Tag Archives: bruce lee

Be like water

reiki simplicity bruce lee

“Be formless, shapeless… like water”
“True refinement seeks simplicity”


…if you are wondering who said these things, you might be surprised to hear that they were spoken by Bruce Lee, film star and famous martial artist who developed Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid martial arts method that took the best approaches from different fighting systems and synthesised them into a flexible and effective fighting art. Jeet Kune Do is referred to as a “style without style” where, unlike more traditional martial arts which Lee saw as rigid and formalistic, JKD is not fixed or patterned: it is more of a philosophy with guiding thoughts, a “style of no style”. Bruce Lee often referred to JKD as “The art of expressing the human body” in his writings and in interviews.

And those comments got me wondering about Reiki, especially when Lee identified three different stages that someone’s practice could go through. He said that before training, people had a natural ability, something that was unformed and unfocused; training begins and the student learns how to follow the instruction, they are restricted to the framework that they are taught and many practitioners might not move beyond that stage, following the system almost by rote. The third stage is where the practitioner moves beyond the rote learning to embrace simplicity and flexibility.

So how does that echo one’s development with Reiki? Well before some people learn Reiki, they already have a healing ability, maybe unstructured or unconscious, unfocused, but a natural healing ability nevertheless. We have taught many such people, who have found that Reiki gives them a framework or a structure to work through, focusing and channelling and enhancing what they already had.

The student learns a particular approach, with some rules and standard hand positions and in some lineages quite a long list of things you can and can’t, should and shouldn’t, do with Reiki. Some practitioners remain at this stage, following the instructions they were given and remaining content with that way of working.

But you can move beyond that framework, simplifying your practice, altering what you do to the needs of the recipient. You can embrace intuitive working, where you leave behind those basic rules to go ‘freestyle’ and, where Lee describes his system as “The art of expressing the human body”, we could see intuitive working as “The art of expressing the energy”. Here we are empty and formless, flowing like water to where the water wants to go, joining with the energy and following it, directing the energy to where it wants to be directed, emphasising aspects of the energy that need to be emphasised. We stand as a flexible conduit between the source and the recipient, empty, formless, fluid.

I believe that clutter-free Reiki is the best Reiki, and that by cutting away the rules and the dogma we can ‘refine’ (to use Lee’s word) our Reiki practice. Emptiness is the goal here: no planning, no thought about what you might do, just being there with the energy and the recipient; your treatment has no form, no structure and you simply follow the flow of energy, becoming the energy, merging with the recipient, with no expectations other than to just ‘be’.


Picture credit: IQRemix

If you like the sound of this approach then you might consider doing some training with Reiki Evolution. We have live Reiki courses running throughout the UK and Taggart teaches one-to-one through his special Reiki Home Study courses. For more information, click on the links below:

Live Reiki courses
Home Study courses