Reiki, Symbols & Ego

A discussion on Reiki's use of symbols, and the importance or tempering one's ego


J. Freels

6/7/20243 min read

Smbols are very important to Reiki work. These symbols represent the practicioner's connection to Reiki energy and serve as a tool to focus and better channel the healing energy to specific aspects of the healing work.

When drawing the symbols it helps the practicioner to leave behind distractions and settle into the proper mindset to focus on the work at hand. We do better work when we're not distracted. On a very simple level think of the symbols as tools to help one focus and allow the energy to flow where it needs to be.

This is why serious Reiki practioners keep the symbols 'special' and won't trivialize them by plastering them all over t-shirts and other merch. Taking them out of the context of doing proper work is in itself another kind of distraction. If your mug has a special symbol emblazoned on it, the symbol becomes less about the healing work, and more about whatever other daily distractions and duties that mug is associated with...including the need to check if it's time to refill your mug.

A Reiki session will begin something like this: settle on a statement of intention (why are you doing the work now, and what are the desired outcomes), drawing the symbols as you recite the Reiki Principals, and allowing yourself to settle into the right frame of mind to allow the work to happen. It's pretty basic really.

What's trickier is dealing with our ego, espcially in healing work. We have an interest in helping people, or we wouldn't be doing the work. This desire creates pressure on us. When things go really well, our ego tells us we're great and we did that. When things don't work as well as we wanted, we feel bad about ourselves. This pressure clouds the purity of just doing our best to do good work. A lot of people decide they're some kind of wizard waving their hands around and working miracles (Here's a fun sidebar for geeks: If we look at one of the most popular wizards these days, Tolkien's Gandalf, in light of Dungeons & Dragons gaming statistics, this mighty wizard was only something like a fifth level wizard. How's that for an ego check?). We are conducting the healing, we're not creating it out of nothing. Egos can get big, and healing work doesn't flow around this big blockage very well. You're important, but try to remember your place in the overall context of The Whole Big Thing, ok?

And now a story. I was still putting together the Reiki Certificate and Lineage package for a very enthusiastic student who went right out to a Reiki Share after taking my class. The Reiki Share host wanted to see her credentials, and was disappointed they weren't available, and became more and more skeptical as she asked questions about the student's qualifications. When she heard the class had been conducted online she seemed to shut down completely saying, that's not how it works. As a consolation she asked if the student would like to receive Reiki from her and my student said ok. After the energy began to flow, the host's eyes lit up and she said that she could see angels and light beings all around my student, and that she'd never seen anyting like it. My student asked if she believed now that she'd really been attuned to Reiki. The host of course said yes.

The most difficult thing to do in learning to work with Reiki is to let our ego go and just allow Reiki to do Reiki. I think the host was very settled in their way of doing Reiki, and perhaps their ego was threatened to think there might be a very differnet, and equally legitimate, way to do the Reiki work. My own ego felt a big "So There!" moment when my student was validated with the etheral lightshow, that's ego attachment, I'll work on it.

Let's break this down.

Usui Sensei developed this style of Reiki when he saw the devestation Japan suffered from the terrible Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and he realized there needed to be a quicker way to teach Reiki healers. The disaster demanded action immediately. Dr. Makao Usui implemented the symbols into the new teaching and the gift was now something that could be passed along more quickly than the traditional teaching methods. Covid prevented in-person work; we needed a solution.

I feel it crucial to mention here that one of the Reiki symbols is specifically for distance work. Weunderstand that Reiki can be sent across distancess and is not limited to physical touch. Perhaps a fresh meditation on the nature of the symbols would be a hellpful refresher...that's my ego talking there in response to the host's instinctive putting down my student. I'll have to work on that.

Bright living room with modern inventory
Bright living room with modern inventory