Why do we need to concentrate when we practice the meditations and hands on/off healing practices that are taught within the system of Reiki?
It is simple…energy follows the mind.
“When mind moves, ki moves” – Yuasa Yasuo – The Body, Self-Cultivation and Ki-Energy
Mikao Usui pointed this out as well, very clearly in fact. Within Okuden Reiki II there is a symbol/mantra Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen 本者是正念. When we translate this we get, “my original nature is right mindfulness” or “my original nature is right concentration.”
Let’s focus on the kanji of Nen 念 – this stands for mind, mindfulness, and concentration. Hence we need to concentrate, to be mindful. We can ask ourselves, mindful of what? Mindful of not being distracted by the past, present, and future. Because when our confused mind is distracted our energy is also distracted.
The concept of Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen 本者是正念, right mindfulness – concentration – is a very common concept within Japanese spiritual practices. For example, in the paragraphs below we can see how the well known founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba explains Nen 念:
“Unification of mind and body will lead to the development of fundamental techniques. Techniques that are created by nen [single-minded concentration, direct perception of the truth] are unlimited in scope. Techniques must reflect universal principles. For this we need true nen. Correct and relevant nen is essential for the proper practice of budo. If you are full of selfish and petty thoughts, you will never make progress in budo training. That kind of budo is malicious and will result in disaster. Nen never focuses on the physical aspect of confrontation. Link yourself to the cosmos through kimusubi [blending of energy]. If nen stagnates in the body, life begins to fade. On the other hand, when nen is interacting in body and mind, life flourishes. Powerful nen can even produce supernatural powers and enlightened insight.
The nen that ties your body to the universe will allow you to become one with the universe; then you can transcend the realm of life and death and stand at the very centre of the cosmos. This is the secret of budo.
Nen never contends with the universe. That would shatter its energy. Never think that nen is a physical entity that can be detached from the universe. Any thought that contends with the universe will lead to one’s destruction. Refine your nen, elevate your consciousness, and become one with the universe.” – The Secret Teachings of Aikido by Morihei Ueshiba
Within this quote we can see some wonderful teachings which we also can see within Mikao Usui’s teachings. We have to refine our nen – mind – refine it so that we are not distracted by our confused thinking. If we do not refine our nen – mind the mind – energy stagnates in our body, like anger and worry for example. And as we are depleting our energy, we will be more likely to get sick.
Have you ever been angry or worried the whole day? Do you feel energised or tired? At the end of a day like this, we feel tired of course, because the angry and worried mind depletes our energy. What are we angry about? Something which happened in the past, maybe 2 minutes ago or 6 years ago, who knows? What are we worried about? Something which might or might not happen in the future. Hence we need to stay mindful of not being distracted by the past or future. What are we not grateful about? Is it something which is happening right here in the present moment that we are caught up with? Is it that instead of being grateful we are busy labeling the present moment, not concentrating, not being mindful of what is happening right here? Hence we need to be mindful of not being distracted by the present moment, just as we do by the past and the future.
Thus we can see that Mikao Usui not only pointed out the state of right mindfulness – concentration within Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen 本者是正念 – but also within the precepts.
Morihei Ueshiba states another important thing: “Unification of mind and body will lead to the development of fundamental techniques.” and “On the other hand, when nen is interacting in body and mind, life flourishes.”
He points out the importance of unification of our mind and body. Mikao Usui also pointed this out very clearly within the precepts, and yet this is often not pointed out by many Reiki teachers. However, it is a very important teaching and should not be ignored.
Within the precepts we find the sentence: “shinshin kaizen” which is another classic Japanese spiritual teaching. It means: mind-body improvement.
What do we need to improve? The unification of our mind and body. Normally my mind is distracted by the past, present or future and yet my body is right here not being distracted by these 3 times. Hence our mind is not in harmony with our body. This harmony is the base of proper hands on/off healing and all the other techniques within the system of Reiki. As Morihei Ueshiba points out: “Techniques must reflect universal principles. For this we need true nen.” What is true nen – mind-mindfulness-concentration? True nen is the ultimate truth, the universal principle. It is not being caught up by anger and worry, by being grateful, by being true to our way and our being and by being compassionate to ourselves and others. True nen, is mind-body harmony, insight into knowing that we are the great bright light, that we are Reiki, non-duality, emptiness, or whatever you might call it. Or in other words, it is a spacious state of mind in which we are not getting caught up with our confused mind. When our mind and body are in harmony our life flourishes, our energy flows abundantly.
Thus, as in accordance with Mikao Usui’s teachings, learn how to concentrate your mind, how to be mindful, so that your energy and life might flourish.
“Refine your nen, elevate your consciousness, and become one with the universe.” – Morihei Ueshiba
Based in Holland, Frans Stiene teaches in North America, Europe, UK, Australia and Asia.
Frans is also the author of Reiki Insights, it is the continuation of his previous book The Inner Heart of Reiki, taking your personal practice and understanding of the system of Reiki yet another step deeper.