Why Mindfulness Meditation is Critical in Hands-On Reiki Treatments

Guy sitting on floor with legs crossed, eyes closed and doing Gassho meditation

When I teach a Reiki class, I am at great pains to emphasise the need to engage in a good solid mindfulness meditation practice as a part of any engagement with Reiki as a simple energy healing discipline, whether for oneself or others.

Personally, I am much more interested in the meditation aspects of the system than I am in hands-on healing, though it must be said that both facets of the system are equally important.

Not so long ago, there was nary a mention of mindfulness in the context of Reiki. Even today, when you do a Google search on mindfulness and Reiki, you come up with a few vague references to how the Reiki Precepts are based in the practice of mindfulness or some basic guidance on how to use Reiki alongside mindfulness in a therapeutic setting.

But mindfulness is much more deeply embedded in the system of Reiki than that.

As Reiki Master, Taggart King noted on his website: “According to Usui Sensei’s surviving students, Mikao Usui introduced his students to the practice of mindfulness at First Degree level and emphasised this more at Second Degree level.” For those who don’t know, Mikao Usui was the founder of the system of Reiki.

We can see therefore that mindfulness has always been an intrinsic part of the practice of Reiki from the very beginning of a student's training. Sadly, in the West, this is mostly absent in the teaching of the system.

Mindfulness, in fact, is the foundation on which Reiki sits, and without it, Reiki as either a spiritual practice or as a simple hands-on energy discipline is significantly diminished. It goes much further than a relationship with the Reiki Precepts or as an adjunct in a therapeutic setting. It is this deep relationship between mindfulness meditation and the practice of Reiki that I have explored in my new book, Mindfulness Meditation and The Art of Reiki (out next year from Ayni Books).

Importantly, if your relationship to Reiki is as a healing therapy, mindfulness brings an intense engagement with the discipline that not only enhances your client's experience but also blurs the boundaries between the hands-on healing aspects of the system and the spiritual dimensions of the practice.

Using Mindfulness in the Context of Hands-On Healing

I routinely see and hear of Reiki practitioners, often out of an intense feeling of compassion, intending to fix this or that or trying to make something happen when they lay their hands on a client who is suffering. As counterintuitive as this might seem, this approach to Reiki healing is not a good thing and reveals a lack of understanding of how Reiki and energy healing in general, at its most sophisticated level, should work.

In practicing Reiki as therapy we can assume that when someone is suffering, let’s say, from a pain in the stomach or persistent, recurring headaches that the solution is to remove the offending problem and so, balance will naturally be restored. An effort is therefore made to direct the energy or bring the energetic force of the practitioner’s intention into the healing equation. The objective of the exercise is to make the energy do what we think it should do to bring about the healing response that we think the client needs (and certainly wants). I talked about why this is not a sensible approach to Reiki in a healing context in a previous post.

What has this got to do with mindfulness meditation?

When we practice mindfulness at the same time as giving a Reiki treatment, we remove our mind from the healing process. Stepping our minds out of the way of the treatment through a meditation practice also encourages a greater flow of energy for the client, enhancing their healing experience. In bringing stillness to the mind rather than having it worry over whether the treatment is working, feeling tense if the problem isn’t resolved the way we think it should be, or planning what we are going to have for lunch once the client is gone, is not conducive in any way to the practice of Reik