The symbol or Kanji that we are used to seeing with Reiki is from the Japanese Kanji used in the written language of Japan. Rei- spiritual wisdom and Ki- life energy.
This representation is actually two kanji. Rei is the upper character and is comprised of three sections. The upper section portrays clouds and the heavens which represents the higher levels of consciousness that is beyond ego. Some call it the Universal Force, the Source, or God.
The lower section represents the earth and portrays layers of soil and stone.
The middle section (the three rounded squares) symbolizes the three aspects of the human being, the body, mind and spirit. It also represents the healer who is located between the heaven and earth and acts as a bridge between the two realms.
Ki is vital life energy that flows around and through all living things.
When Ki (or Chi in China) is low we are more vulnerable to illness of body and mind. This life energy has an important role in everything we do and express in our life on earth. Unlike many other cultures of the world, our western culture has no word for this wonderful life energy, therefore it is poorly understood and minimally researched.