What If Reiki Is Already There?

Have you ever wondered, what is it we send when we “send Reiki?”

Surely it’s not Reiki itself. No matter where we might want to send it, isn’t Reiki already there? Isn’t Reiki every place all the time, all-pervasive and unending?

How can we send something somewhere when it is everywhere all the time? That doesn’t make sense.

Reiki, mystery, and common sense

Making sense doesn’t matter to everyone. Some have accused me of over-thinking, of trying to take the mystery out of Reiki. But there is a difference between mystery and foolishness.

Contemplating what we are doing doesn’t remove the mystery. If anything, it makes us more aware of how much we don’t know. And of how foolish our pat phrases about Reiki are.

If we don’t think about what we are doing when we “send Reiki,” we imagine little Reiki bits emanating from our hands and going where they’re told. Is that what you think is happening?

I don’t.

What are we sending when we “send Reiki?”

What if Reiki is the ultimate Oneness, the all-pervasive beingness from which the world as we know it manifests and into which all manifestation dissolves.

Then what do we send when we send Reiki?

We offer the Reiki connection, that mysterious something that increases our awareness of our own intrinsic Reiki-ness. And that changes everything.

What do you think? Does this fit your contemplated practice experience? Scroll down to leave a comment.


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62 thoughts on “What If Reiki Is Already There?”

  1. For some reason, I cannot reply to the post I wish to reply to. So I’ll just add it at the bottom. Pamela, if you do not set an intention to give Reiki to the client, or even ‘to share the Reiki connection’ as you phrased in your opening post, then what do we need Reiki practitioners for? Can’t we all just do Reiki for ourselves and amongst ourselves without seeking a ‘qualified practitioner’? Why, then, do you push for more credible Reiki if you say there is no need to set intention when sharing this with clients? Obviously there are more things to consider when questioning what makes credible Reiki than whether or not we set an intention, I don’t mean to imply that. I think the point I am trying to make is that if you say Reiki is already in everything, why would it matter who’s qualified and who isn’t? I suppose you’ve given me much more food for thought than I considered was possible with Reiki. Previously I just offered the Reiki as requested, and now I suppose it’s not even necessary for me to offer, as I see the offering and setting the intention to share as the same gesture.

    1. Jessica, we need Reiki practitioners to practice. I did not say anyone can practice Reiki; only people who have been initiated into the practice are able to practice Reiki.

      It seems your confusion stems from not differentiating between Reiki practice and Reiki as a name for Oneness.

      You wrote “Previously I just offered the Reiki as requested…” You offered the Reiki what?

      Offering the Reiki connection does not require intention; these are two separate actions. The Reiki connection is carried in the Reiki practitioner’s hands by the grace of the initiation, and that is why the practitioner’s intention is not necessary.

  2. I thought that I would throw this into the ring.

    “Physical objects are not in space, but these objects are spatially extended (as fields). In this way the concept ’empty space’ loses its meaning. …

    Since the theory of general relativity implies the representation of physical reality by a continuous field, the concept of particles or material points cannot play a fundamental part, nor can the concept of motion. The particle can only appear as a limited region in space in which the field strength or the energy density are particularly high.”
    (Albert Einstein, Metaphysics of Relativity, 1950)

  3. Dear Pamela,
    I would like to thank you for putting your energy into creating these discussions. I am a Master candidate, but reading your discussion I see I have many more unanswered questions than i realised.
    With gratitude,

    1. You’re very welcome, Lucinda, and thank you for taking the time to write. One of my main goals is to bring the questions to the surface where we can chew on them collectively. My understanding of mastery is that it is much more about sitting comfortably with the questions than it is about having answers.

  4. Susan wrote: “a process in which the teacher makes a commitment to the student and vice versa.”
    If that is to be as lasting beyond the actual training then that sounds very cultish to me. IMO, the bottom line is that all attunements are self-attunements. The formal attunement process is a situational environment which facilitates this. The master provides the environment but little else beyond that, he does something on one level and does nothing on another one, in particular he does nothing with, or to, the student. Naturally this means that one can go through the process and in the end not be attuned, and the opposite is also possible in spiritual terms.
    Reiki attunements belong to the worldly realm and not the spiritual one. In terms of a Reiki practice on a physical level it is not possible to be a Reiki practitioner without a formal attunement process, but unless the student performs his self-attunement (there on the spot, or later, or before), it is meaningless in spiritual terms.
    Once the training is over my committments to a particular teacher may be dissolved without any detrimental effects. If the attunement is at master level then as a (new) master we are on the same level, and where we may differ is in experience but nothing else.
    So many Reiki masters, when something is discussed, are prone to state “my teacher told me” and that always makes me cringe.
    Unquestioning devotion to a teacher and lineages may be wonderful if one is an insider but from the outside it will only serve to make Reiki look suspect.

    1. Peter, when I speak of a commitment between student and teacher, I mean a willingness to come together to advance the spiritual progress that can take place for both through collaboration. I mention this by analogy to the Buddhist tradition of student-teacher collaboration. In my view, this interaction has nothing to do with slavish following or adoration of a teacher, but rather a respectful interaction through which a teacher can serve as a guide for a student on his or her path for as long as both feel it is beneficial. In terms of Reiki training, the teacher starts a student out on a path, and the student then chooses whether to continue working with that teacher, or to expand outward by working with other teachers as he or she develops as a practitioner. There are benefits to both approaches, and I personally feel that there is definitely no need for a student to feel or express a cultish loyalty to a teacher.

  5. Pamela, I believe that the Reiki attunement/initiation is invasive. We are drawing symbols into the student’s biofield with the intention to initiate them into Reiki practice. I don’t think that this is how Usui taught his students.

