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What Is Reiki And Why Should You Consider Adding It To Your Routine?

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Over the past few years, Reiki has become extremely popular not just in spiritual and wellness communities, but also amongst many celebrities. More and more often we hear that different celebs, like Christina Aguilera, Mel B, and Gwyneth Paltrow, swear by this healing practice. For those of us who have already made Reiki a part of the regular practice, it’s not surprising. We already know what a magnificent impact it has on our lives. But if you’ve never tried Reiki healing and wondering: ‘What is Reiki?’, this article is for you. I will try to give answers to the most common questions about Reiki.

Where Did Reiki Come From?

First, let me tell you that there are different versions of Reiki history and its evolution. I’ll share with you the facts I’ve been taught and discovered after several years of research. They may not exactly match the Reiki history facts you’ve been taught.

The Reiki System was rediscovered and adapted by Dr. Mikao Usui.

Mikao Usui Picture
Mikao Usui

Mikao Usui was born August 15, 1865, in the Japanese province of Gifu in a family professing Tendai Buddhism. As a child, Mikao Usui studied with Tendai Buddhist monks.

Kiko System

His early years Usui devoted to the study of Kiko in the Buddhist temple of Tendai on the sacred mountain Kurama.

Kiko is a Japanese version of qigong, a discipline designed to improve health through meditation, energy exercises, and slow physical exercises. This discipline focuses on the use of Ki and includes methods of healing by placing hands on the body.

The essence of using the Kiko system is to create a source of healing energy with the help of special exercises, and only then – the use of this energy for healing.

This method had a very big disadvantage – a healer had been submitted large depletion because in the process of the healing he/she had to use a large amount of his/her personal energy.

Focusing on this drawback, Usui began to ponder whether it is possible to practice healing without accumulating Ki in the beginning, and not losing Ki at the end of the healing session. It was this question that prompted his study and research of various fields, including medicine, psychology, and religion. In search of knowledge, he traveled extensively in Europe and Asia.

Mount Kurama

In 1914, focusing on religious practice, Usui decided to become a Buddhist monk. At the same time, he continued to work hard in the field of his research.

However, in 1922 he decided to return to mount Kurama and spend twenty-one days there for fasting, praying, and meditating.

The temple at the top of the Kurama image
The temple at the top of the Kurama

Mount Kurama is a sacred place with powerful energy. Since ancient times, this mountain has been revered by the emperors of Japan. This sacred place is very mystical as well as powerful. Kurama is considered the abode of Tengu (the Great spirit of Nature, the Owner of the mountains), who raised the best warriors of Japan. It was here that the great commander and national hero of Japan of the XII century Minamoto no Yoshitsune mastered the martial art and gained his magical power.

As I said, Usui practiced meditation on Kurama mount. And one of the meditations that he practiced was the following: the overthrow of the flow of water on his head, standing under an artificial waterfall. The purpose of this meditation was to open and purify his Crown chakra.

It is believed that by the end of his seclusion on mount Kurama, Usui had attained enlightenment when the Divine Light entered his Crown chakra. Through this Light Usui received his initiation into Reiki. His consciousness expanded, and he realized that he reached his main goal – he gained the ability to heal other people without depleting his own energy reserves.

Reiki Practice

After Usui was initiated into Reiki, he first practiced Reiki on himself and then on his family members. And soon he founded the “Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai”, opened his clinic in Tokyo, began to teach other people about Reiki system, and started giving Reiki healing sessions to other people.

Mikao Usui With His Students Picture

Usui did not want the Reiki system to be a secret doctrine accessible only to a limited number of individuals. He also did not want this System to be restricted or controlled in any way. Usui sought to make Reiki accessible to everyone and wanted this system to be spread all over the world.

According to his teachings, every person who has taken the path of Reiki is able to experience the Divine state through which a new better world can be created.

Dr. Usui also said that it is not enough to heal a person physically. The human spirit must be involved in the healing process. That is, the health of the physical body depends on the health of the spirit. Therefore, it is possible to heal only those people who consciously show a desire to be healed with Reiki Energy.

Reiki Principles

For those wishing to study Reiki, Usui suggested using the Five rules of Emperor Meiji. These five rules later became the Basic principles which represent the ethical basis of the Reiki system. These principles are:

1.Just for today, do not be angry.

2. Just for today, do not worry.

3. Just for today, be grateful.

4. Just for today, work with diligence.

5. Just for today, be kind to people.

Usui saw the purpose of these principles in directing the mind to a particular meditative state, which sets the stage for healing on the mental level. Dr. Usui believed that progress on the path of healing always begins with meditation. When there is a problem in life, you can meditate on finding a way to solve it, focusing on the Reiki principles.

Usui’s Death

Dr. Usui worked in Japan for many years and trained Reiki Masters, to whom he passed all the traditions of his system.

Usui training ended in 1926 when he died. He is buried in Tokyo at the Saihoji temple in Suginami-Ku. His disciples erected a large memorial stone near his grave, on which they engraved the life story of Usui.

After the death of Dr. Usui, his closest friend and colleague Mr. Ushida became the Chairman of Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai.

After the resignation of Mr. Ushida, the Reiki society was headed by Mr. Ilichi Taketomi, Mr. Yoshiharu Watanabe, Mr. Toyoichi Wanami and Ms. Kimiko Koyama, who left her post in 1998.

Currently, the President of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai is Masaki Kondo.

At the same time, it’s important to mention that there have never been such titles as “Grand Master” or “Lineage Holder” in Japan.

Chujiro Hayashi Period

Chujiro Hayashi was one of the most respected students of Usui. But even though Hayashi had received permission to teach Reiki he was never considered the heir of Usui.

Chujiro Hayashi picture
Chujiro Hayashi

Immediately after Usui’s death, Hayashi broke up with Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai society and formed his own Association. He opened a small clinic for healing people with Reiki, as well as courses to teach people Reiki.

Hayashi conducted his own research on various treatments with Reiki. He kept detailed records describing the effects of Reiki on various diseases (including severe forms of cancer). This is how Chujiro Hayashi developed his own Reiki style which consisted of the use of special hand positions for the treatment of various diseases.

Dr. Hayashi also discovered that Reiki energy flowed exactly where the body needed it most, while fully restoring the body’s strength. Thus, on the basis of his own research and studies, Chujiro Hayashi systematized Reiki as a treatment.

Hawayo Takata

Reiki System became known to the West through the Japanese American origin – Hawayo Takata. Without this legendary woman, it would require a lot of time before this system would come out outside Japan. Thanks to Takata the Reiki system has spread around the world and millions of people were able to heal themselves and others with the help of Ki.

Hawayo Takata Picture
Hawayo Takata

Hawayo Takata was born December 24, 1900, in one of the Hawaiian Islands – Kauai. When she grew up, she began to work on reed plantations. Then she married the accountant of one of the plantations and gave birth to two children. In 1930, her husband died, and she was forced to support the family on her own, working on plantations.

Hard work could not but affect her health – the condition of her lungs worsened, back pain appeared, and the nervous system was completely shattered. Soon after her husband’s death, Takata’s sister died, and she decided to go to Japan to visit her parents and improve her health.

Takata’s Reiki Path

In 1935, she went to the clinic of Dr. Hayashi. Being on treatment for four months, she was receiving Reiki sessions twice a day, which led to her full recovery. An examination conducted in an ordinary hospital confirmed this result.

At the end of the treatment, Takata remained in the clinic, helping with any work she’s been asked for. Seeing her zeal, Dr. Hayashi agreed to accept her as a student to the Reiki course.

After receiving 2nd Reiki degree initiations, Takata returned to the Hawaiian Islands. Dr. Hayashi followed her. Together they traveled all over Hawaii, conducting treatment, lecturing, and teaching people Reiki. Seeing the success of Takata and her dedication to work, Dr. Hayashi initiated her to the Reiki Master degree and returned to Japan.

Hawayo Takata Reiki Photo
Hawayo Takata

Hawayo Takata opened a Reiki clinic in Hawaii, where she provided treatment to all those in need and at the same time she taught people the Reiki System. She became a famous healer. Conducting Reiki healing sessions and teaching people this system, she traveled the entire American continent and other parts of the globe.

Hawayo Takata sought to do everything possible to ensure that the Reiki System “took root” in the West. To do this, the system had to be significantly transformed into a Western mentality. In addition, it must be remembered that Hawayo Takata did not practice the “traditional” Usui Reiki, but a variety developed by Dr. Hayashi.

Reiki System Modification

After the death of Chujiro Hayashi, Takata modified her practice style of Reiki. In particular, Takata added her own rules to the Reiki System, which had nothing to do with what Usui taught.

Many consider these rules restrictive because they make learning difficult and thus slow down the spiritual growth of students. For example, Takata claimed that Reiki is an oral tradition. Therefore, she forbade her students to have written materials about Reiki, keep notes or make tape recordings.

However, in reality, Reiki is not an oral tradition. Proof of this is that both Usui and Hayashi had written materials that their students could use.

In addition, in the brochures of her groups, Hawayo Takata claimed that she was the only Reiki Master in the world, as all Japanese masters died during the war.

Since the 1970’s Mrs. Takata began giving initiation to a Reiki Master degree.

Hawayo Takata With Her Students Photo
Hawayo Takata With Her Students

For two days of non-apprenticeship training, she set a fee of ten thousand dollars. Moreover, Takata announced this amount as an official reward for mastering the skill of Reiki. She especially emphasized that without the introduction of this sum further practice of Reiki is impossible. The need to Deposit ten thousand dollars was often crucial.

On the one hand, the high reward for the Reiki Master degree can be considered justified, as it inspires more value and respect for the system. On the other hand, for many people, high fees become an obstacle to getting Reiki initiation and prevent the rapid spread of this system. This fact contradicts the desire of Dr. Usui to make the Reiki system accessible to everyone.

Hawayo Takata’s Death

Hawayo Takata died on December 11, 1980. After her death, one of her trained masters decided to ignore her rules. This master was Iris Ishikura. She began to take a moderate fee for the Reiki attunements which caused the rapid spread of Reiki all around the world.

Before her death, Hawayo Takata asked two of her trained masters – Phyllis Lei Furumoto (Takata’s granddaughter) and Barbara Weber Ray to lead the Reiki movement. But a year after Takata’s death the way of these Masters broke up.

Rick Bockner, Phyllis Furomoto, Hawayo Takata and Wanja Twan Photo
Rick Bockner, Phyllis Furomoto, Hawayo Takata and Wanja Twan

In this regard, two organizations were created:

1. The Reiki Alliance – the head of which was Phyllis Lei Furumoto;

2. AIRA (American International Reiki Association) led by Barbara Weber Ray.

Currently, in the West, there are several independent Reiki organizations, but the Reiki-Alliance and AIRA are the largest of them.

Modern Western Reiki System

The evolution of human consciousness, as well as the era of rapid development, cannot but affect the Western Reiki System. Having gained access to this system, a person seeks first to adopt it for himself/herself, and then, trying to get more out of it, seeks to improve it. Thus, concentrating on the energy itself, people began to discover new knowledge about Reiki.

Currently, there are more than thirty varieties of Reiki. And the evolution of Reiki does not end there. People continue to gain new knowledge about Reiki, opening up new opportunities for the ancient art of managing the energy of life, which Usui made available to mankind.

So, What Is Reiki?

