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UPDATE: I wrote this post before I had awareness of the terms “Reiki” and “Reiki energy.” Reiki, when broken down, essentially means “spiritual” (Rei) “energy” (Ki). When we use the term “Reiki energy” what we are really saying is “Reiki energy energy”, which is redundant. However, I will not change it in the title here because this post has become one of the top searched for topics and most pinned or saved posts of all time on my blog and I don’t want to change the settings – thus making it hard for people to return to the information written below… and now… onto the post:
Have you ever had the experience of not being able to feel the Reiki flowing through your hands after becoming Reiki attuned? Do you wonder or worry that it isn’t working? Do you wonder or worry that you do not feel the Reiki flowing through your hands? Do you wonder if you are somehow not a good conductor for Reiki, or if you are doing something wrong?
Well, don’t worry! With consistent practice and time, you will begin to notice changes that signify for you that the Reiki is flowing!
Here are some considerations to remember while you practice:
1. Did you receive reiju (an attunement) during your Reiki learning? Although Reiki is inherently present in the world and we can access it at any time, often it is helpful to go through an attunement process, or receive reiju, during a class to open a space of awareness about the system of Reiki so we can understand how to work with it.
UPDATE (based on a reader question about the attunement process) Attunement works like this:
Reiki is the same Reiki – no matter how many levels you learn. I directly quote Arjava Sensei here as he writes about Hayashi Sensei discussing how receiving Reiki works in the body. The same analogy can be applied to when we receive attunement:
Hayashi Sensei “used a beautiful analogy, which his students called “The muddy stream”. He said that if you look at a stream, it looks clear and beautiful. But if you disturb the water (giving a Reiki treatment) the mud from the bottom comes up to the surface, making all the water appear dirty (healing- crisis, the toxins have entered the body’s liquids). If you then keep cleaning the water of the impurities that have come up (more Reiki), it becomes cleaner and cleaner until the whole stream is reborn… The client has come back to his natural equilibrium once more, as some of the muck sinks down to the bottom again.”
Ask your teacher for the history of her lineage. Ask her to share what her attunement experience was like. She should have a clearly outlined story to share about that experience. For many attunement processes there is a lovely ritual created around the process. If your master teacher cannot tell you who her master teacher was, and the lineage of teachers before her, or is vague about her attunement experience, or does not offer an attunement as part of your learning… count that as a red flag and find another Reiki master who can be specific with you.
2. Be patient with the experience. Reiki flows and fluctuates at many different levels of heat, from cold to burning hot. Sometimes you need to lay your hands on a body part for several minutes before you begin to notice temperature changes. Sometimes these changes are subtle, sometimes they grow gently like a wave of heat. It can take up to 20 minutes for the heat to peak to its warmest level under your hands. (This is what we call Byosen in Japanese Reiki systems.)
3. Give it time and get feedback. I once had a Reiki student who took Levels One through Master and only started feeling the Reiki flowing through her hands after she completed Mastership. She had to learn to trust herself that the Reiki was flowing at first. The way she did this was to get feedback from whomever she placed her hands on. People would tell her how relaxed they felt, or how warm her hands were, and although she could not feel it at first, she acknowledged the feedback as truth and slowly began to experience things over time in her own hands.
4. Practice on yourself, every day. This will help you become intimately connected with the understanding of how the Reiki flows through you. Maybe you feel calm at the end of your self-treatment. Maybe you feel peace. Maybe you begin to notice energy flowing through different parts of your body while you place your Reiki hands on yourself. It may take a while before you notice how the Reiki flows for you. This is okay. Learn to trust and have patience. This is a great gift that Reiki brings us- trust and patience.
5. Receive reiju again, as often as possible. It has been widely reported by my master teachers (and my own personal experience) that receiving reiju multiple times helps to connect the body deeply with Reiki. For example, when I learned Jikiden Reiki, I was already a Western Usui Reiki Master with the Reiki flowing strongly through my hands. Each day in my five-day Jikiden seminar, we received reiju from four different masters for a total of 20 attunements! It was amazing to feel the Reiki entering my head and hands each time someone gave me reiju. If you cannot take a class again (I strongly encourage people to re-take classes – it is always worth re-learning information) find a Reiki Share in your area that offers attunements to already attuned folks. In this way you can experience the energy again and again and again.
6. Trust yourself. The mind, specifically the ego, likes to place doubt in our heads. We worry that we aren’t placing our hands correctly or that we aren’t holding them in the right spot or we aren’t holding them long enough. Tell your thoughts to be quiet for a while and simply listen to the sensations, however slight, in your hands. Don’t criticize yourself if they aren’t strong at first, or even if you feel nothing at all. Simply focus on breathing in and out, relax your body- and place your hands. Trust that the Reiki is flowing.