Surface and Inner Meaning of the System of Reiki

Bronwen and Frans StieneArticles, English 12 Comments

Reiki Kanji
Surface and Inner Meaning of the System of Reiki 3

The difference between the International House of Reiki teachings and other Reiki schools.

Many people ask what the difference is between what the International House of Reiki teaches as Usui Reiki Ryoho and other schools or branches of the system of Reiki. Sure, most schools teach the same elements of the system, but what is it that makes our students go ‘Wow! That was way more than I could have ever expected’?

There are quite a few differences. Today we’d like to discuss just one of these.

Surface meaning of the teachings – omote (Japanese)

Inner/Hidden meaning of the teachings – ura (Japanese)

The International House of Reiki teaches not only the surface meaning (omote) of the system, but goes deep into the inner/hidden meaning (ura) of all of the system’s elements (precepts, meditations, symbols/mantras, attunements/reiju and hands on healing), as well as the inner/hidden philosophy of the system of Reiki.

And once you have these hidden teachings we show you how to put them to practice in your life. We don’t just talk about it – we do it.

To give you an example of what this all means, let’s look at word ‘Reiki’ itself. The outer meaning is spiritual energy but what is the inner/hidden meaning? Did you know that the inner/hidden meaning of the word Reiki points towards a specific philosophy and practice?

Let us take a closer look and see if we can find that inner/hidden meaning.

Within the kanji of Ki we see the word ‘vapor’ or ‘steam’. We now know that spiritual (Rei) Ki is made up of vapor or steam. That is interesting, sure. BUT how do we create that vapor or steam within our own energy?

The human body is made up of around 60% water. This is who we are physically.

To create vapor or steam out of water we need fire or, in other words, heat. This fire will boil the water, which in turn creates steam. We also know that if we want to boil a pot of water, the fire needs to heat the pot from below – not the other way around. From this example we can see that the fire needs to come from your hara, your energetic centre just below your navel, rather than from either your heaven (head) or heart centers. But how do we create that heat to boil the water?

Many Reiki practitioners feel heat in their hands while performing hands-on healing on themselves or others, but to go much deeper we need to feel the heat within our bodies and, preferably, first within the hara; our base energetic centre.

This is done through practices like Joshin Kokyu ho or the chanting of the CKR mantra for prolonged periods. When we practicer these two techniques correctly, every day for many months, we create an inner fire; our inner heat. In Japan, this is called the inner goma ritual.

This inner fire heats up our dense water so that it can transform into steam, and this steam starts to rise through the body up into the head.

On the physical plane you often notice more saliva in your mouth, which you then swallow, returning the liquid to the hara, reuniting it with your earth energy, creating a circular movement of energy in your body.

At an energetic level your dense water energy, which is more like frozen water due to your anger, worries, fears, and useless attachments, begins to melt, becoming subtler and subtler (it is turning into vapor) and gradually it starts to rise. When it has risen as far as it can go, it transforms itself into pure spiritual energy. This spiritual energy then falls back, like rain, from your crown down into your hara, creating a continuous movement between the earth and heavenly energy. This movement is healing in nature, nurturing your physical, emotional and spiritual body, so that you become a clear vessel; one that can unify – become One – with the universe.

This entire process is present in the imagery of the kanji of Rei (see the kanji at the top of this article). Rei is traditionally translated as ‘a shaman praying for rain and the rain falls down into the three bowls on the altar’. This kanji describes the mystical process of our inner universe creating rain. The three bowls into which the rain falls are our three energy centres; the hara, heart and mind. The rain nurtures these three energy centres so that they can begin to blossom.

This cycle of transforming water into vapor and letting the vapor rain down to nurture us is a replica of what we see in nature. The water on earth is heated up by the sun, which makes it rise as mist, the mist creates clouds, which creates rain, which then falls back down onto the earth to nurture it, allowing everything to bloom.

Our body is a microcosm within the macrocosm. The universe is us and we are the universe.

Thus, by discovering the hidden/inner teachings of the word Reiki, we can see a specific practice and method emerging, which in turn relates to the practices taught within the system of Reiki.

This is just one of the inner teachings from our our classes.

When you listen to and experience these teachings you begin to understand the system of Reiki in ways that you had never thought possible. These teachings touch who you really are, they are unique and they are here to support you in your personal and professional growth.

Comments 12

  1. Avatar of Colin Powell
  2. Avatar of Denyce Peyton
  3. Avatar of Paul Norden

    So wonderful that you’ve collected and are sharing this sacred knowledge. Sounds so much like the practice of tummo, or inner heat practice from the Kagyu tradition of TIbetan Buddhism.

  4. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Paul,
    In many traditional spiritual practices, no matter if we look at Buddhism, Yoga, Qi Gong, Shamanism etc… they discus the inner heat and that it is an essential part of your spiritual development.
    However in many modern forms of these teachings this important element is often overlooked or not talked about.
    It is not easy to establish this inner heat/fire, it means we need to sit down and do our daily practice over and over again for many months/years, plus we need the guidance of our teacher to make sure we are heading in the right direction.

  5. Avatar of Paul Norden

    Yes, exactly. I’ve always wondered about the spiritual element of devotion or ‘spiritual desire’ that often is ignited through the student’s recognition of the wisdom and power of a tradition’s teachings-and particularly how it’s transmitted orally by the teacher- …how this can help excelerate a students progress. I think there is a strong relationship between the inner fire, ‘spiritual desire’ and the transformation of our ordinary perception into a sacred outlook of the world.

  6. Avatar of Colin Powell

    This inner heat/fire (or secret fire) is also important in the transformational Great Work of Alchemy in Western and Oriental traditions as well as the Kabbala, of Jewish Mysticism and Kundalini (Serpent Fire or the Dragon) in other Esoteric paths.

    Like most teachings, and as mentioned in the article, there is usually an outer, exoteric aspect (e.g. actually sensing heat) and an inner, esoteric aspect (e.g. the fire symbolising our enthusiasm and desire to practice and progress).

  7. Avatar of Candice
  8. Avatar of Anya

    Hi Frans,
    Unbelievable how lots of teachings are about the same. Especially Japanese teachings. It is as if i was reading an article about aikido.
    In aikido omote and ura are the two ways to work out a technique. Omote goes on the front side of the opponent and ura – on the back side of the opponent. And yes, indeed, ura is usually more difficult, as requires more developed skills of balance.
    Focus on the Hara stays the basis of all the techniques. Hara is your center and only when the center is developed, can you feel balanced and stable enough to do a technique correctly. The further stages of developing your hara result in one becoming quicker and lighter, like void or steam.
    I have just one question about us all being water. Is it that everyone is equally water? Or does female energy originally contain more water and male energy contain more fire?

  9. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Anya,
    Yes you can see a lot of similarities between all traditional Japanese spiritual teachings.

    The balance between water and fire really depends on each specific person, not so much female and male. Like some man are more female and some female are more man. It not only depends on our own inner energy but also on what kind of up-bringing, education did we have, where are we living and what are we eating etc.

  10. Avatar of kris azzarello
  11. Avatar of seema

    Wonderful explaination on why practicing from hara , practicing , chanting on symbols and mantras can impact you spiritually and help you in daily practice. Excellent correlation with reiki kanji. I think it sums up the 5 elements of reiki. thanks for sharing one of the inner teachings.

  12. Avatar of Nivedita

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