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Henry's post reminded me of a situation I have encountered. I had a patient ask me if I could perform massage without Reiki once. I informed her that I could, but was curious as to why she asked me such a question. She explained to me that Reiki is against her religion.

I have come to realize there are a lot of misconceptions regarding Reiki and energy work and a good deal of misinformation being spread around that Reiki works with demon energy, is of the devil, is dark magic, etc, etc. I had an opportunity to discuss the issues with my patient who had misgivings about Reiki and clarified some of the misconceptions she had accepted as fact. Still, I have not seen her return so I have to conclude she is holding onto the belief that Reiki is indeed against her religion.

I feel situations like this requires patience and understanding, attempts to place ourselves in the shoes of our clients. No matter how misled some people are, they are going to cling to their belief systems. All we can do is bless them with loving light as they travel their path and not let negative beliefs and criticisms cause us to hide the gifts we have to offer. I myself did spend some years hiding. Now, even though I do not overtly advertise that I perform Reiki, I do not try to hide it. I may lose some business over it, but it provides the potential of me being able to help those that are accepting of it.

How many have had similar experiences of being called a witch or accused of working with demons? How did you handle the situation? Would you handle it the same way now that you have an opportunity to look back on it? What would you do differently?

Peace and Light

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Replies to This Discussion

I got what you are saying Arnaldo and I totally agree! Sounds like you had a very good, open minded professor and I would have enjoyed the class. No worries on the grammar, your English is much bettter than mi Espanol....

Peace

J. Arnaldo Pabon said:
Reiki has been my experience a great sense of theoretical dilemmas and opinions. Since I began studying massage to incorporated into my business. During the study was well found the opinion of students and other teachers in front of the teacher how to take lessons, because it showed the field asajo as a holistic intertwined with the energy terms included. They charged that the professor had cults in school, she was a witch and even students were against it. But her classes were the most complet I received. Personally, even with my Christian beliefs, I could absorb the Reiki and energy work, and found no conflict. 'Cause I believe God is energy and we are part of that energy that emanates from God. I believe God uses us as tools of healing to help the human being. But then enter the field of the Church where there are people who if they think alike, but others that look like something strange. But let it pass, and in due time I see the task of instructing, most understand, there's always the minority that is more closed to critical thinking but do not let that affect my work. That if I do everything possible to separate the two abilities. If the person does not believe in Reiki, do not use it, although I consider that this person really needs. But I inform them about Reiki and its benefits.

I think the problem is on the bad information found by the media, ist's part of us to give them correct information.

*Sorry for the gramaticals errors, my english isn't good*
Hi Gerry & others - I have this problem even deeper, since I do "shamanic massage"! I also can do straight Reiki, or Huna (also an atunement-based system with symbols, only more of them!), and I think I've scared away a few - but I've also established a good "fan base". It's interesting how much people cling to a mythology as being "true", and everything outside as "sin". Must be something built into our genes? I know an anthropologist who wrote some papers about the survival value of taboos in indigenous societies. It tied back into ecology - if your society has a whole bunch of taboos you're less likely to exhaust your resource base - so I guess we're programmed to have taboos, only they pop up in funny ways...
I think Stuart makes a good point, he has established a good fan base. We have to remember that our work is not for everyone. Of course, practicing in a relatively liberal metro area on the West Coast might be easier than some rural & conservative areas elsewhere. (That being said, I actively advertise Reiki, and receive few requests for it...) But you will find your niche. You will find the clients who can most benefit from your work. And be free to let the rest go.

Someone else made the point that sometimes we as bodyworkers may perform energy work on people without their explicit consent. I would agree with this. I rarely consciously make the choice to channel Reiki while I am performing a massage, but I believe the energy flows through me anyway. People are always commenting on my hot hands, and I am not even thinking about Reiki.

I don't see Reiki as a religion at all. (I guess if anything it would be Christian, since Dr. Usui was supposedly a Christian monk). I belong to a non-Christian religion, and don't get those overtones at all, though I guess I could see how folks could misinterpret it as cult-like or something, due to the secret symbols and attunement processes/rituals. I don't know. It's unfortunate how one of the most positive things can be twisted by people who rely on fear to control their lives.

