#BeingReiki #1000DayChallenge—Day 122: My Struggle with Power

—By Nathalie J.

I have an issue with power. Always had.

If I were a shrink I may guess the cause is that I'm the third sibling. Third siblings have little power when it comes to deciding what TV show to watch, where to go on weekends and what to eat for dinner. Most of the time, the only power we have is that of annoyance: to cry until we drive the whole family mad (I was particularly good at exercising this power by the way.)

Going back to power...

I've been reading Frans Stiene's latest book, The Inner Heart of Reiki, and enjoying the many layers and meanings of symbols. Especially CKR. I was never a lover of CKR. I did not grasp this idea of using it to "open chakras" and "put the power of the universe here or there." I'm somewhat of a minimalist and I like to keep my practice really simple. Using loads of symbols during a session would totally drive me out of my space of stillness and connection. It's a personal thing, probably based on my being slightly dyslexic. I am in no way criticizing other ways of practicing. 

"CKR is sometimes seen as an electric outlet where you plug yourself in order to practice."

But I really felt sort of upset that by calling it Power Symbol instead of by its mantra we may be depriving practitioners of the full beauty and depth of this symbol, of its qualities of grounding, of focus, of acceptance, of seeing things as they are. Of the internal work it ignites vs. seeing it like an electric outlet where you plug yourself in order to practice. 

I was ranting and ranting to myself until I started laughing. I was just angry at myself for not having done my work of digging a little deeper into my practice sooner. I could not fool myself and blame others anymore. After all, these past few weeks have been all about Seeing Things as They Are. And being ok with it. 

 

Photo credit: Napoleon in his Imperial Throne by French Painter Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1780-1867



 

Being Reiki: #1000DayChallenge — Day 3: Rediscovering CKR

When I took my Reiki Level 2 class five years ago, I was taught all 3 symbols in one hour. A lot of emphasis was placed on CKR as the "power symbol," which works as a “switch” that helps to instantly increase the practitioner’s ability to channel energy and concentrates it on the required purpose. You wanted to accelerate healing? CKR. You wanted to rid your house of bad energies? CKR in every corner. There was nothing that CKR could not do.

The thing is I am a little bit like Al Gore: I dramatize things with amazing facility. So CKR became almost like a SuperMan kind of power in my head, which ended up being... a turn off. Childish I know, but We were not thought the importance of daily practice and meditating on the symbols.

When my life struggles were not instantly solved, no matter how many CKR I drew in the air, on paper and even in the mirror, I used it less and less. 

Through the years, my practice improved a lot. In great part by practicing simply and with respect at Reiki Clinics like the one at the JCC in Manhattan. I focused on letting my hands do the work and establishing a solid daily practice. Symbols didn't play a big role anymore... until I started my Reiki 3 class.

One of the first requirements was to read Frans Stiene's book The Japanese Art of Reiki. His description of the symbols are so inspiring, it created a desire to bring them back into my practice. Our teacher Deborah taught us simple meditations to understand each symbol's unique energy and how to incorporate it in yourself (Check them out at the end of the post!). Yet CKR—despite it's earthiness, grounding and accepting qualities—was a challenge to me. 

As a writer, I live in my head most of the time. The idea of grounding felt constraining. Almost anti-creative (as you can see I am not always the most perceptive person). So I binged on the 4th symbol, and avoided CKR like the plague, even though I started forgetting things everywhere and feeling a little to "airy."

The other day I was in a beautiful garden full of wild plants. They felt so alive it was almost like you could see them growing, moving, multiplying. And then it hit me: how stupid could I be thinking grounding and earthiness limit creativity? Earth is where life and all ideas get their nourishment to manifest. Their root to grow and prosper. It never constrains. On the contrary, it supports life without judging: weed, roses, deadly bugs or dutiful ants. 

And just like that I opened the door to CKR—to start discovering its nurturing energy of acceptance which dissolves anger and keeps things in perspective; its grounding effect that dissolves fears and worry.

If you have not meditated lately on CKR I invite you to give it a few minutes this week. Here are some tips that helped me get started:

1) Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Place your non-dominant hand on your hara and draw the symbol in the air with your dominant hand (using the palm). Say its name 3 times and bring the dominant hand to the hara (on top of the non-dominant one). Just breath for a few minutes and feel CKR's energy with your whole body.

2) Sit comfortably with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Draw CKR on a piece of paper. Place your dominant hand on top of it, say its name 3 times. Breathe deeply and feel the symbols' energy. 

3) If you are more auditory than visual, try chanting the symbol. You can download its chanting sounds here. Stand with your feet hip distance apart, hands to your side, take a purifying breath and get chanting. Start with 2 to 3 minutes per day and add time each time you feel ready. 

 

Photo credit: Nikolai Shevchuk

 

Messages or no messages—that’s the question.

What to answer when people ask, ‘Did you get any messages?’ after a Reiki Session?

 When you take a Reiki class in one day like I did, you learn very fast—so fast that thousands of details fall through the cracks. Among them, what to do with the so-called “messages” given by spirit guides.

I’ve been practicing for close to five years and handling sessions has become easier. Handling my clients’ expectations when it comes to messages however became tougher and tougher.  

 While practicing at the JCC Reiki clinic with Reiki Master #PamelaMiles, her ‘No-Message Policy’ was easy to execute. Even when people asked we barely had time to answer, “It was our pleasure to offer you a Reiki session,” before they were ushered to the exit.

For a long time,  I tried to guide my clients' attention to what they felt, but I didn’t totally grasp the why, grasp it not only with my mind, but with guts and heart. And that probably affected my confidence when handling the matter.

It took a really awkward situation (a client literally kicked me out and refused to pay the session for lack of what she called “guidance”) to realize that I needed to understand why sharing these messages didn't feel right and communicate it clearly.

So, I did some digging.

According to Reiki masters and authors #FransStiene and #BronwenStiene, ‘hibiki’ or the sensation we feel during a "hands-on" healing session/meditation literally “means an echo. The reason why these sensations are called ‘hibiki’/echo is because they are not real—an echo is empty, like a reflection or an illusion.”

How then do we know that messages are real if ‘hibikis’ are not? Worse, what if messages are not only echoes, but also echoes that have been distorted further by our own experiences and emotions?

If, as Stiene explains, we are to experience Hibiki without labeling it, shouldn’t we do the same with messages? Experience them and then let them go, trusting the session to do its work?

Later, talking to Reiki Master #DeborahFlanagan, she mentioned that #Reiki practice was all about reconnecting with yourself. It seemed to me then that by giving messages, a practitioner may actually be getting in the way of his client’s best interest.

I gave it some thought. And what came to me was very simple.

When my clients ask for messages or guidance, they are—knowingly or not—shifting the responsibility of their own healing into my hands.  And that’s why it’s so important to gently shift it back into theirs—because, after all, they are the ones doing the work.

I’m not claiming this is a universal truth. But this works for me, for now. It doesn’t have to work for you. But I do believe that as we progress in our practice, it’s important to ask ourselves questions—even if they have been answered a hundred times—meditate on them, and come up with our own unique answer.

What’s your POV about messages*, would love to hear it.

 

* When I talk about messages in this post, I am not referring to the "there is a lot going on in your back" kind, but more to the "that person who hurt you recently? Not worth it" kind of messages.

 

Photo credit: http://purpleturtles.muzy.com/#lightbox_post_93097755