Reiki and Trust

by Deb Karpek

Since I had the idea to write this article it has taken many forms. I can't tell you how many versions of this I have written and discarded. The irony is not lost on me that I was trying too hard. So as a last ditch attempt to get this written, I’ve decided to surrender the control, keep it simple and write about how Reiki has helped me with the issue of trust.

One of the many benefits of Reiki is how it gives us what we need when we need it. I needed to learn how to trust, and Reiki has provided me with many opportunities. I am still learning — however, I am now more aware of when I am trying to control and when I need to let go, to surrender. I am learning how to get out of my own way and trust. It is not always easy but I find when I am in the flow, everything truly is in divine and perfect order. And when I am not, I have to ask myself “What is my place in this? What do I need to learn?” If I allow my self to listen, I hear the answers. The hard part for me is listening to that inner voice, trusting that it knows. And it always does! I joke that I’m going to teach a class called “Debating Your Inner Voice” since I have had so much practice in it!

In the past, the illusion of control made me feel safe. I liked the idea of knowing things, keeping things in order and having an expectation of outcome. Prior to working full time as a Reiki Master and teacher I was an event and meeting planner. Having known expectations served me well in that profession. In my life as a Reiki Master, I no longer desire these things. I have no idea what is going to happen yet I like how my days unfold.

Let go of concerns and trust the process.

All is in divine and perfect order.

Keep your ego and personality out of it!

The above statements have helped me in my ability to learn how to trust. Like anything new I had to follow the popular saying “fake it until you make it,” and I used affirmations like these constantly until I did believe them. Now not only do I believe them but I try to live them to the best of my abilities — some days better than others, but use them I do and they work!

I believe that my ability to trust has been strengthened by Reiki. When I first discovered Reiki I was newly sober after many years of drinking and drug abuse. I was pretty raw, and trust was not something I had in abundance. Reiki came along and taught me how to implement trust into my life. I believe it is why I have had a happy and healthy recovery during the last 12 years.

Reiki has taught me many things, both on the Reiki table and out in “real life.” The lessons learned in the Reiki room gave me the confidence to tackle my trust issues in my everyday life. The first thing Reiki taught me was how to not be attached to outcome, to let go of any expectations. As a new practitioner it is common to want to see some proof, some tangible evidence that Reiki is working. We want to know! In the beginning of my practice I rarely “felt” anything. Sometimes my clients shared things that bubbled up for them, but mostly it was a pretty quiet affair.

After I'd been practicing awhile I became aware of “knowing” certain things during a session. For example I would be guided to a certain part of the body, to linger longer in certain areas. I’ve always trusted these “hunches.” Other times I’d sense a presence in the room. Even though I can’t really see them, I know they are there, guiding and assisting. I trust this — I have never questioned it.

I am able to trust and discern when and what to share with clients. Sometimes I do share information and other times I do not. I trust again that I will be guided what to do with the information that may come up during a session.

In my prayer of intention at the beginning of my day or practice I ask that my ego and personality step aside and that I not be concerned with outcome or expectation. I affirm that the Reiki flows through me and not from me; that I am a pure and open channel of the Reiki energy. I can then trust that the client gets what she needs as I channel the life force energy. I don’t necessarily need to know what the client wants or needs or to worry about what’s going to happen. What needs to happen will happen. And I am happy to say that I completely trust this.

One of my teachers is fond of saying “put your hands on the person and get out of the way.” This is the best advice I’ve ever received about Reiki. As soon as I heard it I knew it to be true. I also was taught that Reiki can do no harm and that the person gets what he needs when he needs it. We do not direct or control it.

Knowing these things going in made it so much easier. Still, for me, I think I needed to go through a process. The first year or so I “acted as if.” I didn’t understand what was really happening even though I felt like I needed to, yet I had a strong sense of trust. This trust strengthened as my practice grew, and this became the springboard for taking trust out into the world beyond my Reiki room.

Early in my career if I worked on someone I didn’t know or someone I might be intimidated by I would worry or have fear before the session. It really brought up my insecurities. I attracted a fair amount of clergy to my practice and these individuals made me nervous as a new practitioner. However, once I did my prayer of intention and put my hands on them and began channeling Reiki all was well. The Reiki took care of them; I didn’t have to. And I found that I could trust that it would all work out. It always did, when I got out of my own way.

