Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Journey Into Non-consensus Reality: My Reiki I Experience

I took a Reiki I class back in June and had a very perception-shifting experience that has taken me a little bit of time to grasp what it all means. There are a number of experiences that I had outside of consensus reality (the world as it is seen by the crowd), not all of which I take at face value and not all of which I understand. At this point I definitely believe that there is a type of energy (different systems call it qi, chi, prajna, orgone, ...) existing all around us, often called auras when it is concentrated around living beings. Barbara Ann Brennan's Hands of Light catalogs several scientific studies that corroborate these energy fields. Some of the other experiences may be things that my unconscious mind manifests in order to make sense of the information conveyed by this energy. Either way, reiki is a wonderful way to show compassion to others, to feel what is happening inside my own body and psyche, and to relax into my self. There is a lot left for me to explore and understand. I have been putting time and energy into these explorations ever since. This past weekend, I took the class for reiki 2 attunements, so I have some new tools in my belt. Here's where the journey begins. I am glad that I had the foresight to type my day's experiences immediately after the class. Here's what I wrote on that day with only cosmetic editing. My experience at Reiki I training

Today I took Reiki I (one) training with Eileen Dey founder of the Reiki Training Program. I entered with an open mind, but did not have expectations especially high. It’s a day long class designed to teach me about and train me for this first level of reiki practice. I have been studying qi gong and taiji to prepare myself for energy work, after all the ki, qi, and ji are all the same word and come from the same place. Some very unexpected and extraordinary things happened to me today that made me a believer. They’re in fact so inexplicable from my common understanding of how the world works, that I feel the need to get these written down before I forget anything.

I have only had one reiki experience in the past. A friend whom I met in college once gave me a reiki session remotely from Hawaii. I have always thought of her as being amazingly in tune with the spiritual side of things. For the session, we had arranged the time on the phone, and planned for me to lay on my bed, sending my thoughts out of my body toward her. She channeled the reiki energy into me, and it was a warm and opening experience. I remember feeling connected to the world, balanced like when leaving a spa, and being bathed in a color (I think it was a crisp green-apple yellow-green… though maybe she told me this color herself). Now, a few years later, being more in touch with myself and the energy of the universe, I have decided to try it for myself.

Somehow the other students who had signed up for the class today did not make it, and I ended up have a 1-on-1 session with the instructor—which has its pros and cons, certainly. Two pros being that I get more direct attention and that it does not prime me with the words of others. Not knowing anything about the language or the way that others saw this, I was free to associate things for myself. The class started with Eileen asking me what brought me here, what experience have I had with energy work, massage, acupuncture, etc., then she explained her path to this point in reiki to me, and then transitioned into some theory. The first “hands on” work was just noticing energy flow from our hands in a number of light-hearted experiments against my hands, her hands, a plant of hers, and some cut flowers. I believed that I could feel energy flowing, though I was not sure if I was creating this in my own mind.

After some of this, some theory, some history, we proceeded to the first of two Reiki I attunements, which the Reiki Master passes down to her/his students. An attunement is a way of adjusting the spiritual antenna that we all have to better channel the energy (reiki), and it will stay with the receiver for ever. (“So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.” –Caddyshack)

Eileen prepared the room for this, and called me in when I was ready. The lights were lowered, some relaxing music was playing, and there was a chair in the center of the room. No incense was burning or other smells, except maybe for some faint rose water. I sat in the chair, and following Eileen’s calm voice, I gave myself permission to receive the attunement. It started off as guided meditation, and I kept my eye lids partially open as I usually do when I meditate. I soon noticed someone standing to the front-right side of me, but could only see a vague outline. I thought that Eileen really moved quietly, and then I heard her behind me, and realized that it was not her. I slightly opened my eyes to look and no one was there. So I closed my eyes again, and I chalked it up to just something from my unconscious. As Eileen touched the top of my head (known as the 7th chakra), I twitched a touch and smelled sandalwood, then got a clear image of my ex-fiancée in my mind, and with my next breath, I inhaled to fill up the image. As I exhaled the image faded away. The rest of the attunement went by and felt very warm and nurturing, I noticed some sensations here and there, though I did not realize then that the important connection had already happened for me.

After this, it was time to break for lunch, and over lunch I realized what had happened. In that moment of smelling sandalwood I forgave myself for breaking up with my fiancée (and maybe also forgave her, too—though I think that I have done this already). It was immensely gratifying. When I came back from lunch, I told this to Eileen and she got goosebumps. For the first time when I told her something, she really engaged and shared her opinion. She said that she felt "truth" in this, and she did not say this just to validate me. She said that she noticed something like this during the attunement, and that this made complete sense with what she was feeling. It was a powerful moment of realization for me.

Next, Eileen and her boyfriend R (who’s also a reiki practitioner; abbreviating because I never asked his permission), helped demonstrate to me. Eileen showed me how to perform a sitting reiki treatment with R receiving, then we moved on to R lying on a massage table with Eileen passing energy into him through both touching and non-touching. As she worked on R, they invited me to join, which I did tentatively. While doing so, I could feel energy from R and at times felt a lot of heat in my hands. At some times I felt the air around my hands become very dense, other times cold, and warm. During the warm parts, I began to perspire in my upper body. At one point, my hands were drawn to the space over his forearm, and I felt something jar me back a few inches. I continued to focus on it, and wondered why Eileen also did not focus on his other forearm. It felt so strong to me, but not to her. I found out later than he had actually a minor injury in his right elbow, and I must have been feeling that. It really is noticeable.

