by Christina Bjergo
In 1998, I was a reservist in the Coast Guard and a young mother of two young children, ages three and one. We had driven to the Pacific Coast to spend time with my husband’s family over the Thanksgiving holidays. The evening of Thanksgiving while everyone else slumbered, I lay awake in the dark. To amuse myself, I picked up an unknown book my mom had been urging me to read. Mom thought it would help me get in touch with suppressed anger regarding my parents’ divorce a decade earlier. Skeptical that I even had any anger about the situation, I skimmed through one short chapter all the same. Unaffected and unimpressed, I nonetheless looked through the table of contents for another section to peruse. I found a chapter on fears and feeling mildly curious, I began reading, although I did not have high expectations.
The reading, however, soon captured my attention. Though I felt quite happy in my marriage and home life, I realized as I read that there were important interests I had not pursued; that, in effect, I was letting my fears get the best of me. I had always considered myself to be brave and independent, having grown up an only child and a latch key kid. How could I be fearful? After all, I had left my family to live and study abroad during high school and loved to push through the boundaries of things that scared me with extreme sports. Perhaps that was why I was so taken aback. I was for the first time aware of an entirely different form of fear.
As I read I began to recall memories of times when I had let fears override what I wanted to do: I had as a teenager yearned to try out for the high school play, yet snuck away before the audition began. The fear of failure, the risk of embarrassing myself in front of others, and the thought that I might not be good enough stopped me back then from even trying. Moreover, it was in high school that I shifted away from fun art classes. Deciding to be a serious student, I instead focused on the science track in preparation for college and a future career in science. Closing the book, I contemplated the many subtle ways I had suppressed my creative impulses. Gazing pensively forward in the dark, I had the following dream vision:
Dream: I see a youthful Native American woman in a white buckskin dress. She is beautiful with long flowing straight black hair. One hand is raised above her head; the other palm faces the ground. With eyes blissfully closed, she begins moving counterclockwise. Floating off the ground, she continues to spiral upward into the sky. As she ascends peacefully, I watch her long dark hair billowing gracefully in the wind behind her for several seconds. After several revolutions, the young woman transforms into an angel with large white wings before becoming pure and radiant white light.
Afterwards, I instinctively felt I had experienced a big dream and that it was important for me to explore the fuller meaning of the dreaming experience. Somehow the earlier “aha,” of consciously recognizing some of my own fears had opened a space for spiritual insight to come through and guide me. Feeling thoroughly shell-shocked after the vision, I lay down next to my sleeping husband. Resting quietly in the fetal position with my right arm close to my chest, I felt the area over my heart thump outwards for an instant. I experienced the movement both inside my chest and against my arm.
Although this was difficult to believe by the scientific standards of my education, I had experienced it and, therefore, could not rationally dismiss it. Within a few minutes of the chest movement, an uncomfortable achy sensation was noticeable within the left side of my chest. Something within my heart had begun to awaken, as old issues trapped in my body were acknowledged. I had just palpably experienced the mind-body connection.
So how does this relate to Reiki you might ask? Well, as if by divine arrangement, my mom, who is a Reiki Master, was with us that Thanksgiving and was available the next morning to give me my first treatment. I noticed during this and subsequent treatments that the achy pain in my chest would subside, at least temporarily, when she put her hands on my body. I became curious about how the bioenergetics of the body could lead to healing. I wanted the pain to go away, but I also wanted to learn more about energy healing.
This “opportunity” would propel me onward in a new more creative and authentic direction. My interest in holistic health and the body-mind connection led me ultimately to become a Reiki Master, pursue a career in Traditional Chinese Medicine, teach Qigong Dreaming, and author a book on energy healing as a means to greater health, happiness and spiritual insight.
My chest pain completely cleared and I have since found great joy and peace of mind doing work that is more aligned with my true self and fulfills me. However, the biggest gain from Reiki and the other energy modalities I practice has come from the clarity received from dreams.
I have learned a little bit more about the dream I had many years ago on that important Thanksgiving Day and I now recognize it as a critical turning point in my life. The ancient Chinese describe a transformative form of energy, called Ling qi; it is like a whirling mist that unifies opposites and transforms our subconscious blocks back to the transcendental. Later I discovered that the Chinese characters for Ling qi are the same as the Japanese characters for Reiki. (The Japanese characters were barrowed from the Chinese and have the same meaning although the phonetic words are different) Our bodies, when we work with life force energy, can act as a bridge that unifies heaven and earth, harmonizing the heart and mind as one. In the dream, the Native American woman spirals upward like a whirling mist. Her hand position demonstrates an energetic connection with the sky above and the earth below. Working with Ling qi is transcendental, the dream conveys, as the woman ascends upward upon a spiral staircase to heaven in a sense, transforming into an angelic being and finally pure light. Through Reiki, we can allow this high vibration spiraling energy to flow through our hands and into the energy fields of others to enlighten the bodies of our clients and ourselves.
The dream also speaks of an important spiritual component of Reiki work. Life force energy is universal and transcends religious boundaries. The Native American woman (earth centered cultures) shifting into an angelic being (more modern Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions) then pure light (direct spiritual experience) reminds us that viewing life from a higher, broader and universal perspective of dreams shows that unity is a byproduct of working with energy. It creates an opening for spiritual experience beyond separation, judgment and dualistic thinking. That Reiki, rather than being “dangerous to Christian [or other religious] spiritual health,” actually enhances and can deepen one’s personal experience of Spirit. My dreams since that fateful day have only confirmed this.
This article appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of Reiki News Magazine.