It’s easier to understand what Reiki is when you understand the meaning of two Japanese syllables ‘Rei’ and ‘Ki’. The first syllable ‘Rei’ means ‘universal, transcendental spirit, the universe’. The second syllable, Ki, can be translated as ‘sacred life energy’. Thus ‘Reiki’ can be translated as ‘universal sacred vital energy’.

reiki meaning image

What Is ‘Ki’ Exactly?

Most people have a basic understanding of Ki energy but don’t know what it is exactly. Also, most people think that Reiki is the only kind of Ki. In this part of the article, I’ll try to give more detailed information about Ki and explain what kinds of Ki exist.

In Japanese, the word “Ki” is used to refer to all kinds of vital energies. There is a certain analogy between Ki and the Chinese concept of “Qi” and the concept of “Prana” used by Indian philosophy.

Ki is the basic substance of the formation of all things in the Universe. Thus, all phenomena occurring in the Universe are a consequence of the movement and modifications of Ki.

There is an internal Ki that circulates in every human being, and the external Ki supplied to the human body when you inhale. External Ki, getting into the body during inhalation, is converted into internal Ki, and when you exhale it comes out and turns into external Ki. This is how vital energy Ki moves in the Universe. And that Ki energy is the vital activity of the whole organism.

Ki And Meridians

In our bodies, Ki circulates through the meridians – that is, through the so-called channels running parallel to the anatomical systems of the body, but vibrating at a higher frequency. Energy vibrating at a higher frequency affects matter vibrating at a lower frequency. Thus, with a negative impact on the meridians, the physical body exhibits symptoms of the disease. Therefore, it is extremely important to restore and maintain the balance of the energy body.

When a person gets sick, it is the meridians that are the ways in which the disease enters the body. Conversely, when a person recovers, it is by the meridians that the disease leaves the body and the symptoms disappear.

Thus, if you clear the meridians, on which Ki circulates, its flow becomes more harmonious, and, thereby, diseases get destroyed. One of the most effective ways to cleanse your meridians is daily Reiki healing sessions.

In other words, the easier it is for Ki energy to flow in your body, the healthier you are!

Different Kinds Of Ki

There are eight kinds of Ki. Each kind has certain characteristics. But all these types of Ki are in constant interaction with each other.

The eight kinds of Ki are:

  1. Kekki
  2. Shioke
  3. Mizuke
  4. Kuki
  5. Denki
  6. Jiki
  7. Reiki
  8. Shinki

As you can see, Reiki is one (the seventh) of the eight Ki’s kinds. And there are seven more kinds of Ki that most people (even experienced Reiki practitioners) have never heard about. But, in my opinion, in order to understand what Reiki is, you need to understand what Ki is. But without understanding all types of Ki that exist it’s hard to even understand what we’re dealing with when we practice Reiki.

Kekki has the greatest power, but the least ability to organize the flow of energy in the mind and body. And Reiki has the greatest ability to organize the flow of energy in the mind and body, but at the same time, it is difficult to achieve a direct effect.

Thus, Reiki is a so-called ‘method of energy management’. It is with the help of Reiki a person gets the ability to manifest everything he needs, using the right forces, in the right ratio, at the right time.

Other types of Ki perform various functions by interacting with each other.

Kekki

Kekki is the original Ki that provides vitality. It symbolizes blood. Kekki is used for cellular nutrition and energy structures.

Shioke

This type of Ki is basically bioenergy, the energy of bioplasm, giving the body a structure. It symbolizes the salt or minerals in the blood (‘shio’ means ‘salt’). This kind of energy gives us a will and fortitude, ensuring our existence. Shioke forms an energy field when a person realizes the purpose of his earthly incarnation. It is Shioke that gives us the possibility of self-realization.

Mizuke

It is the Ki of water and liquids, which grants flux and communication. Mizuke is the energy on which relationships are built. Also, this type of Ki, gives us the ability to eat and maintain metabolism.

Kuki

It is the Ki of air, which grants breath. Kuki gives us the energy of will, the ability to destroy and create. This type of Ki helps us to interact with any part of the Universe. It gives us the ability to think logically and digest food. It is the Kuki that gives the power to break bricks in karate practice. This energy helps us to follow our own path, regardless of the opinions of others. A person with strong Kuki energy cannot be manipulated.

Denki

It is the Ki of thunder which gives us motivation, striving, development, and growth. Denki connects us with creative power. The first emotion that gets created by thunder sound is fear. But then experiences gain the cleansing power that motivates us to find the most appropriate solution to the problem. That is, the thunder clears and heals, right after scaring us with its sound. It provokes a reaction that causes liberation from our emotions and the elimination of our energy blocks.

Denki transforms our fears into love. It develops tolerance in communication with other people and a better understanding of life circumstances.

Denki regulates our relationship with our own egos.

Denki helps to feel the unity with all beings. However, it is necessary to ensure that our development does not stop due to full integration with society and self-satisfaction.

Jiki

It is the Ki of magnetism, which endows us with complementary forces and challenges for growth. In other words, Jiki is magnetic energy, gathering power, creative energy. Jiki is enhanced when a person consciously accepts and learns the life lessons without complaining. For enhancing this type of Ki we have to understand that everything that happens in our lives is necessary for our development. Therefore we should face all the life challenges instead of avoiding them.

Reiki

It is the Ki of the soul, the source of our healing system. Reiki is the vital energy that manifests itself in the material world as the closest to the divine creative force. Here are some characteristics of Reiki energy:

  • connects without binding;
  • stimulates without overexcitation;
  • separates without creating isolation;
  • soothes without causing numbness;
  • directs our attention to life and love;
  • creates clarity without a loss of engagement;
  • awakens and supports the development of all kinds of hidden possibilities.
Shinki

It is the divine energy. Shinki works by means of Reiki outside the material world.

