Reiki & Christianity

You are Christ’s Hands, Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which to look out Christ’s compassion to the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now. ~ St. Theresa of Avila (a Spanish saint and mystic of the 16th century)

The Miracles of Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ lies at the heart of any Christian religion and his teachings, the miracles he performed and ultimately, his death on the cross, form some of the most important aspects of worship in the Christian faith today.

Of all the miracles he carried out, the healings that took place were of most memorable and significant – and are often noted in the Christian celebration of the life of Jesus. He healed people of paralysis, fever, haemorrhage, skin disease, deafness and blindness, amongst other ailments. “When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness and laying his hand on each one, he healed them” (Luke 4:40).In this passage, hands-on-healing is described as the method Jesus used to heal the sick, similar to Reiki.

The bible describes healing as one of the gifts of the spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:4;

There are distinctive gifts of grace, but the same spirit, and there are distinctive ministeries, yet the same Lord. There are also varieties of things accomplished, but the same God does all the energising in them all. To each is granted the evidence of Spirit for the common welfare. To one person is given by the Spirit a message of wisdom and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to a third faith is granted by the same Spirit; to yet another the gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another miraculous powers; to this one prophecy, to that one discrimination between spirits, to a third variety of tongues, and to yet another the ability to interpret tongues. All these abilities one and the same Spirit energises, distributing to each individual exactly as He pleases.

The “gifts of healing by the one Spirit” implies that there are many different methods of healing, hence the use of the word ‘gifts’ in plural. Healing may then come in the form of different modalities, such as Reiki, reflexology and massage and to the other extreme – of just providing someone with a shoulder to cry on – or being a good listener. Healing takes place in many ways; not just one way. Reiki can therefore be noted as one of the ways in which healing can take place – as one of the “gifts of healing by the one Spirit.”

Free to All of Mankind

God has given us these gifts of the Spirit freely and without discrimination. In John 14:12 it is written; “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me, can do the same miracles I have done, and even greater things than these will you do.” The only obstacle standing between receiving one of these miraculous gifts is the self. They are free to anyone, regardless of race, age, denomination or creed – and we can see this when we examine Mark 6:5-6: “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.” This passage supports the notion that healing is free to all people – whether they are of Christian denomination or not – and that faith is not necessary for healing to take place. Whether healing comes under the name of hands-on healing, Reiki or any other name, the essence of what takes place is the same – and is “energised from the same Spirit.” Reiki is not owned by anyone, people are merely vehicles for the loving and healing energy of God to flow through.

Meaning of Reiki

Reiki, as a form of healing, was grounded into a modality in Japan, by a Buddhist monk, Mikao Usui. Born in the late 19th century, he was a man who like us, was influenced by family, society, culture and religious upbringing. He found the same universal love that Jesus did and made it available as Jesus did to his disciples and followers. He made available to anyone who was willing, this self-same healing method as described in the Bible, even though it was given in another language and under the name of Reiki. “A rose by any other name smells just as sweet” ~Shakespeare. Usui realised that Reiki did not come from him, but rather through him and that it had to be nurtured and respected. Like Jesus, he allowed the love energy from God flow through him to heal others. Reiki is not a system of religion or a cult – it is a method of healing, using the love energy from God. It does not exclude anyone from itself and practitioners can continue with any religious practice they had before they were introduced to Reiki.

The word Reiki is Japanese and is written with two Japanese kanji, the first part ‘rei’ meaning spiritual/sacred and the second part, ‘ki’, meaning energy. Reading the two kanji as one word simply means aura. Perhaps the problems many Christians experience with Reiki is the fact that the word is firstly, Japanese, secondly that it comes from a Buddhist tradition and thirdly, that it sounds all ‘new age’ because it speaks of energy. God is Universal and so are his messengers, Jesus being one of them. Buddha brought with him a message of peace and love. God in his wisdom does not reserve hands-on healing for the Christians only – that would contradict that his love, his teachings and his wisdom is indeed Universal. Reiki is simply a word used for naming a form of healing that transcends mere syllables and language. It is one of the gifts of the Spirit, which we are encouraged to use on ourselves and on others for healing – healing on all levels of our person.