    Reiki practice is all about non-doing, very similar to meditation. In my opinion, the attunement ritual is about the teacher physically doing something to the student and it does not resonate with me.

    In my classes I start my students on self-practice right away and I believe that this gives them the impulse to continue their practice. In a way, they initiate themselves.

    But may be we are not speaking of the same thing. What do you mean by functional initiation versus physical ritual? I think the Reiki class itself is an experience of initiation.

    Thank you, Pamela and Susan, for this very interesting exchange of opinions.

    1. Christine, I feel exactly the way you do about Reiki being about non-doing. When I practice – and this is the way I teach my students to practice, too – I focus on establishing a connection with the recipient and then just being present with the person, all with a loving heart, but without the intent to send them energy or effect any change or outcome. I feel that the energy connection when initiated from a loving heart (or motivated by bodhicitta) is what facilitates healing, and that we need do nothing more than that. (Not that working from that place is always easy, especially for beginning students, but that is what I encourage students to do.) And so, although I give attunements in my classes, I stress that the purpose is for them to sense the connection in whatever way they end up sensing it, and to in that way feel that they and I are linked as teacher and student.
      I, too, am really enjoying our exchange. Thanks to you both!

    2. Christine, by functional initiation I mean simply an initiation that actually functions. The tradition of a lineage path is not commonly found in European-based culture. American culture is particularly oriented toward what is new rather than maintaining tradition. This lack of cultural support for Reiki lineage practice led to misguided “innovation” with the initiation process. Having met people who thought they were initiated but who had no subsequent experience of shall I call it “Reiki-ness,” and whose hands felt unresponsive to me, it seems that at least in some cases, the connection to lineage has become so attenuated as to have broken.

      I truly do not experience initiating students who have asked for initiation as invasive. I am fulfilling my part of our commitment, and I am doing so with a quiet mind.

      The initiation process as I have been taught it is not aggressive. However, if the mind of the initiating master is not composed, then one could say that a degree of aggression comes into the mix–but it’s the Reiki master, not the initiation itself.

      This of course leads to the argument for more thorough training of Reiki masters, and for having years of daily self-practice and professional treatment practice before becoming a Reiki master.

      It is possible to take action from a centered place in which one is not making unnecessary ripples. This is what I consider mastery, and it takes time.

      1. Thank you, Pamela. I can relate to your thoughtful approach to the Reiki initiation. Unfortunately, it has been my experience that many Reiki masters do not practice it that way. I have actually experienced some of my Reiki attunements as very invasive. What you describe as standing on the shoulders of your Reiki teacher, I experienced as a transference of “stuff” that really belonged to the teacher. That is why I have decided to simply offer a Reiki presence for my students, which in my opinion is a functional initiation.

        I do agree with you that being a Reiki master requires consistent self-practice and very thorough training.

      2. Christine, I’m sorry to hear that you have had unfortunate experiences with initiation, and it’s good that you have found a meaningful solution for yourself. However, I don’t know how good the decision to not use initiations (if I’ve understood you correctly) is for Reiki practice itself.

        I propose that it is up to us to learn how to hold our boundaries. It’s not only ethical, but it’s also practical in that we can go around trying to correct others, or we can actually become more skillful in this area ourselves. Anyone can be unskillful regarding boundaries, but it is often an issue in Reiki practice and other healing modalities, which is why I created the class 6 Steps to Spiritual Self-Protection: How You Can Maintain Healthy, Compassionate Boundaries.

        You have drawn an inaccurate equivalence between my reference to standing on the shoulders of our lineage and receiving “stuff” from one’s Reiki master. What I refer to is transpersonal, a sharing in the spiritual attainment of the lineage behind us. What you are referring to, as you express it, sounds like a failure to hold your boundaries, but it might also be simply part of the unfolding of practice. We have to be careful of extrapolating from our personal experiences, especially when we may still be in the process of digesting them. Even unfortunate experiences can be revealing, strengthening, and valuable, if we choose to continue working with them–and I am truly not making any personal implications to you, Christine, as I have no basis on which to do so; I’m just making a general statement.

        And again, this is why it is so important for Reiki masters to have thorough training and years of experience in daily self-practice and professional treatment before becoming a Reiki master. I realize I am sharing an unpopular perspective, but I see that there is more to being a Reiki master than is commonly recognized, and the problems that are created by the current misunderstanding and resulting lack of respect for Reiki mastership.

      3. Pamela, I am happy to hear you speak, both here, and elsewhere, about the need for practitioners to have a steady, deep and stable practice as a pre-requisite for serving as a Reiki Master, and particularly as a teacher who passes on the Reiki traditions. As I see it, our work has to be about holding ourselves to high standards both in terms of our own Reiki and spiritual practice and instilling that same devotion to serious, deep and ethical practice in our students. The more we stress this in forums like this and in our own work and conversations, the more people will embrace this idea. And that, in turn, helps build a perception of Reiki in the world at large as a serious practice carried out by dedicated, serious practitioners. Thank you for all you do to help get that message out. I am grateful.

      4. Susan, it is my honor and pleasure to be on this path together. I know there are many Reiki practitioners who value a thoughtful practice, and I want to offer the community a home here, a virtual Reiki kitchen table where we can work out the kinks together and support one another as individuals.

  6. Pamela, I think that I do acknowledge Mikao Usui’s practice because I believe that he taught Reiki to others without a physical ritual. The Reiki that most of us have learnt comes from Takata through Hayashi, and I believe that Hayashi introduced the physical ritual of drawing symbols into the student’s biofield.

