n this article I would like to speak about the sort of things that students might feel – or not feel – when receiving attunements or empowerments, when working with energy and when treating or being treated, and the significance of these sensations. The article is particular addressed to people who have just taken a First Degree course or who are only just starting on their journey with Reiki, though it should be of interest to people at all Reiki levels.
Attunements or empowerments
(Please note that, to refrain unnecessary repetition, I am going to use the word ‘empowerment’ to refer both to Reiju empowerments and Western-style Reiki attunements.)
When we arrive on a Reiki First Degree course, we probably have very tiny intent of what we might experience when going through an empowerment. If you read books about Reiki, everyone seems to be going through an exceptional, once-in-a-lifetime experience, but for most people it really isn’t like that.
There is no way of predicting what an individual will experience when receiving an empowerment, whether in mortal or at a distance. You might have an astonishing experience, or you might feel very tiny or nothing. It is not unusual for people to see some colours or feel some heat or tingling or pulsing or pressure in various areas of their bodies. For some people an empowerment is a one-of-a-kind experience, profound, emotional, an experience that is nearly unbelievable. For others very tiny happens.
Sometimes you might find that there will be four people, say, on a course. Three people are speaking about the surprising, or interesting, or special experiences that they just had, and one poor soul is sitting there thinking to themselves “I knew this wouldn’t work for me… I know Reiki is supposed to work for everyone, but it hasn’t worked for me”. We adopt that if we notice a lot happening then the empowerment has ‘taken’, that it has worked really well, and we adopt that if we felt very tiny – or if we felt nothing – then the connection ritual has not worked, that we haven’t been attuned, or we haven’t been attuned properly.
But what a student experiences when they receive an empowerment is no guide as to the effectiveness of that empowerment. In fact what a student experiences really is irrelevant, because empowerments always work. Of course it is nice and reassuring to have the “bells and whistles and fireworks” – it helps you to believe that something definite has happened – but someone who has noticed all these things has not been more effectively empowered when compared with a student who felt very tiny or nothing.
Experiences are interesting, but not important. They don’t mean anything in terms of whether, or how well, an empowerment has worked, because empowerments always work, no matter what the student feels or doesn’t feel.
People are all different, and people differ in terms of how sensitive they are to the flow of energy in the primeval stages of their work with Reiki. Sometimes people arrive on a Reiki course massively sensitive to the energy, and perhaps superior healthy to sense subtle differences than is their teacher, and that’s nice for them, while other people might notice something very subtle, or perhaps nothing at all. Most people will feel something.
So when playing with energy, most people will feel something in between their hands when they try to make an energy ball. Most people will feel something when they try to feel someone else’s energy field, or if they practise ‘scanning’ (assuming that there is something there to detect – there won’t always be). But not everyone will feel these things to begin with, and the people who do not feel anything should not be disheartened: because sensitivity to such things can develop with practice and repetition. Most people will find that, no matter how sensitive they find themselves when they first learn Reiki, when they begin to work with the energy regularly – for example by carrying out Hatsurei ho apiece day, and by self-treating – their sensitivity to the energy will increase. But this is a work-in-progress and we might need to be patient. And we might find that our sensitivity to the energy never reaches our goal, or is never as great as other Reiki people that we come across. Maybe we are setting an unreasonable target for ourselves.
And we should remember that sensitivity to the flow of energy is not the be-all and end-all of Reiki. We can work on ourselves and derive the many benefits that come through Reiki, no matter what we feel or don’t feel when we carry out hatsurei ho or self-treat. We can treat other people effectively no matter what we might feel or not feel in our hands. I have come crossways several successful and effective Reiki Master / Instructors who do not feel anything going on in their hands, and never have done. The reason why they continued their Reiki training, rather than giving up in the grappling of no physical sensations to encourage them, was because they practised on lots of people and they could see, by the positive responses they received from the recipients, that something was definitely going on, that they were doing good things, that Reiki was certainly doing something for the people they treated even though they couldn’t feel the energy.
You might ask how you can treat someone when you can’t feel anything, or if you can’t scan very well at the moment. Well, most people in the world of Reiki are taught a standard set of hand positions to use when they treat, and these standard positions can be followed, giving general coverage over the body; the energy is drawn to areas of need, so that works perfectly well. Not everyone scans. Not everyone is taught how to scan. It isn’t a vital step in a treatment, but it can be a useful one to perform if you can do it.
But if you can work intuitively then of course you can place your hands in the right places for apiece mortal you work on, and stay in apiece position for the most appropriate amount of time, not based on the sensations you are feeling in your hands but based on your intuitive impressions. Everyone can work intuitively with some practice, and you might well be taught how to carry out “Reiji ho” (a Asian method for opening to your intuition during a treatment) on a Second Degree course. So an intuitive approach to treatments actually eliminates any advantage in being healthy to sense strongly in your hands.
Sensations experienced by people you treat
Now, you will not be surprised to know that the experiences of people being treated also varies a great deal. For some people, on some occasions, treatments are very strong. They might feel intense heat from the practitioner’s hands, see coloured lights, drift in and out of consciousness. And on other occasions that same mortal might feel the treatment to be mild and gentle. The energy is drawn by the recipient in amounts that are appropriate for them on that occasion, so the perceived ‘strength’ of any treatment is determined by the recipient’s need. The practitioner is just a necessary bystander in the treatment process.
While some people seem to quite often notice a lot happening when they are treated, there are also people who feel very tiny or nothing when they receive a Reiki treatment, no matter who they receive the treatment from. If you have just started out on your Reiki journey and you just happen to treat one of these people, or a few of these people, as your first ‘clients’ then you might end up disheartened, thinking that their demand of a strong sensation means that you are ineffective as a practitioner. We want the recipient to feel a lot because that reassures us that we are doing things ‘correctly’, that we are effective as a channel for the energy. But things aren’t always so simple: while quite often there might be general correlation between what the practitioner feels and what the recipient feels (a very hot area for the practitioner is felt as a very tingly area, say, for the recipient) this correlation will not always be there and, sometimes, you might find a practitioner feeling a violent furnace in their hands, astonished at the strength of what is going on, while the recipient did not notice anything at all, and perhaps didn’t notice anything at all during the entire treatment!
So really this whole article boils down to one easy phrase: “just for today, do not worry”. While it is perfectly natural to want to have some physical sensations to help us believe that we are really doing something when we use Reiki on ourselves and on other people, and while most people who learn Reiki will receive adequate feedback to reassure them, this will not always happen. With practice and experience we begin to let go of the need to be reassured by what we and others feel, and we come to realise that no matter what we feel or don’t feel, Reiki is working for us. But it can be difficult to accept this in the primeval stages, particularly if we are a tiny sceptical.
If you aren’t feeling too much at the moment my advice to you is to follow the instructions you were given: carry out your Hatsurei ho apiece day, self-treat regularly, and get your hands on as many people as you can. Do short blasts on someone’s knee or shoulder, treat people in a straight-backed chair for 20-30 minutes, do full treatments; go with the time you have you have available. The important thing is to get the hands-on practice and you will find, if you treat a good cross-section of people, that you will receive from them the positive feedback that you need, and with sufficient