Don’t Break My Heart, My Reiki Breaky Heart
Or… The Reiki masters are holding my baseball cap.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Reiki Master. In fact, one of my favorite stories about Reiki was when I was on an airplane…
I was headed to Belize to do an NLP training with my good friend, Michael Bennett. It was October, 2001–just a few weeks after 9/11. The resort where we’d been planning to hold the training had been obliterated by a hurricane and we’d had to make other arrangements just two days before the start of the training.
Now, a word many people use to describe Michael is “charismatic.” Truth be told, I was a little jealous of all the “He’s got such presence in front of people” comments. Sure, I get the “You’re such a good teacher” and “I understand things so clearly when you teach” and “You’re so good looking I can hardly stand to look at you” comments (OK, I made the last one up). But I wanted the charisma comments too!
The New Behavior Generator
So, I started off to do what I usually do when someone has an attribute I would like more of. Typically I run through a new behavior generator NLP pattern. You run a movie of your role model, step into it, etc. Before I do that though, I set my mind in the right direction by asking myself questions along the lines of “How do I want this to manifest in my life” and “What is the best way to create this for myself?” In short, they are not questions that ask if I can accomplish something but how I go about accomplishing it.
At any rate, I get about 10 seconds into the process and a big, deep, booming, reverb-soaked voice comes into my head and says “YOU ARE A REIKI MASTER.” It was so loud, I looked around the plane to see if anyone else had heard it. I thought, “Hmmmm.” I often trust messages from my unconscious mind–and I believe that’s where this message originated. So, I started to explore the idea.
One way of thinking about Reiki is that Reiki is directing energy, with healing intent. Or, more simply, directing intent. I wondered if it would help me when presenting, to visualize the energy flow between myself and the students in the same way I visualize the energy flow when I’ve done Reiki.
Sho’ ’nuff. It did. I immediately became (in my own, humble estimation), much more charismatic in front of groups.
Hypnosis Does Not Equal New Age
Now here’s the thing…
I sometimes get in hot water because many of the folks in the hypnosis/NLP field are new agey. I’m not. I’ve had a lot of folks say something like “You believe in hypnosis, why don’t you believe in ___________ (insert your favorite new age philosophy/technique here)?” But I often wonder why so many folks link hypnosis to things new age. To me, it’s not. Hypnosis does not, as near as I can tell, increase your psychic powers or give you an increased ability to connect with things spiritual-save one thing…
…It does seem to make you more aware in general. Beyond that, there’s nothing other than phenomena that can be explained without going into the new age realm. And me… I’m an Occam’s Razor kind of guy. If there’s no need to go outside of a “normal” explanation of something, it probably isn’t “paranormal.” For instance; when I throw a baseball, I don’t think invisible angels propel the ball into the air. The regular old laws of physics explain it.
I’ll give you an example of the way some people in the field think. A fellow I know (also a Reiki master) tells a story about his Reiki training. In Reiki, as I was taught it, there is some guidance from some energetic beings. Perhaps they’re Reiki masters of old. In the story he tells, he was receiving Reiki on a table, with his eyes closed. He could feel people with their hands on him in various places. One-by-one he could feel the hands leave his body until only the set of hands on his feet remained.
He waited for several minutes and then opened his eyes to see who still had their hands on his ankles. There was no one holding his ankles! In fact, there was no one else in the room. My friend tells that story as an example of how these energetic beings help guide the energy. After all, if he could feel someone’s hands on his ankles and no one was there–it must have been a Reiki being that sensed he needed energy there.
The Reiki Masters Are Holding My Baseball Cap
Well, hey. I think that’s a cool interpretation. I just don’t think it’s likely. You’ve probably had the experience of wearing a hat or glasses, taking them off but still feeling like they’re on your head. I know I do sometimes when I take my baseball cap off after a spell. My assumption is that this is a normal phenomenon–not that Reiki masters are holding an “energetic” baseball cap on my head because I need healing energy there. Occam’s Razor, baby. Adding the element of healing energy is not necessary, in my mind, to explain any of the effects of Reiki that I’ve seen.
I’m not saying that Reiki energy does not exist. I’m not saying Reiki doesn’t work. I’m not saying Reiki isn’t useful. I’m not even saying that I know. It’s just that a simple, valid explanation of the effects I’ve seen Reiki produce is that it is essentially hypnosis. In fact, it’s such cool hypnosis that a Reiki session makes a great non-verbal induction. It works great when combined with other hypnotic elements and it’s wonderful for those who are particularly analytical as there’s not much in the way of verbal content to analyze.
I believe I gave myself an hypnotic suggestion on the plane. It was that directing my intent and visualizing energetic linkages between myself and my students would increase my charisma. I think it worked.
Have you experienced something with Reiki that could not be explained through hypnosis? Let me know…