    We all know very little about how exactly Mikao Usui practised Reiki. I have completed three Reiki master trainings with different teachers (lineages through Barbara Weber Ray, Phyllis Lei Furumoto and Hiroshi Doi) and each one of them taught a different initiation procedure. This has led me to question the practice of Reiki attunements. Also, Frans and Bronwen Stiene write in “The Reiki Sourcebook” that Mikao Usui did not use a physical ritual to teach/empower his students.

    In my opinion there is always an unseen, unspoken level of teaching between student and teacher, no matter the subject of interest. However, this mind-to-mind communication between student and teacher does not require a physical ritual. It is not wrong to incorporate a physical ritual, it is just not necessary.

    I thank you for providing a space for me to express my opinion.

    1. Christine, initiation does not require a physical ritual, but Reiki practice does require a functional initiation to pass the ability to practice from a teacher to a student.

      Although someone might receive some benefit from aping the outer practices without initiation, the practice is essentially inert. When we receive initiation, we receive not only the living practice, but also benefits from the initiating master and the lineage behind her.

      There is more to initiation than the mere presence of the teacher. Saying that initiation itself is unnecessary because Usui did not use a physical ritual as part of his initiation process is not logical.

  7. I am learning a great deal, pondering many points, in this discussion, however, initiations, in my opinion/understanding, are necessary. As Pamela points out, without the initiation, one is not practicing Reiki – hands-on, spiritual, whatever one chooses to call it, healing and yes, certainly valid and valuable, but not Reiki.

  8. I agree with Susan Downing that an attunement/initiation is not necessary. In my experience it was not the physical ritual of the attunement/initiation that started my Reiki self-practice but the personal instruction and mentoring that I received from my 2nd Reiki teacher. I did not learn the importance of Reiki self-care from my first Reiki teacher.

    I think it is unfortunate that there seems to be so much focus on the Reiki attunement. It leads people to think that the Reiki attunement empowers them to be channels for a special kind of energy and that they get “more Reiki” with each attunement. In my opinion this is also the reason why attunements are being sold on the Internet.

    1. Susan and Christine, how can you say that the Reiki initiation is not important when it is the Reiki initiation that empowers the student to practice Reiki? Without the Reiki initiation, you are practicing laying-on-of-hands healing–which is valuable–but it is not Reiki practice.

      Christine, the mentoring you received, no matter how valuable, is insufficient to start your practice. You need the initiation.

      And why wouldn’t you want to acknowledge Mikao Usui, who gave us this practice and the initiations to empower students to practice?

      1. I do not mean to suggest that the initiation is not important. It is crucial as a way to help the student feel the energetic connection, but to imply that one cannot access or practice Reiki without it reinforces the idea, in my opinion, that as teachers we “do” something to the student while passing attunements that makes it possible to do what they were not able to do before. How could we possibly open up or activate something that is already there? As I see it, during an initiation, the student can feel the Reiki connection in an intense way, and this energetic connection between student and teacher provides an impetus for further practice. As Christine mentioned, as far as we know, Usui Sensei did not need to use hands-on methods to give initiations/blessings and help his students sense that connection, but for those of us who are not as spiritually adept as he was, making it a process that involves physical contact makes it easier to help our students feel that connection. And so I always include initiations/attunements in my teaching, since I feel that they are, indeed, a key component of the training, but only in the sense that they help the student feel what he or she is ultimately shooting for: feeling that connection with the teacher during an initiation gives a brief and often very faint glimmer of what a true and deep connection would feel like. That is, in my view, the purpose of the initiation – to give the student that experience, if he or she is able to feel that connection. And within the Buddhist tradition, we are taught that having even a brief moment of deep connection like that elicits great love (bodhicitta) which forever changes the way one engages with the world. This is, I am sure, what Usui Sensei was striving to help his students experience. He was using Reiki to help them experience the connection and thereby progress spiritually.

      2. Susan, I think there is a basic misunderstanding about initiation. An initiation empowers a student to do a particular practice; we are initiated into a practice, not into an “energy” or such. When we receive an initiation into a practice, not only are we then able to practice in a living lineage, but also we receive benefits from the teacher’s practice. In a sense, we stand on the shoulders of our teachers.

        Reiki practice is a particular practice founded by Mikao Usui in the 1920s that gives a particular way to access Reiki the source state. Reiki as source state can of course be accessed in other ways–indeed, the goal of all spiritual practices is to access that core reality. It’s not that Reiki source can only be accessed through Reiki practice, but rather that Reiki practice is a particular practice, with a specific lineage, to access that state.

        My experience of initiating for over 2 decades is that as a Reiki master, I am doing something to my students that is somewhat similar to practicing Reiki but also more deliberate–there is more of a “do” in initiation than there is in practice. It’s not forcible or invasive, but whereas the Reiki connection in my hands may activate on its own, the initiations do not pass without my consent.

      3. Thanks, Pamela. I feel the same way about the attunements I give my students – that I am doing something different than when I give Reiki during a session, and that attunements are conscious, whereas the flow of Reiki at other times may not always be. And I feel that the attunement process definitely functions as a type of initiation into the practice of Reiki – a process in which the teacher makes a commitment to the student and vice versa. And that I think is a very valuable function of the attunements – to initiate them formally into the practice and to the lineage of teachers and traditions. I am totally on the same page with you about that. However, I still do not feel that the attunements “do” anything TO a student, such as open up a channel, or flip some kind of switch to make it possible to practice Reiki. (And this is such a common perception among teachers and students alike that it seems important to discuss it, as we’re doing here.) I feel they only provide the energetic connection from the teacher which in turn provides the impulse to go further. I’d be interested to hear what you feel happens during the attunements/initiations- what do you feel they do to or for your students, i.e., what results that makes it possible for them to then practice Reiki? I’m really loving this discussion! Thank you, Pamela.

