Three Reasons to Keep Reiki Symbols Secret

There are three Reiki Symbols that are shared with those attuned to Reiki Level Two, one Master Symbol that is shared at Level Three and three additional symbols at Level Four, the Master/Teacher Level. The symbols are embedded in the attunement process itself, meaning that those who learn Reiki at these levels are attuned to these symbols as part of their course. They contain elements of Japanese Kanji or alphabet, and those attuned to them are instructed to draw and speak their names the same way each time to harness and amplify the power of Reiki.

Even though it has been explicitly stressed that the symbols are to be kept confidential until a student is learning Reiki at Level Two, there is a lot of controversy among students of Reiki around whether Reiki Symbols should be shared publicly. Here, I will give some perspective, from my own experience, and share three reasons why I feel the symbols should be kept confidential.


Symbols are everywhere. The very letters and words you're now reading are each a symbol pointing to something, and represented by certain markings. Every time a word is uttered or written it symbolizes something other than the markings or the utterance itself. Think of the word, "Love". Now think of the word, "Hate". Think of the word, "Freedom". Now think of the word, "Suffering". Very different feelings will come up.

There are countless symbols floating out there in universes known and unknown to us. Each has a particular feel or energy to it. When drawn or spoken, it is an act, a ritual in and of itself. It is this act of drawing, speaking or applying the symbol that harnesses and amplifies its vibration and power for it's intended purpose.

If someone simply sees a Reiki symbol, but is not initiated or attuned to it, not taught how to use it, or if they simply don't know what it means, it won't be of much active use to them. If you see the written word, "Love", and don't know its meaning, it will not have much effect on you. If you understand it's meaning it can be powerful when shared with you or shared by you.

Master Mikao Usui

Why a Secret, Then?

1. Respecting Intention

Reiki Symbols were not intended for use those not initiated to them. Symbols aren't even taught in Reiki Level One, but begin to be taught at Reiki Level Two. If Master Usui felt the first three symbols are so powerful that they are taught at a certain level of Reiki training, then anyone calling themselves a Reiki teacher or practitioner is advised to respect this intention.

2. Protection Against Misappropriation

One of the biggest reasons I see to keep the Reiki Symbols secret from those who are not attuned or initiated to them is simply for protection. These symbols denote sacred and beautiful energy, much like the cross and the swastika were before they were misused by those will ill intentions. The inverted cross of St Peter reminds us that he felt unworthy to be crucified upright as Jesus had. Over time, the inverted cross was misappropriated for anti-Christian messaging and purposes. The swastika, a thousands of years old symbol of prosperity and good luck in India and other parts of the world, has also been misappropriated and misused. It is now synonymous with Nazi racism and hatred in the west. These are worst case scenarios but we also see what happens with symbols such as the cross when they are simply watered down. The meaning is lost or loses its power when there is no faith behind it.
Om, A Cultural and Religious Symbol

3. Symbols are Active and Communicate

I've encountered individuals who just love the look of the symbols. And I agree with them -- they are beautiful. Some people create art with Reiki Symbols, decorate their space with them and some tattoo themselves with them. It may feel like an homage to Reiki or it may feel as if the tattoos or designs continuously emit Reiki. Without conscious action, they don't emit anything. They don't heal, protect, purify or make us better people, just because they Reiki Symbols are stamped on us. In fact, we may even forget that symbol is there, like we could forget an important or sacred text or book sitting on a bookshelf. An individual with a Reiki symbol tattooed on her arm who has lowered her consciousness using substances (I've seen this), isn't protected from being an attraction for a lower spirit or entity. It doesn't heal an illness or problem or make her more powerful or more special than anyone. The tattooed symbol doesn't do anything at all, other than in this case, communicate something about the person with the tattoo and perhaps deters prospective clients.

