Why Practice the System of Reiki?

Bronwen and Frans StieneArticles, English 8 Comments

francis and birds

St Francis of Assisi

Great to see all your different ideas and comments on our last blog, A question for you about Reiki Treatments, where we posed a question about two different types of hands-on healing sessions.

Some thought it too brain numbing, others too easy, and for some – just plain too different from what they’d been taught as Reiki practitioners. Why would we ask this question?


St Francis of Assisi

Well, there was a second, unwritten, question in this blog and people began picking up on it as the comments grew. This question related to why there might be a difference, if any, in these two types of hands-on healing sessions. The question itself boiled down to the relevance of practice within the system of Reiki and could be phrased thus; “Does personal practice have an effect on a hands-on healing session?”.

Here are our thoughts…

They begin with seeing the system of Reiki for what it is, a spiritual practice.

We have experienced that the more we practice the system of Reiki – working with its spiritual principles – the more we enter a deeper space of interconnectedness. This experience comes through following the the teachings set out step-by-step in the system of Reiki. Through research we know that this space of interconnectedness is symbolized by the Level III symbol and mantra DKM, which in its full Japanese name literally means Great Bright Light, but also stands for Non-Duality.

Interconnectedness is a commonality across all spiritual traditions:

  • Taoism – the universe is you and you are the universe
  • Christianity – Union with God
  • Buddhism – The realization that you are a Buddha
  • Shinto – The realization that you are a kami

to name a few.

And within the system of Reiki, interconnectedness is also beautifully symbolized by the precepts:

For today only

Do not anger

Do not worry

Be humble

Be honest in your work

Be compassionate to yourself and others

The introduction of these precepts by Mikao Usui into the system make us aware that anger, worry, not being humble, not being honest and not being compassionate are obstacles to the realization of our unification with Reiki (spiritual energy).

Therefore, if we say that both hands-on healing sessions mentioned in the previous blog are the same – why is there a need to practice? Why is there a need to practice anything at all? Why bother working with the precepts if we are already a pure channel for the energy to flow through? Surely there would be no system to practice if this were the case – yet a system exists. There are Japanese Reiki techniques for strengthening one’s energy, there are, as mentioned, the precepts, there is self-healing through hands-on work, there are mantras and symbols, and there is the support from the teacher through reiju. All these elements are there to help us to iron out our kinks, to lose our fear, our anger, and to support the development of compassion – of being Reiki.

Let’s look at the playing of a musical instrument. Some people play at home for fun, just jamming away a little here and there. While others want to work as a musician and do so by developing their skills till they can play professionally, perhaps at a bar or restaurant, for example. And then there is always someone who wants to perform on stage at the Opera House – obviously this person will need to practice a great deal to achieve this. Now, the person playing at home may not play as well as the professional musician playing at the Opera House, yet one is not better than the other, they just play at different levels. And the person who sings in the shower would not be a good choice of teacher for the professional musician, true or not true? We are limited by our expertise, but this can change!

And this is so with anything, no matter whether we are discussing carpenters, singers, midwives, or Reiki practitioners or teachers.

Here is an example:

Say we have two people offering a hands-on healing session;

Practitioner one is a person who has just completed their Reiki levels I, II and III in a years time.

Practitioner two is St. Francis of Assisi (use your suspension of disbelief here and imagine that he had also completed a Reiki course) :-). What we know about St. Francis of Assisi is that through his determined practice his ego dropped away and he embodied the oneness space. His understanding reached beyond our regular forms of communication and embraced the natural world.

Honestly, who would you prefer to experience a Reiki treatment from?

Both sessions offer the potential of healing, yet St. Francis of Assisi is like the Ocean that Rebecca Holton wrote of.

Session 1 is a little stream – it is part of the ocean and is not separate from it. However, it isn’t the whole of it.

Session 2 is the ocean. It contains all the others and, although not separate from them, it has realised it contains everything.

Limited interconnectedness gives limited possibilities.
Unlimited interconnectedness gives unlimited possibilities.

