Saturday, August 29, 2009

Benefits of Reiki & the Surrounding Controversy

Since health care and its expense are such a topic these days, I think it is important to point out that we do have options available to us that could significantly reduce the costs associated with it, as well as possibly get our bodies in better health through practices that integrate mind, body, and soul. One such option is Reiki, which I practice regularly (click on the link at top right for more specific info about the Reiki that I provide and my experiences with it). This practice has shown me both physical and spiritual benefits, and is something that has been very dear to me in my journey toward God.

It has recently been estimated that approximately 15% of hospitals in the U.S. now offer Reiki to patients, among these are such notable names as Yale Children's Hospital (New Haven, CT) , Duke Integrative Medicine (Durham, NC) , Sloan Kettering and Columbia Medical Hospital (both in NYC). At first, this was a slow process with only a few hospitals adding Reiki, some offering it as a regular hospital service, others through a volunteer system. Many within the medical community balked at the suggestion that it could offer benefits, or even mocked those medical professionals who were encouraging it, but because of promising results and good patient response, other hospitals began to take note and add Reiki to their own offerings.

Some medical benefits that have been reported are faster healing, and less need for pain medication - no small observations. If Reiki can help reduce or eliminate the pain for those who are ill enough to be hospitalized, just think what it can do for our day-to-day health needs or preventative practices...just think of the potential savings as well as the improved quality of life that could be enjoyed by so many people if chronic pain issues could be reduced, or healing of wounds or ailments enhanced. I have experienced these outcomes for myself, and have been blessed to witness them in others.

In addition to actual physical benefits, Reiki is known by many to enhance spiritual experiences as well. Of late, many groups and powerful organizations have begun to take very negative stances about Reiki, perhaps because of its increasingly widespread use with so many people having such positive things to report about it...perhaps because it threatens their own stance or the power that they enjoy. In particular, Catholic Bishops in the United States have spoken out about Reiki as "dangerous" (see post from 3/28/09 "Using Fear to Control"). This came in spite of, or perhaps because of, many Catholic nuns practicing Reiki, seeing great results through offering it to their communities and hospitals, as well as using it for their own spiritual progress or healing. Other vocal Christian groups have joined in the conquest to eradicate Reiki or put fear about it into their followers. Let's just hope they don't return to the Witch Hunts or the Inquisition! :)

As a lifelong Christian myself, I cannot for the life of me understand this fear. This practice does nothing to undermine my faith; in fact, it greatly enhances it - and far more than ANY of my experiences in several denominations and many religion based organizations or activities that I have been part of throughout my life. For religion to debunk or even go so far as to denounce a practice that provides pain relief, calmness, peace, or serenity is almost unfathomable to me. For anyone to try to decide for others what their spiritual practices should be, or to try to block or prevent others from new experiences that might enhance both their physical well-being and their emotional or spiritual well-being, is simply sad in its fearfulness. To me, it shows a lack of faith in God's magnificence, not a demonstration of it.

However...I am heartened that it is apparent from these actions that Reiki and other methods of spirituality have taken hold and gotten enough attention to make it seem important for religious groups to attack. A few years ago, the word "Reiki" was not familiar to most people. I remember having to explain it to friends, some of whom looked at me with confusion or as if I had gone off the deep end (although others had an immediate curiosity). I believe it is because of Reiki's great benefits that the practice is spreading so quickly - its benefit speaks for itself, and more and more people are beginning to appreciate the benefits and share that with others.

Throughout history, new ideas or practices that threatened the power of the church, oppressive governments, or others in power have been attacked or rebuked. On the religious front, Galileo was denounced by the church for suggesting that the sun was the center of our universe rather than the Earth....because it was said to go against Holy Scripture. He was forbidden to talk about it and his works were banned (similar to the way the Bishops banned Reiki, but thankfully without the power to imprison). In later times, obviously, it was discovered that Galileo was right, and we have had many advancements to human existence through the further exploration of his ideas.

Galileo has been quoted as saying,
You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him discover it in himself.

God cannot be taught through studying limited books or memorizing scripture, nor can he be taught by listening to sermons; God can only be discovered in oneself. If we rely on others - whether they be church authorities, government authorities, or simply forceful or demanding friends and relatives - to decide our spiritual existence or define God for us, we cannot reach greater truths. We cannot know our full power and purpose with God if we easily relinquish it to the pressure of others, and I think we should be leery of anyone who tries to dictate God to us. If we indeed have a responsibility to Him, I think it is more likely to be one that tells us to explore rather than ignore, experience rather than be trained, learn by heart rather than by rote.

Please do not be fearful of Reiki because of denouncement by religions or religious people, whether well intentioned or not. If you have had a curiosity about it or a desire to try it, don't let others scare you away. Perhaps you have heard of it or have that curiousity because God put it there, just like God may have planted the thoughts about the Universe in Galileo's mind. Seek to experience life yourself. You may just find a greater God and a greater you.

1 comment:

Lynda Lippin said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and for this great post about the effectiveness, safety, and appreciation of G-d inherent in Reiki.