As I put my time in as a practitioner, and the nervousness went away, I became more confident. I trusted the process. And because I trusted it, that helped me branch out into other areas of my life and trust things there as well. I began sending Reiki to things I needed help with, things I needed healed. I spent a lot of time chanting the Distant symbol, sending it to my past to heal my shame and fear. I asked Reiki to meet me at my classes, to take away the anxiety and worry before the class. Sending it ahead of time and asking it to give us all that we needed, with grace and joy, allowed me to let go of the outcome. I’d show up for class knowing Reiki would take care of us. And it proved to be true.

I use Reiki daily. In my morning mediation I ask Reiki to be with me throughout the day, to guide and protect me. I ask that it allow me to come from my God self and to see the God self in others. This has given new energy to my days, and I completely trust that all is in divine and perfect order.

On those days when the challenges seem overwhelming I ask Reiki to help me see my part in things. Why is this happening? What is the lesson I need to learn? I listen and trust that I will get the answer. And I do! It’s not always the answer I think it’s going to be and I don't always like it, but it turns out to be the one I need to hear.

Because of all of these examples I've shared, I've learned how to completely trust that I am safe. I am protected and guided. Always. This trust has helped me to really allow myself to shine. When I ask Reiki to be with me daily it gives me a confidence I didn’t always have. I speak in my voice, not the voice that others want to hear. I no longer worry that others won't like me or what I have to say. I also trust that I am able to speak my truth from a place of love, with grace and kindness. Trust me when I say this was not always my way!

In my Reiki classes, I try to instill this trust in my students. I talk a lot about it — about each of them getting out of their own way, trusting that it works, whether they feel the energy or not. At that first table session in Reiki Level I there is a lot of “I didn't feel anything” and disappointment, or "OH MY GOD, I can feel so much." I try to approach both of these statements with the same advice— It doesn't matter if you feel it or not— it always works! Detach from the outcome! Still, it’s hard not to expect something!

Yesterday I taught such a class. We were doing the first round of practice with four students at a table. When it came time to share, one of the students said at first he felt like he was acting or waiting for something to happen. He felt that he was trying to force it to work. Then he remembered the "get out of the way" quote and was able to relax and allow the Reiki to flow through him. He got it! The rest of the group caught his excitement and they followed suit and it was so beautiful.

This is lovely when it happens, especially in the early classes. When I first began teaching I had this urge to try to convince the students that Reiki worked. I’d talk (way too much) about how it worked and offer up examples and "proof" in an attempt to convince them. I see how this may have put some pressure on them, this expectation to “make it work.” More recently I try to talk less and have them work more with the energy, so they can get a feel for it. Yet there is still this need, as mentioned by the student in the example above to "force it to work." And I think our culture adds to this need to be result-oriented. I think Level 1 might be my hardest class, trying to explain Reiki, teaching how to trust and to let go of outcome. So it’s a beautiful thing to watch and feel as we "get it" and are able to stop pushing the river and go with the flow.

Some Reiki students of mine like to use a pendulum before and after a session. I am reluctant to use one after a session, as it sets up that expectation of proof. Still, if someone wants to do this, who am I to tell him or her it’s wrong? As a teacher I have to trust that my students will find their own way around the table. I am fond of saying that I help to lay the foundation of their practice, and they will go out and build their own houses, each one looking different. So why do I want to fiddle with their house? — Tell them what to do? — What not to do? Instead I need to trust that they will do what they need to do in a way that serves them, not me. I think as a teacher that has been my biggest lesson in trust: that I do my best to share the information with them and then let go. If they ask for advice I am happy to help, but I must remember to not judge, to let them find their way.

Here is a prayer of intention that I use with my clients before we begin a session:

I am ready and willing to let go of those things

that no longer serve me or my highest good

so I may bring in those things that do — because I deserve it.

I then ask them to relax and trust that they will get what they need. We all deserve love and trust. I am grateful to Reiki for teaching me how to attain both.

This article appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of Reiki News Magazine.