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Anatomy 101

The metaphysics of Reiki

The Chakras

Numerous books have been written on the subject of the chakras – the body's “generator system”.  In order to understand the magnitude of Reiki's potential as a facilitator for personal/spiritual growth, a minimal understanding of these energy centers is helpful.

As mentioned before, our physical body comprises various levels of vibratory rates of energy. Within our gross (i.e. tangible) physical body there exist numerous energy centers of yet higher frequencies than those previously acknowledged by science. These centers were long ago acknowledged by mystics in various parts of the world. The term chakra comes from the Sanskrit meaning “circle of movement”. It is variously translated as “vortex of spinning energy” or “wheel”.

There are purportedly over three hundred of these energy centers in the body. This chapter will illustrate the dynamics of the chakras in relationship to Reiki and the Reiki initiations. The focus will be on the seven major chakras and the hand chakras.

After conception, the earliest stages of embryological development focus on the cerebrospinal system. It is through the cerebrospinal system that the body receives its life force. The seven major chakras are high frequency psychic/energy centers situated in close proximity to the cerebrospinal system. These energy centers may be likened to the energy generators of the developing organism or the `blueprint'.

As centers of transformation the chakras step down subtle energies and transform them into nerve, cellular and hormonal energy within the physical body. The conduits or subtle “pathways” which facilitate this interchange between psychological and physical energy are called nadis.

Various scientific studies have finally given credibility to the existence of the chakras. As a result, science is now beginning to acknowledge what the masters have long been teaching regarding their importance in relation to the physiological level. Dysfunction at the level of the chakras and nadis is directly reflected in pathological disorders within the nervous system/endocrine system which, in turn, will affect the whole body/mind.

The physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the body work together and are interconnected. It is, therefore, important to remember that any disorder at the physiological level will always be, to some extent, reflected at the subtler levels.

The following information is a brief summary of the dynamics of the chakras from an emotional, mental, physiological and spiritual standpoint. This explanation will facilitate your understanding of the activation of the Reiki in the hands and the importance of the Reiki initiation process.

The seven major chakras have many concordances.  The concordance of primary importance is that of the endocrine glands. The endocrine system affects the supply of hormonal secretions into the blood stream. These secretions determine growth rate, sexual development and numerous physiological activities.

The chakras also have corresponding organs, qualities or emotions, colors and elements. Information regarding the chakras varies but we must realize there are levels within levels when one addresses this subject. Herein we only skim the surface of an immense and highly refined system.

Root Chakra

The first chakra is situated at the area of the genitalia (base of the spine) and is referred to as the root chakra in English. This chakra is associated with the kidneys and the adrenal glands. The associated element is earth. The emotion or “quality” associated with this chakra is the emotion of fear.

At this stage it is important to understand that the chakras are seats of consciousness through which we express ourselves. Perhaps we should say, ideally we express ourselves through them, but in most cases we consciously or unconsciously limit expression to but a couple of these centers.

During the first seven years of development, ideally, we express ourselves through this seat of consciousness. We are mainly interested in being fed, nurtured, having our diapers changed and basically surviving. For this reason the base chakra is also often referred to as the survival chakra.

As adults, if we continue to express ourselves healthily through this seat of consciousness we are grounded people (hence the earth element association). We are highly motivated because the emotion of fear activates the “flight or fight” response when necessary and gives us our get-up-and-go. We have a good sense of our place in relation to the material world and feel secure within it.

Limited expression through the root chakra is often reflected in insecurity when relating to the material world. This may result in violent or avaricious behavior. The person will feel generally “ungrounded” and at odds with his/her environment or simply detached from it.

Sexual Chakra

From approximately the seventh year of life until the age of about fourteen, we begin to discover our sensual/sexual body. A new awareness of our physical body and our individuality develops. Along with it evolves our imagination and creativity.

This chakra is linked to the yin aspect of the kidneys, the ovaries in women, and the testes and prostate in men. It is related to the element of water (essence of life) and has to do with the fluid flows of the body:- blood, urine, lymph etc.

