Reiki healing is a form of energy work which works through the body’s existing energy centres (such as the chakras) and energy systems (like meridians). The difference between Reiki, which means Universal Life Force Energy, and other forms of energy work such as practices with prana and chi, is that instead of working with your own energy, in Reiki healing work, you are pulling in Reiki from outside. Reiki energy is an external energy that is always present in the universe, and we say that it comes from Source. As to what that Source is, it is for each person to identify and honour what works for you. Even an experienced Reiki Master with years of experience cannot tell you that part of how Reiki works. But as long as it works – and those years of experience show that yes, Reiki does work – it is enough to be getting on with.
Reiki as we know it today was founded by Sensei Mikao Usui, in early 20th century Japan.
These days, and especially in the West, we know Reiki as a hands-on complementary therapy, that you might seek in similar circumstances to which you would seek massage. Indeed, there are many massage therapists who use Reiki as part of their massage treatments, with wonderfully relaxing results for their clients.
However, Reiki was not always about the ability to treat others. Usui Sensei first conceived Reiki as a system of personal development. A student practising Reiki under his guidance would be encouraged to work through a series of energy exercises and meditations to strengthen their own connection with the Reiki energy, accessing self-healing as a result, or perhaps an integral part, of this practice.
A good Reiki practitioner today will honour these origins of Reiki – and their own practice as a healer – by continuing to practice Reiki with and on themselves. You can think of this as a kind of energetic hygiene – the practitioner keeping their own energy system clear.
Reiki is not just for practitioners or therapists.
Reiki can be practiced by anyone, and there are many people in the world today who use their Reiki mainly or only for themselves. This has all the benefits of any other kind of meditation, with the soft, gentle, relaxing Reiki energy as a bonus.
Reiki has many benefits. There are already studies out there that show Reiki to be more effective than a placebo, and to show that Reiki can significantly decrease pain and anxiety. Reiki is known to increase relaxation, improve mood, and increase general well-being. Given what we know about the impact that stress (or absence of stress) can have on people’s outcomes in all areas of life, this makes Reiki an incredibly valuable practice to cultivate!
Reiki can be a personal practice.
It doesn’t have to be something that you pay a therapist to do for you, and it doesn’t have to be something that you train as a therapist to do. Reiki can be a personal practice, and for those who are easily bored or distracted during meditation, having Reiki as something to ‘do’ while you meditate can make it exciting again.
My Reiki I students increased their positive emotion scores from an average of 8 to 9.25 and their overall wellbeing scores from 8.5 to 9.3 after taking classes which introduced them to Reiki self-healing through meditative and hands-on techniques.
How to Meditate with Reiki
If you’re completely new to Reiki, it’s best to start with an attunement with a Reiki Master near you, who can connect you to the Reiki energy. Even if you haven’t yet had your attunement, you can practice this meditation technique which will help you to get used to sensing into your own energy channels. When you do become attuned, you’ll notice the difference.
- Sit or lie comfortably in an appropriate meditation position. If you’re not used to meditating, experiment with this – sitting up generally makes for more alertness while lying down typically supports relaxation. If you physically can have your spine straight, please do, but don’t strain. It’s important to be comfortable and supported.
- Sense into your TanDen. Your TanDen is an energy centre located about two finger widths below your belly button and a third of the way in. If you’re not used to working with it, you might not notice anything at first. Nevertheless, cultivate the practice of placing your awareness there and you’ll eventually get to sensing into what’s happening.
- As you breathe in, imagine a beautiful healing light coming in with your breath and down to your TanDen. If you don’t visualise, you might just set a strong intention to invite in Reiki with your breath, or you might just know that it’s there.
- In the pause between breaths, imagine that gentle healing energy flooding out from your TanDen throughout your body. See it reaching the top of your head and the tips of your fingers and toes.
- As you breathe out, radiate this energy outwards in all directions, to infinity. Allow it to take anything which no longer serves you out with it, and intend for it to be beneficial to everything it comes into contact with as you send it outwards.
- Repeat this process for as long as you wish. If you’re new to meditation, you might want to start with just a couple of minutes and work your way up.
- When your meditation is over, give thanks to the Reiki energy and acknowledge yourself for your time and commitment to your practice.
Tips for Reiki Meditation
Everyone experiences Reiki energy differently. For some it is a strong feeling of magnetism, heat, or tingling. Others get glimpses of colour or images coming to them. To some people, the Reiki energy is so subtle that they cannot perceive it at all. This is no indication of the strength of the Reiki energy – one of the most powerful Reiki Masters I ever met could not feel, see or otherwise perceive the energy, and his treatments were amazing. It is enough to know that the energy is there.
When meditating with Reiki, it’s best not to strive towards a particular outcome, even if there is something specific that you wish to heal. Instead, set your intention to receive what you need, and let the Reiki and your own wise and intuitive energy body do the rest.
Some people worry about picking up unresourceful or ‘negative’ energies when doing energy work. The great thing about Reiki is that it is inherently protective – just by working with Reiki, you protect your own energy. Indeed, in my Reiki courses I often teach space clearing using the Reiki energy.
The meditation described above is so simple that you can do it anywhere. There are no obvious hand or body positions, which makes it the perfect travel companion or relaxation exercise before a big event. Try it at different times of day and in different situations (obviously not while driving!)
And finally, enjoy developing your Reiki meditation practice! I know you will reap many benefits.