Next, R and I channeled reiki to Eileen, and R had his own way of going about it, different from Eileen’s. He was very indirect, focusing his two hands on points around the troubled spot and working to have the energy flow between the spots. As we worked I felt a different kind of energy. At one point it felt cold to me, then switched to warm, and when I commented on it, Eileen said that it had just transitioned from warm to cold for her in the place that my hands were over. There were a number of other coincidences like that, and one point where I felt a bunch of stuff knotted up in the air above her lower back (she was face down). The feeling struck me to do something that I had not seen either of them do, I put my hands together in an inverted prayer position and pointed them into that spot on her back, without touching. I drew my hands apart slowly lengthwise along her spine and she murmured hazily: “you’re stretching me like taffy.” R’s eyes opened wide and he looked at me. “Did you hear that? She felt you pull her aura open.” I was not touching her, and it wasn’t a textbook reiki trick, and still she felt exactly what I did.

Then it was my turn, and R left, so Eileen worked on me alone. I felt many sensations during this. She started at my head and worked down my back on the right side, then down to my right leg. While working on my right leg, I felt her place a hand on my right shoulder (thumb, index and middle fingers) pressing fairly firmly, and thought that she was working back up my body, only to feel both of her hands on my feet. I realized then, that it wasn’t her hand at all. At that moment, I remembered the vision from the attunement and told her about the feeling on my shoulder and the shadowy person. This seemed to really strike a chord with her, because she engaged me in conversation about it. We talked some about this, and about the kind of energy that I was feeling. She asked if it felt like a being of light, but to me it didn’t. It was vague and like a silhouette, dark, a Shadow Being. She said that she could sense something in the air as I spoke about the shadow being, that it felt earthy and vaguely masculine (though she wasn’t convinced on this point), and impish—like an earth sprite. To me, there was a wildness to the hair and a mysterious nature. I was unsure of its motives, I couldn’t tell if it meant to have some fun at my expense or it was going to provide some brutal truth. It seemed a bit like a guide, like an Inuit scout maybe feral, maybe an Indian (South Asian) guru. It was very vague. Very powerful, there’s something to learn here. The feeling soon faded.

Following the session there was a small break, then Eileen prepared the room for my second attunement. As I sat in the chair, the shadow being appeared right away. It showed up in front of me and at the right side again. It approached me, I opened my eyes and didn’t see it, but closed them mostly and felt it again. And Eileen was still across the room. I felt it come close and encircle my head with its arms, then place them on my head. I peeked again, still Eileen was across the room. Shortly after, Eileen started by touching my head in the same place. Throughout the whole time, I felt the being weaving in and out, as part of the experience. Sometimes it was away, other times right there.

Afterward, when Eileen asked me to share how it felt, I told her that the shadow was definitely there, no doubt about that. She knew it, too. She said that it was there helping her the whole time, very noticeable. From her experience, beings sometimes show up for people practicing reiki, and she knows about a few. She urges me to make space for it to come back again, which I certainly intend to do. And I’m very interested into digging into some more reiki in order to understand it’s message.

It is clear to me that there’s a message. I felt that the being was a little playful with me: “what has taken you so long? Why have you waited until now to open up to me?” I also feel that it intends to guide me to something, that it has a purpose for me. If I give it space and let it come in, it has a mission for me.

I am amazed by all of this. I certainly do not feel that this was a primed experience in any way. I cannot think of anything that lead me to believe that something like this was possible. And it feels and seems quite tangible and truthful to me. I hope that in the future when I notice it, I notice it for real and that it’s not just my mind making up something to fit these thoughts, since I am now primed.

I cannot know if it’s truly a being of energy, something beyond the world that we know of, or something that my unconscious mind really knows about me and wants to share. Maybe it is just a personification of my unconscious mind or of some pain that I still have. I cannot know what reiki really is or why it is (and I really don’t care… I think that trying to know it may only get in the way of what there is to learn). I’m a little scared of this shadow being, and a bit hesitant to share these thoughts with others. I realize that it must sound a little like new age mumbo jumbo. Though, to me it feels absolutely real. I’m glad that I’ve taken the time to write it all down; since memories of real situations and memories of thoughts look the same in my mind--I sometimes get confused.


  1. Memories are past-tense. Hard to accurately record the now. These picture-taker and note-scribbling types have the delusion of memory, but what they remember is the picture or note, not the experience. I can't remember much, it takes too long to play back... :) I can't imagine the future either, too much will happen that I can't predict. There is only the now.


  2. Patrick,
    That's a crucial point to remember, and absolutely plays a role here, too. Thank you for the reminder.

    Psychologically living in the past and looking to the past for answers is a different task than resolving the past in the now. And I have to say, there's a lot for me to learn about myself in the now by reanalyzing my memories. Analysis of the memories though tells me only about my present self, not about my past self. Something that is often challenging to keep in mind.

    This idea spawns a new type of meditation for me that I will give space to.

  3. Oh my, I have so much to say and not much room- I too have had spirits with me durring reiki, mainly Uriel- but I have also had helpers appear and one time I swore the practioner had her hands on my collar bone area, but when asked she said she never put her hands there- where you get treatment is important too. I currently have an option of a unity church and spiritual shop, but I choose the church b/c they prepare the sanctuary and just walking in the building is a form of treatment b/c you are in a higher vibration.

  4. Jesalyn, thank you for sharing this.