In the community room of a church in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, a small group of Reiki practitioners and a few newcomers stand in a circle, holding hands alive with the charge of Reiki energy, eyes closed, taking slow, deep, relaxing breaths. The circle coordinator has welcomed everyone, said a prayer of thanksgiving for the healing all are about to receive, and asked for the names of those in need of distant healing. Now, he turns to the woman beside him, asks her first name, and then includes it in a blessing: “Joann, may healing extend from my hands to yours.” He smiles at her and invites her to greet the person who stands beside her and pass the blessing on so that it travels to everyone in the circle. Then, feeling the energy of Reiki and the warmth of unconditional love, they unclasp their hands and walk to the bodywork table already in place to do Reiki.
The word “Reikishare” is probably not yet in any dictionary, but Reiki practitioners at all levels and of all lineages are quick to understand it as an opportunity to come together with others to share in the experience of Reiki energy through practice. This term is meaningful because it emphasizes the chance to share in the healing energy, to build community, and to keep Reiki-attuned hands “in practice” and strongly charged with healing energy.
For practitioners at all levels, Reikishares provide an opportunity to explore and express commitment to Reiki, to deepen practice, and to become aware of a desire or need for further training. Of course, most Reiki Masters and practitioners would say that what they most enjoy about attending a Reikishare is receiving Reiki themselves at the bodywork table. Sometimes, instead of Reikishare, practitioners will describe such a gathering as a “Reiki circle” (as does the Reiki Alliance) or as a “Reiki healing circle.” The latter term may more clearly convey the purpose of the gathering to the general public, who might discover it advertised in a magazine or on a bulletin board at a health-food store, holistic center, or church and who want to attend to learn more about Reiki.
Reikishares are not always open to the public, but the ones that are attempt to provide a safe space for the curious to receive more information and to experience Reiki for the first time, usually free of charge. Such Reikishares also offer an initial opportunity for acutely or chronically ill individuals to experience the healing effects of Reiki. These people may decide to attend regularly to receive Reiki as an adjunct therapy to their physician-prescribed course of treatment to reduce stress or to provide pain relief. Such a choice is empowering to the seriously ill, for it enhances their quality of life, no matter what their diagnosis or prognosis. Family members who are caretakers for the chronically ill may also appreciate the value of a Reikishare open to the public. They feel the weight of their care taking responsibilities lighten when they witness the positive effects of Reiki on their loved ones. Caretakers also benefit from having their own healing needs recognized and addressed. Nothing can strip away the sense of emotional and physical fatigue and mental tension that accompanies 24/7 care like being on the bodywork table, basking in the warm flow of healing energy from five or six pairs of Reiki-charged hands.
All Reikishares, whether open or closed to the public, offer community education, care for the sick, and care for the caretaker as well as the opportunity for practitioners to deepen Reiki practice. Such Reikishares also gently encourage those who are new to Reiki to learn it for themselves—for self-healing, for caretaking, or both.
Reikishares that are not open to the public are usually restricted to the students of a particular Reiki Master; more rarely, they are offered to a particular client population (for example, terminally ill children and their parents at a Ronald McDonald House or HIV-positive men and women at a free health clinic). When teaching Reiki Masters sponsor Reikishares restricted to their own students, they can continue the students’ education long after the class certifying them as practitioners has concluded. This means that questions can be answered as they arise out of new experiences with Reiki, both at the table and during the intervals between Reikishares, and practitioners’ increasing sensitivity to subtle levels of the energy can be acknowledged and supported as it develops over time. Practitioners who sponsor a Reikishare for fellow students in the absence of a regularly attending Reiki Master have a similar opportunity to learn through experience, to share stories, and to become aware of their own expanding perceptions of the energy. Whether a Reikishare is sponsored by a teacher or by a practitioner, that individual has a chance to develop in a leadership role by coordinating the circle.
For practitioners at all levels, Reikishares provide an opportunity to explore and express commitment to Reiki, to deepen practice, and to become aware of a desire or need for further training. Of course, most Reiki Masters and practitioners would say that what they most enjoy about attending a Reikishare is receiving Reiki themselves at the bodywork table: there’s nothing like that sense of deep relaxation, that gentle release from the tensions of the day, or—if needed—a more intense and accelerated healing.
