What is Reiki?

That’s the number one question I’m asked. What is it? It’s a difficult question to answer because it’s multi-layered. To begin with, it might be easier to say what it is not: it is not massage; it’s not anything to do with fairies or angels; it’s not voodoo. It’s not from ancient Tibet or India.

The system of Reiki is a spiritual practice made up of five elements. As a client, only one of these is obvious to you – hands-on healing – but a practitioner should also devote time to the other four, which are all kind of meditation techniques, as well as spending time with a teacher and receiving an energy blessing from them. A Reiki practitioner who devotes himself to practice, even when that practice is less than perfect, will be able to be a much better healing presence. (I hesitate to say ‘healer’ because the individual doesn’t do anything.) Frans Stiene, a Reiki teacher for whom I have great respect, gives us the image of an iceberg. Hands on healing is the tip that sticks out of the water, the rest of the system is the giant beneath. As he often says, Reiki is a spiritual system for rediscovering your true self.

Reiki is simply energy. You might have heard of the energy in qi gong or tai chi – it’s the same energy. It is, essential, the energy that is at the heart of you and me. We are, after all, energetic beings. Ki is in everyone and everything. Reiki isn’t channelled through the practitioner, although it is easier to express it like that sometimes. Nor is the practitioner giving or controlling the energy.  It doesn’t come from outside of us.  It is a connection, a breaking down of the perceived barrier between ‘you’ and ‘me’ so that, as it is written in the Psalms, deep calls to deep. Reiki brings us closer to Oneness and gives us a path away from the mind of separation.

By being present to each other in Reiki, we can heal each other. Sometimes the healing is unexpected, either in form or manner. Sometimes it’s simple and sometimes it hits very deep. It is beyond our control.

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