Reiki System

Reiki Healing System Image

The Reiki system is based on a deep understanding of the structure of the Universe. According to Reiki teaching, all the processes taking place inside and around us are controlled by the matter of the highest order – the energy that has Consciousness – Ki. When you know how to manage your Ki, you acquire the ability to solve any problems and maximize your potential.

Although most Reiki practitioners are mainly focused on the art of healing, Reiki’s main advantage is its multi-aspect nature. Practicing Reiki, everyone gets exactly what he needs at that moment: a businessman transforms Ki into money, an artist expresses Ki in art, a student – in studying, a cook – in the creation of a healthy dish. In other words, no matter what your goal is, by practicing Reiki you will always find a priceless gift – the ability to convert Ki into the enjoyment of life.

Dr. Mikao Usui taught to start any energy practice with the healing of the mind, resulting in a healthy body.

When the mind is healed, the body heals itself. In fact, the unity of mind and body leads to the attainment of a peaceful and joyful life. It is this unity that gives us the opportunity to engage in healing – to heal not only ourselves but also others, as well as to increase both our own well-being and the well-being of other people. This is the purpose of the Usui Reiki Ryoho system.

Reiki differs from other physical methods of healing, hypnotherapy, and psychotherapy. Dr. Usui claimed that there is no need to believe in the success of this practice in order that healing can occur. It works equally well for a small child, and for a seriously ill person, and even for a person in an unconscious state.

Reiki is not limited to the treatment of the physical body. It can also treat bad habits and negative emotions. The uniqueness of Reiki is that the healers have the abilities to heal themselves and others without the need for medical education.

Reiki Method

reiki initiation image

Reiki uses a spiritual method that goes beyond scientific medicine and is not based on it. However, advanced medical and pharmaceutical professionals recognize the effectiveness of this type of healing and some of them even become Reiki students.

Dr. Rokura Kuga said: ‘It is a fact that non-physicians (therapists) have carried out a series of therapies such as psychotherapy with a high degree of success that has not even been achieved by medical faculties because these therapies include the character, the personal symptoms of the patient, and many different (healing) methods in their treatment.

If they (as physicians associated with the medical faculty) would blindly reject therapists and psychotherapists (who are not associated) and attempt to impede them in their work, this would be very narrow-minded.’

Is Reiki Healing Legal?

Despite the fact that Reiki healing is mostly done by people who do not have a medical education, the practice itself is not illegal and does not violate the laws of medical practice. For the first time, an explanation of the legality of the Reiki practice was given by the Japanese Prime Minister in 1922:

‘Hypnotherapy and the like (similar therapy forms) were judged to be bad forms of therapy more than ten years ago, but today they have been better researched, and also effectively applied in psychiatry. It is difficult to solve everything related to a human being with medications. Physicians follow certain paths, which are based on medical principles, in order to heal disease. The use of touch and electrotherapy in combatting disease, are not components of the healing methods of the medical faculty.’

Reiki Benefits

Distance Reiki image

Practicing Reiki is surprisingly easy, and therefore accessible to everyone. At the same time, this practice can be combined with any spiritual, religious and therapeutic areas, which makes it universal. Moreover, this system has great flexibility, which allows you to use it in everyday life in a variety of ways. There are no generally binding rules to follow. It gives you the ability to improvise in practice, starting from your own intuition and feelings. You can combine self-healing sessions with meditations.

Because of this, it can be used in different spheres of life. You can give the healing to all family members including pets. You can charge your food with Reiki, thereby increasing the vibration of the food and making it more nutritious. The possibilities of Reiki are endless!

What Is Reiki Path?

It’s important to say that the Reiki path of each person is unique. You should never compare your own path with anybody’s else. Every person has his own reasons to practice Reiki. That’s why you should not even try to analyze, evaluate or compare your own path with others. Your experience can be completely different from a person who studied Reiki from the same Reiki Master as you did. Your feeling of energy can be also very different from your classmates. And this is normal. At the beginning of your practice, you may not feel the energy at all. And this is also ok.

What Are The Results Of Reiki Sessions?

Reiki sessions enhance the body’s ability to heal itself, restore energy balance, and strengthen the immune system, which allows it to resist various diseases or recover faster. With its help, you can treat various diseases and relieve stress.

reiki session image

Regular healing sessions lead to the maximum activation of the internal vitality of the person, reveal creativity, and help to manifest your intentions and desires quickly, safely and easily.

The results of Reiki sessions include:

Reiki Attunement

If you want to practice Reiki healing yourself (without the help of a Reiki healer) you should consider receiving a Reiki Attunement.

Introduction to the Reiki System always starts with the Reiki Attunement. A student receives the attunement from a Reiki Master Teacher.

Reiki Initiation Image

The Attunement is the initiation into spiritual tradition.

This is an ancient way of transferring energy and sacred knowledge from one person to another, which cannot be transferred by means of words.

During the initiation, the reiki student goes through a process of adjustment. The result of this is the raising of the vibrations of his entire energy system to a higher level.

After the Attunement, a person acquires not only the theoretical and practical knowledge transferred to him by the Reiki Master-Teacher, but also he acquires his inner knowledge and revealing of his own potential in energy management. This internal knowledge over time takes the form of the Reiki practitioner’s special abilities, not only in the field of healing but also in the creation of his/her own reality.

Usually, when people say “the Reiki Attunement” they mean the ceremony of the initiation into the Reiki System.

However, the Attunement is carried out by the Universal Energy in response to the intention of the Reiki Master, according to a certain methodology. That is, the transfer of internal knowledge and the revealing of internal capacity is carried out directly by Reiki.

