As the New Year approaches, our thoughts often turn to letting go of the old, making new plans, and forming New Year's resolutions. The New Year is our chance to reinvent ourselves, to take stock of what we have experienced over the past year and what we hope to welcome in as the seasons turn. This year in particular, with its incredible changes in the political climate, the economy, and encroaching environmental problems, turning within and finding our personal spiritual sustenance becomes all the more important, necessary even, to maintain a balanced and positive outlook as things, materially, may be crashing down around us. One of the best ways to begin our new year, a new project or plan or even one new day is by setting a clear intention. By taking time to do this very simple act, we can start to reprogram our entire lives with a positive outlook and clarity. Setting a clear intention in our day, and more specifically healing, is just one of the concepts explored in my book The Sacred Path of Reiki: Healing as a Spiritual Discipline.
Setting a clear intention is like shooting an arrow into the future. The more precise the intention is, the better the aim to hit your target. The purpose of setting an intention is the final destination and not the way we arrive. The journey usually unfolds in unexpected ways and being open to that makes it all the more interesting. We can set intentions for several reasons: to manifest abundance in our lives, to be more connected to a community that supports us, to change our livelihood, to open ourselves up to a more loving relationship. How this manifests specifically is not the important aspect of setting the intention. Again, thinking of our intention as an arrow, hitting a target, we look at the target, not the flight path. In the same way, once we have a specific intention we want to shoot into the Universe, we are calling that future, that dream towards us, pulling our destiny into the present moment.
When we decide to set an intention for our lives, it is best to do so in a positive, present and affirmative manner. We want to avoid negative intentions, such as "I will not eat sugar," but instead, "I intend a healthy and nurtured body." In this way we are affirming a positive existence, not cultivating a sense of guilt or inadequacy. For example, instead of intending more money to flow into our lives, we might try to set our intention in a more present and joyous way, such as: "I am loving the abundance in my life." This allows us to begin to shift out of a poverty mindset into one of abundance and wealth. Another way to look at this is, if you want more, desire less. Again we are attempting to pull our destiny, our deepest desires into a state of Nowness, of eternal presence that honors all of our being and our capacity to be overflowing with love and peace. We are shifting our way of looking at the world as a place that does not have enough for us, but instead is in a continuous abundance with us.
In my book, Sacred Path of Reiki: Healing as a Spiritual Discipline, setting a clear intention is the first of six Reiki Warrior tools. The Reiki Warrior philosophy is a way to incorporate deeper spiritual components into the healing practice of Reiki. In this way, the art of Reiki spills over into the rest of our life, promoting a balanced, mindful, and inner peace. By working with the first Reiki Warrior tool, we can set clear intentions throughout our daily life. For example, when I wake up in the morning, I dedicate the day to helping sentient beings, or others in a way that benefits them. This immediately gets me out of my head and ego and into the spacious, peaceful aspect of my being. I intend that beings benefit from my actions, my words and my thoughts in a way that promotes an over all sense of ultimate joyousness. Beginning the day with this does not always mean that each and every moment I have is blissful and perfect joy as, after all, we are working out various karmas here on Earth, yet it does become a gentle reminder that if I am not benefiting others, there is not much purpose to my actions, words, or thoughts.
As we move through life, often at a hectic pace, we may forget to stop for a moment and be quiet or still. To breathe even, really breathe, let alone set intentions. This is very important to begin cultivating in our life, in order to start accessing that stillness within. Setting aside a mere five minutes a day to simply breathe and be still is the first step to make before setting our intention. Choose a time in the morning or evening when you can be quiet for a few minutes to concentrate on your breath and then set your intention for the day or week or month. Make a habit of this, write your intention down and put it up where you can see it, allow it to become your mantra and then watch how it affects your life positively.
