Flowering trees near the Zigzag Bridge (Yatsuhashi), Seiwa-en. Photo credit: Jack Jennings, Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden.

Reiki is a highly-effective but simple and practical teaching originally developed by Mikao Usui1 designed for:

  • Spiritual growth
  • Personal development
  • Life enrichment
  • Energy healing for self and others

In this age of instant gratification, ready information and marketplace spirituality, Reiki is a pure light that’s most beautiful and beneficial when savored with care.

Reiki is more popular than ever, and available almost anywhere in different formats. You can be trained online; receive all three Levels in a weekend; or go from teacher to teacher.

Apart from traditional and contemporary Usui Reiki, whether it’s Japanese or Western, there are an endless array of new schools and styles. There are also many Reiki websites, blogs, forums and e-mail lists. All kinds of Reiki information is circulated on Facebook, and microblogging sites such as Twitter.

Choosing a Teacher

Choose a Reiki teacher who is equipped in every way to serve you all the way down the winding path. Understand that Reiki is a living teaching, that is it continues to evolve the practitioner with each use. Therefore there are layers of learning and growth even for the teacher. Start with someone who has been guided by Reiki for a number of years and has reached a certain level of maturity. This is someone who has:

  1. Inner and outer resources:
    1. Inner: Reiki is lived. Don’t learn Reiki from a parrot.
    2. Outer: Provides well-written, extensive, reference quality Manuals s/he has written and updates when needed. (I see too much dubious photocopied material hastily put together.) Has other resources such as website, blog, and audiovisual.
  2. Availability to support and mentor you at all times. A local teacher is best. My phone is on around the clock. My email availability is also near constant. Post-training, it’s very beneficial to have practitioner meetings to deepen students’ Reiki assimilation.
  3. Has a school and developed understanding. Look at a Reiki teacher’s body of work. Does s/he have standing in the local community, does outreach, gives presentations and is published (and I don’t mean only on their own site/blog)?
  4. Holds terrestrial trainings and these are actual trainings, not only attunements2. Reiki is a transmission and this doesn’t happen only during attunements. The entire training experience is a vibrational field that imparts this teaching, transmission and empowerment.
  5. What kind of Reiki does s/he teach? Usui’s original, traditional Japanese Reiki is a natural preference and here’s why (the rest of this post also points out why):

Modern Reiki

Reiki as Consciousness I

Reiki as Consciousness II

Reiki as Consciousness III

Reiki’s Core Teachings

Reiki is a graduated teaching with each Level of training requiring solid integration. Within the full consciousness and vibration/energy of Reiki are sub-frequencies (Some of the links above explain this further.)

In simple terms these energies are Earth Ki, Celestial Ki and the principle of Connection. Ki3 is the life vitality of the body, mind and soul, as well as the energy permeating Nature and the material world. Ki is also Cosmic Energy and is all-pervasive in its various forms.

Earth Ki is our physical link to the earth. It’s the energy of the body and its creator, builder and healer. By associating with Earth Ki you also bring order and success to our material existence and concerns.

Celestial Ki is the link to nonphysical aspects of your being; your energy, emotions, thoughts and spirit. It’s the healer of your relationship with yourself, others and the Divine.

For ultimate wellbeing, material success and personal enlightenment, both poles are given equal importance and integrated to engender wholeness, and express the highest and most sacred in us, in a way that is visible and tangible in the physical world.

Connection is a key concept of Mikao Usui’s teachings. It relates to your essential Oneness with:

  • Yourself
  • Others
  • Nature and all its life forms
  • The Cosmos
  • The Divine which is more personal

Students are sensitized to these energies with the use of primordial vowel sounds, and to a lesser degree with visual representations (in Level II).

Reiki is the full-spectrum consciousness and vibration of all there is. As such it can be described as spiritual consciousness and vibration/energy. The entire spectrum is spiritual, even though it has an Earth pole and a Celestial pole. This spectrum which fuels all of creation and the Cosmos is also continuous and connected between its poles.

Reiki’s Special Subtle System

The system that Reiki follows is a simple and elegant concentration in three locations known as Hara. The first and main hara (lower) is in the lower belly, approximately midway between the bellybutton and the top of the pubic bone, also known as one-point.

The upper hara is located in the head at a point that corresponds to the middle of the eyebrows and is also known as the spiritual eye.

The middle hara is in the chest, at the sternum (breastbone) and is also known as the heart center.

The main hara is the body’s actual center. It’s equidistant from this location to the feet and to the head. Thus it’s the body’s center of gravity.

The lower hara is considered to be an intuitive and spiritual center. It’s an area into which your energy can settle and into which great vitality is drawn from the environment and the Cosmos.

The lower hara is an endless source of Ki, from which it comes and to which it flows. It’s the origin of balance and stability and not only physically. The mind and thus the emotions can also find calmness and strength here. When you are established in this natural center, Ki flows throughout your body and mind, and creates a healthy Ki field around you. The lower hara is your base support, your foundation.

Many of us are out of balance simply because we put our power and weight in the head (intellect/logic), the shoulders and the chest. Especially in the West, these locations are what are emphasized as being significant in success, self-confidence and health. Most of our education emphasizes the left brain; broad shoulders and barrel-chests are admired, the belly isn’t allowed to protrude making us tense. We are top-heavy! Do you realize how easy it is to literally tip over with such an imbalance?