The Attunement is a great mystery, during which a complete transformation of the student’s energy body happens. As a result, the student creates deeper and stronger contact with his/her Higher Self. The Attunement, in fact, is a direct flow of the Universal Energy pouring out upon a person.

Healing Models

reiki healing practice image

Every person who decides to try Reiki healing wonders – ‘how many sessions do I need?’.

Well, the number of healing sessions depends on the disease. Reiki is used to treat both acute and chronic diseases. However, chronic diseases require more time and healing sessions than an acute disease.

Acute Disease

It is a disease of a temporary nature – such as wounds, colds, viral infections, periodic pains and so on. In acute diseases, positive changes caused by Reiki healing sessions can be seen after 1-2 sessions.

Chronic Disease

It is a long-term disease – such as gastritis, arthritis, hypertension and so on. Such diseases require long-term healing work. The causes of such diseases arise at the level of mind and spirit and only then manifest themselves in physical symptoms. Therefore, the healer also has to help the patient to heal mental blocks. Only in this case, effective healing is possible.

It is impossible to say exactly how many sessions will be required for chronic disease, but you need to be prepared for the fact that, most likely, you will have to be treated for a long time.

The healing process is very individual.

Some people have more flexible minds than others, some people have a stronger desire to recover than others. You have to consider all these facts.

Often, after the first Reiki session, there is a temporary relief, but after several subsequent sessions, the symptoms can worsen. This often disappoints people and they refuse to continue the healing. However, it is necessary to remember yourself and timely inform your patients about the healing crisis that can occur on the way to recovery. But the healing crisis is temporary and it leads to recovery.

The Bottom Line

Developing your inner power through Reiki you’re gradually changing your perception of the world. Relationships with people are improving,  problems are resolved for the common good, and all problems disappear as soon as you develop yourself spiritually. Choosing to practice Reiki, you find a great tool, to face even the most mundane problems with the confidence that everything will be resolved for the highest good.

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Healing

What Is Transgenerational Trauma? The Signs & Solutions

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Transgenerational Trauma Image

What is that one thing you can think of passed down to you or your parents from your ancestors? It could be stories, heirlooms, or genetic traits. Recent studies suggest that even trauma can pass down through the generations. If you have someone in your family history that bears the scars of past trauma like racism, slavery, sex trafficking, or being a survivor of the holocaust, such an experience gets transmitted from one generation to the next. 

What is Transgenerational Trauma?

Transgenerational trauma is the physical and psychological effects of trauma from past generations affecting subsequent generations. This trauma transfers from the first generation of the survivors to the second and further generations of their offspring via a complex post-traumatic stress disorder mechanism. Hence, most victims of transgenerational trauma have no direct experience of the original trauma. 

How Transgenerational Trauma Manifests in Families

Transgenerational trauma may manifest itself socially, biologically, emotionally, or mentally as follows: –

  • Hyper-vigilance because you may have a distrust of the world  
  • Isolation, emotional numbing, and depersonalization
  • Impaired parental function, which shows up as overprotectiveness or unclear boundaries
  • Chronic sorrow and separation anxiety
  • Poor communication skills
  • Chronic fear of danger
  • Pressure for educational or career achievements
  • Unresolved or complicated grief triggering anger and self-destructive behaviors

In addition, teens and school-going children undergoing transgenerational trauma may experience low self-esteem, have disciplinary issues at school, drop out or cut classes, and record poor grades.  

Families struggling with transgenerational trauma tend to: –

  • Dismiss any talk of feelings as a weakness
  • Become overprotective of their children and seniors
  • Develop a neutral emotional response to tragic events 
  • Have trust issues and engage in unnecessary conflicts with other families

What Does Science Say?

Most scientific studies on transgenerational trauma agree that any extreme and prolonged stress on a parent could have adverse psychological effects on their children or grandchildren. The parents may be former prisoners of war, combat veterans, victims of colonial suppression, clerical abuse in religious organizations, totalitarian political control, and terrorism. 

Here are four examples of communities affected by transgenerational trauma: –

#1: Holocaust Survivors

Holocaust Survivors Generational Trauma Image

Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Vivian Rakoff was the first person to identify and document transgenerational trauma. In 1966, Vivian and her colleagues were researchers at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. Here, they studied the long-lasting consequences of the holocaust on its survivors and descendants. 

They recorded high psychological distress rates amongst the children of the holocaust survivors. Later studies would discover that even grandchildren of holocaust survivors ended up in psychiatric care referrals, with trauma symptoms like PTSD, depression, and clinical anxiety.

#2: The Stolen Generation of the Aboriginal People

Thousands of lighter-skin-toned aboriginal children grew up without knowing their families. The kids were forcefully taken from their families and placed in orphanages run by missionaries. Some of the kids were barely a year old. They spent most of their childhood working while undergoing physical and emotional mistreatment.

Many described it as Australia’s attempt at genocide and the ultimate survival of the indigenous people. Today, the children of the stolen generation of the aboriginal people still carry the scars of transgenerational trauma. Some live in distress and struggle with attachment and disconnection from extended families. 

#3: Rwanda Genocide Survivors

The Rwanda Civil War between April 7th and July 15th, 1994, claimed the lives of up to 800,000 Tutsis, a minority ethnic group. Studies of the Rwanda post-genocide generation indicate that children born to Tutsi mothers during and immediately after the genocide developed depression and traumatic disorders. The lasting imprints of the 1994 genocide are evident in the survivors, former prisoners, and their descendants.

#4: Systematic Racism and Over-policing of the Black Communities

During the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, Europeans built the foundations of America by dehumanizing Africans. They used mental, spiritual, and physical warfare to integrate white supremacy into the violence. And they skewed psychology, religion, and science to justify this treatment. 

For example, in 1851, American physician Samuel A. Cartwright came up with Drapetomania. It refers to a supposed mental illness describing enslaved Africans that tried to run away. Eventually, black communities developed trauma responses to maintain survival. 

However, instead of short-term responses, the families have integrated them into their culture and passed them from one generation to the next under the guise of values and traditions. 

Today, there are cries of systematic racism and over-policing amongst the black communities. And more families are struggling with divorce, alcohol and substance abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence. And there’s a high incarceration rate in the black communities. 

Addressing Transgenerational Trauma

mother wound healing image

Note that later victims of transgenerational trauma may fail to recognize its effects. Others never acknowledge, discuss, or address it for fear of stigmatization. That way, they may never call it out or seek help. Instead, they struggle with mental health issues and continue passing down the trauma to their offspring.

Anyone undergoing transgenerational trauma should seek help to break the cycle. Otherwise, parents will continue to pass triggers to their children, affecting future generations. 

#1: Community Healing and Reconciliation

Most families undergoing transgenerational trauma stay quiet about the traumatic events for fear of stigmatization. Start by having productive discussions with family members for healing and reconciliation. In the aftermath of the Rwanda Civil War, most survivors rebuilt their lives by joining survivor support groups, creating and preserving memorial sites, and educating the next generation on the dangers of hate and extremism. 

#2: Seeking Help from a Family Therapist

Families undergoing generational trauma should work with a family therapist to identify the trauma patterns existing in the family. Likewise, children struggling with mental health problems associated with this trauma should also work with a mental health specialist for recovery.

#3: Changing Parenting Styles

Often, parents who are victims or survivors of trauma have a protective parenting style that passes the trauma to their children. Here, the parents subconsciously teach their children unhealthy survival behaviors. Or, they may develop unhealthy relationship boundaries with their loved ones. This should change to avoid passing on the damage further. 

Conclusion

Is your family dealing with trauma from your ancestors? Studies now show that parental traumatic experiences can reach subsequent generations. Yet, we can break the cycle of transgenerational trauma by investigating how these events of our shared past affect us today. More so, seeking professional help, changing parenting styles, and encouraging communication around healing and reconciliation can help families deal with the complex issues from the trauma.

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Healing

Unblocking Chakras for Beginners: a Detailed Guide

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Different cultures identify seven energy centers of the body, often referred to as chakras. They pinpoint ways to balance or align our chakras for complete energetic harmony of the body, mind, and spirit. For example, you can connect chakras to astrology, crystals, plants, and even colors of the rainbow. Then, what happens when a chakra is off-balance, overactive, or blocked? How can you restore balance to your chakras? Let’s explore the chakras one by one below: 

#1: The Root Chakra

Balancing Root chakra cheat sheet

The Root chakra, located in the pelvis area, is associated with our sense of belonging, grounding, and survival needs. When balanced, we feel safe, secure, grounded, sturdiness, centered, and happy to be alive. A blocked Root chakra gives us a sense of instability (especially financial instability and personal identity), anxiety, and fear. And an overactive Root chakra makes us materialistic, greedy, lust for money and power, and aggressive. Of all the chakras, the Root chakra requires the most work to bring it back in balance. A blocked Root chakra triggers an imbalance in the rest of the chakras as a survival driver. 

#2: The Sacral Chakra

Balancing sacral chakra cheat sheet

This chakra is associated with our sexuality, pleasure, and passion. Balanced Sacral chakra exudes joy, amusement, sexuality, sensuality, attachment, optimism, nurturing, procreation, and deep emotions. Yet, low libido, an unsatisfactory sex life, fear or lack of intimacy, loneliness, and isolation suggests a blocked Sacral chakra. An overactive sacral chakra may result in our sexual overdrive. Here, someone becomes a sex addict, manipulative, and overly emotional.

#3: The Solar Plexus Chakra

Unblocking Chakras for Beginners Solar Plexus chakra cheat sheet

The Solar Plexus Chakra, located underneath the rib cage and above the navel, gives us the drive and confidence that keeps us in control of our lives. Anyone with a balanced Solar Plexus chakra has a raised self-image, self-esteem, willpower, and assertiveness. Only an imbalance in our Solar Plexus chakra creates feelings of self-doubt, powerlessness, feeling threatened, low self-esteem, and having an inferiority complex. However, an overactive Solar Plexus chakra manifests itself through our domineering, perfectionist, power-hungry, critical, or judgmental tendencies.

#4: The Heart Chakra

Balancing Heart chakra for beginners cheat sheet

The Heart chakra, symbolized by the color green, is the chakra of love. When balanced, the Heart chakra sustains our feelings of unconditional love, peace, receptivity, acceptance, compassion, gratitude, and forgiveness. More so, it helps us form and retains meaningful relationships. In contrast, a blocked Heart chakra manifests itself through our bitter or hateful feelings, trust issues, lack of empathy, and intolerant of others. Likewise, an overactive Heart chakra creates feelings of codependence, self-sacrifice, and jealousy. 

#5: The Throat Chakra

Unblocking throat chakra cheat sheet

This chakra concerns communication (our speaking and listening abilities). When balanced, we maintain clear communication, behave like a leader with confidence, and use creative expression around our peers. Except, if you have a blocked Throat chakra, you may have issues expressing yourself and listening to others. Often, you find yourself in heated arguments, misunderstandings, and holding on to grudges or secrets. People with overactive Throat chakra often abuse their communication privileges. They tend to be loud, sassy, opinionated, and gossipy.

#6: The Third Eye Chakra

Third eye chakra balancing image

The Third eye chakra symbolizes our intuition. Its awakening revolves around our ability to manifest psychic abilities, inner wisdom, visualization, and clarity. This opening only happens when the chakra is balanced. The harmony helps us manifest visions beyond the physical realm. We stay in tune with our intuitions and become imaginative and creative.

