The dictionary defines an urban myth as ‘a story told as if it actually happened’, a story told in such a way that the listener accepts it as a matter of fact, and as we all know repeat something often enough and people will begin to accept it as if it were true, even a lie told often enough can assume the appearance of fact. Social myths can be amusing but those associated with Reiki if allowed to go unchecked have the potential to create fear and confusion, damage credibility and even dissuade people from experiencing its life enhancing effects, yet urban myths are nothing new, throughout history myths and mankind have always walked hand in hand.
There are several myths established as part of Reiki folklore and when they become part of our Reiki teaching practice they can achieve almost legendary status gaining credibility by means of association. One of the most well established Reiki myths is that you should never give Reiki either directly or indirectly through distant healing to anyone who has broken a bone. It’s said that Reiki can speed up the healing process to such an extent that the bone can begin to heal before a doctor has chance to set it properly. To the inexperienced Reiki practitioner this may sound plausible but there are two very good reasons why this myth is fantasy rather than fact. Firstly a break can take anywhere between six to twelve weeks before the bone completely knits together, healing takes time and although Reiki can assist the healing process, there is no known medical or experiential evidence to support the idea that Reiki can or ever has healed a broken bone in such a way as to lead to abnormality or deformity.
Secondly, and most importantly to me, we are taught that Reiki works only for the person’s higher good and it will only go where it’s needed so we must ask ourselves why would an energy of unconditional love create deformity and pain. Either the principle is wrong or the myth is, and as Reiki practitioners and teachers we must decide which is true and then act accordingly.
Another common myth closely associated to the first example is that you should never send distant healing to anyone who is under an anaesthetic going through any form of surgery as it may counter act the effect of the anaesthetic. Again there is no evidence to support this or any of these myths but that is the very nature of a myth, they require neither evidence nor proof to exist and the more fanciful they appear the more credence they achieve. I was taught that you should never give Reiki to anyone with a pacemaker fitted as Reiki can stop the pacemaker working properly and possibly trigger a heart attack. The first pacemaker wasn’t fitted in the UK until 1958 and as such it is impossible for that particular myth to have existed before that date, so we must ask ourselves when was this piece of Reiki lore introduced, by whom, and more importantly why?
Early in my Reiki career I was told in no uncertain terms by a Reiki Teacher that I should never give Reiki to anyone who was sitting with their legs crossed as this will stop the energy flowing. Really! To me Reiki is an expression of unconditional love and a part of the creative energy that at the last count included a million or so galaxies so I can’t quite get my head around the ‘fact’ that simply crossing our legs renders this creative force powerless.
I’ve been told by teachers and practitioners alike that you shouldn’t give Reiki to anyone who is diabetic as it could disrupt their blood sugar levels; again this instruction was given as gospel yet never once supported by research based evidence, I was simply expected to accept it without questioning its validity. My own experience as a Reiki teacher has proven this particular myth along with many others to be unfounded and unsubstantiated. Of all the Reiki myths the most misleading is that Reiki is a miracle cure all that heals everyone it touches. It isn’t and it won’t because it doesn’t have the authority to do so. If it was able to do so it would go against the spiritual laws of unconditional love and free will which along with other spiritual laws provide the structure and framework to creation. By the nature of its existence it must adhere to the universal laws that were instrumental in its creation; the created can never be greater than its creator, exist beyond its grace and control or act arbitrarily outside of its laws.
A fundamental precept of Reiki is ‘the only person we can heal is ourselves’ and with these eight simple words comes the implication and confirmation that the healing process can’t take place in our absence or be forced upon us. As hard as it may seem not everyone who is ill knowingly wants to be made well; some have claimed their illness as their own because it gives a sense purpose and identity, and as such Reiki cannot and will not heal that person against their will. What Reiki can do is help provide them with the opportunity to learn and grow, to become receptive to the physical and spiritual help available to them and in doing so they can if they so wish, develop in mind body and spirit, eventually reaching the point where they begin to play an active part in their own healing process.
This is truth demonstrated and the true purpose of Reiki, working to the persons higher good and ultimately their realisation that all healing ultimately comes through knowledge and understanding. What is perceived as a miracle is nothing more than an event that exists outside the limits of our current knowledge and understanding. Once we expand that knowledge and understanding what we once perceived as a miracle becomes a skill, a spirit based technology to be used time and time again to improve the quality of life, and heal illness and disease.
We have numerous myths in the form of rules regulations and rituals about not wearing jewellery or watches when giving Reiki, keeping ourselves pure by not drinking tea, coffee, or alcohol and only giving Reiki to those who can afford it or those who we judge to be deserving of it. Every time we come across any of these instructions we should hold them up to the light of scrutiny and test their substance, credibility, and truth, for we must be careful not to confuse the spiritual integrity of Reiki and its principles with the man made dogma that evolves over time with any discipline. We should always ask ourselves if these stories are based on a human belief or a spiritual truth. If they resonate with you then be true to yourself whatever that may be, if not let them go and continue on your personal journey of discovery. The myth may remain constant but the same can’t be said about our knowledge and understanding.
There was once a global myth that the earth was flat and if you sailed into the horizon you would fall off the edge of the world and into oblivion. Every time this myth was repeated it gained credibility until only those who were brave enough dared to challenge those beliefs and fears, and in doing so expanded our physical and spiritual horizons and helped bring us out of the dark ages of superstition and mythology and into the dawning light of knowledge and understanding.
Article by Phillip Hawkins
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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.