I was introduced to Reiki in 2010, when someone offered to “do Reiki on me,” and I was totally blown away by the experience. I went into it expecting it to feel nothing, but I felt things moving in my body, changes in my perception of weight, and pains that had always been there seeming to fade away…
Some years later, I decided to begin learning how to do Reiki for myself. Now, I’ve been practicing Reiki for three years and have been attuned to the highest level (3/Master). Although practicing Reiki itself has been deeply impactful in a positive way, the principles of Reiki have been one of the most profound aspects of this connection and experience.
Reiki is a form of energetic healing wherein the practitioner is able to tap into Universal energy and channel this energy for the purpose of healing (themselves and others). If you’d like to learn more about Reiki itself, please check out my page about healing, where I discuss how it works, the history, and some of the many benefits of receiving Reiki. However, this article is not about Reiki itself; it is about the principles taught to Reiki practitioners.
Why are you sharing these principles with non-practitioners?
The principles are applicable and practical for every single human being on this planet, regardless of whether they know/remember how to connect with Reiki or not. Not only are these principles applicable to everyone, but I would be so bold as to claim that every single person can deeply benefit from these principles – the whole WORLD could benefit!
How can these principles benefit me?
The primary themes of these principles are in practicing awareness, acceptance, non-judgment, compassion, and presence – which are essentially the cornerstones of mindfulness. Practicing these principles in your daily life can be a fantastically effective mindfulness practice, and the benefits of practicing mindfulness are nearly innumerable.
Here are some of the many benefits from practicing mindfulness, especially applicable to the practicing of these principles:
- Decreased stress, burn out, and symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Increased emotional regulation and self-control (less reactivity)
- Improved focus/attention and performance
- Improved social and relational skills
Most of us have busy lives, and many of us are just getting by, day-to-day. If this is you, then mindfulness practices (definitely check out those links above) can be real life-savers! Maybe you’re already familiar with some mindfulness practices – amazing – then this will come to you naturally, and these principles can just enhance your beautiful practice.
What are the principles?
While there are some variations in the exact words used used across the various interpretations from the original principles, the core messages remain the same.
These are the five principles of Reiki:
Just for today I release my worries
Just for today I release my anger
Just for today I am honest and diligent (or, do my work honestly)
Just for today I give thanks for my many blessings
Just for today I am kind to every living thing
Many of these principles were originally stated in the future-tense (ex: I will be…), but I have purposefully rephrased them into the present tense. For this post, I want to delve a little deeper into each of these principles and how they can be applied in your everyday life to create more balance, joy, and peace.
Just for Today:
Notice that the principles are all meant to be applied only one day at a time. This is worth pointing out since many of us tend to live in the past or the future, rather than the present. Beginning your day with positive intentions for the day, such as these five principles, can help set the tone for the day and keep you more present.
After setting the intentions at the start of the day, you begin to increase your awareness around these things. Later in the day, for example, you may catch yourself worrying. With practice, you learn to recognize it without judging or shaming yourself, so that you can release the worry. When you acknowledge the experience without judgement, you are brought back into the present and the experience tends to quickly fade.
I release my worries:
This principle is about recognizing that fears and worries typically do not serve us. Most of us are fortunate to rarely experience fear around our immediate survival or anything that we can control. Most often, we are worrying about something that is outside our control and hasn’t happened yet. This worry serves to drain our energy and disempower us.
This principle requires a bit of faith, but I’m going to suggest that this faith is not unfounded. Look at how far you have come and how many times you may have thought a situation was impossible, and yet, here you are! Could you, if just for a moment, imagine that you are exactly where you are meant to be? Is it possible that you have what you need and just need help uncovering/seeing it?
Could you put a little faith in the power and wisdom of the Universe (or God, Nature, your Higher Self, or whatever word you prefer) that everything is as it is meant to be?
My daily affirmation for this principle is as follows:
Today I choose to release my fears and worries, trusting in the power and wisdom of God and the Universe; that everything is as it is meant to be and will be and that good is coming and already is.
I used to be a person whose primary life experience was fear and worry, so I understand that this may sound silly or impossible to some people. That said, I know from my personal experience (and in witnessing others), that with time and practice, choosing to adopt this belief actually causes it to be so.
