What do you think of when you hear the word “armour”? I immediately see one of those spooky old stone castle hallways with an empty set of armour standing by a doorway holding a spear in its hand, looking as if it’s about to start moving all on its own. “Inner armour”, however, is something quite different, a curious concept. Here’s how it relates to you and the blessings of the system of Reiki.
In the system of Reiki, as in many spiritual practices, we have an initiation process, which in Japanese is called reiju. A direct translation of reiju is “spiritual blessing”. And what a wonderful blessing it is as teachers enact a ritual that supports the profound rememberance of interconnectedness with everything for both the teacher and student.
Ritual is the repeating of an act, often physical, but it is also more than that. It is a conscious differentiation from the ordinary. When we consciously differentiate, we create a framing. To make this framework we consciously use symbolism (physical acts), with a formality (focussing our mind and intent), while creating a sacred space (opening ourselves spiritually). When we think of ritual like this we know that what we are actually doing is fully embodying a specific practice, as we are working with the complete balance of our body, our mind and our spirit (san mitsu in Japanese). What then happens within this framework is the specific workings of the practice itself.
The ritual of reiju bears many similarities to a Japanese initiation process called go shimbo. Go shimbo can be translated as “inner armour”. Which brings me back to armour. But reiju is not an empty shell, like an exoskeleton, worn to deflect danger. It is an armour that we build within ourselves, that strengthens us from inside. There is so much to understand about the workings of the system of Reiki, and reiju is one of the major elements that points us towards consciously living the Reiki Precepts to simply Be Reiki.
When we practice reiju together, both the teacher and student are enacting a ritual. This means that they are fully embodying this particular spiritual practice; body, mind and spirit creating a framework that supports the practice of reiju. Within that complex maelstrom of energy and spirit that is reiju, there is a remembrance of who we are. This boundless light that shines from within is not hard like armour, but it gives us strength like armour. It ensures that we no longer need to defend ourselves from externalities like fearful enemies, instead we draw upon our inner strength to open our heart to the world and shower it with compassion. A Japanese priest calls this an “armour of mercy”. It is at once that which protects us like armour, and at the same something which we must stand guard over. Mercy, fostered, is an inner armour that allows us to BE wonderful human qualities such as resilience, tolerance, patience, and kindness.
Inner armour is not something to put on, inner armour exists within. The system of Reiki helps us to recognise and nurture it.
Based in Australia, Bronwen Logan (Stiene) teaches the system of Reiki is co-founder of the International House of Reiki and Shibumi International Reiki Association as well as co-author of the critically acclaimed books The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, A-Z of Reiki Pocketbook, Reiki Techniques Card Deck and Your Reiki Treatment. Bronwen is also the voice of their audiobooks and of the Reiki meditations available in the shop.