What happens when you are just plain wrong with your intuition and judgment in a Reiki session? I recently heard from one of my Reiki students who came to circle and was distraught that his dog had run away from home. He feared it was dead, and the circle (composed of 4 other practitioners), after giving the student a session, unanimously agreed that they picked up that the dog was dead. Now, two weeks later, I heard back from the student and he reported the dog, although worse for the wear, was alive, recovering and happy to be back.
That student, for over a week had felt guilty and ashamed for letting the dog out, believing the dog was dead from the consensus at the Reiki circle. Now, the student was reorienting to a new truth.
I think it’s often easy to tap into the emotions that a recipient brings to circle and be influenced, in a ‘group think’ kind of way. In this case, the student/recipient was quite distraught, felt guilty for letting his pet out, and also felt that his dog was dead.
But the responsibility goes back to the group of other practitioners. We weren’t being mindful about the language being used, instead of saying ‘your dog is dead’ what about having said, ‘we don’t feel a connection to the pet, we don’t know what happened to him’…dead is one thing, not being able to know is another.
Being with that not-knowing and just supporting the recipient’s process would have been more appropriate. Saying we think the pet is dead is dangerous, because it is a diagnosis, and we don’t do that in Reiki, but we all did it (group think) and were also wanting to give the student/recipient an answer to help alleviate his own suffering.
A Reiki circle is a support circle and not a therapy session. If the recipient were to have a session one-on-one with any of us, the outcome might have been different, because the groupthink experience would not be there.
I apologized to this student for the group’s misread, but I have seen this effect on occasion in other circles, my own, as well as the ones I attended when I was going through training. The Reiki environment is suggestive, vulnerable, open…but I think mindfulness here is really the key point. We all lapsed on that in favor of coming up with an answer, which is actually the ego at work. We want to know, rather than holding space for the process. We were attached to the result.
Let this story be a good learning tool for those on the Reiki path. Don’t feel an answer needs to be given after each session. If you disagree with one of the practitioners in a Reiki circle, say so. Be really, really mindful of how you communicate with others, words have power and can do harm.
Reiki, in the purest sense of what it is as energy, can do no harm, but that is why Reiki training is a key ingredient in learning to work with the energy. We are faulty humans, and we have a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to ego and being in the unknown.
For the future, at circles, I think it would be appropriate to leave the circle space temporarily during circle and ground outside of it if a ‘consensus think’ was going on, or if you weren’t sure or agreed with what was being said. Take time to reorient back to a more solid foundation within oneself.
I welcome feedback and thoughts on this. I think this story is worthy of a whole class.