Friday, November 11, 2005

Reiki: Religion. Not a religion. Religion.

There was a recent flurry on the Second Opinion guestbook about the portrayal of a reiki practitioner on the program.

Coralea Mackison (Unfortunate portrayal of a Reiki treatment) was most upset and wailed loudly

I found the segment offensive. All Reiki folk I know, hold the attunement process and symbols as sacred material, certainly not to be filmed nor publicly displayed as has occurred in this segment.

Actually, EoR found the segment offensive too, but possibly for different reasons.

Portrayal of this procedure as being 'Reiki' is misleading and unfortunately has painted Reiki as something quite weird and on the fringe. It is one thing that Reiki practitioners have been discredited, it is another to dissuade or frighten members of the public from seeking support from a responsible Reiki practitioner.

Funnily, EoR already thought reiki was nothing other than quite weird and on the fringe. And just how 'responsible' and ethical are the reiki practitioners? But before I address that issue, there was a further response from Lynette Kirkman, Executive Director Reiki Australia (Reiki treatment).

Reiki treatment practice is gaining credibility within traditional mainstream healthcare.

Oh, really? Can you specify just where the studies have been published? Or where the 'traditional mainstream healthcare' that heals with reiki is (or is that 'traditional' as in 'traditional chinese medicine'?).

A Reiki attunement is part of the sacred initiation ritual when someone chooses to enter into the path of Reiki practice. [...] The representation of the attunement as part of a standard Reiki treatment and the public display of the Reiki symbols - which is information considered sacred by the major practices of Reiki - was deeply concerning.

EoR was fascinated by the religious aspect of these fulminations. Reiki is 'sacred', requires 'initiation' into its various levels, and has 'secret' symbols. I suspect the Freemasons are behind this.

Back to ethics, and the confused contradictory logic of the reikiists: the International Association of Reiki Professionals says

Reiki is not affiliated with any particular religion or religious practice. [...] Reiki energy is not based on belief, faith or suggestion.

It is also not based on logic, science, knowledge, common sense or reality. Incidentally, note the "Reiki Integrity Award" button on the IARP site. EoR didn't know there was such a thing. He feels all warm and fuzzy now, knowing of its existence. But reiki master, Ernie van den Bossche says

Reiki is the healing light of humankind. Seek Reiki and you are seeking the light of God and all being. [...] The existence of this "life force energy" has been verified by recent scientific experiments, and medical doctors are considering the role it plays in the functioning of the immune system and the healing process. [...] Reiki is a simple, natural, and safe method of spiritual healing. [...] It is the God-consciousness called Rei that guides the life force called Ki in the practice we call Reiki. Therefore, Reiki can be defined as spiritually guided life force energy.


While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki. In fact, Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not. Because Reiki comes from God, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.

EoR agrees that it helps to believe nothing in order to accept reiki. This statement also contradicts the avenging furies on the Second Opinion guestbook who stated the patient had to know what form of reiki she was receiving before it would 'work'. From the reiki FAQs:

Is Reiki a religion? No. It is not a religion. It is very spiritual in nature, but there is no belief required in order to learn and use it.

So reiki is not a religion, but does believe in spirits, God or the 'life force energy'. It does not have a dogma (only initiations, attunements, levels and secret symbols). Does anyone else see just the tiniest little contradiction in these beliefs? Of course, people who hold loony beliefs have no trouble holding two (or a plethora) of contradictory loony beliefs at the same time:

"I use it where I see fit," said Steingruby. "You could have a direct reiki session where a person wants reiki. Or you can use it at times during massage where you intuitively feel someone could use it and you take a minute to do it. Basically, you're asking God to use yourself as a vessel for energy into the person so you can promote peace and healing."

Practitioners often note that reiki dovetails nicely with religion because reiki brings them closer to the experience of their religion. But they also insist reiki is not a religion itself.

So here's a practitioner applying a therapeutic modality to a patient without prior consent, and without informing them? Highly ethical. Just to highlight the hypocrisy of these presumably enlightened higher souls, the Reiki News Magazine, Spring 2005 published an article on Keeping Reiki Free.

One way our freedom to practice Reiki could be unnecessariy limited is through government licensing or other forms of government regulation. This possibility is real - it has already happened in one state, and attempts to restrict Reiki have occurred in other states or could occur unless we take action. Remember, Reiki is powerful and will help us maintain its free use, but in order to do this, we need to be well informed, work together, and take positive action. [...] Another threat to the freedom we enjoy as Reiki practitioners is the Medical Practice Act. [...] Government licensing would most likely require anyone wanting to practice Reiki to take training from a government approved school, practice according to government guidelines, pay a licensing fee, and be subject to government oversight, fines, and the possibility of losing one’s right to practice if one didn’t meet government requirements.

So any sort of oversight, review or control is an affront to the free practice of lunacy. Treating illnesses and complaints is the last thing that should be looked at by the Medical Practice Act. God (sorry, Life Force) forbid anything like that.

Variants on this are common on reiki sites eg Using the Religious or Spiritual Defense

The article below outlines several key issues necessary for Reiki to be considered ones religion.

and Reiki and Religious Freedom is a very lengthy legal analysis of how to argue the protection of religious conduct:

The question of Reiki and religious freedom is complex. On a case by case basis any legal challenges to Reiki practice would most likely turn on whether there is a justifiable regulation of health care practitioner practices. In addition in some cases the five questions of the strict scrutiny test will be considered to discern whether the fundamental constitutional freedoms of a practitioner have been unduly burdened. In some instances the law of general applicability will be upheld even when there is an incidental burden on religious freedom. In other instances the strict scrutiny test will be discussed.

So, to summarise, reiki is not a religion. It is a secret, possessive, self-serving society. If pushed, feel free to lie about what you're doing. It's okay, reiki feels good when you do this.

If this flatulent attitude to scamming offends you, reiki symbols are available online. Also The Four Symbols of Usui Reiki Ryoho and pages and pages here. View them. Learn them. Practice them. Wave your hands about. Move that energy! Tell everyone you're a fully trained reikiist! Tell them you're not practicing a religion (you just want the protection afforded to religion). Tell them you're allowed to lie because you're channelling the energy of God. Um, Goddess. Ah, spirit. What the heck.

So much for the value of the "Reiki Integrity Award."

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