What Is Reiki?

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The first article deals with Reiki's most popular and widely-known application as a healing art.

It's followed by a two-part article on Reiki as a spiritual practice, revealing Reiki's deeper aspects.

Part I / Part II

What is Reiki?

The question is an intellectual one. Our conditioning always looks for quantifiable evidence. Yet given the nature of Reiki and the priorities as well as capabilities of today's science this evidence is scarce. Another type of evidence, however, is emerging and establishing itself. This is the testimony of the human experience, echoed down the ages, which is boldly changing our thinking and being. Fundamental ideas about health and well-being are being transformed as a direct result of the reigning mechanistic model of reality. This model, of which allopathic medicine is one segment, views health as the absence of disease in body and mind; a static state that limits the definition of health. Health is a dynamic state involving our whole being. By missing the forest for the trees, our healthcare system has exacerbated our psychophysical challenges, which are formidable in this increasingly complex and toxic world.

Enter Reiki. A healing system that is humanity's heritage, and has worked in the same way through the ages; the balancing of our individual life force through contact with universal life force. Science has been unable or perhaps unwilling to measure this pervasive energy, but we experience it every moment and everywhere. Every physiological function, all of nature, and even the mind is alive because of the subtle life force. Reiki is a simple treatment that restores homeostasis to the body; equilibrium to the mind; and fulfillment to the soul. It is applied with the hands in a certain sequence, without pressure or manipulation. No special skill or complicated technique is required. The practitioner is attuned by a qualified teacher and so becomes a conduit for universal life force. The recipient draws the needed energy without effort. To be able to enliven all of creation, universal energy has to be intelligent. Since it permeates the body, the body also has innate intelligence, and the cells contain individual life force. When the universal and the individual resonate during a Reiki session, there is a reorganization leading to optimal health on all levels.

It has been shown that stress is related to a majority of health issues. To simplify, let us define physical, mental or spiritual discord as stress. Stress, i.e., an inharmony or malfunction is always reflected at all levels, no matter where it originates. This demonstrates that the parts impact each other and change the whole in some way. It also means that we are not an arbitrary collection of separate components. We are an intentional creation of interwoven coherencies, designed as a seamless being. A coherency is a natural connection or dependence, resulting from the relationship of parts with each other. Our elaborate, seamless system is at all times meticulously interrelated. Reiki will be drawn to the coherency that is communicating a need, and allow information to flow between levels.

A unique feature of Reiki is that it can be easily applied to oneself, making it a resource of self-care. There are no side-effects or contraindications associated with Reiki. It is non-invasive and suitable to every age-group and symptom. Although it is an anomaly to clinical protocols, Reiki provides the missing adjunct to allopathic therapies, and psychological methodologies. It amplifies the homeostatic response of the body's healing systems. Every touch becomes a healing with Reiki-attuned hands! Mentally, it reinstates proper functioning, ranging from the cognitive to the creative. Spiritually, Reiki accesses the soul's intuition, joy and capacity for love. It is also the perfect complement to other natural and holistic therapies. Being expressions of universal energy, our food, water and environment benefit from Reiki. It is as natural to life as breathing and as simple to contact and apply. It deepens meditation. Reiki is a life-enhancer to all, whether you seek help or are a helper. It points to a truly integrative healthcare, and a fuller understanding of all aspects of existence.


The Role of Spirituality in Complete Health

Part I


As humans living in a complex society, we tend to focus on only certain aspects of our lives: physical health, financial security, social standing and psychological wellbeing.

This is only natural as these are vital aspects of successful, healthy living. It's also natural because in our education and conditioning, these same elements are strongly emphasized. In biology class we learn all about our body, its various parts, systems and internal organs, with particular emphasis on the five senses and the brain as our primary instruments of perception.

Socially we're encouraged to constantly improve ourselves. We learn about money very early on in life. We're also given many opportunities and tools to enhance ourselves mentally, and to create emotional health. So it isn't surprising that we focus and work on these aspects.

However, even within this particular emphasis, it's too often the external aspects that get most of our time and attention; finances and social standing. Even though many people are now health conscious, this important factor of complete health is approached cosmetically first, influenced in a major way by what's currently "in," with our culture telling us how much to weigh and what to wear. We're also much concerned with winning, our career track and accumulating all the right toys. There's nothing inherently wrong with any of these motivations.

This mode of pursuing happiness, success and health does, however, shift and give control to forces and things outside of ourselves. Mental and emotional health are often brushed aside too, despite education on their importance and many available resources, especially the mounting evidence of the influence of attitudes, emotions and relationships on our overall health.

The Missing Link

So, how do we put control back into our own hands, and more importantly our own heart, mind and being? Spirituality has been shown to have a prominent positive influence on physical, mental and emotional health. Spirituality has a cohesive, unifying effect on all aspects of our life and being by giving meaning and structure to life, and empowering us to live from a core of our deepest values.

People with a strong sense of spirituality are less in need of medical services, show resilient emotional health in the face of terminal illness, and have lower discomfort and loneliness. Such people cope better with life crises, have an expanded perspective and are able to interpret illness to produce spiritual growth.

