A Student's Story

A couple of days ago, our Reiki Student emailed Maggie and I with his Reiki Experience. It’s a wonderful story and I asked him if I could share it with my readers on my blog, and he was happy to oblige. So here it is, enjoy!

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My Reiki Level I and II attunements by David de Young
Reiki Level I – January 11th, 2004

I first learned about Reiki from my friend Anna Lee in 2003 and went on to receive my Reiki Level I attunement from Reiki Master-Teacher Brian A. Keller-Heikkila of Hands of Spirit in January, 2004. Unfortunately, Hands of Spirit’s website is no longer online, and my Google searches lead me to believe Brian has moved away from the Twin Cities and is no longer offering Reiki instruction. Anna became a Reiki Master around the time I became Level I, and she now has begun public practice of Reiki at Hippocrates Center for Holistic Healing in Minneapolis.

I had been practicing giving and receiving Reiki with Anna for several months before going to Brian for my attunement so I had a bit of an idea of what to expect and had become accustomed to the Reiki healing energy. From my studies of paganism and magick since the late 1990s I had developed a basic understanding of energy issues, so Brian was able to abridge some of my training at the fundamental levels. He provided me with one of the standard manuals of Usui Reiki (named for Dr. Mikao Usui), Reiki, The Healing Touch, First and Second Degree Manual by William Lee Rand and attuned me to the Reiki symbols. It is interesting to note that while in Reiki Level I the Reiki symbols are placed into your aura, you aren’t normally invited to see them until your Reiki II attunement, at which they are not only shown to you, but you are taught to draw them yourself.

As part of the Level I attunement ritual, Brian gave an energy ball to hold. It was the first time I had held pure energy in my hands, and the first time I experienced how energy could be directly transferred from one person to another. Having heard descriptions of this sort of thing and having seen it depicted in cartoons and fantasy films, I was amazed to experience it firsthand.Again, writing this after having been attuned to Reiki II, I am even more sensitized to physical energies than before and can feel them in various parts of my body even as I write.

During the Reiki session with Brian that followed my attunement I had a vision of a dozen or so white, wispy, disembodied hands floating in the air above me helping to deliver the Reiki. It was also one of the first times I recall experiencing what I would consider a vivid vision that was not simply a product of my imagination initiated by suggestion. There had been no suggestion involved. Later I was told later that these so-called “Reiki hands” are seen by many people during Reiki, but I did not know that until after I had already experienced it for myself.

My Reiki I attunement was a deep and memorable experience. Brian presented me with a certificate, and went away to let it all sink in over what would turn out to be almost five years.

Reiki Level II – November 2nd, 2008

On Sunday, November 2nd, 2008 I received my Reiki II attunement from Reiki Masters Maggie J. Sterba and Beth Hansen-Buth in the front study room at Evenstar Books on University Avenue in St. Paul. It was a beautiful, sunny Indian summer morning. I was up early and even less rushed due to the turning of the clocks back one hour to end Daylight Savings time. I drank a cup of tea instead of coffee in keeping with my attempt to cut back on caffeine. And I had a big glass of fresh squeezed orange juice from Anodyne Coffee House. (I had eliminated alcohol, red meat, chocolate, and a few other things from my diet for several days prior in preparation for the attunement.)

Any apprehension I had about going in for my Reiki II was eliminated almost immediately after settling into the front from at Evenstar with Maggie and Beth. As it turned out I was the only person in the class. (I had secretly hoped for this actually, because despite being a writer and a blogger, I still consider myself an extremely private person.) So instead of being called on to share my experience with Reiki with people coming in for their Reiki I training as I had suspected I would be, there were instead two masters to share their experiences with me.

We got right down to it. I was seated in a chair in the middle of the room and Beth talked me through a guided meditation in which I was led down a hallway in my mind by a my Reiki guide, which in this case turned out to be a young deer that looked very much like Bambi. I am not sure I had ever seen this guide before. The most interesting thing about the guided meditation was that I was always one step ahead of Beth’s suggestions; before the words even came out of her mouth, I had already visualized or done what she was asking. She told me, for example, that I would find my Reiki guide behind a door at the end of the hallway, but my guide actually came to me and walked down the hall with me to the door.

This nonlinear time effect had already occurred in another area relating to my attunement to Level II. On Friday while giving a Reiki session to a friend, I realized I had a newfound ability to scan my friend’s body and sense locations of energy buildup with my hands. Being skeptical by nature, I tested and retested this to make sure it was real and not my imagination, but there was no mistake about it. Furthermore, when giving Reiki to myself the day before the attunement, I noticed an increased ability to beam Reiki, especially in the direction of my own feet. What this suggests to me is that the actual attunement took place as soon as the agreement to have it take place on Sunday was sealed. (I have observed a similar phenomenon in the practice of magick, that once the intention is set, and you have begun preparation to do a spell, the results begin to manifest themselves immediately. The spell itself often merely closes the deal and makes it official.)

The Level II attunement itself was similar my Level I experience with Brian, except that I had remained standing while being attuned to Level I. While my eyes remained closed following Beth’s guided meditation, Maggie moved around me from back to front and delivered the symbols into my hands, gently slapping them in.

After Maggie’s attunement, Beth then spent a bit of time teaching me how to draw three Reiki symbols, Choku Rei (sometimes called the power symbol), Sei heki (the mental and emotional symbol) and Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen (the symbol used for distance healing.)  The first two are pretty simple, and I mastered them quickly, committing them to memory almost immediately. The third, Hon Sha Ze Sho Non is more difficult, being comprised of five separate words, and it takes a bit longer to master. I can draw it while looking at it, but did not memorize it right away. My intention is to practice the symbols and use them in my Reiki in coming weeks until I have found a way to incorporate into all aspects of my life.

