Reiki melts away stress. That’s how it works on me. I feel parts of my body easing up, relaxing and “collapsing in” on themselves, if that is possible or, rather, imaginable. I liken the feeling to the green-colored Wicked Witch of the West who, when splashed accidentally with a bucket of water by the Tin Man trying to douse a fire engulfing the Straw Man, the personification of evil in the Merry Old Land of Oz declares, “I’m melting. I’m melting.” Water melts away the bad, and Dorothy is proclaimed all that is good.
Is stress a necessary evil that needs to be vanquished as in the wizard of Oz? Too much stress can kill you. Ask any workaholic if they would love to trade places with someone other than a Type A person just for a few moments to be able to let go of all thoughts, all plans, all machinations of the mind while becoming a Bohemian beach boy or girl with nary a worry or concern for his or her job, reputation or portfolio. The busy man or woman controls very little of the mind when the mind wants nothing more than to be busy day in and day out, minute by minute, from one inhalation of the breath to the next exhalation. The “monkey mind” never rests, never relaxes and continuously swings from one thought to another adroitly moving from one’s worried past to an anxious future usually in less time than it takes for me to write these words.
It takes a while for my stress to give in to Reiki. I start by placing both hands over my eyes, with the palm facing down, cradling the top of each nostril. I gently cover the sockets of each eye, allowing the warmth from my hands to “seep” onto the eyes themselves. No one taught me the next technique, but I borrowed what I’ve learned from deep meditation and I start counting very slowly from one to 20.
I will myself to “feel” the warmth, to experience it. I visualize it spreading within the nostrils, behind the eye sockets and into the sinuses which are often clogged to a certain degree. “Don’t try,” I’ve cautioned myself at the outset. “Don’t judge.” If I even think of “trying” to get into the meditative state, I’ll never enter it. I refrain from judging how the experience progresses. I achieve this by recalling a period in my life when I was humble, pure, and open to a power greater than myself.
One of those moments was when I was in elementary school. Nuns taught us Catholic boys and girls about the love and compassion of Jesus and how a priest in our religion took on the embodiment of Christ when saying the Mass.
I wanted nothing more in life at that tender age than to offer myself on an altar, serving all for the Greatest Good or some other aspiration my 10-year-old mind could imagine then.
No, I don’t retroactively become a kid again. I become child-like, remembering how I felt in the presence of the divine. You can call this power God, the Force, the Source or even Mother Earth. But most of us can identify with that goodness than permeates the universe once we take the time to slow down, take notice and to feel its enriching power.
When I tap into that “total recall,” an internal tear starts to form. I know I’ve gotten close to this Source when I feel my eyes begin to physically well up. I am that humble servant once again; I’m ready to give my all for the benefit of others, pure in body, spirit and mind.
It may have taken me as many as 15 full counts before my head begins to clear. I mean that literally. My sinuses loosen up, my jaw unclenches, and my facial skin becomes more placid and looser, if that’s possible. The flesh feels as if it has stop resisting whatever pressure my mind has created, and it relaxes as if it has fallen asleep, not bothered by any other wants or desires of the many body parts to be constantly “on guard.”
I have willed myself through my regular practice to slow down. I know from experience that the first three attempts at what I call “deep breathing,” are critical, and if I feel that I have shortened myself or if I might have rushed the process, I’ll gently stop my count, even if it’s gotten as high as 10 or 11, and return to the beginning, recounting the numbers from ground zero.
Three deep inhalations and even deeper exhalations set into motion what scientists call the parasympathetic nerve system, a system that helps calm the body. Try it. Close your eyes and slowly breathe in then slowly breathe out, letting the exhalation to drift away, get weaker as air dissipates and you’re near, but not at, and the point where you must gasp for another breath. Following the next inhalation, try to halt all breathing for a moment or two or three. Do nothing. Simply be; simply exist in that millisecond of nothing. Now, let the air slowly leave the body, sensing its departure not only from your nose, throat and lungs, but also from down deep in the stomach where you know the deep breathing is doing its best to help calm you down.
If I got this far – that is, to the count of 15 – and the deep breathing has synchronized with the warmth of my hands and the relaxing of the mind, I can set into motion a notion to “surrender” to the power around me. I use the word surrender, because it reminds me of “giving up,” “letting go,” allowing something or someone other than myself assume control in the present moment. It is then, I believe, that Reiki showers me with energy, infusing the parts of me that need its care, its comfort, its caress.
