I am very often asked to explain Reiki. For those coming from a Metaphysical background, it can usually be easily understood as the balancing of energies within the human body through the laying on of hands. For those from a Spiritual background, it can be understood as opening to the power of Spirit to manifest its will in the form of healing. And for those who do not have either of these reference points, it can take a little extra explanation.
Reiki is simple in its application and simple in its concepts, and yet to the novice, it can easily sound complex or like wishful thinking. The reason for this is due to the attempt to balance a scientific model of reality with a more spiritually based reality. The rational mind wants to understand how things work and seeks "proof". The intuitive mind simply tunes into what feels true. With Reiki, we often must simply trust. And when we are asked to trust something that sometimes cannot be felt or seen, this can seem overwhelming to the rational mind.
In all fairness, I believe that we should demand direct experience as proof from life, but we also have to be open to what experience is really revealing. If our expectations of light shooting out of hands and miraculous cures for major illnesses blind us to more subtle awarenesses such as peace and tranquility, improved sleep, an expanding sense of love, or warmth moving through the body, then the direct experience offered as proof of Reiki's efficacy is overlooked in favor of a false measuring stick.
In order to allow for direct experience, one must dismiss all expectations and allow for an authentic experience of what is really happening. If I only look to the left, and deny that anything on the right exists, well, it is quite easy to see that a well rounded investigation has not been pursued. In the same way with Reiki, if I look for some grand earth shaking experience, and fail to acknowledge the more subtle things, then I have not investigated with a fair and scientific approach.
So what is a fair way to investigate Reiki? First, one must have a general understanding of the principles behind what Reiki is and how it works. Then one must proceed with fair, open minded experiences to determine what is to be discovered. As direct experiences of the energy or changes in the body/mind system are observed, then a deepened sense of trust and faith awakens, which allows for subtler perceptions.