  9. I am wondering if we are all trying to make too much out of Reiki. In my opinion, it is possible that the Reiki hand placements simply remind us of the ability to be still, and reconnect with our inner core of wellness. A place deep inside all of us that is non-dual. A place where body and mind are relaxed and healing can take place. Other spiritual practices like Tai Chi, Meditation, Chi Gong, etc. have the same effect. Reiki is just one possible way. What I love about Reiki is that it is so simple and induces a meditative state very quickly and without any effort.

    Thank you, Pamela, for this very valuable post.

  10. Sending connection, or rather establishing a connection. The attunement process connects us with the “universal life energy”. This makes us special in being all connected with one another and with the universal life energy, and in being able to channel it where we think it’s needed more.
    By sending Reiki to a subject this is what we do: we connect them with us.
    I know it’s hard to express it in words, but it’s also hard to describe Reiki itself, right?

  11. Pamela, I love how you keep bringing this discussion back into the depths of what Reiki is, beyond our mental understanding. One of the things that makes Reiki endlessly nourishing for me is its very mystery, and the fact that, because of that deep mystery, there is no end to new insights and revelations about it.

    A few things:

    1. My sense of what is happening during a distant healing session is not that anything gets “sent” anywhere, but rather that time and space collapse (I don’t mean that in any sort of science-fiction movie sense), since they are both illusions anyway (just mental concepts), and I am treating another person whose spirit is actually right here. A connection is made, and it is only our minds telling us that the person is X many miles away.

    2. I’ve learned from people who have spent many years in Japan that there are some cultural differences that don’t translate well for us Westerners. There is much less of a sense of individuality and much more of a sense of a group consciousness, so the idea of “asking permission before treating” doesn’t make as much sense there. If something is for the good of the whole, it is done; no permission is needed. So, we can indeed “send Reiki” (or however we want to put it) to someone who has not asked for it, if there is a strong sense that for the good of everyone it is the right thing to do. We wouldn’t “ask the person’s higher self for permission”, or anything like that. Now, we would have to be clear enough in ourselves to really feel the truth of whether something is good for the whole; there is lots of room for the ego to creep in here and feel like it knows best, thereby inflating our sense of importance. But I think problems come only if we are trying to impose a result (“I want that person to be healed”, for instance), rather than simply channeling Reiki and letting it do what it will. If our desire to channel Reiki comes out of compassion, with no ulterior motive, then all is well. I suspect Usui would have seen things this way, and didn’t stress asking permission the way we do. I guess we can’t know for sure.

    Also, thanks for bringing up the distinction between “Reiki the source and Reiki the practice”. It’s often hard to talk about Reiki, because the great majority of people mean “Reiki the practice”, probably the result of how the New Age movement has promoted Reiki. The word is even used as a verb now! And when a new person asks me what Reiki is, I end up talking about the practice first because I don’t want to get into the spiritual depths of it right off, unless I know the person can relate that way. As I started working intensively with Reiki, it felt to me, too, that Reiki and the Tao are the same, or at least there is an intimate connection.

    Is it even worth trying to make this distinction now? Can we overcome decades of using “Reiki” to mean its practice? Usui called it Usui Reiki Ryoho, and that whole phrase was needed because there were other Reiki Ryohos in Japan at the same time, and this was Usui’s method of working with Reiki.

  12. Pam, do you not say that Reiki is a connection to consciousness? Now, a stone has less consciousness than a tree which has less consciousness than a dog which has less consciousness than a human being. Would you agree? Isn’t the difference between them the greater accumulation of consciousness?

    From your replies I think that you equate Reiki with Dao (Tao) which would make it at Daoist or possibly Zenist practice.

    1. No, Pete, that’s not what I say. We cannot be disconnected from primordial consciousness. It is all-pervasive, timeless, and what has become us.

      Yes, I do see Reiki and Dao as different names for the same ultimate Oneness, and there are undoubtedly Daoist influences in this practice just as there are Buddhist influences, since Daoism and Buddhism were the two dominant philosophical strains in Japan in Usui’s time. However, that in no way makes Reiki either a Daoist or a Buddhist practice. Rather they are all nondual practices which have their own characteristics.

  13. In my opinion Reiki translated means Spirit, or spiritual practice. I do not see Reiki as an energy, vibration or pulsation. We are all one spiritually which is hard for us to realize because we live in a very dualistic world.

    Reiki self-treatment helps me to get in touch with my spirit, the part of me that is without limits and one with everything else. When giving Reiki treatments to others (whether distant or direct) I help them to get in touch with their own unique spirituality. I do not see myself directing anything towards anyone. Another explanation that I like to use is, that during Reiki treatment I am holding a space of peace and quiet for someone else. Whatever healing is taking place is not up to me.

    For me Reiki is very much like meditation (somehow the Reiki hand placements induce a meditative state). I do not see Reiki practice as interfering with my Christian faith. Reiki practice is free of religious dogma and Reiki practitioners of all faiths may choose to add prayer to their daily Reiki self care.

    1. Pamela,
      I share the questions with the same responsibility of finding the answer.
      So, trying to answer your question I bring more in discussion:
      1. How can something be limitless and everywhere all the time and not think that is in a static mode?

