The Five Reiki Principles are a simple route to a happier life.
Even a short daily meditation on the Five Principles can have a profound outcome on your day-to-day wellbeing and mindfulness and are viewed by some as the first secular mindfulness program known.
A Brief History of the Reiki Principles
Reiki is a worldwide phenomenon and the Reiki as we know it is approaching its 100th anniversary since it’s inception in 1922.
The Five Principles of Reiki as we know them date back to the founding of ‘Usui Shiki Ryoho’, the Usui System of Natural Healing.
At the time, in Japan, there were four schools of Reiki (Reiki means ‘universal energy’) with the first book on Reiki being published in 1914.
Mikao Usui was born in 1865 and traveled widely, studying history, medicine, Buddhism, Christianity, psychology and Taoism before settling back in Japan.
Here he worked as a teacher, guide, healer, and spiritualist. In March 1922, Usui took part in a 21-day meditation retreat on Mount Kurama near Kyoto where the Principles of Reiki and the Reiki Symbols were revealed to him.
Usui was keen for everyone to be able to access Reiki and so he made the process a secular, practical, and mindful one.
Despite clear roots in Buddhism, Reiki has been claimed by many other faiths and non-religious groups and can now be found in a bewildering range of forms. Fortunately, all rely on the Five Reiki Principles.
Usui recommended a practice known as Hatsurei-Ho, which is a meditation on the Five Principles and how they can be applied in one’s life.
The Five Reiki Principles
All of the Reiki Principles begin with the words “Just for today…”.
This is mindfulness in its purest form, existing in the present moment, focusing on what can be done now and only now.
This is also incredibly freeing because it allows you to make mistakes – if you don’t make it today, you have tomorrow.
The Five Reiki Principles don’t require you to sign up to a lifelong improvement program, they don’t expect you to get it right all the time and they allow for slips and trips along the path.
You can start each day with just one of the Five Principles, or all of them and your ability to live within them increases with practice.
So, what are the Five Reiki Principles?
Principle #1: Just for today do not worry
‘Worry’ in this context is covering a lot of ground for us. Anxiety, stress, fear, concern, nerves – all are covered by this first Principle.
Crucially, it is not telling us not to care, but for us to not dwell on the things we cannot affect.
The modern world is full of daily hassles and life events that affect us negatively – some of which are outside of our control – and it is these that the First Principle is telling us to let go of.
Stress and anxiety are now known to raise the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body, which has a negative effect on health and wellbeing.
By ‘not worrying’, we release ourselves from the stresses and strains of daily life, freeing us to be present in our lives without fearing for the future or obsessing over the past we cannot change.
Principle #2: Just for today do not anger
Anger is what happens when we take out worries from the First Principle and turn them outwards.
Another negative emotion, anger can have its place in the world when used constructively, but all too often, anger is a force for harm, physical, mental, or emotional.
Physically, anger also increases the levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, releases adrenaline to trigger our ‘fight or flight’ response, and leads to a range of health problems to do with the heart, digestive system, and bloodstream.
Acknowledge your anger when it arises, but release it with calm. Do not dwell in your anger or you will carry it into all your interactions and sour your relationships with others.
Principle #3: Just for today be grateful
Gratefulness is an often-overlooked emotion, particularly when we are told to be grateful. All gratefulness is, is an ability to reflect on our privilege and what we have and acknowledge the role it plays in our lives.
Reflecting on gratefulness can be as simple as recognizing the advantages that we have.
Being able to take the time to read this article on a device makes us better off than almost any human in the whole of recorded history, but it is easy to forget how much we have when compared to some of the high-profile individuals who are viewed as ‘successful’.
Just for today, be grateful for what you have instead of envious of what you don’t have and you will realize that the richness of life comes from celebrating our successes, not desiring the success of others.
Principle #4: Just for today do your work honestly
Principle number 4 might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, of…