The Five Reiki Principles are not principles of Reiki. Instead they are principles, or guidelines of behavior that have been attached to its practice. Reiki, in its purest explanation, is the application of the Reiki vibration from a channel to a recipient into a receiver. The Five Reiki Principles were developed and shared by Master Usui, the man who credited for creating system of learning and application of Reiki. The Five Reiki Principles were developed to provide for his students principles and guidelines that he believed would help each of them live a happier, more responsible life.
The Five Reiki Principles were developed from works and writings of a Chinese Emperor that Master Usui long admired. The intention behind their creation and distribution was pure, and has undoubtedly provided comfort to many and for some, still do. However, they are not Reiki, and the practice of these principles does not enhance the effect Reiki has on an individual.
Reiki is an energy vibration that provides healing by restoring balance and remedy where imbalance has occurred or repair is required. Making a personal choice to strive for living a life lead by these spiritual principles or choosing not to, will not affect, by either improving or deteriorating the quality, or flow of Reiki from one that has been attuned. It is here then that it becomes important for us as Reiki Masters and Teachers to start differentiating between the Five Reiki Principles and practice of Reiki. This is because the combination of the two, while it may have been believed to provide benefit to students of Master Usui centuries ago, can create a barrier, in our current time, of people coming to the practice of Reiki.
The barrier created by this is rooted in the fact that the Five Reiki Principles seek to provide a spiritual influence over the domain of Reiki. This type of influence often creates barriers, for it requires agreement to and consensus in a belief system. Additionally, the Five Principles, while nice in sentiment, are not obtainable by most humans, at least not on a consistent basis, and when one feels they have failed at one of the perceived aspects of a practice, it is unlikely they will continue practice in the other aspects. Moreover the Five Reiki Principles are subject to misuse, as in an effort to try, “Just for Today I will be grateful” or “Just for today I will not anger” there is the hope we can always usurp disappointment with gratitude or eliminate anger altogether, but we can’t, and if even if we could, should we? Anger is a natural emotional reaction that when used appropriately is a powerful force that can be used to create significant change on the road that leads us from injustice to justice. The work of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi remind us of that.
Furthermore, when one “tries” to not anger, worry or feign gratitude, suppression of emotions perceived as negative or not spiritual, and denial of how one truly feels creating imbalances within the energy system and negatively impacts self-confidence. This obviously was never the intention of any Reiki Master or Teacher who has shared the Five Reiki Principles as part of their teachings. In fact the Five Reiki Principles were shared for the best possible reasons, to help people feel better and enjoy greater health and happiness. They offer good advice in some areas such as, being humble, showing kindness to others, respecting elders and teachers, but its enmeshment in the practice of Reiki is misplaced. Just as those sentiments provided by and impressed upon you at your local dentist’s office may appear nice, but misplaced just the same.
Now that healers, Reiki Masters and Teacher can see the effects that trying to adhere to the spiritual principles attached to the practice of Reiki can do to create imbalances in the energy system as well as bearing witness to the declining numbers of people who use Reiki, years, months, even weeks after receiving a Reiki attunement, we can start to do better and respond to what is needed now.
As the Master who formalized a system of instruction for Reiki, Master Usui sought to improve the lives of the students who came to learn given the time and cultural influences that shaped the moral compass. Today, as a global community of Reiki Masters and Teachers we know more and live in a different time and can start to naturally separate the two without devaluing either.
The practice of Reiki is simple. It’s not based on any belief system or requires one to work. Equally any belief system or religion can be practiced alongside Reiki without interference to the flow of Reiki or contradiction to beliefs or religion practiced. Reiki is closer to water and food than it is to a spiritual belief. It is one of many energy vibrations that works with your energy system to restore balance and provide energy remedy where needed. An individual with a Reiki attunement acts as a channel for Reiki energy. The Reiki energy will flow on demand and will always provide benefit to the person receiving it. This simple reality is not altered or affected by following, or failing to follow, the Five Principles provided by Master Usui or any other ideal, religion or practice.
Written by Chyna Honey, author of Understanding Reiki: From Self-Care to Energy Medicine on 6/24/2015