairly subtle, and doesn’t necessarily flow through with palpable power and force. In the beginning, students want/need to feel a powerful flow to validate for themselves that they are, in fact, channeling energy. This is simply a matter of confidence that will develop over time as a new practitioner works with the Reiki more often and becomes familiar with what Reiki actually feels like. In the beginning, though, they often “try” really hard to bring through the Reiki, which results in their own energies being pushed along with the flow of Reiki. As they do this they feel the energy moving very strongly, because in reality they are draining themselves of the energy as they pour it into the client.

This situation is very risky for several reasons. Firstly, the practitioner is depleting their body of the energy it needs to remain healthy. Secondly, personal vibrations (negative thoughts, abnormal energies, unstable emotions, etc) are being sent along with the personal energy – this can negatively impact the client with the practitioner’s “issues”. Thirdly, by opening up a pathway of personal energies between the practitioner and client, the personal vibrations of the client now have a through-way into the practitioner – which can then negatively impact the practitioner, who has also just depleted their own store of energy which would be utilized to neutralize the incoming foreign energies. The risk level of these effects are increased exponentially if the new Reiki practitioner is naturally (either consciously or latently) empathic. It is a sad fact that many Reiki practitioners are nearly always feeling drained after treatments, and also become ill more often than the general public. It is because they never learned to be compassionately detached from the treatment.

So how does one avoid this situation? There are several ways. The first and most simple is a very easy visualization that all new Reiki practitioners should learn (or at least something similar to it) and practice daily until they master it. I call the visualization “The Straw” or “The Tube”.

THE STRAW / TUBE

Take a few moments to centre and ground yourself.

Picture your spinal column, and recognize it as the center line of your bodies. Extend the center line down to beneath your feet.

You should now see a column that runs from the crown of your head, to the soles of your feet. Now see that column as a big hollow tube…like a straw.

It is open at the crown of your head, and runs down to the soles of your feel where it opens down to the earth. Feel the air blowing gently through this tube – THROUGH this tube.

Freely through. With no obstruction. Freely though the tube and through you. You are the tube. You are JUST the tube.

Now bring your attention to your heart chakra. Continue to let the air move freely through the tube as your bring your attention to the heart chakra. Feel the tube start to grow new tubes at your heart center out from the main tube and down through your arms to your hand chakras at the palms.

These new tubes open up, so that now the air and energy can flow THROUGH the main tube and out through your hands with no obstruction. 

You are the tube. Be the tube.

It moves freely through you. You don’t need to take any action. You are just the tube.

Feel the air moving into the main central tube and out through your hands without any action or even attention from you.

Continue to stay in this moment.

(If you are going to be giving a Reiki treatment, move on the next brief section.)
Now, call in the Reiki energy. Feel the air moving through the tube become lit up, and the tubes begin to fill with the Reiki energy. You can picture this as clear, White Light, filling the tubes.

Let this new warm energy flow through the tubes. Without any obstruction. Without any action on your part. Simply let yourself be aware of the energy moving through you, and down and out through your hands.

Know that the energy will go where it needs to. Be present in the moment with the energy, without placing any extra attention or action onto it. Let it flow. Unobstructed. THROUGH you. You are just the tube.


Once you are familiar with this visualization, you will be able to call upon the sensation of being “the straw” or “the tube” with just a thought. You can re-affirm yourself as a flow-through channel (or straw) for the Reiki whenever you feel the need.

The other important necessity for cultivating a state of compassionate detachment during Reiki treatments is so that you, as a human practitioner (and therefore someone who can be influenced by outside events and personal biases and emotional attachments), can stay “out of the way” of the Reiki energy. Reiki is Pure White Light. It is Divine in nature and works for the highest good. It is often very difficult, if not impossible, for Reiki practitioners to know or understand the entire scope of an issue, illness, or injury that a client has come to you to address. For one thing, most issues have more than one component to them – something is not purely emotional, as it may have started to manifest itself physically somewhere. Likewise some physical illnesses have emotional components that are contributing to it.

If you are concentrating on and trying very hard to, say, unblock the throat chakra, you will be spending a great deal of energy attempting to manipulate the Reiki energy (and likely putting some of your own energies in with it), and basically making it more difficult for the energy to just flow where it needs to, on the levels that it needs to go. This sounds like a catch-22. You want to be an active part of the healing process, but I’m telling you to stay passive. How can you do your job, if you’re being told to “not do anything”. This is indeed a hard concept for many Westerns, as we’re taught and trained from a very young age that “working hard” is extremely important to our success and efficacy as a person.

The key here is ATTACHMENT TO A RESULT. As a Reiki practitioner you want to be compassionately detached from the process. Ideally, you are an observer of the healing process, even as you are the facilitator. Remember, REIKI is the healer, you are simply the conduit for the Reiki energy. This means that you do your job with quiet concentration, but you also surrender to the flow of the energy. If you encounter a blockage, work to remove it, however if it will not budge let it be – take a few moments to gather whatever subtle impressions you can about that blockage, and then move on. You can address that blockage at a later date after you have gathered some extra information from the client, and after the rest of your energy work has had time to work on the client’s various bodies.

Practicing mindfulness meditation can go a long way in helping a practitioner cultivate that state of non-attachment and of "staying out of the way" of the Reiki. Mindfulness is also one of the most simple forms of meditation. You can practice it anywhere at anytime. You don't need to close your eyes, or sit a certain way, or have a candle, or anything else. You can practice while driving, or typing, or dancing, or cooking dinner. All you need to do is gently focus on your breathing. Practicing this for 5-10 minutes a day can make a remarkable difference in how you react to stress or unexpected situations, and will seriously improve your performance as a healing practitioner. Here is the outline of the most simple of mindfulness meditations (and they don't get much more complicated either).

Gently bring your consciousness to your natural breathing rhythm.

Don't try to change your breathing pattern, just notice it.

Now internally narrate your breathing. For example, "I am breathing in. Holding and breathing out. I am breathing in. ...".

Let your senses note and acknowledge any input - sounds, lights, etc - just keep your focus gently but firmly on your breathing.


That's it!!! Doing that for a few minutes whenever you think about it will start you down the path of cultivating a state of mindfulness. Get comfortable with that feeling of being very aware in the moment, but not getting overly involved with anything going on around you. Then take that mind-state with you into your next treatment.

This aspect of being a Reiki practitioner is the most challenging. Be patient with yourself, but also be vigilant. Do not get overly worried about details, simply stay in the moment with the energy. If you find yourself getting caught up in the procedure of the treatment, simply bring yourself back to your Straw/Tube visualization, and tune into the sensations in your hands. Reiki has a way of greatly facilitating the quiet state of mind that you are aiming for, with just a little mindfulness practice on your part, you will be well on your way to becoming quite proficient at this aspect of Reiki healing!

The Straw / Tube visualization is, in and of itself, a form of mindfulness meditation. It teaches you to stay out of the way of the energy. However, learning one or two other simple mindfulness meditations that you can use outside of the treatment room to reinforce the detached frame of mind, will also prove very valuable and useful.

If you'd like to learn other mindfulness meditations, or read up on the practice in a more in-depth manner, please visit 

 

. They have an extensive free online resource for learning mindfulness, including many guided meditations that you can listen to to get you on the right track. You can even order a CD of those meditation for your home use if you wish.

Remember, though, that just because this is “basic”, does not mean that it is easy to master! But by practicing mindfulness meditation you will become much more aware of your states of mind, you’ll learn to recognize the feeling of detachment, and you’ll be able to recognize when you are in (and more importantly OUT) of that frame of mind during a treatment.

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