Article by Kathleen Johnson
In my most recent article, I discussed the concept of existential depression and its manifestation as a spiritual emergence or crisis. The article also described the symptoms of existential depression, along with its similarities to, and differences from, traditional clinical depression. Additionally, it examined existential depression as an opportunity for momentous spiritual growth as the individual struggles with thorny issues such as the meaning of life, the inevitability of physical death, and the possibility of existence and consciousness beyond the material world. Indeed, the challenges presented during an existential depression can serve as a vehicle to move us ever closer to the truth of our existence – that we are each a spark of the divine Source, eternal and immortal. This is not to say that navigating existential depression is an easy task – it is often immensely daunting. However, it is when we feel rooted in the most challenging circumstances that we may find the seeds of tremendous growth and evolution.
The first article also explained how the presence of Reiki in our lives during an existential depression is an unerring guide through the darkness as it leads us ever closer to our inner Light and authenticity. Today’s article focuses on Reiki’s role in managing existential depression, not only as a powerful tool but also as a gentle and steadfast ally on the journey to our authentic selves.
A period of existential depression is not always limited to a single event; for a majority of individuals, it is a recurring condition, appearing during times of extraordinary internal stress or dissonance1,2, when one senses a disconnection or misalignment with the true Self. This sense of being other than who we are creates tremendous internal chaos and, for many, may result in an episode of existential depression. In my experience, these feelings of inauthenticity and disconnection undoubtedly triggered my initial period of existential depression many years ago. However, I did not recognize it as such at that time. It was only after years of recurrent depressive episodes, followed by traditional treatments that were largely ineffective, accompanied by an increasing sense of isolation from the “real world” that I finally recognized these periods of darkness for what they were, which was a manifestation of chronic internal conflict between who I was and who I thought I should be. This life-changing realization coincided with the arrival of Reiki in my life, an event which I eventually recognized as completely purposeful and timely. Although I had yet to learn that Reiki finds us when we need it the most, I gratefully clung to its comfort and loving guidance during those days as it gently led me away from darkness and pointed me toward the Light. With Reiki’s assistance, I learned a great deal about my inner and outer worlds since that time, and now recognize that a period of existential depression heralds yet another opportunity for spiritual and personal evolution. Although it would be a stretch to say I welcome these bouts of existential depression, I know that Reiki will guide me through them as I make progress on the journey to myself. And, with the passing of each episode, I sense the Light in me growing ever brighter.
While one is in the throes of existential depression, Reiki’s power lies in its ability to shift our perspective from hopelessness to joy, despair to courage, apathy to passion. And remarkably, as our perspective shifts, so does our balance as we center ourselves and move nearer to our authentic selves. Reiki is a steadying hand, an anchor in stormy seas, and a soothing balm for our wounds. It is an indispensable support system during existential depression and is available to us by merely allowing it to help.
In my years of experience as a Reiki practitioner, as well as a veteran of many bouts of existential depression, I have become familiar with how Reiki’s power can successfully shepherd us through the most challenging times. The following suggestions have been, and continue to be, enormously helpful for me.
Note: This information is not an attempt to diagnose or treat depression, and is based upon my experiences with existential depression. It is NOT to be considered as clinical advice. If you believe you are experiencing depression, please seek professional help from a qualified mental health practitioner.
- Self-Reiki – Its importance cannot be overstated, and in my opinion, is the “gold standard” for self-care. A consistent regular practice of self-treatment elevates our vibration, increases immunity, fosters a strong relationship with Reiki, and provides a depth of understanding of our physical and subtle bodies. The self-treatment need not be a complete session; the point is to practice self-Reiki every day. My self-Reiki typically consists of a few minutes each morning before I arise, and another ten minutes or so at bedtime as I prepare for sleep. I will also add in a few minutes of self-Reiki while I relax in the evening, or if I’m feeling particularly sad or anxious. Incorporating Reiki into one’s daily life fosters and promotes a resilient outlook, even during stressful and troubled times. One of my recent articles offers suggestions for implementing Reiki into our everyday lives.
- Receive Reiki from Others – Receiving Reiki from other practitioners carries all the benefits of self-Reiki, as mentioned above. An additional benefit is that another practitioner can often provide a more objective assessment of one’s energy field, and offer helpful information and impressions received during the session. And, the connection with another like-minded individual is also very healing and comforting. Arranging Reiki “trades” with another practitioner is a wonderful way to improve one’s health and wellbeing on all levels. These days, I regularly trade distant Reiki with two practitioners; the benefits are simply remarkable, as are the close connections forged with these individuals.