On the subject of ‘energy’, science has come to prove that the entire universe and everything in it, is composed of energy and physical matter is a concentration or compressed form of energy. In other words, we are all composed of a mass of constantly vibrating atoms. Science has also recently proved, in Quantum Mechanics that the mere presence of the scientist in the room with the experiment taking place has an effect on the outcome of the experiment. Another example of this is the experiments of water as conducted by Masaru Emoto. His revolutionary findings are proof that energy exists and that we influence bodies of water around us – either negatively or positively, through our thoughts and feelings, as well as the words we speak. Lourdes in France is one such example, where Scientists have verified 66 healings that have taken place and another 50 unverified healings per month. Here, the Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 and instructed her to uncover a spring, which would have healing properties. Visitors to this well-known site spend time praying there, their positive thoughts, prayers and faith effecting the healing properties of the water. Just another example of one of the gifts of healing as given by the same Spirit, the one God.

Other Obstacles to Understanding

Another problem Christians might face when broaching the subject of Reiki is its use of symbols as received by the Level II student during an attunement. In the system of Reiki, the symbols represent different aspects of the Reiki energy that the practitioner can use to access that specific energy when it is needed. In itself, the symbols are neutral and simply represent an energy frequency. Similarly, the symbol of the cross in Christian mythology is representative of Jesus and his dying on the cross for the sins of the world. It is merely a pattern of two lines and is without any power in itself, yet, it reminds us of the love shown by Christ to all of mankind as he died on the cross. Another example is that of the fish, otherwise known as the ichthus, in Christian symbology. Symbols are neutral, even when they are sacred – it is the intention we place within them that gives them meaning. In the same way, Reiki symbols help the practitioner connect with God for healing to take place, since all healing energies come from the one God.

Another similarity between Christianity and Reiki is the ability to pass the power to heal on to others, like the attunement and reiju processes. Evidence of this in the bible is in Luke 9:1-2; “Calling the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” We do not know how or by what process Jesus passed this healing ability on, but the very fact that he was able to pass it on to them, indicates an important similarity with the Reiki attunement and reiju processes.

Many Reiki practitioners speak of their “spirit guides” helping them in their healing treatments. The Christian might not be familiar with the term “spirit guide”, but it can be noted that they are indeed synonyms for the word angel. Although not part of the original Reiki teaching and later introduced by Western practitioners, it is possible to have the help of angels during a treatment. In the bible, there are numerous examples of Jesus, Mary and other biblical figures receiving assistance from spiritual beings – in the form of angels.

Just for Today

Reiki reminds us how to live a good life and Usui wrote down the following precepts or gokai as a guide on how to accomplish this.

The secret of inviting happiness through many blessings:
The spiritual medicine for all illness:
I am gentle and calm.
I trust.
I am humble and appreciative.
I am focuses on my spiritual work and development.
I am kind and compassionate to myself and others.

It must be noted that these are not rules or commandments of Reiki, they are simply a guide on how to live well – much like how the Christian is encouraged to live. They can be likened to daily affirmations, which are designed to improve one’s life.

It is important to remember that God is more than who we think He is – and we cannot place him in a box labelled Christian God, Buddhist God, Hindu God, Muslim God, etc. In the book of Isaiah we read about God; “For My ways are not your ways and My thoughts are above your thoughts….” (Isaiah 55:8) God’s love for all of mankind is immeasurable and he reveals himself through different people at different times. His message is universal – no matter whether it comes from a Buddhist, Muslim or Jew. The message is the constant, even when the messenger isn’t recognisable.

Prayer is the route Christians can take to ascertain whether or not Reiki would be right for them. Once you have prayed about it, listen to the guidance that comes to you from God. You will receive your answer – God always responds and listens to his children.

Do not believe in anything (simply) because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything (simply) because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. ~ GUATAMA BUDDHA from Anguttara Nikaya

I am a Registered Reiki Master of South Africa