by Margaret Lee Lyles, L.M.T
The word Reiki first entered my life in 1987 when, at age fifty-five, I found myself a student in the local massage school. The teacher, a staunch Christian and diligent teacher, in the vocational-technical school where I studied, dissuaded us from exploring Reiki, concentrating strictly on Swedish massage protocol, and anatomy/physiology as prescribed in the state-approved curriculum. The teacher’s attitude towards Reiki furthered my own wariness of this then strange-sounding modality.
Fellow student, Pat Conroy, became my best friend and partner in class, helping me study the material for our Florida State Board Exams. Soon, I noticed Pat had the hottest hands of all the class. Upon query, she merely shrugged saying, “I’ve just always had healing hands” I felt strong admiration, mixed surprisingly with a twinge of envy. However, several weeks into the class when her hands were giving me maximum comfort for my oft-times creaking-aching bones and muscles, I pushed for more information. Finally, she said the heat really came from a force outside of her and that it could operate for me too, if I wanted. I was intrigued, yet filled with fear and wonderment. “Why would God allow us mere mortals to share in the Creator’s gift of healing?” I pondered. Today, sixteen years later, imbued with faithful confidence, I answer that question with another, simply: “Why wouldn’t God?”
On that day in 1987, however, my early religious education clicked on the “caution” button until, with further pressing, Pat revealed her own “source” for this empowerment was Jesus Christ! This began to clear the slate of anxiety and apprehension about Reiki in my mind. If it really is “of the Lord” then maybe, just maybe, it would be all right for me to do this too? (Obviously, Thomas is not the only doubter in Christian history!)
For the next six years I practiced massage therapy and occasionally saw Pat for massage, mixed with Reiki treatments, getting more used to the idea. Eventually, I hoped to study Reiki for the continuing education units required by Florida for licensure. But, at age sixty-one, in 1992, I found a malignant tumor and set about seeking natural healing, rather than chemotherapy and/or radiation. In the second year of my cancer battle, the opportunity came for six credit hours in Reiki Level One. In a three-month period of doing self-Reiki three times daily, my body was cleared of inhaled toxins that had caused serious lung congestion. Because my osteopathic physician had suggested Reiki initiation, my mood was high, and I felt so empowered by the Lord that I completed all the Reiki Levels as soon as possible in order to teach and share Reiki with others. The jump from wary skepticism to totally embracing Reiki took eight years! This was not exactly a cannon-ball leap, but considering my age, nature, background, and the amount of information available in the United States in that timeframe, I applaud myself for getting there at all. What a change Reiki has made in my life since then, especially my faith-walk.
How deeply Reiki enhanced my faith and trust in God can best be explained by describing the dark days of depression that were evident throughout my life prior to the cancer. It must be noted, that since I became a Reiki practitioner, depression has gradually been banished, even in times of crisis, because of the ability to meditatively do Reiki for myself as well as for others.
As a “cradle Catholic” educated by Franciscan Sisters and raised in the countryside of Maryland’s farming region, my love for God and nature was evident from the beginning of my life on earth. In retrospect, at age seventy-two, I see that while always obediently professing my love of God openly, secretly I was never sure God reciprocated my love. With the false concept of humility taught in those pre-Vatican II days, how could I possibly be found worthy of much? While there are many psychological explanations for my misconception of God’s great love for us, suffice it to say that I was one of two “middles” in a family of six. I was the puny, sickly one, struck with serious illness one year following the sudden death of our father. His funeral was the day before my thirteenth birthday. Instead of rejoicing at a milestone in my life, acute anxiety and chronic depression fell upon my aura, triggered by our father’s untimely death.
The following year, in ninth grade, rheumatic fever rendered me unconscious for about six weeks and I missed three months of school in recovery. For many years I puzzled over why I was always so easily fatigued and lacking in the athletic abilities or stamina that my siblings enjoyed. Not until I was in my fifties did I learn from my dentist, that having rheumatic fever left one with a permanently damaged immune system, accounting for my life-long physical lethargy. With this knowledge began the lifting of the cloudy veil of apprehension which enshrouded my life and denigrated my self-worth. I then consciously set upon a determined path to become wholistically well.
This decision came through an awakening that I believe was spurred by my receiving Reiki for those six years from Pat Conroy. The enlightenment of how father’s untimely death enveloped me with self-pity over losing him, at a crucial age, before establishing an adult relationship was catalytic. There was nothing Pat said to trigger this, but in her compassionate listening and deft deliverance of God’s energy to me, I began to cast off the deep feelings of brooding over my lost first-love. I recall consciously asking God to help me surrender a lifetime of ill-health which, besides the effects of rheumatic fever, included twenty years of TMJ and migraines; long months of coping with a heel spur and more long months of severe sciatica. While these ailments were not life threatening, they severely retarded my contributions to family and community, thus preventing me from truly living life joyfully to the fullest.