Look at small kids who have just learned to walk. They push their bellies forward and walk with heavy steps, concentrating on their center. Unfortunately, many people lose contact with their center when they grow up. The immediate effect is bad balance and weakness in movements and an increasing confusion of mind also follows.

If you practice sensing your center in the lower belly and use it to support whatever you do, then certainty about your own being will grow. You will regain contact with yourself, secure in both knowing that you exist and increasingly learning who you are.

The upper hara is the center of mental faculties and higher mind. The energies felt here are lighter and more expansive, and relate to emotions, thoughts and subtle, meditative realizations.

This center is also about learning to use both hemispheres of the brain appropriately, i.e., not to approach matters of the inner self with too much logic and not to approach matters of the outer life with too much of a meditative quality. Ultimately you learn whole-brain thinking, using both hemispheres equally and in balance with each other and what is in front of you.

If undeveloped, this center can be unavailable to the wide range of consciousness and all its possibilities, thus limiting an individual’s choices. The potential for this center is discriminative intelligence, wisdom and realization.

The middle hara expresses Connection. It’s the center where all the elements of being human come to fruition. From the higher faculties of mind and spiritual evolution, including all the creations of right thought, right speech and right action, to the basics of the body and survival, the heart center expresses what is uniquely human.

It’s also where anger or similar emotions may be held. The potential for this center is that it fully expresses our Connection to all there is and embodies the quality of compassion in a real and profound sense.


While Reiki is deeply healing and can be applied to oneself and others, Usui’s teachings really lead to discovering your spiritual path, staying on it with purpose and understanding, and enhancing your experiences until satori emerges. Satori is the Japanese term for the experience of enlightenment, illumination or realization i.e., awakening to one’s true nature and the nature of all existence.

The practices he taught and spread give a clear indication that the real benefit of Reiki Training and practice is to bring out the best qualities of our humanness and reach higher, to a level of spiritual attainment.

This happens naturally when Reiki is utilized as a core practice of spiritual life. This means that apart from the formal use of Reiki’s many helpful functions, there’s less and less separation and difference between ‘Reiki-on’ and ‘Reiki-off.’

In other words, Universal truth, light, wisdom, love and power that Reiki helps us access gradually become an unbroken part of who and what we are.

As with any authentic spiritual teaching, Usui Sensei left behind a living teaching that addresses the whole person. There are several components of spiritual growth that are common to all such teachings. These components are addressed in Usui’s way with various easy-to-do practices. Included are:

Regular cleansing of body, mind and soul

Establishing a higher consciousness

Maintaining energetic integrity

Bringing wholeness to the subconscious mind

Hara development

Conscious Oneness and balance between heaven and earth

Empowerment to reach the transcendental

His teachings are practical to the core and readily applicable in modern life. Good results are seen with even a little practice and the effects are incremental, leading to greater and higher spiritual experiences and evolution, as well as everyday happiness and success.


1 Mikao Usui is the founder of the system of Reiki. Mikao Usui was born on the 15th of August 1865, in the village of Taniai-mura in the Yamagata-gun district of the Gifu-ken Prefecture, in Japan. He is mostly commonly referred to as “Usui Sensei,” with sensei meaning teacher or master. Some may use O-Sensei, with “O” being “great”. “San” is another honorific that is more neutral. He left behind a huge legacy. Reiki, as a spiritual teaching, and healing art is a global movement today.

2 An attunement, initiation or connection ritual is the energetic opening or awakening that is gifted to the student by the Universe, through a Reiki Teacher. This enables the student to jumpstart their Reiki practice, giving them a clean, healthy beginning for their spiritual journey. It works energetically through the body, mind and soul to increase the student’s spiritual light quotient, which will is maintained by daily practice.

3 Ki is vital energy that enlivens creation, human body and mind, and runs the Cosmos. While it shows up as subtle energy, it isn’t only energy. Ki is also a set of Divine attributes: Wisdom, Compassion, Power, Light and Intelligence.

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Reiki As It Is

7 thoughts on “Reiki As It Is

  • 04/04/2009 at 7:33 AM

    A clear, thoughtful and comprehensive overview of all that Reiki is. Thank you for the gentle reminder!

  • 04/04/2009 at 1:44 PM

    Thank you for your article. It has shed some new light on what Reiki is.

  • 04/05/2009 at 11:18 AM

    This is phenomenal overview of Reiki. To me Reiki is channeling love and light… two forces in the universe that are incredibly powerful but intertwined with human consciousness.

  • 04/05/2009 at 5:13 PM

    @Meredith: I hope it spurs on your own Reiki practice!

    @Alex: Glad you stopped by. It’s important to be very clear in an instant consumption world.

    @Brett Borders: Yes, love & light come through Reiki. How that happens & what are the other implications is what I wanted to highlight.

  • 04/28/2009 at 10:39 AM

    Thanks for your very well written article!
    Too many people see Reiki as just a Healing System, I appreciate your well rounded approach – as Reiki is very vast in it’s applications.


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