To me, Reiki is a judgement free zone. It’s a space where people can just be and meet heart to heart - instead of mind to mind. It doesn’t matter who we are and what we do or what we did. When I went once a month to the Westchester Correctional Facility to teach mindfulness to a group of inmates this summer, I saw these men as they were during the hour we had together, as fellow human beings, not people who committed a crime and are now behind bars.
Many years ago, when I used to work in Manhattan, I often had the feeling that when people heard where I worked and what I did for a living, a lot of human interactions turned into business transactions. I missed really connecting with a person in a conversation and not just sizing each other up for the networking potential. As you may have experienced, I rather listen and get to know the other person.
But I can only listen when I am present and not distracted. As a Reiki practitioner, I am becoming increasingly aware of and in tune with my attention and my senses. I am also mindful not to label and not to judge, not to see a person, situation or things as “good” or “bad,” but just as is. Often people come for a Reiki session because they feel that they have “negative energy” in their system or that somebody else is sending non-friendly vibes their way. Sometimes they expect me to wave my “magic hands” and remove all their problems and challenges in one session. In addition to “what do you hear?” and “what do you see?”, one time a client asked me if she should sell her house. This is not how Reiki works. It’s not a psychic reading or a psychotherapy session, it’s rather a space of kindness and mindfulness.
During a session, I place my hands on the recipients’ bodies in a series of hand positions, which help them relax and stimulate their own healing response. When the body is in a relaxed state, tension (physical and emotional) can melt away better. This in turn increases the sensation of well-being. It’s beautiful to hear when people say after a session, “I feel like a weight has been lifted off me” or “I can finally feel like myself again.” In these precious moments, the body and mind are finding balance again and more alignment.
When I heard the Reiki precepts for the first time, the last precept turned a switch in my head. “Just for today, be kind to yourself and others.” May we often find the space to approach people, situations, life and ourselves with kindness and mindfulness – and without judgement.