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Is Reiki Physical or Spiritual?

People chatting and enjoying life

People often ask if Jikiden Reiki is a physical or a spiritual treatment. My answer is that it is primarily a physical treatment, used on the body to enrich and empower the body’s innate natural healing wisdom. However, as with all things in life, it cannot be separated from the whole. When practicing Jikiden Reiki, each person places his or her hands on and energy flows into the body, enhancing healing by helping the body to eliminate the build up of toxins - usually quite fast. The primary emphasis is on practical physical treatment, though there is also an effective psychological treatment - Sei Heki - used to help with fears, habits or anxieties that people want to let go.

To treat someone using Jikiden Reiki, there are no specific meditations, prayers, symbols, angels or energies that need be called upon. As Chiyoko Yamaguchi said, “You just put your hands on and people feel better.” Usui sensei, the founder, put it this way: “It is incredibly simple......When there is a problem in the head area, treat the head, if there is a problem or disease in someone’s stomach, lay your hands on his or her stomach, likewise with any problem area on the body.”

It is simple and practical - but how is it spiritual?

Perhaps it helps to appreciate the way Japanese see the spiritual through the ancient Shinto wisdom teaching them to see the divine energy in everything and everyone - from tree and waterfall to friend and foe - which still lies at the foundation of Japanese life. This philosophy points to the fact that the spiritual is not part of life, not even something inside us - in fact, the spiritual is life. I am reminded of something I read years ago in the book, “Mutant Message Down Under” by Marlo Morgan. In conversation with an aboriginal tribe, she says, “how absurd it appeared to them when the missionaries insisted they teach their children to fold hands and give two minutes of grace before meals. They {the aboriginal tribe} wake up being grateful! They spend the entire day never taking anything for granted.” In the West, we are still re-learning this forgotten knowledge. Rather than finding a way to get into our hearts or finding the spiritual in things around us, the good news is that we need only relax and let go to discover that we are already there, we are spiritual beings.

Japanese bamboo rising into the sky
Japanese bamboo rising into the sky

In the same way our everyday lives are a spiritual practice, Reiki is also a spiritual practice. It uses the highest vibration of of life to assist us in coming into the highest vibration available to us - physically, mentally and emotionally. Whether giving or receiving Reiki, this will naturally bring us to a better-feeling place and one in which our over-active minds are not so domineering. While we are busy asking so many questions and needing to know all the answers; while we are concerned with deciding what is right and wrong or whether the energy is strong enough, we miss the opportunities available to us in every moment to stop, feel, let go and love. It is in that space that we realize the answers are already there, waiting for us.

Reiki works no matter where you are, who you are and whether you are thinking about the spiritual

or not. You do not need to be silent or meditative for it to work. However, when you want to, giving or receiving Reiki can also be a time you can practice slipping into that wonderful empty space - that turns out to be filled with love!

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