      1. If we see Reiki limitless and everywhere all the time, in a static mode, (I added) excluding the degree of being here and there, moving from one form to another, changing inner and outer conditions within systems …then we ignore the motion, the flow and the transformation, the interference and the dependence of the elements in our existence and beyond and ultimately the Yin and Yang. The imbalance between Yin and Yang is how I understand Reiki in degrees.
      2. It is important to define how we look at ourselves and the world in order to understand that our perception of SOMETHING LIMITLESS AND EVERYSHERE ALL THE TIME can be a distortion of our thoughts.
      a. Through thoughts we comprehend and express the experience with and the nature of Reiki.
      b. Thorough thought we express our Reiki experience as Reiki practitioners, but our experience is our past and from there we cannot create, and trying to do so we keep ourselves on permanent contradiction with WHAT IT IS. This contradiction is the base of our confusion, suffering, and sorrow.
      c. When thought is a limited instrument of our mind which creates a very limited “illusion” of WHAT IS how we can rely on thinking about SOMETHING LIMITLESS AND EVERYSHERE ALL THE TIME and not require a 100% accurate perception.
      d. What is a 100% accurate perception? What will this perception perceive? How this perception will be communicated otherwise but via thought?
      e. How many of us have this 100% accurate perception of WHAT IS when we are historically attachment to the PAST, which is the greatest illusion to base our perception on.
      f. In order to get a more accurate perception of WHAT WE SEND WHEN WE SEND REIKI, means (for me) to understand who we are, to accept our own nature, and to allow the healing to unveil the raw senses in our body, the clarity on our mind and the natural connection with our sprit, means to RETURN TO INOCENCE.
      Now, at this point in my life there is a limited understanding of what is Reiki, and that is based on my evolution under the daily-self care but not only. During the “cleaning” and “healing” process, Reiki has been the present and the empty space, held for me PURE AND SIMPLE to make more sense on how I perceive WHAT IS. This is a very individual process and can resonate to others only on that degree of how much, or how much of the same trauma had to be “cleaned” or “healed”.

  14. “Isn’t Reiki every place all the time, all-pervasive and unending? How can we send something somewhere when it is everywhere all the time? That doesn’t make sense.”
    That would make sense, if we approach this experience from different angle (by degree), and the statement will be “Reiki is every place all the time, all-pervasive and unending, in variable degrees.”
    I wonder in what degree something can be everywhere all the time.
    When I want to understand something I put what I don’t know in equation with what I know. Here is an example: If the water is everywhere (in different forms/degrees) what does the water-pipeline provide us through the faucet?
    I know that if I am thirsty I turn on the faucet to get water to drink. I do not think that because of my body’s variable contain of water, or of outside high humidity, or of the presence of a lake nearby, there is no reason for me to drink water …when I am thirsty. Thirsty equals less water in my body.
    So, if we get water direct through the pipeline when we turn on the faucet, then logically is that we receive Reiki when we go to a Reiki practitioner to receive more energy and he/she is placing hands on our body.
    This would happen because the body has less water/Reiki than normal and the “thirst” for water/Reiki is calling for satisfaction, through client’s intention to receive and the quality of practitioner to conduct/transmit.
    Yes, Reiki is limitless and everywhere but in degrees, which creates the need for more or less in order to be balanced and by “sending Reiki” to Reiki makes so much sense.

    1. Julia, this is a good image. It reminds of another one, temperature if one want to be technical, or heat if one can use more common language. Heat is everywhere but it accumulates in places. At places where it accumulates certain new things become a possibility, such as life, or a bright star, a sun which starts to emit light.
      Using that model one would say that Ki also accumulates in places and if the accumulation is great enough certain things become possible. Your last paragraph then makes sense. We might have to deal with the idea of having too much Ki but this can be accommodated through characteristics of Ki, like Earth Qi and Heaven Qi, etc. in classical TCM.

      1. Peter, ki may accumulate in places, but ki and Reiki are not the same thing.

        Reiki does not have qualities such as temperature or even vibration. It is undifferentiated quiescent consciousness, the realm of possibility before manifestation. The sensations that are noticed are a response to Reiki practice, a consequence of remembering the true nature of reality, and of oneself.

      2. Peter, ki may accumulate in places, but ki and Reiki are not the same thing. Ki exists in dualistic reality; Reiki is foundational non-dual reality.

        Reiki does not have qualities such as temperature or even vibration. It is undifferentiated quiescent consciousness, the realm of possibility before manifestation. The sensations that are noticed are a response to Reiki practice, a consequence of remembering the true nature of reality, and of oneself.

  15. Thanks to all. This can be challenging to put into words.

    In my experience that is ever changing… if it’s a beautiful day and I’m not present to it, it will go by unnoticed. The more I am present to what is, the more I will see and be able to experience.

    Reiki, is who we are. It’s experienced with and through us AND we’re not DOING it. Consciousness is. But if I can’t connect with this (within), if I don’t notice the occasion to remember this, I’ll miss out on a lot.

    Reiki self-treatment helps me be present. It gives me the opportunity to consciously connect with Source, our essence, which is always ‘here.’ REIKI reorganzies. REIKI restores harmony and balance. There is nothing for me to add. Only willingness to be as present as possible and watch the mystery reveal itself. So a session with a client flows best when I only offer Reiki, and don’t intend to treat a specific illness or try to direct anything. One of my teachers said, “Reiki is a blanket, all things to all things.” I choose to TRUST this practice that keeps returning me to “Oneness” as stated before. After a session the client may share an experience or say a particular hand placement was meaningful. Wonderful! That’s Reiki, Consciousness, and we’re not separate.

    What is experienced with Reiki is evidence. Feedback is proof. Of what? I don’t know, other then to say our connection with something much bigger.

    Reiki can refine everything we are and do. Our choices change and awareness expands. IT is a tremendous spiritual gift AND… we are all IT.

  16. As one Reiki practitioner whom shares interest in a more credible Reiki model, I feel compelled to speak up and say that while you (Peter) bring up some very good points, I am a western Reiki guy and I fully support Pamela’s work.

