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Virtual Reiki Passes Healing Vibes Through a Screen

Katie Grant (Photo by Lauren Mazzella)

Considering we are in the midst of a deeply unsettling pandemic, it perhaps goes without saying that the standard healing methods I’ve come accustomed to are now verboten. What’s a girl to do when anxiety levels are high and the need for a one-on-one reiki session are higher? The answer may lie closer than you think: my Facebook Events feed.

Narrowing my search to the day of the week and category (a combination of fitness, health and wellness) I scrolled upon a Virtual Group Distance Reiki Healing session offered by In Tune Soul Sangha Healing & Meditation Community Center in Cornelius. I was sweetly surprised by this type of adaptive behavior. I find it to be incredibly business-forward and just want to give the business owner a virtual high-five.

For readers unfamiliar with Reiki as a healing modality, it’s a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing, according to The International Center for Reiki Training. It is traditionally administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s life force energy is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

I’ve attended a handful of Reiki sessions and walked away each time feeling expansive, so why not give “distance healing,” also referred to as Absentee Reiki, a chance? I conducted some research before committing to the Facebook Live event and learned distance Reiki is a technique within the Reiki system that enables the master to reach beyond the limitations of time, space and physical touch. While distance healing isn’t something I would normally be interested in exploring, social distancing has redirected my thought process. I now interpret the “distance” piece as pairing nicely with a pandemic.

Facilitated by Jules Wyatt, whom I had met the previous spring at a retreat, I presupposed this journey lofting from the comfort of my own home would be as enjoyable as it would be effective. To no fault of Wyatt’s, distance healing proved to be quite challenging, with my dog barking in the background and my husband on a conference call. My greatest regret is not heeding the organizers’ advice when they recommended headphones or earbuds.

There’s just no way to state this gingerly: My husband is loud, with a booming baritone voice that reverberates through the walls no matter what room I’m in. (This is where you pick up on the fact that with both of us working from home, I rarely have moments to myself.) Side note: He’s going out of town next week so I intend to eat mushrooms, watch Loving Vincent — a 2017 oil-painted, animated drama portraying the life of Vincent van Gogh — and sit alone with my thoughts. Date night, party of one.

Lying comfortably on the floor with my bedroom door closed, I followed Wyatt’s instructions to identify external distractions (dog, husband). According to Mindful, “When we bring mindfulness to irritating sounds, we shift our relationship from aversion to curiosity, allowing the sounds to rise and fall, lessening their negative impact.” If this is what our cohabitation is going to look like for the next month, I’m certainly experiencing aversion.

With Wyatt’s guidance, I then turned my attention from the external world to the internal world. This is a practice known as pratyahara. Pratyahara was one of the more complex limbs on the eight-fold path of yoga for me to understand. As the fifth of the eight limbs, pratyahara is twofold. It not only means withdrawal from negative external stimuli (the wrong food, relationships, media) it also means opening up to positive stimuli (the correct food, relationships, media). Just as a healthy body resists illness, a healthy mind resists negative influences. And in a world of information overload, the yoga practice of pratyahara provides a respite.

With senses withdrawn, I then brought my awareness towards the “energetic body” — a complex web of energy centers in the physical body corresponding to what are known as chakras. Chakra translates to spinning wheels or disks. The energetic body suffers when these areas become depleted or over-stimulated. Through the meditation, Wyatt suggested I mindfully select a color to focus on if a more prominent one pops up. According to Eastern traditions, seeing colors in meditation is a healing experience, where each color corresponds to a specific chakra. In this meditation however, no specific color stood out. Instead what I visualized was a swirling mass of iridescence, like I was floating inside of a soap bubble.

At this point Wyatt started to transmit energy virtually toward each practitioner that had logged onto the Facebook Live event. Allowing us to release old patterns that may be holding us back from reaching our fullest potential, the Reiki energy flowed through each chakra to bring them back into alignment. The types of patterns in reference can be anything from physical, mental, emotional or behavioral that show up as obstacles in everyday life. For example, when I get angry or thought-obsessive over a work email on a Friday afternoon and stew on it all weekend, I now know I’m out of alignment.

After engaging her Reiki techniques remotely for 20-30 minutes, Wyatt “detached” from each yogi allowing us to reacclimate to our own environments. Feeling buoyant, I went back to my workstation which in hindsight was a miscalculation. Making a beeline towards life stressors annulled the restful state I had just cultivated, taking me right back to ground zero. I need another virtual fix!

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