Article by Angie Webster
The question of how Reiki truly serves and what its actual purpose is meant to be became a real focus in my life in the last year or so. You could say I experienced a sort of a Reiki dark night of the soul. It was a spiritual crisis and a physical crisis. I had ongoing health issues, which greatly frustrated me, especially in the beginning. But perhaps even more difficult for me was the fact that I began to feel very cut off from Reiki. I felt disillusioned with the ways I saw it being presented in the world, discussed and taught. This beautiful spiritual practice, which had supported me for so long now felt fake and foreign to me. And I felt fake for feeling that way.
I discontinued all my clients. I stopped writing articles. I took a long sabbatical from my Reiki work and allowed myself to explore my feelings and Reiki. For a while, I continued to do self-Reiki practice each morning before meditation. But I felt so disillusioned that this often left me feeling hopeless and upset. Soon, I even began to feel as though Reiki itself wanted me to stop. I felt resistance and push back when I attempted to place my hands on my body or to mentally invite the flow of Reiki. I listened, and I stopped for a few months. Instead, I continued to meditate and to ask for inner guidance about what the next step on my path was.
In many ways, I felt like Reiki had abandoned me or like perhaps the Reiki part of my life was over. I knew enough to trust that a Higher Power was guiding me. Even though I didn’t want to, I surrendered and waited. I trusted, even though I felt no connection and felt physically and spiritually drained, that I would be shown the way eventually. After all, this was not my first walk through the dark night.
I now see that this was how Reiki chose to work with me during those months. It was allowing me the space to figure out that Reiki is not something external that I call upon to “fix” or change something I find unpleasant. It was holding space for me to find that Reiki is a part of me, always inside my heart, no matter what I experience. I had said it a million times, but I needed to really have a personal experience with it to truly understand.
What I came to understand and value about Reiki during my walk in the darkness it that Reiki is not about denying the dark, avoiding unpleasant realities, and pushing away what we don’t want to see or deal with. It isn’t about being a psychic or a medium or even sensing energy. Reiki is about honest acceptance of what IS. Just as like any healthy spiritual path, Reiki helps us to see Truth. And that is not just light, love, happiness, and lovely experiences. It includes all things.
Reiki is a spiritual tool which teaches us resilience. It allows us to face and acknowledge the difficulties of life without expectations. Not expectations that things will change or that they will go the way we think they should, or that other people will behave as we think they should, or that our bodies and emotions will always feel pleasant. Simply allowing what it to be what it is.
Part of my process was remembering that Reiki practice isn’t just a hands-on practice. It is a meditative practice, which includes the Reiki precepts. When I began working with the precepts again, I started to settle back into this state of being an observer of my own inner world. I could allow what I saw inside me to arise without denial or looking away when I worked with the precept of “I will do my work with honesty.” The ‘work’ was my own inner work, not external work. It was not work meant to make my body change how sick it felt, or to change any aspect of my life I was unhappy with. It simply started with resting truthfully with what I saw arise each day in meditation. Ironically, this was exactly where I had started many years before—even before I knew about Reiki. And I remembered that this honesty with myself and allowing of what IS naturally created changes in my life, almost without effort. It changed the way my mind worked, allowing it to be more open to new ways of seeing myself and therefore others. It opened me to compassion and brought clarity that led to focus and discipline. It opened me to self-responsibility. I was seeing with fresh eyes. The eyes I had when I first began practicing Reiki and when I first began meditating, years before that.
I soon realized that this open state of allowing was just what made me fall in love with Reiki when I first came to know the practice. See, when I first became attuned, I had very few people to practice on. But I loved being outdoors, so I would walk in the wooded areas and by the creek and just open my heart and allow loving energy to flow to the land, the water, the animals, the plants, the trees. I felt so alive and connected! I felt and saw Nature respond to me in the same loving manner. Birds, rabbits, squirrels, butterflies and dragonflies would come from all directions to connect in this loving energy. And I sent love to them all. I had no agenda. I didn’t want any of them to do anything, such as lie down, stay, come closer, let me touch them—nothing. I wasn’t trying to heal them or figure out what was wrong. I was simply with them and Nature with what was and in this loving energy that I now call Reiki.
This is how I practice Reiki with animals. In fact, animals don’t tend to respond well if you try to focus on “fixing” them or healing them. But with myself and with people, it became about what needed to be fixed. Even though it crept in subconsciously, I recognized that this was where I had come to in my practice. Reiki had often become about what was wrong and that was where the focus typically was. But that misses the point because Reiki doesn’t need us to find what it “wrong.” We aren’t even qualified to do that as Reiki practitioners. When we focus on what is wrong, we don’t leave space for the wholeness of what really is. And while the reality often contains some dark, that darkness must be faced and accepted in order for it to be healed and integrated.
Both in our personal Reiki practice and in our work with others, it is deeply important that we work from an open-hearted space of allowing. This is how Reiki best serves us and the world. Allow space for all that is in this moment. Allow space for others to walk their own path. Be willing to look deeply and honestly at your own inner world as you work with your personal Reiki practice and accept yourself. Take compassionate care and nurturing self-responsibility for your own path. Rather than pushing away the parts of yourself, others, or life that feel unpleasant, see these things as opportunities to observe how your inner world responds. Observing truthfully, openly and compassionately leaves room for great healing.
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Angie Webster is a Reiki Master, Teacher, and Author. Angie’s primary focus is animal Reiki, which she adores. She teaches online classes on energy healing, flower essences, herbalism, and personal growth. Angie often works with nature healing and Earth healing, hoping to better understand our connection with Mother Earth. Angie is the author of Animal Reiki: How it Heals, Teaches & Reconnects Us with Nature and Reiki from A to Z. You can follow her at: angie-webster-healing.teachable.com and on Facebook (facebook.com/angiewebsterhealing).