How often have I given some answer to this question, usually short and in person. After over thirty years of practice I am still exploring the meaning of Reiki, and by Reiki, I mean the practice of Reiki, Usui Shiki Ryoho.
At the heart of the practice is daily self-treatment and when we come to them, daily attention to the Reiki Principles. Finally I have come to the conclusion that the energy of Reiki, contacted through our practice, supports the perfection of our humanity. It is healing, it is growth, it is movement, it is unfolding into the perfection that is the potential of every human being, every human consciousness.
As clear as this conviction is to me, there are still huge questions, mainly questions of context. What is the context in which we can begin to understand human perfection? There are answers out there, each religion offers such a comprehensive context. (I will define religion in this context to mean a cosmology and practice including moral and ethical principles that give us a Big Story containing information about where we came from, where we are going, and what it all means.) In the absence of religion, there is popular culture and/or an eclectic self-defined spirituality.
Each of us is born into a family and into a larger culture. Since we are born with a vast yet undifferentiated consciousness, our family takes on the task of teaching us what it means to be human. Though we are born human we have to learn what that means in a given family, culture, time in history. By comparing language and culture we see that there are many definitions of what it means to be human but our particular home programming locks into our hard-drive.
On a personal level, much of our mental/emotional healing has to do with unlearning all those messages real or imagined that interfere with the free and true expression of our unique personality. Each of us has developed a false self, a defended self to protect us from the pain of feeling not seen or heard or loved just as we are. It is a normal and inevitable process. We can call it the human condition.