As time goes on, we may find we need more than five minutes a day, that we have the desire for a stronger practice to begin doing the deeper work of true healing. Healing is synonymous with change and often requires a closer look at our traumas, pain and suffering that we hold close to us in an effort to suppress them. When we are forced to strip down aspects of ourselves and let go the old to make room for new, we often fight change, having become overly attached to our habits. Resistance can lead to blockages and intense bodily reactions that can and do happen in the form of stagnation, illness, and disease. Although this is often incredibly painful emotionally and physically, this is also a moment of opportunity, a healing crisis as we say in the alternative healing world, a chance to explore what is most meaningful and gives us a true sense of wholeness and power.
As a Reiki Master who spent the last seven years working in India, I have encountered my fair share of people in a healing crisis. Often times when people who have health issues and are in a place of intense pain in their life, seeking healing in India is their last resort. I was fortunate to work with many people who had given up on Western medicine and were breaking out of the old system, their culture, and even their beliefs to try something new. Because of this, many of my clients were very open to the alternative healing in the form of Reiki and we were able to travel deeply to find the more significant sources of disease. The hands-on Reiki healing, use of symbols, chakra work, aura balancing, and revitalizing techniques are all incredible ways to work on all the levels of our being: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
In healing work the primary intention is of course health and wellness. This is accessed in Reiki when we begin our healing session for ourselves or others with our Reiki prayer. Placing our hands together in prayer position is the first step in setting our intention. This gesture also works like an offering, a bow of respect to the Reiki and the Reiki Masters that have come before us to initiate us into this incredible healing art. Pressing our palms together at our heart center also lightly presses points of the ten meridians that run through the body, activating the healing flow or Ki within. We then call on the Reiki Masters and Reiki energy to guide our healing session. This mentally enables us to surrender to the healing Reiki and allow it to pass more effectively through us, into our clients.
Over time, I found that the most powerful tool in the healing session is the action of setting a clear intention. On a basic level, this simply involves the healing practitioner taking the time before beginning the healing work, to intend wholeness, love, and clear light. But on a deeper level, as a Reiki practitioner, you can use the Reiki session to intend even more precise outcomes for your client. This must be discussed with your client, who will often come up with the intention themselves, when asked, for the session. I have found that the more specific the intention, the more precise the target, the more powerful the healing session. It is as if the words of intention are the power that works to open up the light and love of immense Reiki energy and allow it to pour through me and into my client, assisting them in the needed healing transformation.
We must also remember that each person's journey to gain wholeness is going to look different. By refining our intention into a more precise method, we have a better chance of benefiting the client. This may take a few sessions to determine and requires the effort from the client as well as the healer. For example, the first session may be the general intention of wellness and healing. Afterwards we may discover the client as a particular emotional problem with her father and we will intend working with that in the next session, which will most likely unlock the deep pain that is stored in the body. To close the session we may intend grounding and clearing to further the healing process in opening up to peace. We may do further work to intend the reclaiming of power so the client can move into a place of strength and harmony.
Also, it is important to remember that on a deeper level, each of is already healed and whole. We are each just trying to remember that we are indeed a being of light and love and it seems we have to journey rather far at times to remember this, reclaim our own beauty and power and then radiate it outwards to the world. At the end of each and every Reiki session, as well as at the end of my own day, I visualize my client or myself dancing in light, whole and full of love. I am remembering the aspects of our Self that is ultimately perfect and at peace, that is indeed not separate, not suffering but instead quietly still, immensely joyful and perfectly Reiki.
This season, as change winds her magic through the air, as we face an immense overhaul of our society and the world, let us try to intend a season of beauty and peace. Let us remember that we are indeed whole, that each of us is on that arrow flight path somehow, someway on an intense journey. That although each of us has very different ways of getting to that inner peace, to that ultimate joy, that is indeed the intention of all human beings and the intention of the Universe itself. As the New Year rolls in, as we welcome the turning of dark into light once again, let us sit down with loved ones and make an intention, set a clear intention of positive affirmation to enjoy our lives every single day.
Katalin Jett Koda (Portland, Oregon) is a visionary author, tarot reader, energy healer, reiki master, and queer mystic. She has been deeply intimate with the natural, non-human, liminal worlds since she was a child. After a ...