There was a woman I once knew, back in my hometown, named Mrs. Knight. She practiced the healing art of Reiki, a Japanese healing modality performed with the palms of the hands. My mother was a regular client and, when I was just twelve years old, offered to enroll my mother and I in a class to become certified Reiki practioners ourselves. Of course I jumped at that, and although I knew little of the art then, I quickly learned in Mrs. Knight’s living room how to heal with my own two hands.
As she explained to us, “Reiki” translates to “spiritually guided life force energy” (Eastern medicine recognizes “ki”, the same root as chi), and was developed into a formal practice, complete with certifications, by master Mikao Usui in 1922. I didn’t particularly about the historical details at the age of twelve, I wanted to get to the hands on training.
But there were many charts and diagrams to study before Mrs. Knight would let me start practicing with my own “spiritually guided life force energy.” Specifically, my mother and I had to memorize something called the chakras, which are the natural energy centers along the meridian of the body. All Reiki masters are expert in the chakras, since Reiki heals by guiding the flow of radiant energy along the meridians, to restore and revitalize each chakra, and in turn, restore the body to vibrant health.
“Chakra is the Sanskrit word for ‘wheel,’” explained Mrs. Knight. “Imagine each chakra as a colorful, spinning orb of light. Depending on how you focus, you can make these chakras spin fast or slow, backward or forward. Are you writing this down?”
“Oh yes!” I nodded, and scrunching my face with exertion, I focused on making my chakras speed up.
Mrs. Knight must have sensed my impatience, but first, she explained, like the ABCs of energy healing, we had to know each of the 7 main chakras:
1. The root chakra is at the base of the spine. It glows red, and expresses our feelings of groundedness and security. Mrs. Knight then taught me a meditation where a bright red pipe dropped from the base of our spines, to the center of the earth, connecting us. Through this pipe, we expelled negative energy, then revitalizing our bodies with the planet’s healing energy. Mrs. Knight taught me the root chakra is intimately connected with our body’s ability to eliminate toxins and waste.
2. The sacral chakra is about two inches below the belly button. Our creativity and pleasure are based from this bright orange center of energy, and when we struggle to accept other people and ourselves, we need to feed this chakra with the energy of love. The bladder and kidneys, which are our body’s organs of purification, are ruled by the sacral chakra.
3. The solar plexus chakra is near the stomach. Our digestive organs are under the dominion of this bright yellow chakra. With a sunny yellow glow, this chakra rules our self confidence. Whenever you are feeling afraid to stand up and speak up, send energy to clear this chakra.
4. The heart chakra is a bright grass green wheel of energy in the middle of the chest. When it’s in good condition, you feel peaceful, accepting, and compassionate. An out of balance heart chakra, on the other hand, can contribute to jealousy and codependent relationships.
5. The throat chakra is in the throat. This sky blue energy center energizes our vocal cords, as well as our ability to communicate openly and honestly. Meditate on the throat chakra before a big presentation or speech, for a clear and sympathetic message.
6. The third eye chakra is a deep blue energy source between the eyes. It’s the chakra connected to the brain and eyes, as well as to our inner sight. Flashes of inspiration, illuminated concepts, are the calling card this energy center!
7. The crown chakra is on top of the head. The pineal gland, which many Reiki and meditation practitioners believe is the seat of higher consciousness, is associated with the lustrous purple of the crown chakra, as the center of our most transcendent experiences of enlightenment and cosmic wisdom.
After reciting the propeties of the chakras for Mrs. Knight, she finally told us to channel our energy. My mother and I opened our third eye chakras through meditation, and visualized a shimmering, golden energy entering our bodies. We could use this energy to heal ourselves or others, by laying our hands over a particular chakra, and letting this golden light flow through, explained Mrs. Knight. My mother and I practiced on each another, moving our hands slowly up the seven chakras, and funneling the golden universal energy into each chakra.
“Great job,” said Mrs. Knight. “But I still need to attune you.” In Reiki, only a master can initiate a student into the art. Until Mrs. Knight attuned us to permanently open us to the universal energy, we were just going through the motions. The attunement experience is different for everyone, but I experienced a vision of a nebulous violet cloud surrounding me, as Mrs. Knight did the attunement.
When we had both completed our training, Mrs. Knight presented my mother and I with certificates. But she cautioned us, “This isn’t something you can show off as a party trick. Reiki is a sacred art, and should only be used for healing.” I have upheld my promise, and have only used my practice to heal friends, family, and clients in need of a real holistic treatment. Since Reiki can be performed long-distance, Reiki work is boundless.