I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Vagabond Temple’s Reiki course. I knew it had something to do with energy but it all seemed a bit ‘Harry Potter’ to me as I imagined myself using my energy field to levitate objects! As it turns out, there’s nothing magic or mystical about it: you just need to heighten your sensitivity and use your intuition to tune into the energy around you. Physical sensations are simply the manifestations of energy.
My fascination with energy grew out of my love for the theatre. We are all attracted to energy: it’s what makes the world move and it is in constant motion all around us. In the theatre, energy is the elusive quality that gives someone presence beyond their words or movements. It’s why a still, silent chorus member can captivate us over a loud, boisterous lead: energy! Reiki Level 1 seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn more about my energetic field and to find out how to recharge my batteries in moments of need!
In Japanese, Reiki literally means “universal life force” and is the gift of vitality and self-preservation that is encoded into the genetic make-up of all living things. We are all born with the omniscient wisdom to heal and preserve life but unfortunately these basic skills have been forgotten and are rarely used today. Somehow on a subconscious level we all know this, as we instinctively massage our temples when we have a headache or place our hands on a sore spot after a fall. Yet if we are not attuned to the universal life force we will only be using about 10-20% of its capacity for healing. Reiki reconnects us with the energy ‘web’ that is all around us and enables us to control and enhance the flow of energy in and around the body.
“In the deeper reality beyond space and time, we may be all members of one body”
- Sir James Jeans.
This ancient form of hands-on healing was rediscovered by a Japanese Scholar and Monk named Dr. Mikao Usui. It is a holistic approach that works on the mind, body and spirit by stimulating a person’s natural healing abilities. The Reiki healer channels and directs this energy with their hands so that the energy can flow freely and balance itself out across the body. It’s also one of the few integrated therapies that can be used for self-healing and is also safe to use on pregnant women, young children and the elderly. Yet I was still a little sceptical. Surely it wasn’t possible to connect to the energy current all around me?
“Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig”
- Marcus Aurelia.
Pazit- our engaging and energised Reiki Master- is a big believer in experiential learning. Rather than preaching to us about the benefits of Reiki, she got us to experience it for ourselves. The 4-day course takes a really practical, ‘hands-on’ approach and after talking briefly about a breathing exercise or hand technique she would get us to try it out for ourselves. After all, Reiki isn’t about thinking, it’s about feeling the 50 trillion cells inside our bodies and reconnecting with the universal life force! Madam Takata explained it best when she compared Reiki to radio waves. We cannot see them but we know they are all around us. When we turn on the radio and tune in to the waves we can pick up a radio show. Similarly, the universal life force is all around us; just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
During my first Reiki session I was surprised by how tangible the energy was. As soon as I walked into the healing room I immediately sensed a strong energy: my whole body began to tingle, as if I was feeling all of my cells in constant motion, bubbling around my body! The sensations were particularly strong in my hands and feet, which got very hot and started to pulsate over the course of the session. Yet I felt very calm and relaxed into hypnagogia, the lovely limbo state between sleeping and waking. I left feeling incredibly light headed- as if slightly drunk- but by morning my body felt balanced and I practically bounced out of bed at 5am (which is not a common occurrence!) What was really interesting was that my healer sensed coldness when she touched both of my knees. I hadn’t mentioned this to her but I had undergone double knee surgery two years ago. According to Pazit it takes a long time to get energy moving after surgery, explaining the cold sensations.
Playing the part of the Reiki ‘healer’ took me even further into unfamiliar territory. Although I had felt the power of Reiki, I was still unconvinced by my own healing abilities. Surely it takes years to master an art form as subtle and as intricate as this? Once again the Reiki energy proved me wrong as throughout my first healing session I felt a strong connection to some sort of life force. Sensations varied from changes in temperature to tingling in my hands but it’s incredibly difficult to articulate. In spite of its tangibility, it’s almost impossible to capture in words, perhaps because the realm of Reiki is beyond the limits of language! To my complete surprise my ‘patient’ felt similar sensations and ended the session feeling refreshed and revived!
While reading about Reiki really isn’t the best way to understand it I do hope I have encouraged you to try it for yourself. Science tells us that energy goes where the mind goes, so next time you’re nursing a sore head or dodgy stomach, why not place your hands on these areas for a few minutes and see if it helps to steady the mind and body. Sensitivity is not a supernatural ability: it’s a skill that everyone can develop as long as you remain open to the art. It gives us insight through instinct and whilst we might not be sure what each sensation means we do know that these sensations are the result of moving energy. We are not so much ‘healers’ but vessels that enable the Reiki energy to do its work.
“Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy”- Sai Baba.
Vagabond Temple offers Reiki Level 1 and Reiki Level 2 courses throughout the year, led by Reiki Master Pazit Barak. For more information please visit: http://www.vagabondtemple.com/reiki-healing-courses/
NB. Like a lot of Holistic practices, Reiki is not regulated so it is important that you research the Reiki master and the course curriculum to check that it covers the core principles. Try to avoid short courses that are less than 3 days.
-“Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing”- Caroline Myss
-“Kundalini Tantra”- Swami Satyananda Saraswati
“Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field ”- Barbara Ann Brennan
Thanks to @searching4conrad for the beautiful photos!