What is Reiki?

I am asked that question frequently.  There is some preconceived notion that Reiki is a religion or even that it is a cult of some sort.  It is neither.  Reiki is not a belief system.  It is a healing energy.  Reiki is Universal Life Energy; a balanced energy flowing through the practitioners’ hands that evokes healing.  My clients do not need to believe nor practice what I might spiritually in order for Reiki healing energy to be effective.  Anyone who is attuned to Reiki can use Reiki energy for themselves and for others.  

When I worked with my Reiki Master, I was taught that Reiki works on four levels; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.  I am sure Reiki works on more levels, but that would only be speculation on my part.

On the physical level, Reiki helps to bring balance.  When the body is in balance it tends to heal itself.  Burns heal faster, breaks mend sooner than expected, bleeding stops faster, etc.  On a mental level, when one is balanced, focus is better, problems are approached with greater clarity, learning becomes easier, stress is much easier to handle.  When the emotional level is balanced, one is less likely to need anti depressant type medication.  Walking in balance it is easier to listen to your inner voice and be guided well.  Reiki sparks what your own body knows it must do, but is blocked with negative energy and the pressures of the outside world.  Reiki helps your body, mind and heart to remember what is needed in order to walk in balance.  

The ability to flow Reiki energy is acquired through a process known as attunements, or alignments and should only be done through a Reiki Master.  If one surfs the internet these days there are all kinds of websites advertising Reiki attunements in a matter of hours complete with a downloadable manual; and presto! You are attuned. You don’t even need to meet the Reiki Master for the attunement to take effect.  And while it is true, that one who is attuned to Reiki energy can practice long distance healing; that is vastly different from attuning a student.   It is my opinion that there needs to be a relationship between Master and student, and the attunements, knowledge and energy are handed down.  In this era of quick fixes and immediate results, downloading an attunement certificate, paying your fees on Pay Pal, and receiving a manual that is emailed to you, takes away from the relationship that can and should be on going between Master and student. In my opinion, to do Reiki one must first be initiated by a Reiki Master.  There is NO other way.  It cannot be acquired through meditation, or from reading a book, or paying your fees to pay pal and sitting and waiting for that long distance attunement to take effect.

Reiki has it’s own sense of where to go in the body.  It senses where it is needed most, in order to bring the body back in balance.

It is important to realize that Reiki’s balancing energy comes through the Reiki Channel.  It is not the practitioners energy, but rather, a higher, Universal Cosmic Energy that enters through the Crown Chakra at the top of the head, flows down through the body and out through the hands to the clients’ body.  It is drawn in direct proportion to what the recipient needs, not what the practitioner thinks is needed.  

To become a Reiki Master, one has been through the process of being initiated into First Degree and then into Second Degree.  After much practice one knows if becoming a Master is the next step of the journey.  After the Crown Chakra is opened during the First Degree attunement, whether or not you draw on the Reiki energy, you will always have it.  Many students come back for a ‘refresher’.  That only means that they want that oneness with the Reiki Master and to bask in the energy that so freely flows.  It does not mean that you have lost the attunement.  

Reiki can be felt by both recipient and practitioner and manifests as heat, cold, tingling or throbbing.  Many recipients report seeing colours during a healing as well.  No two sessions are ever the same.  I always look forward to a session knowing that I, too, will feel the energy flowing through myself to the recipient.  

The gift of Reiki is one that continues to fill me with peace, joy, wonderment and awe.

History and Origin of Reiki

There are many variations of the history and origin of Reiki.  Dr. Mikao Usui has become somewhat legendary.

As told to me by my Reiki Master, here then is what I know;

In the mid 1800’s, Dr. Usui,  head of a Christian school, was posed a question by one of his students; asking why they were only learning to heal the soul, why not the body and soul.  Dr. Usui set out to find the answer.

After many years he discovered a formula for physical healing and balance in holy writings – but he was still missing the key to getting the power to start the activation.

His solution was to go up onto Mount Kurama-yama for 21 days of meditation and prayer and fasting to see if the answers would come to him.  To keep track of the days, Dr. Usui gathered up 21 stones.  He meditated, prayed and read.  Each day he threw away one of the stones to mark the passage of time.

On the morning of the 21st day, he prayed and waited for some sign.  Over the horizon he saw a small beam of light. As it moved towards him, it increased in speed and size.  Dr. Usui turned and began to run, but after thought, resolved to stand his ground, having come to close to the answers.  As he made his decision, the light burst upon him striking him unconscious. He began to see bubbles, lots of bubbles, multi coloured bubbles, emerald green, pale ink, deep red, rich blue.  In the center of every white bubble was a gold figure in Sanskrit.  He took in all of these figures before he woke up.

