A bit of a cheeky question!
I thought this title might attract some attention!
There are some silly people in the world of Reiki who are squitting about Reiju empowerments and suggesting that they don’t do anything, so I thought I would turn the tables slightly by posing the question, “what do attunements do, anyway?”
The received wisdom that comes through the general Western approach to Reiki is that attunements “attune” you, in that they connect you to an energy source that you weren’t connected to before, opening you up to something that wasn’t part of your world before the rituals took place.
But is that really what it’s all about?
I don’t believe so.
Connected to something new and different?
I’m going to put to one side for the moment that fact that Usui Sensei didn’t use or teach attunements – he never attuned anyone to anything – and let’s think about this idea that an attunement connects you to something different, something new, a new energy source.
How can that be?
How can there be something so fundamental that we aren’t already part of?
If we think about the Buddhist origins of Reiki, one of the principles of Buddhism is that reality is illusion: the idea of us being separate individuals, distinct from other people, is illusion; the true reality is that of oneness… we are not separate. Mikao Usui was a Buddhist. Mainly, he taught people who were Buddhists or followers of Shinto.
Would he have established an energetic system, when his whole worldview was based on the idea of oneness, that was based on the idea of connecting you to something different, separate and distinct from you, when this went against everything he believed in?
I don’t think so.
So, for me, attunements don’t hook you up to a new energy source that you didn’t have access to before. What they do is to ‘flag up’ to you something that has always been there as a part of you, ready to use. Attunements are a way of helping you to notice something that has always been there but which has been out of your awareness and thus not easily accessible to you.
I hope a couple of metaphors will help here…
“The high-pitched sound”
Imagine that you walk into your friend’s lounge and they say to you, “can you hear that high-pitched noise?”. You listen and you can’t hear anything. They say, “no, listen, it’s there”.
You try again and, by altering the way that you are focusing your attention, perhaps by tilting your head, by being aware of sounds that aren’t of the usual frequencies, you become able to hear the sound that was there all the time, but to begin with you were unable to hear it.
Your friend ‘made the introductions’ between your awareness and something that you did not have access to before.
A NLP metaphor
One of the principles of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is that in order for us to be able to function, our subconscious minds are obliged to take the millions of bits of information that come in through our senses every second, and ditch most of them by using ‘filters’ that distort, delete and generalise what is coming through to us.
Without this we’d never move; we don’t have the processing power to deal with all the inputs that come to us.
One of the ways that we filter thing is based on what we have been focusing our attention on. Many people will have noticed that if they are thinking of buying a particular brand of car, they suddenly start to notice that car everywhere they go. Examples of that car have always been around with that sort of frequency but they were previously unimportant to us and so ‘deleted’ from our conscious awareness.
A new ‘filter’ has been set up that says, “notice this type of car” and our unconscious mind brings into our awareness something that has always been there but which is now within our awareness.
Attunements do this too, setting up a new ‘filter’ that brings to our attention something that has always been there, an integral part of you, but hidden behind a veil.
Click your fingers to attract someone’s attention
So rather like someone who shouts to you, “Hey”, clicks their fingers a few times, saying, “look at this, here, look, notice this, feel this”, attunements help to bring into our awareness something that has always been there.
And once you are able to notice those high-pitched sounds, for example, you can always ‘tune into’ them. As with Reiki, once you’ve been given the knack of focusing on and becoming aware of what is there, you can always do it.
Do attunements actually work?
Well the answer is both yes and no.
They don’t connect you to something new and different and separate from you, because there is no such thing, though they do allow you access to ‘the energy’ which has always been there with you.
And that’s all you need.
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