A conventional health care graduate student asked me about the differences between Reiki and prayer. Here’s what I came up with, and I’d love to get some collective wisdom on this, so please comment–
- Like prayer, Reiki is a spiritual practice that has therapeutic benefits. (Here I would define a spiritual practice as an activity an individual uses to connect with her inner resources, her own innate spirituality.)
- Both Reiki and prayer can be practiced for oneself and/or for others.
- Neither Reiki practice nor prayer are limited to a specific belief system.
- There are a variety of “protocols” that can be used effectively to practice either Reiki or prayer.
- The overall experience of either Reiki practice or prayer is generally expressed by practitioners as being positive and uplifting.
- There is no control over the specific result of either practicing Reiki or praying.
- Prayer requires conscious engagement; you cannot really pray without being attentive to your prayer. Reiki is a comparatively passive practice than prayer, in that you simply place your hands in a series of areas of your body. You can be attentive to the experience or not, as you choose.
- Prayer is not in danger of being co-opted by conventional medicine in the way Reiki practice is.
What would you add to this? Please comment below.
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51 thoughts on “Reiki & Prayer”
Perhaps, but the use of the word “energy” to refer to a reality that has nothing to do with the definition of the word is problematic. That’s why I prefer more neutral terms such as source or consciousness.
Energy and source are different, David. Energy is manifest, has form (albeit a subtle one), and is thus a dualist phenomenon. Source is formless, all-pervasive, and non-dual.
Universal energy is just that Pamela !
David, is it possible that Reiki practice takes us beyond being connected to the source to an awareness that we actually are the source, each one of us?
True not many think like us Pamela .
The source in my case is of course the energy Pamela !
At first instance Reiki did not have a name ? Mikao Usui simple called it ( finger healing) the name Reiki came from his students ! I would say an affirmation before any treatment rather than prayer. We are indeed connected to the source . For Mikao, Reiki was a spiritual path for those who wanted to study with him , and first and foremost it was for self, helping others was secondary ! you must first heal yourself before helping others !
I practice and teach both traditional Usui Reiki and also western Reiki , I am on my spiritual journey and still learning from Reiki and indeed my students.
Of Course, Your comments are correct in not interfering with the a patients own belief systems or goals for themselves. Also, how could one possibly know what a client really needs anyway? That is what the Reiki is for! We are only a conduit for the healing energy. I totally agree.
My desire was indeed to support the concept and efficacy of detachement, thank You Pamela.
It was hands down the most important thing I was taught as a level II practitioner. Attachement was most strongly and emphatically discouraged in my training experience. I was taught that a practitioners focus was always to be a clean and clear channel for RH energy and to allow the energy itself to support the needs of the client for their highest benefit and greatest good. The only intention necessary with that in mind, would then be the original intention to channel energy for the client made at the beginning of any treatment.
I myself do not discount the difficulty of this. I find it very difficult. So when preparing for a treament, before the client arrives, I offer up a personal “prayer” to ask for guidance and asistance in my Reiki work that embodies the teachings of my master teacher and the highest good of the client. In this way I am keeping Prayer and practice seperate.
Additionally I agree that nothing should be offered to a client without express consent, disclosure and full understanding of both parties involved in the experience of Treatment. ( etthics )
It may seem that we are splitting hairs here, but this type of discussion helps practitioners refine their understanding, so let’s take it a little farther.
This really comes down to a matter of scope of practice, which might be understood differently by people who are health care professionals and people who are not.
Lora, I imagine (and correct me if I’m wrong) that as a nurse, you are used to holding a positive intention for your patients. Since nurses are usually very busy caring for patients, you probably hold that intention in a general way, without focussing on it.
I think the distinction Karla is drawing (and again, correct me if I am misrepresenting you) is that it’s one thing to passively have the overall intention for the benefit of the people given to our care, and it’s quite another to actively focus energies on outcomes. That kind of active focus is really an intervention in and of itself, and if we are going to include it in our Reiki sessions, perhaps we need informed consent.
Reiki practice supports the client’s healing from within; active intention can override the client’s will from outside. I think this is the crux of this discussion.
