It was 6:02 on the evening of the first session, and all 12 First degree Reiki students were checked in, seated, and waiting to start.
This was the first indication that I was sitting with an unusual group of people. Although enrollees are repeatedly informed that class starts promptly at 6, in Manhattan, I’ve learned that the first session’s “promptly” is a bit elastic.
But for this group, promptly meant promptly, and I sensed I was going to really love this class.
A usual people learning Reiki practice for the usual reasons
The group had the usual mix of people — a special-needs teacher, a physician, a yoga instructor, a martial arts practitioner, parents, patients, and someone who felt Reiki-incomplete after being initiated without training 10 years earlier.
And they came for the usual reasons — to live with more balance, and less pain and anxiety; to be more in touch with themselves; to heal loss, disease, side effects of treatment; to help others.
A glimpse of what was unusual about this group emerged two hours later, after their first full self-treatment in class. One woman felt “a gear shift” in her midsection, after which her mood brightened markedly (even if she hadn’t said anything, her glow was obvious, as if she were visually purring). Another felt himself “shift into low gear.” The details of the experience varied from person to person, but everyone reported a stronger sense of well-being.
The usual Reiki practice brings unusually astute self-awareness
After the first session, I ask everyone to practice full treatments at bedtime and when they awaken, and share their experience in the second session. This encourages the students to observe how they feel both during and after their practice.
The unusual became apparent as they shared their home experience. Some noticed sensations during self-practice, others not so much, but everyone noticed changes in themselves. This level of self-awareness doesn’t usually emerge in the first 24 hours of Reiki practice.
A real estate agent “ambled” home after class the first night (New Yorkers don’t typically “amble”), and liked this new way of being with herself.
She fell asleep during her evening practice, and slept unusually well. In her morning practice, she was surprised to feel agitated; even more surprised to realize that despite the agitation, she had dropped inside herself and was relaxed, aware, and energized when her self-treatment ended. Although she was just back to work after completing breast cancer treatment, the deep fatigue she’d been suffering lifted. Two co-workers noticed “she was herself again,” and so did she.
A young woman came to class wanting to shift out of her cerebral approach to life. She noticed a marked lack of anxiety in situations that usually set her pacing. She got up after completing her morning practice, then felt drawn from her heart to go back to bed and practice again. She followed her yearning and was rewarded with a heart opening that lasted all day.
One woman whose practice itself was unremarkable, noticed a remarkable lack of tiredness during the day. She was dubbed the “dog whisperer,” because from the first evening, her little dog, who usually had to yap a while to calm himself from the excitement of her coming home, now quieted down as soon as she touched him.
Today only, do not worry, do not anger
A man who was committed to his morning fitness routine fell into a deep sleep after practice both days, missing his exercise classes. He sensed this extra sleep was helping his body find greater balance, and his practice was connecting him to “the power of Now.”
A woman awoke without the usual back and knee pain. When she felt sensations in her knee during self-treatment, she understood that her body was sorting itself out.
One person ate more slowly. Another found her interactions with people to be delightfully uncomplicated. A wife sensed new freedom when her husband of 20 years brought up an emotionally charged topic, and she felt no reaction. Many spoke of being content within themselves, unaffected by the irritability of others. We joked about Reiki practice making New Yorkers nicer, one hand at a time.
One woman’s workday was transformed by ten minutes of practice while staring at her computer. Others shared about self-Reiki in less than private settings, leading to a comical riff on excuses when caught practicing self-treatment in public.
Yes, this was a usual group, looking for solutions to the usual problems. And yes, Reiki is a transformational practice that changes lives. But in two decades of teaching, I don’t recall an entire class easing so quickly from human doings to human beings.
The beauty and ease of this class seemed unusual at the time. Now as I reflect on it, I’m curious to see if this class was so unusual after all, or if it’s the new Reiki as usual.
How has your Reiki practice brought greater ease into your life? Please tell us in the comment section below.
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