Years ago, an old friend of mine initiated the three of us—Martha Marcom, Marcia Miller, and me—into Reiki. Then we began practicing together faithfully, each of us dipping into the mysteries hinted at when sensing energy flow in ourselves and one another, sensing that unfamiliar aspect of the world…obvious when sought, largely ignored otherwise. To sense energy in the world was not part of our normal cultural training and we were on new ground. We decided we wanted a guide through our experimentations so Marcia approached a long-time student of hers, Katherine Dufrane, who trained as an energy healer at Barbara Brennan’s college and went on to develop her own approach to healing through years of working with clients as a psychotherapist and energy worker. She asked Katherine to guide us.
Katherine refused to do so in the normal fashion, as an authority imparting wisdom to inexperienced students, but she agreed to lead us in mutual explorations of any questions we proposed to address as a group, and that has been the bedrock of all the work we have done since. Even learning to form open-ended questions took practice because the tendency is to ask a question that does two things—imply a judgment and narrow the query.
For example, suppose I am at a confusing and distressing juncture in my life and I want to know what to do. I’ve been schooled in the jargon of yoga and I propose a question like this one, “How do I know right action?” This seems open ended. It isn’t as small as, “Should I leave my current job, or how do I confront my teenager about his dangerous behavior or how do I cope with a diagnosis?” It’s not as small as, “How do I get rid of this fear, this grief, this anger that’s stopping me from doing what I think I should and from being a better version of myself than I am today?” But it still implies a judgment, which is “I don’t know right action; therefore, I am small, confused, and prone to wrong action.” And it implies a time line, I don’t know right action now but I want to in the future, how do I get there?
To open the question up, it could be rephrased, “What is the nature of right action?” While my life’s dilemma is not specifically addressed in that question, it’s held in its embrace. As a group, we would decide on a question and “enter the energy” together—that is we would draw the Reiki symbols and enter into an open state of awareness, each of us contemplating the question personally, but the impersonality of the question inviting a large response, not one so bound up in our desires and convoluted by our conditioning. And, in this example, “right action,” is present now, not held for the future and some more perfect variant of ourselves. At the end of the contemplation, we would talk as a group about our experience, and each person’s vision would enrich all of us.
When working with open-ended questions, there isn’t one right answer for everyone, and any one person’s answer will change over time. The questions matter, not the answers. A “final” answer simply stops the inquiry. If you have a “final” answer, why look further? Why not see simply what you have seen before? Living with questions lets you see things from different perspectives—the answers to your questions can change, mutate as you work with them, evolve with your understanding and experience.
Answers are just echoes, they say. But
a question travels before it comes back,
and that counts. 
Energy work is well suited to learning to work with open-ended questions, side-stepping linear thinking and receiving intuitive insight into the nature of things. Insight that can inform life’s challenges, that can be taken back to the small, personal world as a reminder that we are more than our limitations, maybe even that we are not just this body/mind. Working with questions is part of the Reiki Masters training at Yoga on High and part of the training in the 9-month pranayama course. To learn to sense energy and to contemplate open-ended questions, you are invited to join these groups. Also, Marcia Miller works with students one-on-one in contemplating questions in Reiki privates.
At this stage in life, Linda teaches pranayama, iRest yoga nidra (meditation) and co-leads silent retreats. Her next pranayama training starts in February, 2016. The 2016 silent retreat led by Marcia and Linda is in April. Their Reiki Level 2 training is scheduled for August.
 From the poem The Research Team in the Mountains by William Stafford