what is reiki?

The Subtle Body

The human body has a physical anatomy; the skeleton, the organs, the circulatory system, the nervous system and the endocrine (glandular) system are all parts of that anatomy. The body also has a spiritual anatomy, comprised of the subtle energy fields (known as the aura), the chakra system, and the meridian lines and tanden centres (used in Chinese medicine) this is known as the subtle body. This spiritual anatomy precedes the physical body, so illness or imbalances in the physical body originate from problems in the subtle body.

The Chakras and the Aura after Healing - Barbara Ann Brennan Seven Different Layer of the Aura - Barbara Ann Brennan
The chakras and the aura after healing*
Seven different layers of the aura*

“After my first treatment with Jane I felt more relaxed than I had done for many years.”
Jane, West Bridgford

The chakra system would not have been taught originally as part of Reiki training as it derives from the Hindu Upanishads. Traditional Japanese Reiki training would have worked with the meridian system and 'The Three Diamonds' or Tanden centres. These are resevoirs of subtle energy within the physical body, they do not correspond to the chakra system, but are a seperate system in themselves.

The Chakra System

The chakra system is a subtle energy system that has been described for thousands of years in many different spiritual traditions. More recently doctors and medical researchers have also started exploring its existence and function. There are seven main chakras that start at the base of the spine and ascend in a vertical line to the top of the head. It is generally agreed that each chakra seems to be associated with a specific glandular system, organ system and nerve plexus in the physical body.

The word ‘chakra' comes from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel', which gives an indication of the dynamic nature of these energy centres. They are spinning vortices, which open out from the front and the back of the body. They can open up to allow more energy to come through or close down to restrict the flow of energy, but there is always some energy flow however small. During a healing session the Reiki energy may balance the chakras, where needed, so that they are all working at an optimum level to maintain health and well being. This works slowly and gradually, to enable the client to feel the changes and begin to learn for themselves how to stay balanced and healthy.

The root chakra (red) is located at the base of the spine and it is associated with the circulatory system, the adrenal glands, the genitals and the lower body in the physical plane. It is sometimes known as the survival chakra, as it is primarily concerned with our physical survival. It keeps us grounded to the earth and links to our primal instincts such as the need for food and shelter and the essential instinct of fear. When this chakra is out of balance the fear can become a lack of trust in the universe and we may become overly concerned with our material existence at the expense of our spiritual life.

The sacral chakra (orange) is located on the spine at the lower back area, between the navel and the base of the spine, and is associated with the reproductive system, the muscular system and the bladder in the physical body. It is known as the sexual chakra as it is primarily concerned with the drive to procreate, but it also links to all other creative pursuits, such as art, music, dance, writing etc. When this chakra is out of balance the creative drive can manifest in increased or repressed sexual appetites and creativity or creative blocks.

The solar plexus chakra (yellow) is located just above the navel and is associated with the digestive system, the stomach, the liver and the gall bladder in the physical body. This chakra is marked by an awareness of what is happening on all planes of consciousness. It is our centre of psychic-emotional power and we can use it to attract, repel, project, magnify and control others. When this chakra is out of balance we can become manipulating of others or allow ourselves to be manipulated.

The heart chakra (green) is located in the centre of the chest around the heart area and is associated with the heart, the thymus gland, the upper back, the thorax, the lower lungs and the blood and circulatory system in the physical body. It is the centre of the entire chakra system and connects the three lower centres to the three higher centres. It awakens us to the experience of love in many forms and eventually the experience of unconditional universal love. The opening of the heart is very special, but it can bring up a lot of painful emotions. When this chakra is out of balance we may feel a lot of love, but also a lot of pain, emotionally and sometimes physically.

The throat chakra (sky blue) is located in the hollow of the throat and is associated with the throat, the thyroid gland, the mouth, the teeth and the tongue in the physical body. It is our centre of communication and self-expression and involves all forms of communication such as aesthetics, art, language, singing, music and dance. This is where the creativity of the sacral chakra can be expressed to the world. The energy created from this chakra can be a major emotional and spiritual healing tool, but when it is out of balance, it can inhibit our ability to communicate our feelings to others.

The brow chakra (indigo/violet) is located above the bridge of the nose in the centre of the forehead and is associated with the pituitary gland and the central nervous system in the physical body. It is the seat of our higher mental powers and associated with intuition and wisdom. This chakra is associated with thought and vision, particularly psychic vision, and it brings us into a higher state of vision of the truth. When this chakra is out of balance the ego can be blocking the intuition.

The crown chakra (violet/white) is located at the crown or middle of the head and is associated with the brain and the pineal gland in the physical body. This chakra is our connection with the divine force of the universe, it gives us the spiritual nourishment we need to transcend the material plane of existence. When we are working through this chakra, we experience ourselves as at one with the universe rather than as a separate entity from the universe. When this chakra is out of balance we can lose our feeling of divine connection and feel shut down, or we may feel the interconnectedness of the universe and ourselves but in a fearful psychotic state.

As each individual travels on their spiritual path the chakras experience an ‘awakening', this is a slow gradual process, which indicates the development of a more evolved spiritual awareness. The first three chakras (root, sacral and solar plexus) are primarily connected with issues of survival on the physical and emotional planes. The awakening of these three chakras is essential in order to integrate living in the material world with a spiritually evolving consciousness. The fourth to the seventh chakras (heart, throat, brow and crown) are primarily concerned with spiritual life. Their awakening activates spiritual energies and the change from mundane consciousness to higher consciousness.

For further reading on the subtle body I would recommend the following books:

'Hands of Light' Barbara Ann Brennan ISBN 0-553-34539-7
'The Field' Lynne McTaggart ISBN 0-00-714510-1
‘Anatomy of the Spirit ' Caroline Myss ISBN 0553507125
‘Spiritual Nutrition' Gabriel Cousens ISBN 1-55643-499-5

Most of the books can be purchased from www.amazon.co.uk or if you prefer to shop locally try www.hive.co.uk where every purchase supports a local independent bookshop. 

*Images taken from ‘Hands of Light' courtesy of Barbara Ann Brennan.

© Jane McLennan 2005 text and images on this site cannot be reproduced without written permission.

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