Tuesday, 2 July 2013

"Only service heals"

At a Reiki masters’ retreat with Phyllis Furumoto in April, she read an article “In the Service of Life” by Rachel Remen, a medical doctor who believes in “re-integrating the heart and soul into contemporary medicine”.  In this article she talks about the differences between fixing, helping and serving.  I found it inspiring and have been looking at my Reiki practice in this context.

In my early Reiki practice I realise I was a fixer: I wanted to be able to sort out people’s health problems.  I saw Reiki as a powerful tool to that could enable me to make people feel better.  When I started working publicly as a practitioner I was presented with a range of conditions that people wanted me to fix.  However, although people I treated received benefit from Reiki, it was rarely what needed ‘fixing’.  Rachel Ramen describes fixing as a form of judgement, because we see the person we are treating as ‘broken’ and in need of sorting out.  I began to realise that I could not fix people, that I could not make anything happen with Reiki.  

My practice then shifted more into being a helper, which Rachel Ramen describes as “using your own strength to help those of lesser strength”.  I can see that helping others with Reiki treatments made me feel stronger myself, that I gained satisfaction based on being able to use my Reiki strength to help.  However this was an un-equal relationship which ultimately could not be truly healing as it kept the person being treated in a place of weakness.

Through teaching Reiki I began to understand the quality of service.  I saw that although I performed the initiations and taught the hand positions, it was the students themselves who joined with this process, gave their commitment and enthusiasm, who were equal partners in the learning and that Reiki itself gave them the healing ability.   The more I taught, and the deeper my Reiki practice became, the stronger this understanding grew, so that now I see everything I do in teaching Reiki as calling forth different elements of service.

This has also changed how I feel about giving Reiki treatments.  When someone asks me for Reiki treatment for health problem they have, I hold the request from the point of view of service rather than fixing or helping.  I know I cannot fix their problem.  I may want to help, but I’m now aware that this creates an unequal relationship and that lasting healing will only happen when the person themselves is as engaged in the journey towards wholeness as I am – then, with the grace of Reiki, there is the potential for change. 

I now gain most satisfaction from treatments which are based on this mutual seeking for wholeness, rather than being a fixer or helper.  I no longer want to be in the place of judgement or inequality, even if it pleases my ego!  This only creates separation and through my Reiki teaching and practice I have come to value connection.  I have experienced the difference between the discomfort created by disconnection, compared to the joy that comes from connection.  I know that as I move deeper into my exploration of serving people on their path to the place of healing they seek, I will experience greater peace, fulfillment and balance in my life.

So I’m grateful to Phyllis for introducing me to this thought provoking article!

How may I serve you?


  1. I know what u mean. I approach not from fixing, but from a wholeness (holistic) for the whole good of that person.

  2. That's great Janet, thanks for your feedback.

  3. Here's another comment from one of the people on my mailing list (which she asked me to post on her behalf):

    Dear Kate
    I enjoyed your article about service -it resonated with me - when I stoppped practising homeopathy one of the things I realised I appreciated was no longer focussing on what was wrong with people.
    Now in any therapeutic situation,, be it reiki or a particular conversation, I think my stance is one of support for who the person is and what they are trying to be. Without a focus on outcome there isn't the space for failure is there - only just thought of that!
    With love

  4. In my training for McTimoney Chiropractic we were taught "Trust the treatment". This strikes me as a similar perspective.
    However, it's really hard not to try to "fix" people, especially when that's often/usually why they come to us and if we are "helping people with Reiki" are we not nudging them on the road to being fixed? Semantics maybe?
    I think the point is that Healing Is A Journey and I don't agree that the fix/help attitude puts the person being treated in a position of weakness, rather the opposite in fact, that they are being empowered to make progress on their journey of healing.
    Discussion such as this is all very enlightened but ultimately, if we are treating, indeed if anyone is treating with whatever therapy from a position of love,it can only be good for the receiver.

  5. Thank you for your thoughtful comments Mark. Yes I think people often expect us to 'fix' them and it can be difficult not trying to meet that expectation. I would think even more so when you are doing a treatment that involves you trying to work out what to do based on what the person presents to you. That's where was are wonderfully liberated with Reiki in that there's no diagnosis or trying to work out what's wrong or how to change it. The more we can step out of the way and simply let the energy do the work the better - while also remaining mindfully present for the person. Not at all easy!

    And yes when we can hold that position of love as you say it benefits the receiver and also, I would say, the giver.