Beyond that, I am always concerned when practitioners are too involved in wanting to help, because it is often a sign of a practitioner who is involving her personal energy (unhealthy and depleting for her) to create a desired outcome rather than being content to offer the client the Reiki connection for whatever benefit they derive from it. Detachment from the outcomes makes us more effective practitioners who are safe for our clients and for ourselves. One of my hospital Reiki interns shares his experience of this in tomorrow’s blogpost. Click here to signup to get it in your inbox.
In response to the posting from the Psychiatric nurse, Reiki is very spiritual in nature considering it enables the practitioner to be on a spiritual path. The practitioner is meant to be a channel only and not to bring personal intention to the treatment environment. This is what makes it a challenge….everyone has intention, but allowing the treatment to be centered on the relationship between energy and client is the destination. If treatment is to be for the highest good of the client then only the Reiki energy and the clients energy should be interactively involved. Our personal intentions are a third party line and not in any way necessary. I know this is a strong view. It’s meant to offend no one in it’s offering.
I am a psychiatric nurse at an adolescent facility. I just completed Reiki 2 and have been reading your blogs. I feel that the Reiki is definitely from ‘God’, however your beliefs lean., whether Buddist, Hindu, Christian, or whatever. I think everyone interprets the interaction between the client and themselves differently. I feel very spiritual during a session and I have faith in the healing powers, but I still focus my energy on wanting to help that person and feel gratitude during the session for whatever they may gain. The main thing is that people are getting the benefit of the session in this too busy/too loud world!
Deliberate about our work as clinicians. I agree whole heartedly. Having been a Practicing Midwife, RN, and ,. Nurse Case Manager for over 32 years, and having been a practicing Healing Touch and Reiki practitioner for the past 14 years, absolutley.
My clients certainly are allowed to make informed choices, with my background I am only too well aware of informed consent, HIPPA laws ect. As early as day one I have always had my clients sign consent forms. I have kept detailed documentation both before and after my sessions with clients and . I maintain contact with clients after a session.
I do not pray for an outcome because only Spirit can make that decision.
I have no vested interest in the outcome for that to me is part of Ego.
I am interested in knowing that this universal energy knows what the
client requires to heal and in that aspect I am fully vested.
I have never received a complaint from any of my clients about praying. If I am asked by a client to pray with them, I will. My practice is one where I am the bridge between Traditional and Holistic Medicine. I gently guide the client on their own path to wellness.
It’s important to be deliberate about our work as clinicians, whether we are physicians, nurses, psychotherapists, or any other specialty. What is it that we are hired to do? How do we represent that to our clients so they can make an informed choice?
One question might be whether you are praying for an outcome or not. Or is the prayer open-ended, rather like the recitation of a mantra that you do much of the time, whether you are practicing Reiki or not?
It seems to me that if the prayer is specific to one’s Reiki practice and if it is intercessional–asking for something–then it has to be disclosed to our prospective clients so they can decide whether or not they are on board with it. Lack of disclosure would be unethical.
Thank you for your response. I have never given the fact that I pray a concious thought. Maybe we look at prayer differently. It’s not that I pray because I feel that the Reiki is not strong enough, it’s not that I pray because I feel compelled to do so.
For me it is as natural as breathing. I think that maybe the term I pray has conjured up some picture of the praying nun, au contraire. As I work I am in conversation with that higher source. I am also acutely aware of my environment and who is in the room (non-physical beings) with my client and myself as I am working.
I’m curious why you think it is necessary to pray.
Isn’t the Reiki treatment enough?
I am rather late at reading these comments about Prayer and Reiki.
I really am at a loss for words here as I have never began a session with a client without a prayer. During my entire session with all of my clients I am praying for that client.
My prayer is always that the client receive whatever it is that they need on a deep cellular level. For me Reiki is a sacred practice, and during my sessions I know that my prayers are answered. I am able to detatch and allow that higher power to use me as a facilitator for healing..
You also make a good point, Rosanne.
We seem to all agree on the unboundedness of Reiki. At any given time, we each choose the piece that works for us as a point of focus, as a handle, because the ultimate reality of Reiki is profound beyond imagining.
