A while back, I was thinking about getting a reiki initiation.
Then, out of nowhere, a mentor said to me: "Please don't get a reiki initiation. I know an older women who has cancer, is getting reiki, and it is hindering, not helping."
And then my teacher of 15 years said, "Reiki doesn't help, its just ego”.
Since then I have had several years to reflect on the question, "What is healing anyway?" And "Is reiki healing?"
For a long time, I had very little common sense. I was extremely "spiritual", always trying to fast, doing yoga, and meditating. I got very out of balance and very ungrounded. I even channeled a spirit guide for two years, and eventually learned that it was very harmful for me, and I had to let that go.
But common sense has since increased in me, and I now see many things in a different light. I don't just dive into anything that comes along anymore.
Which brings me to reiki. What do I think of it now?
First, the symbols. They really don't look healing to me. I think of a circle, a cross, or a pyramid, as healing forms. They have an intrinsic beauty to them. But the reiki symbols look like knots to me.
I have also realized that just because something makes us feel a lot of energy, or power...doesn't mean that it is healing. There have been many false spiritual teachers, who turned out to be power tripping ego's (and often pedophiles), who were very powerful, and could transmit light and energy...but they were not healing (please see my blog: On False Teachers and Thumb Transmission).
What I do notice is that the core of healing is self-healing. Healthy daily choices, made over and over again.
You can be a reiki master and still eat junk food, still drink too much, still not meditate - and none of that is healing.
And if you understand the *causes* of illness, then you know that people have to change how they eat, they have to kick bad habits, they have to exercise... they often have to make more money! All those things are real needs people have...that would make them happier and healthier.
In my opinion, serving those needs is for sure helping people to heal.
People even need to learn how to use herbs!
The other thing I notice is what the health coaches recommend. I am in a community of health coaches - people who have trained for years, and who work with people who are suffering from all kinds of conditions, from fatigue to cancer. And I notice this: of all the things they recommend, reiki is not even in the top ten.
We tell people to see an ND, to get acupuncture, to use herbs, to see a homeopath, to learn to meditate, to do yoga, to take high quality supplements...but we don't really tell people to get reiki.
When someone is suffering, you recommend something that you truly know will help.
BUT if becoming a hands on healer is truly your path, then go for it! But I'm really against the blind faith that leads people to think that 3 days and they suddenly can make a big difference in someone’s life with their hands. That sounds like ego to me, and delusion - which is very common.
If you’re really called to be a healer in that way, you might even *start* with Reiki, but then I’m betting you’re gonna learn massage, cranio-sacral, shiatsu, or something similar. There are many forms of body-work, that do work, and people love body-work. They seek it out.
So I recommend avoiding the new age delusion that says that you're special and here to save people... you ARE special, and you ARE here to save people... just not in the way we often think. Common sense, and save yourself first.
Really becoming a healer will take some work, much more than 3 days. And it can be a joy and a thrill, too.
So in all honesty, I don't have the clarity to look at Reiki and go, 'this doesn't work'. I don't have that much vision. But I do notice that it doesn't jive with common sense, and that there is much need in the world for nutritional help, for bodywork, for many things, practical things.
If you're curious what I think *are* essential to healing, you're in luck, because I made a page on just that, which I call, the 3 Healing Essentials, it is a summary of my 20 years of study in the healing arts.