The best we can do is be as transparent as possible regarding what energy work is or what we believe it to be, and accept that some people just aren't ready for it. And respect where they're at, so we can focus on helping people who are ready to be helped.
I do what I need to do and I don't put a name or label on it that would offend people. I live in the deep south and one of the first questions I used to get is: "are you a christian". Being from Hawaii this used to make my head swirl then I remembered that FEAR is part of what many religions use to hold their church body together. My answer to the question ultimately became "you mean like Jim Jones - no I don't serve koolaid" or do you mean like the tele-evangilists - no I'm not here to sell you something". I do however believe in prayer, laying on of hands and annointing with oil!

Create a spiritual environment; neuter it of politics and religion and just go to work - eventually the fears will fade away as your reputation takes over. Things like Reiki do however put a wedge between us and mainstream thought. Time will tell.
My thoughts on this are that if the client does not want Reiki, their body will refuse it. I do find the whole fear based religious arguements to be rather lame. I do not mean that comment to sound cruel. I am just amazed at the power people give to their fears.
Mary
You know as a massage student there are alot misconception about MASSAGE period, they think its a sexual thing so as "real "massage therapist I think its important to really inform people and educate people on massage and techiques. Now Reiki is something Ive done in class not alot because my teacher said it a spritual thing and you dont want to give any negaitive energy or receieve negative energy, I only do it if I feel that my mind clear of negative things, I also tell my client to clear his/her mind of everything and relax before I do Reiki. I mean I spritual person and believe in God I dont think Im going to Hell for doing Reiki, but I found out that Reiki is very Relaxing and calming to my body so Im up to doing it.
Thank you all for your thoughts and input into this string. Bottom line, no matter how benign we ourselves may perceive something to be, our clients may feel otherwise, and it is our clients' feelings and beliefs we need to be respectful of. I believe that there is always a transfer of energy in any given situation. Even in these postings we share energies with each other. That is something we need not gain consent for. If we needed consent for the sharing of energies on such fundamental levels, we would have to talk about gaining consent for breathing in the air around another person since we are sharing "air space". However, if we are performing a specific system like Reiki (intentional use of energy to affect an outcome) then I believe we should gain consent from the recipient.

In response to religion vs spirituality, I read somewhere a while back the difference between those two concepts and it stuck with me. I do not know the source but wish to honor it.

The difference between a religious person and a spiritual person is:

A religious person is afraid of hell,
A spiritual person has already been there.

I consider myself a spiritual person, not a religious one. I feel there are many relgious people out there that are not spiritual. It is a blessing when you find somene that is both.

Peace
You said a mouthful here Gerry. I fully agree with you 100%. Thanks for your sharing.

Gerry Bunnell said:
Thank you all for your thoughts and input into this string. Bottom line, no matter how benign we ourselves may perceive something to be, our clients may feel otherwise, and it is our clients' feelings and beliefs we need to be respectful of. I believe that there is always a transfer of energy in any given situation. Even in these postings we share energies with each other. That is something we need not gain consent for. If we needed consent for the sharing of energies on such fundamental levels, we would have to talk about gaining consent for breathing in the air around another person since we are sharing "air space". However, if we are performing a specific system like Reiki (intentional use of energy to affect an outcome) then I believe we should gain consent from the recipient.

In response to religion vs spirituality, I read somewhere a while back the difference between those two concepts and it stuck with me. I do not know the source but wish to honor it.

The difference between a religious person and a spiritual person is:

A religious person is afraid of hell,
A spiritual person has already been there.

I consider myself a spiritual person, not a religious one. I feel there are many relgious people out there that are not spiritual. It is a blessing when you find somene that is both.

Peace
When every angle for energy work (and massage therapy, for that matter) is examined, I believe it remains true that,

"The power that made the body, heals the body. It happens no other way." (author unknown)

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