What comes to mind when you hear the word Reiki? Do you think it’s a concept that rather loony old ladies have taken up, or do you remember the celebrity who announced that he sends Reiki to his neighbor, only to be told by the interviewer, “So, I’ll try to send it from my ass!” Or does it just remind you of a group of people labeled as practitioners of Reiki yoga and meditation.

Unfortunately, first impressions about Reiki are often not favorable. This biased view prevents people from becoming acquainted with an ages-old teaching that could change their lives! I cannot blame them, and in fact, when I was first introduced to Reiki, I was also biased and stayed clear for quite a while.

My First Contact with Reiki

I first learned about Reiki at a bookshop. Because of my interest in spiritual topics, I met an elderly lady who shared the same interest, and as we entered into a deep conversation, she suddenly said, “Come here, let me introduce you to Reiki. It’s such a soft and beautiful energy.”

When I asked her how this would be possible, she told me it would cost me 100 Turkish Lira (around $50)! This attitude repulsed me, so I thanked her and walked away. For the following years, Reiki to me was the plaything of overweight middle-aged women.

I spent the summer months of 2001 in fitness centers, and I was as fit as a fiddle. At the start of the football season, I was full of energy as I boarded the bus to go to my first football match of the season. As I was boarding, a click from my knee was the first sign that not everything was right. I couldn’t play that day, so I cursed the poor luck that injured my knee while boarding the bus. That evening on ICQ, while complaining about my luck to my new friend, Rose for Quills, she said, “Come over this weekend, and I’ll give you Reiki.” This immediately reminded me of the well-fed lady at the bookstore, but something told me I should not refuse this invitation. On Saturday, when I knocked at the door for the Reiki session, a beautiful blonde-haired woman answered. When I saw her, all my perceptions of Reiki changed.

The First Degree of Reiki

The blonde who answered the door, my new Reiki master and teacher Gulum Omay, told me:

It has been said that the roots of Reiki date back to Mu and Atlantis. This teaching, which the Tibetan priests kept secret for thousands of years, was discovered later by Mikao Usui at the beginning of the 20th century. As Usui was trying to find out how Jesus could heal by touch, he came across information in a temple regarding a source of healing. In order to connect to this source, he is said to have gone to Mount Kurama, and after a period of 21 days, he gained the knowledge and spiritual power needed to apply Reiki. Thus, the teaching of Reiki was once again made possible…

To be frank, I still had no idea what Reiki was, but she sounded so nice, and her voice was so gentle that I almost dozed off. She continued:

Reiki is a combination of Rei, meaning present everywhere, and Ki, meaning life energy. In short, it is the life energy found everywhere. The Reiki teacher initiates you to the energy of Reiki. Thereafter, you can start healing using your hands. In the first degree, you can work on yourself or someone next to you. In the higher degrees, this will change.

That day I learned the first degree of Reiki and came to knowledge that was way beyond my biases. I was lucky, very lucky in fact, because my teacher was one of the best in Turkey. In the years that followed, I met many masters I came to respect, but I also saw that not many gave their best. Gulum will always hold a special place for me. In the years to come, as I came to see the things done in the name of healing, I would respect her more and more.

Is Reiki an Alternative to Medicine

An experience I had just after being attuned to Reiki taught me very clearly the relationship between Reiki and medicine. In yet another football match, the ball hit my finger, severely hurting it and causing it to swell. I gave Reiki to my finger, and although the pain went, in the following days I noticed it remained crooked. I later realized I should have applied ice to it and gone to a doctor for a cast. I could then have used Reiki to quicken the healing process.

Reiki, through the flow of energy, accelerates the healing process, but it is not an alternative to medicine. It works miracles when used alongside medicine. You can use Reiki whenever healing is required but not without consulting your doctor first. There are clinics in the USA that have Reiki units to aid the healing process.

The Second Degree of Reiki

A year passed since I was attuned to the first degree of Reiki. During this time, although I put my hands wherever there was pain, I can’t say I practiced it much. I wasn’t even sure whether Reiki was flowing from my hands. However, I found myself becoming attuned to the second degree. Although Gulum and I were almost neighbors, I travelled all the way to Istanbul for my second degree. The reason for this was simple: There was this girl I fancied! She was going to Gulum for her second degree, and she asked me to join her. In short, football matches and girls were drawing me toward Reiki, and I was just accepting it.

