While he’s walking through the garden the boy stubs his toe on a stone. He cries out in pain, sits down on the ground, and holds the toe with both hands.
Understanding ki, meditation, and theories about chakras is secondary to the simple act of laying your hands on an area that needs healing. You can practice Reiki with or without theories about how it all works. You can practice Reiki with or without meditation. While these things can help you in your practice of Reiki, they are not essential. They are not the heart of Reiki.
When I first learned Reiki I was a backpacker who was into Zen. I would practice seated meditation, eat a vegetarian diet, and would try to lead a pure life. I gave up alcohol and took up Tai Chi.
In the midst of all that striving, Reiki was a luxury. I could just lay down, rest my hands on my heart, and relax. I could focus my mind and Reiki would flow; I could think about football and Reiki would flow. This was incredible for someone like me, who always had a tendency to try too hard to be perfect. Finally I had found something that was so easy that even a child could do it. Easy, but I could already feel the transforming effects of the practice on my life.
Over the course of my journey I have explored, sometimes several times, all of the following: Zen meditation, Aikido, yoga, vegetarianism, chanting and prayer. But while these have come and gone, the most simple, and the one that continues to have the most positive effects on my life, has been the only one that requires almost no effort at all: Reiki.
When you touch Reiki you realise that it is love, whether you practice on yourself or receive a treatment from a Reiki practitioner. This love will melt your hardness, and for many people this feels like coming home at last.
This love accepts you as you are—what love doesn’t? The combination of love and acceptance creates a perfectly safe space for you, and within this space you are able to release the things that have been causing you pain.
Straying from the Heart
The most common block to effective Reiki healing is trying too hard. We desire to be good, and we desire to help others, but this can get in the way of healing. We wonder why this particular treatment isn’t progressing like we had hoped. We don’t want them to feel that this has been a waste of their time and money, and we certainly don’t want to feel that we lack the spiritual power to help them. So we try a bit harder, try to push more energy in to help the client release. We finish the treatment feeling exhausted.
The cure is to let go. When you let go of the desire to be good, to help, to be useful, to be powerful, you become free to be yourself. This is when you will witness the most powerful healings. When you let go of needing the client to change, you release them to respond to Reiki in their own way. This is when they will experience true healing.
On meeting Reiki most people immediately feel that simplicity and love are at the heart of Reiki. What takes longer to appreciate is a more subtle but equally powerful concept: unity. Each level of Reiki contains specific features that emphasise unity. At the first level we realise that Reiki is a universal energy of inexhaustible supply. You can connect to this energy no-matter where you are in the world and no-matter the state of your heart at the time.
During your healing work you may smile as you experience unity in the treatment room: you, the recipient, and Reiki are connected. You are not actually separate at all. The path of Reiki is an ever-strengthening realisation of this connection. The boy and the stone that he hurt himself on are both woven from the same materials, the same physical building blocks. Spiritually there is no separation between any of us at all.
As your realisation of unity deepens, your need to try at Reiki lessens. June Woods, my Reiki teacher’s teacher, used to say like a mantra “relax and let if flow.” As you embrace simplicity, love and unity you will find it easier to relax, and as you empty yourself of need, the power of Reiki will fill you.