In traditional Chinese Medicine there are 2 basic types of Qi:
This is a finite resource inherited from our parents which gathers and forms at conception and stored in the kidneys. It determines our basic constitution, strength and vitality and is essential for growth and development. As a finite resource, it can be conserved but not replenished so when it is depleted, life ends.
Yuan Qi (Original Ki). This is the Qi that is inherited at the time of conception and is a combination of your parents Ki and the Universal or Heavenly Qi. It could be described as your unique expression of the Universal Life force.
Gu Qi or (Spleen Ki). This is the Ki that is derived from food, the fuel that sustains the physical.
Kong Qi or (Lung Ki). This is the Qi that is derived from oxygen or the air and is activated through breath techniques and focus.
Zong Qi (Chest Ki). This is the gathering of Spleen and Lung Ki in the chest.
Zhen Qi (True Ki). This is the combination of spleen and lung Qi (Zong Qi) gathered in the chest and catalysed by our original or Yuan Ki. This combined relationship is referred to as Zhen Qi or “True” Ki.
Our Zhen Qi or (True Ki) then flows from the chest and is known variously as:
Ying Qi (Yin) where it nourishes the organs and tissues
Wei Qi (Yang) when it circulates on the surface of the body and protects it from external factors.
Zangfu Zhi Qi when it flows through the organs.
Jing Luo Zhi Qi when it flows through the meridians.
These are descriptions of the subtle energy called Qi, how it is formed and distributed. However, from a Chinese perspective , Qi is only one of the 3 treasures that are the essential components of life, these being Qi – energy, Jing – essence, and Shen – spirit. When the three treasures are in harmony the individual is radiant, physically fit, and mentally sharp so one should strive to balance the three treasures through meditation, exercise, and living well in general. Any disruption of the three treasures leads to an imbalance of the whole.
To a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practioner, this imbalance can manifest as physical or psychological abnormalities and addressed through the application of acupuncture, moxibustion and/or the ingestion of herbs etc to restore balance to the Jing and Qi. From a reiki perspective, a different approach is taken- the way of Shen (Spirit).
It could be stated that in today’s world, we have weakened our connection to Shen – Spirit, our focus being drawn to the physical aspects of our lives in striving for the material. It therefore comes as no surprise that as people seek to find meaning beyond the material in the space once occupied by organised religion, the resurgence of the search for spiritual authenticity and wholeness has been gathering momentum over the last 50 years.
The foundations of Reiki lie in the ability to receive and transmit Shen Qi (Rei ki) to another in order to assist in restoring their inner balance and harmony. To use a simple analogy, it is rather like jump starting a car with a flat battery. Unlike outgoing Qi Gong therapy, where the practitioner builds and uses their own Qi, Reiki connects to the Universal Life Force or Shen that surrounds us. In doing so, the practioners own Qi is not depleted. The mystery is how is this achieved ?
Within the martial arts community, there are references to various Masters who have the ability to remove what are termed the 3 locks, seals or gates within their students to awaken their latent healing abilities. Likewise, Reiki attunements follow the same principle. By removing the locks or seals, a constant connection to Shen or Spirit is re established. This ancient knowledge incorporated in the Usui System of Natural Healing has led many over the years to acquire this ability.
There are 32 meridians and collaterals that lie in the head connecting to the rest of the body. It is these that are stimulated during the Reiki Initiation or attunement process, allowing the reconnection of Universal Shen (Spirit) to occur.
Working with the reiki phenomenon, the original 5 hand positions were around the head with the 6th position centering on the place of physical imbalance. So reiki addresses the physical which often leads on to the mental emotional foundations of disease. Ultimately, the solution lies in the spiritual or Shen.
It is interesting to note that the Master Reiki symbol is known as The Great Light Gate and is regarded as sacred although no longer secret. However, unless you possess this connection to Shen (Spirit) passed down from Usui to his students, you cannot activate it. Put another way, “you cannot give what you haven’t got” no matter how much you wave your arms around, draw symbols or chant jumon. Such is the way of Shen – Spirit.