Reiki First Degree Student Finds Her Voice

Reiki First Degree TrainingOccasionally I hear from practitioners who have had an uncomfortable experience at a Reiki share. A recent email by a First degree student was written so thoughtfully that I asked permission to share this example of choosing to heal. —

“I arrived at my first Reiki share excited and a little nervous.

“The diverse group of practitioners gathered in the room was intriguing. Some were younger and others older than me, men and women of different races. All were lovers of Reiki practice and the peace the practice imparts.

“The lights dimmed, the room became quiet, and we began practicing on one another. I eagerly climbed onto the table and relaxed as a middle-aged woman sat behind my head while our other partner, a young man, took his place alongside the table to practice on my torso.

“I closed my eyes as the woman placed her hands, and prepared to settle into a restful Reiki slumber. But I lost my composure when the man’s hands landed on me what felt like borderline territory.

“I was shocked, but didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to make a scene or disturb the others receiving treatment around me.  It didn’t occur to me in the moment that I could simply take his hands and move them to a more comfortable placement.

“Perhaps he realized his error; his hands began shaking and he kept moving them an inch here and there as if trying to find the right spot. He seemed nervous, unsettled.

“By the time he finally found where his hands belonged, I knew this Reiki session would not be a restful one for me. His hands were so unsteady – constantly shaking, moving every few seconds – that I stayed completely alert the whole time, finding it impossible to totally relax.

“When practicing in my First degree training, one of my practice partners commented on my “steady hands.” I didn’t think much of it at the time. Now I know better than I ever wanted to what a difference the practitioners’ confidence and steady hands make.

“Reflecting on my experience after the clinic, I am clear this was an unintentional gaffe on the part of the practitioner, who was overall respectful and well-meaning.

“Nonetheless, the experience was upsetting.

“I was surprised to realize that what unnerved me most was not his shaky, misplaced hands, but my own silence. I didn’t use my voice to protect myself.

“I wished I had told him immediately that his hands were in the wrong position and to please move them.

“I feel upset with myself that I did not speak up. Before this experience, I wasn’t so acutely aware that speaking up for myself was a challenge for me.

“Some might say this was an unfortunate experience. I cannot agree.  It was an uncomfortable experience, and sometimes growth is uncomfortable.

“Contemplating the experience has led me to recognize other places this reluctance to express myself shows up in my life, the ways I haven’t used my voice to protect myself, the ways I need to strengthen my physical boundaries and my sense of where I end and others begin.

“And I can now say with gratitude that among many other benefits, Reiki practice is helping me find my voice.”

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5 thoughts on “Reiki First Degree Student Finds Her Voice”

  1. I love this post! I can relate to the author, but in a different way. I have also been to numerous Reiki shares and have had experiences ranging from pleasant to not so pleasant. Each time, though, I am reminded of what my Reiki Master said during our First Degree Reiki Training: that it isn’t Reiki that can be dangerous, but the practitioner. I appreciate Reiki shares because they are a great way to meet other practitioners, learn their stories, and experience other “Reiki Hands,” but over time I have found that this is also true: the practitioner really does make all the difference. If you don’t feel comfortable with a practitioner (and vice-versa), it will profoundly affect your experience. Receiving a Reiki treatment from another person is deeply personal, and [I think] there has to be a certain degree of trust involved before both parties can be open to receiving the benefits of Reiki.

    I also applaud the author for realizing that it is her responsibility to speak up for herself when she is not comfortable. I feel like sometimes we don’t speak up because we don’t trust ourselves, or we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings. But if the “speaking up” comes from a place of trust and self-knowing, we owe it to ourselves to do so.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Jaime. It’s always good to read your perspective.

      Do you think there has to be trust to receive the benefits of Reiki practice itself, or are you saying that a sense of trust between practitioner and receiver enhances the experience?

      It seems to me that Reiki practice is beneficial even when it is not optimal or enjoyable.

  2. Judy Williams

    Thank you for the share of the experience. Experience and growth is often challenging and can be painful. To be able to find the positive in what at first glance appears to be a negative situation is a blessing.

  3. Kenneth Heikkila

    Coming from a man’s perspective, I know of at least one Reiki Master who doesn’t like to touch women at all above the knees, because he is afraid any touch could be perceived as “borderline territory.” I also know several woman Masters who never touch in a public session, though I don’t know their reasons. I try to be very careful myself, but really nearly any place on any body could be perceived as erotic to someone. I am of the school of thought that Reiki has a consciousness that will take it to where it is most needed and so in most situations where I don’t know the recipient well (especially hospital settings where it often isn’t easy to reach all the standard hand positions anyway) I tend to place one hand on the shoulder and the other on the hand, just do the head and shoulders or work the feet and ankles. In a circle I just try to be as careful as I can be, but I also hope that if it is not comfortable the recipient will mention it at the time, tactfully.

  4. Very thoughtful reflection on the relationship dynamics that can “make or break” a reiki treatment. Also, a good reminder to me to ask for more information when someone tells me they had a “bad experience” with reiki. It may have been more about the therapeutic relationship than the reiki.

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