Imagine there was a way to calm your mind, express your true self and celebrate the gift of life with others, all at the same time. If you are a Reiki practitioner you may recognize this as one way to describe founder Mikao Usui’s ideal of “being Reiki”. This is also a way to describe the benefits of chanting. There is a reason for this parallel.
Not familiar with chanting? Wondering if it’s just for monks in robes living in seclusion deep within exotic jungles or on remote mountaintops, places that most of us could never hope to get to, much less participate in, during our lifetime? Wondering if chanting is only for the religious? If it’s relevant to modern life?
I have good news. Chanting is accessible to anyone wherever they are physically, emotionally and spiritually at any given time. No belief system is required to feel and share the therapeutic effects of chanting. You don’t even need to be able to verbalize, for mantras are what is most often chanted, and mantras are made up of symbols and words, which also have potency when visualized in the mind.
The methodic chanting and visualization of specific images, sounds, words and phrases has been valued as an essential spiritual practice and passed down orally and in writing by each of the world’s ancient civilizations and religions. The human voice used in this way is considered a sacred bridge between the tangible body and the intangible spirit.
Physiologically speaking, the waves of sound energy emitted by the human voice during chanting create a resonance that permeates to the deepest levels of body, mind and spirit, gathering life force, warming and toning the internal passages, penetrating and clearing areas of blocked energy, recalibrating the nervous system and harmonizing the inner person with the outer world.
The act of chanting also quiets and focuses the mind in the present in the same way that meditation and fine and martial arts do. Chanting allows a person to transcend the limitations of their mind and transform and liberate their mortal lives. Chanting promotes clarity, inspiration and peace through a feeling of deep unity with and acceptance of the ever-changing and limitless energy of the universe.
You may be thinking that while chanting does sound worthwhile, how can it fit in with Reiki practice?
If you are an Usui Reiki practitioner, you will have learned precepts, symbols, rituals and hand positions for treating the self and others. You will have felt Reiki energy. But many practitioners are not aware that Mikao Usui was deeply inspired by ancient Japanese esoteric practices of meditation and chanting from the Shinto, Shugendo and Buddhist traditions. He created his Usui Reiki Ryoho system of personal development based on the known power of these sacred practices. He carefully chose and designed his precepts, symbols and Japanese kanji phrases so they function as both contemplations and mantras, to be meditated on as well as chanted daily for self-care.
Usui knew from a life dedicated to self work that regular chanting of his Reiki system elements would amplify their mind and heart-opening potential for the practitioner, directly affecting the quality of self-care and hands-on treatment of others. By intending the practice of chanting in his original method, Usui was pointing the way for the Reiki practitioner to embody his vibrational healing system and go beyond just “doing Reiki” at certain times, to “being Reiki” at all times, for the good of all. While performing Reiki chanting, there is simply no time to get angry or worried!
It was a joy for me this summer to experience for the first time the therapeutic potential of chanting and how essential it is to practicing the complete Usui Reiki Ryoho system of self development, when I made the journey of a lifetime to Australia to participate in Usui Reiki Master and international educator Frans Stiene’s annual group spiritual retreat in Queensland. The retreat is celebrating its’ 9th year of bringing together dedicated students and practitioners of all Reiki styles and lineages, under Frans’ keen guidance, to contemplate the origins and traditional practice of Usui Reiki.
The enriching and empowering week included daily inspired teachings and Reiju by Frans, powerful traditional meditations, some truly liberating chanting and transformative hands-on treatments. In fact, our chanting just moments before may have been what brought this unusually curious member of the usually elusive Cassowary family to the doorstep of the meditation hall!
I am grateful for the deep sense of joy, trust, generosity, and community that I experienced while practicing with Frans and my fellow global Reiki practitioners. I am honoured to help carry on the spirit of traditional Usui Reiki in my self-care and hands-on healing practice.
I would also like to thank Canadian Reiki Practitioner Kelly Kiss for her CRA Spring 2016 newsletter book review of The Inner Heart of Reiki Rediscovering Your True Self by Frans Stiene. Kelly, if it weren’t for you introducing me to the dedication of Frans, Bronwen and the International House Of Reiki to honouring traditional Usui Reiki, I may never have learned about Reiki chanting, or connected with the Australian Reiki community, which have together enhanced my practice immeasurably.
Want to be part of a life-celebrating experience? Attend a chanting event. Want a deepening practice that will touch your soul? Chant on your own. Want to magnify that in a way that will benefit your community and the world beyond? Chant with others! My mentor, Usui Reiki Master Teacher Myorei Zeraffa of The Zen Centre of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has invited me to host Reiki chanting there this fall. Please contact me if you are interested in participating.
Usui Reiki Master Teacher
Calm Care Reiki