Reiki: the art of the journey

In Health and Healing by Elizabeth Thuan1 Comment

Reiki is a potent source of physical and emotional healing and spiritual connection, and a driver of profound personal change.


Reiki is channelled life force – that unstoppable force that creates and motivates all living things and imbues all plants and animals with the power to grow, heal and change, that allows humans to think, laugh, and make babies.

The past is within us

We carry the past with us when we come into this world. Our tissues are made of elements formed originally in the furious furnaces of long ago stars. We gestate through gills and tails to emerge half-baked, with triple-decker brains hosting active reptilian and mammalian layers, and a cerebral cortex that makes us reasoning, altruistic, and spiritually aware creatures.

Once launched, we embark upon a journey of growth and development. We are programmed to walk and to talk. Listening and watching, we take aboard the expectations of family and others. We are shaped particularly by the words, beliefs, behaviours, objects, and foods that are part of our culture. Our blank slate is written on and we are both empowered and imprisoned by what we learn: the field of infinite potential is narrowed even as some possibilities are expressed. We become masters and victims of our own environment.

As children we download information directly, without the capacity for critical analysis, and this then becomes the basis of our belief system, forming a foundation upon which we rely throughout life. We formulate, in effect, working hypotheses to guide our goals and actions. These principles work to keep us safe and compliant: we follow them in order to become and remain valid members of our tribe.

Thus armed, we sally forth into the world, growing bigger, accumulating information and skills, and striving to meet the targets set by our society:
get an education,
get a job,
get married and settle down,
set up a household,
rear your kids,
don’t rock the boat.

This is a modern Western version of the journey—we are told our needs are met by things; we succumb to authority expressed through the marketplace.

Sooner or later we all get whacked

Our journeys lead us into situations that we did not anticipate, with consequences we don’t want and cannot always handle. We take on physical and emotional scars and accumulate baggage and burdens that slow us down and dim our optimism. We hit a wall and fall down or fall apart. The working hypothesis didn’t allow for a car smash, a disabled child, a demented mother, a heart attack, or just plain old-fashioned loss of meaning, loneliness, and isolation. It’s time to re-think who we are and what we think we are about.

Reiki just turns up

Reiki comes to us somewhere along the track. It may not be something that we notice particularly and is not something that we necessarily choose. It turns up. We may think that we’ve chosen reiki, but on reflection it may appear that reiki has chosen us.

First experiences vary. People notice warmth and tingling, a pleasant sense of relaxation, calmness, a lessening of pain and distress. These subjective experiences translate into objectively useful techniques—reiki is increasingly used in hospitals and clinical contexts to increase patient well-being and speed recovery. There is potential here to reduce the economic burden of hospitalisation and loss of productivity in the workplace.

Once we’ve been trained and empowered to receive the reiki energy, things start to change. The world starts to seem different. For some, it can be a release of burdens, tensions, and toxins in a dramatic manner. Mostly, though, our lives change slowly and subtly and it is only on looking back that the change in the trajectory of the journey becomes apparent. The baselines have shifted.

We are still ordinary people. Nothing is outwardly changed. There is no great shift into a life that is full of sweetness and light where everything goes right. But the reiki energy is like yeast working quietly within, allowing us to change, to become lighter, to become filled with light.

Reiki is real – it works

For nearly 100 years reiki has been ‘road tested’ by people seeking physical relief, emotional comfort and/or spiritual connection. At the physical level, there are abundant reports of rapid healing of wounds, the release of toxins stored in the tissues of the body, relaxation, reduction of stress, and pain relief. After observation by millions of people around the world, the scientific establishment is catching up with these potentials. Dr David McManus has a paper now in publication detailing the increasing number of formal scientific studies that confirm what reiki people already know. Importantly, these studies offer proof, to those who need it, that reiki provides valid, measurable outcomes. It is not placebo, psychological delusion, or witchcraft.

The accumulation of emotional and psychological burdens is also affected by reiki. We tend to swallow our negative emotions and fail to discharge the effects of shock. Our fight or flight reactions leave traces in our chemistry and in our psyche. These loiter beneath the level of consciousness, inhibit our joy and restrict our ability to move forward on our journey towards enlightenment. Over time, many reiki people notice that this layer of unwanted energy starts to release and resolve. Problems diminish; life gets easier.

