Energy Healing Energy healing has become well known in recent years, especially through the Reiki movement, but what exactly is it, and what is it best suited for? “Healing is natural; everybody is a healer, it’s just they might not know it” Dr Barbara Ann Brennan – founder of the Barbara Ann School of Healing Sri Yukteswar Giri, a Kriya yogi, a Jyotisha (Vedic Astrologer), a scholar of the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible, an educator and an astronomer, who was also the guru of Satyananda Giri and Paramahansa Yogananda, detailed in his book The Holy Science, the recent transition out of an age of darkness called the Kali Yuga, into a new ‘energy’ age called the Dwapara Yuga. According to Yukteswar this transition occurred 1700AD- 1900AD and I believe we see evidence of this transition in the leap in technological development since that time that has been made possible due to our emerging understanding of life as energy. With Einstein and the discoveries of quantum physics, natural science can no longer deny the existence of the Human Energy Field. Moreover, modern technology has developed equipment and techniques to measure the electromagnetic field emanating from the physical body. The concept of energy healing is not at all new. Many healing methods...such as Chinese medicine (including acupuncture), which gave us the energy meridian system, the Indian Ayurvedic tradition, which gave us the chakra system...have, for centuries, recognised that the human body is first and foremost energy. This energy is commonly called Chi, Ki, Prana, or Life Force. These methods of working with energy have been practiced for thousands of years throughout the world. More recently, Dr. Wilhelm Reich became interested in universal energy that he named “orgone“. He studied the relationship between disturbances of orgone flow in the human body and physical and psychological illnesses. He discovered that by releasing energy blocks, he could clear negative mental and emotional states. Dr. John and Eva Pierrakos developed Core Energetics, which is a unified process of inner healing that concentrates on working through the defenses of the ego and personality to unblock energies of the body. It seeks to balance all the bodies (physical, etheric, emotional, mental and spiritual) to create a harmonious healing of the whole person. There are numerous forms of energy healing now available, but in general the principles are the same: Through a variety of techniques, healing sessions clear, balance, charge and repair the body’s electromagnetic energy field. This affects all of the systems and organs of the physical body, releases energy blocks that can lead to mental, emotional and physical disharmony and illness, and enhances the body’s natural healing capability. Reiki healing The most common form of energy healing nowadays is Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key). The Reiki healing system was developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui, and later brought to the west by Mrs Hawayo Takata in 1937. Since then Reiki has been adapted into varying cultural traditions across the world. Like many other forms of energy healing, Reiki practitioners use a hands-on healing technique by which "universal energy" is channelled through the palms of the practitioner to a patient in order to encourage healing and wellbeing. Part of the popularity of Reiki comes from the relative ease by which one can become a Reiki healer. Reiki initiations, which are undertaken usually during a weekend workshop, attune the individual to Reiki, the universal healing energy, and essentially open and/or unblock the channels so that healing energy can be transferred from one person to another. The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "God's Wisdom or the Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". So Reiki is actually "spiritually guided life force energy." There are three levels of Reiki, which are achieved by successive initiations. The first level is open to anyone. No previous experience or preparation is required. Reiki 1 opens the energy channel and permits the student to channel Reiki mainly at the physical level, both for himself and for others. Reiki 2 essentially increases the capacity to channel healing energy and is the level often favoured by formal Reiki healers. Reiki Master level widens the channel further and allows the practitioners to perform Reiki Initiations. What’s good about Reiki? Reiki is very good for stress reduction that also promotes healing. A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki touches the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Because Reiki has been so widely disseminated, and has been picked up by many different people all promoting it in different ways, the philosophical mindset varies from practitioner to practitioner, and is not in all cases true to the original Japanese Buddhist teachings. Mrs Hawayo Takata herself is known to have fabricated information about Reiki’s origins in order to make it more palatable for the American people. It is easy to see the dark side of this modality; initiation weekend workshops provide a means for Reiki Masters to build a business, where the emphasis can be more on making money and less on healing. The fact that most initiation workshops take only a weekend to complete, leaves little time for students to learn about themselves, work with their own healing processes, develop experiential understanding of energy healing, while at the same time emerging out of workshops with the mistaken idea that one or two simple initiations makes one a healer. In my view undertaking Reiki initiations does not make anyone a healer; it may however mark the beginning of a journey. I believe that authentic healers are ‘called’ to their task, often against their initial desires and life plans. Sometimes the healers calling is born through personal healing crises whereupon a person, having undergone their own personal healing journey, emerges fundamentally changed and often through cathartic processes realises their capacity and wish to help others heal. Having ‘outed’ the dark side so to speak, for it is a position many a sceptic is prone to take, I would like to talk a little more on the limitations from a practitioners perspective, before returning to Reiki as a valid and beneficial healing modality. My personal story I was ‘called’ to healing unexpectedly at around the age of 22; I wasn’t at all interested. I was interested in being healed, but not at all at becoming a person who supported others in healing themselves. Nevertheless for a number of years I explored hands on healing and crystal healing with friends and acquaintances; it was an exciting time learning about energy with those willing to explore with me. However I experienced tiredness as a side effect after healing sessions, which I was unclear about. A friend had recently returned from a trip to America talking about this thing called Reiki, and I was considerably sceptical and resistant to the concept; I didn’t like the idea that a healer could simply be ‘switched on’ by an initiation and that someone could acquire healing abilities in exchange for money. The idea got shelved, and I thought no more about it. But later on I began to feel an inner nagging to go and investigate Reiki further. I had learned to follow my inner prompting, so after some pressure, relented. Around that time a friend of mine invited me to a Mind, Body, Spirit festival in London, where I lived at the time, and I agreed to go.
