Part 4. How Spiritual Practices Inform my Writing: Reiki

energyI don’t know whether it was me who found Reiki or whether Reiki found me, but in late 2008-early 2009, the word Reiki floated around me for a good few months. I kept seeing leaflets about Reiki in my tai-chi class. Two of my housemates had Reiki training and talked about it from time to time. I felt drawn to it but did not act until I witnessed its healing effects. During one of my tai-chi classes, a fellow student complained of a severe back pain. To my amazement, my teacher went to her and put his hand on the painful spot.

‘Carry on with your practice,’ he encouraged us, while standing there for a good five minutes.

Of course, I could not focus on practicing tai-chi moves anymore. What was he doing? I kept wondering, watching the face of the fellow student gradually relax. After the class, I approached my teacher and asked what it was all about.

‘I gave her some Reiki,’ he explained. Here was that word again. ‘My wife Kate is running a taster session in Kings Heath this week. Come along,’ he encouraged me.

I didn’t find the venue on the taster night, but I signed up to do my first degree anyway. The word Reiki lured me, even though I still knew very little about it.

‘Are you sure you are ready?’ my housemate with Reiki asked me a few evenings into my training.

‘What to be ready for?’ I felt surprised. By then I knew it was about universal energy coming through me and out of my hands to heal myself or others. The spiritual essence of the practice was locked in five ‘simple’ sentences that I memorised by heart and repeated as a mantra from time to time.

‘Well…,’ she hesitated. ‘Take good care for the next 21 days.’

I had no idea what she was on about until on the 21st day after I started my training, I met a man and got hurt in a short whirlwind of romance. Little did I know at the time that the experience was exactly what Rumi described in one of my favourite poems ‘The Guest House’:

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight.” [emphasis is mine]

All my old patterns and hurts resurfaced as a result of this relationship, to be healed and released through the gentle power of Reiki. My entire system was clearing out for a new life. Sometimes when Kate Jones, my Reiki Master, points out how far I’ve come in the last six years, I feel equally amazed.

The Reiki practice remains an integral part of my life. I use it daily and it taught me valuable lessons about myself and my writing process. Here are a few snapshots:

  1. My writing journey began even before I started on my memoir. It was at the second degree Reiki training in 2010, where Kate taught us to send distance Reiki to ourselves, other people, or any issues troubling us. One of the examples she gave us stayed with me. She told us how her husband healed a past trauma by sending Reiki to his younger self. Apparently, every time it snowed, he experienced difficult emotions until it transpired that as a child he played snowballs with bare hands and then ended up warming them up by the open fire. The experience was painful and the memory resurfaced every time it snowed. On Kate’s suggestion, he sent Reiki to this memory for a week, and his attitude to snow changed dramatically. Inspired, I spent weeks writing down painful events from my childhood and sending Reiki to the younger Gulara. I started with being in my mum’s womb and got to age 12. I then stalled, but the experience had a huge impact on my later writing. As I was writing for myself only, I was brutally honest and open about the events of my childhood. I still write that way and hope to retain this trait for as long as I write.
  2. In early days of having Reiki, I was keen to offer it to all my friends and people I cared about. As I put my hands on my friend’s head, I willed Reiki to come stronger to help her with an emotional turmoil she was dealing with at the time. When I shared this with my Master, she wisely said: ‘Gulara, whatever needs to be given will be given. Whatever needs to be received will be received. There is no need to push or force a specific outcome.’ Today these words guide not only my Reiki practice, but also my writing process: I write whatever is ready to come out. The process of writing heals and transforms my life. And as with Reiki energy, I pray it comes through my hands and helps others in any way they are willing to receive my writing.
  3. I know I’ve mentioned the value of supportive community in my previous posts, but it was the Reiki circles which were particularly illuminating in this respect. Once a month, Kate organises a Reiki share for her students to treat each other. Sitting in those circles every month for many years, I experienced the value of ‘speaking the same language with like-minded people.’ All of us were in the same boat sharing our Reiki journey and offering support and encouragement. I don’t think I could sustain the practice without the support of this loving community. And that’s how I know that being part of a larger writing community is essential to nourish and maintain my creative writing.

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