Molly Furzer interviews Frans Stiene for the magazine, Australian Yoga Journal
Could you explain what Reiki is and how it began?
The word Reiki is used in two different ways within the system of Reiki. There is Reiki, which means our true self, and there is the system of Reiki. This means that when we practice the system of Reiki we begin to re-discover our true self. The system of Reiki was created by a Japanese monk, Mikao Usui, in the late 1800’s beginning 1900’s. It includes five specific elements which help you to re-discover your true self. They are: meditations, mantras and symbols, hands on healing on yourself and others, precepts, and reiju/initiation/attunement. Mikao Usui created the system of Reiki to make the esoteric Japanese spiritual practices more easily accessible for the secular community. I would say that most modern Reiki schools, however, focus on just one of the system’s elements and that is hands on healing on others. One of the main functions of the International House of Reiki is education; helping people to understand that Mikao Usui’s teachings are a complete spiritual practice.
How can Reiki improve one’s life?
The practices taught within the system of Reiki work on your body, mind and energy. They are there to purify your attachments, worries, anger you name it. The more we let go of these, the happier and healthier we become. This means that the system of Reiki is a life long practice; the more we practice the more we let go of fear, worries and attachments. One of the foundation elements of the system of Reiki is the precepts. They invoke us to not worry or have anger and to be compassionate to ourselves and others, to be humble and honest. These precepts affect the mind which in turn affect the energy, as energy follows the mind. So if our mind is more calm then our energy also becomes more calm. Every aspect of our selves is therefore affected by our work with the system of Reiki.
Reiki is often thought of as something you can go get from someone else, like a massage, however it’s really a personal practice, is that correct?
Yes you are correct. Hands on healing on others is only one element of the system of Reiki. We see the most important element as re-discovering our true self. The clearer our own body, mind, and energy becomes, the clearer we are to help others. You could see yourself as a garden hose – if there are lots of knots and bends in the garden hose hardly any water will come out of it. These knots and bends are our anger, worry, attachments etc. The more we undo these knots and bends, the clearer we will be as a vehicle for helping others. From this example you can see that the system of Reiki is foremost a spiritual practice.
Do you see a similarity in Reiki and practices within yoga?
You can see similarities between the system of Reiki and Yoga as both are traditionally created to re-discover our true self. The meditations practiced within the system of Reiki are on par with pranayama which works with your prana, e.g. life force, called Ki in the system of Reiki. Hand placements on your own body can be seen as Asanas, they help you with the flow of your energy. Also within the system of Reiki we use mantras, although this is not widely taught within many modern Reiki schools, yet it is a very important element in traditional Japanese Reiki teachings. As with yoga, the system of Reiki is a holistic system, one that uses multiple paths to work towards the discovery of our true self.
How are mantras used in Reiki?
The mantras within the system of Reiki help you to anchor your mind so that you do not get distracted. Each of the mantras focus on a very specific compositional element of the universe. For example, one helps you to re-member your innate connection to the earth energy, while the other works in the same way with the heavenly energy.
The most important aspect of mantras is that they help you to get a direct experience of what each mantra embodies, which means that you need to practice them regularly, preferably on a daily basis.
What one piece of advice could you give our readers to enable them live a more happy, fulfilled life?
Start with yourself and practice everyday. It is only through daily self cultivation that we can let go of our anger, worry, fear and other attachments.