Article by Phillip Hawkins
1. How did Reiki find you?
I have been asked many times what first attracted me to Reiki. The truthful answer is I didn’t know at the time or even give it much thought as to what interested me enough to find out what it was. At the time I was very much into martial arts; I had chosen to study Aikido for the spiritual development aspects of the discipline and I was helping my instructor with some research to see if it was financially viable to set up a centre of excellence in the area. During my research I came across a poster advertising a Reiki evening and I gave them a call. We had a lovely and lengthy conversation during which it was explained to me what Reiki was and I was invited to come along and see for myself, I accepted the invitation and that night my life changed in so many ways and the clock began ticking on many aspects of my life that would sooner or later have to come to an end.
The evening was relaxed and informal; the small group were very friendly and open but I quickly noticed that the conversation was guarded when the topic of Reiki was raised and this both concerned and intrigued me in equal measure. My curiosity was engaged but I also made sure my exit route was clear should I need to escape in a hurry, the first sign of chanting, cauldrons or green mist and I was out of there, through the door if possible but at a pinch any of the windows would have sufficed. Most Haunted has a lot to answer for but I had nothing to fear other than my own fear and uncertainty, and it was here that I met the lady who would become my first Reiki Master.
After a light buffet and refreshments we were asked if anyone would like to have some Reiki and at which point the host helped us make our way to the treatment room that occupied another part of the house. Two or three treatment beds had been set up and at this point Alison took the lead and the informal session got underway. The room was light and airy with what I would come to consider the obligatory cosmetics of candles, crystals, and water feature and ‘spiritual’ background music. Like many new to Reiki I looked around the room and mistakenly thought to myself ‘so this is what Reiki looks like’.
I had the same thought not so long ago; I was in traffic and noticed a lady stood at a bus stand. It was a grey damp day and I instinctively knew she could do with a little Reiki pick me up so while I waited for the traffic to start moving again I simply used my attention and intention to give her some Reiki. I was in my car devoid of any paraphernalia there wasn’t a candle, crystal or water feature in sight and the only music was the Eagles giving it large about the Hotel California on the radio and I thought to myself…. so this is what Reiki looks like.
I finally got my chance to take my place on one of the treatment beds and I remember that two or three students gently laid their hands on my head and shoulders, chest and lower legs. Any feelings of uncertainty were quickly replaced by a sensation that appeared to start outside of my body, yet I felt ‘it’ spreading inside and with this feeling of expansion came a sense of deep relaxation and heightened euphoria both at the same time. Although people were quietly talking to me I just wanted everyone to shut up so I could try and rationalise what was happening to me.
When I was asked how I felt it was like the spell had been broken and the euphoric relaxation began to ebb away I wanted to chase after it and try to hang onto it, I was hooked. I remember saying that I wanted to learn how to do Reiki, but more importantly I needed to learn how to become a Reiki Teacher so that I could help others gain the same kind of insightful awareness that I had just experienced.
Had I realised the price I would have to pay I may have had multiple second thoughts before setting out on that particular part of my journey. That incisive moment of realisation was both the beginning and the end. It was the beginning of my Reiki journey but it was also the beginning of the end for all of the things in my life that I would need to let go of so that knowledge and understanding could take their place, and healing of mind body and spirit could be the effect to their cause. This included ill health and disease, my marriage, my job and my home. We always assume that healing equates to the influx of good stuff all for the higher good and it does ultimately, but the process of elimination and detox can be a very painful and stressful process to go through as all of the negative and destructive thoughts, actions beliefs and values either fall away or have to be prised from our grasp as we try to hang onto what we believe to be ours, no matter how dangerous or self debilitating it may be. In many ways it was a high price to pay but it saved my life and set me on the path to discover my true self, the person I have become…… a work in progress.
2. What is your favourite symbol and why?
I don’t use symbols anymore. When studying the use of symbols in various Reiki disciplines the same phrase would crop up time and time again, ‘that it was our intent that made them work’ If this was true then it was our attention and intention that was creating the effect we desired. From this point on I simply accepted that symbols were no more than a teaching aid until we understood the power of our attention (what we focus on) and intention (what we choose to do about it)….energy follows intent. To prove the point in a Masters class I have used the symbol of a ‘yellow smiley face’ and achieved the same effect as if I was using any of the traditional symbols.
3. What do you think about Angels, Crystals?
Crystals; are beautiful things that have their own energy and some people have a greater affinity with crystals than others. My advice to students is to try everything so that your opinions are based on your own experiences rather than theory or another person’s beliefs. I have a collection of crystals but don’t work them I simply like having them around. Angels; are spiritual beings that have never incarnated in physical form. They are there to guide and support us but can only do so much and have neither the desire nor authority to override our free will. It is our life and we must live it. We make our choices and then have to live with the consequences of our actions. Once we realise what help is available it makes common sense to use that help to keep us on the right track. Angels like other spirit guides will advise on options available and possible outcomes. From then on it’s down to us.
4. What do you think of distant attunements? Do they work?
If we accept that distance Reiki works then we must also accept that distant attunements work. Both are made possible through our attention and intention because energy follows intent. What we focus on we empower or feed with our energy be it positive or negative. What we resist will persist so it’s better to invest our energy in what we want rather than resisting something we don’t want. Attunements don’t connect us to Reiki because we are already connected to the universe and it’s impossible for Reiki to exist independently of the universe or everything within it. Attunements help us recognise this fact and then develop our relationship with this universal energy through our attention and intention.
5. Can you share one of you most amazing Reiki experience?
I live approximately an hour and a half from the Lake District in Cumbria and just outside of Keswick is the stone circle of Castlerigg. Sometimes weather permitting I arrange to meet students there and we give Reiki to one another and anyone else who asks for it. Students have experienced some magical moments there, and tourists who know nothing of Reiki have commented on how different the energy feels inside and outside of the circle of stones whilst we are there.
6. How do you see Reiki 50 years from now?
Reiki will continue to expand and evolve. More and more information will come out of the east and Japan, people will continue to re-brand the Reiki format. The name may disappear as we move closer to the realisation that Reiki as we understand it is the distillation of knowledge and understanding which is formless and can’t be owned by any particular group or defined by a name.
7. If you could give just one piece of advice to a new practitioner, what would it be?
Sorry I am unable to give just one piece of advice. Student always be true to yourself, study hard and learn all that you can, then put the books down and through experience turn the theory into knowledge and understanding. Remember how little you know and never be afraid to ask for advice or guidance. Never ever put people on a pedestal but always respect others and their beliefs as you do your own. There is no such thing as a stupid question and if you can’t get the answer you are looking for….ask someone else and keep asking until you get the answer you need. Never ever take yourself serious…it’s very easy to lose your way with your head up your backside. Humour is the best way to raise our energy and above all else remember that what you do is important……but never serious.
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A Reiki practitioner since 1999, Phillip started teaching Reiki in 2000 and using those skills and abilities he has spent the majority of the last seventeen years working with a wide range of social and educational needs including Autism and ADHD. Working with addicts dependent on alcohol and drugs, people whose lives were extremely violent and abusive, and others who had to deal with severe mental health issues. This has enabled him to work extensively in the private sector, schools, colleges, education and care in the community, the prison service and psychiatric units.
In 2016, Phillip decided to semi-retire from full-time employment to concentrate on developing his career as a published author and the setting up of his Reiki personal development programme at the Chilton Community College.