I think it’s very important for both Reiki practitioner and client to understand the role of the practitioner in the process of Reiki energy transfer.
To me, the practitioner is clearly a channel. As a practitioner, I try to be the very best channel that I can possibly be. But I don’t ever imagine that I am producing the energy that the client receives or, to put it another way, that the Reiki energy that the client receives is “my” energy.
A lot of Reiki literature describes Reiki as “universal energy,” but I have come to prefer the term “spiritual energy.” Both are correct, in my view; but when you think of it as spiritual energy you are more likely to remain aware of the fact that it comes from a higher source. At the very least, it is Higher Energy. If it were not, how could we trust it to always be a force for good, for physical wellbeing, mental peace and spiritual growth?
This is not an academic question. I have come across a few Reiki practitioners who complain of feeling drained, and even ill, after transferring energy to someone else. This no doubt makes them feel important and noble, but is good neither for them nor their clients. The practitioners could burn out in a few months or years; worse, they are liable to grow attached to a false image of themselves and their own power. Clients, meanwhile, would certainly benefit more from a Higher Energy than from a Reiki practitioner’s own energy, however good the practitioner might be.
There is the additional question of the energy exchange. Reiki clients are asked to give something in return for the transfer of energy, whether in cash or in kind, so that Reiki is not doled out as charity and so that the client is responsibly involved in his/her own healing. However, how can a client be expected to compensate the practitioner fairly if it is believed by both that the client is grabbing some of the practitioner’s own energy? And how can the client then not feel beholden to the practitioner?
A friend had broken her arm, but refused to rest it as advised by the doctor. She was too busy shopping for her son’s wedding, she said, to bother with that. The pain eventually grew excruciating and so she went to her guru. He did Reiki for her, literally taking on her pain, she said: “He looked ill and drained by the time we had finished, but my pain was gone! Isn’t he amazing?”
I wondered if she had stopped to think how she felt about having passed on her pain to her guru? Would she go back to him if the pain recurred, and pass on that pain to him?
This raises so many questions. What does it mean for the guru-shishya (teacher-student) relationship, including the respect that a shishya is traditionally expected to have for the guru? What does it say about the guru that he prefers to transfer his own energy rather than that from a Higher Source? What does it mean in terms of the client/student taking responsibility for her own actions – i.e. taking care of herself, resting her arm, or dealing with the consequences of her own lack of care? Can she simply ignore good medical/healing advice because there is someone who will “take on her pain?” Is her guru encouraging her spiritual development by supporting this attitude?
I admire the guru’s ability to transfer energies between himself and others; and his willingness to suffer someone else’s pain. But I do question his motivation – who does it help ultimately? I don’t see it helping the client/student to grow or to become more responsible; but perhaps it does help the guru to feel better about himself.
I realize this might sound judgemental. I’m not judging the guru himself, only his abilities (impressive) and what use he apparently makes of them (well…) I would be interested to hear what readers think. Please post your comments here or email them to email@example.com.