Getting to work was unpleasant as she was squashed in on every side, and some people clearly didn't bathe before getting on!
All she could do was close her eyes and pretend she was vacationing somewhere far away, on a beautiful sandy beach!
"I don't remember signing up for THIS LIFE," she fumed inside. “Look at all those A-List celebs, pop stars, footballers and footballers' wives… they don't have to do this journey to hell every day."
Once at Liverpool Street, she bumped along with the hundreds of other commuters along the main road and then turned into a side street to access one of several dull, grey buildings, which usually had some urine running out from the corner of the entrance, where someone had 'been' in the early hours of the morning.
She sat in front of her PC, opened her emails, and began to prepare for her day of endless admin. By early afternoon, even with three coffees, she felt depleted and struggled to be friendly towards her colleagues. Her back ached from sitting for extended periods, and she was sure she was getting RSI from typing at the PC! Who invented these damn things anyway?!
Julie's day finished in the same monotonous way as it had started. She returned on a packed commuter train, picked up her children, prepared dinner in the microwave, and just about managed to watch something on TV before falling into bed, with a gazillion thoughts whirling inside her head about tomorrow and what the future would hold for her.
Frustratingly, Julie took about half an hour to go to sleep even though she was knackered. To make matters worse, Julie's mother Sarah had recently passed away, and Julie was missing her evening conversations with her mum. Sarah had always been there for Julie when Julie was feeling overwhelmed, or confused. Her father John had dementia now, and Julie felt the strain of trying to communicate with him. He rarely remembered who she was, and often forgot that Sarah had passed on, asking Julie where her mother was?! Sometimes it was just too much for Julie to bear.
Julie's husband noticed that Julie wasn't herself. Her colleagues also noticed that all was not well, as Julie rarely smiled, and only spoke when she was asked a direct question.
Eventually, Julie went to her GP and was given prescription tablets to cope with her onset depression.
Obediently, Julie went to the pharmacy to get the pills but they sat on her bedside table each night. She was more worried about the long-term effects of becoming dependent on those drugs, even though she was also worried about her mental health.
Then, one day at work, a colleague of Julie's suggested she go to a local Reiki master called Anne for a Reiki treatment.
Julie was suspicious. Even though she hadn't taken the prescribed drugs, she believed in medicine on the whole. If you have a headache, you take a pill and it goes away. If you have diarrhoea, you take some drugs for it, and problem sorted.
Reiki and 'energy medicine'? What a load of rubbish!
However, Julie liked Rob, and trusted his opinion. He always had lots of energy, and was liked by the whole office. He never said a bad word about anyone and he never preached to anyone about what they 'should' do. Rob only recommended Reiki to Julie because he'd tried it himself, out of curiosity, and loved it!
When Julie turned up at the clinic, she felt nervous. What was she getting herself into? Maybe she should just sneak out now, whilst she had the chance…
Suddenly, a cheery voice said 'hello Julie, just follow me then'.
Anne had appeared in front of her, dressed in an elegant, white Japanese outfit, made from embroidered silk.
Anne was a pretty, young woman in her mid 30s, with sparkling green eyes and shoulder length, silky blonde hair. She had a natural warmth about her, Julie noticed.
Actually, she was far different than Julie had imagined. Julie thought a Reiki master should have been at least 50 or 60 years old, with grey hair, and perhaps a little on the plump side! Anne was none of that!
The treatment room was set up with a massage couch, and a table and couple of chairs for the consultation. The rooms smelt clean and fresh, but not clinical, and there was a small votive candle burning in the room, which created a sense of calm inside Julie.
Anne first talked to Julie about the Reiki treatment, explaining that she would take a brief history of what was going on in Julie’s life and that Julie could share as much or as little as she liked.
She explained that Julie would be lying down for the whole treatment, but did not need to remove any clothes. Anne also set Julie's mind at ease by stating that she would not be placing her hands on any private areas.
Julie felt relaxed by Anne's tone of voice, and her friendly matter-of-fact approach. Julie hated wishy-washy nonsense and had feared that Anne would start talking about Angels and Fairies. Thank goodness there wasn't any of that!
Julie learned that all she had to do was relax and be open to the healing process, and it would be up to her, essentially, how that healing took place. Anne explained that the body had its own wisdom and intelligence, and that it would co-operate with Reiki.
"The doctor dresses the wound, and God heals it," Anne explained. Julie liked that expression!
Anne further explained she was simply a conduit for Ki, or energy, to move through, and that Julie's body would draw on it whenever it was most needed.
Julie felt more and more relaxed, and more and more open to Reiki. It just felt right, although she couldn't articulate it.
Anne explained that Reiki was not a diagnostic tool, and that her doctor (not Anne) was medically responsible for her. "My hands activate the movement of energy, and Ki does the healing and cleansing of the physical and energy body," Anne said reassuringly.