Want to Share the Symbols? First Ask Yourself:

  • Why do I feel so compelled to share these symbols with people who aren't initiated to Reiki?
  • What am I trying to achieve with this?
  • What message am I relaying by decorating myself or my surroundings with Reiki Symbols? Why?
  • What makes me want to go against the Usui Reiki tradition and share something that I was asked to keep confidential?

Think You Think Too Much?

A lot of my students who are learning the correct principles of meditation will at one point or another complain about thinking too much. It's an affliction that we all suffer from but it becomes really apparent during meditation, at times when we can't focus, or can't fall asleep. I wonder why we worry about it? Perhaps we read articles claiming that thinking too much makes us fat.

Ok quick! Stop thinking!

Actually, it's impossible to stop. With an estimated 65,000 thoughts going through the average human mind within a single day, with both processing and sensing (as in psychic ability) perhaps at the speed of light, could there really be such a thing as over thinking?

Think again

The good news is that the mind is designed to think. Thinking is natural: it's critical to our survival and our functioning. Humans have the ability to process vast amounts of information, and to be doing this consciously. This is part of what makes us human. 

Don't believe the hype

The painful part about thinking too much (and no, it's not the fat thing), is that we have a tendency to believe the thoughts, attach to them and feel that they're ours, develop feelings about them, and want to do something about them. It's like an addiction. A massive human trap! 

Google it

For example, a thought arises in the mind in the form of a question. In the thinking process, there is no satisfying answer. There comes a stealth but powerful disliking at not knowing the answer. The irritation is enough to breed a strong desire to find that answer. Curiosity builds. We want that answer. We Google it. 

It's like an itch we want to scratch. An addiction. A trap.

Or let's say there's a thought or opinion that a particular sports team should win. It's the worst team in the history of sport, with an abysmal losing streak. But, because the mind or heart believes it's our team, we still want them to win. Why? Because if they win, then we feel like we win and that will make us happy.  

Thoughts breed

We shouldn't blame thoughts. Thoughts alone are neutral. We don't see that in addition to thinking there is also believing, feeling, association and desire. These need each other to breed. A whole stream of these appears in the form of memories, daydreams and stories. Each thought breeds a liking or disliking and that emotion breeds more thought, more emotions, or action. The investment of emotion causes fatigue. Imagine having to act on each thought we have. What torture!

No wonder we don't like it. It's exhausting.

Don't stop thinking, start knowing

Naturally our first instinct is to kill thoughts. We think meditating (our image of this is sitting lotus-legged banishing any thought that dare trespass) can work. But that's not the way. It's actually almost impossible for modern humans to do, and more painful and unnatural than the thinking was in the first place, which is why those who attempt this often give up.

The Buddha taught mindfulness, which involves practising getting good at knowing when the mind has gone off to think. We don't practice mindfulness by trying to stop thinking and feeling, we practice by simply watching and knowing what the mind and heart are doing. 

When we catch thinking and feeling happening, the thoughts and emotions halt in their tracks like deer caught in the headlights. No matter how cute you might be, it's hard to breed or spawn anything when you're startled, exposed and motionless.

To practice the right way, we just watch and accept the thoughts and feelings coming and going. Without holding on too tightly to any of them, they are more easily let go of so we can see what happens next. It's like the brain in this Oatmeal comic (ok probably not exactly like this but you'd be surprised). 

So next time you're lost in a trance-like stream of thinking and catch yourself, rather than feeling like your mind is something bad, go ahead, smile. You just snapped out of it. This is what it means to awaken. Just in that moment you awoke to what the mind did. And then don't stop. See what happens next. This is just the beginning of learning to practice mindfulness. 

3 Things I Learned from Giving Reiki in a Hospital Ward

My mom (a 3-time kidney transplant recipient) has been admitted to the hospital three times in two months, nauseous, vomiting, reeling and barely able to walk or hold up a fork. Hardly a walk in the park for her or the family. Nonetheless, somehow each time she was admitted she seemed to be getting happier. It confirmed something that I had sensed before. Giving someone Reiki in the hospital is one of the best things for them. I'll tell you why.

