Well, this isn't really curmudgeony (I don't think), but it is the second half of what I was going to talk about on Tuesday. It's a difficult subject for me because it's something profoundly important to me and the fact that other people don't feel the same as I do is really my problem and not theirs, but... it makes me sad. So here goes...
Most of you who visit here with any regularity know that I'm a reiki master and that reiki (more here and here) is a big part of my life and who I am. I don't think there's anyone who holds this against me, but I know that large numbers of people - in life and in the blogosphere - just go kind of quiet when the subject comes up and sort of tip toe quietly out of the room hoping that I won't hear the silence. I understand that. I really do. We are not a naturally airy-fairy society. We are taught to believe in science and the "provable." There are also people who feel that the idea of reiki is "un-Christian." That one puzzles me because I think the opposite is true. Jesus performed and talked about everyone being able to do healing and always stated clearly that healing had much to do with the faith to receive it.... But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I have to admit that I thought reiki was a lot of hooey when I first encountered the idea of offering healing touch to anybody. This was at a workshop. "Oh, Lord," I thought. "These people are goofy." Then we started doing some experiments. First we took dowsing rods and started exploring people's energy fields. My eyes were rolling at first but then the dowsing rods started responding as people expanded and contracted their "energy," myself included. Different people could impact the rods from different distances. Hmmm. Imagination? Manipulation? If would have been hard to manipulate. There were about 40 of us, all having similar but unique experiences. This was before I had even heard of reiki. At this workshop we experimented with sending loving energy to each other. I later made some home-made dowsing rods and got my mathematician/actuary father - the ultimate skeptic - to experiment with me. He couldn't explain the rods or rationalize them away, though he tried. Then we got my mother, who was already fairly deep into the throes of dementia, to get onto a make-shift table. After I worked on her, she was more coherent than she had been in a long time and that lasted for several days. My father let me work on him too and then rationalized away his own experiences... and my mother's. But at least he pried the door of his mind open for an hour. I give him that. It just bothered him that he couldn't find a logial explanation, so he dismissed his experience. I see that often. How sad. And how unscientific. Worse still are those who won't even try reiki but simply dismiss it as bull****. I find it very illogical and unscientific to simply dismiss reiki without trying it. My nephew - another skeptic - got on my table to humor me and had the pain in his wrists and elbows (he was studying martial arts) go away. It bothered him that he couldn't explain what happened, but he didn't deny his experience. He sent a friend to me who had gone through doctors, chiropractors, medications and even surgery for a shoulder injury with no success. Reiki helped him when nothing else did. It baffles me why reiki works. It is an act of faith both to offer it and to receive it. It's a mystery... and a wonderful one.
I experimented with the concept of energy in another context when I was attending Seminary. Our thoughts and energy have much more power than we traditionally acknowledge. One of the more interesting courses I took at General Seminary was something called "Vision and Audition in the Bible." The professor was a priest who had been a scientist and not put much stock in things like dreams or intuition until he himself had a profound personal experience that changed his life. He then became deeply enmeshed in the idea of dreams and energy. At one point he had each of us hook ourselves up to a machine that monitors alpha and delta waves. Alpha is supposed to be our waking/thinking state. Delta is associated with dreaming and with deep meditation. The idea of this machine was to use it to bring yourself into a delta state. It would start buzzing when you got to a delta state. According to the machine, I live in a delta state as it went off immediately. I kept thinking I was doing it wrong, but I double and triple checked and I consistently set it off just plugging it in. Maybe that has something to do with me being empathic. I don't know. It would be interesting to do a study on that. Do empaths and people who work with the healing arts operate from a different energetic place naturally? I know some of you out there don't believe in empaths either, but you haven't lived in my body so don't dismiss what you don't understand. One of the reasons I got interested in learning reiki was because it is supposed to help protect you from taking other peoples feelings into your own body. Sounded good to me.
But I have way digressed from what I wanted to talk about. Whew. This subject is so huge for me and so impossible to explain in a way that makes sense to people. My main point was that I don't understand total resistance to something like reiki. I understand skepticism. I think that's healthy. Dismissal bugs me. It's like turning away angels because they might be mythical. Or maybe a smarter parallel might be refusing water when you are thirsty because you like orange juice better. Or maybe there is no analogy.
Reiki is no more fool-proof than allopathic medicine, which works differently for different people and which sometimes heals and sometimes doesn't.. I don't think I'm Jesus. Reiki practitioners don't make promises. What happens is between you and the energy. We are channels through which it comes. That said, sometimes my own and the recipient's expectations are disappointed. When I'm doing it right - truly remembering that I'm just a channel and not a "doer," I avoid expectation and disappointment. I'm not really quite so wise that I can do that completely but I'm better at it than I used to be. Ever time I send reiki is always different because each human and each day are different. Sometimes I feel nothing and the recipient feels a great deal. Sometimes I feel things and the person at the other end doesn't. Sometimes - this is when it's most fun - we have matching experiences. I used to reiki a freind of mine while we talked on the phone. She could always tell me where on the teddy bear surrogate my hands were. That was great fun. Animals are fun to do. They way too smart to second guess a gift. With few exceptions, they soak the reiki energy in gladly. They don't question whether it's logical or possible. They just know it feels good. Humans are more prone to doubt and resistence.
Still, it makes me sad that there are people suffering who could suffer less, that there are gifted people like Dennis Puffett out there offering a great gift and asking nothing in return and people tip-toe out of the room as though they have overheard something wicked being discussed. I don't get not exploring something so potentially wonderful. The worst that can happen is that it doesn't work. But there's always the possiblity that you might feel better.
So this isn't a criticism or really curmudgeonyness. It's puzzlement and sadness because I love reiki and I love to share those things that are precious to me. When I offer reiki, when I talk about it, I am opening my heart. I am stepping out of my own comfort zone in some ways because I know not everyone believes in it and some even have judgements about it. I won't say that rejection of something so important to me doesn't make me a touch sad, but even worse than rejection for me, is silence.
Thanks for listening to me here. I hope I have made a little bit of sense.