Every Sunday evening, I teach a Reiki + Meditation community class at YES, a lovely yoga studio in Ridgewood. It’s one of the highlights of my week. Most of the attendants are young, joyful, and very chatty. As soon as the class starts, however, they go quiet and put on a solemn, “peaceful” expression. It’s too tempting. I make them do the silliest of shakeouts. Regulars now do it laughing, but every week I see the newbies giving me the side eye while thinking, “Is this a joke? Is she for real?” Until we really start... and they discover the class is not about easy guided meditations or Reiki sparkles. By the end of the class, their eyes open in wonder about how good they feel.
Joy is often misunderstood as lack of seriousness or depth when it comes to Western spirituality, probably the influence of more Judeo-Christian approaches. Yet—when we go back to Buddhism—joy is the fourth factor of awakening, just behind energy.
Joko-san, the abbot of the meditation hall in Japan where I spent three weeks, kept repeating every time he saw: “just enjoy breathing, enjoy!” In other words: just breathe, clear your mind from anger and fear, and learn how to embody joy. For yourself and others. And if that sounds pretty much like the Reiki precepts, it’s not a coincidence: Buddhism is one of the roots of Reiki practice.
A few days ago, I spent a whole week with my teacher and mentor Frans Stiene. He is a very joyful teacher. He makes jokes all the time, dances, sings, pokes fun at the shy students. He’s never ashamed of being silly. But he is also one of the Reiki teachers with more knowledge, depth, and compassionate energy I’ve met. Joy makes his teaching approachable. It also makes it easy to sit for hours of training and feel safe to ask the most absurd questions.
Frans many times has said that to offer Reiki, you need to overflow with the energy. That the end goal of the practice is to integrate it into real life. Spreading joy is, in my opinion, a great way to do it.
So, next time you take a meditation class, get a Reiki session, or even a massage, smile and let me know if it made a difference.
Love and light,