En route down from the mountain, there occurred five Reiki miracles – ways in which Dr. Usui helped those he came across, heal from various ailments.  He meditated and prayed with the Bishop from the monastery on how to best use the new found Reiki.  It was decided that Dr. Usui should go to Beggar City and heal the beggars.  He believed that the beggars would go on to create new lives for themselves.  Dr. Usui remained in the Beggar City for seven years, treating the beggars, healing them.  One night while out walking, he came upon a familiar face.  As it turned out, this man was one of the first beggars Dr. Usui had treated.  The beggar had tried a new life and wailed that it was too difficult.  He said that it was easier to be a beggar. Dr. Usui saw his error at that moment.  There must be some responsibility taken for their own healing.  Reiki must never be just given away.  The flow needs to be completed.  There must be an exchange of energy.  It was at this time as Dr. Usui left Beggar City that he formulated "The Five Principles of Reiki".

At that point he began lecturing and teaching Reiki until the early 1900’s when he crossed over.  He acquired 18 disciples, young men, who traveled throughout Japan with him.  As so it began; the tradition of apprenticeship in Reiki. A tradition that continues on to this day.

The Two Precepts of Reiki

I.  The Person must ask -   the recipient must ask to be healed and in the asking open up the Throat Chakra, saying "I want to heal, I want to change my state of health from what it is now" – in speaking those words, the recipient is now involved and participating in their own healing.  The request may also come from a soul level.  Though the recipient asks from the Throat Chakra, it is truly from the soul that the recipient asks.

The Reiki practitioner must listen and render service to the request of the soul.  Likewise, if during an ‘absentee’ or distant healing the Reiki practitioner asks permission to heal at a soul level, and does not receive it, then a Reiki healing is not done.

II. Exchange of Energy – I’ve heard many differing opinions on payment for Reiki sessions.  Some thinking that they cannot afford it, others thinking it should be offered free of charge. With Reiki there must be an exchange of energy between the recipient and practitioner. Reiki practitioners who offer healing services on a professional level do establish a fee. Money, after all, is merely a form of energy;  one that is widely understood by humankind, but the energy exchange does not have to be money.

If the recipient has no money with which to pay for the session, many Reiki practitioners are open to accepting other methods of the energy exchange. Flowers picked from the recipients garden, a collection of favourite meditation music, a plant to add to energy in the healing room and so on.  It should be something that is meaningful to the recipient and as such, means that the request for healing comes from the soul and is sincere.  

Money is not the only thing that can be exchanged. It is merely the most widely understood. If the exchange is with something of ‘value’, it ultimately reflects the feeling of worthiness and self love of the person seeking to change their state of health.

Five Principals of Reiki

The Five Principals of Reiki as formulated by Dr. Usui, and handed down to us today are:

Just for today I will give thanks for my many blessings

Just for today I will not worry

Just for today I will not be angry

Just for today I will do my work honestly

Just for today I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing

Each day I begin "just for today" and I find that the most difficult principal to live up to, is ‘not being angry’. I have found that anger is a cover or a mask for what truly lies beneath. If someone speaks in anger towards me it usually covers up a host of other emotions; if I become angry, I am usually covering up what the real heart of the matter is for me. Therefore, when I become angry or others towards me, I am forgiving, and for myself, try to get to the root cause of the anger and move forwards. I make allowances around me as well for those who have anger towards me. It is all part of forward motion and being the best person one can be.

These Principals are what is fondly referred to as "Living Reiki".

The Temptations of Reiki

Anyone on a spiritual path will be tempted.  There are lessons to be learned as we grow spiritually.  We are all human.  If one is on a diet, the temptation might be hot fudge sundaes or chocolate truffles.  If you have chosen to walk a path of Reiki, temptations will pop up when you least expect it.  Usually these temptations will have something to do with:

Pride – you might get the feeling that you alone can heal much better than others.  You might be feeling that you want the title of Reiki Master for it’s title alone.

Ego – you might forget that you are merely a conduit for Reiki energy, nothing more.

Greed – you might forget the essence of energy exchange and choose to accept money as the only acceptable form of energy.

Power Hungriness – you might begin to think that you have power over others.

Reiki is humbling.  It is never about power over.  You are merely a conduit of Universal Light Source, nothing more.  As we grow and learn Reiki assists that growth process, providing lessons when we need them to remind us why we walk this path.

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