A person who is well centered in this chakra is a person with healthy body awareness and high self love/esteem. The person will express his/her individuality living creatively. He/she will have a healthy regard and relationship with his or her sexuality and its expression and as a result be deeply in touch with joy.

Unfortunately few of us express ourselves healthily through this seat of consciousness. Early on as we entered the period associated with the development of expression through the sexual chakra, we were told “you're big now and shouldn't walk around without clothes on” (i.e. masks are necessary and there is reason to hide this part of you), “don't touch yourself,” etc. Young women learned about “the curse” and all kinds of horrendous trials and tribulations of being female. Young men are rarely taught enough to assuage fears of the mysteries of the female.

Incest, child-beating and touch-starvation are sad facts in many people's lives. If we receive negative programming about our physical/sensual body, we learn quickly to close down sensitivity to it. We cease expressing ourselves through this chakra because it is “unacceptable” to society and painful to us. If we do so, we may suffer from an inability to experience sexual pleasure or to express ourselves sensually and creatively. Invariably feelings of inadequacy at this level are reflected in possessive, jealous personalities.

Ovarian cysts/tumors, breast problems (they being linked to the reproductive system), sterility, impotency, pre menstrual syndrome, obsessive/compulsive sexual behavior, etc. may all be signs that on some level we have chosen to cease healthy expression through the sexual chakra.

Lack of self-expression at this level is the basis for the majority of our dis-ease processes in life. If we reject our physical, we reject self. Self rejection depletes the immune system. Rejection of our sensuality/sexuality causes depression of our life-force energy. We stay out of touch with our innate capacity for joy or limit it dramatically.

Solar Plexus Chakra

By the time we reach about fourteen years of age, we reach the stage where we begin to develop our own sense of personal power (in the positive sense of the word) and ability to manifest our dreams. Because most of us struggled uncomfortably with the first two chakras, by the time we are at this stage our sense of personal power is often distorted, limited or non-existent.

The solar plexus chakra is associated with the stomach (digestion), spleen (transformation and purification of blood), pancreas (secretes digestive juice, pancreatin, and insulin), liver (produces bile and converts carbohydrates into energy/glucogens), and the gall bladder (stores bile). These are our organs of digestion and assimilation, not just of food, but of emotions.

In a healthy organism, when the body has finished the process of digesting and assimilating food, it continues with an organic process of emotional synthesis. We are under the misconception that the rumbling of the tummy means we need food. Tummy rumbles are a sign of peristalsis (muscular contractions of the alimentary and intestinal canals) that affects expulsion of waste. Peristalsis often denotes synthesis at the emotional level.

We all have had times when we are upset and either gorge or starve ourselves as a coping mechanism. What we are actually doing is halting the body's natural emotional synthesizing process. We get “the runs” in sympathy with the bottom falling out of our lives, or we suffer from constipation, reflecting our insecurity and need to cling to the old and familiar, however uncomfortable that may be.

This chakra is related to the emotion of anger. As few of us are in touch with our own personal power, anger is usually in excess (whether expressed outwardly, stifled or even projected onto a “nagging” partner). By the time we reach the solar plexus chakra most of us are candidates for stomach ulcers, liver cancer, hypoglycemia, digestive problems, or a combination thereof.

If we are healthily centered and expressing ourselves through this chakra, we have a high self esteem and natural ability to manifest abundance on all levels. The solar plexus chakra is linked to the liver, which, in metaphysics, is the seat of the soul. Here we begin to develop a healthy relationship with self which is reflected in our interaction with our environment.

Those of us who struggle at the level of the third chakra may have distorted, overblown egos to mask our inner insecurities about our role in relationship to the outer world. Another method for dealing with our inability to express through this seat of consciousness is to introvert. We keep everything bottled up like a time bomb and probably live in a hostile environment which is merely mirroring our own psyche's turmoil.