And the handle we choose may change as our understanding and life circumstances change.
I love this discussion and appreciate everyone’s participation so much. Thank you thank you!
While I can respectfully listen to what Earlene feels, I feel that we are “holistic” beings – and as such, can’t separate the spiritual from the physical and emotional. In my opinion, it is all connected. So therefore, for me, Reiki, even self-Reiki, always has an undeniable spiritual component.
Thank you for weighing in on this, Earlene. It’s always a gift to hear the perspective of someone who has practiced Reiki as long as you have. I love your description of “standing in the quiet of a Reiki Session…” You’ve beautifully expressed the profound stillness and healing that is available to recipient and practitioner during a Reiki treatment.
Regarding your preference to avoid using the words “practice” and “spiritual,”–and I realize I may be being presumptuous here, so please excuse me if I am–I have the feeling that we are pointing to inner experiences that are very similar, just using different words. As readers have pointed out in other streams on this blog, the words we choose are largely determined by the places in which we find ourselves speaking about Reiki.
I refer to Reiki as a practice because, like yoga and meditation, Reiki is something we actually practice for ourselves. As I understand it, Mrs. Takata encouraged her students to practice self-treatment regularly rather than just using Reiki as an intervention when we or those around us feel ill. Also, I am often speaking about Reiki to health care professionals, to whom the idea of self-care is revolutionary, and using the term practice helps drive home the understanding that daily self-treatment is the foundation of what we offer others.
Your point about Reiki treatment being physical rather than spiritual is well taken. I love the groundedness of it, and it makes me think of how practical Mrs. Takata’s students say she was.
Hands-on Reiki treatment is physical, and no experienced practitioner would deny that there are physical benefits. But what is the source of Reiki treatment? Isn’t it sourced in the realm of spirit and mystery, the invisible, the formless, what you refer to as energy? I agree completely that the feeling of being part of everything is a side effect, but don’t all the benefits of Reiki treatment–physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual–come from connecting to that reality where we all are connected?
Reiki and Prayer
I’m uncomfortable these days with the increasing emphasis of Reiki as a spiritual practice, especially the self-treatment practice.
First of all, in Rev. Takata’s teachings, Reiki is the name of an energy. It is so profound that it often defies appropriate description. It is the ‘healer’ in the Usui System of Natural Healing (one of the many shades of names that denotes the system of which Reiki is an intrinsic part) that flows through the practitioners hands in response to a need in the plant, animal or person underneath them. The term is used so often as a stand-alone name to represent this system, when it is not. Reiki is often used as a verb: “I reikied my client for an hour,” or as an adjective: “Place your reiki hands in this position for diabetes.”
Reiki is not a practice. To define it as such is a misnomer and confusing to me.
If we want to talk about the Usui System being a spiritual practice, I still balk. My contention is that this system and this energy called Reiki (Re=Universal, Ki=energy) is a physical healing modality first and foremost.
As I write in my book, Reiki in Everyday Living, under ‘Reflections,’ I can accept that doing Reiki on myself or others can be an impetus to spiritual growth, emotional balance, and mental health. Because each cell in the body not only has a physical component but a mental, emotional, and spiritual one, as well, and the need for healing might be from any of those aspects.
Standing in the quiet of a Reiki Session as my client rests, even sleeps, comfortable on the table, I have trained myself to relax my mind as well. I can let go, of thoughts, concerns, worries, and I remind myself to stay present. This stance remains comfortable to me as I move my hands from one position to another or allow them to follow an intuitive path.
Being aware of the energy of Reiki passing through my hands, I sense its flow and ebb, and this offers me the opportunity to recognize the moment when it is right to move my hands to the next position. This interaction between my sensations and those I feel from my client then becomes a rhythmic acceptance of what is passing between us. I feel we become one. I feel as if I am interconnecting with not just my client but with all that is.