Julie nodded, not quite sure what Anne meant.
"Diagnosing conditions is not required by energy healers or Reiki practitioners. In fact, their ‘diagnosis’ is usually more to do with their ego or trying to give what a client expects rather than just letting Reiki do the work," Anne continued.
Julie again nodded.
Julie was getting the gist of what Reiki was, but didn't feel she needed to know everything at this stage.
The Ki, Anne explained, would wash through her energetic pathways, clearing stagnant energy out, which would initiate change at the cellular level for Julie, leading to a cascade of changes at different levels: physical, mental and emotional.
Anne could not foresee or foretell what that change might be, and it would depend on what Julie needed.
There was a need to let go and trust the process, which was not the same as 'belief'. Anne explained that Reiki had been used successfully on pets, and the positive healing results showed that Reiki was a real energy, as you can't trick a dog or cat into 'believing in Reiki'.
Anne said that whilst she had many successful client stories, she could not promise a particular outcome for Julie. They had to work together to see what the result would be. It was also good to set a baseline of three sessions, just in case the treatment stirred up emotions that were buried, so that Reiki could address these underlying issues in subsequent treatments.
Anne wanted Julie to feel supported, but not obligated to return. The choice was entirely hers!
Anne then asked Julie why she was here, and Julie quietly stated she had been diagnosed as depressed. When Anne asked if Julie knew what might be causing that, Julie found herself pouring her heart out about the tremendous difficulty she was having with her daily grind, her mother’s recent passing and her father's dementia.
Anne's face always stayed serene and non-judgmental, and Julie's fears about 'being judged' vanished. It was wonderful to be listened to. Rarely, in hospital settings had she been given the time to fully express herself. Doctors were under too much pressure to see the next patient.
Julie lay on the massage couch with her eyes open for the first few minutes, even though she was told by Anne to close her eyes and let go.
Try as she might, she couldn't relax, as her mind immediately filled up with agitated thoughts about what was going to happen later that day, what she had forgotten to do, and so on... how on earth was she going to enjoy this Reiki treatment, she just had no idea!
Anne simply smiled as she sat on a chair directly behind Julie’s head, and positioned both palms under the back of Julie's head.
Julie's thoughts were still spinning fast but underneath she could feel a warmth coming from Anne’s hands at the back of her head... what was that?! There was a light tingling now, and the heat was increasing too, but it wasn't unpleasant - in fact, it was very soothing!
As Julie noticed the heat more and more, her thoughts became less and less insistent… Julie found herself drifting off…
Julie suddenly woke up... Anne was no longer positioned behind Julie but was now over Julie's body with her hands firmly resting on Julie's abdomen. How long had she been asleep? Julie didn’t know... it could have been five minutes or twenty-five minutes.
Again, Julie noticed a sensation of heat at her abdomen, again with funny 'tingling' sensations running down her torso into her upper thighs. Her tummy was also rumbling, even though she wasn’t hungry. These sensations were weird but extremely comforting at the same time… Julie couldn't explain it.
Julie watched the process but her eyelids were heavy again, and then she was fast asleep again...
She let out a few grunts as she snored away, drifting in and out of consciousness but, most of the time, she was aware of what was going on.
Anne’s voice said, “tummy rumbles and snoring are all part of the releasing process, just go with it.”
From time to time, dream-like images flashed across the screen of her mind. She intuitively knew what these pictures meant at the time but they faded quickly into the background, as if the moment of recognition released them in some way.
After the treatment, Julie woke up gently, as Anne gently touched Julie's shoulders and softly spoke the words, 'it's time to wake up Julie... in your own time now... no rush."
As Julie's awareness came back to the here and now, she opened her eyes fully and sat up gently with help from Anne. She felt a little dazed and her mouth felt strangely dry. Anne gave her a glass of water, commenting that this 'side effect' of energy treatments was quite common, and a good sign.
“The body is made up of 70% water, and it seems to require more water when we draw upon Reiki for healing and balancing,” Anne pointed out.
Julie related some of her observations to Anne, who nodded approvingly. These experiences were quite common, apparently, but the type and degree of these sensations changed each time, because the client's energy field would always be different each time. The landscape of the body was constantly shifting.
Julie’s body sensations, and the feeling of heat throughout the treatment, indicated that something tangible had occurred but Julie found she didn't know what, and couldn't explain it.
She was stunned that she had been able to relax so quickly, and was somewhat embarrassed by her snoring but Anne laughed in a non-judgmental way, explaining that it was a very good sign that Julie was releasing deep-seated tension and stress.
Julie couldn't believe the 'quick results' given her extreme difficulty in going to sleep. She had almost given up hope!
"I'd like to come back for a follow-up treatment," Julie immediately told Anne, "but is there anything else I can do in the meantime? Is there some way of helping myself?"
