Using Distance Reiki for Breaking Out of Toxic Patterns

 A first attempt in drawing the Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen symbol from memory.

A first attempt in drawing the Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen symbol from memory.

While working on my previous post, Is There Life After Shame?, I was determined to end on a resolution. I ended on a much more agnostic note than I'd originally hoped, but there's truth to be found in that not knowing. At the same time, I have a hypothesis I need to explore.

I am curious about the effects of using distance Reiki on moving forward from shame.

My History With Reiki

I received my first Reiki training and attunement in 2006, and with it came a premonition that I believe both myself and my teacher at the time picked up on. Alongside the lightness and warmth that many practitioners report upon receiving an attunement, I caught a glimpse in my mind's eye of the period of severe depression that would follow in my twenties. Perhaps sensing this too, at the end of the class when I thanked the instructor, she refused to let go of my hand until I took some more of her energy with me.

In 2009, I received my Reiki master attunement and knowledge of the symbols some practitioners use to further direct the flow of their energy work. Among them is the Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen symbol, purported by its users to allow the practitioner to transcend spacial and temporal limitations when sending Reiki. From this symbol is born the practice of sending distance healing energy to people not directly in front of us. Less popularly, other practitioners have experimented with using the symbol to send Reiki through time.

Thinking back to my first attunement, I decided a good first practice for my work with distance healing could be sending Reiki to my future self. And so I did. I sat in meditation with a candle I'd scribed the symbol on, sending Reiki to the future version of me that darkened my foresight. For a few moments, I even thought I had entered a realm between times where I could almost physically make out my future self's body receiving this work, but at the end of the day I mostly wrote it all off as just another one of the weird side quests I tend to take my life on.

The Pits of Hell

I entered Hell in 2010, where I would suffer for several years. The difference between the previous years to this period of my life would be light and day. Whatever higher dimensions I had probed through spirituality and energy work were impossibly far away from the uber-material world I came crashing into. I fell into anger, addiction, doubt, fear, impulsivity, and so many other vices.

In some schools of Buddhism, there are five hells where the soul is influenced by these vices and other external factors as part of its karmic development. The lowest of these is characterized by a total enslavement to vice and the uncontrollable desire to destroy ourselves and all around us. This is how low I fell.

In one particularly dark moment, I caught myself literally quivering to resist what I was doing. It was as if two parts of myself were at war over control of the body they shared. I cried, but I could not stop myself. I felt as if I had no control over myself anymore. 


Looking back all I can think to say is that this moment I just described was almost a sort of trigger for something in me. Seeing my body fight back so hard and realize such a lack of control encouraged me to fight my demons with renewed strength. Now safely out of the lowest hells, I find myself free to wonder if this trigger was connected to the Reiki I sent my future self years earlier.

Of course, it's impossible to prove something like that. Magic and healing don't tend to lend themselves to rational narratives. At the same time, I think it would be absurd to discount the possibility that at least on a very symbolic level, my distance healing ritual in the far past buried a catalyst in my subconscious that was activated when I reached that absolute low. 

This is why I must try distance healing again. Although I have fallen out of practice with Reiki during my journey through Hell, I have recently begun studying it again especially as related to working with angels for healing. Perhaps it is no coincidence then that an awareness of my shame around experiencing romance with another man was made apparent to me at this time.

Your mileage will vary with Reiki. I don't often hear about people using energy work to cross temporal boundaries, assist their future selves through addiction, or channel angels across time to comfort their past, present, and future selves, but you can certainly try those things too if you'd like. I will say: from my perspective, one of the most under-explored areas of Reiki practice is not its capacity to facilitate any of what I just described, but rather that its contemporary founder attuned himself through meditation and prayer.

The same energy that flowed through Dr. Usui is available to you in the same way. If your healing journey calls for it, ask for it, and be open to receive, even through unconditional means.


Pat Mosley (NC LMBT #16882) is a licensed massage and bodywork therapist in the Winston-Salem area. His work is rooted in compassionate touch, permaculture, and deep ecology with the resilience of all Earth's children in mind. Connect with him via email to

Energy WorkPat Mosley