My prayer for deliverance from personal illness was undoubtedly the first serious prayer ever uttered for myself. Prior to then, my prayers for others were frequent, fervent and unrequited; but I could never pray for myself with any confidence. I unconsciously rationalized, why would God listen to one whom He had seemingly abandoned? I believe the advent of Pat’s Reiki treatments came as God’s gift to prepare me for the biggest crisis of health, cancer and hepatitis-A, which appeared simultaneously eighteen months before my actual initiation into Reiki. In those months I used herbal formulas, enzymes, acupuncture, macrobiotics and various other means including a lumpectomy once the hepatitis manifested. All of these things helped to overcome the two diseases. However, it was after the Reiki initiation and its diligent practice that my healing came to feel secure. Reiki and its direct relationship to the guidance of the Holy Spirit is credited for my wellness of today, now having twelve years of remission from breast cancer.
Recently, I stood in our living room before a huge landscape of Jesus with two disciples walking on The Road to Emmaus and reminisced. I was reminded of the Lord’s words from scripture, which came to mind as I taught my first Reiki class to eight local parish friends standing in that very spot. The voice within had then encouraged: “Tell them what I said in John-you remember- ‘everything I have done you will do and more because I go to the Father.’ ”
Not being a scripture scholar, I was rather astonished that the words and chapter came so readily to me. Obediently, I read John 14:12-13 to them directly from the bible. I saw some startled eyes grow bigger as I inferred our participation in this scripture’s prophecy of the Lord by asking, ” And what did Jesus do? He laid hands on people and healed them; but, are we doing it?” Heads slowly swiveled back and forth as I answered for them, “No, with a few exceptions, we are not meeting that challenge from the Lord simply because we do not know how.”
I have come to believe we are all born with this innate gift of healing, but soon forget because of the society in which we live. Reiki gives us directions and a platform on which to stand to exercise this God-given empowerment.
I find with my students and myself that often Reiki leads us to other things that are an essential part in our healing process, such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong, yoga exercises, acupuncture, and different forms of meditation. One special thing Reiki reminds me to do in conjunction with my faith is that after receiving Holy Communion, while still kneeling in the pew, I invite Jesus, in the form of the Communion Bread Host, to especially linger in the area of my body most needing healing that week. This might include dental work, a strained muscle, a burned finger, and other minor or major health impairments. My faith in the triune God trusts this prayer is heard and healing comes quickly, sometimes by direction to the “right” practitioner.
Daily, I wake up and go to sleep peacefully and prayerfully doing Reiki for my family and myself. Throughout each month, I take time to send distant Reiki to all who have asked and to some that inspiration brings to mind after ascertaining their permission. Indeed, rather than stealing my faith and trust in God and my religion, as some might fear, Reiki has strengthened the beliefs I’ve always held. Without proselytizing, Reiki enables me to live my testimony to the greatness of God with the element of JOY that has become a permeating ingredient in my daily life.
Since 1999, despite my still sometimes physical fragility, I have practiced and taught Reiki at Within Wellness Center in South Miami. Students from as far as Denmark, El Salvador and Canada have found their way to my door for Reiki. Besides Miami, I have presented classes in northern Florida and in the states of Minnesota, Maryland, North Carolina, and Georgia.
Writing my first book, Reiki and You: Awakening the Healer Within (An Ecumenical Guide to Energy Healing) was a six-year labor of love. Through this project, Reiki has given me the fulfillment of two long, lost (so I thought!) dreams-teaching and writing. Through these achievements I finally found my true self and came to realize that I, too, am among God’s greatest created loves. With this discovery the measure of my faith and trust in God deepened in intimacy and arose with great clarity. Reiki shed light into my darkened corners enabling faith to replace fear.
As a teaching master, Reiki has enabled me to share the healing empowerment of the Lord with individuals of all denominations of Christianity along with many non-Christians. The spirit of Reiki is very ecumenical which suits my temperament well for I believe the gift of free will is perhaps the greatest God-given gift to humanity. Sharing Reiki with others is a very faith-filling, energizing vocation which daily adds to my pleasure in these, my ‘golden years.’ With the Reiki energy in my sails, and “Blessed Assurance” in my soul, who knows what may come with the next shift in the wind of the Spirit?
Gratefully, I wish you peace, love and joy! ~~Marge Lyles
You can contact Marge directly at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: A portion of the profits from the sale of Reiki & You are being donated to the non-profit, ecumenical organization, Food for the Poor, and will be used to build a house in Haiti, with the further dream that this will be a “Reiki House” of healing.