Reiki needs no ritual, but perhaps we do.
Reiki itself, by that I mean spiritual energy, or soul energy, requires no ritual. How can it? Spiritual, or soul, energy transcends any requirement of any kind. But, Reiki practice, like any practice, requires consistency and reverence on the part of the practitioner. And that is where ritual may find a place, for the goal of ritual is to transform the mind and heart of the individual. It is quite possible that ritual is a human need as humans have sought ways of deepening their self-awareness in all times and places.
We have all been to Reiki Shares, or similar gatherings, where Reiki treatments are offered to others, and observed our fellow practitioners performing ritual, ceremony, or preparation of some kind before beginning the treatment. Some of us, in our Reiki training, learned to perform a ritual before offering a Reiki session to self or others. I am not referring here to group ritual and ceremony, but rather to solo rituals performed prior to placing hands on the Reiki recipient. These rituals may be carried out in a communal setting, such as at a Reiki Share, Clinic, or wellness event, or may be performed in the privacy of a Reiki treatment room in one’s own Reiki business. Either way, I am referring to individual ritual performance.
Yes, many times we Reiki practitioners will simply place our hands on ourselves or others without performing any inward or outward ritual whatsoever. There are times and places, and certain contexts in which we do not feel moved to perform ritual, or circumstances do not permit us to do so. Yet if one is inclined to free the heart and mind of mundane or negative thoughts and feelings prior to offering a Reiki treatment, ritual provides a means of doing so.
A ritual act, like the practice of Reiki itself, allows us to bypass the everyday ‘thinking head.’ Through ritual, we are able to pause long enough to touch our inner being and access profound parts of ourselves. This awakened self-awareness expands outward and we feel a deep sensation of unity and connectedness with the eternal, with the sacred, and with our Reiki recipient. Ritual provides us with a structure we can return to over and over again to focus our attention on our inner work with Reiki practice and on the work we do with others.
If we choose to perform rituals as part of our Reiki practice, we should know who we are, what we are doing, and why we are doing it. Ritual done for the sake of dogma, obligation, or because someone else told us to, may not honor our practice. Ritual is meant to be an honest and ethical expression of our values and principles. We can ask ourselves what our motives are for performing our ritual: Am I performing my ritual to focus my attention in the moment? Is it to open myself to all that is? Is it to access my intuition for the upcoming Reiki session? Is it to remind me of some eternal truth or principle? Is it to honor Sensei Usui and my teachers? Let us know why we are performing our rituals, so they are not merely habits or dry, rigid prescriptions.
Should we choose the way of ritual, the teachings of the system of Reiki provide us with all we need. Daily self-Reiki can easily be recognized as a ritual. Working conscientiously with the Reiki Precepts is also a ritual in itself. Then there are the Reiki meditations, including Hatsu Rei Ho, which allow us to be more fully aware of our own Reiki (spiritual, or soul, energy) and that of the world around us.
Elise Brenner, Ph.D, Reiki Master Teacher, is a strong advocate for Reiki outreach, education, and empowerment. The owner of Brenner Reiki Healing in Newton, Massachusetts, Elise teaches Reiki classes, provides in-depth mentoring for Reiki professionals, operates a monthly low-cost Reiki Clinic, and is Chair of the annual Celebration of Reiki Conference in Massachusetts. Elise considers herself a Reiki community builder, providing Reiki at veterans retreats, community wellness fairs, in hospitals and hospice. As an anthropologist, Elise Brenner has researched cross-cultural healing practices, thereby enriching the scope and depth of her Reiki practice. Reach Elise at www.BrennerReikiHealing.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and at Brenner Reiki Healing on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brenner-Reiki-Healing/234700054121?fref=ts).