I cannot call this a spiritual practice. The feeling of being a part of everything is a side-effect, if you will, of how I attend to the physical application of Reiki according to the Usui System of Natural Healing. What I gain from the voluntary focus and surrendering to whatever needs to happen for my client is my process alone. I can never predict what vistas I or my client will access or what awarenesses of life will fill us. Each session is different. Healing occurs for both of us, from the tension in their necks to the sore on my leg. Revelations can happen for both us too during the session.
To me, these are the side effects that are the mystery that surrounds the System, that leaves me in wonder.
Are you asking if there is a right or wrong way to pray? What about taking the “should” out of prayer, and just giving oneself the space to pray according to one’s inclination in the moment?
Isn’t it always uplifting to remember the transcendent reality? How would it change your state to be satisfied with that?
Is it ethical to ask God for something in prayer?Or should one just offer thanks to Him while doing so?Or should the state of immersion in God’s energy while in meditation,which is supposed to be one of the highest forms of prayer,be considered to be its own reward?
Thank you Pamela. It is very helpful to be able to get your thoughts. Lots for me to learn and to refelct on.
I don’t suggest surrendering to the outcome. For one thing, we never know what an outcome truly is. But also, it can be dangerous. If someone thinks she has to surrender to an outcome, she may feel that there is nothing further to be done and become passive.
Surrendering to the practice is quite different from surrendering to an outcome. Our effort, our offering, is to practice. Sometimes practice is all that is needed. And sometimes practice opens our understanding that there is something else we could do to participate in our wellness.
Another thought: it might help your clarity if you looked to see what word you are leaving out after you say “Reiki.” For example, when you write, “…I am sending Reiki to someone,” you mean you are sending a Reiki treatment. We can’t send Reiki. Reiki is everywhere all the time. What we are sending is a treatment, a connection to Reiki. The benefits of self-practice or of giving treatment to someone else come from the connection to that ever present reality we call Reiki. The sensations we often feel during Reiki practice–subtle sense of flow, warmth, etc.–are simply our own system’s response to that enhanced connection to Reiki, the source.
Any connection to source could be considered a form of prayer. In yoga, for example, complete identification with source, with the Absolute, is considered the highest form of prayer. But this is only accurate from the perspective of one’s understanding of the essence. The action of prayer and the action of Reiki practice are distinct from one another.
If someone asks us to send a Reiki treatment, and we agree, it is our ethical obligation to send only a Reiki treatment, not a prayer. In medicine, this is understood as informed consent and staying within our scope of practice. Believe it or not, there are people who would agree to a Reiki treatment but not to being prayed for, and vice versa. The important thing is that they get to choose, and that we deliver only what we are asked for.
Thank you Pamela for sharing what you say to your First degree students. I really like it.
I have found that the understanding of the concept of not being attached to the outcome ie trying to change the person’s circumstance if they are suffering has come to me only recently. It is quite a difficult concept to incorporate in one’s practice to surrender the outcome to Reiki when one is suffering oneself or when someone we love is suffering ie when our emotions are involved.
Apologies if I am digressing from the original question here. It was simply reading what everyone was saying reminded me of this question that I had. And perhaps the boundaries of Reiki and prayer do blur for me sometimes as I am not a religious person and therefore do not have another strong belief system. Reiki has helped me to find a spiritual practice.
Taking this discussion to another level, if I am sending Reiki to someone or to a situation using my level II practice is this not a prayer. I could use the word blessing here instead of prayer I suppose. Also perhaps I am thinking of prayer in the context of asking for help…
I had never thought about differentiating between sending a prayer and Reiki. Thank you for stimulating this thought.
If someone is praying, then it is prayer. I don’t understand why that would be considered Reiki. Please explain.
When my First degree students ask about healing for people they are unable to touch, I suggest that they simply think of that person with love, or remember a happy time with the person, while giving themselves a hands-on treatment. It’s important to simply bring the person to mind in a loving or easy context, without using intention or will to try to change that person or his circumstances. It’s a way of offering a blessing, of supporting a friend from afar without crossing boundaries.
Fascinating discussion. Thank you everyone.
I would like to ask a question about Reiki level one student sending a prayer when they cannot get their hands on the other person perhaps due to distance – as they might be in a different part of the world. Is this Reiki or a prayer? Can we differentiate between the two in this instance?