The element associated with the solar plexus chakra is fire. Fire is the element of transformation. Leave it unattended and it can become harmful and burn out of control (excess/violent) or simply go out (deficient/unmotivated).

Heart Chakra

As the quality of the heart chakra is self love, it is the chakra through which many of us have a great deal of trouble expressing ourselves.

The heart chakra is considered the seat of balance in the body. It is associated not only with the heart, but also the lungs and thymus (immune system). The associated element is air.

The heart chakra anchors the life force - our breathing. It is our breathing that effects movement of the rib cage and consequent massaging of our vital organs beneath it. This massaging action directly affects how well, or how poorly, our digestion and assimilation processes work.

So, what do we do? When we are upset we have great ways of avoiding synthesizing our emotions. We chain smoke, which is a wonderful way to diminish the efficacy of the lungs and an effective way of stifling emotions. Another method is to hold our breath or breathe shallowly. We are all pretty expert in the art of how not to breathe. In fact, considering that it is this very process that keeps us alive, it is amazing how many of us have never learned to do it properly.

Those of us in the above category are classic candidates for lung cancer, pneumonia, (water/tears in the lungs), heart disease etc.

In the military, men were trained in “correct” posture - head up, shoulders back. An excellent way of armoring the heart center to avoid having to feel emotions when entering the battle field. Unfortunately many of us were trained this way at home and in school too. Breast implants are another good way of armoring the heart center and very effective in blocking energy flow in the body. Most of us are actually experts in avoiding expression through this center.

The physiological effect of true laughter and smiling on the thymus is to strengthen it. Just being in touch with our joy will strengthen the immune system. The connection between a healthy immune system and self-love is undeniable. When we look at the number of immune system disorders in our society today, it is indicative of the underdeveloped heart chakra most of us have.

You know what it feels like to fall in love? Suddenly everything seems to go right, you feel better about yourself and can express yourself to this person like you never have to anyone else. Even your health problems seem to diminish! When we are with that someone special we feel more creative, more intelligent, more beautiful.

We spend a lot of time dreaming of falling in love and trying to find someone to fall in love with. We may be in love with that person's creative talent, intellect, ability to interact, or beauty. Whatever draws us to another person (consciously or unconsciously) is usually an aspect of ourselves we see reflected in that person. When we are with him or her our heart chakra expands, and becomes more dynamic. As a result, we allow ourselves to observe the special within us.

At first the feelings are of bliss and joy because we are seeing ourselves through the beloved's eyes and self-love is possible. Sadly, most of us are so used to giving away our power (under-functioning solar plexus chakra) that we continue to project what is special about us onto our beloved and refuse to own it as that which is special about us. As a result we become disillusioned with him/her and “fall” out of love.

The reason our ability to love is conditional is that we are requiring the other person to make us special. How can we possibly think we are being honest when we say “I love you” to someone if we do not even know how to love ourselves? What we are really saying is “I love you...because you make me feel a certain way”: “you are in total control of my emotions”. We are giving away our power and putting tremendous pressure on our partners to be custodians of our emotional stability, thereby setting ourselves up for disappointment (a misnomer frequently used instead of the word anger).

Those of us who have decided to be “selfless” and work and slave to make our family happy or save the world could be misguided. Probably, the best thing we can do for the world is to begin by expressing ourselves through our heart chakra i.e. loving self. If we, as the microcosm, have internal battles with self going on, how can we possibly expect the macrocosm to reflect peace and unity? We are hypocritical if we profess to be devoting our lives to “fixing” the world if we aren't also working to heal our relationship with ourselves.

Ideally, if we are healthily expressing through the heart chakra and have a good relationship with self, then the possibility that the rest of our chakras are dynamic and healthy is increased. The heart being considered the seat of balance in the body makes self love the key to a healthy chakra system.