My Reiki II class concluded with Reiki sharing as is common. While giving Reiki to Beth and Maggie, I tried to give myself a bit of a refreshment course on the 12 traditional hand positions, but I found a traditional approach didn’t necessarily apply when there are two people working on another person. After we had given Reiki to Beth, I needed to rinse my hands in cold water as they felt they were about to explode with excess energy that had no place to go. It was just one of many indications of increased energy flow and sensitivity I had begun to observe.Beth made an analogy later regarding the amount of Reiki that flows from the hands of the various levels practitioners. She said that in most non-attuned people, the flow is as if through a drinking straw. After Reiki I, the flow is as through a garden hose. After Reiki II, the flow is more like that of a fire hose. And the flow from a Reiki master? Like Niagara Falls!

The class finished early at about 1 p.m. and I used the extra time to do a bit of shopping and then called over to my friend Kari Tauring‘s house. Kari is a healer, shaman, musician, Reiki Master, and author of The Runes, A Human Journey (for which I served as editor.) It was through Kari that I’d been hooked up with Maggie as Kari teaches Nordic Stav tradition and other classes there at Evenstar. Coincidentally, Anna Lee happened to be over at Kari’s, so I dropped by over to visit both of them. Anna and Kari were having some wine in Kari’s backyard and shooting the breeze about upcoming projects.

Anna Kari David Shadow

In my interactions with my friends that afternoon, I found myself feeling more passive than normal, more calm, more interested in listening to what they were saying rather than imposing my own agenda into the discourse.When I did pipe in it was only to make suggestions that we move into the front yard to stay in the sun or that we go for a walk in the park. My passivity extended into the evening when my dad called me on the phone and I found I didn’t have much to say. Instead I just listened without argument as he said things that normally might have elicited protest or disagreement from me. On this occasion, I just felt like letting him be himself. Arguably, I was also beginning to feel too tired to argue with anyone anyway. By early evening I was completely exhausted, and though the clocks had been turned back an hour it was more than that. I went to bed early, and continued with my habit of avoiding alcohol.

At the time of writing it’s been a week since I had anything to drink. I was again so exhausted Monday evening that I wanted to go to bed at 7PM. I managed a hot bath, and got myself into bed for the first time around 8, but I kept waking up, despite being extremely tired. I must not have finally fallen completely to sleep until midnight or so.

It remains to be seen if I will still be so exhausted tonight. I am convinced this weariness is related to the Reiki attunement. In the process of preparing for it, I eliminated or cut back on most of the things I was using to cover up any pain in my life. (Coffee, alcohol, etc.) It’s become clear that my exhaustion is because I am going through an intense and concentrated healing process on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels simultaneously.

Monday, I also randomly encountered some information that may answer a lingering question I have had for many years regarding a certain sort of sadness that used to sink into me in the afternoon and has been with me nearly constantly in moments of solitude this past week. In past years I’d assumed that I feel sad when I sat down to meditate because that sadness existed beneath the surface level on which I live most of my life. During meditation, as I sink towards my core, I frequently encounter sadness just below the surface before I find peace and freedom from pain at my center. What had not dawned on me was that perhaps this sadness was a symptom of the healing process itself, as this quotation from John Bradshaw I stumbled across in one of my email folders suggests:

“Our sadness is an energy we discharge in order to heal. …Sadness is painful. We try to avoid it. Actually discharging sadness releases the energy involved in our emotional pain. To hold it in is to freeze the pain within us. The therapeutic slogan is that grieving is the ‘healing feeling.'”

By Tuesday evening I had also noticed my feet were aching with an ache that can only be described as the feeling you have in your heart and chest area while experiencing what people call “heartache.” By the following morning, that ache was intensely noticeable as soon as I got out of bed and sat upright at my table to work. At present it is still freaking me out. It’s as if I feel like I want to cry out of my feet. If I let my feet and legs stay still for long they feel as if they are going numb or paralyzed, as if I couldn’t stand up and walk even if I wanted to. (Wednesday evening, Kari suggested barefoot walks in the grass to help with this, and it did serve to ground the energy somewhat.)

I’ve also noted I’m taking far more frequent deep, deep breaths, the kinds which often come several minutes into meditation which clear energy and help me relax. I’m also feeling a desire for passivity, a lack of willingness to express my inner thoughts outwardly, a desire for quiet and solitude, and a desire to switch off the non-stop flow of information in my metaphorical newsfeed, national, local, and inter-personal.

I am certain all these phenomena I describe are the results of changes due to the attunement. The past few days I feel like a person who had grown up with only three senses who finally has access to five. Maggie and Beth mentioned a 21 day cycle which follows during which I might be processing a lot, and there’s no question in my mind at all now that is the case. It’s still too early to know what lies ahead as these changes sink in. But I am optimistic I will find new strength to affect positive change and growth in my life. After all, that is what I was looking for.

2 thoughts on “A Student's Story”

  1. Sounds like perfectly normal post-attunement experience. Remember to take time to rest and drink lots of water as after every attunement you go through another 21 day detoxification as the reiki moves through you. It is also important to practice as much as possible on yourself and others during those first 3 weeks after each attunemnet to keep the energy flowing.

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