Ganesh doing his thing!
When I was younger my mother let me go to church with a work friend of hers every Sunday for maybe a year and a half. I loved it! It was a traditional Southern Baptist church equipped with a awesome choir and a hooting and hollering pastor. I saw it all as a great source of entertainment. Parishioners would "catch" the "holy spirit" and start dancing down the aisles. Random women would be releasing orgasmic cries to Jesus saying "Yes! Yes! Yes Jesus!" over and over again. Did I say I loved it?! It was fun to watch and afterwards I would probably get some fried chicken or ice cream. Life was good. I didn't like dressing up for church so I always had a change of clothes. I would strip down in the car to rid myself of those annoying dresses but other than that, I found church to be an enjoyable experience.
You see, I was never raised to have a particular religion so for me I was always studying and observing others who did. I would always go to my friends' churches whenever I was invited. My mother introduced us into Judaism by celebrating Hanukkah and into Islam by going to the Mosque. I never felt bound to any religion. The story of Jesus was simply a story about what everyone could do as a human being. I didn't understand the worshiping part. As a child I didn't know how to express how I felt about religion because I could see how passionate people were about it. I didn't want to argue or prove a point. It wasn't until I was twelve did I become more clear about how I felt. We had just moved to a new apartment and me being painfully shy at the time was struggling to make friends. Every morning at my bus stop was this Indian girl who clearly was in the same boat as me. We saw each other every morning and never spoke. Eventually someone had to introduce us and that is where it all changed for me. We slowly became friends and I would go to her house often. Her house was this amazing place filled with new aromas and images I had yet to see. She was Hindu and I was awestruck by the bindis, the colorful pictures of an multi-armed elephant, the henna designs, the curry, the altar, the man in the orange curtain... I would ask her and her brother endless questions. They would do their best to answer. I would study Hinduism in every encyclopedia I came across. I had to know more. Up until meeting her, I had experienced the more popular religions in American culture, but mostly Christianity. Hinduism was a brand new world for me and I liked it. I loved how every morning she kept her tradition and how she participated in her culture no matter what was going on outside.
Well one day three of us were talking about religion. It was her, I, and a wonderful guy who was holding a scarab beetle in his hand. We were asking each other about how we felt about it and I remember looking at her. She had to be one of the most sweetest people I ever met and at that moment I remembered how many times I heard that if you didn't believe in Jesus, you were going to hell. I couldn't look her in the eye and then say I believed in any religion that I had known previous to meeting her. So even though I was never attached to a religion, that day it became even clearer. Since then I have gone on to enjoy even more religions. I love learning and exploring other peoples way of life and observing the commonalities that we all seem to share. Yet and still, I do not ascribe to any religion. I am spiritual essence and that knowing is eternally fulfilling.
Nonetheless, when I speak or share what is in my heart, I often find my friends saying, "You are very Buddhist." or "You are more Christian than me." or "You are very Brazilian." and so on and so on. I always laugh at this and shake my head. They are perceiving me to be like them, not because I share their beliefs or culture, but because I like to connect to people on a heart to heart level. I can talk to anyone and relate to anyone. It isn't uncommon for my friends to end up on the phone with me for 2 hours and not know how it happened. One reason is because I can talk about anything and another reason is because I am truly interested in who they are. The people in my life amaze me. Their lives are sometimes difficult and stressful but they make so many amazing things happen. I see them growing everyday and it is a pleasure to know them and love them.
So why share this story? Well I was thinking about some of the fears I hear regarding Reiki and I wanted to address it. One of my friends said he doesn't "mess with that stuff". One of my friends refuses to learn more about it since he "has Jesus". And there are plenty more that are unspoken. From my story, I think it is clear that I don't carry fear about other sets of beliefs. My commitment in life is to "know" and not to focus on "believing". It is my experience with Reiki that allows me to write this, not my belief in it. Honestly Reiki isn't that special or mystical but it is at the same time; it is something that is innate in all of us but few tap into it. In fact, before it was called "Reiki" by a Japanese man, it was called something else and something else before that. For me, it is a loving energy that fills my entire being. When I share it with others, I get the sense that it first acts as a connector, connecting you to who/what you truly are. And what are we? We are spirituality. We are "life force". We are divine love. We live our lives as if we are not that. That is where I come in, I like to connect. I don't see this energy as outside of myself, I see it as a part of me. Did I take classes? Yes. Did someone "attune" me? Yes. But why? Essentially someone helped me connect to what was already inside of me and that is what any excellent teacher or healer does. And what does it feel like? Unconditional love, understanding, compassion. These feelings are constantly swirling within me now even on hard days. When I first aligned with the energy it felt like I was hugging myself on the inside and I laughed for the first month about everything. Love isn't really enough to describe it, but it is the only word I know that comes close. Is Reiki Hocus Pocus and Boogie Woogie? Try it and make a decision from there. How you connect what I have shared to your belief system is up to you but I do encourage you dig deeper. If I stopped at a Japanese man calling it "Reiki", this blog or website would not exist.
If you are curious and want to try it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will give it to you as a gift for your open-mindedness and bravery. I can promise you absolutely no hocus pocus or boogie woogie, just love and compassion.