What does it mean to be a channel for Reiki? We often hear that Reiki is Universal Energy that is channeled through us. The image given by one of our dear teachers, Hyakuten Inamoto, is that of being like a “hollow bamboo.” This beautiful loving energy flows through us—it is not “our” energy. Air flowing through a bamboo flute, for example, doesn’t come from the bamboo, it comes through it.
This image is very helpful but doesn’t go far enough in my experience of Reiki. There IS a sense that something is coming through me that is not originating within me, and I think this is what Sensei Inamoto means by this comparison. However, a piece of bamboo with air flowing through it isn’t changed by that experience, yet I am deeply changed by the Reiki flowing through me. Just before I started writing this article I did my Reiki self-practice and paid close attention to my experience. I immediately felt more relaxed and at ease. I felt a warm, tingly, energetic flow coming through my hands and into my body, and my whole body felt spacious with room for all parts of myself. My mind didn’t get especially quiet, but there was room for the thoughts I was having and so much more. Everything felt in context and interconnected. I felt meditative and happy for no particular reason. As I gave myself Reiki I also sent Reiki energy to many other people I love and care about. (This is a practice learned in Reiki Level 2.) I felt the connection with them as well and my heart welled up with love. Even when my main intention is to give Reiki to another, it is still affecting me as I offer it.
There is something so very special about offering Reiki to another person. They are receiving a powerful energy that is not mine—since it is not coming from me, but through me—so in a way I am a hollow bamboo. But, there is more for me. In addition to the Reiki flowing through me, the person under my hands is getting my care, my intention to serve and my love. They are getting something from me by my personal presence. We experience a powerful mutual connection by being in the Reiki energy together, and we are both transformed by it, whether the session lasts just 2 minutes or is much longer.
So what does it mean to be a channel for Reiki energy? I invite you to join me in this ongoing contemplation. I have been living with this question for years, but lately in a more active way. As I give myself or someone else Reiki I have been feeling into my experience in a deeper way—even repeating that question and just sitting with the felt responses that come to me. And I’m also asking this question as I go through my day when I am not giving Reiki consciously. Do the events and decisions of my daily life affect the way Reiki is channeled through me? I’m finding that in some ways yes, and other ways no. I’ll save this exploration for another article. In the meantime keep offering your warm, Reiki hands to yourselves and others.
Note: I have been doing self-Reiki now for about 20 years. In my early years I didn’t have many sensations. I would feel relaxed after my sessions, but that was all.
Marcia Miller has been practicing and teaching Reiki for 20 years. She uses it is all sorts of ways—in private Reiki sessions, in private therapeutic yoga sessions, in yoga classes, as part of Urban Zen Integrative Therapy™ and in her daily life. She is teaching Reiki at national Yoga Journal conferences, as part of UZIT training and in the Reiki Masters’ program at Yoga on High, beginning in October, 2017. Marcia is teaching our upcoming Reiki Level 1 Training March 18 -- 19 at Yoga on High.