The Art of Reiki: The Art of Wu Wei

Master Oogway courtesy of
Master Oogway, image from

When I studied Reiki at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, my teachers, Libby and Maggie, offered a class called, “The Art of Reiki,” which followed my Reiki 2 class. It did not include any additional Reiki attunements or initiations, but was a class about how we live our lives from a place of love and light.  It delved into how we care for ourselves and bring our best selves to the art of helping others.  During the class, Libby and Maggie expertly guided and reminded us of the teachings of Reiki 1 and 2 — including, that we offer Reiki and it is not a manipulation of another person’s energy.

To work from a place of offering takes a certain management of the ego.  It reminds me of the art of wu wei, which was described in a 2014 New York Times article. The article refers to some ancient texts that state, “If you try to be filial, this not true filiality; if you try to be obedient, this is not true obedience. You cannot try, but you also cannot not try.”

In true Taoist cryptic fashion, the texts implore one to the act of non-doing.  This contradictory direction can seem very puzzling, but it also has an incredible power.  During my first yoga workshop, Todd Norian encouraged us to achieve a state of effortless effort, which for me is similar (though not the same) as wu wei. When we’re in this state we are in flow (or in unison) with ourselves and the universe.  It requires one to be able to quiet the mind and fully experience the moment as it is with as much non-judgmental awareness as possible.

As Reiki practitioners how do we practice the art of Reiki and wu wei?  The first important step is to remember our role of offering Reiki.  We are not the healers.  The Reiki and the recipient do the healing.  We are only facilitators, who are here to witness the present moment with our clients.  For many practitioners, this leaves them with a feeling of not doing something and leads to questions such as, “What am I doing during Reiki?” and “How do I know I’ve offered it?” and “What if I don’t . . . feel the energy/see rainbows/envision chakras/speak with angels?”

None of that is necessary. What is necessary is the offering. What is necessary is a wu wei approach to allow healing to happen at the highest level.

How do you cultivate the art of Reiki and wu wei in your practice?  Please share your experience in the comments below.

Love First

I’ve finally come to realize that this is my intention for 2014: Love First.  On the surface it seems so simple and easy.  My mind says, “Of course, love first.  No problem,” but to put this into practice is another matter entirely.  This is not easy in the face of many other things that my mind and ego want to go first, for instance:

  • Be right first
  • Be angry first, especially when others don’t acknowledge that I am right!
  • Be heard first
  • Be judgmental first
  • Be self-righteous first
  • Be better than others first
  • Be fearful first
  • Be protective first
  • Be selfish first
  • Just be first  . . .

Now, what happens when I love first?  I’ve noticed when I love first I release my anger.  When I love first, I move past small injuries to my ego and see the light and love in the other person’s being.  This has been working really well with my family and can be helpful in other settings where I feel safe and able to open in this way.  Loving first is incredibly powerful in all settings, however, for finding the right words.  When speaking in a loving way, my words are more mindful and, in general, I listen in a more profound way.

For this Valentine’s Day, I wish you the strength and resolve to love first.  So I am replacing the above list with the following:

  • Love first
  • Love first
  • Love first
  • Love first
  • Love first
  • Love first
  • Love first
  • Love first
  • Love first
  • Just be loving

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I want to heal YOU

As a Reiki Master, sometimes I can’t help but feel this way, “I want to heal YOU!”  Some of that feeling is not a bad thing.  It definitely can be a motivator that gets one to learn Reiki and to practice it — at times.  However, the Reiki Practitioner or Master is not the healer in the Reiki session.  It is the Reiki that does the work.  It is Reiki that creates the environment for the body to heal.  It is Reiki that opens someone’s mind or heart to a new possibility.  It is Reiki that supports someone to make a change in his/her life.  It is Reiki that calms the mind and brings that blissful state of being.  It is not me.

However, this feeling of wanting to do the healing, of wanting to be the healer, is very strong.  I find it especially strong when offering Reiki to family members and friends.  I so strongly want to help them and heal them that my ego creates lots of negativity and frustration when I don’t do the healing.  When I cannot heal them.

There are some rituals and states of mind that are helpful.  For instance, it is vital for the Reiki Practitioner/Master to remember that she/he is a conduit, channel, pathway, facilitator — the one who offers.  It is the recipient who is in charge.  Sometimes as I wash my hands between Reiki sessions, I imagine my ego washing away along with any germs.  Another ritual that is helpful, is placing my hands in prayer position before placing my hands on the recipient in order to enter a state of offering — a state of service.  A place where . . . the Reiki is the star.

Wishing you abundant Reiki and a lightness of ego!

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