Last week I found myself sitting on a small beach near my new home chanting the Reiki precepts in Japanese. I have been working through some very uncomfortable emotions lately, and the chanting – and what it helps me to connect with – has been incredibly helpful. Now before you go thinking, “Oh – you were the crazy lady I saw at the lakefront the other day,” let me explain this unexpected turn of events.
Chanting is just one of the techniques I’ve begun to incorporate into my Reiki practice since participating in a 3-day Shinpiden Reiki Level III training with Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki (IHR). I’ve been following Frans’s work for awhile now, and I learned recently that he lives in the same small Dutch city as one of my cousins. So not only did I get a great and hilarious teacher out of the weekend, but I have someone else to visit on my next trip to The Netherlands.
This was the third Master Teacher Reiki training in which I’ve participated, and it’s true what they say – there’s always more to learn.
The IHR teaches a traditional Japanese form of Reiki, and I am grateful for the road map they provide to their students. It seems to me that over the years my Reiki practice, despite my attempts to resist the uncomfortable changes that have resulted, has led me to connect to myself – and therefore the world around me – more deeply. And ultimately that’s what Reiki is all about, but now I better understand why – and have a bunch of new tools and understandings to deepen my practice further, as well as share with my own students.
Shinpiden in Japanese refers to mystery teaching, in this case the mystery of duality and non-duality, our experience of being individuals who are part of the ultimate oneness of creation.
Those are some pretty abstract concepts that humans have been exploring for millennia. So what does Reiki have to do with all of this? It provides a system full of tools to guide us toward a direct experience of oneness.
While hands-on healing is often synonymous with Reiki in the West, the IHR teaches that it is just one tool to help us toward an experience of our true self, the great bright light that is me and is you and is all of us.
In the end, it all comes back to the five precepts of Reiki:
Why are we engaging in this practice we call Reiki? To overcome our worry, fear and anger; to be humble and grateful; to live our lives in a way that is true to our way and our being; to be more compassionate toward ourselves and others. But – easier said than done, right? Exactly.
So besides hands-on healing, what else is included within the system of Reiki? Frans introduced the five aspects of the system of Reiki from the traditional Japanese perspective:
- Developing spiritual and mental focus
- Techniques & meditations
- Hands-on healing
- Mantras & symbols
I plan to dive further into these areas over the coming weeks in an effort to deepen my own practice, as well as see where that takes my client sessions and teaching. But for now, I’ll leave you with this.
Reiki is not about some magical healing that somebody does to you – which, by the way, makes me and many other Reiki practitioners very uncomfortable. Instead Reiki is about remembering your own great bright light within, however deeply it might be hidden under anger, fear, worry, etc. Once you do that, you might remember that your great bright light is simply the same great bright light that connects us all.
While a Reiki practice may look like sitting on your meditation cushion in the morning or chanting by the lake or doing hands-on healing with somebody, that is just what it looks like from the outside. Reiki is actually about embodying your inner essence and sharing that with the world in every action of every day. So the practice is not an end in and of itself but rather a means to living a life that is in fuller alignment with who you – or rather, who we – truly are. This is the hardest part, but it is also what makes a dedicated practice meaningful.
So, whether you practice Reiki or not, you can sit and practice meditation or just being with yourself – your true self – using your focus to free your body, energy and mind of anger, worry and fear and just sitting with the you that lives underneath all of those layers. See what it feels like. Then do it again. Stick with it. Not only will you feel better, but the world will be a better place for it.
Photos from my training weekend with Frans Stiene: