Back in March in my posting Self Nurturing- More About Reiki I shared a few of the opening segments of my Simple Handbook about Reiki. In todays posting I would like to share a couple more of the segments. These specifically include a short outline of the history of Reiki and some information about Reiki today.
“THE HISTORY OF REIKI
If we want to go back to the true origins of Reiki, or healing touch, we should delve far back into history. There exist ancient Greek bass-relief wall sculptures that picture people practicing hands-on healing. Jesus Christ touched and healed during His three years of public ministry. And in ancient Tibet the Lamas (priests or monks) would meditate on healing symbols.
Coming forward to more modern times we have the history of what I choose to call the “rediscovery or resurgence of Reiki”. Dr. Mikao Usui (1862-1926) a Japanese gentleman is credited with this rebirth into Reiki. Although he was not a doctor by modern definition, he was given the title “Dr.” because he dedicated his life to healing.
Dr, Usui was married and had one child, and it is known that his business efforts created debt and disappointment. In an attempt to find peace of mind and heart Dr. Usui took a spiritual path in search of something greater. He regularly practiced meditation and in 1921 his dedicated spiritual search led him to make a 21-day retreat at Mt. Kumara.
It is said that during this retreat Dr. Usui experienced satori, a state of enlightenment. It was during this satori that he received the sacred symbols that are used in Reiki today. He was also given instructions on how to use them and encouraged to pass them on. During the rest of his life it is estimated that Dr. Usui taught Reiki to over 2,000 people and attuned a number of Reiki Masters/Teachers.
Reiki was introduced into the United States by Mrs.Takata who travelled from Hawaii to a Reiki clinic in Japan for physical healing. She had such a profound healing experience that she asked one of the Reiki Masters to teach her the healing art of Reiki. She was attuned as a Master in 1938 by Dr. Chiyiro Hayashi, returning to Hawaii shortly after and eventually bringing Reiki to America in the 1950’s.
Modern-day Reiki came out of Japan at a time when relations between America and Japan were strained to say the least. It is thought that Mrs. Takata was concerned that mainly Christian Americans would disdain/not believe in Reiki. Therefore many people think that Mrs. Takata created the story of Dr. Usui being Dean of a Christian University in Japan so that Reiki would be more acceptable to Americans.
Mrs. Takata was also said to be very concerned that Westerners would not respect and honor the discipline of Reiki as a great spiritual gift that should not be taken for granted. She realized that in the American culture if something did not have a price, it probably would not have a value. Mrs. Takata decided therefore to charge $10,000 to become a Reiki Master, $175 for Reiki I attunement, and $500 for Reiki II attunement. This created the understanding that Reiki is highly prized and valuable, and would also ensure that only those very serious about Reiki and its proper use would choose to pay that much.
Some Reiki Masters continue this tradition to today. However, most Reiki Masters/Teachers charge a much lower rate more in keeping with the everyday person’s financial possibility.
Reiki has branched into many different directions today and is taught in many different ways. I think the only caution that I would place before anyone wishing to be taught Reiki is to be wary of anyone who offers the student to go from zero to Master in a very short space of time. As the student learns about Reiki there has to be time to practice Reiki, to respect the Reiki energy, to become familiar with working with it before going to the next level. Most important of all there has to be time to cultivate great humility.
Why humility? As mentioned earlier in this Handbook, Reiki is a universal life energy or God energy. It is present and available to everyone who wishes to tap into it. A Reiki practitioner is someone who knows or intuits that they have a connection to energy, a propensity to work with the energy. That is usually why someone learns to do Reiki and is willing to become a channel for the energy to reach others in a healing process.
However, during a Reiki treatment the practitioner does not actually“do” anything. He or she is not the healer. The practitioner is someone who has chosen to make themselves available as a conduit that a Higher Source/God may use to channel the energy through to the person seeking healing. Ego needs to stay out of the way. This is another reason for living by the Reiki principles; so that we may work at being the purest channel we can become for the energy to flow through.
When looking for a Reiki Master/Teacher I think it is important to find someone who obviously lives out these Reiki principles in their daily lives. Some other qualities to look for would be sincerity, genuineness, respect in their interactions with others, and of course humility (not to be confused with submissiveness). And, obviously, it needs to be a person with whom you feel in tune, that you can relate to.