I disappear at that point. I don’t sense myself as being separate, alone or alienated from anything around me. My ego has diminished, retreating to the background, and I feel like I am connected more to the world, at one with everything that exists.
Most of my thoughts have faded by now. Oh, they appeared out of nowhere like they normally do, but I’ve gotten use to releasing them, releasing their hold on me, or actually, my “hold onto” them. The secret of this meditating while channeling Reiki is to relinquish all thoughts. I let thoughts that mysteriously appear in my consciousness to simply drift away without me “grasping” onto them. They could be the most delicious, thought-provoking, mind-boggling figments of the mind I could possibly imagine. I let them go. I ease them out of the picture of my mind, giving no more attention to them than I would to a slight breeze that we know will eventually nudge away even the largest clouds or groups of cloud thoughts.
Don’t beat up on yourself if you feel a thought is so important that you just have to stay with it for more than a fleeting moment. Let it go. But don’t try too hard, and whatever you do, don’t judge yourself or your effort to release its control over you.
That’s what many of our thoughts do, you know: control us, rather than the other way around. Oh, we control our thoughts when we use them to analyze, categorize or solve problems, perform tasks, and/or learn information. But much of the time, our thoughts arise from some subconscious place triggered by something one of our senses has recently come into contact with, reminding us to recall something similar for some reason or another. Aren’t most of these thoughts basically useless? They hinder rather than help what we like to call the “thought process.”
So, when my disciplined mind understands this, it can simply glimpse at thoughts and not make itself a slave to them.
Reiki, I believe, needs an uncluttered, open field for its drops of energy to seep in and nurture. When I am receptive to its power, it fills up the emptiness with pure goodness. I can feel it gently flowing through my entire body. It’s a relaxing feeling, a calming feeling that allows my mind to place the rest of my body “at ease,” rather than remaining at “attention” like a dutiful soldier does when in the company of a superior officer.
The second hand posture involves the temple. I place hands on both sides of my head, partially covering the upper portions of the ears. My fingers bend at the top of my head almost but not touching.
If I have the slightest of headaches, Reiki helps cure it. I expose the side of my face to the same process that energized by eyes, nose and forehead, gently urging all muscles to de-stress and relax. Once again, I begin the count to 20 while feeling warmth from the palms of my hands spread from the temples to the top of my head and to that area practitioners call the crown chakra, the doorway some say leads to a higher level of consciousness.
The third spot is one of my favorite areas in which to place my hands. I cover the base of my skull. My hands overlap as they stretch from the back of the skull across my neck while covering the upper part of the spine. I feel around for that bone connecting my spike to my head, and I get immediate pleasure. My neck always seems to be colder than most other parts of my body. I guess it’s because it is constantly exposed to the air and is tenderer than my hands. It takes only a few seconds for the heat from the palm of my hands to warm and comfort that more sensitive spot. I can actually feel a softening of my back, a smoothing out, so to speak, of my upper spine. This is the part of the body that controls the nervous system, and if I can calm this down, I can calm down all other parts of myself, including my physical, emotional and mental states.
I channel this area while sitting or lying on my back. It’s easier for me while stretched out on the floor or a bed as I let my bended elbows rest on the pillow of floor behind my head. Nothing keeps me away from the restful calm that almost immediately blankets my internal parts. I cannot tell you what transpires along the nervous system, along my spine, but I know innately that it is helpful and . . . dare I say . . . healing?
I feel this action aids my entire body, refreshing and energizing all the cells within that owe their very livelihood to the smooth and non-stop functioning of the nervous system. I’m simply providing that part of my body’s engine a tune up, a Reiki tune-up that will extend the life of vehicle and help it run a helluva lot smoother.
The fourth head posture is the throat. I cup my hands beneath my chin and surround the front of my neck. If seated at a table, I could very easily support my head by placing the elbows on the table. I can do this for as long as I want with no discomfort at all.
I don’t know much about the chakra system, but I do believe the Reiki treatments I’ve applied to my throat area has helped me become more sensitive and to communicate more honestly with less influence from my often strong emotions.
There are other positions one can lay their hands on both the front and back of the body. Those interested should obtain literature on it and/or seek a practitioner who could display them for you.
What I have suggested here is just a small step toward a more enlightened mind on this man’s part, but a giant leap for all mankind toward enlightenment for the universe. I believe Reiki works and the proof is in my own experience.