To re-affirm our thoughts: the system of Reiki works, no matter what level of training you have nor what level of practice you have undergone. There is no right or wrong here, but we can go deeper with our practice! Like a musician who just starts to play the guitar – it is not right or wrong, he is just playing at his level, but if wants to play at the Opera House then he will continue to practice… For us too, as Reiki teachers and as professional practitioners if we keep practicing then hopefully one day we can perform a hands-on healing session with the same state of mind as St. Francis of Assisi, accessing unlimited possibilities.

We can always improve, go deeper, discover our own true nature (Reiki), the great bright light of enlightenment.

And that is why Mikao Usui put together this brilliant system.

Some articles that might give a little more background to this blog:

Comments 8

  1. Avatar of Alice Risemberg

    Hello Frans, Bronwen, and all!

    I am so enjoying these discussions…food for thought. Every time I think I KNOW something, ahem, my own dogma gets knocked into a wall of complexity, leaving me no choice but to sit on my rump and relax for a while (hello again, beginner’s mind!). 🙂

    So, to me, the original question didn’t seem to boil down to whether practice influences a session, as just because someone thinks Reiki is channeling something external, she still might practice and develop her skill in opening as a pure/good/effective channel, including “getting out of the way”, which is something both viewpoints might share in different ways.

    So personal practice could very well affect a hands-on healing practice in both scenarios, don’t you think? One way of thinking might be more limiting, but not necessarily for everyone—they don’t seem to be mutually exclusive to me. Believing in a force outside oneself does not necessarily mean you don’t also believe in oneness with that force and everything (your Christian example of union with God seems much like that).

    I enjoyed the question of whether practicing regularly affects hands-on healing and the related exploration of oneness versus channeling something external. Even with these questions, though, it’s not so black and white. Practice is not the only path to oneness, especially as the oneness is already there and what we all are (as you said). There are people who naturally inhabit this space, just as there are naturally gifted athletes, mathematical minds, comedic geniuses, etc. For instance, in your musician analogy, most highly skilled professional musicians have innate talent AND a great practice ethic. Neither is usually enough alone.

    Having said all that, for me, I am deeply grateful there is a practice regularly option available, as when I started these practices (and still sometimes now 🙂 I felt quite like the klutz in gym class or the dyslexic in a literature course. Carving these paths of practice day after day seemed the only way for me to get it, and I’ve seen practice help so many people develop who never would have conceived of such a thing as “Reiki” before they began.

    And of course, for those lucky ones who are naturally gifted, how wonderful that practicing gives them the avenue to delve deeper and expand further.

    One other question comes to mind. I wonder if St. Francis of Assisi would always be the right practitioner for every client? People seem to need support and are ready for change and wellness in many ways and at different levels.

    Not that that stops me from practicing practicing practicing! I can only carry on with what I can do and be calm in the knowledge that the right clients, the right students, will connect with me when they need to, and that I will also find who I need at a given time for support.

    Thank you for opening up these discussions and allowing nuance and differences of opinion without shilling for “right answers” (although of course it’s great to hear your nuanced and experienced perspective, as well!).

    Happy practicing, everyone! 🙂

    Alice in Brooklyn

  2. Avatar of Tiffany

    For me something was missing from my reiki classes. It felt ‘wrong’ for me to focus on just treating others. It wasn’t until a year or so after my level 2 class due to tons of independent study that I realized it was the practicing. I was taught the purpose of reiki was to help others, not myself. I knew healing exists within each of us, and I couldn’t reconcile that “is this all there is to reiki” feeling. Now, I practice, boy oh boy do I practice. I bring the practice of reiki into nearly everything I do. What a disservice to have been taught nothing of daily self practice. There can never be too much of a good thing and I see it as one can get married at city hall or one can have a ceremony filled with ritual in a 200 year old building where sacred space has been held for 2 centuries. Either way, in the end you are married, but wow one surely feeds the soul more than the other. I think there is a need for both types of practitioners.

