Reiki is used in therapeutic situations by thousands of practitioners worldwide. It has been written about extensively. It has been the subject of many scientific experiments. And for thousands of years, the healing properties of universal energy has been a prominent part of ancient cultural knowledge and medical practices, such as in Persia, Greece, India, China, and Native America, to name but a few.
Yet, to provide a clear, all-encompassing definition of reiki – universal energy – which can be understood by all people, is extremely difficult, and to date possibly hasn’t been achieved. The irony here, is that every living thing is composed of universal energy (reiki). But despite that, people’s ability to ‘connect with’ or understand what that energy actually is, seems difficult to achieve, very much dependent upon their level of education, cultural background, knowledge of health and healing, and life experience, etc.
We are all composed of pure energy – reiki – and coordinated by it, yet we struggle to understand what that energy actually is. How can that be so? How can we not understand the very thing that we are composed of?
Even highest-achieving scientists have had trouble providing a clear, comprehensive definition of what energy, or universal energy, actually is. In my opinion, leading physicists have historically explained what energy is merely by explaining what it does. For example, scientists have commonly defined energy as “the capacity to do work“. Surely that definition misses the target, as we are searching for a ‘noun-based definition’ (what something actually is) rather than a ‘verb-based definition’ (what something does).
Again, historically, attempts by scientists to define energy, usually involve descriptions such as: thermal, electrical, chemical, or nuclear. But surely, those terms are merely general categories of energy, and doesn’t define the real underlying essence of what universal energy, or reiki, actually is. Those category-style definitions are the equivalent of being asked the question: “What is movement?”, and answering, “Car, truck, and train.’ Those answers are merely examples of ‘things that move’, but do not provide a comprehensive definition of movement, or capture the true essence of motion.
Another common area of confusion relating to reiki, concerns the fact that universal energy has an in-built intelligence, or consciousness. That fact is something that many westerners, educated solely within a ‘first-world’ framework, have trouble understanding. The consciousness that exists within universal energy is often described by reiki practitioners, who, when asked by a patient, “How will the reiki treatment help me? How will it work? What will it do?” most practitioners reply, “Reiki knows what to do. It knows how to help. It knows what is out of balance, and knows how to fix it.”
As mentioned previously, many ancient cultures philosophized over, and experimented with, universal energy, and went to great lengths to describe the intelligence, or consciousness, found within it. Much of that ancient wisdom has been lost, or at the very least overlooked in modern western society. I will provide brief insights into those ancient cultures below, and attempt to represent their views on the consciousness of reiki or universal energy.
Socrates (470 BC – 399 BC) considered that the universe was created by a soulful intelligence, utilizing a meaningful and design which demonstrated extraordinary wisdom and reason. He understood that there was a single universal substance which manifests through all living and non-living things, and that the universal substance [energy] had predictable variations or elements (fire, air, water, and earth). According to Socrates, those elements form the entire universe in a soulful, mindful, and beautiful arrangement.
Socrates was describing universal energy – reiki – the conscious energy which intelligently coordinates all form and all activity.
The philosophers of the Milesian School, most notably Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes (625-540 BCE) also considered the natural world to be composed of a single underlying substance, itself being capable of organizing the activity within all lifeforms, and controlling the movement and motion of all things.
The Milesians considered the single underlying substance to be energetic in nature, and synonymous with the notion of ‘soul’, meaning that it involves consciousness and spiritual awareness. Of course, the the Milesians were also describing the qualities of universal energy – reiki – more than 2000 years ago.
‘Like Thales, Anaximenes argued for a monist world view, but with an underlying principle of air (pneuma). The word ‘pneuma’ has an interesting array of meanings that are strikingly close to those of ‘psyche’: Besides air, it can also mean breath, soul, spirit, or mind. Whereas the primary meaning of ‘psyche’ is mind/soul, the primary meaning of ‘pneuma’ seems to be breath, as “breathe of life”. For Anaximenes, the breath of life was the living, animating principle of all things. This again was a logical conclusion. In every animal, breath equals life: no air, no life; no life, no breath. And air seems to be everywhere, as does motion, so it is not unreasonable to argue that pneuma is the underlying principle of the cosmos.’ Panpsychism in the west, by David Skrbina (2007).
Philosophers of this period (pre-birth of Christ) referred to an ever-living Fire [Pyr Aeizoon] and the Pneuma, both being associated with life-force or life-energy. In Stoic philosophy, pneuma was the term used to describe of the Breath of Life, synonymous with the human soul, the psyche, and the soul of God. That spiritual life-energy was recognized as creating and sustaining everything, identical to the properties of universal energy – reiki – as it is referred to in modern times.
The ancient Hindu notion of the Brahman also depicts a single underlying intelligence and energy, said to be the highest principle in the universe. The Brahman is described as being the cause of all that exists; the infinite, eternal truth; the unity underling all diversity. The Brahman is said to be beginningless and endless; the single primordial energy; the source of all creation and all creation itself.
As with the early Greek philosophers, the Hindus depicted universal energy beautifully, through their description of the Brahman.
For thousands of years, Chi (or Qi) has been described within Chinese medicine and philosophy as being the vital life-force. Chi is described as existing everywhere in the universe, and throughout all living things. Chi also composes the human body and regulates all bodily functions.
Chi is described as being psycho-physical, meaning it is simultaneously conscious (intelligent) and material, allowing us to perceive its physical form. The notion of Chi is shared by the Japanese medical system, which refers to Ki (the Japanese equivalent of Chi) and depicts a conscious form of energy composing the universe and all living things.
In summarizing, almost every ancient culture dating back thousands of years identified and described a ubiquitous (meaning: found everywhere) underlying form of energy, which is creative, intelligent, and soulful in nature.
The terminology used by those ancient cultures may have varied, (Pnuema, Pyr Aeizoon, Breath of Life, Prana, Brahman, Qi, etc.) but the energy they were describing was identical: universal energy – reiki.