Okay you guys and gals, there’s a conversation that started this week that I’m sure many many more voices can chime in on! In the world of energy-work (whether it be Reiki, Healing Touch, or something else) what has your experience been? Have you ever had a session? What did you feel? Was there a noticeable outcome? Are you a practitioner? What’s it like from your side of the table? Do you really believe this kind of thing works or is it all a bunch of hooey? Why am I asking so many questions?!
This week on KS95, morning hosts Ryan and Shannon were talking about Reiki. I love listening to these two because so often they bring up topics that aren’t mainstream, but that are entirely part of my world here at Llewellyn…ghosts, spirit communication, psychic ability, past lives, energy… It’s so entertaining (and kind of bizarre) to hear these kinds of things bantered about on a mainstream pop station without mockery. Well, maybe some mockery, but it’s in good fun and there’s great discussion about the validity of this or that.
So when Ryan mentioned his recent experience with Reiki I was especially interested to hear what he thought about it. He had a fall a while ago that left him with a hip pain and while he was on vacation he ended up going for a Karuna Reiki session to see if it would help. During the session he felt a lot of heat, mentioned there was some temporary pain relief, and was pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing. Shannon was not quite convinced, though. I volunteered to give her a trial session so she could see what it’s all about before solidifying her opinion. You can watch the video of her experience here:
Energy Work and I
I started studying energy work about ten years ago. I have been trained in Reiki, but I work non-traditionally, meaning I don’t follow the standard hand positions or “order” of progression that’s recommended. Instead I follow the energy and my intuition, something I gradually learned to trust more during a three-year training program and years of real-world practice. I’ve done sessions as a hospice volunteer to ease suffering and for friends and family to stop migraines, ease stress, assist through emotional trials, and more. For a couple of years I also provided it as a service in spas and healing centers. Now it’s mainly a healing hobby and a sharing of knowledge, so I was glad to be able to offer an example.
In the end Shannon wasn’t convinced and that’s okay! Check out audio from the show here.
I know from experience that this isn’t a modality you can fully explain. It’s like trying to define love. It has to be felt and even then it’s not always consciously understood or sensed. I also know from experience that it’s not worth trying to prove it. I’ll offer a sample session as an example to anyone who’s skeptical, but I try not to worry about whether it will be labeled good/bad or real/fake in the end, because I have no control over that and if I tried I’d stifle the flow of energy. Each session and each person can be so different, so sometimes you really feel what’s going on and sometimes you don’t.
Three reminders: ego has no place in energy medicine, you can’t force the exact desired healing request to occur, and the energy goes where it’s most needed.
Similar to energy work, I’ve been doing yoga for more than ten years and I think it’s the best thing ever, even more-so than chocolate (that’s saying something)! But in a recent class there was a newbie who didn’t seem convinced. I could tell he wasn’t getting much out of it. I could almost hear him thinking, “This is bologna! What’s this doing that I can’t get from lifting weights or running?”
In my view, yoga is to exercise what energy medicine is to bodywork. It’s the subtle version. You’re doing a lot of work, sometimes even more so than with the more obvious physical option, but until you actually notice the benefits it can be harder to grasp why it’s worthwhile. “Give it at least 10 sessions,” the instructor said to him. “Then judge whether it’s helping and if you like it or not. You won’t be able to tell until you give it more of a try and see how your body responds and what the benefits for you will be.” Maybe he will give it a try before fully judging it or maybe he won’t. When you need yoga, you find it and you know its benefits. It’s the same with energy work and so many other complementary and alternative options.
Even I Forget
In my own experience, the most powerful Reiki session was probably around number eight. It blew my away. If you’ve ever had that x-ray ink injected into your blood you know the sensation of heat running from top to bottom throughout your body. It felt like that, starting like an orgasmic explosion at my heart and pulsing like waves up and down from head to foot. My eyes shot open in alarm to see the practitioner’s unmoving hands inches above my chest, her eyes closed; she had no awareness of the powerful shift that had just occurred, but I’ll never be able to forget it.
That experience is my reminder of how powerful this modality can be and also clues me in to why it is often misjudged. I’d gone for her to help with pain in my arm and didn’t see benefit for that ailment from the session, but the energy goes where it’s most needed and obviously my heart was where it was at. If I hadn’t felt the shift, I might have assumed since my arm was the same that nothing had actually occured.
I’ve felt and seen first-hand what energy work is capable of, and still I need to remind myself. As a practitioner even I sometimes disregard it, forgetting its power. I forget to give myself sessions. I choose to pay for a massage consistently instead of energy work. When our day-to-day lives are based so much in the physical…the tangible world we see, taste, touch…it can be so easy to dismiss the more subtle parts. But when I finally have a session again I’m reminded how beneficial it can be, how much it actually effects things, and I wonder at how I could ever forget.
But enough from me, what about you? Are you an enthusiastic Ryan or an unconvinced Shannon? No matter which, we want to hear from you!