Reiki entered my life three years ago. It was 2017, and I was facing a challenging time, what we might call a personal crisis––I’ll trust you know what I mean. My relationships were troubled, I was uncertain about my life’s direction and questioning everything that was happening in the world. So, I went digging for an answer, a solution to my angst, and a way out of my struggle and suffering.
What does a spiritual, self-seeker do during such a time? She goes to Thailand to do a Reiki Master program, of course! But in all seriousness, a long while passed before I discovered that Reiki in Thailand would offer me the lifelong guidance I sought.
What’s Your Healing Style?
Everyone has a method for trying to manage the madness of self-doubt and existential crisis. For some, it’s yoga, meditation, or adopting a cleaner lifestyle. Others turn to less effective behaviours like drugs, alcohol, and gossip. Whatever it is, it’s something. The approach may be thoughtful and conscious or desperate and driven.
My personal-breakdown go-to self-help aid was always education. I lived by the mantra, when you don’t know what to do, learn something new. When uncertainty clouded my life, I always used education to reconnect with myself. I thought digging for more information was the way to arrive at an answer. Logically it makes sense: the more information we can stuff into an overworked brain will eventually help us find the clarity to forge new paths and make sense of our lives, right? Except it doesn’t, and while logic will always give us an answer, it’s not necessarily the one we need.
The Tao Te Ching says, “to attain knowledge add things every day. To attain wisdom remove things every day.”
At the time, I was incapable of recognising what my soul needed. Should I add or remove? So, I continued searching for that next training that would finally deliver the answer that everyone is searching for in their own way. Zen tradition calls it satori, or enlightenment. I called it relief.
I had recently completed months of various massage courses in Thailand and a YTT in India. I’d even hunkered down in Sri Lanka for a month of research and writing. What next learning endeavour would support my growing knowledge in the healing arts now that I had this empty space of time before me? I’d heard of Reiki, but I didn’t really know what it was, other than something to do with energy.
What Is Reiki
Reiki is a 19th-century Japanese healing system that works with the body’s subtle energy centres and pathways. Reiki Masters and practitioners use touch and non-touch methods, symbols, and distant techniques, to deliver Reiki energy to a person, animal, object, or the earth, to restore balance and relieve stress and pain.
If you watch a Reiki session in action, you’ll observe the giver’s hands sweep, hover, rise, lower, and touch. It looks as though a kind of dance is taking place, in which the hands flit above another’s body to a mysterious rhythm. Reiki also uses the eyes and mouth. I affirm that giving and receiving Reiki feels as beautiful as it appears.
Reiki supports healing on all levels: spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, and the subconscious. It’s also a meditation. A Reiki practitioner does not use her own energy but instead acts as a channel for the flow of universal energy that aids healing in both the receiver and the giver. Anyone can practice Reiki; it requires only a desire to learn and use it.
Returning to my need for something new to learn, I looked at available courses in Canada, where I was at the time. Every program was crazy expensive, and every website I encountered was lacquered with a shiny Western polish. None of them felt authentic. None of them called me. I continued my search until someone said to me, “don’t look for Reiki––it will come to you when the time is right.” So, I moved onto other things, namely work, and forgot about it.
Reiki In A Time Of COVID
Fast forward three years to 2020, and I was experiencing a similarly challenging time in the wake of the pandemic world crisis and a broken relationship. I had returned to that panicked must-know state with a growing stack of books on my bedside table, an impossible number of work projects, and an insatiable desire to implant all the knowledge of the sages into my short-circuited brain to quell my sadness and anxiety. There I was again inside another vain and virtuous attempt to assert myself against life and try to teach it something––like that was possible.
If there is one truth I’ve discovered in my 41 years, it’s that suffering is as universal an experience as love. It’s also deeply personal.
I knew I needed to find a better way to manage the hot, heavy charge that saturated the air around me and coursed through my veins. Then one day, a friend on the island connected me to Orion Healing Centre. The lockdown had begun right at the time I arrived on Koh Phangan, so I’d never had a chance to visit Orion. At my friend’s suggestion, I checked it out.
After a few conversations with Daliah, Orion’s beautiful founder, Reiki made another appearance in my life. This time it presented clearly, unbridled by the spiritual materialism that tarnishes so many conscious communities. And it was totally accessible, both financially and geographically. I was literally stuck on this island––without complaint––and as I mentioned, desperate to learn something new.
Learning Reiki in Thailand
During the first day of the course, I arrived at Orion like the proper, experienced, thrice-degree holding student I was (an ego-badge of honour) with my notebook and pen. I looked around at my classmates––what a diverse group of people! We each received a course manual, which Daliah led us through, sprinkling stories into lessons and inviting our personal experiences. It was precisely the wholesome interaction I’d unknowingly been craving.
During the first day, I felt my prim-and-proper student-ness, desperate to learn something new, drop away as a formless presence took its place. I was humbled. Reiki wasn’t a discipline like social science or economics that contained logic and rules and rational thought. It was about feeling––all feeling. But how delightful to discover that Reiki has a scientific basis too. Although that satisfied the rational part of my brain that likes facts inside titanium boxes, the science of Reiki didn’t matter that much to me. I preferred its mysticism, and it was an opportunity for me to feel in a totally new way.
As I practiced Reiki, my discoveries continued, primarily this: Reiki has nothing to do with what I think I know. In fact, such egocentric knowledge can interfere with the flow of energy and prevent true healing. Reiki has no care for university degrees, pencils and notebooks, or preconceptions. Reiki demands only my presence, openness, intention, and a willingness to drop back and allow the energy to do its job. Now maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but the ability to hold space for another person and willfully enter into a space of healing with them without your interference takes practice––oodles of it, but it’s also something of which every one of us is capable.
Reiki simultaneously requires vulnerability and courage, an ability to love without conditions, and to be without motive for personal reward. Reiki is love in action.
My initiation to Reiki was powerful, humbling, and my first taste of what it felt like to be truly connected to the energy surrounding us all the time. My hands lit up, my palms tingled with new life, and I felt my inherent sensitivity as a source of power rather than a house of cards. Maybe that sounds a bit far out, and believe me, five years ago, I would’ve thought so too. But in my first connection to Reiki energy, something shifted in me.
Through my second attunement into Reiki Level II and third into Reiki Master with Ari, Orion’s co-founder, I felt myself begin to open and––as I can only describe it––peace out and light up. Instead of contracting inward and down under my heavy head energy as my body habitually behaved, I expanded outward and upward. I connected more deeply to people, experienced greater compassion, had fewer inquiries, and judged less. My hands were a conduit through which I could move and play with energy, clear blockages and restore balance, learn about love and individual suffering, and discover our sameness. I felt a deep reverence well up inside me. I felt like I’d come home.
The Way Home
Reiki showed me a way out of my head and into my heart, into my breathing, pulsing flesh-and-bone body borne of divine energy and real touchable matter. It guided me, connected me, showed me that the path to healing myself and others isn’t always about active trying, textbook knowledge, or analysis. It’s about feeling, intention, and trust. But most of all, it’s about love.
To learn Reiki all levels, from a beginner’s Reiki I course to Reiki Master, consider Orion’s Reiki course in Srithanu, Koh Phangan––a magical and magnetic island in southern Thailand. Come with a childlike curiosity to explore the wisdom enfolded within this divine energy healing system. Orion offers online Reiki courses too.
Orion’s Reiki program showed me that I had the answer I’d been searching for––I’d always had it: The door to love opens from the inside.