Reiki as a Spiritual Path
For many years now, we’ve seen the spiritual aspect of Reiki kind of sidelined in favour of robust study-able aspects. You know the things I mean – Reiki increases relaxation, reduces anxiety, helps wellbeing and so on. All those things are measurable, as are things like the effect on the autonomic nervous system.
In truth, we’ve been trying to go mainstream and to talk in mainstream language. And it’s worked to an extent. Reiki is in hospitals now, on campuses, on mainstream popular daytime television and even in national newspapers.
Reiki has come a long way since an obscure Japanese woman living in Hawaii first started talking about and teaching it.
I’ve been as guilty of not talking about Reiki as spiritual path as anyone else – I’m British and, well, it’s just not polite to talk about that kind of thing in Britain to anyone other than trusted friends, peers, mentors and students. Let’s face it, talking about one’s spiritual path tends to put people off and make them think we’re a bit weird. As a result, we’ve seen a massive growth in Reiki in – ta da! – the beauty and pampering industry.
It’s really very funny: Reiki, as most people who have experienced it pretty much take for granted, is a great anti-ager. Of course it is – it’s relaxing and anxiety reducing, for goodness’ sake. So it’s become a major second “therapy” in massage, reflexology and beauty. This is partly because it’s so easy to learn – the way Reiki is sold these days is that all you have to do is have the “attunement” and there you are, a Reiki practitioner. You can get an “attunement” online, over skype, by DVD – and even by doing it yourself. Really. Do It Yourself Reiki.
It’s also partly because it’s easy to do – you just put your hands on someone. Or near them, if you’ve been taught in the last few years. Or think about them. Or even just “intend” to think about them. And, if the person on the receiving end doesn’t feel anything or notice a change, well, that must be them. There are all kinds of phrases used to deflect personal responsibility away from the practitioner onto the receiver. No doubt you’ve heard a few of them. Or you might even have used some of them.
And it’s also because Reiki – and the people who practice it – is incredibly tolerant. We pretty much accept that anyone who says they do Reiki is actually doing Reiki. Which is not always the case, but that’s for another article.
But to return to the point. Takata – the woman who brought Reiki to the West from Japan in the 1930s – said to her students “Reiki is from God” and “don’t be surprised if you find yourself going to Church more often”. That’s pretty much all she said on the subject, because her students were all Americans and most of them were Christian. Talk of spiritual paths to that audience might well have got her lynched or burned out even then. It would certainly have rung alarm bells in those she was talking to and quite possibly blocked her ability to communicate her message.
However, the spiritual aspect of life in Japanese culture is such that, not only do chief executives take time out to write haiku, people would think there was something wrong with them if they didn’t. Spirituality is a mainstream part of Japanese life, spoken about, written about, practiced and embraced in a way we just don’t here in the West.
But the secret is out. The Church is beginning to notice that Reiki has a spiritual aspect to it that is not under the control of any traditional path, particularly theirs. It doesn’t matter which church it is, they are all beginning to notice. There is no point in trying to downplay that aspect of Reiki any more, because they have already detected it.
It is the spiritual aspect of Reiki that heals.
I have a lot more to say on this subject, but right here’s something for you to think about: this time on the planet is a time of spiritual revolution. The fact that Reiki has exploded all over the world is a significant indicator that something is happening. But so many of the new Reiki practitioners are completely unaware that Reiki has a spiritual aspect – they are told it is “energy” and they get the impression it’s kinda “woo woo”. But the fact that it’s a spiritual path has not been taught along with the system. We don’t mention it because it’s not quite polite and we’re not sure how it will be received. It’s time we did. So many newbies are “using Reiki” as a healing modality and wondering why they feel they’re missing something.
We need to come clean. We need to be clear that when they commit to Reiki, our students are committing to a spiritual path, whether they want to or not. There is no separation between the system and the spiritual, because the system is the spiritual. Reiki is spiritual growth, connection with the divine, a path of light and an offering of love.
All the rest is a side product.