Reikishares create community and, within that community, the opportunity for enduring friendships with like-minded people. Such friendships are very special. Your fellow Reiki-practitioner friends are the ones you call when you have just learned that your daughter was in a car accident and is now in an ambulance on the way to a hospital; they will meet you in the ER, give you a comforting hug, and sit with you, sending Reiki to your daughter, while the surgery is performed. Or perhaps you need help moving from an apartment to a house. If you announce your need at a Reikishare, you may find that suddenly you have volunteers to pack and unpack boxes and the loan of a truck on moving day. Or you might be stressed out about a situation at work. The practitioner-friend across the table from you at a Reikishare may well sense it, take you aside, and offer sympathy and helpful insights.
Reikishares offer us the opportunity to open our hearts in love, to use our hands in healing, to be fully present in a spirit of service to our community. Ideally, Reikishares are the work of committed volunteers who give freely of their time and energy while setting aside all private agendas and personality differences. For the duration of the Reikishare, practitioners at all levels are present simply to offer Reiki healing energy to each person who lies on the bodywork table, without prejudice and with reverence, knowing the divine healer within that individual will take and use the energy offered in whatever way is for the highest good. The primary reward for participation, besides feeling the healing flow of the energy itself, is the simple satisfaction of practicing Reiki and practicing kindness.
Recently, a Reikishare in Sedona was blessed by the presence of a visitor, a woman named Helen, who is a spry 100 years old. Helen has a lovely personality, keen intellect, and sharp wit. She attended the Reikishare because she experiences severe pain from arthritis. Three practitioners shared Reiki with Helen in a group session for about twenty minutes. When she got off the table, she did so without any assistance, and she said “I was just laying there feeling soooo good that I just started loving all of you right back!” Her pain was greatly reduced, and she called a few days later to schedule a private Reiki session. Considering the many benefits, there are many reasons to create a Reikishare, whether it is to be a one-time event or a regularly scheduled meeting. If you are feeling excited about the idea of sponsoring a Reikishare, you will need to ground your inspiration in practicalities. You will have choices to make about the Reikishare’s purpose, participants, and policies. Rather than making these choices intellectually, learn from experiencing other Reikishares, if possible. Visit as many as you can, in your immediate area or outside of it. Experience and enjoy the flow of the energy and observe the group dynamics: What do you see that works? What doesn’t seem to work? From your initial hello to the moment you walk out the door, you may want to make mental notes—and record them for your own review and reflection later.
If there is not a regularly scheduled group in your area, you’ll need to create your own without the benefit of seeing how others work. Sponsoring a one-time Reikishare in your home or center, or in a free public space, such as a church or library meeting room, is an excellent way to stimulate people’s interest and practice the process. If you are a teaching Reiki Master, you might restrict this Reikishare to your students (who may have been requesting it). If you are a Reiki practitioner, invite some of your classmates from Reiki I or II and consider opening it to your untrained friends who are curious about Reiki. Whether you are a teacher or a practitioner, you might also consider sponsoring a one-time Reikishare for a needy client group: the homeless at a shelter, seniors in a retirement community, the chronically ill at a long-term care facility, staff members at a hospital’s employee day, volunteers at a hospice…. If you are already associated as a volunteer or employee with a facility or organization, you are more likely to find your idea welcomed and administrators eager to set a date.
Here are some ideas to consider when designing your Reikishare: You’ll need to let people know about your Reikishare well in advance. This can be done through flyers posted at health-food stores, metaphysical bookstores, and other locations frequented by Reiki practitioners and other holistic-minded people. If your area has a holistic-health publication, you could consider taking out an ad to announce your Reikishare; you could also announce it by e-mail to your Reiki friends and clients, or post the news on your Webpage, if you have one. Make sure you include clear directions, the date and time of the meeting, and whether participants are to bring anything, such as an extra bodywork table or a potluck dish to share. Also, if you’ve decided to charge a fee or request a donation to defray your expenses, be sure to include this information in the announcement. Otherwise, readers will assume the Reikishare is free.
