No Experience Necessary

No Experience Necessary

by Susan Downing

This week I had the opportunity to teach a group of middle- and high school students and teachers to give themselves Reiki.  One or two of them had received Reiki in the past, but none of them had ever practiced Reiki before. And yet, by the end of our hour-long workshop, they were all sitting there doing self-Reiki.  They found it so soothing that when I first asked them to describe what they were feeling, they just looked at me blankly.  At first I thought maybe they weren’t noticing any effects.  So I asked, “Okay, maybe I shouldn’t ask you to put it into words.  Just tell me, do you feel even a tiny bit more relaxed?”  All of them nodded.  Some smiled.  And they all kept giving themselves Reiki.

Now, of course, when I teach a formal Self-Reiki class, I go into much more detail about the history of Reiki than I did with this group.  I spend more time talking with them about what Reiki can do for them, what they might expect when they begin giving themselves Reiki regularly, and how to develop a Reiki practice for themselves.  And I give people attunements, too, to help them feel the energy more strongly than they might otherwise do.

But I firmly believe that anyone can learn to give themselves Reiki and benefit from it without having an attunement.  The group I worked with this week showed that this is true. They learned how to give themselves Reiki, and we also brainstormed about times when Reiki might help them cope with stress or anxiety, and discussed how they might fit Reiki into their day.

I love being able to give people basic instructions for practicing self-Reiki in a brief workshop like this, since all of us can benefit from having a variety of stress-reduction tools at our fingertips (literally, in the case of Reiki).  In a short introduction of this type, people can give Reiki a try, gain a very basic proficiency with the technique, and then, if they want to learn more and develop this into a practice for themselves, they can take a formal class and learn how to help themselves even more using Reiki.

So, today I’m going to give you the same handout I gave this week’s group.  If you’ve never tried Reiki – or if you thought you could never learn to give yourself Reiki without a lengthy formal class – I encourage you to try this.  You can’t do anything wrong, and if you feel some relaxation or relief from stress, anxiety or pain (and Reiki is great for all of these!) so much the better!

Before I give you the actual instructions, here are a couple of preliminaries:

When to give yourself Reiki: The perfect time to give yourself Reiki is when you feel stressed out or worried or sad or mad or when you can’t sleep or can’t sit still.  Practicing Reiki regularly will help you ride out the feelings that upset you – it is a very powerful and effective too for distracting your mind and helping you avoid freaking out. Any time, day or night, is fine for Reiki!

Where to give yourself Reiki: A place where you’re not likely to be disturbed or distracted. Get into a comfortable position – either sitting or lying down is fine. (And definitely turn off your phone so you won’t be interrupted.)

How to give yourself a session:

First of all, access the energy: Close your eyes, put your hands together in front of your chest, and just think to yourself that now you’re going to do a Reiki session for yourself.  Next, imagine that healing energy is flowing into your hands (either from your heart, or from a divine source, or from the Universe, whichever feels right to you.)   That will do it!  Once you state your intention to do Reiki, the energy will flow, whether you notice it or not.

Second, decide where to put your hands: Take a couple of breaths in and out and ask yourself where you feel drawn to put your hands.  If a certain part of your body seems to be calling for attention, just rest your hands there lightly (no need to press) and let the Reiki flow. Maybe you have an ache or an upsetting thought that’s been bothering you, and it’s fine to bear that in mind as you choose a hand position.  But don’t overthink it.  Pick a spot and go with it.  If you like, you can imagine the energy flowing from your hands into that spot.

❀ Leave your hands in that spot for 1 or 5 or 20 minutes: as long as you want!  Remember, the energy will flow wherever in your body it needs to go!  But you can definitely move your hands to another spot whenever you want.  A good time to move might be when you begin to feel bored, or, if the way your hands or body feel to you changes: maybe you felt some sensations in your hand or heat in your body when you put your hands down, and then that feeling changes or dissipates.  To choose another spot, just ask yourself again what part of your body wants some Reiki.

What you might feel as you give yourself Reiki: You may feel heat, cool, tingling, or nothing in either your hands or the part of the body where your hands are.  You may feel the urge to laugh or cough or cry or sneeze.  Your stomach may rumble.  These are all perfectly normal ways the body releases tension as the energy does its work, so if you experience them, that’s a good thing!

❀  What should you do or think about while giving yourself Reiki?? A great way to approach giving yourself Reiki is to not look for any results from it, but simply to relax and welcome the energy without any intent or desired outcome.  Let the energy flow without placing expectations on yourself or the energy. That way, you are open to receiving any kind of benefit that might come along.   Working this way helps you get better at just being in the moment with whatever you are experiencing, There’s nothing you should be feeling during self-Reiki, so let go of that expectation, too!

Finally, remember: There is no wrong way to give yourself Reiki, you can’t ever get too much energy, and the energy can never harm you.  The only mistake you can make is to not do Reiki for yourself at all!  So, relax and enjoy this marvelous gift you’re giving to yourself.

That’s it! I hope you’ll give Reiki a try.  And please do let me know if you have questions, or if you’d like to know more about Reiki. I’d love to hear from you!

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