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March 06, 2003: E is for Elusive

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One of the four managers here at Benthic Creatures is very much into Reiki. In fact, she is so in to Reiki that she has studied it intensely for nearly an entire decade, and has earned the title of Master Teacher.

Reiki, for those of you who are, like I was up until this week, wondering just what the heck it is, stands for Universal Life Force Energy, and involves channeling the energy that comes from all around us to do relaxation and healing.

If you're of the extremely logical scientific brained set like me, right about now you are reading the paragraph above me and doing some serious eye-rolling. "Yeah right," you are saying. "Sounds like glorified massage technique," you are thinking, while raising your eyebrows and dismissing it all as bunk.

Notice I said 'like me' there? Yeah, me. I am so logic-minded and need so badly for things to be explainable that I cannot and probably never will be able to understand spiritual faith (ie. insert name of your favorite deity/religion here). This is something I have touched upon in this journal a few times before. It is an issue I recognize within myself, and one that I realize that I will probably always struggle with my entire life.

However, occasionally the (much smaller and often well-hidden) more emotional touchy-feely side of my brain occasionally beats the logical side hard enough and with pointy enough sticks to enable me to try things I might not normally be willing to try, if I were to listen to just the cold, hard logic and facts; if I were willing to close my eyes and pretend that everything in this universe must be explainable. Because even the logical side of my brain has to occasionally admit that sometimes things happen for a reason, and sometimes things cannot be explained, and sometimes things just are.

So when my coworker noted that she was willing to teach us some basic Reiki this week, I jumped at the chance (the sticks were extra-pointy this week, in other words. Go, left side of the brain, go!). After dinner, three of us gathered in her hotel room and perched on various pieces of hotel furniture (beds, chairs, tables) while she gave us our lesson.

She started with a brief discussion of what Reiki is, and then covered the history of Reiki how it was developed; where it began; how it came to the United States, and how it is being used today. And then she explained to us what she would be doing for our first lesson, and we moved on to a meditation in order to prepare.

Meditation is often difficult for me because it requires the ability to focus on nothing but the actions the leader is telling you to do. I have tried whole body meditation before and, just like this time, found that unless I force myself to really focus intently, my mind has a tendency to go haring off in all different directions and it gets hard to reign myself back in.

I was actually pretty thrilled at how well I was able to focus this time around, especially since for the first time I could actually visualize some of the things she was asking us to imagine. Then once we were completely relaxed and open, she took each one of us to a chair in the middle of the room and performed a ritual to help us be able to channel the energy around us. And once she was done, she told us to sit back down where we were before and cup our hands together to try to feel the energy.

It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. If I forced myself to concentrate, I started to sense *something a faint heat that I could move around between my hands. But if I let myself get even the slightest bit distracted, I lost it. When she asked us later to describe how it felt, I noted that it sputtered. And I didn't say it out loud there in the room, but I know exactly why.

I will probably always be skeptical about a lot of these types of things reading palms, crystal balls, tarot cards, reading auras. I do accept, however, that there may be something real amid the general clamor of all the hocus pocus and smoke and mirrors of faith and hands-on healing and so on. And I am trying to allow myself to forge a path through all the babble in order to find out what that truth might be.

I know how hard this is going to be for me; harder than it probably was for the others who were taking the lesson with me. Throughout the whole experience of this first lesson there was this little voice in the back of my stupid, logical brain that kept scoffing.

We're supposed to practice by ourselves at this point, to try to feel the energy again and get more familiar with how it manifests to each one of us individually. I'm going to have to do a lot of practicing, I know that much already. I am determined to get through this, somehow, if only because for a few fleeting moments I could sense it, right there in front of me, almost within my grasp. But it is going to take an awful lot of hard work to track down that elusive balance between reason and all the rest. It is going to take a lot of effort to make that little voice go silent. And sometimes my fear is that it never will.

This has been an AlphaBytes entry.

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