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Archive for December, 2010

It’s official: I have been “attuned” as a Reiki practitioner. And I am still torn between wanting to believe and wanting not to believe.

My teachers at Memorial Sloane-Kettering, Wendy and Michelle, described the introductory Reiki course as an “initiation.” There was a small amount of lecturing, where they gave the history of Reiki as they practice it, but most of the class revolved around four initiation ceremonies.

We sat in a circle and meditated quietly while Wendy and Michelle went around to each participant, placing their hands on our heads, shoulders, and finally taking our hands. It was very ritualized (and weird in that respect) but also extremely relaxing and powerful.

The end of the class was devoted to hands-on practice time. We paired up and gave each other Reiki, both in a chair and on a massage table. We were also assigned “homework” that is required for moving on to Level 2. Unlike with massage therapy, Reiki practice is centered around self-treatment. So our homework involves integrating Reiki practice into our daily self-care routines.

What kind of Reiki student am I at this point? Curious, to be sure. And still skeptical. I have done some self-treatment sessions and have found them to be pretty relaxing. I’ve also tried it out a little bit on a couple of my clients.  Sometimes I “feel” the Reiki and sometimes I don’t.

In the week before my initiation I received a Reiki session from one of my colleagues. Her hands felt very hot. The session was short, only 1/2 hour, and it felt like it went by very fast. I didn’t feel any obvious flow of energy like I have during acupuncture treatments, but I did feel a weird sensation like I was floating at one point. And at the end, I was completely exhausted.

A few weeks after the initiation I received a “hands-off” chair Reiki session from another colleague. I could feel the heat generated by her hands but I was distracted by the sounds of her swallowing and by the smell of her perfume. I am so accustomed to massage therapy, to being touched, that the hands-off approach didn’t really click with me.  The experience was similar to the one I had when a Reflexologist worked only on my feet for an hour.  The rest of my body was cranky and felt neglected.

I was unsure of what to expect before I went to the Reiki training. Part of me anticipated some kind of seismic shift in my consciousness and that part of me is a little bit disappointed. The rest of me, though, feels like my experience was adequately challenging and enlightening and I don’t really need a “thunderbolt” experience.

For many years I have been aware of energy in hands-on bodywork but I have not made much of a conscious effort to work with it. I am hoping that, by continuing to experiment with Reiki, I can develop a useful framework for tapping into the energetic connection that exists between people.

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