  3. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  4. Avatar of Bronwen Stiene

    Hi Tiffany,
    There’s definitely place for both practitioners just as there is place for the shower singer and the Opera house performer. However, if we are a professional practitioners we have to be professional and that means working at our area of expertise to be the best that we can possibly be.

  5. Avatar of Alice Risemberg
  6. Avatar of Elly

    Yes!!! Reiki IS a spiritual practice, as Usui Founder demonstrated clearly in his teachings and in his Five Reiki Principles/Ideals/Precepts, which are a life discipline if ever there was one. The tragedy of Reiki in the West has been its focus on physical healing to the exclusion of everything else: Hocus pocus! You’re cured! (Well, that and its one-day-and-you’re-a-Reiki-Master-if-you-just-pay-me shtick.) Jesus himself performed physical healings, of course, and I certainly don’t want to denigrate their importance, but in my opinion their real value is reintegration into the whole, not healing per se. No one would claim that Christ’s healing miracles were the most important aspect of his teachings, and it’s delusional to assume that about Reiki practice, as you point out. Thank heavens this view is finally shifting! I think Reiki, taken as a life practice, is infinitely rewarding and has every practical discipline in place to take one’s own practice to its highest level and to show compassion to others. We may not all become Saint Francis or play the cello like Yo-Yo Ma, but that should never stop us from following the path or aspiring to their perfection, even as we set aside all ego-desire to attain it. With pure heart and pure intent, whatever we achieve will be enough.

  7. Avatar of Chris Smith

    I’m delighted to see these most recent discussions!  After my first Reiki “class” I felt a little lost – something was missing.  I found later that it was a base, in my case the precepts.  Just learning the words does not bring understanding.  It was only through long long comtemplative sessions and a lot of outside reading and discussion that I started to understand the simple sentences that form the basis of the practice.

    I think part of the difficulty is the differences in Western translations compared to the true concepts.  Compassion, for instance, is more often associated with a feeling of pity rather than the more Buddhist idea of striving to understand something from the other person’s point of view.

    Once I started looking at the precepts from a different perspective, things fell into place, especially when it became clear that the precepts themselves cannot exist separately. They are all connected as we are all connected.

    If we understand that anger is almost always based in fear, its clear that those two precepts are sort of sub-parts of one concept.  Then, if we look at someone else’s anger as fear and ask how we can alleviate the fear, it is harder to react to anger with anger.  That, in turn, is the basic idea behind compassion—understand what the other person is suffering, then see if there is anything to do to help alleviate that suffering.  Again, in turn, that practice leads can only exist hand in hand with humility.  On and on……..

    To make a long story a little shorter—Reiki made little sense to me until I started digging very deeply into the precepts.  And digging into the precepts, over the last few years, has dramatically changed the way I conduct myself in day to day action and interaction with others.  On the other hand, the more I think I learn, the more questions I have and go in search of more perspective.

    I look forward to more discovery.

  8. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Chris,
    Yes the precepts are the foundation of the system of Reiki, however they are often overlooked or not explained as being the foundation of the system of Reiki.
    Precepts are instructions, they are instructing us how to work with the other elements of the system of Reiki, the symbols/mantras, meditations, hands on healing and the attunement/reiju. To attain what is asked for in the precepts takes lots of patience, perseverance and practice. They look so simple when we see them written down on a piece of paper, but they are so hard to really integrate in our practice and daily life. What is interesting to note is that all the other elements of the system of Reiki are there to help you to realize the precepts. So by performing the meditations, meditating on the symbols/mantras, doing hands on healing on yourself and practicing/receiving the attunement/reiju we will one day be able to integrate the precepts in everything we do.
    I agree with you as well on what people think is compassion. As the system of Reiki comes from Japan and was created in the late 1800s beginning 1900s we need to look at what compassion meant in that era! We will then find that real compassion is not pity but being in a state of non-duality. This is also represented by the level III symbol and mantra DKM, or in other words DKM and the precepts are one and the same, pointing out what the real outcome of the system is.
    What a wonderful journey, never ending!

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