Is Reiki a Religion?

One question some people may ask when they first encounter Reiki is whether it’s a religion, although it is not. But looking at its important role as part of a spiritual path, it’s easy to understand why.

Exactly What is Reiki?

The name Reiki comes from the Japanese Rei, which means God’s Wisdom or Higher Power, and Ki, which is spirit or life force. Reiki is an enlightenment system practiced through sessions that typically last 60 to 90 minutes. It’s easy to learn with advancing levels of courses beginning with Reiki One. Individuals experience Reiki benefits through the hands of a Reiki practitioner. Self-treatment is also possible.

Reiki’s Spiritual Origins

Reiki links to a Japanese lay monk named Mikao Usui. On a lifelong spiritual quest, he lived in an environment where Shinto, Taoist, and Buddhist beliefs co-existed.

Reiki is usually associated with healing. Many practitioners of Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, and Buddhism embrace it for spiritual healing. Both Reiki and spirituality focus on self-care. One way to think of Reiki is as a spiritual practice that complements any particular faith to promote physical and emotional healing.

The Reiki-Spirituality Link

A Reiki practitioner directs and offers universal energy from a subject’s head to toes with specific traditional hand positions. The experience can include relaxing releases of energy. Many people describe this as similar to spiritual meditation. The most common feelings are health, peacefulness, calm, tingling, and coolness.

Just as a person’s spirituality develops over time, so does an understanding of Reiki’s ability to heal. While it’s not necessary to believe in Reiki for it to work, being open to its possibilities is helpful.

One of the most important Reiki benefits is the adjunct capability to guide a person’s life in a manner exactly right for him or her. Reiki’s spiritual nature can help people handle difficult life experiences and change attitudes or beliefs about circumstances.

Each person has a customized life plan. Reiki leads individuals to find this plan—really a person’s true spiritual path—and follow it.

Experienced Reiki practitioners are able to send distance treatments without using any hands. Some see a parallel between this and sending prayers on a person’s behalf.

No, Reiki isn’t a religion. However, its energy arrives from the highest spiritual source.

**This article appeared in The Reiki Times, the official magazine of the International Association of Reiki Professionals.

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