Updated: Oct 8
Today we are going to address a topic that worries many people- particularly those who are religious. Is Reiki evil? Does it put you in touch with dark energy? Can you be taken over by demons or harmed by it?
The simple answer, in my experience, is no. None of those things are possible.
(Just for the record I am very easily freaked out. Just looking at creepy photos for this post makes me want to sleep with my light on. So, no photo here.)
Reiki is a Japanese word that means “Universal Life Force.” If that phrase starts alarm bells ringing, just bear with me a little longer. In most of the world’s spiritual beliefs, there is an understanding of a divine being/energy/force that created and is a part of everything we know. They all call it different things, but pretty much all agree that a divinity exists. They also generally agree that this universal divinity is loving and desires harmony between all living things. Starting with that, the existence of a universal healing energy isn’t all that surprising. Thus far, Reiki and religion don’t seem to have any conflicts.
Instead of “Universal Life Force” (any Star Wars fans out there?) Reiki could be described as pure love. Actually, I would say that Reiki is pure UNCONDITIONAL love. That implies a few important points:
Reiki is available to all: It doesn’t care if you are Buddhist, or Christian, or Methodist, or Agnostic, or a terrible parent, or the world’s most brilliant scientist. Your ability to give and receive Reiki has absolutely no conditions applied to it. You are a living, breathing thing, therefore you can receive Reiki. It is one of the great gifts of that divine energy/person/force that allows this love to be available to all, whether or not you call the divinity by the right name.
Reiki can only do good: Pure, unconditional love cannot harm you. It always wants the best for you, always wants you to be the healthiest and happiest you can be. No one can use Reiki for an evil purpose. Reiki cannot put you in touch with dark energy. Reiki cannot do you harm.
Reiki cannot be forced on you: If you don’t want it, you don’t have to receive it. Unconditional love doesn’t force things on you. Whether you want it or not, it is still there. You have 100% free will to receive or reject Reiki. If you are ever receiving Reiki and something feels off to you, just say, “Stop” and it will stop immediately.
Reiki cannot hurt the practitioner: As a practitioner (someone attuned to Reiki energy), I share Reiki with you so that you can release stuck energy and heal. I do not take on your energy or give you any of mine. It is only love flowing between us as I channel the energy to you. No harm can come to either of us. That makes me feel safe and protected as I practice.
This brings us to a few other terms people might feel uncomfortable with. Specifically, attunement and channeling.
Reiki Attunement: You can receive Reiki without being attuned. A Reiki attunement is only necessary if you want to be one to share Reiki with others. It simply means that you are “tuned in” to that particular frequency of energy. We tune (attune) things all the time. Musical instruments. The TV or radio. The sound of a baby’s cry. The emotional energy of a crowd. Someone with perfect pitch is tuned into musical frequencies and can reproduce them perfectly at any time (I am so jealous). Someone attuned to Reiki is tuned into that energy so they can channel it at any time. This also implies that someone not attuned to Reiki could channel it...or something else. This is probably where some of the fear of energy work comes in. If aren't channeling Reiki, it is possible you could be channeling something less loving. So attunement is important. This also takes us to our second term: channeling.
Channeling Reiki: Channeling is such a loaded term. It brings up images of spirits, demons, ghosts, aliens, and more. I don’t particularly like to use the term because of these associations. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a term that works better. When I work with Reiki I channel it. I don’t create it or control it, I simply let it flow through me into the person receiving it. Since I am tuned into the energy I then become a conduit for it to flow into the world around me, spreading unconditional love to those who want it. Take it out of its loaded context and it simply means I am the one who lets it flow from one place to another.
Is Reiki anti-religious?
You can find Reiki practitioners who practice every religion out there. Since Reiki is unconditional love, it is available to all. If you struggle with that kind of love being available outside your particular religion, I would challenge you to consider if your love has a few conditions applied. If you are open to trying Reiki, but are uncomfortable with how it relates to your religion, seek out a practitioner who believes what you do. Ask questions and prayerfully consider the answers.
Doesn’t Reiki open you up to spirit guides, chanting, yoga, universalism, and other weird practices? Only if you want it to. If you just want to practice or receive pure Reiki, then find a practitioner who believes as you do, talk to them about what you are comfortable with, and give it a try. No one can force that other stuff on you if you don’t want it and no good practitioner should try. Since it is pure love, Reiki integrates well with many things. People do Reiki + pretty much anything you can imagine, but that doesn't mean you have to do those other things. You are an intelligent person with your own free will to choose what you want to practice. Also, read my previous post “Is Energy Work Weird?” to see how I answer that question.
Doesn’t the (insert your own title) church/religion denounce Reiki? Sure, and probably just as many churches or people in that denomination/religion support it. Find someone in your religious group who practices Reiki and talk to them. Ask around. I’m guessing you won’t have to go far to find someone who has Reiki experience. Try a short session for yourself. Use your own discernment to decide what you think. If you don’t like it- walk away. It really isn’t that hard.
I’m scared that this will be bad for me. So pray about it. Meditate on it. Do whatever your religion says to do to find peace about a decision. Ask that if this is something you should try that all your fears be resolved. Just because your religious text doesn’t say “Reiki is OK- go try it!” doesn’t make it evil. We (may or may not) drive cars, take medication, watch superhero movies, and many other things that our religious texts don’t specifically mention. Reiki is no different. Use all your tools and ask for guidance. Talk to someone who believes as you do. Give it a try. If I’m sounding repetitive, it is because there really is no other way to learn about it. If you don’t want to get over your fear of it, and continue to want to hold it in abhorrence, then you are free to make that choice. Just be loving enough to allow others to make their own choice as well, even if it differs from yours.
If you want to learn more about the history of Reiki and why there are so many kinds of Reiki out there, check out this Introduction to Reiki.
If you can’t find someone to talk to, send me a message. I’ll answer any questions I can or connect you with someone you can talk to.
As a final note, I am not a theologian and don’t pretend to understand all religions. I speak from my own reading and personal experience. If you want to pick holes in what I say, I’m sure you can find ways to do so. If you want to take my words and make them sound evil or deceptive, I’m sure you can find ways to do so. I’m just asking that you don’t. If you can’t accept what I’ve said, then simply set it aside and walk away. There are many injustices in the world worth getting worked up over and this is not one of them. I and many others have experienced healing and growth from this form of love. If you don’t want this in your life, then go find what works for you. Pray until you find the healing practice that fits with what you believe. Whatever your path, I wish the highest and best healing for you.
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