The Evolution of hands on healers
By Erik Carlson, lmt, rmt
Last June I wrote an article entitled "There are no Reiki Masters", which explains that all Hands on Healing modalities, even Usui Reiki is a constantly evolving process for the practitioner and Reiki Levels are an American illusion. This month I thought you would like to read about my personal starts in Reiki and why some folks falter or walk away from this wonderful healing practice.
In the Beginning
When anyone first starts channeling hands on healing work (whether it is Reiki or other channeled healing work), beginners feel unsure of themselves and I was no exception.
Many years ago, I quite literally stumbled into my first Reiki class. My limited understanding of Japanese gave me a clue that “Rei” meant spirit and “Ki” meant energy, but at the time I figured it might be similar to Chinese Qigong (or inner energy work) and I was in for a surprise.
Today, Reiki is well known as a form of hands on healing practice. In this country it is taught in a series of attunement levels. After my level one attunement, I was working with healing energy, but as a newbie I was not comfortable. This initial attunement prompted me to question what I was doing with my life, what I was doing for a vocation, challenging a lot of old truths. At this early stage I had thoughts like; “Am I really channeling healing energy?”, “Am I any good at this?” and “I'm not sure if this works”.
Fortunately, my Reiki Master stretched the level I Reiki class instruction over four consecutive Thursday evenings. This gave the entire class time to practice on each other and to get a sense of what Reiki feels like and how the channel feels when we are moving energy. We were also attuned to level one more than once during this four week class. In one of those attunement sessions I saw a symbol in my mind's eye during the attunement. Which for a soon not to be muggle was amazing.
My Master teacher (Deborah O'Brien) also told me of a local Reiki Master who ran monthly Reiki shares in my area. I participated in some of these shares and gained more insights of this energy work. As beginners soon learn, the channel works best when the ego is not involved. This quieting of the monkey mind is very similar to mindful meditation; which is another practice I highly recommend, whether you are a healer or not.
After my level I classes, I spent one summer taking my oldest into Boston for summer art classes at Art Institute of Boston and I spent the mornings at the MFA or in Chinatown and the afternoons at Barnes and Noble reading anything and everything related to Reiki. When I read Diane Stein's book on Reiki I had confirmation of the Cho ku rei symbol I saw in my mind's eye and noticed that she used a form of Qigong breath work when passing attunements.
A year after my Reiki I attunement, I received mail from my Master teacher for an upcoming Level II class. Deborah believed in putting time between attunements so students can gain from their own experiences and to allow time for the mind/body/spirit to grow and evolve.
The Evolving Channel
Reiki attunements are like healing events and clearing events on multiple levels for the recipient. During an attunement, the body is raised in vibration from the process and it does open the chakras and creates subtle shifts in our belief system. Like kundalini events, meditation, Prana work and Qigong - all of these exercises open up questions about our connection to Spirit, with other people and in walking our true path.
After the Reiki II attunement, my teacher gave us period of meditation on her back porch. During this meditation, I visioned the Reiki symbols and hundreds of other symbols and a view of Kamakura Japan. Even today these new symbols are slowly being revealed to me and are part of a larger healing practice yet to be realized.
My Reiki teacher also recommended to keep a journal of my distant healing practices, because you might not hear from the distant recipient right away (or at all). But, this simple practice over time provided confirmations of what did work for the remote recipients, thereby gaining confidence in the distance channel.
Death as a learning experience
I once received an email from a friend living in another state about a family in distress. Their premature infant was in ICU and barely hanging onto life. That evening I quieted myself and began to distant send Reiki. About four minutes into the sending, my arms begin to vibrate and then flay back and forth. I stopped sending and an inner voice said that the child had passed. I emailed my friend and she confirmed that during the time of my sending the child had crossed.
Not long after this event, I lost a cousin to ALS. My brother and I traveled to be with our other cousins for the funeral. We were some of the first to arrive at the hall, I could already feel the growing distress of the mourners. After my prayers over my cousin's body, I sat down and decided to Reiki the entire group at the funeral hall. I worded my Reiki request carefully, so that those who needed to mourn and release could and allowed spirit to choose who could be connected with the channel. Instead of a mournful viewing and service; happier memories were exchanged and reminisced over. Pain and crying turned into a celebration of his life.
The Evolution continues
The original fears of practice evolved into a joy of offering service to others. It also created a natural curiosity of learning new techniques and holistic tools. My inner evolution has become filled with inner work, and feeling comfortable with energy fields we live in.
Several years passed before I took the Master level of Reiki training. I was close to the end of my engineering career and had been training in sound therapy, Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong (internal energy cultivation) and was looking at alternative career choices. By 2000, my Tai Chi Sifu had given me permission to teach Tai Chi Chuan.
One day I had a business meeting at another Corporate site and showed up early to work out at their fitness center. They also had an aerobics area and I questioned the center's instructor about potential Tai Chi classes. She told me that there was too many classes running concurrently, but she did tell me of a yoga studio in Chelmsford, MA that was looking for a Tai Chi instructor. I made a call to visit this center and the week before the appointment and in a dream; I met the owner and walked through the center. Before the start of the fall season, the center's owner invited me to a faculty party. Again, I met a woman in the dream time a few days before this party. This person was to become my next Reiki teacher who gave me the advanced Reiki training and Master attunement.
When the Student is ready, the teacher appears
My time at this yoga center became a rapid learning experience in mindful meditation, yoga, and other holistic health practices. And my new master teacher ran many Reiki clinics, which allowed her students and other practitioners to exchange information and techniques.
Over the course of several years a new teacher would appear and just as I would investigate another healing modality. In 2003, I met my current Shaman teacher and then met a powerful mindful meditation teacher. In 2005. I took an early retirement package from HP and one of my former Tai Chi students at the center became my boss as he operated an engineering consulting firm. The timing for this job was perfect, because it allowed me a day job and the opportunity to go to massage school to become a therapist.
And the journey continues as teacher, student, healer..... May your journey be filled with synchronicity.