There are, unfortunately, some people who seek to become “experts”in any discipline via “weekend warrior” courses. One example that speaks to this with which I am familiar relates to Yoga. I know that a true Yoga teacher is someone who has immersed him- or herself into the practice and discipline of Yoga for several years. Only then does the individual have the necessary knowledge and experience of Yoga to be able to receive training as a teacher.
However, I know that some people have “jumped on the bandwagon” because of the explosive interest in Yoga in the last ten to fifteen years. I have had experience of people who teach aerobic classes in a gymnasium, for instance, who go off and do a “Yoga Teacher Weekend” and come away as “certified Yoga teachers”. This is usually tied up with money-making and greed (on the part of the people offering these weekend certifications), and is influenced by the “supply and demand”category of our Western culture.
Sadly this has also happened in the world of Reiki. The best advice I can offer is to talk at length with someone you are considering working with as your Reiki Master. Be alert and open to your own intuition. If you are on a focused, dedicated spiritual path your intuition will not deceive you. Sincerity, genuineness, respect, and humility will shine through a person who is on their own path of truth. And of course a positive recommendation from someone who you trust is always a plus.”
If you are seeking or questing on the spiritual highway of life, I hope you find these simple explanations about Reiki useful. Working with the energy is a beautiful experience and is also a gift and a privilege.
I love working with the energy. Whether you acknowledge it as the “universal” energy or the “God” energy (which are really one and the same!), it is truly wondrous to be part of someone’s process as they open themselves to receive healing energy.
As I have already mentioned in a previous posting, Self Nurturing- Reiki, I am a Reiki Master Third Degree or Level III. This means that I am certified not only to practice Reiki but also to teach other people about Reiki and to attune them to the different Reiki Levels I, II, and III.
I have had some wonderful Reiki Teachers/Masters along my Reiki path, Pio, Marta, and Amy, and each has gifted me with something precious and unique. In order to develop my own practice and understanding of Reiki and to better help myself to teach and impart the principles of Reiki to my students, I have written my own basic Reiki text.
There is so much information about Reiki “floating around out there”, and so much has been added to the basic steps that Dr. Mikao Usui laid down, that I find a great deal of “complication” in many texts. My personal opinion is that Dr. Usui received very simple instructions through visions about modern day Reiki.
I know that my first Master, Marta Getty, who attuned me to first and second Degrees, added no frills to the basic concepts taught by Dr. Usui. I would like to share with you some of my writing about Reiki.
REIKI: A Definition
– Reiki, pronounced “ray-key” comes from the Japanese language
– Rei, is the Japanese word for universal, spirit, and gift
– Ki, is the Japanese word for the life force energy which flows through everything
Reiki is a profound yet very simple system of healing. The Reiki practitioner places his/her hands upon the person receiving the treatment thus facilitating the flow of the universal life energy. Some Christian Reiki practitioners call this energy the “God Energy”.
BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT REIKI
Reiki Levels: There are three levels or degrees of Reiki. Reiki I, Reiki II, and Reiki Master/Teacher. Some schools of thought on Reiki like to make a separation between Master and Teacher thus creating a fourth level.
Attunements: The attunement process for each level is what awakens the student to the energy of Reiki and helps to open the energy channels within each student, thereby facilitating the flow of the energy.
Symbols: There are four Reiki symbols. 1) the empowering symbol/physical healing symbol; the mental/emotional symbol; the long distance healing symbol; the master/teacher attunement symbol.
Hands-On & Distance Healing: Hands-on healing is demonstrated during training at the Reiki I level and this is the basis for all levels of Reiki. During the Reiki II training students learn how to effect distance healing.
THE FIVE PRINCIPLES OF REIKI
- Just for today do not worry
- Just for today do not anger
- Honor your parents, teachers, and elders
- Earn your living honestly
- Show gratitude to everything
All Reiki practitioners are encouraged to commit to and live by these principles every day of their lives. (I have made them a part of my morning meditation and quiet time.)
Worry consumes a lot of energy that could be put to better use. Worry is perceived as a stressor by our brain which sends messages through the nervous and hormonal systems to get our body into “fight or flight” mode. This causes unnecessary wear and tear on the body and leads to illness.
Anger is as destructive to the mind and body as worry. Anger, in and of itself, is not bad. It lets us know that things are not right. It’s how we react to anger that can be the killer – literally. Many violent crimes are the direct result of anger, and serious illnesses can be caused by living in a state of anger.