If you love yourself and then fall in love with someone else, the chances for a healthy enduring relationship are high. The new expansion to your heart chakra will allow the energy to flow more dynamically out to the other chakras. We “fall in love” and take the energy down to our solar plexus chakra and synthesize it. Ideally we then take it down to our sexual chakra and express ourselves sensually/sexually to our beloved. We then allow the energy to flow to our base chakra and seek to put down roots (earth element) together, marry, have babies, a white picket fence, etc.

Our inner attitudes about self are often reflected in the kinds of people we draw into our lives. We have but to look around us to see what we really want. It is reflected in what we already have. If we shake our heads and say “no way, this is the furthest thing from what I want,” be sure that some part of you believes this is what you deserve and need right now. If we look at our reality from this perspective, it adds incentive to develop a loving relationship with oneself.

Throat Chakra

The throat chakra is associated with the thyroid gland (secretes thyroxin which regulates metabolic rate thus influencing growth and development); the parathyroid gland (produces hormones regulating metabolism of calcium and phosphorous), and the hypothalamus (regulates body temperature). [This gland is sometimes associated with the brow chakra.]

On a physiological level, an imbalance in our expression through the throat chakra will be reflected in under- functioning of the above organs and glands. This may result in hypothyroidism, characterized by a sluggish metabolism and weight problems. The contrary may otherwise be the case, which is hyperthyroidism.

Imbalance at this level may show itself in an inability to express oneself verbally or to communicate well. If we have difficulty bringing our deep inner-knowing, thoughts and emotions together in verbal expression, it may be a sign that we need to give more focus to this chakra.

Poets, orators, and singers make up some of the realm of creative people centered in this chakra. There is no gross element associated with this chakra, but rather the amalgamation of the first four chakras becomes sound.

A person truly centered in this chakra will voice not intellectually or emotionally programmed belief systems, but speak from a place of knowing and deep inner truth.

Brow Chakra

It is from the sixth chakra that we project our inner dreams outward and manifest them on the physical level. Here is our seat of intuition, insight, and creativity. Here we begin to ask questions of the Spirit, questioning our existence and interrelationship with the universe.

This chakra is associated with the pituitary gland, which functions rather like the orchestral conductor of all the other glands. Directly or indirectly this gland regulates the majority of basic bodily functions.

If we are “closed minded” and only focus outwardly upon the material aspects of our life, we avoid self expression through this chakra. We may suffer from eye problems (not wishing to see the truth), or severe headaches. We will only believe in that which we experience with our five senses and probably even have diminished experience through those, meaning that our lower chakras will probably be underdeveloped.

Crown chakra

In the crown chakra we experience the meeting of heaven and earth. It is here that your Higher Self or inner spark (whatever term you may use that has meaning for you) interacts with the outer world. If you are balanced and centered in this chakra, one is reflected within the other. The presence of the divine and the divine within Self are experienced.

The First ( Base) Chakra is related to the sense of smell

The Second (Sexual) Chakra is related to the sense of taste

The Third (Solar plexus) Chakra is related to the sense of sight

The Fourth (Heart Plexus) Chakra relates to the sense of touch (heart reflected in palms)

The Fifth (Throat) Chakra relates to the sense of hearing

Spiritual Development

This is a simple overview of the dynamics of the chakras aimed at giving you insight into the necessity for developing balanced expression of all aspects of self.

You may have gained awareness as to which chakra you avoid self expression through. Consciously or unconsciously we choose the chakra most comfortable to us. A simplistic example might be the following:

I may feel quite at home as a career woman, having a good grasp of business (base chakra). What sets me apart from my colleagues is my ability to communicate well (throat chakra). I am successful and feel very comfortable functioning in these two realms. As a result I may neglect other areas of my life, such as my sex life, because “men are intimidated by me” (sabotage of the sexual chakra). I don't have time to nurture myself much because I'm so busy (sabotage of the solar plexus chakra) etc.

Information about the individual chakra correlates may vary slightly from source to source. This is not particularly important if one has a good grasp of the overall importance of the chakras as centers of transformation whose health and dynamism determine our state of well-being on the spiritual and physical levels.

