I had my first Reiki session today. One of my bartenders has taken up Reiki and she needs a couple people to practice on so she offered me a free session. I’d had a few beers so I said yes.
I didn’t know anything about Reiki, other than it was just some other stupid New Age nonsense. But I figured, if nothing else, it may just be an hour in a dark room with zen music while Kaydee waves her hands over me chanting Japanese mantras and jumping up and down on one leg or something. I’ve been having some hyperactive thought issues lately so maybe lying down and closing my eyes in the middle of the day might help. Like a nap or a time out, which would be a treat.
In my entire life, I have never taken a nap. I remember being in kindergarten in Norwich, CT and lying there with the lights out, waiting until they came back on. And ever since then, I have never even thought about trying to sleep during the day. At no point ever in my whole life, have I laid down to try to sleep in the middle of the day. I’ve certainly been tired, but going to sleep for a short period of time has never even been an option. So maybe Reiki is like a deep tissue massage without the pain. Maybe it’ll be like a waking nap.
I went in with an open mind because Kaydee’s not an idiot and even though acupuncture seems ridiculous, it’s been around for thousands of years and I know people who swear by it.
I laid down on the table and she explained what she was doing. She would first open my main chakra and then clear out the dirty energy from my other chakras. Okay, I thought, as I laid there with my eyes shut and beginning to relax.
She said I would see colors and she was right. I saw clouds of violet that came and went and a cloud of yellow and green, like the Green Bay Packers, as she placed her hands on my chest or hovered them over my pelvis or knees or wherever. It kind of felt like it was something I’ve never seen before, but I wasn’t sure because I’ve never been the close-your-eyes-and-look-for-clouds-of-colors type of person.
Afterwards, she told me that she got some Raiki a little while ago and it was life changing. And while she is doing Raiki on other people she feels their energy and it helps center her. She said she would give me weekly sessions at no cost. She wouldn’t even take a ten-dollar tip.
I felt remarkably relaxed as I left. I used to meditate when I was younger, but it’s been decades since I’ve been able to clear my mind of all the racing, useless thoughts long enough to meditate now.
When I finished building my first set of bagpipes, the ones that had had perfect pints of Guinness on top, I tied in the bag and put the reeds in. I filled the bag with air, struck the bag and the drones blared. It was beautiful. It had taken me over five years to finally finish my first fully functional Great Highland composite bagpipe and now it was under my left arm and over my shoulder, blaring louder than I had imagined. I got into a rhythm of filling the bag and forcing the air out through the drones with my arm. I walked around the parking area of my boat shop for probably a half hour, just keeping the drones going. It was almost hypnotic. The sound of a bass and two tenor drones is a perfect Om. I was suddenly, kind of, meditating.
Several years later, as part of a Ballard Writers Collective reading event at Egan’s Jam House, I brought my Green Marble bagpipes and tried to get everybody to close their eyes and meditate. After a couple minutes I sneaked a peek hoping to see everybody with their eyes closed, but instead saw ONE person, Martin, with his eyes closed and taking it seriously. Every single other person was looking at me with varying levels of amusement, like the whole thing was just a joke.
I’ve thought several times that I should put together a Scottish Buddhist Yoga class that includes bagpipe meditation for people who have a hard time meditating. Unfortunately, everybody I tell this to thinks it’s a fucking joke so I’ve never done it.
But it works, it’s real. And if Reiki works for Kaydee and I feel better afterwards, then it’s real. Who am I and who are you to judge?
After my first Reiki session I went to the Sloop for the spaghetti and meatballs special and a couple beers. Thursday Night Football was on and I felt contentment. On my phone I looked up Reiki and it seemed pretty innocuous. Not making any grand claims, just trying to connect with a universal energy that may or not be there. There was no dogma or judgment of anybody.
I read one article that was highly critical and called it quackery. Apparently, a group of Catholic bishops did some kind of scientific experiments to debunk the whole thing. Which almost made me spit out my beer at the thought of it. You believe in a God, which has never been scientifically proven and the history of which is ridiculous, and you’re so fucking obsessed with what other people are doing, and you’re worried about whether or not there’s a positive energy among us? Freaking clowns.
I believe in Reiki. I believe it can help me chill my mind out. I believe a weekly session followed by Thursday Night Football at the Sloop will be good for me. I believe Kaydee genuinely wants to do this and she’ll be a great Reiki Master. And I believe that whether there is a universal energy or not, who am I to question it?
Besides, we’ll all be dead and gone soon enough so I’m not gonna overthink it.