1. Sleep Kicks In

Search the internet for "sleep" and the results will turn up thousands of articles about how to sleep better. If we are a culture of people obsessed with a health issue, it's sleep. Why is this? Perhaps because we realize how tired we are, yet can't seem to rest.

Once someone ends up in a hospital bed they're in a state of trauma and total exhaustion. Then there are all these smells, and noises from machines, from the ward, from stranger room-mates who could simply be breathing too loudly for our taste. Half the time I give Reiki, the recipient's body will tend to fall asleep for at least a few minutes at a time. It's a good thing.

During Reiki, the body switches from operating in waking life, managing physical issues while operating in the sympathetic nervous system, to the parasympathetic nervous system, when it rests, digests and conserves energy. When we fall asleep, the body releases most of its growth hormone, which doesn't just make you taller; it stimulates your immune system.

2. Heart Rate Goes Down

Heart rate variability (the range at which the heart beats) is an indicator of health. The larger this range the better off we are. Why? Because an increased heart rate indicates the heart's ability to react quickly and appropriately in the face of imminent danger, and a lower heart rate indicates its ability to return to a restful, repairing and more healing state once out of danger. All too often, our heart rate increases through management of daily stresses, and because we don't "shut off", it stays up there.

Over a year ago, a family friend suffered a heart attack. After her emergency catheterization she was in the Cardiac ICU, hooked up to heart monitors, unable to sleep or relax in the ward. While I gave her Reiki, her son was sitting in the corner of the room. Not only did he thank me afterward for helping her finally fall asleep during the session, but he remarked that he was watching the monitors, which showed her heart rate had decreased ten points while Reiki was in progress. This ability to recover from an unnaturally high heart rate means our systems can more readily heal from truama, shock, and stress.

3. Side Effects - and Tumours - can Vanish

For those undergoing cancer treatments, the physical side effects of therapies like chemotherapy can be debilitating. Added to this, there are many emotions under the surface that have played a part in the illness and that will surface during the illness, diagnosis and treatment. Fear, anxiety, anger and dread can prevent the body's immune system from detecting and eliminate toxins.

I've worked with many people who have and have had cancers. By receiving Reiki before going for chemo, they sense real changes in the mind and body. Even getting Reiki after chemo can obliterate its side effects. It can also enhance mood. Fear and anxiety can subside, giving way to a more supported feeling and healing. And yes, I've seen cases where tumours were proliferating and the person was told they had a few months to live, and yet the tumours all disappeared after receiving regular Reiki sessions. Much to their doctor's surprise, the person went on to live a healthy, cancer-free life for years.

The Perfect Complement

In our 2-Day Level One Reiki Course, we talk about how Reiki is the perfect self-healing tool as well as the best complementary therapy to conventional medicine. It's highly portable (all you need is your own hands). It's always available when you need it. Most importantly, it is completely safe as it works from the highest of good.

If you've ever been hospitalized or have visited someone who's been in hospital, you know that it can be a boring and depressing experience. What better opportunity to practice Reiki? It may feel weird and awkward, and yes a hospital bed is very clunky to get around, but you can get creative, and:

  • Push the hospital bed away from the back wall, so you can stand behind it. 
  • Use the mechanism to get the bed at the level you need.
  • Draw the privacy curtains if your loved one is sharing a room.
  • Put on relaxing "Reiki friendly" music to offset the PA system and other sounds.
  • Send distance Reiki even from a few feet away!

Interestingly, nurses and doctors love to see their patients receiving care from Reiki healers. While doctors may dismiss medical intuitives, preferring evidence-based diagnostics and conventional therapies, there are signs that the medical community is slowly coming around.

