Reiki Explained: What It is and What It is Not

Reiki Kanji Symbols

Reiki Kanji Symbols

Reiki has become a fairly common practice in many parts of the Western World.  There are still places, however, where it is largely unknown.  In the Midwestern United States, many people have never even heard of Reiki, let alone have any idea what it is.  As a Reiki practitioner in Missouri, I often have to explain to people exactly what it is I do and answer the question; what is Reiki?

Reiki is made up of two Kanji symbols.  Rei, meaning spiritually guided and Ki, meaning life force energy.  Most forms of Reiki practiced in the West originated from the system developed by Mikao Usui, Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki.  Reiki is an energy healing system that is passed on from Master to student through the process of an attunement.  There are three levels of practitioner; first degree, second degree, and third degree, or Master Teacher/Practitioner.  First degree Reiki introduces a practitioner to the history and basics of Reiki and opens them to Reiki, especially on a physical level.  Second degree Reiki introduces symbols, distance healing, and strengthens the mental and emotional connection to Reiki.  Third degree, or Master level, deepens the spiritual connection and introduces the Master symbol, allowing the practitioner to attune others to Reiki. 

The system consists of using specific hand positions and, for advanced degrees, sacred symbols.  The energy of life itself is surrounding us all the time and Reiki practitioners can tune into it and channel it toward the highest good of themselves, a client, or a situation.  It can be used to bring wholeness and healing on many levels and in all areas of life.

To be more personal, I think of Reiki as a sort of concentrated form of prayer.  I always believed, even as a small child, that the power of prayer came from putting the intent out there into the world and letting the world, or God, take it from there.  I think Reiki offers us a more direct and focused connection with the world, or Spirit as I now think of it, and a system to concentrate our efforts in getting our intent out there and working for the greatest good.  I believe that once attuned to Reiki, with the help of Spirit, we are able to manipulate the vibratory energy around us with our intentions in a way that brings about healing.  This is the way my personal faith has led me to understand Reiki.  Others may have a completely different understanding, and this is perfectly okay.    Everyone experiences Reiki in their own way. 

                Although Reiki is spiritually based, it is not rooted in a religion.  It was founded by a Buddhist, but Reiki does not require one to become a Buddhist, or to have any particular faith, to be practiced.  There is no inherent reason why Reiki cannot be used by anyone of any particular religion, although there are some faiths that feel Reiki is not in alignment with their beliefs.  I have had many Christians question me about whether Reiki is appropriate for them, and while I believe that it is, I think this is something that an individual must decide on for themselves.  No one can really answer for you if Reiki will feel right to you in regard to your religious beliefs.  If you are questioning this, I recommend that take some quite time to reflect on it before and after meditation and try to let you higher-self guide you.

                Reiki is not an alternative to Western medicine.  It is best when used in conjunction with Western medical treatments.  It may make a person feel better right away but should never be expected to be an instant cure.  Reiki brings healing, which is not always the same as a cure.  Sometimes it works by bringing physical and/or emotional comfort when no cure is possible.  It can take multiple Reiki sessions for chronic problems before clients can really feel the healing benefits.  It is good set a general intent for healing and then be open-minded and have faith that Spirit will guide the healing for the highest good. 

                I believe that Reiki has the potential to help everyone.  Not everyone will feel that Reiki is right for them, but I think that the more people learn about it and the more familiar they become with the system, the more open-minded and receptive they will come to be to it.  I hope this article will be helpful in introducing people to this amazing healing modality.    To learn more about Reiki, please sign up for the free Reiki Essentials Mini Informational Course.