If you give it a chance, you will likely begin to experience synchronicity, divine timing, and things working out for you in surprising or unexpected ways. You have to believe it is possible in order to perceive this reality. Most people block that perception (and experience) by refusing to believe it is possible.
Today, you can choose to release your fears and worries… One day at a time.
I release my anger:
Now this principle can be misunderstood… Some people may take it to mean that you cannot or should not experience any anger. I am going to suggest this is not the intention behind this principle. Rather, the intention is to witness anger, rather than be swept away by it, and to learn from it, rather than become it.
Anger has its uses. It can alert us to something that doesn’t feel right or sit right with our morals or beliefs. It can also help us recognize situations where we need to stand up for ourselves, set boundaries, or enforce our boundaries. It can also alert us to times when we may be thinking or believing something that’s out of alignment with our true nature. Anger can present as an opportunity to recognize and assess these situations.
The danger in anger is over-identifying with it; allowing it to take over our actions and reactions to the world around us. We tend to believe that our anger is right and therefore something outside of us needs to change in order to resolve our anger. People who unconsciously become aligned with anger tend to blame others, separate themselves, or make others process the anger with/for them. The trouble with this method is that it just creates more anger, hurt, and separation.
Witnessing anger means that, when you are in a situation where you feel the emotion of anger bubbling up, you take a breath or a moment to just step back. Step outside of yourself for a moment so that you can separate your sense of self from the experience of anger. You are not the anger, and you do have control over what you do next. You begin to see that anger brings with it thoughts that try to self-perpetuate. If you watch and question those thoughts, rather than just believing them and falling into the experience of anger, you begin to be able to see how ineffective anger is at actually solving issues.
You may need to give yourself a “time-out” in the beginning so that you don’t end up making other people process your anger. But with time and practice, you will be able to see anger the moment it arises, breathe, and respond from a position of personal-control.
My daily affirmation for this principle is as follows:
Today I choose to release my anger by accepting everything exactly as it is, choosing to witness anger and learn from it.
What’s with the negative wording?
If you’re at all familiar with the practices of making affirmations, you’re probably used to phrasing things in the positive and present. This may lead you to wonder why the first two principles are talking about things we don’t want (worry, anger) rather than things we do want (love, faith, acceptance). I understand this quandary, and I have some thoughts to add on this…
Everything we wish to change begins with our awareness of it.
We cannot jump right into love and acceptance without first acknowledging, accepting and releasing our fears and anger. When we try this, we may be successful in short spurts, but the density of fear and anger always return. Attempting to go right past the challenges to all the good stuff is a form of spiritual bypassing, and it creates an internal fracturing, of sorts. There becomes this separate, hidden aspect of self that still believes in the power of worry and anger…
I see this same pattern in my work as an Intuitive Emotional Wellness Coach: we have to release the old, dense, limiting beliefs before we can build new, positive and empowering ones. The energetic charge of these denser emotions (fear, anger, shame, etc.) has to be acknowledged, felt, and accepted. Then they can be released, creating the spaciousness required for integrating a positive change (and higher vibrational beliefs and energies).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EFT, and many other effective therapies work on this same concept of acknowledging what is, feeling it, releasing it, and then choosing something else. It’s a pattern because it works… Anyway, back to the principles!
I am honest and diligent:
Again, another version of this is “I do my work honestly.” But I prefer the word “diligent” – why?
The definition of “diligent”:
- constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything (ex: a diligent student)
- done or pursued with persevering attention; painstaking (ex: a diligent search of [you name it]).
Diligence refers to our conscious presence – we have to be present in order to be truly diligent. We can’t have our mind on one thing while our body is doing something entirely different – our energy is scattered and less effective. We also don’t give up on something we do diligently; we do it until it is done and done well.
In keeping with the principle, I apply diligence to my honest expression as well as to my presence.
Honest expression refers not only to “speaking our truth” but to all forms of expression, and this points to being authentic (aligned with true self).
What is true to your deepest (yet highest) version of self?
So much more could be said about being authentic, but I will save that for another day and another post. For now, you can begin to ponder – What is authentic to you? What does your deepest, truest self believe and feel?
Hint: our highest and truest Self experiences love, unconditionally, and absolute acceptance.