In fact many of the world's top hospitals and health care institutions now offer Reiki as a service for patients and clients. At the time of writing this, some of these currently include Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Harvard University in Boston, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in western Australia, University College London Hospitals NHS in London. Canadian hospitals offering Reiki as a complementary therapy include: Wellspring Westkirk House at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre in Toronto, Princess Margaret Hospital / University Health Network in Toronto, Bruce House AIDS hospice in Ottawa, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre in Ottawa, Tamara's House in Saskatoon and Wellspring with locations across Canada.

Beyond the Ward

So in the end, my first intuition (which was that one of my mom's medications was making her sick) was spot-on. Following several tests, she was taken out of isolation and then released with new medications that are vital and better tolerated by her system and her other medications.

And even though she's out of the hospital, she's still getting lots of Reiki.

Want to take a Siam Reiki Course? Find out when the next one is offered here.

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The Morning Routine

Good Morning!

The other day someone posted this to facebook:

That's right, folks you will be UTTERLY EXHAUSTED!

How about treating YOURSELF with all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster?

That's how I start my day every day, beginning with giving myself a Reiki treatment. So if you have taken a Reiki course with me, you know at the end I always say, give yourself a Reiki treatment everyday (at which point you may have looked at me like I was nuts). The whole point is, whatever you do, start with yourself.

So in the spirit of starting with myself I'm going to share...

The Morning Routine 

1. Wake up. 
Yawn, stretch, breathe, blink and look around. I always marvel how well I can see first thing in the morning. Then I check the time, like all of us. I sleep with the wifi off, so I'm not tempted to check email just yet.
(1 Minute) 

2. Clear my mind. 
Waking is one of the times I'm flooded with all sorts of brilliant and useless ideas. I just write them down. They can be messages or feelings that came up in a dream, inspirational words, or a burning action item for my "to do" list. Whatever it is, I get it down on paper and off my mind.
(1 Minute) 
Yours may be fancy. Mine's just a phone.

3. Give myself a Reiki treatment. 
This is by far the BEST investment of time first thing before getting out of bed. Especially a cold winter morning. I'd used to wake up with my hands buzzing and immediately place them on my eyes. The first Reiki position is doubles as the most useful eye exercise, called Palming.

If you don't have an hour, do 40 minutes. If you don't have that, do a quickie in 15. Key placements: Front of face and back of head, throat and heart, solar plexus and pelvis, feet (repeat at bedtime).
(15-60 Minutes) 

If you're strapped for time, do a quickie

If you don't have any time, take two minutes and remember:

I give thanks for my many blessings.
Just for today, do not worry. 
Just for today, do not anger. 
Honor your parents, teachers and elders. 
Earn your living honestly. 
Show gratitude to every living thing. 

4. Meditate. 
This is alone time. It doesn't matter whether you practice with the breath, a mantra or practice mindfulness. The point is do what you like to do. A beautiful practice to set the tone for the day is a "metta" or loving kindness meditation (listen to a guided session here). When I feel too restless I walk, or mindfully...
(10 Minutes) 

5. Light and Water.
Open the windows / blinds, water your house plants and drink a glass of warm or cold water. You can add lemon or apple cider vinegar to boost your stomach acid and cleanse your system. Let's face it we all need light and water. Let it stream in.
(5 Minutes) 

6. Stretch, dance, sing, move! 
Get out of breath! This is the time for yoga, exercise or whatever physical activities you need in your morning. Go outside barefoot, do chi-gong,cycle or run around. Do what you gotta do to break a sweat. 
(10-20 Minutes) 

I should mention that by this point in my day, there is a very small, chatty and boisterous human being climbing all over me who needs lots of attention and moves around a whole lot. If you have one of these delightful people (or beloved animals) in your life, be grateful. And let them join in the fun. This can be social time.

