Because Reiki is available to people of any religion or none, everyone’s experience of Reiki is different. My background is in charismatic Christianity, which is the kind of religion that celebrates dramatic and exciting experiences of the Holy Spirit.
In the church that I grew up in, every Sunday we would see something amazing happen. Sometimes it would be a prophecy, or a testimony from someone whose life had been transformed by God. As people were standing and singing worship, church elders would walk around and lay their hands on the heads of congregation members. In almost all cases, that person would immediately fall to the floor under the power of the Holy Spirit.
The memories that stick in my mind most clearly are the exorcisms. During these exorcisms, you would see people convulsing on the floor and screaming as a demon was wrenched from within them.
With Reiki, it’s usually a lot more gentle than that. However I regularly experience energetic clearings which I call going away and coming back, which do have something on common with those dramatic exorcisms.
Going Away and Coming Back
The first part, going away, happens when I do a big stretch, usually when I’m feeling a bit stiff or tense. I feel energy rising up my entire body and build-up in my head. If it’s a strong clearing, I will then lose consciousness completely. It feels like consciousness goes somewhere entirely different, like another dimension.
Coming back happens when I regain consciousness moments later. It’s disconcerting as I need to remember fundamental facts: not just who I am (ah yes, Kit) and where I am (as I regain vision I don’t always recognise my surroundings), but everything else about this earthly existence. I have to remember that I am me and not you, that I am somehow separate. This all happens in the space of just a second or two.
When I first started having these experiences, I would collapse, and coming back happened when I was on the floor. I would feel the remnants of strong energies rushing through my system, and parts of me that had been held in tension were released. But I needed to find a way to understand what was happening: did I have a medical problem like too low blood pressure, or could I trust that these experiences were actually part of healing and cleansing my system?
I decided that I could trust the experiences. Although they were sometimes scary, I always felt a wonderful release. I felt cleared, like a power jet of water had flushed out my energy system, and my muscles always felt more relaxed.
I never expected these experiences to continue, but they have, and over the years I’ve learned to be practical about it. The first practical step I took was not to do a big stretch if I am in a public place. This means I don’t have to worry about what other people think if they see something strange happening. Second, before I do a big stretch, I check where I am. Is it safe for me to fall over here? A bed is ideal, but most important is to check I won’t get hurt if I fall. Third, I learned a little trick. If I can touch a physical object with my hand, I maintain a better connection with the physical realm. Even a very gentle touch is enough. During going away this small difference usually means I avoid collapsing, and it helps root a very spiritual experience in the physical, in my body.
As many years have passed, these experiences have mostly become softer, and I usually maintain some level of consciousness throughout the clearing, and I am no-longer so disconcerted during the coming back phase. However from time to time I am hit by a powerful one, which brings tremendous release but also fear as I am shaken about by the energy.
During Reiki courses and shares I have seen some other bizarre spiritual experiences that people can have when practicing Reiki:
- jolts as energy is released and transmuted through the practitioner to the earth. By jolt I mean that the arms or even whole body of the practitioner or recipient will involuntarily twitch. This is something like the twitches that people experience when falling asleep. The way I understand this phenomenon is that the receiver is letting something go physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Because the practitioner has merged with the receiver, they experience the release too. It is therefore important to stay grounded while giving Reiki, and not to hold on to anything. Just let any excess energy flow through you and into Mother Earth.
- Shaking, coughing, crying, laughing, and even shouting. People come to Reiki because they want to let go of heavy emotions and get healthy. Reiki facilitates this. It brings people to the point where they are ready to let go. But letting go is not always easy. As people relive traumas from the past, big emotions rise to the surface. The role of the practitioner is to support this person in whatever way they can find to make this release happen, whether that is in a dramatic fit (like in an exorcism) or through gentle tears. Often the emotion gets caught in the throat chakra just before it’s released. In this case, you can encourage them to vocalise. Use your intuition here. You could encourage them to say “I forgive you”, or to shout something out, or to laugh, to hum, or to sing. You’re just helping them by giving them a little push in the right direction.
- Clairvoyance of issues a client is facing, even issues from past lives. Remember that the client may not believe in this, so be wise in what you choose to share with them.
However for many Reiki practitioners, none of these things will ever happen. This is not a sign that nothing is happening; it is a reflection of the uniqueness of our personalities and our spiritual journeys. If you don’t have spiritual experiences, there is no need to seek them. If you do experience them, don’t become attached, as that can lead to addiction.
Whether your experience with Reiki healing is dramatic or mellow, stay grounded, and remember that just for today, I will receive gratefully.
The Vows of the Healing Buddha
This course closes with the vows of the Healing Buddha1The twelve vows of the Healing Buddha are paraphrased by Maureen J. Kelly in her book Reiki and the Healing Buddha. I have in turn paraphrased Kelly’s version.. These have always been an inspiration to me as I struggled to balance the desires of a grounded, earthly life and the unending spiritual quest for liberation from the material world.
Never lack the necessities of life.
Remain on the path of enlightenment.
Act in a wholesome manner and benefit all sentient beings.
Do not suffer or be sick.
Be peaceful and joyous in body and mind and have plentiful families and property.
Transform a negative way of life to a positive attitude to life.
Gradually cultivate and study the practices of a spiritual journey.
Be free from all sorrows and sufferings caused by restrictions that you are now free from.
Be provided with food and drink to nourish the body.
Be able to obtain clothing, precious adornment, incense, music and other arts.