Updated: May 23, 2020
The Reiju is one of the key elements in the traditional system of Reiki. It is a ritual performed by a teacher for his/her students which allows them to feel within themselves an initial experience of wholeness. This initial experience may also be called a direct experience; a state of being beyond time and space, in which we feel deeply interconnected with the whole, realizing that “I am the universe and the universe is in me”.
As a Reiki practitioner, this initial experience helps us to understand how to hold space for our clients, with greater presence, awareness, openness and compassion. As a teacher, the Reiju enables us to give a taste of wholeness to our students. It is generally felt as an empowerment. It leads students to turn inward and feel within themselves their connection to their own divine light, their “big bright light”. The Reiju also allows students, teachers, clients, everyone to experience the practice of Reiki through all its elements as a spiritual practice, one that connects us to our Self, to others and to life at large.
I have found the experience of the Reiju to be particularly helpful at this time of social distancing.
These times of physical distancing are beckoning us to go deeper into a state of interconnectedness. They are calling for our body-mind-energy to stretch and expand beyond the physicality. Experiencing the Reiju helps me remain connected and adjust my personal and professional practice to better support myself and others through the current shift online.
For the past 12 years, my Reiki sessions were largely in person. Sessions were essentially hands-on healing sessions. I offered classes and student practice in a studio or dojo. When social distancing started, my healing work came to a complete stop while I naturally retreated into a full-time self-practice.
This went on for a little while until one of my regular clients contacted me desperate for a healing session. She did not know that distance healing existed and although she was a bit skeptical, she was open to try. This led me to experience it as well for myself and to find a way that felt right for both of us. We tried the traditional way of a phone conversation before and after. We tried Zoom and finally settled on using a recording. Some earlier clients gradually came back the same way, and my professional practice resumed, infused with a new breath and flow.
The dojo where I offered classes had to close temporarily. Suffering financially, teachers were asked to help by offering something from their art online. I created a one-hour online self-care practice incorporating various key elements of the practice of Reiki such as breathwork, the Reiki precepts, Joshin Kokyu Ho and hands-on healing for ourselves. Through personal practice with a student, I had realized that as we practice with ourselves, we also practice with the whole. This new awareness led me to invite participants in this one-hour online practice to hold the space for others. I had no intention to lead them there but at that time, at the end of our practice, I realized we were already in that space of interconnectedness and it felt very natural to simply invite others to join energetically. Participants were amazed by this experience. For most it was also an initial experience into the practice of Reiki. It is quite liberating and empowering to realize that we all have what is needed within ourselves.
Another time, while practicing “distance healing” with a few of my Reiki friends, our experience felt like a Reiju. Then I started to worry, feeling the form of my Reiki practice gradually dissolving into the open space …. What was happening?
This is when I realized that form, the ritual, the system, are all also important, not just the no-form. They bring structure and support to our practice. They also ground it. As we go deeper, at some point we may feel the structure somehow disappear. This awareness and experience can be quite unsettling. We lose any sense of what is right or wrong, what is appropriate or not. We worry about being judged by others for not complying with the common standards of practice. We can easily lose ground as we open more.
So, I came to realize that rituals and the system are there to help us. Having a direct experience does not mean it is time to let the structure go entirely since the structure is the foundation. Going back to basics from time to time is also important to remind ourselves a bit more of the key concepts and consolidate the foundation of our practice. It keeps us focused in the present moment, humble, honest and grateful for what is. If something happens, something happens, if not, then not. The purpose of our lives is to live our life fully on Earth in body, mind and energy. As we open more, we realize that we are all in the same boat, no more, no less. We realize that what affects one, also affects others. This feeling is quite expansive and at the same time very human, touching and humbling. It really gives a deeper appreciation for life as a whole.
The shift online has been quite interesting for me to observe. It certainly breaks the way most of us have been practicing so far, mainly in-person. We all have what it takes but is everyone, teachers and students alike, ready for it? We can practice techniques online, share information and perform “distance healing” but I have wondered about the Reiju.
My recent experiences online with my friends and colleagues made me realize that it is quite possible to give a Reiju remotely however I wonder how transferrable the whole class experience can be online? So much happens in an in-person setting. Will participants be able to maintain the same level of presence that a physical space allows for a certain period of time? A class is of course not just about the Reiju or the attunement, it is also about the connection between the teacher and the student. This relationship is what allows the mind to mind transmission to happen as well as the maintenance of the lineage. Can such a relationship develop in the virtual world? It is still hard to say. But the world is changing, and in that new up-coming reality our traditional ways are certainly challenged but quite capable to adapt.
In the old days, students lived with their teachers. They did their work, practiced and received teachings daily according to their needs. Then society changed. Teachers and students met at certain times and places to practice and receive teachings. Then came the internet. Teachers and students still met somewhere to practice, receive the teachings but this time they could also connect daily online. Students could also engage with continuous online study and practice along with the teacher virtually as often as they needed and desired. How about now?
Somehow, I believe the bond between teacher and student happens through regular meetings. It cannot be created. And when it happens then it does not matter as much where those meetings take place as long as they happen regularly and at times in-person. A balance of both physical (when possible) and non-physical is I think important for teachers and students to consider mindfully. Balancing form and no-form, offering structured classes with on-going practice, communication and support, all of this may help the system of Reiki to thrive rather than to dissolve into the more superficial reality we are called to live in today on the web.
Just for today, I do not worry, I do not anger, I feel grateful for what is, I keep practicing diligently and honesty, feeling compassion for all, adjusting myself and my way the best I can for the benefit of all.
Written by Veronique Frede, Reiki Teacher/Practitioner in the Japanese Usui Reiki Ryoho