Anne smiled reassuringly again.
As well as coming along for a further treatment or two, Anne recommended that Julie learn to 'give Reiki to herself'. This was taught in a foundation class called Reiki First Degree, or Reiki One.
Julie was surprised to learn that she could “give Reiki to herself” but Anne said she had started in the exact same way. She had some treatments and then learnt to give Reiki to herself, which was called 'self-treating' in the Reiki system. As the energy system purified itself, eventually one could learn more and start giving effective Reiki treatments to others.
Within a month Julie found herself sitting in a small class of people at Anne's beautifully kept 2-bedroom flat in Dulwich, a leafy green part of London. Who knew?!
Anne’s leafy green road was a far cry from the sights and smells of piss-alley, and the surrounding neighbourhood.
Four other students were women and there was one guy, who was quiet but very charming. Anne explained to the group that, sadly, many men were simply 'not interested' in Reiki but that this was changing thanks to the bravery of men like Tom, who was sitting in the class today.
Tom smiled, a little embarrassed.
Each person was of a different age and economic background, so their reasons for joining the course differed. A few were complementary health practitioners already, and wanted to learn Reiki as a new skill to offer their clients, whilst the others had sick family members they wanted to help, and Tom said he was just curious about energy from a young age and wanted to know more.
Anne told them that they must all focus on healing themselves first, as this was the most crucial aspect of the system known as Reiki. Healing would happen as it was meant to.
Julie, along with Tom and the others, found the course immensely practical.
They learnt how to give themselves Reiki, and how to meditate using Reiki, which many thought was supposed to be done a particular way but finally realised that it was a fluid practice which was helped enormously by having access to Reiki.
As well as meditating and 'self-treating', the group learned to give Reiki to each other. This was a fun experience, because everybody's body was so different. It was also a lot easier to sense the movement of Ki through another person's body than when self-treating. Anne explained, if you say to a goldfish in a bowl, 'how's the water?' the fish may reply 'what water?' It's so used to its environment, that it doesn't notice anymore!
Everyone was laughing that a fish could talk back, and Tom threatened to bring his fish tank in the following day!
As the course progressed, Julie felt more and more 'connected' to her body, and realised that she had, in fact, been disconnected for a long time. She felt more grounded, and more energised than she had felt in ages.
During the tea and biscuit breaks, she opted for green tea, preferring to stay away from coffee. She still liked the smell and taste of coffee, but realised how dehydrating it was on the body! Anne agreed.
All the students found themselves drinking a lot more water than they were used to, due to the effect of using more Ki to purify the energy channels, and running to the toilet a lot more often as a consequence.
Julie loved the physical sensations of Ki such as tingling, heat and rushes of energy. This was the 'physical proof' she needed to open herself even more to the experiences she was having.
Julie quickly came to the realisation that all humans are really energetic or spiritual beings, and this new knowledge gave her straightaway a lightness and buoyancy she had not felt in years! It offered hope to her world, which had become sullied by a heavy materialism and repetitive grind that seemed to go nowhere.
Julie was amazed at how everyone perceived their experience of Reiki differently, and she was excited about some feedback from one member of her class who could read the colours in her aura, and she them change. Julie realised that we all learn from each other, if we're open enough.
One of the most illuminating, yet inexplicable, experiences was the attunement process which initiated the students into the system of Reiki. All the students were asked to sit together in a circle to receive their attunement, known as "reiju" in the East. This would link them with Reiki forever.
Anne mentioned the purpose of the attunement was to link each student more fully to their Higher Self, or Inner Being, and to step up the amount of Ki that could move through the physical body. She simply explained that the Universe was made up of different frequencies, and that Reiki was a particular bandwidth of frequency that we humans could have access to, if we were drawn to learning Reiki for ourselves.
The body was tuned to the particular frequency, just like tuning a guitar or some other instrument. The Reiki master was the ‘tuning fork’.
Anne asked the students to close their eyes, and put their hands in ‘prayer position’ in front of their heart. She explained she would be using the power of intention and a few simple gestures to anchor the energy in their fields.
When Anne stepped in front of Julie, Julie had her eyes closed but her senses were acutely alert, and she felt an extraordinary sense of being cushioned and supported.
Towards the end of the training, the students were excited about their experiences which proved an otherworldly reality existed beyond their five senses.
Why didn't everyone know about this? What would happen if everyone else did know about this?
Tom mentioned that many scientists didn't believe in Reiki because it couldn't be scientifically proven. Julie replied that the effects of Reiki were certainly measureable but that Big Pharma didn't want to investigate it in a genuine way because, surprise, surprise, there was no money in it.
