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chakra gemstonesI first learned to work with energy back in the late 80s/early 90s through the magical practices of a few Neo-Pagan ritual groups. The work I learned included some healing techniques, although I didn’t use them much. In addition to doing the group work, and during periods that I didn’t have a group to work with, I continued to study and practice on my own. During this period I read about healing with crystals. I went down to the local metaphysical store, bought some inexpensive chakra gemstones, and proceeded to spend time lying on the floor with these stones placed on me and quartz crystals in my hands. I liked the feel of the energy flowing through me.

Then one day a friend came over and I asked her to lie down on the floor and I put the stones on her. She immediately burst into tears! I had no idea what was happening or what to do and took the stones off her. I tried to research it—I called the local massage school and asked if they’d ever heard of anything like this, but I didn’t get the answers I needed. It wasn’t until I learned Reiki that I was introduced to the terms “energetic clearing” and “healing crisis.” An energetic release, such as tears, is a sign that the healing is working, that the recipient has released or cleared energy that was stagnant or being held onto.

At this time I wasn’t attuned to anything and I had actually learned the technique from a book—but the healing worked, whether I recognized it or not (I should probably mention that the recipient was very excited by the whole process and talked at length about her experiences after the session). Of course, it is the energy that heals, not the channel of that energy, and clearly the recipient was open to allowing healing to take place. The only possible relationship I had to this healing was as an open channel, no doubt developed through the several years of increasingly dedicated personal practice and spiritual development that I had at the time. But being witness to the energy working did not bring about understanding of it or knowledge of how to use it effectively.

The day after the weekend course I took in April of 2003 to learn Reiki 1 and 2, I decided to heal a cut I had on my finger. I remembered a time several years earlier when I was getting a massage. I had a cut on my finger at that time and the therapist took my finger between his two hands, closed his eyes, and seemed to concentrate very hard. I thought the whole thing seemed a little odd, but the next day my finger was completely healed. So I thought I could heal my finger now the same way. I wrapped my hand around my finger, and thought, what am I supposed to do? In class we had just let this energy flow through us and that was great as far as feeling good and relaxing and all, but it couldn’t possibly do anything to heal, could it? I was sure I had to do more. I remembered some healing techniques I had learned from the Neo-Pagan practice many years previously—you were supposed to visualize the injury clearly, then see it heal, then see it glowing brightly with light and health. Ok, I could do this. I felt the Reiki flow through my hand and at the same time I tried to visualize the wound as exactly as I could. I actually felt the skin rip open more on this small cut. I immediately stopped doing this bastardized form of Reiki. After that I left things alone and the cut healed slowly in the normal amount of time.

When I didn’t know Reiki, I trusted the process to just work, not because I understood it, but simply because I did it. Once I learned Reiki, I thought the healing was in my control. I thought I had to do something, to visualize, to send energy, to employ my skills. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The simple naïve trust I had first used when performing the crystal healing was something I had to re-learn.
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Joy Vernon specializes in Traditional Japanese Reiki and is a certified Komyo Reiki Shihan (Teacher). She studied with Komyo Reiki Kai Founder Hyakuten Inamoto in 2011 and 2013. She is also a Reiki Practitioner and Teacher in the Usui Reiki Ryôhô lineage through IHR. Joy was first trained in Usui Shiki Ryôhô/Usui Tibetan Reiki in 2003 and started teaching Western Reiki in 2007, but has been teaching the more spiritually focused traditional Japanese Reiki since 2008. She is the Organizer of the Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup and is a member of Shibumi International Reiki Association and the Healing Touch Professional Association. Learn more at JoyVernon.com.

© 2014 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.

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Learning to Heal the Hard Way