This is a post by Jonathan Berens, LMT, who is one of my students. He found out about my classes through the Oak Park River Forest Reiki Meetup. I asked him to share his experiences as a man practicing Reiki.
- What got you interested in Reiki? What drew you into it?
“After graduating from massage school, I felt empty. Even though I did very well and proved to myself that I had accomplished a lot, including working full time while attending school, I still felt empty and lost. The school taught and practiced only the western aspect of massage and focused a lot on techniques, including Swedish massage, sports massage, myofascial release, and trigger point therapy to name a few. There was no feeling part. Nothing was taught about energy, energy of the body, or how to learn to work with energy that is within and all around the body of all living things.
“Practicing massage therapy I felt lost. So I decided to immerse myself in many different approaches including muscle energy techniques. The traditional, western massage techniques worked to make the client feel better but nothing lasted. In addition, nothing explained what I was feeling while performing this work. Why did I often feel overwhelmed by people? What was happening that I could feel their pain, discomfort, and felt empathy that was, at times, overwhelming and hard to understand? “
- What is your Reiki practice like now as a level 2 practitioner?
“I practice Reiki daily — offering it to people and their pets. I also practice it on my cats, either directly or through distance Reiki. I use distance Reiki when I am away and I send good health to my cats. Reiki has meshed well with my practice of myofascial release (MFR). MFR encompasses spiritual, physical, and energetic aspects. The subtle energy work of MFR has helped me understand and develop my own intuition and abilities to feel and see energy fields. This has helped immensely with Reiki and its practice and vice versa. As I continue to practice Reiki I am becoming more peaceful within. Each day is less of an emotional roller coaster. If not for Reiki and MFR I doubt I would have pursued my current path in life and would have given up. Much has shifted for me. And much has changed about my beliefs of the world and of myself. “
- How do you work with insights and sensitivities that come from Reiki?
“Men are usually taught to guard, or not show our emotions. I have always been an emotional being. It has always been a struggle hiding my emotions and not being able to effectively cope with the inner turmoil caused by societal expectations. Reiki seemed to help me free myself and allow me to feel, sense, trust my intuition, and finally pay close attention to my inner voice and spirit guides. This is what some people have called, ‘being in touch with my feminine side.’ I believe it to be the inner voice, that part of us that connects to the soul and is not the ego. It has to do with being, and feeling centered, and not operating out of fear and ego. This has been in direct conflict with many male friends. My coping response was to clear out this list of friends who were not there to support me in any way. As painful as this was, it turned out to be what I needed. Reiki only served to strengthen my resolve, and offer a way to cope and help me channel good energy from the universe through myself and to others.”
- Do you have any advice for other men interested in practicing Reiki?
“There are other men who, perhaps, have been afraid to step forward and embrace a better way to live. I believe Reiki offers one path. It asks us to set aside our usual testosterone ego-driven self, and instead listen to the quiet within. This is the part of us we sometimes tap during meditation. I think of Reiki as a way to meditate and bring good energy to ourselves and others. I would say, approach Reiki, embrace it, and allow the inner voice to be heard. This may be hard for men. I have not seen many men practicing Reiki. It’s time for men to open up, relax, and listen quietly to the inner voice. We need to set aside the ego and those damaging beliefs and values that society dictates.”
Jonathan Berens is a licensed massage therapist. He provides wellness and relaxation massages, along with other unique services of massage therapy including trigger point therapy, sports massage, John Barnes’ Myofascial Release, deep tissue work, and Reiki. With a strong background in athletics, including running, cycling, swimming, and strength training, Jonathan brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and compassion, to his clients as they move towards wellness and freedom from pain.