Thursday, September 8, 2011
What is Reiki??? o.O
Recently while perusing our email we came across a query posted on LinkedIn. The question was about explaining Reiki to a layperson. This is definitely an important thing to consider as anyone who goes into a Reiki practice serving the public will want to consider. Often people fear or distrust what they don't understand and there are a lot of myths and just plain misinformation about Reiki. Some of this comes from a lacking understanding of those who have experienced it. But some of it is due to the complex nature that Reiki can be seen as.
It's definitely agreed upon that Reiki is energy and energy work. However to those who work with energy in their personal and religious practice that needs no further defining. As one of Pagan bent I immediately had no trouble understanding that part of Reiki, but I am not the norm and making Reiki understandable will in the end make it more accessible. If you want to think of it scientifically we are all composed of matter. Matter is energy. Our solid forms are due to the specific arrangement and vibration of this energy. The wind has energy as well, as can be definitely felt in the breeze and hurricane force winds, but it doesn't vibrate at the same frequency so doesn't take the same form.
While that may sound like a lot and too complex for the average person to consider when broken down it's seen more clearly. From a personal perspective you can pick it apart like this:
When physically tired you often don't emotionally feel like doing anything. The physical and emotional are both types of energy, along with the mental and spiritual. For many the physical, being the densest of energies and easily noted (via the physical senses) is the easiest to relate to. But you can see the effect of emotional energy through mood and motivation. You're more likely to be nice and helpful when you're happy and in a good mood. We all know that when mom is overly frustrated or tired it's not a good time to ask for any favors. That principle is relative to us all though. Mental energy can be seen in one's ability to think clearly - however that may be. Not necessarily logically, but a definitive "clear thinking" (not willy-nilly, scattered, or otherwise all over the place). Exception may be taken to this if that is how You "normally" think - but that is another post. Spiritual energy is seen through our connection or lack thereof to the Divine. Whatever beliefs we have in relation to the supernatural is part of this energy.
So you get what energy is now. So what? Well all these energy systems as we'll refer to them now are interconnected. You can see this when you are in a poor mood because you're overly tired. When you become physically ill or rundown because of a persistent bad mood. How you may feel "spacey" if you lack a spiritual focus, etc. On a greater scale this relates to others as well. When you're around others who are down it may agitate you or bring you down. At the very least you will not want to be around them. This interconnection goes for places and things as well. They are subject to the energy they are exposed to and soak up. This can be seen when you visit someone's home or some other place that may "feel" uncomfortable to you. Even someone who is not "energy sensitive" can become uncomfortable in these places (depending on the strength and persistence of the energy). Therefore all in all we all are affected and affect our environs and the people and things within it.
Given this exposure to so many influences internal and external one's personal energy system can be "thrown out of whack" as it were. Repeated exposure to unpleasant physical places or people can eventually bring anyone down. You might find yourself avoiding these places and people naturally (think of this like your energy system's immune response almost) or you may feel it in a more psychosomatic sense in which you will feel negative feelings as a result or your dread or distaste of these places and situations even if you've not experienced them yet.
Since the average person's energy sensitivity only extends very vaguely into their personal emotions it can be hard to note the general state of one's personal cumulative (all levels that is) energy system. Regardless of whether you obviously feel all of the things effecting you on a conscious level they are and eventually you will see the result of this exposure as you feel it's effects in various areas of your personal energy system.
This is where Reiki comes in. Reiki is the Universe's "personal" energy. The biggest difference is that it is pure and untainted. It has no ill thoughts or emotions and cannot be negative. Exposure to this type of energy helps re-balance and "fix" yours. Please note this is not to say that you can't have negative emotions. They certainly serve a purpose for perspective and to help release tension and pressure, much like a hurricane releases atmospheric pressure. However, allowing it to build up, dwell in it, or feed it does cause problems - much like the damage and aftermath of a hurricane. Reiki can help correct these imbalances putting your personal energy system back to it's natural, homeostatic state. Homeostasis being defined as " the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition" (1). Eg it's natural, normal state of functioning. Not too hot or cold, rested, etc.
Reiki is also the use of this energy in a form of energy healing to accomplish the re-balancing. This can be done in person or distantly, touching the person lightly (no real pressure is applied) or not at all. Physically or with a surrogate (using the self, a doll, or just a picture or the person's name on a piece of paper). Regardless of the physical actions intention for healing and openness to this healing is always present and necessary.
So in short, Reiki is not a religion or funny hocus-pocus. It requires only the knowledge of how to use it, which is given in a Reiki class and with an attunement, and openness to it's use as well as proper positive intention.
To put it simply...Reiki is an energy healing system geared towards re-balancing the personal energy field. Energy is defined here as the "basic essence of one's being" and may be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual in nature. The personal energy field is that energy that is personally associated with you - based on how you may feel physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. Reiki re-balances by adding pure energy from the Universe (Source, All That Is, the Divine, etc.) to one's personal energy system that then re-arranges itself which leads to a mending or filling in of the energy system.
From a more academic perspective...Reiki defined from an etymological standpoint is often described as "Universal Life Energy". For the layperson though this may not elucidate much. It can be thought of as spiritual energy, the energy that is within all things animate and inanimate, the energy of being. Reiki is a practice of working with this energy, to re-balance one's personal energy system by putting pure untainted energy within the system via a Reiki practitioner. Reiki is often thought of as a mindset and can be a way of practicing living but it is by no means a religious or spiritual practice technically. Meaning, you don't have to be a certain background, ethnicity, or religious practice/faith to practice Reiki. You just need to be open to it.
(1) Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeostasis