Reflections on Reiki
I consider myself to be a highly sensitive person and as such have always been very aware of energy. At a young age, I recall being acutely affected by the energy of people and spaces around me. I could walk into a room or pass by a crowd of people and instantly feel the tension, sorrow or anxiety of others. This awareness and the extent to which my mood and sense of well-being were impacted by the energy of the space around me, ultimately led me to my career as an interior designer.
I first heard of Reiki about 25 years ago and had a treatment at that time. Since that time, I had often been curious to learn more about it and when a friend of mine told me about taking classes and becoming attuned, I contacted her master teacher and registered for Shoden, or the 1st degree, of Usui Komyo Reiki Do. This traditional Reiki system and practice is based on the teachings of Makao Usui. Getting this first level only scratched the surface for me and I knew I wanted to learn more. I am now several years into the journey and am currently working on my Shinpiden, or master teacher’s level degree.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a Japanese word meaning “universal life energy” and comes from the words Rei, meaning mysterious or sacred, and Ki, meaning energy. The practice of Reiki originated in Japan in 1922 with Makao Usui, who was a lay Buddhist practitioner. He was 57 years old when he went on a 21 day spiritual quest of meditating and fasting on Mt Kuryama near Kyoto. The story goes that on the final day of his quest, he was struck on the head by light and lost consciousness. When he awoke, the Reiki symbols and their meanings appeared to him. As he journeyed off the mountain, he experienced four miracles along the way, which allowed him to discover his ability to offer the healing energy. Soon after, he created a teaching system he called Usui Reiki Ryoho and began treating and teaching others.
The Power of Reiki in My Own Life
Reiki flows of its own accord and always goes where it is needed. It comes from the universe, so as a Reiki practitioner, I am simply allowing myself to be a conduit for the healing energy. Reiki has intensified my spiritual journey and affected me in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I attended my first class. About a year ago, a dear friend of mine entered hospice after a very long illness. She was in a coma and unresponsive each day that I sat with her. Placing my Reiki hands on her and feeling the energy flow through me and into her provided me with a sense of peace that I would have not otherwise known. It allowed me to say good bye and feel connected to her spirit at a time when verbal communication was not possible. I hope, and choose to believe, that she was able to feel that energy and love as well.
Last fall, my mother suffered a series of traumatic brain events that left her hospitalized and in a skilled nursing facility for four months. She was in critical care much of that time and we did not believe she would survive. During those months, I sat with her nearly daily and placed my hands on her allowing the Reiki energy to flow. She eventually made a nearly full recovery and has no memory of those many months. I have no idea what role, if any, Reiki may have played in her miraculous recovery. She had an amazing medical team as well as a very strong will to live. However, I do believe that Reiki provided her some measure of comfort, as I would watch her body relax and her pain lessen when I placed my hands on her. And I do know for sure that being able to share that sacred space and energy with her brought me much peace and comfort during that time.
Reiki provides me with a tool to connect with others and myself at a deeper level. Reiki is an infinitely abundant gift from the universe that I can share unconditionally with others, with myself, with spaces, with my yoga practice, and with all that I do.
About the Author
Susan Gladden obtained her Okuden, or master practioner degree, last year and is currently working towards her Shinpiden, or master teacher degree, in traditional Japanese Komyo Reiki Do. Susan is a long time yoga practitioner and GoYoga member and completed her 100 hour teacher training this past winter. She is looking forward to completing her 200 hour training in Tulum this fall and is currently teaches a Slow Flow + Deep Stretch at Worthington, where she offers Reiki during Yin poses. Susan also has an interior design business specializing in education and senior living design. She lives in Worthington with her significant other, Rick, and two dogs, Grete and Quentin, and enjoys spending time with her two college age daughters, Sadie and Mollie whenever possible.