Reiki at the second level gains a completely new dimension. You learn three symbols, each with a different effect. The first symbol is for protection, and it increases the power of Reiki. The second symbol is for mental health, and the third symbol is for distance healing. This is the power, the power I once made fun of, that came with this symbol. Anyone attuned to second-degree Reiki could send you healing energy wherever you were on this planet. Is it just silly? Or is it a fantasy, delusion, or placebo?

Is Reiki Scientific?

Prof. Gary E. Schwartz of Arizona University is a scientist researching Reiki and other distance-healing techniques. Prof. Schwartz and his team observe the effects of Reiki under laboratory conditions. For example, they make mice listen to very loud music to agitate them. A Reiki practitioner then comes and gives Reiki to the mice. They observed that while the mice given Reiki calmed down with their brain waves returning to normal levels, the other group without Reiki continued their agitated state. At this point, Dr. Schwartz says that if Reiki were a placebo, why did the mice calm down? In yet another experiment, cut leaves were taken and some were given Reiki. The leaves that were given Reiki kept their green color for 58 days, while the others withered away. In another experiment, they took two leaves and, using special apparatus, they tested their brightness. In London at the same time, during a conference, a specialist told those in the hall to concentrate their energies on one leaf. There were not told which leaf. After a while, the leaf on the right became brighter. As you can imagine, this was the leaf the people in the conference chose. (Source: The Documentary: “Something Unknown is Doing What We Don’t Know”)

With experiments such as these using Reiki, its effects can be clearly demonstrated. In fact, you don’t even need to travel all the way to Arizona. A Reiki practitioner and physician once told me, “In order to test it, I used the instrument for testing brain waves on myself. Whenever I opened up my Reiki channels, I saw Theta waves peaking.” I am certain that many other experiences can be cited, but the bottom line is that Reiki is an energy you can also encounter even under laboratory conditions.

Reiki at Home, Reiki during Football Matches, Reiki in Traffic

Reiki in the second degree had taken on a completely different form for me. I could now feel the energy flowing from my hands. I also discovered novel ways of using Reiki. During football matches, I could protect the goal and laugh when the ball kept hitting the goal post. If I had a jar that refused to open or I was stuck in traffic when I was in a hurry, I would use Reiki to resolve the situation and enjoy myself immensely. I also sent healing energy to myself and others around me. With a group effort, we managed to get my father discharged from hospital three days after his heart operation. These and similar events were the visible effects of Reiki, but even this wasn’t the “real” Reiki. I would come to understand that at the third degree!

The Third Degree of Reiki: The Point where Reiki Begins

I had a girlfriend back then, and she told me she was adept at third-degree Reiki. When I asked her how she reached that level, I learned that she was initiated into the first degree on a Saturday and the second and third on the Sunday, all in the same weekend. I asked her, “Are you sure you’ve learned Reiki?” I asked because I was initiated to the third degree only after three years had passed since the second degree. In short, what I had learned in four years, she had accomplished in a weekend. Furthermore, the third degree cannot be reached unless you are ready for it. It is like a Masters degree. Gulum only taught this degree in two levels: 3a and 3b. Those who did not want to teach Reiki would take 3a, and those who wanted to teach would take 3b, but only if they were ready to do so. Of course, you might find someone who will initiate you for a sum of money, but I would doubt their ability. I decided I did not want to teach, so 3a was more than enough for me.

Its time you meet a completely different aspect of Reiki. This is the level where real Reiki starts. It is a hard task, because once you employ what you have been taught, your life could change completely. There will be so much you need to come to terms with, and this process might tire you out…

Six years have passed since I heard these words from Gulum. That day, along with the symbol of the third degree, we started work on seven stages. The notes said to work on each lesson every three months, but I did it in periods of nine months over six years. During those years, I confronted so much. I had to deal with so much, and I experienced so much that I could write pages about it. I understood why not everyone is ready for this stage. I also found out that even those who say they know Reiki really know nothing about it. Sure, they can discuss it, talk about it on TV, and make fun of it, but none of these things can undermine its past or its effects on our lives.

Reiki is an energy that has existed since the beginning of time, and man learned the techniques to use it centuries ago. Then the knowledge disappeared until Usui rediscovered it, and it is now in the palm of our hands again. It is there whether you use it or not, whether you take it seriously or joke about it… It will always be there… I chose to use it, and it changed the course of my life. I chose to use it rather than other techniques using “Ki” energy, such as yoga and Tai Chi. Reiki appealed to me. You can choose whatever appeals to you, and by doing so, you can make your life’s journey more meaningful. You could make it simpler. You could change its course. Of course, you could also laugh at it all. The choice is yours to make.