Reiki Defined

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What does the word Reiki mean and how can this healing energy help you? William Lee Rand—who has done extensive research on Reiki and taught Reiki classes for more than 30 years—explains.

By William Lee Rand

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It was rediscovered and developed by Mikao Usui in 1922 during a meditative experience on Kurama Yama, a sacred mountain north of Kyoto. Reiki is administered by "laying on hands"—techniques such as this have been practiced for thousands of years. Reiki is a very simple yet powerful technique that can be easily learned by anyone.

The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words: "Rei" and "Ki."

Rei – Spiritual Wisdom

The word "Rei" means universal and this is the definition most have accepted. However, this interpretation is a very general one. Japanese ideograms have many levels of meaning. They vary from the mundane to the highly esoteric.

So, while it is true that Rei can be interpreted as universal, meaning that it is present everywhere, there is a more meaningful definition that is worth exploring.

Research into the esoteric meaning of the Japanese kanji character for Rei has given a much deeper understanding of this ideogram. The word Rei as it is used in Reiki is more accurately interpreted to mean higher knowledge or spiritual consciousness.

This is the wisdom that comes from God or the Higher Self and is the God-Consciousness, which is all-knowing. It understands each person completely. It knows the cause of all problems and difficulties and knows how to heal them.

Ki – Life Energy

The word "Ki" means the same as "Chi" in Chinese, "Prana" in Sanskrit, and "Ti" or "Ki" in Hawaiian. It has also been called odic force, orgone, and bio plasma. It has been given many other names in various cultures.

Ki is life energy. It is also known as the vital life force or the universal life force. This is the nonphysical energy that animates all living things. As long as something is alive, it has life energy circulating through it and surrounding it; when it dies, that life energy departs.

If your life energy is low, or if there is a restriction in its flow, you are more vulnerable to illness. When it is high, and flowing freely, you are less likely to get sick.

Life energy plays an important role in all that we do. It animates the body and has higher levels of expression. Ki is also the primary energy of our emotions, thoughts, and spiritual life.

Ki is used by martial artists in their physical training and mental development. It is used in meditative breathing exercises called pranayama, and by the shamans of all cultures for divination, psychic awareness, manifestation, and healing. Ki is the nonphysical energy used by all healers.

Do All Healers Use Reiki?

All healers use life energy or Ki, but not all use Reiki. Reiki is a special kind of healing energy that can only be channeled by someone who has been attuned to it. Reiki is life energy that is guided by the Higher Power.

While it is possible that some people are born with Reiki or have gotten it some other way, most people need to receive a Reiki attunement/Placement/Ignition to be able to use Reiki. Therefore, most healers who have not received the Reiki attunement/Placement/Ignition from a Reiki Master are not using Reiki but another form of healing energy.