MEMOIR: Chapter 37 Angelfish

MEMOIR: Chapter 37


 Reiki Master Jim presided over a “healing circle” every Wednesday night at my attitudinal healing center, The Healing Place. Jim was on my Board, and he was the man who had trained me to be a Level II “practitioner” to use Reiki. Jim’s receding hairline, soft features and gentle touch supported his reputation as a hands-on energy healer. His Level Three training as “Master” was the highest level achievable in the Japanese tradition of  Buddhist Makao Usui, who developed it from ancient Oriental practices in 1922, and began to teach and use the practice in healing.

The healing circle met in the back bedroom upstairs in the old house, reserved for Reiki sessions. The bank of windows looked out on the large back yard with its camellia bushes, ancient holly trees, and a few old fruit trees. The room was simply furnished with a sturdy massage table, a few soft chairs, a CD player on a small table, and a large aquarium Jim had brought and placed on a stand by the window.

In the healing circle, certified Reiki practitioners like me took turns receiving Reiki from the other practitioners who showed up, for their own rejuvenation and healing, and to allow them to practice under Jim’s watchful eye.

After the others left I asked for a private talk with Jim. I was sad, drained and confused after Alex’s death and revelation of a tangible healing that apparently came through my hands.

Master Jim was not surprised at my request. He had picked up my flagging energy during the group session.

We sat in the Reiki room, not yet talking. We both gazed into the aquarium. I counted five purple fish, four electric blue, three electric yellow, and one zebra-striped with a red dorsal fin. The only ones I could name were the two angelfish, with their large fanned fins top and bottom, lustrous gold, flashing constantly changing colors and light.

I told him the story of Alex’s vanishing lesion. “How could that happen?” I asked. “Isn’t Reiki energy supposed to be more subtle? Just Ki energy, life energy, being cleared and renewed?”

“Yes, the lesion disappeared,” Master Jim said. “Results are usually less observable, but as I’ve told you, you have natural healing energy coming from the palms of your hands.” He paused and leaned forward. “But…were you consciously using your Reiki training, with an intention for such healing to happen?”

“No! I thought he just wanted me to soothe a place on his eye by placing my fingers near his tear duct. It seemed…odd. But then, his caregiver said he had dementia. I simply did what he asked. No thought of healing anything. He was very close to death, in any case. But he had an intention, for me! He wanted to show me, prove to me, that I had healing energy coming through my hands. I had no idea what he had in mind.”

“So,” Master Jim said. “You were totally unattached to any particular outcome.”


“That’s one of the requirements for a Reiki healing to occur. You know that, right?”

“I know you’ve taught me that, but attachment—well, there’s a lot I don’t understand about that. How could I not be attached to Alex, or to my brother? I’m attached!”

Jim sighed and gestured to the massage table. “Get on the table. I’ll give you a Reiki session that might help to heal….” he grinned, “your attitude.” Jim had always been amused at the concept of “attitudinal healing.”

I lay on the table on my back, fully clothed, and closed my eyes, waiting for Master Jim to begin. He started a CD of soothing sounds, monks chanting, and I immediately felt myself let go and soften.

Master Jim traced a kind of enhanced spiral, the Japanese Cho Ku Rei symbol ,on my forehead.

“Set your intention for the healing,” he said.

I traced the symbol with my tongue on the roof of my mouth. Let my mind relax.


I nodded.

In my Level II training Master Jim had explained that the symbol works like a light switch; its purposes are manifestation, increased power, accelerated healing, healing catalyst. The coil is meant to expand and retract, regulating the flow of “ki” energies. Sometimes a subtle energy flow is needed, whereas other times a blast of energy is better.

Reiki is a Japanese word that means “universal life energy,” and its practice is one of channeling this energy for the purposes of healing. Since energy surrounds, and encompasses us, a Reiki practitioner can harness this energy, directing it through their hands for healing.

Master Jim’s hands hovered a couple of inches over my body, comfortably within my energy field where blockages need to be repaired. He started by evening out my aura—my energy field. I sensed his hands over my head, then hovering above my face, “sweeping” slowly all the way down to the soles of my feet to calm my aura, the sweeping motion as if smoothing out a sheet.

He placed his slightly cupped hands over each eye, resting the heels on his hands on my brow for five minutes. Then, the same over my ears. He placed his hands beneath my head. Five more minutes. Five more with his hands resting gently on either side my neck. He moved on to place his hands in a V-shape at the top of my chest. More than five minutes. He had sensed my aching heart, which needed extra attention. Then, my solar plexus and waist. Hovering over the root chakra, the one at the base of the spine.

Sometimes he paused and let his hands hover over areas of my body when he felt a problem that needed extra attention. I’d been feeling “weak in the knees” and he picked it up. He cupped one knee in his left hand and used his right hand to continue to balance the energy in that area.

Gradually, I felt my nerves and muscles relax and let go. My mind settled into an even rhythm of peaceful images. After several more downward sweeps Master Jim started at the soles of my feet, sweeping upward slowly to revitalize and invigorate my aura.

His soft voice interrupted my reverie. “We’re done.” I tried to sit up, but his hand on my forehead stopped me. “Don’t try to sit up yet. Just lie here and allow the healing to settle in. When you feel ready, I’ll help you up.”

Limp and relaxed, it took a few minutes for me to reach for his hand and sit up. He  helped me off the table and into a chair next to the aquarium, where I became mesmerized by the ethereal angel fish.

“How do you feel?” Jim asked, leaning forward, his concern lifting his forehead into horizontal lines.

I smiled dreamily. “Clear,” I said.

“Clear now about why attachment is a major obstacle to a healer’s work?”

“Well…getting there, I guess. ‘Attachment to a particular outcome’ is what we’re talking about, right?”

“Exactly. It doesn’t mean you can’t be attached to your brother, whom you love. But when you are giving Reiki energy, you let go and allow the Higher Intelligence that guides the creation and functioning of the universe to simply flow through you. You will know when extra attention is needed, but you need not know why. Higher Intelligence Knows, and will guide your hands.”

Master Jim paused and followed my eyes to the aquarium. The two angelfish swam in tandem, the smaller one always turning to align itself with the larger one. Tim, and me. Aligned. Attached, by an invisible cord. It was right, and good.

“The kind of attachment we’re talking about has to do with expecting a particular outcome,” he said. “Healing is never your responsibility. It may or may not happen, but it isn’t up to you. In fact, a fierce intention to heal will interrupt the energy flow. You cannot and should not try to dictate to Higher Intelligence. You must simply open yourself to it, pray that only the best good for the patient will come of it, and know that what will be, will be.”

I remembered what Tim had said to me in our conversation about healing a few months earlier: It’s all about intention.

“But…how does fierce intention differ from…ordinary intention to heal?”

Jim sprinkled fish food on the water, and watched the fish swirl to the surface. “Fierceness means you have not given over your energy to Higher Intelligence. You’re still trying to be in control.”

The secret Japanese character for mental and emotional healing, as drawn and imprinted in me by Master Jim during my training, floated just behind my eyes. Then it floated to the aquarium and fastened itself to the flat side of the larger angelfish. Me.

Energy of the mind, be still and peaceful.


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