Meditation and the five elements of Reiki
In this article, I will explore what meditation is, how it complements Reiki and share some ways you can get started by using chants. First, let's explore the meaning of the Reiki Kanji.
The meaning of the Reiki Kanji
Some of you may be familiar with the Japanese Reiki Kanji (symbol), but what does it really mean? It's easy to look at it and say, “That’s the Reiki symbol" but it is more than that. It is very old and in many ancient practices and esoteric teachings. If we pull up an image of the Reiki Kanji and look closely, we can see a cloud at the top. The cloud turns into spiritual rain and falls into containers called Kutchi. Below the containers are Shaman, praying for rain. The top part of the symbol is 'Rei', and the bottom is 'Ki'.
The containers represented in the Ki are overflowing on the fire, causing steam to rise and, once again, this turns into Rei. This is an eternal circle which represents life and our true self. Our Hara (belly) is filled with love, kindness, peace, understanding and freedom, and our inner great bright light. We must breathe deeply into our Hara (Joshin Koku Ho) and visualise wide open spaces so we are not attached to anyone or anything, just our true selves.
Everything within the system of Reiki is inter-connected, there is no separation. The five elements are a crucial part of the system of Reiki which we connect to. Without these elements, we could not survive.
The five elements of Reiki
These elements can even be seen visually in Japan, where there are many pagodas. All of these represent the five elements, with their five-tiered structure.
The role of Reiki in meditation
What is meditation?
Meditation is the ability to focus and clear the mind. It allows us to just sit with our feelings, being aware of them and then letting them pass without judgement. This can bring calm and peace which can be incredibly beneficial for both physical and mental health.
There are many ways to practise meditation. It's important to know that meditating is a skill that has to be learned in order for us to get comfortable with it. It doesn't just happen overnight, but we can use the teachings of Reiki to support us on our meditation journey...
If we look closely at the first three elements of Reiki (earth, water and fire) we can see that these are the grounding elements. Visualising these three in our minds will help us to feel grounded.
Beginning your meditation practice can seem overwhelming, but here are some short practices and chants to try for yourself and get started:
Begin by visualising a cube...
- The cube represents earth (visualise the colour yellow). Feel yourself filling the cube, becoming the cube.
- Then visualise water (the colour blue) and, again, feel yourself becoming water.
- Visualise the fire (red) within your Hara (belly), feeling the bright pure light burning within and keeping you warm.
Sit in these shapes, become them, and feel the space.
These three elements are very important as we need to be grounded first before we consider air and space. These other two elements will help us to feel lighter.
Chant the five elements...
There are many translations of the above, but feel free to pick your own that you are comfortable with. I love this one:
‘A’ needs to be in our heart. ‘A’ is the beginning and the end. It connects to the Deity Dainochi Nyorai, the mantra of the Dai Komoyo.
Try the medicine Buddha chant...
"On koro koro sendari matogi sowaka". 'Koro Koro' translates to 'healing'.
Chanting is essential also as we humans are vibrational and sound is very healing. Remember healing is within us all.
Use a mantra...
A mantra is a word or sound that is believed to have a special spiritual power. It also means enlightenment.
- 'Fudo Myo' means solid, immovable, and stable, like a mountain. This is how we are, firm and strong.
Suwari Kokyu-ho (seated Ki breathing)
Seiza (正座 or 正坐; せいざ), pronounced (ee)-zah, means 'proper sitting'. It's the formal, traditional way of sitting in Japan. It involves a specific positioning and posture in a kneeled position so as to convey respect, particularly toward elders. It developed among samurai during the Edo period and was later widely adopted by the public.
Sit in Seiza, place your hands on your thighs with fingers pointing towards your knees, then connect to the earth energy (grounding). Breathe this in very consciously and, on the out-breath, expand this earth energy through your body and into your surroundings. Repeat for ten breaths.
Now breathe normally in your own rhythm. On your next in-breath, bring your hands up until they are at the height of your elbows with your fingers loosely out-stretched and pointing forwards. Now breathe in the energy of the heavens and bring the breath all the way to the Hara, blending with the earth's energy.
While you do this, rise on your knees and raise your hands up above your crown. Unify them with the Sun Mudra (place your thumb's first fingers into a triangle splaying the rest of the fingers open – representing the rays of the sun). Hold your breath slightly for a second or two, do not tense. When you feel it is time to exhale, do so gently while moving back your hands and lowering yourself into Seiza again.
Sanmitsu kan: Meditation on mind, body and speech...
Visualise a moon disk on both palms, tongue and heart. Feel the moon disks start to emanate a bright light, purifying our mind, body and speech.
These meditations (and there are many) help us to become at one with ourselves. Movement is also great for those who find visualisation difficult. Above are just a few to get you started, but if you'd like to explore meditation further, you may benefit from working with a Reiki and meditation practitioner, like myself. Feel free to get in touch and I'd be more than happy to help you on your journey.