Another friend of mine told me that she had been given an attunement to the first level of a system called Reiki for her birthday. She didn't really know what it was, or where the energy came from, or what it did — but that it was a system for healing and the energy did not come out of one's own personal supply. It seemed really vague and I didn't understand the purpose, the origin, or how it fit with what I was learning. So I put it off and all but forgot about it.
A Reiki Master was going to be giving a demonstration. I had to be there. Better yet, the Reiki Master was taking audience members to demonstrate healing with Reiki, and I was chosen.
I sat in a chair and she put her hands over my head. We both closed our eyes. It was fascinating. I clearly felt a current of energy coming into me and going down into my stomach. At the time I had a lot of problems with nausea, but I wasn't really ready to be healed yet. The energy coming in was fascinating. I mentally grabbed the current and reversed its direction. The more I sent the current back, the more the Reiki Master tried to push it into me. It was great fun, and then my turn was over. I admitted sending the energy back and she said that she noticed but did not understand why the energy kept coming back. Then, it made sense to her. The lesson to me was that this Reiki business was for real. It also seemed out of reach, because I needed at least $100 to learn even the first level.
Finally the time, opportunity, and money aligned, allowing me to receive the first level of Usui Reiki. My teacher ran a used book store and his wife repaired books. He also worked as a massage therapist and was branching out into teaching Reiki. There were two other students. We had lectures and we received attunements. The teacher brought his wife in and had us practice on her. This was a bit awkward for me. I had been working on learning to feel energy previously, but my ability to sense energy with my hands had greatly increased. On the other hand, I was really only secure with energy in my own head. Now I was talking about it with people I didn't know and this man was telling us to put our hands on his wife. It shouldn't have been so awkward for me now, but that was then and I felt a little weird about it.
Level Two followed with the same teacher. His wife participated in the class, but this time with other students. We learned about the symbols for Level Two. We received attunements. We practiced. A lot more practice and a lot less lecture. It seemed less awkward than the first class, but it was still a bit awkward. The effects after the second attunement really impressed me. As promised in the materials I read about Reiki, the amounts of energy felt many times stronger.
I was actually concerned by how electrical the sensations were because I often felt energy flowing through my entire body and the sensations bordered on uncomfortable. They made me shiver. If the next level turned up the dial as much as the second attunement had, it wasn't going to feel very good. Or so I thought. At the same time, my biggest disappointment would be for nothing to happen. This was so definitely the nothing that I tended to worry about. It was nice and I was determined to enjoy it. I tried increasing it by breathing in energy.
Level Three A was, unfortunately, only Level Three A. My teacher was not comfortable with the idea of teaching his students to be teachers with our own students. The lecture was extremely brief and then we were attuned. Almost the entire time was spent on practicing Reiki. Rather than increasing in power and strengthening the electrical effects, I found that it changed the quality of the energy I had access to. It felt deeper and more powerful in a way, but in a much smoother, more natural way. It seemed less forced, less something I was trying to graft onto myself.
Up to this point I was trying to make Reiki happen, instead of just asking for it and then watching as I allowed the flow to happen. This was one of the biggest lessons Reiki taught me. Finally, I trusted that the supply was unlimited and that I did not have to try so hard to receive or channel it. It reminded me of a time before Reiki when I had tried to do energy healing. It had worked, but I had drained myself to the point where it was difficult to drag myself out of bed during the next three days. This was different. I stopped forcing and just allowed. It is difficult to describe how much this changed it for me.
On the other hand, I was not a Reiki Master. I could not give attunements. Or could I? I learned the last symbol and someone I was working with encouraged me to experiment with her. I gave her the attunement to the first level. This actually seemed to work. She was having severe morning sickness that never went away. It made sleep difficult and eating nearly impossible. For a few hours after the attunement, she said she was able to eat normally and she had actually been hungry. I wish it had lasted longer.
Over the Internet I bought a full attunement to the Master Level of Reiki, to be received at a distance from Australia. I didn't feel a thing. However, for a few days after the experience, I did feel more peaceful and happier. It was the only verification than I got for my money. On the other hand, I wanted to feel something other than cheated. Maybe it was my imagination. Maybe I was making it work myself. Maybe it hadn't done anything for me. There was no way to be sure. I wanted to believe.