Here is my contribution to the discussion:
Prayer is conversation with God; God gazing at me and me gazing at God.
Reiki is intentionally offering the Reiki energy, inviting, and not being attached if the invitation is declined or has results different from what you expect. Self practice is being present to the Reiki, being mindful of it and grateful for it. It is more of a “be-ing” rather than a “do-ing”, bells and whistles are not necessary.
Thank you so much Pamela for your kind advice.As of now I could not ask for more…I’ll try my best to follow what you have said…With Love,and warm regards,Vish
You are free to draw whatever conclusion you choose, Vish, but I’d like to state clearly that the conclusion you articulated does not match what I was trying to convey. Your conclusion is really just more of the same trying-to-figure-out-that-which-cannot-be-figured-out.
A Chinese aphorism cautions against aiming at the moon in the pond.
Practice Reiki, and practice contentment. It’s not a lack of skill but a lack of understanding that frustrates you. It takes time. One cannot push the river.
From what you have said pamela it seems that only trying to identify with the One energy inherent in these modalities,while practicing them, may bring oneself close to an answer that is being sought.
You won’t find the answer to your question by looking outside, Vish. Only through practice can one come to understand this.
Such earnestness to practice perfectly reminds me of the story in which a student asks the yoga master, “What posture is best?” To which the yoga master replies, “Let the mind assume the best posture. That is all.”
I feel we practice Reiki and Prayer and Meditation not just for the sake of practicing them with an altruristic motive or without any purpose of getting any good out of them for ourselves,though I agree the true spiritual people do these practices for the highest good of others too on this planet with unconditional love.So,the purpose of this forum is getting fulfilled,as it goes on,progressing towards a point as to how to do them in a manner that produces best possible results for helping ourselves and for helping others.I am imbibing the goodness incorporated in the comments of all the friends here based on their self experience.But am wondering still as to what is The perfect method of going about all these aspects of spiritual practices in order to get all that we are striving for.I am sure the friends participating herein will come out with what ultimately satisfies us all in our pursuits.My interest and keenness in reading these collective observations is growing…
I am sorry to hear that you struggle so much in your effort to communicate Reiki, Karla. I don’t see anything specific enough in your comment for me to address in a public forum.
I’d like to refer you to a more recent post “What is Reiki?–What to do?” You may find strategies there that would help.
My medical Reiki and Communicating Reiki classes help practitioners refine their understanding and develop ways of representing Reiki practice that are clear, specific, appropriate to the setting, and true to the practitioner’s own understanding and experience. In order to communicate well, it is necessary to move our emotion and frustration and assumptions out of the process and develop the “muscle” of the intellect. It also seems to get easier the longer we have been practicing daily self-treatment.
Stepping in a bit late to this blog posting I am no less rapt and enthralled as the rest of you. This is a topic of much concern to me and one I have much trouble with.
In my practice, people have shunned Reiki treament because of their lack of understanding and frustration with being given a basic answer. The follow on question about their interest has further put people off as well becuase they do not want to talk openly about their personal religious beliefs and cannot find within themselves the words to discuss Reiki. Often times, even though I have given them my best effort in answering their question and offered samples, my querants leave more mystified than helped, never to approach the subject again even after applying the tools exactly as suggested in this blog posting..sigh. It leads me to stop approaching the subject.
Relating Reiki, is so difficult. I was instructed to keep Religion seperate from day one of my training. People relate everything through their personal experience like it is a filter. It is common for people around me to relate everything in their lives to religion. The intuitive factor has not really helped me. I believe people want to hear a response with great structure and protocol, like a religion but are equally uninspired by a textbook response.
Your response directly influences your querants realtionship to you on multiple levels. I have found the experience of relating Reiki to be uniquely destructive where it has needed to be strongly foundational.
I truely and deeply appreciate hearing all of the experiences of others. Further, I welcome all your advice!
My favorite way to contrast the active nature of prayer with the passive nature of Reiki practice is to say that praying is talking to God, while Reiki is listening to God.
