Toward a More Plausible Reiki Model
How does Reiki work?
This question comes up often.
The answer is simple: We don’t know.
We don’t know.
Reiki energy, or healthy biofield flow?
I find the words “we don’t know” to be liberating. They free me from the common explanation: “the Reiki energy comes through and goes where it’s needed.” They enable me to explore and contemplate my practice.
The “Reiki energy” model is, to me, deeply unsatisfying. For one thing, it stretches credulity. And it doesn’t really match my experience.
Yes, when I practice Reiki self-treatment, I usually feel subtle movement, a sense of flow. I just don’t assume that flow to be “Reiki energy” coming through. I realize it’s my own biofield reorganizing itself the same way it does in response to other healing practices. (The biofield is what the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine calls the subtle vibrational body that purportedly surrounds and penetrates the physical body.)
I vividly remember my first Reiki treatment in 1986 (I took First degree training the following week). I had already experienced acupuncture and various hands-on healing. I had practiced yoga, pranayama, meditation, chanting, visualization—the list was long and varied. So I knew very well how balanced I felt when my biofield was flowing evenly. And I knew there were many ways to gently and effectively influence the human system toward a more balanced state.
Reiki, acupuncture and meditation
As a Reiki newbie, I was given the usual rap about “Reiki energy.” I knew something good was happening during my Reiki practice–the experience was palpable and familiar enough to be beyond doubting–but the explanation didn’t make sense to me. It raised more questions than it answered, and it didn’t seem necessary.
After all, when the acupuncturist needled me, he wasn’t putting energy into my system that went where it was needed. He was stimulating my system, helping it reorganize itself so it could function more efficiently.
And when I meditated, even when I felt an inner quickening and fullness, I never imagined an outside pump filling me full of whatever. I realized that meditation reconnected my awareness to a place which exists within all of us where we experience that all is well, and that through that connection, my system let go of the clutter that got in the way of my well-being.
Reiki healing and the ocean
Practicing Reiki didn’t feel like some outside “energy coming through me going where needed”–it was more like a trip to the ocean. When I sit by the ocean, I feel my system recalibrating itself. Simply being in the presence of the ocean deeply affects me, as if I were sitting in the direct presence of my inner wellness.
The ocean is a reminder of that inviolable inner state in which we feel the proximity of the ocean of consciousness. My entire being responds to being reminded that, on a profound level, all is well. I walk away from the ocean feeling relaxed and refreshed–a lot like the way I feel after my Reiki practice. When I practice Reiki, it’s as if I am sitting beside the ocean of consciousness.
Reconnecting with that inviolable core of wellness through my daily practice helps my system to stay well tuned, its self-regulating mechanisms whirring and functioning optimally.
At least until the next major onslaught knocks me flat, or a steady stream of smaller insults disrupts that naturally rhythmic state. Then I may opt for additional care from a trusted practitioner, usually Reiki treatment, acupuncture, or homeopathy. (Seems like a good place to share this: My esteemed acupuncture colleagues tell me the meaning of the Chinese character qi, commonly translated as “energy,” is actually closer to flow.)
Have you ever longed for a more plausible model of Reiki? This perspective may seem radical at first, but if you contemplate it, you may find this line of inquiry helps you conceptualize Reiki in way that is more empowering and satisfying, and that reflects your actual experience of Reiki practice. Please share your comments and let’s chew on this together.
This post has been translated into Spanish, Hacia un Modelo Más Creíble de Reiki.