Saturday, January 10, 2009

Curmudgeon Lite

(Please scroll down for the Saturday Wordzzle Challenge.)

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.


Dianne said...

I know I've been silent and I'm sorry if that saddened you. I am the type of person who would turn down the offer of a fire extinguisher even if my head was on fire. It's not a judgement - it's a problem with accepting offers - any offers :)

Akelamalu said...

You made perfect sense Raven. As you know I too am Reiki and proof positive for me that Reiki works is when I give it to animals. I ask anyone who poohoos Reiki to explain how it works for animals. Animals don't understand it nor can they explain it, they just accept it. :)

Anonymous said...

That was an excellent apologia on the subject, Raven. Many years ago I did the second level, but never felt the call to go any further. I use it now rarely, and mostly on my own cats.

Raven said...

dianne - I know the syndrome. I'm the same in some ways, so when I'm on the receiving end, I'm getting my own back. I do hope you will write to Dennis Puffett at some point. Easier than dealing with someone you know, which can feel messy.

akelamalu - isn't it wonderful to work on animals? One woman in Maine who's dog I reiki-ed could pinpoint to the minute when I started and finished working with her dog. Interestingly, people are often more willing to accept reiki for their pets than themselves.

Deborah - I haven't used my "mastership" much, though in two weeks I'm - (eeeek!) going to attune 4 of my friends. Very anxious about it. It's been a long time and I have to work around my physical disability. Guess it will be ok.

Melli said...

Raven, I don't discount the possibility of Reiki working... I just don't credit "the energy" with any healing. "The energy" (in MY beliefs) has a name - and His name is God. Any type of "mystic" healer who practices it under his own power is going to be skeptical to a Christian. The Bible clearly teaches that mystics, diviners, astrologers and such are of the "world" and not of God. I don't mean to hurt your feelings by my silence... the exact opposite actually... I mean to keep my thoughts to myself. If YOU want to believe that "the energy" does the healing - that is your choice. But I believe that all healing comes from God -- even though He often uses doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, etc... I do believe there are people who can "heal" simply with the laying on of hands... but again - it comes from God and the faith must be there. (in MY beliefs)

Quiet Paths said...

Thank you for this essay; it's by the best I've ever read from a personal perspective. No hooey; just what you've experienced and I can relate. There are some things which remain mysteries and that is OK. Could the ancients explain scientifically why certain tree barks relieved pain? Now we understand aspirin.... I'll be be back to read this again.

Raven said...

Hi melli - Thanks for responding. If you read what I write about reiki, you will see that I believe that the energy is "Unconditional Love" or God... and as you say comes through me not from me. I personally believe that everything comes from/is God.

I believe that reiki is God at work... It is a form of prayer for me. I wonder if we don't sometimes limit our vision for God's creative capacity when we think that he can't work through other humans like ourselves. It's a little like the old joke of the man caught in the flood, standing on the roof top. and a row boat comes by to rescue him. "No, he says... God will save me." Next a helicopter comes and again he refuses rescue saying "God will save me." There's a third one but I can't remember what it was... eventually, of course, he drowns and on arriving in heaven asks God, "Why didn't you save me?" to which God responds. I sent a rowboat, a helicopter and... what more did you want?"

Anyway, I know that people keep silent so as not to be unkind or disagree, but then that closes the possibility of dialog and the clearing up of misunderstandings, which is why I wrote this. Thanks for taking the time to share your feelings.

Felisol said...

Dear Raven,
10 years ago two of my friends, my sister-in-law- hubby Gunnar and I took a long week-end Rei course. It sure was interesting and for the five of us stress was an overwhelming issue. We fell asleep all five under the exercises.
My Mom is very sceptically to healers in general, be they Indian or Pentecostal,but she at once relaxed as I tried it out on her.
I am very clear though, I do not want any help or any power unless from the one and living God.
I seek no diffuse existence out in the universe. I seek God.

For some years now I have not been practicing reiki, it requires a bit of inner peace and consenttration.
I must also add, I have not gone further with my reiki education, I'm but a beginner.

The power to heal is given us by God, the Bible describes it over and over again.
We should not believe in a watered down God, a God adjusted to modern science or pharmacy.
Either God is almoighty or he is not at all.

Reiki is also about love, giving accepting love. No power is stronger than the soft, sweetness of love. Love is what you give being a tool that let the love from GOd go through you and further on to the needy.

I also think that's important; it's not your own forces or abilities you are giving away, but God working through you.

Good luck on your further work, dear Raven.

bettygram said...

Thank you I have learn about something I have never heard about except from you. I believe that God gives us power to heal and other gifts. God asks that we pray and lay hands on people for healing.

Finding Pam said...

I did not know what Reiki was until I read your post. I think that would be wonderful to have a gift of healing.

I think too often people are afraid of anything different, especially change. If it is of God, then I am for it. Please don't let anyone make you feel anything less than what you are.

You know that I am seeing an accupuncturist and I had tried all other means of treatment. My friends are skeptical of my remission. I can understand how you feel because if something works for me then I want to share this with others that are in pain.

Thank you so much for sharing this with me today.

Sandi McBride said...

Oddly enough, though I've never heard of Reiki I have no doubt that people can cure with the energy of their bodies through touch. No doubt whatsoever. I'm going to check out the sites that you've so sweetly provided.

Carletta said...

I loved reading your post and the comments that followed.
If I hadn't read it here a few months ago I wouldn't have known what it was or that it existed.
Years ago my Grandfather laid his hands on me in the middle of the night because I had a nose bleed that wouldn't stop. I was too little to understand then. So, your ability I believe was given to you and your using it was meant to be.