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Reiki, Meditation and Depression

April 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 201

The past year has been a tough one for me since I suffer from depression... there... I've said it.

I do not say this for sympathy, I do not want or need sympathy. Sympathy can be a block to recovery in some situations. Understanding and patience are much better. For my family that means a lot of patience, but it does work. Over time they realise that my changes in mood require certain types of management and generally they know that give it an hour, a day or sometimes a week and things will settle down again.

So much for what others can do to help, but what about helping myself? I am, after all, an holistic therapist!

This has been a tough one to get my head round. Reiki is often broadcast as a brilliant, all-round therapy and very relaxing. I can certainly attest to this from personal experience and having treated several of my family members, but treating myself is a slightly different matter.

To all intents and purposes, the results should be no different, if not even better than treating a client, however it is what the practitioner actually has to do that causes me problems.

My depression manifests itself in two (out of several) distinct ways. Firstly I suffer from intensely frustrating memory loss. This can vary between forgetting what the conversation I am involved in is actually about, to taking 3 months to remember to book a dentist appointment. Secondly my brain fogs over and I can't concentrate on anything, let alone take new information in. That's good bye to enjoying a good film or book.

So, firstly I forget to self treat - all the time, and secondly, when I do try, most of the time I can't hold the focus to maintain the energy flow. Also, with depression, there is the 'can I be bothered' aspect of the condition which is probably the biggest hurdle of all. If I had funds I would book sessions with another practitioner but unfortunately that is not possible.

So what to do?

Meditate, that's what!

This may seem a daft idea considering all the meditation techniques, visualisations and practices advised on the web, but I have found two particular meditations that work particularly well and I'll detail them below. The focus in both meditations are parts of yourself, which is easier than some abstract philosophical idea or visualisation, and the effects can be felt within a minute or two. One of the meditations is from certain Reiki teachings and has already been published so I am not giving away any deep secrets here (I also believe it not to be Reiki specific anyway, it was just passed on to me during training), and the other is a classic, much loved and much used Buddhist meditation which you can do any time, any where and with no need to sit, lie down, strike a pose or clear your room of negative doo-dads.

Gassho Meditation

Sit comfortably, whether you choose to kneel or sit on the floor, or whether you sit in a chair it does not matter so long as you can maintain the position without strain for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

Bring your hands together in the classic prayer position but raised somewhat so that your index fingers are just below your chin. As far as I am aware the classic Gassho (prayer posture) has the elbows out further so the angle of the wrists is greater but this is not essential.

The aim of this position is so that when you breath out through your nose you can just feel the breath on the tips of your middle fingers. Raise or lower your hands until this is the case.

Close your eyes.

Make a note of your breathing, is it fast or slow, deep or shallow. It matters not how your breathing is other than that you are aware of it and the sensation of your breath on the tips of your fingers.

Maintain the awareness of this sensation for as long as you wish. 5 to 10 minutes is good to start with, and as you get used to the practice you can lengthen the time up to half an hour or so.

As with all meditation, and especially for beginners, you will find your mind wandering away. This can happen a lot sometimes but try not to get frustrated or saddened by this, it is natural. Your mind has probably not relaxed and focused in this manner before and it takes a while to learn that doing very little is perfectly okay. When you become aware of the mind wandering, just bring your attention back to your finger tips. That shopping list is allowed to wait, and that comment you made to your sister is probably long forgotten. You and your mind need attention now, the rest of the world can hang on for a bit longer.

I like to come back to the world by gently taking three long, slow and deep breaths to finish off, but that is my choice. Once finished, take a few minutes to enjoy the peace that has taken over you and the tranquility that should now been flowing through the rest of your body.

Buddhist Meditation on Breathing (Anapana Sati)

Sit comfortably with your hands in your lap, palms facing upwards. (As you will see later, once you have some experience, this is not necessary)

Close your eyes.

Become aware of your breath as in the Gassho Meditation. Is it long or slow, deep or shallow? Feel each in breath and feel each out breath. Some people like to mentally note "I breath in" and "I breath out" or to count 1 for the in breath and 2 for the out breath. Whichever method you use to maintain awareness of the breathing process, use it. These meditations are not trials of endurance but methods used that suit certain types of people for the reduction in stress and the production of peace. It's the awareness that matters, not the method you use to achieve it.

Eventually, with some practice, you will realise that you are becoming much more aware of you innate self and more aware of your body as a vehicle for that self, rather than part of your self. But that is for another time and not really part of this article. However, if it does occur then congratulations!!

Again, this meditation can start off with 5-10 minutes and move up to 30 minutes as you progress. Because this particular meditation requires no special posture, it can be done anywhere, at any time. I often do the washing up maintaining breath awareness (eyes open for that one!), and using it whilst lying down just before sleep is a great way to calm the mind after a hectic day.

It can even make a packed tube train a much more peaceful place to be on a Monday morning, but you risk missing your stop if you 'bliss out' a bit too far.


Because of my depression I have put Reiki on a back burner for the last 6-8 months. With my inability to effectively treat myself I decided that treating others would be unfair on them too. This left me in a quandary for quite a while until I remembered the Gassho Meditation and then came across the Anapana Sati. Both have helped immensely in maintaining a calmer and more balanced me. They are not cure-alls. They don't solve every problem I come across and every conflict I have to deal with, but they do make the journey less rocky and they are always available, should I remember, when I feel a bit overwhelmed and in need of some pampering.

Some time soon I will be taking up Reiki self practice again as things clear and the fog lifts a little, but until then, these two meditations are worthy companions to keep in any therapists tool kit.

Andy Cook is a Reiki Master Teacher, Crystal Therapist and Indian Head Massage practitioner. His approach to his clients is one of providing a holistic treatment to the entire person, not just trying to treat the symptoms presented.

He works in East London and is also available for Reiki training and attunements by appointment.

Andy's personal blog can be found at Energetic Thought where further information and other articles can be found.

Also Andy's business website can be found at London Holistic Services where consultation and treatments can be booked.

Source: EzineArticles
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