    In regards to “sending Reiki”, I find the conceptual model of “sending” to work for some people, and not for others. I’d like to emphasize conceptual model, as words can only point to the experience, rather explain the exact reality. When we forget this important aspect of language, many half-truths suddenly become solid fact.

    Also, when discussing this particular aspect of Reiki, I find use in recognizing where we are / were as a greater community (through acknowledging what’s out there) whilst giving my audience a more “grounded” perspective.

    For example, I’d usually explain how traditionally in the west we used “X” model (chakras, new age symbolism, etc) to explain a specific aspect of Reiki, whilst providing with supportive yet alternative perspectives when applicable.

    Ultimately, I believe practicing and being open to your practice, rather than blindly accept Reiki dogma (no matter how positive or articulate), to be the most helpful at this stage.

  17. Pete, dogma by definition rejects the mystical experience but people don’t live by cosmology. The bishops were fighting other battles in their denouncement of Reiki, which have been discussed elsewhere on the blog. I don’t wish to revisit that thread here, but it is relevant to this thread to note that the bishops used the Reiki community’s own New Age magical language to denounce the practice. It is language that many of us don’t use, but which still has the largest public presence.

    That notwithstanding, I don’t share your negative assessment. Many practitioners find this model supportive, and as nondual teaching are always inner teachings, I don’t expect them to be embraced by most people. My purpose is to stimulate inquiry and to support those who find this perspective valuable.

    You needn’t detail why you predict my efforts will fail. The blog has comments, the Facebook page has lively and increasingly respectful conversation, and the book gets read. Someone finds this work useful, and it is for those practitioners that I write.

    Yesterday I organized a public event with forty-something Reiki practitioners, most of whom were not my students. At the end, we gathered to share our individual experiences. As the practitioners said their goodbyes to their new Reiki buddies, one commented to me on the clarity of language and absence of woo with which each practitioner expressed him/herself. Anyone could have comfortably sat in on that conversation and felt how deeply moved and graceful the practitioners were.

  18. Pam, the American Bishops’ objection to Reiki are exactly what you are promoting, the non-dualistic view point. Non-dualistic also means non-personal and that means the end of the personal God and personal savior in the form of Jesus which is at the core of Christianity. Furthermore it means the end of an eternal, personal or individual soul. This is what makes Reiki anti-Christian. Martin Buber, one of the most well-known theologians speaks of God as the “wholly” other. It would be difficult to be more dualistic than that. That is the Christian cosmology.
    I broadly agree with your take on what Reiki is but you will continually hit and unconscious wall in Western Reiki practitioners because the myth of eternal personal existence is very dear to us and anything that threatens it will be ignored, or distorted.
    IMO that is why your non-dual viewpoint does not find great resonance, witness the posts speaking in terms of energy transfer an channeling, even in Jesus’ name.
    It simply boils down to this, that one cannot be a Christian and use Reiki as a spiritual practice. The cosmological viewpoints are totally opposite.

  19. I feel and experience the Oneness in all things. When I “practice” Reiki, I connect to that Oneness by letting go all resistance or control. I say Oneness because I feel peace and connection to something that feels very good and perfectly balanced. Then there comes a frequency awareness in my mind and body. I feel aligned with that frequency of Oneness or good feeling as I practice Reiki. I am not “doing” Reiki. I am being Reiki. I hold no intention. I am directed to a location and name by the asking of others. But the details stop there. I know the hearing of the name and location is all I need. The Oneness is intelligent. I let go and I continue to keep my awareness in that state of Reiki being. The practice of Reiki somehow stimulates and communicates to what is already there in the person, situation and/or location. The word catalyst comes to mind. An invisible connection and inaudible communication happens remotely through the quantum forest. Perhaps then causing the Oneness to flutter and expand which may awaken or stimulate the field like the end of a wave. The result may be “balance”. No one really knows how it works. We can only read material that tries to explain it. It is the resulting “balance” we can notice if we are aware of it. We have everything we need within for wellness. The Oneness is within us and the Oneness is responsive and user-friendly to all when we connect to it through Reiki or meditation etc.

  20. Thank you for this. I was just pondering the wording but didn’t give it much attention. This entry is like a good stretch for my mind.
    I view the practice of distance Reiki as activating Reiki from a distance or “using the third symbol”. The word “send” does conjure up an image of Reiki flowing from ones own hands to somewhere else but that was something I didn’t realize as something I pictured until it was mentioned. I think of the people, place or situation and Reiki being activated around them with the use of the appropriate symbols. It is an abstract thought though, and it opens up new ways of thinking about Reiki and how infinitely and wonderfully mysterious it is and how grateful I am for it all.

  21. Yes, Reiki is everywhere at once. But we need to invite it in (we have free will and cannot impose without permission). We need to invite it in, or say ‘Reiki On’ or Activate it to bring it forth for a person or situation. That is why we ask the client permission EACH time to enter their energy field/chakras before we start their Reiki Healing session. This is how I understand it and how we teach our students.

    1. I don’t understand why one would have to invite Reiki in when we already are Reiki. I also don’t enter anyone’s chakras when I practice Reiki. I just place my hands lightly on their bodies, and I agree with you about having permission for each practice session.

      1. Pamela, Up above, you state that we need the initiations to empower us to practice Reiki. I don’t feel that is at all the case. Based on my Buddhist training and own esoteric Buddhist training, I have concluded that the initiations/attunements are very similar to the initiations/blessings/mind-to-mind transmissions between teacher and student in certain Buddhist traditions. Any student can practice these Buddhist traditions without the initiations, but receiving these blessings reminds us of what you refer to as Reiki source – if the student is ready, he or she will get a glimpse of that source during the initiation and that glimpse will provide motivation to go deeper into practice. But one can practice without it, just as one can practice Reiki without ever having had an attunement, since it’s possible for anyone to have an awareness of the source and access it to some extent during hands-on work, whether they’ve had an initiation or not. The awareness can arise during an initiation, but whether it does or not, one can still practice. That’s how I see it.

