Over the years I have met tons of people randomly from all walks of life who all seem to be into reiki. I always thought it was interesting to hear about their experiences, and although I’m a skeptic, I wouldn’t want to discount their experience. So anyway, given the environment I was in (hippy heaven in Thailand) and the type of people I had been brushing shoulders with over the past weeks, the word ‘reiki’ went from being a whisper to a shout. And then one day I thought, ‘hey, I should try that!’
I looked up some masters in Bangkok online but of course, then I got sick and couldn’t really do anything. When I got back to Seoul, I completely forgot about it. Until a few days later when the light bulb turned on again. I found out about a guy who practices in Seoul from another expat’s blog and luckily he was able to accommodate me on short notice.
Kevin, the reiki master, is Australian and has been living in Korea for 14 years. I met him at his traditional Korean house in the old downtown area, an extremely charming location full of small cafes and boutiques under the shade of Bukhansan, the mountain that the city is built around.
Before our session, we talked for a while to establish some rapport since it was quite an intimate kind of healing. I found him to be sincere and affable and was interested in his life – how after a car accident at the age of 19 he was drawn to all kinds of spiritual and alternative healing practices which ultimately led him to spend years studying in India and other parts of Asia. The room we were in had a table of incense and other Indian trinkets. The massage table took pride of place in the centre. The walls, with their browning wallpaper were adorned with photos of his son, who soon enough came home from school and was greeted by a “How’re ya luv?”
When we were both relaxed and comfortable, it was time to start. I lay on my back on the table and Kevin first asked if it was OK to start with an ancient Korean technique he’d learned from an old Korean healer who lives in the countryside to free up the energy in my torso. He warned me it would hurt, and indeed it did. He kneaded a kind of coin into different energy channels and I didn’t feel anything except pain. I made him aware of how much it hurt, but I was good, I didn’t swear.
Then, we started the reiki. He explained that he will go into a meditative state and that his hands will get warm. He said that each person has a unique experience and reaction and told me to express anything I wanted to, whether it was laughter or tears. I said I would probably just fall asleep (I didn’t). He covered my eyes, put on some new agey music and began. I was surprised by how warm his hands were when he placed them on my stomach. I could feel the heat through my clothes. He stood above me and placed his hands on different parts of my body, including my head and feet. After a while, I started to feel a weird sensation, as if somebody had placed a very light blanket over me. Then, my arms and my legs felt heavy, as if I couldn’t move them. I didn’t have any of the powerful explosions and shooting of energy through my body that I had read about, but I definitely felt something. I lost track of time and was deeply relaxed. I guess he worked on me for about an hour and when he finished, he asked, ‘Are you alright, Kiddo?’ I felt kind of groggy, and heavy, a bit light headed and it took a lot of effort to sit up. He put a glass of water in my hands and told me to drink it, which made me feel a bit more normal.
Although there is nothing biomedically wrong with me, I had told him prior to our session that I felt like my energy was lower than it should be, considering that I eat pretty healthily, exercise, don’t drink much, don’t smoke, get enough sleep etc. When I felt normal again, he told me that he felt too much energy around my head and said that I must be prone to overthinking things. I didn’t disagree. He recommended I learn to mediate and do it everyday. I said I had been trying, but I hadn’t been consistent with doing it everyday.
Then, we talked for a while after. He told me how he had been able to cure an elderly woman from diabetes, and had restored hearing to a man who was deaf in one ear. He told me about working with the Dali Lama’s former doctor in India who used to diagnose people through first observing them, then analyzing their urine by smelling and sometimes, yes, even tasting it.
We hugged goodbye and as I walked the ten minutes to the subway station, I felt really tired, heavy, relaxed but had this kind of impulse to get home as soon as possible so I could lie on my bed in silence. The stimulation from the crowds and traffic was overwhelming. The subway ride home was tortuous. Once I was finally able to plop myself down on my bed, I had a huge sugar craving, and as the only food I had were crackers and apples, I went down to the convenience store in my building and bought a giant Snickers bar and devoured it in about three seconds. Then I tried to read and watch some TV. Although I was tired, it was hard to fall asleep and I spent a restless night of broken sleep coupled with bad dreams. Today I feel more like myself. Kevin told me to write in a journal for the next few weeks to see what emerges, or is released. I’m curious to see what unfolds, and I will try to take his advice onboard.