How to Use Symbols if you can’t Visualise Well

problems visualising reiki symbols

In my blog post A Simple Way with Reiki Symbols I describe a simple meditation method for experiencing the energy that a Reiki symbol (or any other symbol, for that matter) creates. I suggest that you take a quick look at that post before reading on.
Using visual images works quite well for probably the majority of people (so it’s a useful first port of call, and all Reiki courses, of course, include symbols at Second Degree and beyond), but there are a fair number of people where it’s not such a good fit.
Mikao Usui got round this by using various approaches with his students. One method he used was to teach Shinto mantras called ‘kotodama’, where students used sounds, chanting, to become the energies of earth ki and heavenly ki, and to experience a state of oneness. He taught the kotodama to far more of his students than received the Reiki symbols that are taught routinely in the West. Dr Hayashi was taught the symbols, though, and they were passed on to the West via Mrs Takata.
So graphical images are not the only way of experiencing the energies.
But let’s see what we can do with the graphics, just for a little while longer…

Many people can’t visualise so brilliantly, anyway!

Many people who aren’t very good at visualising things imagine that people who can visualise can see things in Ultra HD, Technicolor, Panavision, with perfect, infinite detail and fantastic colour resolution. Sadly, that’s not the case! Visual memory is a bit rubbish, really, like the digital images you used to get on the very first mobile ‘phones that came with cameras: grainy and indistinct.
So most people who use visual images of the symbols won’t be able to see the images clearly for more than a few moments, and won’t keep the symbols clearly in mind as they experience the energy; rather the image is flagged up there to set an intent about the nature of the energy that you want to channel.
Sometimes people will re-draw the symbol if they feel they need to, but most of the time they are just drifting in a meditative state, channelling the energy that they intended to.
But it is possible to experience the symbols in more of a ‘physical’ sense. Let me explain…

Feeling a symbol instead of seeing it

Say that you had your eyes shut and you imagined that you were hovering in the air above some railway lines.
Even though you couldn’t see them, you could become aware of the physicality of those lines, couldnt you?: their solidness, their density. And if those lines took a sharp turn right below you, or a squiggle, you could become aware of the physical nature of their contours and direction, without having an image come to mind.
Try that. Notice what you can feel or sense in a physical way. 

Experiencing a symbol through muscle movements

Also, if you practise drawing out a symbol, quite flamboyantly, using your hand/arm, with a bit of repetition you could remember those movements (your muscle memory) in the same way that you can probably now remember and duplicate the finger-movements that you use when entering your PIN into a card machine at the supermarket or cash machine.
There is a physical memory of the movements that you can trigger in your mind. You can almost feel the necessary muscles firing off as you imagine making those familiar movements.
Try that now: type your PIN into a cash dispenser in your mind; do that repeatedly. Don’t actually move your real fingers, but experience those movements in a physical way.
Notice the messages firing off to your muscles, feel the shape and the movement, the pattern.

Feel that symbol through muscles and density

So if you did those two things: making imaginary hand movements and becoming physically aware of the solidity and contours of a symbol… there you have a way of experiencing a symbol in a non-visual manner.
Try that. Put that symbol up there above you, use those muscle movements in your mind, experience the physical density and contours of the symbol, and once the solid, dense contours of the symbol are there before you, have in mind that the energy is flooding down to you from that 3D shape… and let the energy flow.

Over to you

If you have had problems with visualising symbols, why not try this different approach and ‘see’ how you get on. Does this make working with symbols easier for you?

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5 thoughts on “How to Use Symbols if you can’t Visualise Well

  1. Over the years, I’ve done something similar to make the visualization of the symbols more ‘solid’ and clearer: I visualize the symbols as being solid and made of a specific material, I usually choose a metal, I visualize the symbols as being of a certain colour: a gold or silver works well for me, the symbols aren’t shiny but matt in texture. I visualize them as being a certain thickness, e.g. a couple of inches thick and I visualize them as floating in an actual physical space, either inside or outside my body. If visualizing them ‘externally’ in a room, I draw and imagine them floating above me in the corners of the room. I normally visualize all four symbols one after the other in each corner and I do this three or four times ’round the room.’ I also sometimes visualize them ‘from behind’ as well to make them ‘more real’, the symbol appears exactly the same and is drawn in exactly the same sequence and directions.

    Visualizing the symbols as being outside your body is a useful technique for protecting or energizing a physical space, i.e. room or building. Of course, this can be done with any location, whether inside a building or outside in the open air, the only limit being your imagination.

    1. That is a very kinaesthetic way of experiencing them, following as you do their physical contours, the quality of the material that they are made out of and the texture of their surface. Excellent.

  2. Thank you. I am trying to get around this problem. Everything I read about Reiki say that dreaded word visualise, and no alternative ways are given. I only recently discovered that visualising is real, at aged 69. A bit of a surprise.
    I very recently finished Reiki 2 at 70. I bought some of your books last week and now going back to try and do the exercises a different ways. I have felt very demoralised at times. Enjoying Reiki and feel better than I have done for many years. I do not have any of the five senses. Thank you again.

    1. Dear Margaret, while most people seem to get on well with visualising things, it’s not for everyone and success with Reiki doesn’t depend on being able to bring to mind an image. I recommend that whenever you see an instruction that tells you to ‘visualise’, you substitute another word or phrase, like “have in mind”, “feel”, “know”, “experience”. So if the instruction said to visualise the energy coming down through your crown, say, you could *know* that the energy was doing that, or you could *feel* it doing it, or you could *experience* it, or “have in mind in some way that…” or you could *allow* the energy to do that particular thing… all free from any imagined images!

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