There’s a saying among Reiki practitioners that you don’t find Reiki, Reiki finds you. As for many people, this was true for me, and it began long before I ever heard the word Reiki.
The first time I became aware of easing someone’s pain using energy, I didn’t even know what energy was. I was working on a cruise ship at the time, and a dear friend had hurt his ankle. He had job responsibilities all over the ship, and had been working through the pain for a week. He had been to the ship’s doctor, but still hadn’t found relief. I hated seeing him hurting.
One day he asked me to rub his ankle. I tried to talk him out of it, unsure how I could possibly make it better and fairly sure that I would make it worse. (I have the most annoying habit of touching people exactly where they’re hurting, as if I’m unconsciously drawn to those places. I used to think of it as a curse because I would end up causing them pain with an innocent hug, pat, or poke.) He asked me to please try, so I sat and lightly (extremely lightly!) rubbed the injured ankle, all the while watching his face for signs of pain.
After a while, I asked if that was enough. He gingerly moved his foot around and announced that it felt better. To be honest, I thought he was just teasing me. I really hadn’t done anything other than humor him. His words didn’t convince me, but his lack of a limp did. I didn’t know what I had done, or how I had done it, but he was pain free again.
The memory became a joke that we shared when reminiscing about ship life, and it remained a mystery with a bit of the fantastic about it. I think it was that memory that allowed me to embrace the idea of Reiki, or at least be open to it. (That and years of learning to be open through travel and working with people from all over the world.) With experience I learned that it was not Reiki that I had used, but my own energy given in compassion and love. Reiki is given in the same way, but from the infinite energy that surrounds us rather than from our own finite stores.
I talked to my old friend more recently about why he asked me to rub his ankle. He said, “I just knew that you would be able to help me.”
He knew before I did.
Fortunately, Reiki found me. And now I know, too.