Reiki helps to strengthen our immune system, create more peace and calm in our lives, and keep us steady in times of turmoil. It would seem Reiki is very much needed in times like these. But how to continue teaching and meeting in our communities and be mindful of our responsibilities as well?
Personally, I am rather flummoxed by the mass media hysteria, but I do appreciate the worldwide attempts to at least try to stem the flood of infection. Perhaps in the long term it also helps to stem the flood of common colds and other flu viruses that claim an estimated 290,000-650,000 lives globally per year (WHO). The simple process of washing our hands more frequently, coughing into a tissue and disposing of it immediately, and staying home when we feel ill could have an immeasurable impact on many other contagious illnesses. The knock on effect will be interesting for sure.
As for the immediate impact on our Reiki gatherings, it may be a turning point for online Reiki gatherings and classes. My online classes and healing sessions have seen higher registrations in the past month, as have my online Reiju gatherings. People are now looking for online alternatives and I'll be making suggestions for those of you who want to set up online alternatives in future articles.
For the context of this article I'd like to explore ways to keep our face to face communities going, whilst doing our best to minimise any contagion. Along the way it is also an opportunity to up your professional game, and tidy up sloppy habits.
The obvious first step is to make sure your students/clients/participants are told in advance not to come to class if they are feeling unwell, running a fever or a dry cough. You may want to double check their temperature for extra reassurance.
Recommend non-touching forms of contact - gassho (prayer pose) instead of hugging. Perhaps discuss what other measures would make students comfortable at the beginning of class, and respect people's impulse if they come in wearing masks and gloves.
Instruct participants to cough or sneeze into tissues and dispose of them immediately, washing hands as well.
Encourage participants to bring in their own mugs, water bottles, and personal tissues.
Step up your workplace hygiene levels - in all honesty it is a great habit to get into anyway, virus or no. You may want to ensure that before and after every class or gathering you are disinfecting common areas of high hand traffic - door knobs, bathrooms, kitchen counters. Replace hand towels with disposable paper towels (sorry environment) or individual use towels, stock all bathrooms with disinfecting soap. Make sure you wash all towels/bedding used by clients after every session (in a hot wash). Don't up the number of tissue boxes (they also spread germs) but issue individual packets to students for personal use. Clear bins daily and disinfect the bin receptacle daily too. Take care to wash cups and mugs in a hot wash, or better still, encourage students and clients to bring their own mugs. I know my suggestions are none to good for the environment, so balance your ethical concerns and do your best
Washing hands has been drilled into us over the past few weeks, it is shocking how many times you touch someone/something and then your face. Not to turn you into an OCD wreck, but it is a very important part of client contact to wash your hands properly with soap both before and after. You may also be interested to know that Reiki will pass through gloves, including surgical latex, so you could go full out and don mask and gloves to give your clients more peace of mind.
If you are running a Reiki share or class, reminding the class to wash hands before and after every Reiki practice, and encouraging more non-touching practice may be an approach to take.
Remember this is not about spreading more fear, it is about being responsible. As a healthy immune-strong person, you may have nothing to worry about, but that doesn't mean other people in your community do not have worries of their own, or health-compromised loved ones they need to think about. Personal and environmental hygiene is something that many of us could do more to improve anyway.
In other ways the virus is forcing Reiki teachers to get more creative in the way we administer our classes; the idea is to minimise touching students, and to stay the recommended 6 feet distance (US CDC)
In Reiki shares you could experiment with a 6 feet distance healing - the recipient lies on the massage bed, those giving healing sit about 6 feet away from the recipient and 'beams' Reiki. Those who can send will do a Reiki sending, those who are Reiki 1 can simply direct the hands towards the recipient and intend Reiki to travel the distance. It's a great way to show participants the power of distance healing. Use this time to get creative, come up with different ways to meet as a community, play with distance healing concepts, and have some fun!
Now is a perfect opportunity for Reiki teachers to be more experimental with distance attunements and try some hybrid versions of their own. You have the comfort level of still being physically present with your students, but how to do it whilst keeping a 6 feet distance? Widen the energy vortex so that your attunement components happen exactly the same way, but with you feeling into a greater energy holding the two of you in the process. For example, if you direct symbols into the back of the head, do it from 6 feet away but still focused on your student's crown. If you focus symbols into the hands in Gassho (prayer pose), ask your students to place their hands in Gassho while you visualise over their hands from 6 feet away. Complete the ritual with full intention and it will hold the attunement as powerfully as direct contact with your student.
You can get direct feedback from your student to see if it has worked, and who knows, you may find the process not only very rewarding, but perhaps it opens you to experimenting with more online versions of your training and reaching even more students with your offering in the future.
COVID-19 is a huge disruption of our comfort zone; it is bringing up latent fear, rigid thinking structures and forcing us to rethink the way we interact with each other. We can rush to the stores and buy up all the toilet paper, freak out and panic, or we can stay centred in our heart and get creative. Reiki is needed more than ever and continuing to offer, share and teach this great gift is where our focus should be. Being mindful to play our part in containment, yet still offering to meet and gather, is our way of providing an anchored and centred space in an otherwise fraught energy field.