In the early days of my practice, I began each treatment in trepidation. I thought, I’m charging money for this. What if I’m not good enough? What if it doesn’t work? What if Reiki doesn’t flow? What if the client feels it’s not worth it?
I started each treatment by silently imploring the heavens for help. One morning as I recited my plea, I heard a voice in my head say very clearly: “You don’t have to do that—I’m right here.” Comforted enough to relax a little, I soon became aware of four guides that were with me every time I gave a treatment. Three of them always appeared on the right side of the table. In my mind’s eye, they looked like Druids because they were covered in identical long, gray, hooded mantles. Their faces were indistinct; I never got a sense of what their features were like. I discovered that they were my ancestors, that they had been healers in their time on the earth, and that they would be with me only until I learned to trust myself.
Some time later, I started a treatment and the three began to leave. Silently I begged them, “No! Don’t leave! I’m not ready!” But they left. Hanging in the space they had occupied in my mind’s eye, was a piece of fabric. I thought this must be sort of like a bell pull, and I interpreted it to mean they would be available to me if I needed them. The thought gave me comfort.
I recounted this experience to the first Reiki class I taught. One of my students looked at me and dryly pointed out what he considered the obvious: “It’s a mantle. You’re supposed to put it on.” I felt honored and touched at the idea of my ancestors passing their healing mantle to me, and I began to imagine placing a mantle around my shoulders prior to beginning a session. A short time later, a client told me, “While you were giving the treatment, I saw a long, purple mantle around you, and I felt absolute, unconditional love.”
It was lovely to have that affirmation, and I smiled to myself to think how far I had come. I had learned to trust myself, to trust the energy, and to trust that the Universe was supporting and guiding my work. I began each treatment in confidence that anything I needed to know would be revealed to me, that anything the client needed to know would be revealed to them, and that the treatment would unfold for the highest good of the client.
Experience is truly the best remedy for a lack of confidence. I encourage students to immediately begin—not only to treat themselves—but also to give treatments to others. (This is one of the reasons I teach Levels I and II together.) There are a number of ways to gain experience: giving treatments to family, friends, and pets; seeking out Reiki Circles/Shares; exchanging treatments with a Reiki partner; volunteering in an animal shelter or at a wellness center; participating in Reiki clinics; giving Reiki at fairs and festivals, and volunteering in a hospice program, to name but a few.
Once you have been attuned, you never lose the ability to transmit Reiki; however, your skills will stagnate and atrophy if you don’t grow them. If you are serious about Reiki, your own healing, and sharing healing with others, you must practice giving treatments to gain confidence and to improve your skills. The learning never ends and the growing never ceases as long as you are practicing. It is through experience that you discover Reiki is your passion and know that you want to establish a formal Reiki practice—or learn that Reiki is instead an avocation for you.
If you allow anxiety over your abilities to dissuade you from giving treatments after you have completed your initial training, you are more likely to continue putting off making a start, waiting until you deem yourself “ready” by some imaginary standard. Delay long enough and Reiki may simply become a workshop you took one weekend that was great to experience, but hasn’t made much difference in your life since. And that, in my view, would be a tragic waste of this exquisitely simple and amazingly powerful gift.
Note: An earlier version of this article appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of Reiki News Magazine.
©2010, 2014 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living, All Rights Reserved. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne.
Marianne is a Seattle-Area Reiki teacher and practitioner. She is the author of Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II and a former editor, contributor, and columnist for Reiki News Magazine (2004-2010). See her current class schedule.