Reiki enhances psychic ability, even in those who deny such a possibility. Reiki channels are routinely taught to send healing and to communicate at a distance. It is so very simple to function consciously outside space and time that the full implications of this are not immediately apparent.

Breaking out of a 3D world

Our upbringing has entrenched in us a belief in a ‘three-dimensional-plus-time’ world, a construct which allows causation, description and measurement, and death. Now we find ourselves in contact with intangibles. We can communicate with our higher self, our inner child, with people who are not physically present or connected by technology or who have passed away, with organisations, relationships, and with animals and even the natural world. And beyond this again, we find ourselves in communication with spiritual beings. We become aware that we are not alone and that guidance is available, should we choose to accept it.

The initial working hypothesis takes a terrible beating when you find angels hanging about or filling the sky. After checking and deciding that no, you have not actually gone mad, the questions start to crowd in. What, you ask, is it actually all about? Have I missed something important? And the whole frame of reference starts to morph.

You still go to work and eat your dinner, but the inner conversation now runs along the lines of how to construct another working hypothesis. ‘What am I meant to be doing?’, you ask yourself. What’s the highest goal? Should I be doing something different with my life? What’s the best use of my time? If I somehow persist beyond the time I spend in this body, what is my role in the wider scheme of things? And you remember, slowly, that you are a child of the universe.

Changing, we become our true selves

It takes time and can be incredibly frustrating. You are, in essence, giving birth to yourself. You are working towards becoming an integrated being, one who uses all the resources that we were given at birth, the lessons we have learned through the joyous and painful journey, and the capacities of our higher-level brain functions. Plus the knowledge and tools we have acquired. And the whole shebang illuminated by the light of the reiki energy.

Wounded, we become passionate healers. Hurt, we become compassionate. Lost and alienated, we reach out. Not because an authority tells us we should, but because this is our inherent nature—we are fulfilling our destiny, doing whatever we can in this life.

Reiki channels find many ways to express the powers they have attained. Some work with family, friends and colleagues, some set up as professional healers and teachers, some find their way to support the disadvantaged, prisoners, or the dying. Still others find ways to combine reiki with their professional practice as nurses or therapists. And all of them heal themselves as best they can while offering profound service to humanity and all living things.

There can be great happiness in finding deep meaning, in shedding the burdens of the past and escaping the prison of convention, and in doing your own thing to the full extent of your ability. This is the reiki journey.

Dr. David McManus’ article on the efficacy of reiki has been approved for publication and is forthcoming in JEBCAM.

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  1. I read so much rubbish in the name of Reiki and it took me a while to separate myself from the stupid claims.
    So before I comment as to what Reiki really and its simplicity; I will say what it is not.
    It is not Spiritual or Natural.
    To explain that we have to go back to where we came from.
    We are all Souls who have incarnated into the 3D, to travel within a physical Body to learn and enjoy.
    We are here to be aware of vibrations, as it is with the vibrations that we acquire within our permanent personalty that we evolve to become aware of enlightenment and evolve.
    Those vibrations are acquired by our temporary personality within the 3D journey and are evaluated or rejected after we leave the 3D World.
    Some describe that as judgment.
    We start our 3D journey at the moment of conception, which some describe as a flash of light, and the start of development with a NeoSpiritual and then to the Psychic/ Mental/ Emotional and then the Physical and sometime within that development we as a Soul enter with its own Spiritual connection.
    With that development time line we are given Gifts which because of our free-will we can use or deny.
    Those Gifts are explained in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians’s (1 Corinthians’s 12) but that is ignored generally by Reiki Teachers.
    So there we all are. Born and developing, some aware and others not, and a mixture of claims and denial.

    So then we come to the system of Reiki!
    What really is it?
    To keep it simple; We are not born with it it and it does not just appear.
    It is a creation of Energy/ Frequency and Vibration which are developed from Language and Symbols and when written as sentences and applied to selected Chakras (energy centers) and then another action within the Attunement is used to retain the vibrations of selected Chakras (Energy centers).
    This action retains those vibrations within this lifetime.
    So is Reiki ‘Real’.

    Yes that is the basis of the system of Reiki but not in the way that many so called experts claim.It is simple but as you travel further into the system it does become more complicated but that is part of the journey.
    The energy produced is used to remove the dis-ease from the Psyche/ Mental/ Emotional/ Body and then the physical body can self-heal.

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