When I was first taught to do Reiki, I knew something was happening, because I could feel warmth, and energy. But Reiki seemed more or less like magic that ebbed and flowed, unpredictable, wonderful, but not particularly knowable.
I wanted more than this, so I found a Reiki Master Teacher who understood the practical applications of Reiki. I re-did my Reiki Level One training with her, and the most important thing I learned was that Reiki always flows from a cupped hand. Before, I’d been taught that Reiki didn’t need a particular hand position—that Reiki would turn itself on or off based on forces that I never truly understood. With the cupped hand position, all of that changed. I was in charge of my Reiki experience. Reiki was not a matter of faith or interpretation. Reiki was an energy vibration that I could feel immediately, and turn on and off at will.
The reliability of the cupped hand position meant I could build a deep relationship with Reiki, a relationship based on my physical and emotional experience of Reiki. Because Reiki consistently flows from my cupped hands, every time, I built a solid self-Reiki practice. And as I got accustomed to experiencing natural relaxation and better well-being through Reiki, I found myself moving toward better balance and well-being in other aspects of my life. Over time, I paid more attention to my body’s needs for food, hydration, and exercise, and to my more subtle, but no less real, needs for human connection and for purpose. The self-nurturing I learned through Reiki is the foundation for the overall well-being I now experience, and this sense of well-being eventually inspired me to take a part time position as a Reiki Professional at Healing for People, an Energy Medicine clinic in Marin County CA, so I could offer greater well-being to other people.
For me, the cupped Reiki hand has become so natural that I don’t always realize I’m doing it. Often I’ll be in a meeting, on the phone, or in line at the grocery store, and I’ll have a cupped Reiki hand somewhere on or near my body. And if I’d never learned the cupped hand, I’m certain Reiki would have become nothing more to me than a distant memory of an enjoyable workshop. I know this because the sense of wonder offered to me by my first Reiki Master Teacher was not enough for me to take Reiki seriously. What I needed, and what I got when I was taught the cupped hand, was for Reiki to be real.
As a Reiki Level Two professional, I feel a deep responsibility to be an advocate for Reiki. Sometimes I meet people who’ve learned Reiki who tell me they don’t use it. I ask if they were taught the cupped hand. Some Reiki lineages teach it, and some don’t. If they weren’t, I’ll gently encourage them to cup their hands, and I’ll show them my cupped hand position. I may even suggest that they try it when they’re alone, without the perceived pressure of me watching them.
The hardest for me is people who have a dedicated Reiki practice who weren’t taught the cupped hand, and it’s not lost on me that such people may be in the audience for this article. It’s a big thing, to suggest to someone who has a commitment to Reiki, that there’s a deeper experience they could have. In my experience, sometimes people want that, and sometimes they are happy with what they’re doing.
I believe that the well-being that Reiki offers should be a natural part of the human experience, so I’d encourage anyone with a Reiki attunement who’s curious about the cupped hand to gently cup your hands, as if to catch water from a faucet. It’s the natural curve of the top of the head, or the knee. The difference may not be immediately obvious, it wasn’t for me, but it is real. This cupped hand position is what allowed me to build a relationship with Reiki that was not dependent on faith or trust, but on consistent experience.