I wish to convey my appreciation and thanks to Carol Penn in putting the the essence of Reiki and of Prayer so succinctly in her comment of September 21,2009.It is so useful.I am in tune with it.
Actually, Jeanne, although it may not be commonly represented as such in western culture, prayer does stand alone as a spiritual practice in Asian disciplines. In yoga (which is broad set of spiritual practices and definitely not a religion), the highest form of prayer is understood to be complete immersion in, or identification with, the ultimate reality.
Those of us who experience Reiki practice as a connection to this ultimate reality rather than an energetic phenomenon can relate to Rosanne’s description of Reiki self-practice as a form of wordless prayer–I know I do.
Often times, when I pray, I can’t seem to find the appropriate words. Therefore, I have found my Reiki self-practice to be THE ‘perfect’ form of prayer for me since no words are needed.
This is a fascinating conversation. I’m enjoying everyone’s reflections.
I want to pick up on Pamela’s comment that Mrs. Takata did not talk about calling on a higher energy in order for Reiki to flow. That matches my experience of her teaching.
She did use both “universal life energy” and “God-power” to describe Reiki, and it was clear these were descriptors. She was using language that would be meaningful to her audience in helping them understand what they were accessing when they did Reiki. The task of the practitioner was simply to place their hands on the body being treated—their own or someone else’s. Spiritual or religious belief was not necessary for Reiki practice.
And, of course, Reiki touches and connects us with the spiritual within us and can profoundly inform and enlighten our spiritual practice and religious experience.
I love reading everyone’s eloquent thoughts and am informed by them. Thanks! Wow, this is the kind of question that I’d like to be able to answer. I always refer to Pamela’s book when trying to explain Reiki because it is so clear and resonant…but off the top of my head, if I had to answer that intern, maybe I’d say:
Prayer is a soulful mental activity (a conscious dialogue that seeks higher wisdom and engages subconscious knowingness) where as Reiki is an exchange of subtle, balancing energy and requires the practioner to place his/her hands on areas of the body where Reiki flows.
It seems to me that both prayer and Reiki make contact with that which is eternal, benevolent and invincible which, though unseen, is profoundly healing. I was raised as a Catholic and still find comfort in my childhood prayers although I am not involved in any organized religion.
To me one of the joys of Reiki is that I can stop and let Reiki take over. What a miracle! It’s like good acting when the actor stops performing and trying so hard to do the character right and simply lets the character take over!
I fully endorse all you have said about Reiki and Prayer,Pamela.To comment from my own experience,Prayer can be a very powerful modality too in the attainment of some objectives.I have felt that the effectiveness and assurance of results increases progressively as one cultivates the Source of All Power more and more.In my experience so far,God(if you allow me to use this term for this Power)has appeared to be both a personal as well as an impersonal/scientific entity.The mere saying of certain set words,phrases,or full prayers(whether mentally or vocally) as established by spiritual masters since ages produces the vibrations of spiritual energy like the working of the laws of physical science.Of course,the power so generated enhances greatly with the addition of the element of personal address and fervour.I am only a student and a seeker of ways of doing it better,knowing far less than you do…As with Reiki,so with Prayer,the proposition remains of how to refine the practice continuously.They being two of the several aspects of spirituality,have the quality of freshness about them,and their pursuit cannot end till enlightenment.
I completely agree with all of you and I would like to add, and I hope this does not offend anyone, that for me, the main differece is that prayer, is associated with religion. It does not stand alone as a spiritual practice. I do not know anyone personally who prays who has not had any religious upbringing.
Also, Reiki is as much physical for me as it is spiritual. I love that I can feel it all around me at any given moment. It has been a welcome companion since I was attuned all those years ago..
As a relative newbie to Reiki, I would say the difference for me is intention. Prayer often seems more about somehow directing outcomes: please help, don’t let this happen, make that happen…. My experience of Reiki is more of an unfolding. I don’t direct my energy toward any particular goal, just let it develop.
OMG, how did I miss learning to pray in the Sunday Times magazine! Thanks, Judith. Here’s the link to the article https://bit.ly/yVECZ
Prayer and Reiki are both potential ways to channel Source. Prayer, however, is more often used to connect to Source,i.e., people are often praying for something or about something. Reiki can be more of an opportunity to get out of the way and let Source come through you. It seems to me, that the more one can “get out of the way”, no requests for or about anything, the more Source can come through.