As people arrive at your Reikishare, make an effort to greet and welcome them individually. Newcomers particularly appreciate a warm smile, an introduction, and some orientation. If you’re unable to do this, assign someone else this job. It’s also a good idea to have people sign a guest book and provide contact information, including an e-mail address, so you can notify them of future Reikishares or cancellations due to bad weather or for other reasons. Those who are at the Reikishare to experience Reiki for the first time will be glad to receive a handout explaining Reiki. Better yet, assign an experienced person the job of staying close to those without Reiki to answer their questions and educate them.
You’ll also need to decide on the structure of your Reikishare. An opening circle, with members seated or standing, helps connect everyone to one another and to the Reiki energy. A group meditation or prayer can help create group rapport. If there are a lot of people new to Reiki, allow everyone to introduce themselves by name and introduce Reiki with a brief presentation or story. You may also invite those in the circle to make special or distant healing requests for those not present at this time. Then, if you have not already done so, set up the session tables. Be prepared to give special attention to those confined to wheelchairs, making sure there is adequate room for them to maneuver It’s important that people feel safe, and this can be accomplished in several ways: Make sure those new to Reiki have received an explanation of what Reiki is and what a session feels like. Encourage those who’ve never had a session before to go first, followed by those in greatest need. Ask the clients if they have special areas of need. Do your best to keep talking to a minimum while sessions are being given. Idle conversation about unrelated topics can be distracting and really lower the vibration of a Reikishare. This can easily drift into gossip and mundane subjects that take attention away from the person being treated and make them feel uncomfortable. It’s also nice to make water available to those who would like it after receiving a session.
It is important to make sure everyone who attends gets a chance to receive Reiki. To do this, ask one practitioner to serve as timekeeper. If you have a two-hour meeting time available, six people attending, and one table, the timekeeper might allow each client about fifteen minutes on the table and five minutes for transitions between clients. Of course, if one or more people are in greater need of Reiki, the group can decide to give them more time.
At the conclusion of the Reikishare, a closing circle reinforces the sense of community and shared healing. It also offers an opportunity for announcements. It’s important to ask for help putting away the chairs and tables and cleaning up. A socializing time after sessions will also help create a closer bond between members and provide another level of enjoyment. “That was great! My headache is completely gone,” a practitioner says, as she folds a chair and stacks it against the wall. A middle-aged woman, waiting to stack a chair, answers, “This was my first time at a Reikishare—and I’m so glad that I came. I couldn’t imagine how relaxed I would feel….” The visitor wears a dreamy smile and sighs with contentment, “I think I would like to take a Reiki class. Do you know when the next one is scheduled?” From the doorway, another practitioner, with a session table in its case tucked under one arm, waves good night. “Thanks, everyone! See you all at our next share.”
There are many ways to create a Reikishare. By trying the ideas presented above, noticing how people respond, and making adjustments accordingly, you’ll develop a Reikishare that works well for your group. Also remember that by setting your goals and giving them Reiki, you will be guided in a loving and flexible way to create a valuable healing experience. When you have done all you can do to get ready, relax!
Remember the Reiki principle: “Just for today, do not worry.” And on the day of your Reikishare, go early to prep the room, feel the energy arrive, and then just enjoy the experience of practicing Reiki and practicing kindness.
By Amy Rowland and Laurelle Shanti Gaia
This article appears in the Spring 2005 issue of “Reiki News Magazine”
Laurelle Gaia a student, a teacher, practitioner and facilitator of the healing arts. Served as a healer in the National Institute of Health’s Glioblastoma Research project. (a 3 year study on the effects distant healing has on the quality of life for patients with this rare form of brain cancer.) A Professional Licensed Reiki Master Teacher and Karuna Reiki® Master Teacher with the International Center for Reiki Training (ICRT). Served as the Director of the ICRT Licensed Reiki Master teacher training program for about 25 years. In this capacity I have developed training programs and been a mentor for many of the other ICRT teachers. Author Infinite Spectrum Color Healing Course, Sacred Circles, Be Peace Now, Reiki Crystal Healing and The Book on Karuna Reiki. Currently developing the Facebook group based on the book called The Butterfly Squads.
Infinite Light Healing Studies Center, LLC Founded in 1999