  22. I am involved in mystery traditions as well as Reiki. I have a completely different attitude than those that have posted so far. I don’t feel any need to understand Reiki completely, it is and when I need to understand anything, it will happen. For the years I have practiced, Reiki shows me the way, so to speak. Yes, I do “direct” the energy and assist the client in receiving it. While I believe that Reiki is an energy that is everywhere, it obviously is not just available to everyone to touch at will or why would we need attunements in order to channel that Reiki? The more we work with Reiki, the more our higher selves understand/know it and we become more adept at directing and working with it; it becomes more a part of us.
    As for feeling the Reiki when I am giving it – oh yes, I can feel it very strongly coming through me and agree that we are in an altered state while offering Reiki.
    There are many practitioners who don’t see Reiki in spiritual terms of any sort. I do – along with many I know. Perhaps that is why there are different perspectives. Our experiences are different and that is just fine. I think, in fact, that is as it is meant to be.
    One other point; to decide that one point of view is correct or one understanding is correct, is not helpful and perhaps a mistake. Reiki is a mystery, one of many.

    1. I don’t understand your point, Elizabeth. No one, not the blogger nor the commenters, have written anything about wanting to understand Reiki completely, or that one perspective is correct.

      Mystery is inherent in this practice. What is helpful to understand is where the boundaries of what we understand actually are. All to often, Reiki practitioners dish up their pet theory as if it were fact. This doesn’t help build credibility, and credibility is important if we want Reiki treatment to be available beyond the New Age community. People are entitled to their beliefs, but they are best stated as such, as you did.

      Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki practice, saw it as a spiritual practice.

      1. I guess I don’t really understand your point either and obviously I am reading something here that, according to you, isn’t here.
        Where I live, one of the largest hospitals, a Catholic hospital, has banned Reiki because they say it is a spiritual practice and not Catholic. I am hearing practitioners tell them and others that it is not a spiritual practice. It looks to me as if some would like to make Reiki so mainstream that the medical establishment and other religions accept it. In my opinion – again only my opinion, although I know others who feel the same – it looses something of its sacredness when we try to keep explaining every little bit of it. Some mysteries don’t need to be explained.
        In any event, if Reiki is already there, everywhere and we are not directing energy and sending with intention then, again I ask, why the need for practitioners, attunements, etc. What is it then that you, a practitioner is doing?
        Perhaps I’m one of those you mentioned in another comment, who doesn’t understand this perspective and that’s fine if it is your opinion. I don’t have a problem with people who think Reiki is “new age” as if that make it invalid. I know what I experience and am comfortable with it.

      2. Elizabeth, you might want to read the anti-Reiki pronouncement made by the American Catholic bishops so you can understand their objections. Search the blog and you’ll find a link in at least one of the entries.

        Reiki is a spiritual practice, like meditation is a spiritual practice. That’s how Usui saw it. Making Reiki practice available mainstream does not require denying that reality. Meditation is now mainstream and although some people see it as a stress reduction technique, most people seem to realize it’s a spiritual practice, or at least agree when the distinction is made (stress reduction is often a by-product of a spiritual practice).

        I don’t know why you again referred to “explaining every little bit of it.” I am at a loss to recognize why you keep saying that, because it is definitely not what the blog is about. Reiki is a spiritual practice (according to the founder) and as such involves mystery.

        You are confusing Reiki the source with Reiki the practice. We need the initiations to empower us to practice Reiki; the goal of Reiki practice is to enhance our awareness of Reiki source.

        Practitioners carry the Reiki connection and offer it to themselves and to others when they practice. How a Reiki practitioner carries the connection is a mystery. Having been “reminded” of its own Source, an individual’s system responds by reorganizing toward greater balance and harmony.

        It’s not that being New Age makes Reiki invalid. As you said, you are comfortable with your practice and so be it. But most people are not comfortable with New Age culture and Reiki practice did not originate in New Age culture; it has merely been popularized by the New Age movement (mostly involving an unfortunate degradation of standards). The public at large does not see New Age culture as credible.

        I don’t care how New Age people practice Reiki. That’s up to them.

        I want to make sure that a simple, straightforward, unembellished Reiki practice that is true to roots of the practice survives and makes it to the mainstream public and into health care.

  23. The principle, Reiki everywhere and influence through some kind of inductive or harmonic mechanism, which is under discussion here seems to be quite different to what most Reiki practitioners beliefs.

    These principles are actually the foundation of Herwig Shoen’s ‘Reconnective Healing’ and Eric Pearl’s ‘The Reconnection’. As far as I can make out neither of them makes any connection to Reiki and could therefore be considered new and independent healing modalities.

    What chance does one have to align Reiki with these modalities which have no historical baggage and which are relatively well controlled in terms of quality management?

    You may not like the picture, but why drink from a contaminated well when a pure(r) one is available not far away?
    Would it not be better to sort out the obvious misconceptions in the popular thinking about Reiki, rather than trying to put the whole of Reiki onto a new foundation?

