Although Reiki is not a religion and does not have commandments which practitioners are bound to obey, there are five principles that we strive to adhere to. The principles are precepts for life that would be in agreement with any religion and in conflict with none. I have found that focusing on these principles has helped me to continue growing into the person I want to be.
These principles are said to have been written by Mikao Usui, who was the originator of what is now known as the practice of Reiki. Due to varied translations from the original Japanese and the early years of oral transmission of the principles, there are now a number of versions of these five principles, but there essence remains the same across all of the versions.
The version I use is the one that comes from Diane Stein’s Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art (affiliate link) because it is the one I found easiest to memorize.
The Reiki Principles:
Just for today I will give thanks for my many blessings.
Just for today I will not worry.
Just for today I will not be angry.
Just for today I will do my work honestly.
Just for today I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.
I love the fact that each of these focuses on “just for today.” I don’t have to think about doing anything for the rest of my life. I aim to do these things just for today, which is really all that I have anyway.
Just for today …
We all die, but we live in a culture that fears death and generally tries to hide death from public view. We often avoid thinking about or preparing for our own death or those of our loved ones, so it is not surprising that many people fight death when the time comes for them to transition from this life.
Reiki can bring healing to someone even when there is no change in their physical state nor even any delay of their death. Sometimes the most healing thing we can do is to let the Reiki energy offer comfort and reassurance to a dying person so they are able to let go of this life in peace. In the whole process of staying present with the person through this process, we can support someone in the process of this transition to ease their passage into the next phase of their journey, potentially help heal old emotional wounds they may still be carrying, and help relieve any physical pain they may be experiencing to bring them added comfort and peace during their remaining time in this life.
Reiki can not only support someone who is going through the process of transitioning from this life to the next, it can also support that person’s loved ones and caretakers through the stressful last days and beyond as they grieve for the person they have lost.
If you are a Reiki practitioner who would like to support someone in the dying process, this Reiki and the Dying guide (PDF, 378KB) provides some suggestions for Reiki practitioners of all levels to use Reiki to support people during this time.
I had the wonderful privilege of attending a yin yoga and Reiki class last night at Grace Tree Yoga & Growth Studio in West Chester, OH (just north of Cincinnati) with one of my former classmates from my yoga teacher training class. It was a delightful evening of rich conversation during the drive down and back that framed a truly amazing session on the mat.
If you’ve never tried it, yin yoga is a style of yoga that focuses on opening up the connective tissues and joints, particularly in the hips and spine, by holding poses for long periods to allow the stretch to penetrate into these deeper tissues. The opening of these deeper tissues can improve comfort in meditation postures and facilitate emotional release of traumas that we may be holding in these parts of our bodies. Each posture involves settling into a pose and then opening and relaxing into it to allow the body to gradually soften into the pose over time.
This style of yoga makes it particularly easy to combine with Reiki because people are stationary for long periods while holding each pose. During last night’s class, there were two Reiki practitioners moving throughout the room giving Reiki as we held each pose. Given that we were already opening and relaxing into each pose, it made being open to receiving Reiki a natural extension.
In addition to the yin yoga (which is incredibly relaxing and restorative) and the Reiki, we were also led in a beginning and ending meditation that included focus on our chakras and a long savasana accompanied by sound therapy in the form of crystal singing bowl music. All in all, it was a perfect combination of things to create a healing and rejuvenating experience that was well worth the drive! I hope to find a way to create a similar class here in Indianapolis for more people to have access to this combination of practices.
Although Reiki is not a religion or directly affiliated with any religion, some Christians are hesitant to practice or receive Reiki for fear that it is incongruent with their faith. This is understandable. The use of energy techniques for healing is not something that is often talked about in church.
However, there are also many Christians that do practice and receive Reiki and believe that this is one aspect of what healing through the laying on of hands means. They believe that all healing comes from God, so any practice that has a healing effect must be of God.
Although the US Catholic bishops have urged Catholic hospitals not to support the use of Reiki, there are many other Christians—both Catholic and Protestant—who use Reiki as part of their ministries. This is obviously an area that not all Christians agree on, and each person must make their own decision about what they believe.
There is a website called Reiki for Christians that was created by Christians who do practice and receive Reiki that answers many questions that Christians may have. It contains stories from people who use Reiki, articles about Reiki and Christianity, frequently asked questions, and information about the ways they believe Reiki and Christianity are compatible.
If you are a Christian and are unsure what you believe about this practice, this is a great website to learn more to help you come to your own conclusion.
When I first diagnosed with depression and went through the worst bout of it almost twenty years ago now, I had not heard of Reiki. In the time since then, I have learned to manage my depression through a variety of self-care techniques, including diet and supplements, sufficient sleep, exercise, meditation, journaling, and self-talk management. All of these things have been truly helpful in my own efforts to manage this condition.
Shortly after I began learning how to use Reiki a couple of years ago, my entire world fell apart in an ongoing sequence of personal storms that would once have been more than my self-care routines would have been able to manage. I have deeply struggled through parts of this journey, but I have not succumbed to the black depths of depression that I once would have before I was blessed with Reiki.
The use of self-Reiki and receiving Reiki from others has been instrumental in keeping my depressive tendencies to a manageable level despite the challenges I have faced. I am extraordinarily grateful for all that Reiki has done for me during this time, but my experience is hardly unique.
Pamela Miles, a well-known Reiki practitioner in New York City and author of the book , recently wrote a blog post called You Are Not Alone that shares some research showing the difference Reiki can make in the lives of people struggling with depression. More information about the study she cites is available from the Center for Reiki Research in a summary of the study (PDF, 22 KB).
Although this study was performed on a relatively small sample, the results are encouraging and are in agreement with what I have experienced in my own life. I am excited to see that research is being published in this area and hope to see more studies of this nature in the future.
If you are struggling with depression and would like to try Reiki as another tool in your journey toward wellness, please don’t hesitate to contact me and give a Reiki session a try. I’m so glad that I did!