What is extremely important to understand is that the chakras have a very important interrelationship. This interrelationship is rarely understood or given attention in explanations pertaining to the chakras.

There are various ways of expanding the chakras, or enhancing their dynamism. Simply by healthily expressing ourselves through them is one way. This is obviously not always so simple. Another very good way of expanding the chakras is through meditation.

There are numerous yogic and other practices that use focus on the individual chakras as a way of expanding them and tapping into their qualities. Regular focus on a chakra as in meditation, will generate and heighten awareness in this seat of consciousness. If one meditates regularly on the brow chakra for example, one will enhance ones intuitive/psychic processes and gain a deeper awareness of one's connection to the whole.

Should one use meditation to enhance only one chakra, however, the result will be much the same as the person who expresses him/herself only through the throat chakra or root chakra. It will create an imbalance to the detriment of the other chakras. If we spend years solely meditating on the brow chakra we might well end up with digestive disorders, sexual dysfunctions, and be generally considered a “space cadet” type person. That is to say, we would become “ungrounded” and have problems relating to our material world.

Ideally we should seek to express ourselves through each of the chakras equally. If we could manage to do this we would also expand the nadis and the resultant unimpeded flow of energy through each chakra would bring us `enlightenment'. We are all far from this stage or we would probably not be here. However, the more we enhance dynamism in all the chakras and enable the energy to flow freely, the more we will begin to experience the underlying joy in everything.

Probably the nearest we come to this experience is when we fall in love, thus creating an expansion (temporary) of the heart chakra which, as seat of balance in the chakra system, then feeds the other chakras and we experience bliss.

Imbalance -Vs- Enlightenment

Certain teachings suggest that “enlightenment” can only be attained through sexual and/or material abstinence. The theory being that if we deprive ourselves of pleasures stemming from desires, we attain purity. This type of teaching would lead us to believe that our physical body is unnecessary and even impure.

Such teachings, from the standpoint of the chakras, are advocating putting all one's focus on the upper three chakras (involved in introspective processes). This is done through rejection of the lower three (which interact with the material world)....and ultimately the heart chakra, because it is well-nigh impossible to love oneself if one is rejecting ones own body, for whatever reason.

What most teachings regarding the chakras choose to omit is the following understanding of their duality:-

The first (root) chakra, second (sexual) chakra and third (solar plexus) chakra are the yang chakras. They are our motivational yang centers. This means they give us our `get up and go' and our ability to interact on the physical plane, with our material world – e.g. work, money, family/parenting etc. It is through these chakras that we define ourselves in relationship to the macrocosm.

The fifth (throat), sixth (brow) and seventh (crown) chakra are Yin in nature. This means they are involved with the introspective Yin processes that bring us to the definition of self in relationship to the divine.

The heart chakra is considered androgynous. The word is derived from the Greek anthras (man) and gynaeca (woman). It is the seat of consciousness which represents the dual male/female aspects of self. In the philosophy of Chinese traditional medicine, this duality characterizing all realms of life is referred to as Yin and Yang.

The bottom three chakras are the yang aspects of the top three yin chakras. They are one and the same chakra. The base chakra is the yang aspect of the crown chakra; the sexual chakra is the yang aspect of the brow chakra; the solar plexus chakra is the yang aspect of the throat chakra.

If you reject your (2nd chakra) sensual/sexual self, by devoting your life to “spiritual” pursuits (6th chakra), then you are in fact creating incredible imbalance. Likewise if you give all your worldly goods away to lead the life of an aesthetic, you are rejecting the yang (base) chakra aspect of the yin (crown) chakra.

The yin and yang, male/female, dark/light, positive/negative is the makeup of our world. One cannot exist without the other. Unfortunately we often, idealistically, perceive everything we or others do as either black or white, good or bad. What we forget is the principle of yin and yang, which is that one is always contained within the other. When they are in balance, we experience harmony.