  24. I ask the person’s higher essence to guide me where Reiki is needed. I use my hands to feel where in the person’s energy, I need to be. When I sense the area that needs the Reiki, I place my hands there. I ask the universe to help and heal in whatever way is needed. I use the symbols as I feel intuitively which ones are needed. I visualize the symbols in a bamboo box, ready and waiting for use. Then I visualize the symbols which are needed in that particular area or that particular time, rising out of the box and going where they need to be. I try to disconnect my ego out of the process, and feel, not think. I am a conduit, the energy is going through me to the person that I’m doing Reiki on. It’s a sacred relationship during that time. When I am involved in the Reiki process, I feel like both of us in the room, have become energy particles (as we really are), vibrating and in tune with the universal energy. It seems that the whole room hums with energy at times. Other times, it’s a very directional energy. I ask the energy to be what it needs to be. Every person is different. Their needs are different. They may not know their needs, and I certainly cannot decide for them what they might need from their Reiki session. That’s why it’s important to use my hands to find the “trouble” spots, and hold that space for the Universal energy to do what it needs. The most amazing sensations, vibrations, and intuitiveness happen. I ground and balance, and let the energy work. observing what may be coming up for the person, and providing the symbols and all that they hold. I guide the negative energy away as it appears and transmute it to positive to the universal, and I use my hands to hold the space for positive energy to fill as it needs to. When I can sense that we are “done” in that spot, I use my hands to sense where we need to go next. I love being in tune with the energy. I love resonating at that higher vibration. And I love being a part of the Reiki session and having that bond with another human being. Every Reiki session is different. We don’t know where we will go, when we start, and we don’t know where we will end up, but we know and trust that it will be in a positive place, filled with love and well-being, when we are done.

  25. And I also want to add that I don’t think Reiki “cares” what we call it or how we understand it. But our clients who are trying to evaluate its usefulness do. Since our clients care, so should we as practioners.

  26. Yes, Pamela. This matches my experience as well as my understanding. Energy is something that runs the light bulbs in my house and keeps me warm in the winter. I have been discouraged in comparing my direct experience to that of others (some of them teachers) who speak of the sensation of Reiki as energy “channeling” through them during treatment. I don’t have this sensation. For me it is more of a tingle or a vibration. These vibrations set up a harmonic in what is already there in the other person during treatment. When a piano tuner comes in to tune your piano nothing is being given to your piano that wasn’t already there. It’s way of vibrating is adjusted to be in harmony (in phase) with itself. I am not a physicist but I understand that energy can be either particle or wave in form. (If I understand what science is saying, it can even be both at the same time.) I think of “sending” Reiki as aligning my consciousness with the healing, loving, harmonious Conciousness (Reiki) and through the client’s invitation, setting up a harmonic that allows the client to align him/herself with the all pervasive Consciousness I call Reiki.

  27. A long time ago someone said to me: “Words have meaning.” The ultimate point was that we need to choose our words carefully because they DO have meaning and we want to be precise with the message we are communicating. I think “teasing out” and “splitting hairs,” especially when we are talking about Reiki, can only benefit both our understanding and communication of Reiki. I love a mystery and trying to figure out different ways to approach it!

  28. When I send Reiki I believe I am transmitting the essence of Reiki to the person or animal. What is the essence of Reiki? Promotion of healing and balance as well as relaxation. I don’t know about the “intrinsic Reiki-ness” being easily explained. Most people understand when you say, “I’ll pray for you”. Reiki to me is a form of prayer when I’m sending it. I’m concentrated on the receiver sending the power behind the symbols. I too am in a different state of mind and consciousness and expect that the consciousness of the receiver is absorbing this energy when I send it. I’ve spoken to people who have received Reiki distantly from me and “felt” it. One woman was laying down resting next to her dying brother and said she felt a warmth around her and when she closed her eyes a white light was visible. The warmth was not a hot flash, it was comforting and she dozed off. My intention in sending Reiki to her was for her to be able to rest and feel comfort during the stress of being with her dying brother. This intention according to her was realized.
    Thank you Pamela for your thought provoking questions.

    1. Barbara, when you speak about your “intention in sending Reiki,” are we to understand that you think you direct the energy that you say you are sending to accomplish a specific result? Please clarify, as this is very different from my understanding, which is that we can only offer the Reiki connection, not direct the outcome.

      1. Pamela, do you set an intention before you work with your clients? I have a feeling, based on the way you replied to Barbara’s comment, that you don’t consciously set one, but I bet you set one anyway – to send Reiki to the client. I have found that while this works, it’s much, much more effective to speak with the client, determine what their ailment (if any) is, and set the intention to send Reiki to this particular problem, or to find some relief from this problem.

        Do you use symbols in your work, Pamela? I was under the impression the symbols for Reiki were used to direct the energy in a specific way to best aid whomever you are offering Reiki to. I suppose this doesn’t necessarily mean we are controlling the outcome of working with Reiki, but these are tools that we have been given in order to utilize Reiki in a very specific way to help our client as we (hopefully) address the issues they have brought with them when they came for a session. How does this coincide with your personal understanding of Reiki? I am curious to know now, having read a few other, different accounts of what is capable with Reiki.


      2. Sorry, Jessica, but your guess is wrong. I never have an intention to “send Reiki,” as it is not my understanding of what we are doing. And yes, I use the symbols when appropriate to my practice, likely much more conservatively than most, and not to “direct the energy,” as again, that is not my perspective of what is happening during practice. You might be interested to read Toward a More Plausible Reiki Model.

  29. I always ask myself about things. And Reiki isn’t an exception. I always asked myself what I am doing with Reiki, am I channeling Reiki? But isn’t Reiki everywhere and in everything? How could it be if Reiki has been always there? It seemed to me like an invalid proposal, one thing denying the other. But sometime ago during a session I realized that Reiki’s process could be compared with an electromagnetic induction, I mean, I enter an altered conscious state and by induction the other person enters in a similar state too, like two tuned pianos in a room, when we play one the other resonates, but I wasn’t so sure of it. But you put all this question in the right words. Thank you so much for clarifying that question! Bright blessings Pamela! Silvio/ Brasil.

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