On that day there were two Reiki schools with stalls at opposite ends of the large indoor hall. So with a cautious mindset I approached the first stall, and quite suddenly began to feel nauseous. Not surprisingly I decided that Reiki school wasn’t for me, but later on I came to the other side of the hall, and found another Reiki school, where here instead of feeling sick, I experienced an intense itching in my hands. With such a graphic somatic experience I decided to sign up for Reiki 1, I took the nausea to mean a firm ‘no’ to one school and the itching hands as a clear ‘yes’ to the other. During that workshop my narrow mind was widened, and I began to see the benefits of the system. Notably Reiki 1 sorted out the tiredness I felt after conducting healing sessions with others, and it became clear why my inner guidance had prompted me in that direction. During that Reiki 1 workshop I realised something fundamental about healing; that the healing energy I was channelling came from a vast pool of universal energy and not from me. This clarity, which was supported by the Reiki initiation itself, served to make me much clearer than I had been, and I realised that in all likelihood my tiredness was the result of confusion whereby I inadvertently gave some of my own vital energy to the healing sessions and thus felt tired. I would later undertake further initiations and attunements to numerous other healing rays as part of my own personal healing journey, which I believe contribute in part to my abilities to channel energy today.
Reiki has limitations
From my perspective the Reiki experience tends to be predominantly Yin or passive in nature; the patient lies down and receives Reiki energy into their energy system, while the practitioner is in a sense somewhat passive also as they do their best to stand aside and let the universal healing energies flow through them, with open loving intentions, and with the understanding that the inherent intelligence of Reiki will do what is best. This means that both participants remain largely unconscious of the healing process, and this in my mind on the one hand offers us the potential to receive abundantly and unconditionally from the Universe, while on the other presents a limitation in the sense that nothing is necessarily made conscious; in Reiki we do not intentionally deal with anything direct. Reiki isn’t a prerequisite to becoming a healer, there are many energy healers who are not Reiki initiated, and they don’t need to be, for the potential in every one of us to channel healing energy is natural. Yet Reiki can make the reality of that channel clear to us, and speed up the evolution of our natural channelling abilities. In this sense the foundation of Reiki is to establish a clear channel to healing energy. This is much like turning on the tap of a hosepipe connecting to an infinite pool of high frequency prana, and the outcome from my experience is to come out of a few weekend workshops with the taps turned on, and not a great deal of knowledge about what to do with it. To my mind simply throwing energy at someone isn’t necessarily going to help them much, especially in the long run. Yet many turn up at Reiki 1 workshops not to learn to heal others, but as an unconscious call to heal themselves, and having access to Reiki energy can be a very helpful tool in the self-healing process, if we want to help ourselves. In my experience Reiki is sold as a master-healing modality; as something that can effortlessly heal almost anything. In Reiki groups many participants can share life changing stories and significant changes in their wellbeing due to Reiki. My thoughts are that there may be a lot more going on that causes such changes to occur. In my view channeling energy is part of the healers toolkit, but the journey to becoming an effective healer is not a simple one; we can't be good healers just because we like the idea of it.
Energy healing provides an amazing dimension that is quite different from other therapeutic modalities; it can touch a level of being that we may not realise needs engagement for healing to occur. Good energy healers have extensive and intimate knowledge of the human energy system, which of course takes years to acquire. It takes many hours of experience in altered states of consiousness for an individual to get familair (in their own way) with the nature and complexity of subtle energy.
If you are considering going to see an energy healer, remember that you are the center of your healing process. Its a good idea to go see healers who other people have had good experiences with. If that isn't an option, then it is important to choose somone you get a good feeling for. Everyone has an internal guidance system to navigate life with. It runs through our gut and intuition.