The Reiki Initiations and the Chakras

The actual mechanics of the initiation process is privileged knowledge. In Level I Reiki the student must receive four attunements. These attunements activate the Reiki in the student's hands. For this activation to be possible in the hand chakras it is necessary to `tune in' the major chakras or “generators”.

In simplistic terms, the attunement process is similar to the upgrading of a radio. It is as if you start out before Reiki as a little wireless that is able to tune into your local radio station; and by “twiddling your dials” as it were, the Reiki Master fine-tunes your system so that you can pick up international wavelengths.

If only one of the attunements is performed, or less than the total four, the Reiki will eventually wear off. The flow in a practitioner's hands will be effective enough for them to participate in their own self-treatment for a while, but until a person is fully attuned i.e. has all four attunements he/she will not have permanent Reiki flow in the hands. Once a person is attuned fully to Reiki they have Reiki for life.

The initiation to Reiki through the four attunements causes the total energy field of the initiate to undergo expansion. This is not referring to the aura which expands and contracts constantly.

The expansion in the total energy field of a person permanently changes their interaction with their environment. As a result of the expansion, the initiate impacts upon his/her environment in a more dynamic way. It also means that the initiate's environment will impact more dynamically on him/her.

The consequences of this manifest in various ways. Because it is so difficult for us to maintain objectivity about changes in ourselves, it is a good idea to keep a diary after being initiated to Reiki.

After the initiation, students often say that the people in their environment treat them differently, are easier to get on with, and seem to be more responsive to them. Some lament that “since the Reiki I have faithfully self-treated every day and see no change in myself at all. It is amazing how my husband and daughter, who didn't even take the seminar, have changed though!”

How we feel about ourselves is usually reflected in those around us. If we are having a bad day and feeling mad at the world, invariably our world reflects it right back at us and everything goes wrong, and everyone is unreasonable and bad tempered. If we are in harmony with ourselves and maintain inner balance, it will be reflected within our environment. Our “mirrors” will change.

Reiki and Initiation

The technical process of activating the Reiki in a person's hands is often referred to as an attunement or activation process. A Reiki Seminar, however, is not “just” a seminar. It is, in fact, an initiation. A Reiki student is an initiate and the activation of the Reiki is a very special initiation. To the Masters trained in performing these initiations, they are considered sacred.

The word “initiation” often conjures up negative connotations in peoples' minds. They have forgotten that celebrations such as christenings, weddings and baptisms that mark great changes in our lives, are also forms of initiation.

In cultures where the importance of ritual and ceremony is still acknowledged, those people understand initiation as being a Rite which marks the transition from one state of being to another. In many societies rites are ignored as such, or the original intent of performing them has been lost. In such cases they lose the understanding of their true potential as sacred markers for important stages in our evolution as individuals.

Initiation marks the transition from one state of consciousness or state of Being to another. There are many forms of initiation, such as those performed in various Yoga practices, Transcendental Meditation, etc. There are initiations to sounds, such as mantras, to symbols, (such as were performed in the church when the priest was initiated to the sign of the cross) and a myriad of other levels and forms of initiation.

Initiation to Reiki energy is one of the higher forms of initiation because it does not require the initiate to be in a certain state of mind or health for the Reiki to be activated. No student ever `fails' to receive the Reiki when the initiations are correctly given.

If you attend a Reiki seminar, you will undergo a fundamental energic change. The initiation to the Reiki energy raises the subtle body's (non tangible/energic body) own energy vibrations. Hence the shifting from one way of being, or state of consciousness, to another. A heightening of awareness on all levels is initiated. The effect of this heightening of awareness and expansion of total energy field is enhanced the more the initiate uses the Reiki for self-treatments.

As Reiki is a harmonic, regular use of Reiki to treat oneself will result in a more harmonious personal energy field. Our environment tends to mirror the fact that we are out of harmony and highly stressed much of the time. We find ourselves on a roller coaster of stressful reactive situations. With Reiki we are able to lower stress levels and maintain greater harmony. This is then reflected back to us by more harmonious life situations.

