Reiki is Meditation
In essence, meditation is not a specific posture or a way of breathing but it is a state of mind. And meditation practices help us to lay bare this specific state of mind.
Let's first look at how meditation practices are essential to the system of Reiki.
Mikao Usui taught meditation practices which focus on the hara/tanden just below the navel; they are joshin kokyu ho, seishin toitsu and hatsurei-ho. Utilizing breath and visualization, these practices help us to have a direct experience of a meditative state of mind.
In her diary, Mrs. Takata wrote about the importance of meditation practices within the system of Reiki. Here is a diary excerpt from Dec 10th 1935:
Meaning of “Reiki” Energy within oneself, when concentrated and applied to patient, will cure all ailments - it is nature’s greatest cure, which requires no drugs. It helps in all respects, human and animal life. In order to concentrate, one must purify one’s thoughts in words and in thoughts and to meditate to let the “energy” come out from within. It lies in the bottom of the stomach about 2 inches below the navel. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, concentrate on your thoughts and relax...
Here she is clearly pointing out that to let the true "energy" [Reiki] come out from within, we need to meditate.
But joshin kokyu ho, seishin toitsu and hatsurei-ho are not the only practices we can use as meditation. Mikao Usui also taught meditation practices with the symbols and mantra. By resting and concentrating our mind on the symbols, we can reach a state of mind of meditation. By chanting the mantras, which include deep breathing into the hara/tanden, we also purify our thoughts. Through this, we again can reach a state of mind of meditation.
The precepts are also a meditation practice. Writing this at the end of the precepts, Mikao Usui clearly instructed us to meditate:
心 に 念じ
kokoro ni nenji
Heart to pray silently
口 に 唱へ よ
kuchi ni tonae yo
mouth at chant do
In other words, he says, "Bear deeply in your heart/mind and chant these words with your mouth."
To chant the precepts with our mouth means that we have to chant them out loud. To do this, we have to breathe deeply into the hara/tanden so that the sound of the chanting can resonate through our whole being. By chanting the precepts, we also concentrate our mind, and the vibration of the chanting will help us to purify our thoughts. All of this shows that chanting the precepts is a meditation practice, which again takes us back to Mrs. Takata's instructions as well.
Mikao Usui wrote in the precepts Kokoro ni nenji which also means; deeply bearing in the heart/mind. When we bear the precepts deeply in our heart/mind, we have a state of mind of meditation. It is a state of mind in which we do not anger and worry, in which we are grateful for whatever comes our way, in which we are true to our way and our being, and in which we can be compassionate to ourselves and others. We can bring this state of mind of meditation with us in all we do: walking, shopping, hands on/off healing, you name it...we can infuse our daily life with this state of mind of meditation.
Thus, as we can see, Mikao Usui's system is a system based on meditation practices which help us to lay bare the state of mind of meditation. And this state of mind of meditation is none other than the embodiment of the precepts. With the precepts as the foundation of the system of Reiki - words to live by - and as meditations themselves - a state of mind, principles to embody - we come full circle.