Yes, great question. Oddly enough, yesterday’s New York Times Magazine had an article about learning how to pray. The article quoted someone who said prayer falls into 4 categories: Wow! Oops! Gimme! and Thanks! Both prayer and Reiki are, as Pamela says, spiritual practices with therapeutic benefits, but prayer is most commonly thought of as a spiritual practice, emphasizing the Wow! Reiki is most commonly used for its therapeutic benefits, perhaps often overemphasizing the Gimme!
Some religions focus more on the Oops! And as a Jew (although not strictly observant), I do precisely that at this time of year. But we are not supposed to wallow in our sins and failures; we are supposed to identify and apologize for any wrongs we have done to others, to try to make up for them, and to try to figure out how we can do better and be better people in the new year. I think Reiki supports that process. I also think it is a gift from God, so Wow! and Thanks!
Great comments, thank you both!
Because Reiki and prayer are spiritual practices, their benefits are naturally felt in one’s religious experience and understanding. Practitioners with a strong religious life often tell me that their Reiki practice has deepened their connection to their religion.
But just because Reiki practice deepens one’s appreciation of one’s religion doesn’t mean that Reiki practice itself is religious. Some people experience improvement in their social lives as a result of their Reiki practice, and we often practice Reiki in groups, but that doesn’t make Reiki a social practice.
Like prayer or meditation, Reiki is a neutral spiritual practice that brings benefits which are experienced in every aspect of one’s life–health, well-being, social connections, and religion.
Loree brings up an interesting points about higher energy and looking outside vs. looking within.
In my experience, not everyone calls upon a higher energy when practicing Reiki. I for one do not. My practice is much more passive than that. When I practice Reiki, I simply place my hands. And I don’t practice for specific results; I practice for the sake of practice (we discussed this a bit in the Practice Makes Present thread).
The concept of a higher energy is one that many people have wrapped around their practice, a concept that many students are taught, but I don’t think it is accurate to assume that it is germane to Reiki practice. I have many friends who were trained by Mrs. Takata, and I have never heard them talk about calling on a higher energy (Susan Mitchell, are you reading?). My understanding is that the calling upon a higher energy is an add-on that happened after Mrs. Takata died. The fact that I have practiced for 25 years without it seems to support that calling upon a higher energy is not necessary to this practice.
Although many people pray to an outer source, particularly in western cultures, the direction in which one prays is not core to the practice of prayer itself. There are, for example, non-directional prayers and blessings, in which one simply asserts the greatest good.
This is a great question for me at this time. Although we say Reiki is not part of a belief system, for me, that is often a blurred line. There are different types of ‘prayers,’ or ‘praying’ that do not include words or meditation on some concept or idea. Relaxing into the presence of or connection to God is often how I feel when I am doing a Reiki self-treatment, not always, but sometimes. I hope this isn’t offensive for those who want Reiki to be separate from their religious practice. As I say, this is where I am at now, questioning in my own life, this separation.
During the 21 Day Virtual Retreat and this last week before Rosh HaShanah, I’ve found this ‘leaking’ of Reiki into my religious life more intense and very surprising and it is becoming difficult for me to say, “Ok, now I’m doing a Reiki self-treatment, Judaism get out of the way!”
I suppose another dimension to the question is, how do you view Reiki in the context of your religious and spritual life, especially if you practice a more traditional religion like Christianity or Judaism?
Just a few things to add, but what you said is pretty spot-on. We can even add into the mix here, meditation….because the #1 thing that these all have in common is calling upon positive energy. I had one person who is through family and I made a fb status message about how I witnessed the power of meditation and visualization can bring forth desired results, using positive energy and they replied ‘isn’t prayer more powerful?’ I find that being quite narrow-minded in the fact that it is all the same.
Also, with prayer, it tends to be projected to a Higher Source or Being- but with meditation and Reiki, we are looking into ourselves for answers, balance, and/or peace.