Reiki, which is applied by hand, goes to the cause and effect. When the cause is removed there will be no effect. It is not associated with any visible material being. It’s an unseen spiritual power that radiates vibration and lifts one into harmony. This power is incomprehensible to man, yet every single living being is receiving its blessings.
The Word Reiki
Reiki is how we write a specific pair of Japanese characters in English. In English, Reiki has two meanings. First, it refers to the system of spiritual healing developed by Mikao Usui at the beginning of the twentieth century. Second, it refers to an energy that brings healing. You are studying level one of Reiki, the system, and you will use Reiki, the energy, to bring healing to yourself and others. But what is this energy?
The Japanese word ki is the second part of the word Reiki. Ki is a concept that at first seems easy to understand, but as your experience deepens you may find your understanding changing. For now let’s look at where the word comes from.
Chinese and Japanese characters are built of smaller chunks of meaning called radicals. The word ki contains the radicals for both steam and rice, and it therefore belongs both to the air, as well as to the food we eat. It is found in every level of existence, from the physical to the emotional and spiritual. No person or place is without ki.
The first character is pronounced ‘ray’, as in ray of the sun. However the sound is not like the English ‘r’: it’s something in between ‘r’ and ‘l’. The second character is pronounced ‘key’, as in key to your car.
The most common way to translate ki into English is with the word energy. Practitioners of Reiki and other healing arts understand this energy in its movement through channels called meridians. It sounds very spiritual, and a bit complicated, but ki is a physical concept: the air we breathe provides us with easily usable ki; the food we eat has dense ki which is transformed in the body into the refined stuff that flows through the meridians.
It is through manipulation of ki that acupuncture is performed, with physical, measurable effects. As you gain skill, experience and sensitivity you will be able to clearly feel ki move through your body.
Ki supports every organ, tissue, bone, and thought. When its flow is blocked, disease of every kind occurs. Energy healing is the process of softening and removing these blockages, promoting the free flow of ki. With experience, you will learn to feel blockages, and this will help you get to the heart of the problem quicker.
So what about rei? This Japanese character tells you something about the ki that we work with in the system of Reiki. Rei can be translated3The Reiki Sourcebook (Revised edition) by Bronwen and Frans Stiene, 2008.:
- sacred, divine and miraculous
- reverence, blessing
The particular ki that will touch you on this course is of a special nature. This ki is from a source greater than our selves, a source of divine blessing: Reiki.
The characters 霊気 are not commonly used today in Japan, because of negative connotations that they have for modern Japanese people. Instead Reiki is usually written in an alphabet called katakana, like this: レイキ.
Gasshô is a Japanese word describing a common gesture of greeting in many Asian cultures. In English we call it prayer position. To put your hands in gasshô, place your palms together, fingertips pointing to the sky, and with thumbs close to or touching your body. Your hands can be at the level of your chest, or raised higher, even to the level of the forehead.
Gasshô expresses greeting, thanks, respect or prayer, and it is a part of many Reiki techniques.
When practiced in conjunction with Mikao Usui’s teachings it represents the balance of the body, harmony, respect for the energy, practitioner and client, and humility.
On this Reiki course you will be touched by powerful energies, and these may trigger deep shifts within you. These will affect you spiritually, emotionally, and physically. For some people it feels gentle; for others like lightning. Be prepared. You may feel sick if things are shifting quickly; you might feel wonderful or your might experience feelings of sadness. Know that through all of these changes, you are finding new balance. Pay attention to what’s going on. You might find it helpful to write in a journal about your experiences.
Relax and Let it Flow
As you practice Reiki, you will discover that you are only partially involved in guiding the healing. Your presence and intention to help are important, but you don’t need to worry about whether it will work, and don’t need to worry about making something special happen.
And special things do happen. People often define Reiki as a technique to relax and reduce stress, but it can do far more. It can help in a diverse range of cases, from the heavily physical, like back pain, to the acutely psychological, like stress, or even a combination of both, like addiction. Your joy will be to discover that the only limits were those imposed by the mind.