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Going to Ground with Reiki?


Ground yourself! Ground yourself! Ground yourself!

It is true to say that there is a particular species of Reiki person who attributes alost every human malady, ailment or moment of bad luck or misfortune to the state of ‘not being properly grounded’. Whether you trip over a kerbstone, get a grade “C” instead of a “B”, forget where your car keys are or start sneezing, it’s all about you needing to ground yourself better, apparently.

In this view of the Reiki world, we are all rather like party balloons, tethered precariously by thin lengths of poorly-tied string, as strong winds take us up and away, teetering precariously far from the safety and solidity of the earth beneath us, ready to drift off into an almost LSD-like experience of reality, spaced-out and a danger to ourselves and other people.

But is that really what’s happening?

Grounding hysteria

It is not clear to me where this grounding hysteria originated.

Certainly it is not something that turns up in all Reiki lineages, while for some practitioners it seems to be their number one concern. But there are lots of strange ideas in the world of Reiki, aren’t there? For example, the belief that you have to draw the Reiki symbols over your palms every morning for fear of them stopping working, or the belief that you need to keep at least one hand resting on a client at all times for fear of losing your ‘conection’, or the belief that you can’t practise Reiki when wearing, or indeed treat someone who is wearing, contact lenses.

The word ‘fear’ turned up quite a lot in that sentence, didn’t it? It’s almost as if, despite the helpful advice in the Reiki precepts where it says, “just for today… I will be free from worry”, people are interpreting this turned upside down and read it as, “just for today… I will find something new and irrational to fret about”.

Grounding comes into that category.

Mundanity grounds you

The concern about grounding seems to be based on the idea that if you work with energy regularly, or even irregularly, there is an immediate risk of not only becoming spaced out, but that you will stay in that spaced-out state long-term, you will be stuck there in some sort of a distracted, high-on-the-drug-of-Reiki condition, and that this not good for you at all.

My response to this is two-fold and my first comments may seem to be a bit irresponsible, but please bear with me…

So, what’s wrong with being spaced out for a bit? It feels great! Reiki can give you the most natural, most safe form of being high. There are no side-effects and you can tune in, zone out and drift in a zonked-out wonderland. Cool trip, dude, and so on.

And why do I say that? It’s because such a state isn’t going to last long! It’s not going to last for very long because mundanity grounds you. Mundane activities bring you back to normality, to normal human existence.

So if you want to ground yourself, do the washing up. Stick some clothes in the washing machine, stopping to try and get that stubborn stain out of one of your T-shirts. To ground yourself, go for a walk and take some deep breaths, and notice the natural world around you. Go to the gym and shift some weights around. Do some gardening or mow the lawn. Commute.

Having to do normal things in the real world is a very grounding practice.

Energetic grounding

You were probably expecting me to give some sort of a prescription for grounding, using some sort of meditations or energy exercises, and I will touch on that, but I look at things rather differently: rather than being a way of spacing you out, regular energy work, when done correctly, can be a really grounding practice.

In fact, the daily energy exercises that Mikao Usui had his students carry out work brilliantly for grounding us. You can read all about these exercises in this blog, take a moment to read through it: Simple Reiki energy exercises to get the energy flowing.

As an alternative to bringing energy through your crown, down to your Tanden, you might want to experiment with bringing energy from the ground, up through your legs, to your Tanden. See how that feels.

The key to the grounding-potency of these exercises is to do with you focusing your attention on your Tanden, the centre of your personal universe, your core. Regularly bringing your attention to this point, a couple of fingerbreadths below your tummy button and 1/3rd of the way into your body, is the way to be solid, present and fully part of physical reality.

Just try now: bring your attention to that point, let your attention dwell there for half a minute. You don’t feel spaced out, do you?

There are other meditations or visualisations that people recommend, one of which involves imagining that you have thick roots (like the roots of a tree) extending through your feet, through the floor, deep into the ground, binding you to the planet, making you solid, heavy, physically present. You can experiment with this and see what effect it has on you, though I think such things are mostly unnecessary for most people, most of the time.

When you have mundane existence, the washing up, having to collect your children from school, traffic jams, and Kenyoku and Joshin Kokkyu ho, you need little else.

And if you do feel a bit spaced out, just enjoy the moment because it’ll soon pass!


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Picture credit: hannah thursday


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