Our spiritual nature is a given, an intrinsic and vitally foundational component of our existence and identity. Our awareness and knowledge that this is so isn't always at the forefront, but once reintroduced to those who may be disconnected, we have the inborn ability and tools to develop our spiritual nature to its fullest potential.

Spirituality: The details

While spirituality's physical, mental and emotional benefits are numerous and quantifiable, and while much of spirituality is unavoidably associated with religion, it's the powerfully experiential realization of our original nature that makes spirituality and its daily cultivation such an enormously crucial component of complete health.

Here's some of what there is to gain from having an active and functional personal spiritual framework and practice:


o Understanding the Universe and how it works.
o Understanding Nature and how it works.
o Having the right relationship to the Power that makes both the Universe and Nature work.
o Connectedness to one's original nature or deepest self.
o Connectedness to other people.
o Connectedness to all life forms.
o Having the wisdom to find meaning and purpose.
o Being empowered to implement that meaning and purpose.
o Being empowered to experience, then share love, compassion and caring with our planetary family.
o Removing fear from death.
o Leading a peaceful existence.
o Finding true joy and fulfillment.

Spirituality completes the five basic components of our make-up. These are the physical, energetic, emotional, mental, and spiritual "bodies." Our physical existence, which includes all material concerns, tends to be overemphasized. Emotionally and mentally we're provided with many options, but not everyone takes advantage of these. The spiritual and energetic aspects are the least emphasized and understood, though our human history is chockfull of deep knowledge and teachings in these areas.

Because our original nature is spiritual, in other words, nonphysical, unlimited by the constraints of time and space, and because this is the foundation of our life, the primordial source from which we are created prior to a womb-birth, by reconnecting spiritually and cultivating this all-powerful component of our composition, we're able to positively influence all the others.

Cross-culturally and down the ages the spiritual literature that is humanity's common heritage consistently points to the primacy of Spirit before any physical creation can take shape. To put it another way, we are really spiritual beings only, with our mental, emotional, energetic and physical expressions being instruments of our spiritual self. This doesn't negate the importance of the other components, for in physical reality all aspects are synergistically blended to produce a complete, functional and successful human being.

The health of all five components of our composition is equally important, especially since this is a holistic system, meaning that the whole person is affected by dysfunction in any one part. What causes trouble is when the source component, i.e., spirituality is ignored or relegated a superficial role, the one component from which arise our other aspects.

Spirit is not only the motive force at the inception of our creation, put also the engine that drives all parts of our being. Even if we were to diligently maintain our bodies, emotions and mind, which we don't and it's very important to do so, we would be unable to reach our fullest potential without addressing the very source of our existence.


© 2004-2012 Pamir Kiciman

In the next section we will look at the teachings and system of Reiki as a practical, direct and effective method to address our spirituality.

"Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a Spirit is manifest in the Laws of the Universe—a Spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we, with our modest powers, must feel humble."
— Albert Einstein


ReiKI as a Spiritual Practice
The Role of Spirituality in Complete Health

Part II

Ki: Life Energy

In the business world "best practices" is a term used to describe processes, practices, and systems identified in organizations that perform exceptionally well and are widely recognized as improving an organization's performance and efficiency in specific areas.

Similarly "spirituality" is a best practice for the human organization. According to Miriam-Webster online, spirituality is "the quality or state of being spiritual." Spiritual is then defined as, "of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit." Finally, spirit is described as, "an animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms; the immaterial intelligent or sentient part of a person."

The etymology of the word spirit is from Latin spiritus, literally, breath, from spirare to blow, breathe. No matter our inclination and disposition, we all breathe, have to breathe. This is so for animals and plants too. Spirituality is as accessible and close as our breath. Many people are unsure how they feel about spirituality and its significance, especially when it comes to health. This is mainly because it's intangible and invisible. It can, however, be experienced.

The foundational training of Reiki teaches two meditations based on the universality of Ki (Rei Ki) and its direct accessibility through the breath. Ki is the basic unit of life. Ultimately everything is made up of Ki; life energy or vitality. The Universe was one, then two forces appeared and the relative world was created. For the reasons explained in Part I, we think that the relative world is the only one, unaware of its origin.


Respiration gives us more than oxygen, and releases more than carbon dioxide. At a subtle level, breathing is a primary reflex that brings in fresh Ki. Life energy is also available in sunshine, water and food. Without Ki, all the normal elements that keep us alive, such as air, water, food and heartbeat, would not only be useless, they simply wouldn't exist.

The chemical, organic and mechanical functions of the body have to be powered somehow. We understand how the visible parts of our body work fairly well. At the microscopic level, we also have knowledge about how the much smaller components work. But what makes cells run and subatomic particles function?

Koichi Tohei, a great martial arts teacher, has this to say: "What were you before your birth? A fetus in your mother's womb. Before that? A union of the father's sperm and the mother's egg, of course. But what about before that? Your parents possessed no sperm, no egg before they reached puberty. Where did you fit in then?"

