Recognizing Real Reiki
By Kathleen Prasad

Have you ever encountered a Reiki skeptic? As a Reiki teacher, I often get asked the question, “So what is Reiki anyway? And how do you know it’s real?” Depending on how you look at it, this question could have a simple or a complex answer. A complex answer could have us debating over the nature of what “is” energy, or what studies have been done about the benefits of hands-on healing, or how do we perform distant healing, or how exactly is energy transferred from one being to another, or even how can we scientifically measure the energy field and so on. This debate could then lead to a complicated philosophical discussion about the nature of healing. Does Reiki really heal? And how do we measure that?

Well, as an animal lover who would rather spend quiet time meditating in the pasture with my horse than lively discussion of such things with a group of people, I prefer simple.  So how would I answer in simple terms? Follow the love; follow the compassion, and you will find what’s real: you’ll find Reiki.

Yes, the real value, purpose and measure of Reiki all come down to love and compassion. Reiki is love. Reiki is compassion. What does this mean in our Reiki practice? Here are some simple questions to ask yourself, and if you find love and compassion in your answers, then you are on the right track to uncovering the essence of what makes Reiki real in life and practice.

  1. How do I feel when I read the writings of a Reiki teacher? If I feel love and compassion, then those words are imbued with Reiki and true healing.
  2. When I sit in a Reiki class, do the words and presence of my teacher make my heart open with kindness and does my mind expand with inspiration to live with compassion? If so, then yes, you are experiencing Reiki and true healing.
  3. When I receive a Reiki treatment, is my whole being–my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self–peacefully embraced with love and compassion and without judgment or expectation? If I feel supported in such a way, I will feel an inner shifting into love, a lightening of the wounded layers that cover my soul so that I can begin to remember my bright inner light; then yes, this was a Reiki healing treatment.
  4.  When I practice Reiki, either for my self or others, do I feel encompassed by love and compassion? So much so, that everything else begins to fall away? Is my presence a comfort and support to others? If so, then I have begun to discover the essence of Reiki within my own practice.
  5. When I share a distance Reiki session, regardless of the method I am using (chanting, visualization of the Reiki symbols or a bridge, Reiki breathing, hands-on a surrogate, focusing on a photo, and so on), does love and compassion embrace the process? Do my “edges” and “ego” begin to soften within this meditation as I remember the Oneness space that is my true essence? Do I feel the peace of Reiki radiating from my heart, and does it help relieve the suffering of the animal or person with whom I’m connecting?  If so, then I have begun to touch the healing of the heart to heart connection that Reiki brings, for love and compassion transcend time and space.
  6. And perhaps most importantly, what about when I’m not “doing” Reiki? In other words, what about when I’m simply living my life, day to day-especially in difficult moments? Do I measure my thoughts, words and actions by the Reiki precepts? Am I becoming more aware when I’m angry and worried, so that I can practice choosing peace and courage? Can I recognize when I fall short and be humble enough to make amends? In practicing these things do I find myself unexpectedly finding ways to infuse difficult situations with love and compassion for others and myself? If so, then I am beginning to realize that Reiki is more than an energy therapy, it’s a way of life.

In simple terms, because Reiki is love and compassion, it is very easy to recognize in others. And the more we practice Reiki, the easier it becomes to embody within ourselves.  And the more we embody it, the more healing we can bring to the animals and people in our lives.

I’d love to hear how you define Reiki and how you know that it’s real!

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