Here's where things became interesting. I lost my job; I needed another job. At this point I met up with a supervisor I had worked for and he gave me a job at the grocery store where he was currently working. It happened that I met someone from the bakery while I was an overnight stocker/cashier and he became my teacher. He started by completing my Reiki attunements, in person. It was the strongest attunement I had yet experienced. For almost three weeks, the effects led to an increase in the strength of my own Reiki and a greater ease with meditation.
Finally, I felt confident in my own ability to give Reiki attunements. My friend from college, who had learned to feel energy with me, was available because he visited fairly often. Our lives were still a lot simpler than they are now and, being a while ago, gas money was cheaper. So I gave him the three levels on separate visits. Unlike the way I had learned, I did not hold out — he did not get level 3A — he got the full level 3 from me the first time. We were talking and walking at the time. I told him that now that he had more energy, more of the time, he needed to be more aware of his habitual thinking. More energy means drawing events to himself and into his life more quickly. He was not really listening; his attention was on the fact that we were walking on a highway at night on the shoulder of the road with traffic going by at highway speeds. Suddenly a pair of headlights pointed at us and the car went on to the shoulder of the road only a short distance from us. I asked him what he had been thinking about and he said that he was just thinking about how we were going to be hit any minute then. We both had a laugh, and then the driver went on his way. Yes, we chose a different route on the way back. It seemed to work that way, though — it seemed like everything was moving along faster.
For reference purposes, this is when Shaktipat entered the picture. It felt like being dropped into an ocean, but the waves were inside me. It was cold and wet and powerful. It wasn't so much bliss, as intense happiness and a feeling of having real power in my life. My teacher told me that he had raised my Kundalini to the third chakra so that I could understand what he was trying to teach me. Without the experience I would not be able to bridge the gap. It also lasted about three weeks. Then it felt as if it left my system. I asked for more, but he told me that it was still rising. After a few months he said that it had reached my crown chakra. I had my doubts. Maybe it hadn't been Kundalini at all. Maybe the Reiki was just my imagination. Maybe learning to feel energy in my hands was just a trick of wishful thinking the muscles and nerves were playing on me. Even if I could make it happen just by thinking about it, it must be a trick, all in my mind. I thought more Shaktipat would help. The answer was still no. My doubts came and went in cycles of a couple months.
Kundalini Reiki was entirely at a distance. It has 3 levels. It was also a lot cheaper than Usui Reiki, which was good because money was an issue back then. Finally, I started feeling energy sensations from an attunement at a distance and I became hooked on receiving them. An attunement isn't just an introduction of an energy; it is also a compressed healing session. Usually the increase in energy would last a few hours. After the first 3 levels, there was a supplemental 6 levels of Kundalini Reiki. Gold Reiki had 3 levels. A system called Tacyon had 9 levels — this was strange. First I learned to make objects act as antennae so that they permanently radiated pure energy. Then my body was transformed into an antenna. Yes, I felt a flow of energy when transforming objects into antennae to conduct this energy, but I never felt energy radiating from them afterward. To me it didn't really matter if a Reiki system was strange or if it didn't work. I had started to feel them as I received them because of Kundalini Reiki and I wanted as many as I could get. For the most part I received them free. Solar Light Reiki and Lunar Light Reiki were favorites of mine for years. I also learned about attuning myself to Reiki systems after receiving them from other people as a way of making my connection to the system stronger. It helped to be an active participant in the process instead of just receiving from other people. It made for more vivid attunement experiences.
It has been 15 years since my first Reiki attunement. I still use Reiki regularly. It has also been a long time since I had my doubts about its existence or its ability to heal. It tends to work best on cuts, burns, bruises, and swelling. It helps with reducing pain. Unfortunately, it seems to work better on myself than it does when I use it for other people.
I have barely had any practice working on other people in person. Feedback is important when working with other people, and so far I haven't really met anyone I can practice with who gives reliable feedback.
I suggest anyone who's interested learn Reiki. It seems to enhance existing abilities and to bring out other abilities hiding below the surface. It tends to enhance creativity. So far I have only had one student (at a distance) who regretted learning Reiki. She found her life speeding up too quickly, her life falling apart. She lost her husband and her job. Neither were positive for her, but she wasn't ready to let go of them. She doesn't want to talk to me anymore because I remind her of Reiki and that seems to reawaken her blockages.
She was one out of hundreds. Some of the people I have taught Reiki to went on to teach other people. One in particular went on to teach thousands. I don't think he remembers me, but I remember that I gave him his first attunements and that he felt it particularly satisfying. It isn't enough to learn for my own benefit, or even to teach. It is seeing people I teach moving on to teaching their own students.