Reiki students who use Reiki on a regular basis often comment on how quickly they draw into their lives opportune situations, beneficial teachers, and people “just at the right time.” This is not coincidence. In the same way everything seems to just flow well when you are feeling good, maintaining a higher level of harmony with Reiki has exactly the same effect.

“Consciousness naturally resists anything unconscious and unknown ...... (we) erect psychological barriers to protect ourselves from the shock of facing anything new.”

C. G. Jung

Nevertheless, all our innate mechanisms for self-sabotage will not suddenly disappear. As we treat ourselves with the Reiki, our inner self-sabotage button is tested more and more as we move towards harmony. “Life after Reiki” can often be more of a challenge. Knowing you have an effective tool to help you ride the roller coasters objectively makes a big difference. In time we resist less, are more loving with ourselves, and the process of “going with the flow” is something that becomes a more regular occurrence in our lives.

Some of us live our lives fearing change and clinging to that which is familiar and comfortable. In periods when our psyche requires change, this resistance to the process can result in us having to undergo major upheaval or even catastrophes in order for us to be “shaken” out of our inertia.

In retrospect, we should realize that these events hold the greatest lessons and result in us making the most beneficial steps forward. If we are able to understand the “down” times (transitions) of our lives as life initiations too, then we can pass through them objectively.

Our life, in symbolic terms, is like a journey up a mountain. Some of us choose to dwell down on the foothills. Many of us need to reach total discomfort, slumbering down below (in addictions, destructive relationships, life-threatening ailments) before we even realize there is a way up where we can choose to take up the challenge. Other rare and special people lead the way by their inspiring example. The higher we climb the more we learn about ourselves, the more we can `see' and the greater our “awareness”. The Reiki Initiation is rather like receiving a “kick up the cosmic mountain!”

It is perhaps best expressed in the old saying that:

“some of us are asleep and don't know it. Some of us are asleep and do know it. Some of us are awake and don't know it. Some of us are awake and do know it.”

Many of us oscillate between the latter two and spend much time in self-sabotage finding ways to return to sleep. Wakefulness is a commitment. It is a decision to take responsibility for ones life. Initiation to Reiki is a “wake up call.”

An ancient Chinese saying notes, “You can feed a man for a day by giving him a fish, or you can feed him for life by teaching him how to fish.” Initiation to Reiki puts a “spiritual fishing rod” in your hands. You use it by treating yourself on a regular basis with the Reiki. This “fishing rod” can give you lifelong nourishment on all levels and the opportunity for expanding your awareness of self, or you can choose to put it aside.

Reiki is about choices. As an initiate, the extent of your shift in consciousness (or heightening of awareness) will be determined according to your level of commitment toward yourself. Know that when you arrive at a Reiki Seminar it is more than your intellect that has guided you there. Something inside you is ready for transformation. Even if you choose to lay your “fishing rod” aside afterwards, you will probably find that the `foothills' never seem quite the same again! The initiation is a seed sown.

At some time or other we have all experienced, even if briefly, moments where we felt totally connected to another person, to nature, or to everything and everyone. These moments are blissful and never forgotten. Whether we attained such an experience through meditation, hallucinogens, alcohol, or holding a newborn baby in our arms, it is usually an experience we expect to be temporary and hard to recreate.

When body and mind are in harmony, so is the spirit which is the animating and vital principle that is in everything and everyone. The Taoists call it the Inner Spark; physicists the Quark System. As a harmonic, Reiki is a unifier and therefore a facilitator for connection to this Inner Spark.

Rather than tripping over labels let us listen to one of the greetings used in India:- “Namaste” - One of our Western interpretations for it is:

“I honor the place in you that is of love, of light and of peace. And know that when I am in that place in me, and you are in that place in you - WE ARE ONE.”

This phrase probably best expresses the purpose of Reiki as a potential spiritual path to the initiate.

