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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Reiki by-products: how should we handle them?

From regular contributor Beth Lowell, a new topic for discussion: 

By-products of Reiki

Shortly after I started my professional animal Reiki practice, I noticed that I often took on the symptoms of animals I was treating. One dog in particular was suffering from terminal spleen cancer. Her nose ran, and so did mine. Her stomach gurgled, and so did mine. She had a very dry mouth, and my mouth too, became parched during our sessions together. Afterwards, I was always very tired. I asked an online group of animal Reiki practitioners for advice, noting that I assumed that this was a common experience among practitioners.

One practitioner wrote back and told me that my experiences were not part of Reiki and that I must be doing something wrong, perhaps trying too hard to make the dog better. I was upset with this response because I was taught that you can’t really do Reiki wrong, and that although I’m always open to miracles, I was pretty sure I wasn’t trying to cure the dog of cancer.

I spoke to my mentors and teachers who shared with me that they had similar experiences, and that they considered these symptoms to be something that the animal was sharing. My chiropractor gave me a simple mental exercise to do at the end of each session to separate whose symptoms or sensations were really whose, so that I would no longer feel so tired. It worked, and I didn’t think too much about it after that.

Recently, I was perusing the website of another Reiki practitioner in which she described a typical Reiki session. She mentioned that she often had visions and would share them with clients if they so wished. My first reaction to reading her site was to say to myself “That’s not part of Reiki.” I thought about what would happen if someone new to Reiki had a session with the practitioner and then expected visions to be included in every Reiki treatment given by every Reiki practitioner.

I decided not to worry about what other Reiki practitioners were doing, but for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I was pretty sure it was because I could hear my own words, “That’s not part of Reiki”, echoing back to me, the very same words that had upset me so much when they had been said to me.

Thinking further, I remembered one of my Reiki teachers talking about a vision he had during a meditation. And I just read in the news feed of the Reiki Digest how one Reiki practitioner in Wilton, CT communicates with the dead. The Reiki seems to make it easier, she said in the article.

So if these experiences are not a part of Reiki, then they must be by-products. My question then becomes, how do we handle these by-products in a responsible way? Many of my clients ask me if I’m ‘getting anything’ from their animals during a treatment. I’m not a professional animal communicator, I haven’t received any messages, and I tell my clients this. On the few occasions that I’ve mentioned the physical symptoms that the animal and I seem to share, I’ve said that it’s an interesting phenomenon, but not to put too much emphasis on it – after all, I’m not giving them any information that they can’t already see for themselves.

But I’m wondering about visions, communications, and anything else that may happen as a by-product of a Reiki treatment. I’m wondering how practitioners handle advertising them. Do they become enmeshed as part of the Reiki treatment? Is it clear to a client that they are not “part of” Reiki? Can sharing these things with clients be limiting to their healing? Is telling an animal’s owner something the animal has communicated limiting the human’s thoughts or creating expectations about the animal’s ability to heal – and does that in turn have an effect on the animal’s ability to heal?

I’m still thinking about these issues and wondering what other Reiki practitioners have to say.

Thanks, Beth!

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Anonymous Lori-Lyn said...

This is so fascinating—great topic for conversation! I’m aware of things that are a part of my practice that aren’t “pure Reiki.” I do receive intuitive information via “visions” during Reiki sessions and I do, generally, share this information with my clients. The key is that they know beforehand that this may or may not happen and have consented to it. I’m always careful to tell people that it’s not a part of Reiki. (Although I have to say, Reiki III amplified my intuitive abilities significantly.) I also give readings and most people who come to me want both. I think healing and intuitive modalities blend in to one another – there’s going to be cross over and no two practitioners are going to create a practice that looks the same. I’m practicing Reiki because I’m attuned with the Reiki symbols and my training comes out of that tradition – but I’m also practicing stuff that’s not Reiki. Because of the way my practice is constructed, people who come to me also know that I do the intuitive work, so the door is open there for conversation about it. If I were giving Reiki treatments in a spa situation, I probably wouldn’t mention it.
The question about whether or not sharing this information limits healing is an interesting one.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Andi said...

Although I have been attuned with Reiki I, II and III, I consider myself a neophyte. The style of Reiki I am taught is definitely not classical, although the attunement process and some of the teachings seem similar....

I say that as a preface that during my classes (I'm in the next "level" right now), my teacher will consistently share her intuitions. The first time this happened to me by her, it was odd. I'd been struggling with a particular emotion I was dealing with that didn't make sense, but once she said what she was receiving, it became very clear which allowed me to process things much more quickly and fully.

On one or two occasions, these "intuitions" have come to me, but more often than not they don't. I did share them because they were with my mother (could that have been why I received them so easily?). Since I don't practice on anyone other than myself and my family, it's hard to tell if this would become stronger.

I think you do what comes naturally and comfortably to you. And then use the information in whatever way enhances your practice. Whether it's guiding you with hand placement, discussing with your client/receiver or whatever. But I think shutting it down completely goes against the way that I was taught.

Just as everyone feels the energy in a different way, everyone receives information in different ways...

6:24 PM  

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