Anne cautioned against wanting to go out and tell everyone about Reiki, no matter how great it was. People who needed it, or wanted to find out, would find Reiki in their own way. Anne reminded them that Reiki was ‘just another way’, not ‘the only way’ up the mountain.
Julie found that consciously working with Ki fundamentally changed her view of the world.
She no longer thought of herself as just a physical body that would wear out and die, but now knew that she was much greater than the small 'me' she saw in the mirror each day.
She also felt a profound sense of peace around her mother's passing. She didn't have to imagine it, or pretend her mother was in 'heaven' somewhere. It was far more visceral than that. Julie had a strong knowing her mother had moved from her bodily form to the formless realm of energy once again, and that they were still very much connected. She had felt her mother's presence during a healing treatment in class, given by another student… in fact, she had felt another pair of hands on her even though there was only one person giving the treatment!
Julie didn't care what others thought. She knew what she felt was true -- for her anyway.
She hadn't bought another person's story just to feel better about herself; this was her own story, and it felt authentic. Julie wasn't going to give it up to please someone else's narrow perception of life. Her view of life felt fresh and expansive.
Julie tried to explain it all to her family as they sat around the dining room table, listening to her Reiki adventures. She did her best but, somehow, words were not adequate. She promised to give all of them a Reiki treatment, so they could see for themselves!
Julie noticed quite a few improvements after her Reiki training. Her back was no longer stiff and sore like before the class and her sense of lightness and strength improved as she continued to self-treat each day.
She also found that she naturally had more patience with her father’s changes. Sure, his dementia wasn't going to magically disappear but she saw the positive in him again, and was able to laugh, rather than react defensively, when her father didn't remember that Sarah wasn’t around. Julie noticed that John tended to remember things more clearly whenever she gave him Reiki. And there was a peacefulness about him, that he didn't have before.
Julie kept in touch with her classmates, meeting up for tea or the occasional coffee from time to time. Since Julie had committed to Reiki and the path of self-healing, everything had changed dramatically in a short space of time. She was more confident, and truly had found a new light within. Her newfound sense of hope and enjoyment made her a pleasure to be around at work, and at home.
Julie's husband was impressed and curious to know more - he didn't believe in Reiki at first but found himself becoming more and more curious about it as he witnessed the changes in her.
Julie said, “I am looking with new eyes at my old world, and I am so very grateful.”
Julie's husband was very supportive, which Julie was thankful for. One of the other course participants had a husband who was very critical and unsupportive, but Anne said everything is perfectly ordered in the Universe, we must just learn to trust that order, and deal with our life in the best way we can.
Julie wondered if her healing abilities would fade, or if her perceptions about life would become so heavily tarnished again.
Anne was a great mentor and reminded her that she could grow lazy and let her perceptions slide back to where they were once were but that it would be very difficult for that to happen because of Julie's experiences, and her commitment to keep learning. Even if she did let her practice of self-treating slide, Ki would never fully disappear because she was an energetic being, and she now had the knowledge and wisdom to return to Reiki at anytime.
"We all have that great diamond within us - we just need to continue to polish it," Anne reminded Julie.
At home, over the following weeks and months, Julie continued to find herself attracted to new interests. After reading the benefits of eating more 'leafy greens' and 'going organic' to get the maximum nutrition, she prepared her children's packed lunch with healthy choices, and she cooked simple yet delicious meals when she came home from work. She actually enjoyed preparing the food and then cooking it for her family, and noticed that her newfound connection to cooking helped her unwind from any stresses during the day.
The dreadful underground commute to hell and back was replaced by a bike ride through the back streets and beautiful parks of London.
She managed to cut her working days down to 4 instead of 5, skilfully negotiating new terms with her boss, and she nearly always took her lunch break overlooking a beautiful pond in the park across the road, rather than eating at her desk.
Occasionally, Julie experienced set-backs in her life but she felt she was seeing them in much more positive light than she would have before. She felt an inner strength and ease that was not there before, and she no longer felt the need to compare herself to others. What joy!
She replaced her gossip magazines with stimulating reads like the Conversations with God series by spiritual author Neale Donald Waslch, and found that these books complemented her new understanding of herself as an energy being.
In fact, she couldn't stop reading, and all her friends really found her new perspective on life contagious - well, most of them. Some of her old friends and colleagues reacted badly, and thought she had become preachy, but Julie didn't care about their mental projections anymore. She always felt the joy of sharing what she knew, and she certainly never told anyone what to do.
As she continued down the path of energy healing and self-inquiry, Julie continued to make new friendships that supported her new vision of herself as a spiritual being, having a human experience.
One thing was for sure, Julie knew that she was at the beginning of an incredible journey. She had been given a new lease of life, and she wasn't going to waste a moment of it!
Reiki Master Teacher
The class will be taught by experienced Reiki masters Jaime and Jennifer Tanna
(All characters appearing in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental).