It was a Thursday afternoon in March of 2020 when I learned the building housing my Reiki business would close down due to COVID-19. I had enjoyed many benefits of offering Reiki in a healthcare-related facility but those advantages switched to being liabilities once the virus arrived. I completed my remaining Reiki sessions and returned the following day to remove files, equipment, personal belongings and anything I may want to have since I would not be able to return for the foreseeable future.
I struggled on that Friday as I unpacked my car in our driveway. I so loved my Reiki space where I met the loveliest people for sessions. I had worked hard and built a successful Reiki practice. I enjoyed the staff and the facility and felt privileged to hold my Reiki classes and events just down the hall from my rooms. It felt like a perfect fit for me and I was consistently grateful for all I had achieved there—teaching and helping people through Reiki practice.
As I brought in the items I chose to bring home, I realized my professional Reiki practice was now completely unrecognizable to me and I needed to make some quick but thoughtful decisions about my next steps and what would be best for my clients. However, like everyone, I also felt personal stresses and fears relating to the unfolding pandemic and the accompanying uncertainty of what seemed like literally everything most of us, myself included, had taken for granted. I was confused about how to move forward.
In the days that followed, I began to realize we had been given a sort of reset opportunity. The pandemic and resulting closures had served as interruptors to our usual routines and habits. My perspective began to shift and I started to contemplate success and what success means—not just to me personally and in my work but for us collectively. What are we really striving for? What is truly important? I sought new meaning and context regarding my work to help me know how to move forward.
In the midst of seeking these answers and guidance, I turned to Reiki. I sat quietly as I prepared to meditate as I offered Reiki to myself but suddenly I became aware of another possibility. Instead of offering Reiki to myself, I would offer Reiki to Usui Sensei. In all the years of my practice, I had never done this or felt guided to do so but had read about the possibility several years ago. I decided to give it a try to see what happened regardless of also questioning why he would even be open to receiving Reiki from me.
I placed my hands in Gassho and humbly called out to Usui Sensei in my mind. I stated I would like to share Reiki with him with gratitude in my heart for all he has done for us, his students. I then felt my mind going deeper and that he was with me there as the energy began to flow in my hands. I became more peaceful and I spoke to him to ask for guidance. I asked him about the meaning of success. Usui Sensei responded by saying that “success is measured by the joy in one’s heart.” He also conveyed that success is not dependent on particular circumstances we may think are necessary to achieve a goal. Instead, the verification of a successful path is felt through this emotion and because joy is available to us no matter who we are, what we have or what circumstances we may find ourselves in, all people have the opportunity to know success.
I continued offering Reiki and then I asked him if we could attain enlightenment through our learning of Reiki as he passed it on to his students. He responded that we may experience enlightenment when we practice Reiki; therefore, it is, indeed, offered to us in that way. He added that it is not about changing who we are to become an enlightened one, rather it is more about entering the stream of enlightenment which Reiki makes available. He said “in this stream of oneness, we gain much and can embody the energy more readily. Thus, we may be a vessel of Reiki light in all endeavors. It is in this way we may become Reiki. And with joy in our hearts, this may be called success if you choose to define it in such terms.” He went on to communicate that there is not a step-by-step process for us to know success because success may mean any number of things to individuals. Perhaps, instead, “feel in your senses what action is right, then listen to this guidance and the path to joy is yours. Not all you engage in promises to feel joyous but the experiences chosen through followed guidance completes a yearning of the soul and joy may be known in unexpected ways. Joy cannot be planned. It is a feeling resulting from beingness not from doingness.”
A few minutes passed and he then showed me a scene of a man who had been unjustly imprisoned with the understanding that even in a bleak and unfair circumstance, the mind is solely ours. It is in our jurisdiction and any atrocity may be disengaged from with a strong mind. The scene in my mind then changed to the sun and the fact that it is always present and bright. He said we too often focus on the weather and that the storms always pass by because they are fleeting. In contrast, the sun shines regardless. It is ever-present whether we are thankful for it or not. It nurtures us and sustains all life. It is a true wonder but yet we are often short-sighted and allow ourselves to sink to the fears and pains of the world which shall certainly pass on. He said, “let us always remember the totality of our experience and in this way we may remain in balance.”
I concluded the session a few minutes later while in a state of wonder and deep gratitude. As a result of our session together, I decided to let go of my need to go back to my office and professional practice as I had created it before. I felt a weight lifting from me and the return of the forgotten sense of freedom I had when I first opened my practice. I began to allow myself to redefine success by feeling my way forward with an openness as to what that may look like.
I chose to share my experience with you for two purposes. First, I hope you might also find Usui Sensei’s messages helpful in your own life. Our current times have been wrought with uncertainty on numerous fronts but we are also afforded opportunity to engage with our old ideas and perhaps recalibrate our expectations through joy and awareness instead of simply continuing to create from previous beliefs. Many of us are in the position to navigate decisions about what is important to us personally and professionally. The second reason I offer my experience is to invite you to consider deepening your Reiki practice by directly connecting with our first teacher, Usui Sensei, if you have not already. By doing so, we may remain open to continually learning and evolving in our understanding as we proceed along our unique Reiki paths.
Article by Andrea Kennedy
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Andrea Kennedy is a full time Reiki Master Teacher and owner of Mainstream Reiki. Her mission is to help bring Reiki further into the mainstream so more people may experience its wonderful benefits. To accomplish this, she teaches all levels of Holy Fire® III Reiki online and in-person (when conditions improve), offers Reiki treatment sessions, individual mentoring sessions for practitioner confidence and business success, online events and also shares her knowledge through her YouTube Channel and a new podcast called ‘Beyond the Reiki Gateway’.
Andrea came to Reiki unexpectedly after earning her physics degree. After first hearing about Reiki, her curiosity led her to take the level one class in 1995. She was skeptical about Reiki and felt little to nothing when she would practice but positive feedback kept her interested. She went on to complete her training and became a Reiki Master for the first time in 1998.