A blocked Third eye chakra limits our intuition, inner thoughts, creativity, or guidance from spiritual entities. More so, this chakra hardly gets overactive. But when it does, you may have broken the veil into a spiritual realm prematurely through such spiritual work like Kundalini. Hence, you experience vivid hallucinations, nightmares, and delusions. 

#7: The Crown Chakra

Unblocking Crown chakra cheat cheet

The Crown chakra is associated with consciousness, bliss, oneness, spirituality, and understanding. As a temple, it connects us to the spirit realm, our higher purpose, or God-consciousness.

A balanced Crown chakra exudes feelings of universal love and a deep spiritual understanding of your higher purpose. In contrast, someone with an overactive Crown chakra struggles with dogmatic, judgmental, or ungrounded ideas. And a blocked Crown chakra leaves you feeling depressed. More so, you may battle brain fog or have learning disabilities.

Unblocking the Chakras

Here are some tips to help you unblock and balance your chakras: –

#1: Affirmations

Chakra affirmations are a great way to balance your chakras. Repeating affirmations direct healing energy to restore balance in your body and your life. When we repeat chakra affirmations, we become capable of rewriting the patterns in our subconscious minds and direct healing vibrations to the chakras.

affirmations for 7 chakras image
Affirmations for the Root chakra:
  • I am safe!
  • I am grounded!
  • I am rooted and strong!
Affirmations for the Sacral chakra:
  • I am creative!
  • I am joyful!
  • I embrace and celebrate my sexuality!
Affirmations for the Solar Plexus chakra:
  • I am powerful!
  • I feel motivated to pursue my purpose!
  • I am enough!
Affirmations for the Heart chakra:
  • I love myself unconditionally!
  • I follow my heart!
  • I am open to giving and receiving love!
Affirmations for the Throat chakra:
  • I am open and honest in my communication!
  • I express myself creatively through speech, writing, and art!
  • I am an active listener!
Affirmations for the Third eye chakra:
  • I trust my intuition!
  • I am constantly expanding my awareness!
  • I feel connected to my spiritual truth!
Affirmations for the Crown chakra:
  • I am Light!
  • I am divinely guided and inspired!
  • Everything is working out for my highest good!

#2: Crystals

Crystals send out vibrations that resonate with the seven chakras. That way, they help in unblocking chakras and restoring harmony. Plus, the crystals respond best when they are of a similar color to the out-of-balance chakra.

healing crystals for 7 chakras image

Use red, black, and brown crystals and stones to heal and balance your Root chakra:

  • Red Jasper
  • Black Tourmaline
  • Smoky Quartz
  • Carnelian
  • Lava
  • Black Onyx

For balancing your Sacral chakra,  use orange, peach, and brown crystals and stones:

  • Imperial Topaz
  • Amber
  • Sardonyx
  • Fire Opal
  • Peach Moonstone
  • Orange Calcite
  • Peach Selenite

For healing your Solar Plexus chakra, use yellow and golden stones:

  • Jasper
  • Citrine
  • Yellow Topaz
  • Golden Tiger’s Eye
  • Pineapple Calcite
  • Yellow Sapphire
  • Golden Quartz
  • Pyrite

Use green and pink stones and crystals to heal and balance your Heart chakra:

  • Green Aventurine
  • Rose Quartz
  • Alexandrite
  • Emerald
  • Amazonite
  • Malachite
  • Pink Calcite

For balancing and healing your Throat chakra, use light blue, deep blue, and teal crystals and stones:

  • Larimar
  • Aquamarine
  • Angelite
  • Blue Topaz
  • Turquoise
  • Blue Lace Agate
  • Aqua Aura Quartz
  • Blue Tourmaline
  • Aqua Aura Quartz
  • Blue Quartz

For Third eye chakra healing and balancing, use indigo and violet stones and crystals:

  • Blue Aventurine
  • Indigolite
  • Lapis Lazuli
  • Labradorite
  • Azurite
  • Blue Apatite
  • Sapphire

For balancing your Crown chakra, use purple, golden, white, and clear crystals and stones:

  • Clear Quartz
  • Amethyst
  • Rhinestone
  • Clear Calcite
  • Selenite
  • Spirit Quartz

#3: Essential Oils

Did you know you can use essential oils to balance your chakras? You can regulate the energy flow and facilitate unblocking chakras by massaging essential oils on the areas where your chakras project the most.

essential oils for 7 chakras image

Use patchouli, nutmeg, vetiver, bergamot, cedar, and clove essential oils for balancing your Root chakra.

For your Sacral chakra, use neroli, cardamom, ylang-ylang, and sandalwood essential oils.

Apply pine, eucalyptus, vetiver, grapefruit, rosemary, bergamot, and lavender essential oils for healing your Solar Plexus chakra.

Rose, lavender, geranium, and jasmine essential oils will help you harmonize your Heart chakra.

For balancing your Throat chakra, use lemon essential oil, vanilla, coriander seed, lavender, sage, and eucalyptus essential oils.

Sandalwood, rosemary, German chamomile, frankincense, jasmine, peppermint, and sandalwood essential oils are great for your Third eye chakra healing.

Use lime, lavender, neroli, vanilla, frankincense, and lotus essential oils for balancing your Crown chakra.

#4: Bija Mantras

A bija mantra or “seed mantra” is a mantra that consists of one or more sounds or syllables. Bija mantras carry the concentrated energy of the Universe. When we practice bija mantras for chakras we create vibration processes in the ether, which, in turn, control the sources of energy within our chakras.

Bija mantras for chakras image

Bija mantras for chakras include the LAM chant for the Root chakra, VAM chant for the Sacral chakra, RAM chant for the Solar plexus chakra, YAM chant for the Heart chakra, HAM chant for the Throat chakra, and AUM chant for the Third eye and the Crown chakras.

