The system of Reiki is a set group of Japanese practices (see Five Elements of the system of Reiki) that when brought together create a system that supports spiritual growth and healing. These practices work with energy – spiritual energy. As the Japanese name for spiritual energy is Reiki – you can see where the system’s name originated from.
But what energetic system are the principles of a Reiki practice based on? As Reiki is a Japanese practice that was created in the early 1900s we are aware that (as with many martial arts and Ki practices that were formalised in Japan at the same time – karate, judo, aikido) the hara or tanden were considered to be the centre of the body’s energetic powerhouse.
The word hara literally means stomach, abdomen or belly in Japanese. Energy is stored in this point of the body from where it expands throughout the whole body.
Usui Mikao’s teachings focus on building the energy in the hara. From Hawayo Takata’s diary notes it can be seen that she too was taught to practice in this manner. For a copy of her handwritten notes relating to the hara click here and click here for her daughter’s typed copy of the notes. Once the system of Reiki became more westernized in the 1980s the chakra system (an energetic system from India that has been incorporated into the New Age movement) was introduced and replaced this system – the chakra system is now commonly used in the West
In traditional Japanese teachings and exercises today the hara system is still the main focus for building a person’s energy. There are, in fact, two other energy centres in the body according to the Japanese energetic system. One is the head and the other is the heart. In the Japanese Art of Reiki we have called these the Three Diamonds. By linking all three areas the practitioner creates unity and balance. Most important, however, is to first develop the lower hara, as this is the body’s central axis point.
Re-establishing this connection with the Original Energy through the hara will ensure good health and recovery from illness. There is always access to a reliable source of strength whenever needed.
An inner attitude results from first focusing on the hara. From this central point there is an ability to cope with everyday tasks and sudden emergencies with an ease of understanding. This allows appropriate action to be taken in a balanced and unprejudiced manner.
1. Hara (approximately 3 inches (8cms) below the naval)
In this centre, Original Energy is stored. This is the energy you are born with, the energy that is the essence of your life and gives you your life’s purpose. The Original Energy is not only the energy you receive from your parents when you are conceived but most importantly it is the energetic connection between you and the universal life force. When the singular term hara is mentioned it is the lower hara that is being discussed. This is the symbolic energetic centre for Earth Ki.
2. Heart (at the heart centre)
The energy in this centre is connected with emotions. It is ‘human’ energy connected with human experience. Through this centre you learn your life’s process. From childhood through to adulthood and back to being a child. When you are a child you are without experience and as you grow older you become a child with experience. This is the symbolic energetic centre for Heart Ki.
3. Head (third eye area).
This is the energy connected with your spirit. When you are connected with this centre you may see colours or you might have psychic ability. It is important for you not to become unbalanced and keep yourself centred. If you can use this energy in a balanced way, you can see beyond the immediate. This is the symbolic energetic centre for Heaven Ki.
The three diamonds of Earth Ki, Heaven Ki and Heart Ki are at the foundation of the system of Reiki. They are also at the crux of many facets of Japanese culture, religion and philosophy.
A diamond is often used as an analogy of the self in Buddhism. Each and every day a practitioner polishes the diamond by performing his or her practice. This is a constant task for humans who, in this earthly realm, attract dirt: becoming muddy and tarnished. A diamond is so sharp that it can cut through almost anything humanity attaches itself to, bringing back the true essence of life as seen in the perfection of a sparkling diamond.
For a more detailed explanation of these three energetic centres and how they relate to the system of Reiki please read The Japanese Art of Reiki.
Bronwen and Frans Stiene are the co-founders of the International House of Reiki and co-authors of The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, Your Reiki Treatment, The A-Z of Reiki Pocketbook and the Reiki Techniques Card Deck. Bronwen and Frans teach in the USA, Europe and Australia. Visit the Courses page to find a course near you.