3 Reiki Fallacies

Raised Hands imageThere are many fallacies in the Reiki community about what Reiki is, how it is practiced, and what Reiki practitioners can do. I completely understand how these have developed. One of the reasons is because Reiki is so malleable. It perfectly blends with other traditions, practices, and treatments. Another reason for these fallacies is because Reiki practice and teaching has not been standardize so the beautiful people who have learned it have morphed it into things that are as unique as each of them.

  1. “I felt something.”

This is often uttered by a well meaning Reiki practitioner who is seeking to do something that he or she is not trained or licensed to do, i.e., diagnose. Indeed, as Reiki practitioners we do often “feel” something.

We experience a whoosh of energy at the heart or a lack of energy pull at the stomach or an almost overwhelming draw of energy at the kidneys. Yes, you felt something, but what does it mean? Do you really know if it is a good thing or a bad thing? Can you prove that?

But let’s get to the most important part of this conversation, what will your words mean to the person you’re speaking to? Will this be helpful to them? Will it uplift them and facilitate their healing process? Or is it simply you seeking to uplift your ego and your place as the expert and the reader of energy fields? Please, think before you speak and keep your audience’s perspective and needs at the top of your mind.

  1. “Your chakras are out of balance.”

Let’s go back to our Reiki textbooks. The chakras are part of a system that is separate from Reiki. If you’re practicing Reiki and chakra balancing together, you’re doing something other than pure Reiki. You’ve created your own thing. (Or you’re following the practice your teacher created independently.)

The knowledge of the chakras is not needed in order to understand, practice, or benefit from Reiki. (The recent recordings made by Phyllis Furumoto that are on YouTube provide more background on this topic.)

  1. “Reiki should be free.”

It is wonderful to offer free Reiki sessions to those who are suffering and are unable to afford to pay for a session. I highly recommend this to my students and colleagues as a way to give back to your community and as a valuable learning tool because you will encounter so many different types of people and you will spread so much good.

However, most sessions should be done for a fee. People devalue that which is free. Also, payment provides a valuable energy exchange. As a practitioner, you’re offering your time and expertise during a session and the gift has been reciprocated when your client offers you a monetary payment. (Bartering is also a way to complete that energy exchange, if the value of the barter makes sense for both parties.)

If you’re questioning how this impacts the practice of Reiki and if it is traditional, please read this transcription of an audio recording made by Hawayo Takata. It will make you seriously question “free.”

Wishing you the love and light of the universe.

We don’t diagnose

Medical chart to diagnoseIn every Reiki class that I teach, I say, “We [Reiki Practitioners] don’t diagnose.” It’s an important directive to keep in mind because when we practice Reiki we often notice things about a client’s physical or emotional state. For instance, we may notice that a lot of energy is drawn in at the crown of the head, or that very little energy seems to be drawn in at the stomach, or that the breath deepened when our hands were in the heart region, or that the client was holding a lot of anger or grief inside. Also, a client may ask us at the end of a Reiki session, “What did you notice?” There is a temptation to draw conclusions and make recommendations based on what we sensed and our experience as practitioners. However, it is important not to diagnose for three reasons.

  1. Most of us are not medical practitioners and we are not licensed to provide a diagnosis. This is a legal issue and we must operate within the realm of our profession.
  2. When energy is drawn strongly or weakly in a region of the body it does not mean that there is good health or bad health in that area. We really don’t know. All we know is that a lot of energy was (or was not) moving in that area.
  3. It is much more powerful for a client to come to the diagnosis him/herself. To get there, I often ask the recipient, “What did you feel? What did you notice?”  Sometimes I’ll offer in response, “I noticed that too,” but I always follow the client’s lead.

All of these reasons are important, but I think the third reason is really powerful and potentially extremely radical. Imagine if we were the masters of our own bodies — of our own physical experiences. Imagine if we did not seek the wisdom from others who “know” but, rather we go inside and find that wisdom ourselves. If we listened to our intuition and tuned into the richness of our inner lives, I believe, we would find the answers we seek.

I often say, “You live in your body. Your doctor does not. You are the expert on your own experiences. The doctor is an expert on the experiences of a sample of bodies that lived at a unique period of time and agreed to a particular medical study. He or she is not an expert on your unique experience. Only you can be.”  I believe this can be a radical and empowering perspective. What if I know what’s best for me and act on it and I don’t seek that from someone else? What choices will I make while I’m healthy and when I’m in the midst of an illness if I’m the expert on my own health?

The stopping point for many people in this journey is at the beginning. They want a diagnosis.  They want a name to put on the sensations in their body. They want an identity for their physical selves and their experience that makes them, perhaps, not quite so alone. “Ah, other people feel this. Other people experience this pain and this is what they have done to cope with it. So, then, that’s what I will do too.” It takes the responsibility away from the individual and moves it to someone else. Now an expert provides the “truth” about your body and determines the path to your remedy. Sometimes this works perfectly and there is no reason to even question this approach. However, there are plenty of times when the remedy doesn’t work and we’re left searching for something else.

Perhaps, if we had started off with seeking our diagnosis within ourselves, we would come up with a customized approach that would take into account our unique body and how we live in it. With this remedy just for me, we could create an excellent health experience and make sure it is customized for this unique body that lives this unique life. It’s not to say we don’t benefit from other people’s experiences, rather we blend the potion with the proper dash of “us” to make it work.

What do you think? Could you live in a world where you’re the diagnostician for your own health? What would it look like? How would it be beneficial for you?  Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.