- Invite Reiki into Your Meditative Practice – Many Reiki practitioners, including myself, have a consistent meditation routine. Inviting Reiki to be a part of your daily meditative session adds a healing element to an already beneficial aspect of self-care. Also, it has been my experience that combining Reiki with meditation can effortlessly lead to deeper insights and realizations while in the meditative state, both of which are invaluable while grappling with existential depression. Inviting Reiki into this intimate experience promotes a stronger relationship with Reiki, which leads to higher levels of awareness and increased receptivity to its guidance.
- Balance Your Chakras with Reiki – Although a Reiki treatment works to heal and balance the chakras, there are times when they need additional balancing, especially during times of great distress. Intentionally balancing the chakras with Reiki can provide a healthful boost for your subtle body when you need it the most. There are numerous articles and videos available that describe various techniques to balance the chakras with Reiki. Finding those that resonate will help to maintain your physical and subtle bodies in optimum condition.
- Stay Grounded with Reiki – As Reiki practitioners, we are well aware of the necessity for remaining grounded, especially before, during, and after a client’s Reiki session. Grounding the client is also an integral part of a thorough and complete Reiki session. But staying grounded is not limited to the context of a Reiki session. Intentional daily grounding practices are necessary for maintaining balance and centeredness. This is especially critical for Reiki practitioners, healers, and intuitive, empathic individuals who experience energies in a very personal, and sometimes painful, manner. And if one is grappling with existential depression, remaining grounded becomes a top priority. Fortunately, Reiki helps to keep us grounded even in challenging times and is always available to keep us centered, connected, and balanced. Simple techniques such as the “tree root” method can quickly and easily help us to ground and stabilize. Clearing our energy with Kenyoku also serves to ground, as it removes unhealthy energies that may be stuck or clinging to our subtle body.
- Reiki Breathing – As we know, breath is life. When gripped with anxiety, sadness, or fear (such as during existential depression), we tend to breathe shallowly and incompletely, which exacerbates and extends the unpleasant feelings. Once again, Reiki can step in to alleviate the discomfort and return us to a more balanced healthy state. Reiki breathing techniques combine the healing power of Reiki with cleansing breaths to calm anxiety, relieve sadness, and reduce fear. I have found Reiki breathing to be of enormous help during periods of existential depression and anxiety; it soothes and comforts as it replenishes oxygen and releases unhealthy energies. Numerous videos exist online that depict various methods of Reiki Breathing. Allow Reiki to guide you to those that are best for you.
As stated above, these suggestions have proven helpful for me time and again. Above all, however, it is essential to invite Reiki into all aspects of your life. In so doing, you begin to forge a strong relationship with this remarkable energy and gift. As your relationship with Reiki develops and thrives, so does your ability to receive and understand its unfailing guidance and direction. Remember – Reiki always works with each one of us in the way that is right for each one of us. Its loving guidance sees us through even the darkest of times, and always reminds us that we are Light, and as such, will always return to the Light.
© 2020 Kathleen Johnson
Kathleen Johnson is a Usui/Holy Fire III Reiki Master, a Kundalini Reiki Master, and a Certified Crystal Healer. As a Spiritual Teacher & Mentor, she assists others in discovering their unique path to wellness, wholeness, and authenticity. Kathleen is also a Certified Past-Life Soul Regression Therapist, and infuses Reiki into her work with clients’ past lives.
She is the Founder of UniverSoul Heart, LLC, a holistic healing and wellness practice based in Pennsylvania, USA. Kathleen enjoys teaching all levels of Reiki classes, from Level I through Master/Teacher, and is honored to assist others on the Reiki path. She also offers “Crystal Basics” and “Finding Your Life Mission” workshops for those wishing to deepen and enrich their self-knowledge at the soul level.
Kathleen was a co-host and presenter at the Reiki Rays Spring 2018 Summit, and also presented at the Winter 2018 and Spring 2019 Summits. She is passionate about raising awareness of the benefits of Reiki and holistic wellness and enjoys speaking to public and private groups.
As part of her commitment to raising awareness, Kathleen has been a featured guest in many radio interviews and is the host of "UniverSoul Heart Radio with Kathleen Johnson- Sensible Spirituality for Everyday Living", broadcast on Transformation Talk Radio.
Kathleen was selected as Top Reiki Master of the Year for 2019 by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) for her outstanding leadership, commitment, and dedication.
Writing is a passion for Kathleen, and her many articles about Reiki and Spirituality are published on Reiki Rays and in Reiki News Magazine. She is currently gathering information for a book and knows that Reiki will be with her every step of the way.
Kathleen’s website is www.universoulheart.net, and her email is email@example.com
You can find her on Facebook at UniverSoulHeartReiki, on Instagram @universoulheartreiki and on Pinterest at www.pinterest.com/universoulheart/