My daily affirmation for this principle is as follows:
Today, I choose to be honest, diligent, authentic, and present – diligently selecting the thoughts, words, and actions that align with my highest and greatest self.
For me, this one takes the most practice. We are so used to being out of synch with our present experience that it’s easy to lapse out of alignment and into reactivity. When we are reactive, we lose the opportunity to process and diligently respond from a place of authenticity – instead we react based on the conditioning with which we were raised.
But as we practice this, we become more aware of these moments where we lost touch with our diligent and authentic self. It’s important we don’t judge or shame ourselves in these moments because, if we do, we could miss the opportunity to learn from the experience (and we aren’t being diligent or honest with ourselves, yet again). Each one of these experiences presents an opportunity to identify another “not-self” theme/thought/belief, and this give us an opportunity to shed these non-beneficial views so that we can up-level and become more of our true self.
Again, we have to first be aware in order to begin to shift…
I give thanks for my many blessings:
This one is pretty straightforward, isn’t it? After I state this intention, I go through a few minutes of giving thanks for all of the things in my life that bring me joy, enhance my sense of well-being, or add meaning and value to my life.
Here are some things I give thanks for every day:
- Safe shelter, a place to sleep, a roof over my head.
- Healthy food and clean water (not everyone has this, even though we all deserve them).
- Clean clothes of my choosing.
- The financial stability that I presently enjoy
- My connection with Mother Earth and her inhabitants – the senses I have available to me and how they allow me to interact with Earth and the other beings who live here.
- The gifts and talents I have that enhance my sense of purpose and contribution.
- My amazing Team of Love and Light (my guides) and all the wisdom and joy they share with me.
- The beautiful relationships I have cultivated with amazing people.
- More come to me almost every day…
I want to point out that I don’t focus on what I don’t have or what could be better than it presently is… I focus on what I already have and give thanks for all of this.
Here is my daily affirmation for this principle:
Today I give thanks for my many blessings and carry with me an attitude of gratitude
Attitude of Gratitude – what does this mean to you?
To me, it means that as much as possible, I refocus my thoughts on what I am grateful for. So when something “bad” happens, I give thanks for how it could have been worse. When I’m feeling down, I shift my attention towards something that makes me feel gratitude…
I am kind:
Many versions have this include words like “kind to my neighbors” or “kind to all living beings”. I personally feel this principle of kindness expands out to everything – not just human beings or even all animals… It expands out to every single thing we can perceive. Kindness to the inanimate objects, kindness to animals, kindness to other humans, but central to all of this – kindness to the self.
What does kindness mean to you?
Here is the definition of Kind:
- of a good or benevolent nature or disposition, as a person: a kind and loving person.
- having, showing, or proceeding from benevolence: kind words.
- indulgent, considerate, or helpful; humane (often followed by to): to be kind to animals.
- mild; gentle; clement: kind weather.
Here is my daily affirmation for this principle:
Today I choose to be kind to every single thing, starting with myself – aligning myself with the energy of compassion and unconditional love.
Kindness is about compassion, which at it’s core excludes judgment. We cannot be kind or non-judgmental when we are constantly comparing things and people as better than/worse than, right/wrong… We are unkind to ourselves when we judge in this way.
Compassion is usually defined as if it means sympathy, but it does not mean sympathy. This isn’t about feeling sorry for others… It’s about allowing them their own experiences. Allowing them to feel as they feel, to be as they are, and to behave as they wish. Compassion is essentially about allowing. Of course, we can feel for someone else and their experience, but the key is really about allowing that experience – whatever it is.
What do I mean by allowing that experience?
I mean not trying to invalidate it. I mean not trying to resist it. This means not telling other people how to be or feel. We just allow that there is a possibility that their experience is true for them.
We extend this same compassion and kindness to ourselves when we allow ourselves to be valid too.
When we think things like “I shouldn’t feel/think this” – we are judging and not allowing. If we extend the kindness to ourselves that we do not judge and shame ourselves, we become better and better at extending this kindness outward.
Those are the Reiki principles and how I use them daily. I hope you enjoyed this post.
Let me know in the comments which principle resonated most for you!
Did this bring up any questions for you? I’d love to hear from you!