Spirituality and Reiki

In our label-oriented world we often choose to misinterpret and misuse words because they suit our need to categorize and judge others constantly. Sometimes the true meaning of a word eluded us from the beginning because we learned the word from just such a source.

One word that is misused probably as much as the word love is the word “spiritual.” So often nowadays people use the expression “he/she is such a `spiritual' person”. It would seem that this is a New Age expression which serves to categorize the person being described in a bracket of worthiness or superiority.

In seminars people so often ask “What does Reiki do for spiritual growth?” This is a good question, but its timing usually puzzles us. Invariably it follows our explanation of the dynamics of the Reiki initiations and their consequent potential for enhancement of deeper self understanding and true self expression.

So let us look at a few definitions of the word “spiritual.” Dictionaries list so many possible meanings for both spirit and spiritual, encompassing everything from religious belief systems to metaphysical viewpoints.

As religions are belief system-oriented and therefore subjective and secular, it would benefit us to look at the metaphysical interpretation. Metaphysical (another word with negative connotations) simply means - that which is beyond the physical `five senses' we usually interpret our world with in a limited way.

Metaphysics is one of the branches of philosophy that concerns itself with universal principles or laws. When any of us seek to deepen our experience of the mystical (i.e. our relationship with our inner and outer world) and the metaphysical, we cannot rely on intellectual teachings or indoctrinations. Our experience of the metaphysical is ultimately a very personal one. Our interpretations can only surface from a place of deep inner “knowing” and not intellectual understanding.

The metaphysical definition of spirit is “the animating or vital principle” in everything. We are all manifestations of this vital principle, which is the unifying force in all life. Therefore we are all of spirit. We really don't need to aim at `being' spiritual. Our focus might be better placed in heightening our awareness of spirit.

Science has inferred that there is a subatomic network of energy potentials connecting each atom and existing within and between each atom. This system is like the `glue' of the universe, its job being one of harmonizing. It is the great connector and harmonizer.

We are all manifest and “here” as a result of this energic “glue.” We may call it glue, subatomic energy, essence or holy spirit. If we think about its purpose as unifier and harmonizer. The new physics has found a good definition for “spirit.”

When we allow ourselves to experience subtler energies beyond the five senses, we realize how limited our “normal” perspective is. By trusting in our “gut feelings” or intuition, we learn the vital role they play in creating the difference between living “on remote control” and living “consciously.” When we allow ourselves to let go of our need to understand before we can trust, we realize how restricted we have been within the confines of our “shoulds.”

Spiritual growth is about daring to open oneself up to the possibility that there is infinitely more to our world and who we are than we ever dreamed or imagined. It isn't about how often we meditate, how faithfully we self-treat, do yoga, or fast. These are just possible facilitators. A person can undergo dramatic “spiritual” growth by being a good craftsman, mother or stockbroker. Spiritual growth is about waking up to who we really are and using whatever method or methods work for us. It is not about being better than anyone else, but simply about being “awake” (living consciously) and trying to resist the temptation to “doze off.”

Each individual cell within our body holds the genetic code for our entire body, which makes it a reflection of the whole body. In this same way, our world (the macrocosm) is reflected in each human being (as microcosm). Each move towards harmony we make as individuals, has the potential to resonate far beyond the seemingly narrow sphere of our single physical being.

We are faced with many choices in life. Choosing to live consciously is a responsibility and, perhaps, our hardest choice. It means we must look for our own answers and wake up to our own truths. These may conflict with the beliefs long programmed in us and may conflict with the beliefs of others. Choosing to live consciously means choosing to awaken to our true selves. That requires being honest with both ourselves and others.

The honest answer to “What can Reiki do for Spiritual growth?” can ultimately only come from within individuals as they develop their own personal relationship with the Reiki. “Dozing off” will always be a safe, familiar option available to us. Be warned, however, that if you commit to using Reiki in your daily life, you will discover that it becomes harder and harder to ignore the wake-up calls.