It's a great question to ponder! If we rely only on the information the five senses impart, that question is unanswerable and it leads to meaninglessness. We are then in a random world with no rhyme or reason, ruled by fear and of course vulnerably mortal.

Fortunately we have the built-in ability to experience subtle phenomena such as Ki. This is the appeal of spiritual practice.

Reiki's Meditations

The meditations of Reiki are at the center of such a spiritual practice. These short and simple methods have a far-reaching effect and benefit based on meditative breathing, allowing the Ki of the Universe to replenish and refresh your personal Ki. As Ki is the subtle factor that powers all body parts and functions, all-around health is directly related to the quality of Ki you have flowing throughout your body. The lifestyle choices you make and the multiple stresses of living in this technological, high-speed era usually diminish your Ki and even block its natural flow

Ki is energy. Energy isn't limited to physical parts. Thoughts and emotions are a form of energy too. As the body is restored through meditative breathing, the incoming, pure Ki has a chance to clear out your emotions and thoughts, empowering you and creating balance, and bolstering you for whatever you'll be facing that day.

The experience goes further. It touches you at a core, most refined level. Your spiritual self is eternal, unconfined, permeating all other aspects of your being and can also be felt in the breath, as well as a myriad of other ways. Breathe out so that your breath travels infinitely to the ends of the Universe; breathe in so that your breath reaches your hara and continues infinitely there.

The Hara

Hara literally means belly. Physically it's the center of gravity for your body. Energetically it's a center of vital power that positively affects the entire organism. Spiritually it's a seat of broad consciousness, a primordial connection to the Universe, a still- or one-point which exists and sustains you before and after the umbilical cord.  

"The figure of the Buddha seated on his lotus throne—serene, stable, all-knowing and all-encompassing, radiating boundless light and compassion—is the foremost example of hara expressed through perfect enlightenment. — Philip Kapleau 

We are all innately buddhas. The goal of Reiki training and practice is to uncover this shining jewel, encrusted as it is with the accumulation of suffering, disease and delusion. Our human experience is limited, bound by time and space. Our spiritual experience is just the opposite; limitless, on a continuum and fully functional in the entire spectrum of Universal vibration.

Science studies the human body structurally, based on scientific observation and quantifiable data. This has led to a systemic approach in which the body is made up of various major systems, such as the nervous system, circulatory system, skeletal system, etc. Consciousness too has been mostly relegated to the electro-chemical activity of the brain.

Eastern understanding is based on ancient philosophical/spiritual systems and views the body as a complex of life-sustaining processes, preserved and nourished by the circulation of essential fluids and vital energies. Similarly, primordial spiritual awareness is seen as the only enduring, continuous aspect of the human psyche, functioning in the brain and throughout the body and our life experience.

The Ki Spectrum

This brings us to two primary poles of Universal vibration: Earth Ki and Celestial Ki. Spiritual wisdom states that the union of these two energies creates all that is: the cosmos, planets, nature and its life forms, and human beings. It's important to realize that these are not two different types of vibration, but two complementary poles of the same primordial force. The whole range is spiritual, whether we split it in our perception as divine and earthly.

There are specific ways to embody, feel and integrate these vibrations in the course of Reiki training. Once proficient, a third state is born. This can be described as Oneness or compassion. When the two poles are understood and realized by the practitioner, a blending occurs that creates unity, i.e., Oneness. When you feel One with yourself, others, your environment, nature and the cosmos, compassion arises because it leads to a deeper, visceral empathy with life. From this you progress to a level of higher enlightenment of realizing true unity consciousness.

Earth Ki is a frequency that helps the body heal and makes the mind strong. It helps to settle you in your center, creating a solid base to handle all manner of challenges, bringing order and power to your being and life.

Celestial Ki is a subtler, more refined frequency that helps to align you spiritually. It repairs spiritual disconnection and takes you to a higher consciousness. Your intuition becomes more and more reliable, and mental/emotional healing takes place.

As these two frequencies blend within you, wholeness is created. Fragmentation and self-defeating patterns are made whole. Being able to viscerally relate to the Earth you live on, and the various dimensions of spiritual consciousness leads to a direct understanding and realization of Oneness. Your life becomes more meaningful and valuable because you feel that you're part of a grand web that is intricate, precise, purposeful and benevolent. Thus greater caring and compassion is engendered.

As you evolve to states of nonphysical consciousness, where pure love, bliss, joy and wisdom exist, your spirit is harmonized, leading to mental, emotional and physical health. You resonate clearly with the Universe. The net effect of your personal journey is that the spirit of the world is also healed and spiritualized.

This description of Reiki as a spiritual practice outlines only some of its core principles and does so in a simple, brief way. As you can see, hands-on healing is a significant but only partial element of the teachings of Reiki. These ideas and practices and further benefits therein can only be grasped by experience. Fortunately, experience is readily available for anyone willing to embrace it.

© 2004-2019 Pamir Kiciman


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