To honor and to be kind implies being non-judgmental and allowing the other person the space to be and become all that they can be. This allows us to develop compassion for others which, in turn, allows us the space to have more compassion for ourselves.
Whether working hard to earn our living or to deepen our spiritual practice we will increase our self esteem and sense of personal dignity. Living honestly also offers us a path to personal truth and leads us to inner peace and happiness.
When living in a state of gratitude ego is “kicked to the curb”. Gratitude encourages us to look at our blessings rather than our lack, which in turn leads us to live in a positive state rather than a negative one. Gratitude also helps us to cultivate the quality of humility
I will share more writing from my Handbook in some further posts.
I am a firm believer in alternative therapies, especially when it comes to maintaining general health and well-being on all levels. The levels that I refer to are the physical, the mental, the emotional, and the spiritual. If I do not take care of myself on all these levels then I find myself “out of sync” or “off kilter”. Two of My favorite therapies are massage and Reiki. I came to Reiki by way of massage and chose to study this unique and gentle therapy because my massage teacher said I was “predisposed to energy work”. Today I am a Reiki Master. Most people know something about massage, but not very many people know abut Reiki, so let me try and explain it a little.
The word is pronounced “ray-key” and translated from Japanese, Reiki literally means universal life energy. This is a specific frequency of energy that exists everywhere. Its frequency balances all other energies it encounters. It is generated by all forms of life and has been given many names including “chi” and “prana”. Even modern-day scientists acknowledge the fact that everyone, every creature, everything is made up of energy; it’s just slowed down enough to become solid matter.
Today when we use the term “Reiki” we are implying a system of natural healing that uses this universal life energy as a healing tool. The actual techniques applied are more properly called the Usai System of Natural Healing , so named after the modern-day founder of the system, Dr. Mikao Usai. Reiki as it is currently practiced is over 150 years old, but its actual origins date back over 2,500 years.
The beauty of Reiki is that it does not conflict with any other therapy nor does it interfere with medicine. Rather it enhances everything it touches. Because Reiki can be used in every situation it can augment any standard medical course of therapy by encouraging and quickening the body’s own healing ability. Reiki can help find clarity in mental processes and can add calm to emotional situations. Reiki can help ease pain and discomfort. It is also an incredibly effective stress management tool. Even in terminal cases, Reiki can help to comfort those in transition.
So what can you expect to experience during a Reiki treatment? Well each session is completely unique because we are all unique beings. The modality of the session as I was taught is very simple. The person receiving Reiki will lie on his back with arms at his sides in a totally relaxed state. His body will be well supported. There is no need to be undressed. The Reiki Practitioner will then lay hands very gently in specific positions on the body. Some Practitioners do not touch the person, preferring to place the hands inches above the body. My personal opinion is that the gentle touch is very much a part of the person’s healing experience. The normal method is to start with the face and head area then move slowly down the body to the feet. The Practitioner will then ask the person to turn over and will then continue the hand positions down the back of the body.
The sensations that you may feel will change as the Practitioner’s hands move over the body. The most common sensation is a warm gentle glow that is very soothing. Many people talk of finding themselves “floating” or “on another plain”. Some people experience extreme heat coming from the Practitioner’s hands, and yet others experience a type of throbbing sensation. Many people do experience some very specific and strong healing during or within twenty four hours after a Reiki session.
The Master who taught me Reiki made it very clear to all of her students that we were not “doing anything”. We had been attuned, which means our energy channels had been opened, and we were simply offering ourselves as willing and clean conduits for the universal life energy to flow. Ego has nothing to do with Reiki and will in fact interfere with the flow. So for me, a professed Christian, this energy is God’s energy and trying to manipulate it or pretending that I have any say in the matter is rather like saying I know better than God! In preparation for a Reiki session I clear my heart and my mind of self and I enter into the session with no intentions or purposes. If the person receiving wishes to have a special thought or intention for what they would like to receive during the session that is fine.
You see Reiki energy is smart because the universe is a very smart place, and I think God is quite smart too!! The energy flows and knows where to go and what to do once it gets there because God is directing it. The exact amount of energy that is needed for the recipient is drawn through the Practitioner. All this happens without direct conscious intervention by the Practitioner. He or she is just making themselves available to do God’s work. Under these circumstances healing has a different meaning from the widely accepted meaning which seems to be “curing of all symptoms”. Healing in Reiki is simply meant as the return to greater wholeness. Receiving Reiki is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give to yourself.