#5: Take Nature Calls

Your chakras correspond to love from Mother Nature. Tap into this universal healing power by spending more time in nature. Think of forest baths, mud baths, or lying down on bare grass during your family picnic.

Conclusion

Now that you know how balanced, imbalanced, blocked, and overactive chakras feel, which of your chakras is out-of-balance? Indeed, by recognizing the signs of blockage or imbalance, you can take active steps to balance your chakras. Practice unblocking chakras through yoga, massaging essential oils, chanting or listening to mantras, staying outdoors, and using healing crystals.

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Healing

Meet Your Shadow Archetype: The Dark Side of Your Personality

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Let’s face it. In every story, there is a hero and a villain. In your narration, you are both; the bright and dark aspects orchestrate the melody of your life. It is a melody that many of us opt to listen to on one side only. See, most people opt to focus on their bright aspects and suppress the dark side of their personality. Yet, this dark side often referred to as the shadow, will always be there. Besides, it can look small or big depending on your perspective on life. Are you willing to meet your shadow archetype?

Origin of the Shadow Archetype

Carl Jung, an influential psychologist of the previous century, is one of the few people that tried to bridge the notion of psychology and spirituality. That way, he hoped to discover ways to transcend the human condition. Hence, Jung traveled severally to India and immersed himself in different spiritual practices. His work would constantly evolve to produce a comprehensive analysis of such concepts as the ego, the shadow, the archetypes, and the anima and the animus

Understanding the Shadow Archetype

The shadow archetype is one of the four main categories of the Jungian archetypes that influence human behavior. As popularized by Mark and Pearson, these are inborn personalities emanating from the collective unconscious. The other categories of the Jungian archetypes include the persona, the self or ego, and the animus.

In particular, the shadow archetype consists of life and sex instincts constantly challenging the ego-personality. It takes intentional moral effort to become conscious of your shadow. It is about recognizing the dark side of your personality as present and real. Only then can we begin to understand ourselves and experience a personal awakening and authenticity

Carl Jung and Shadow Symbolism

what is your shadow archetype image

The shadow remained an intriguing topic amongst scholars. Carl Jung refers to it as a moral problem that challenges ego-personality. Further, he uses the symbolism of the shadow to portray this complex idea of the shadow archetype seamlessly and visually. Such visual imagery creates anchors with concepts already familiar to human cognition. 

Hence, Jung describes the shadow archetype as dark and elusive, impossible to catch, and alters its size depending on your current life circumstances. It forms darkness and distance from the body, something not many of us are eager to confront. Yet, the shadow becomes invisible when light appears. 

The Fear of Embracing Our Shadow Archetype

Now, most of us acknowledge the shadow archetype as an integral part of our existence. However, we remain willfully blind to it, conceal or camouflage it in a painful attempt to protect our self-image. It is an image that fits the narrative that we decide to expose. 

Further, social conditioning helps us construct a fallacy that we can keep the substrate of our constructed identity stable. We feel safe by ignoring the unknown aspects of our lives, hoping they will disappear. 

Still, how can we feel safe when what we are avoiding can invade our thought process and manifest in our actions without our control? Embracing the shadow archetype is inevitable. 

Implications of Denying Our Shadow Self

Note that we are as free as the mind allows. And when the mind creates barriers between individual reality and the rest of the world, illusions and neurosis may take over. Have you ever met someone operating in enforced ignorance? If so, you’ll notice such a person denying their shadow archetype in an attempt to preserve a certain status quo. But eventually, the enforced ignorance fuels the suppressed shadow to grow bigger. 

The dark side of their personality becomes more evident via projection in more aspects of their lives. Further, since the person is not even aware of the existence of the shadow, its effect can get out of control since we can only control what we understand. 

The Way Forward 

shadow emotions healing image

#1: Shadow Work

The best way to meet our shadow archetype is by undertaking shadow work. Shadow work is a lifelong process that entails intentional activities to discover the dark side of our personalities. Through it, we deal with our shadow elements like animalistic needs, sexual desires, primitive instincts, traumatic experiences, and even some positive aspects of our character that remain hidden for fear of being ridiculed. 

A typical shadow work approach may involve journaling our emotions and dreams to discover triggers of our shadow archetype. It also replaces our sense of guilt and anxiety with self-acceptance.  

#2: Seeking Professional Help

While facing the dark side of your personality can be scary, the ultimate results are rewarding. Still, the shadow has a challenging nature. That’s why shadow work may follow a sequence of assimilation through long hours or psychotherapy and introspection, often guided by a certified professional. Here, the therapist helps clients reevaluate and recalibrate their behaviors and beliefs. 

Ultimately, clients stay disciplined in asking themselves challenging questions about their lives. Like, how often do you question the nature of your reality?

#3: Dealing with Social Conditioning against Shadow Archetypes

Now, whereas shadow work is at an individual level, society has a significant influence in making the practice a success. Ideally, the world should be a platform for dialogue and constant experimentation. The shadow archetype ceases to be a moral problem and becomes a welcome part of our existence. If you find such ideas regrettable, it may mean that there are some shadow aspects of your life yet to be dealt with effectively.  

Conclusion

Anyone who wants full control of their life must be willing to embrace their shadow archetype. It revolves around accepting all aspects of our lives; tolerating what we are afraid of alongside what we want. Here, we face, analyze, and internalize our fears and darkness. Otherwise, denying the existence of the dark side of your personality will make you see it in others even more. 

Likewise, our society is packed with people whose actions are constantly at war with your intentions. That’s why; we should strive to define the moral imperatives that could alleviate our suffering. And, we should view everything beyond that with skepticism. 

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