7. Shower.
Ahhhh. Nothing like dissolving into water. Another one of those times when I'm flooded with brilliant insights or useless ideas... Another great time to practice mindfulness.
(5 Minutes) 

8. Breakfast. 
Normally this entails fruit in either a salad or oatmeal with nuts and cinnamon or shredded coconut, or an anything or everything smoothie, or Montreal style bagel with avocado and tomato, or omelette with pesto, olives, sun-dried tomato and basil, or French toast with fruit! Clearly I love breakfast. Wholesome and simple. If you have a little one around, get them to help. If you don't, this is more time for mindfulness!
(20 Minutes) 
70s TV: Just Like Mom: stay in charge of recipes at all times.

The Only Rule is Actually an Exception

This whole process is 1-2 hours long. Before you protest, there is one rule: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You don't have to do it all. There are days I skip the plants (let's face it sometimes they are not thirsty) or the yoga (I might promise to take myself swimming later) or the breakfast (I can always grab something in town after my shower if I'm in a rush). 

And trust me, there are plenty of days when I admit I succumb to email or text messaging before the yoga or shower. I can't do TV, news, talk-radio and increasingly, music. But these might be your exceptions.

The point is I don't kill myself over the exceptions. Remember that thing about caring, being kind to and understanding yourself? That's right. It's the spirit in which all things happen, not the happenings themselves. 

So beginning today, care, be kind to and understand yourself. Your day -- and everyone else's around you --- will be much better for it.

See Also:

Learning Reiki to Heal Yourself and Others

Learning Meditation and Mindfulness

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Reiki for Weight Loss? Christina Aguilera Says Yes

Christina Aguilera: a healthy look

Pop star Christina Aguilera gives credit to Reiki treatments for losing 30-pounds and keeping it off. Aguilera, a celebrity coach on The Voice, has discovered two major ways in which Reiki helps towards weight loss. She says, “Reiki puts her mind in a good place and also gives her the discipline to eat healthy and maintain weight loss.”

She's not alone. Many Hollywood stars have reported having discovered the subtle and yet powerful effects of Reiki including Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Aguilera, a busy 32-year-old mom, receives Reiki treatment three times each week. Any new moms here wonder how she does it? Me too!

Aguilera with her 5-year old son, Max

Reiki and weight loss programs

Just like Aguilera, many people who have experienced Reiki report that it helps them:
  • feel calmer, more balanced
  • make better choices, including regarding what they eat
  • have fewer cravings for addictive substances, including emotional eating
  • better and more easily manage everyday stresses
  • sleep better (insomnia has been linked to obesity)
  • exercise and take better care of themselves.

While it's fantastic that Aguilera is focusing on her health and well-being, the truth is most of us can't go for Reiki treatments three times a week. Especially busy working moms.

This is why learning Reiki Level One for self-treatment is such a smart investment.

Transformation: Aguilera at American Music Awards 2012 (Left) and 2013 (Right)

Reiki self-treatment

A Level One Reiki Course is an easy 2-day course that anyone can take and costs about the same as three Reiki treatments. By learning Reiki, we can practice on ourselves as much as we like (ideally every day!) and share the amazing benefits of Reiki with others.

Reiki helps our system more efficiently and easily manage stress, helps strengthen all of our natural healing systems and increases the flow of energy through our body.

What about emotional eating?

Another benefit of adding Reiki to any physical fitness regimen is that even just a few minutes of Reiki self-healing can balance our system and stop food cravings and emotional tendencies to eat.

Because Reiki is holistic, working subtly on physical, mental-emotional and spiritual levels, it has the ability to quickly calm emotions. The sense of wholeness and contentment balances our system, melting away emotionally-driven cravings and the heightened awareness motivates us to take better care of ourselves.

Healthy weight

Celebrities are judged by their appearance way more than us living in the real world. Fashion magazines are notorious for air-brushing or zooming in on faces when bodies don't "fit" society's idea of beauty. We don't need to look like a celebrity to feel good about ourselves but it's clear that Christina Aguilera has found Reiki helps her feel better -- and when we feel better will always look our best. 

Get Reiki or learn Reiki self-care

If you would like more information about Reiki, you can look into receiving Reiki Treatments or Learning Reiki here.