Defining the Spirituality of Your Reiki Practice

Although Reiki is spiritual in origin, it is not required that people practice Reiki with spirituality. Reiki is not a religion and it adheres to no specific spiritual belief system. It works with a purely technical viewpoint as well as a spiritual viewpoint. The healing attributes of Reiki flow whether Reiki is defined as a biofield energy or as a divine spiritual energy. The Reiki attunements guarantee that when people are attuned to Reiki, pure Reiki flows through them. The energy of Reiki is always pure consciousness and does not change its nature because of individual beliefs about it. Reiki sessions have positive results regardless of a person’s perception of how and why it works.

Usui Sensei

There is now significant evidence that Usui Sensei founded Reiki through his spiritual practices and that he included spirituality in his Reiki sessions. Usui Sensei was studying Zen Buddhism during the time he received Reiki. Through his lifelong study of spirituality and religion, he had chosen to follow the path that would lead him to his life’s purpose, which he came to understand meant attaining An-shin Ritus-mei, “a state of mind in which one is always at peace regardless of what is taking place in the outer world.”1 He believed he was to die to achieve this state and during the third week of fasting on the sacred Mt. Kurama, “Divine Reiki energy penetrated his body and soul. As the cosmic energy and his own energy resonated together he came to realize, ‘The Universe is me-I am the Universe.’ He had finally achieved the enlightenment he had so long pursued.”2

Dr. Usui recognized the healing energy he received on the mountain as “Reiki,” which means spiritually guided life force energy. He named his second pillar of Reiki Reiji-Ho, which means indication of spirit, and he practiced Reiki intuitively. “The kind of treatment Usui Sensei taught relies on one’s inner guidance rather than on a predetermined set of hand positions.”3 Usui Sensei spoke of healing to be in the “divine state of Buddha,” and said, “It is generally thought to be very difficult for ordinary human beings to heal diseases. However the beauty of the spiritual healing method that I have created is that it makes this possible.”4

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Tadao Yamaguchi

Tadao Yamaguchi speaks of the spirituality of Usui Sensei, “So it is quite natural that Usui Sensei would have used a lot of ideas based in Shinto. Shinto was developed from our primitive animistic worship of natural phenomena-the sun, mountains, trees, water, rocks, our harvest and so on. Animism embraces the idea that spirits inhabit all of creation and look after human beings. Shinto sees everything, including human beings, as linked to the source or the divine world.”5

Today, people of all religious and spiritual backgrounds practice Reiki. I have had Reiki students from a wide variety of religions. In one Reiki class, I had a Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, fundamentalist Christian and Agnostic. I taught the class including my spirituality, which is very nature based. I believe that God is in everything and everyone, and is called by a lot of different names. I invited my students to let Reiki guide them to their own view of it according to their beliefs, religion and spirituality. “Members of any faith can learn Reiki without leaving their own spiritual tradition. Reiki offers us a personal encounter with the divine-independent of any church, sect or holy writing. Reiki is!”6

If a person desires it, Reiki will expand his or her innate spirituality. It awakens an awareness of the inner spirit and gives it presence and voice in our daily life. Reiki helps us to listen within for our connection to God in our own unique way.

My Reiki students often have spiritual experiences during and after their Reiki attunements. They talk of spiritual beings giving them messages, seeing angels, and brilliant colors, they often have visions, psychic awakenings, increased intuition, and sometimes they see their loved ones who have passed. The Reiki attunement opens a whole new field of possibilities for connection and communication with our own spirit and the spiritual world we live in.

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Clients receive profound spiritual healing that affects their physical healing and well-being. Feelings of happiness, clarity and joy relieve the stress of their conditions and awaken their life force, sometimes allowing for a physical healing that seems like a divine miracle.

Yet, these very natural spiritual healings of a Reiki attunement or session are often difficult to explain to someone who has not experienced them. One way to express this is that Reiki awakens a joy inside that is more than a match for the challenging circumstances we are in. I believe this occurs because Reiki introduces us to our own spirit so that we finally know that there is more to this life and that we are not alone. Spirit and the divine presence are in us, and all around us. The Earth and our lives are filled with spirit. We are loved.

1 Rand, Healing Touch, 18; for further discussion, see Hiroshi Doi, “Reiki History” in Iyashino Gendai Reikiho: A Modern Reiki Method for Healing, rev. ed. (Vision Publications, forthcoming).

2 Yamaguchi, Origins of Reiki, 63.

3 Rand, Healing Touch, 55.

4 Usui’s own words from the “Reiki Ryoho no Shirori” published by the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. The questions and answers can be found in Light on the Origins of Reiki, 64-65.

5 Yamaguchi, Origins of Reiki, 99-100.

6 Walter Lubec, Frank Arjava Petter, & William Lee Rand, The Spirit of Reiki (Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 2006)135.


by Colleen Benelli