Author: Taggart King, Reiki Evolution
If you are wondering what Reiki is all about, here would be a good place to start.
Imagine that you have gone along to a Natural Healing Exhibition and you are going to sit in on a talk about Reiki. You will find out what Reiki is and where it comes from. You will discover what it is like to give and receive a treatment. You will hear about the effects of Reiki treatments and come to understand how being attuned to Reiki can change your life.
So, get yourself comfortable in your chair, and let’s listen in on the talk.
Welcome to an introductory talk about Reiki
Hello and welcome to an introductory talk about Reiki. My name is Taggart King, from Reiki Evolution, and I am a Reiki Master, which just means that I can teach Reiki. Over the next half an hour or so, we are going to be talking about lots of different things to do with the ‘Usui system of Natural healing’, as Reiki is also known. Reiki has the potential to bring some wonderful changes to you and the people around you, so if anything we say strikes a chord with you, if you can see yourself making Reiki a part of your life, if you feel that this is the right direction for you. then do get in contact with us later and we can maybe take things further.
To start off with, we’ll talk a little bit about what Reiki is and where it comes from. Then we’ll move on to find out what it’s like to give and receive Reiki. We’ll find out what Reiki can do for you whether you have a course of treatments or whether you decide to learn Reiki for yourself. And finally, you can hear all about using Reiki to treat yourself, and Reiki as a spiritual practice.
What is Reiki?
Well, in the way that it is presented in the West, Reiki is a bit like a Japanese version of spiritual healing, though it has completely different origins. A man called Mikao Usui was responsible for developing it, he was a Tendai Buddhist, born in 1865 and died in 1926. Reiki is based on Channelling energy, working with energy. The energy is quite often called chi, which is the energy that underlies oriental medicine, so when you practise acupuncture and you use needles to encourage energy to flow through a person’s meridians, you are working with the same energy that you channel when you practice Reiki. If we think of Tai Chi, the energy cultivation technique, where the various graceful movements that you make serve to build up your body’s personal reserves of energy, you are again talking about the energy that you channel when you practice Reiki. You could call the energy prana, the energy that you work with when you practice yoga, but it’s the same stuff. Now, from the Oriental point of view, chi doesn’t just flow through us, but it surrounds and engulfs us too, so you’ll have heard of feng shui, where you arrange your living environment to allow the better flow of chi through your household. So when you practice Reiki you are connecting to and channelling an external source of chi that flows through you into the person you are treating. And you can also connect to and use the energy for your own personal benefit.
But this isn’t the only way that the energy is viewed. Many people prefer to see the energy as having divine origins, and they see the channelling of Reiki as drawing down divine light or divine love. This ties in more with the point of view of conventional spiritual healers, who draw down divine light. And because Reiki is not attached to or allied to any particular religious belief, it should be acceptable to all people whether they have no religious beliefs or very strongly held beliefs.
So is Reiki chi, or is it divine light. well it seems to be a bit of both: Reiki is spiritual chi.
Where does Reiki come from?
A Japanese-American lady called Hawayo Takata introduced Reiki to the West in the 1930s. And when she started teaching it, it was probably the worst time in human history to be teaching a Japanese healing technique in America, with thoughts of Pearl Harbour still fresh in everyone’s minds, and the population generally hating and despising anything to do with Japan. Along comes Mrs Takata to teach Reiki, and so she felt prompted to put together a story about the history of Reiki to make it acceptable to a potentially hostile American public. So out goes Mikao Usui the Tendai Buddhist, and in comes Dr Mikao Usui, Christian theologian, and we were told a story about him travelling the world, studying theology at various universities, to try and find out about the healing powers that Jesus displayed. This was said to culminate with a 21-day period of fasting and meditating on the top of Mount Kurama, near Kyoto, when Usui saw symbols in bubbles of light, and Reiki was born. Unfortunately most of this story is complete fabrication, put together for good reasons no doubt, but we can move on from this story now. The real history of Reiki is a lot more interesting and makes a lot more sense.
Usui’s Reiki is rooted in lots of existing Oriental traditions that were carrying on in Japan in Usui’s time. Reiki draws on Martial arts and energy cultivation techniques, and Usui Sensei was well versed in both these disciplines. Reiki draws on an ancient tradition of Japanese Palm Healing, called teate. It uses empowerments (connection rituals) coming from Tendai Buddhism – a mystical form of Buddhism that’s practiced in Japan – and involves ways of controlling the energy that come from Shintoism, the indigenous religion of Japan. So Reiki isn’t new, though Usui Sensei does seem to have put together different existing traditions in a new way. He does seem to have had some ‘moment of enlightenment’ after a long period of fasting and meditating on Mount Kurama, and this moment of enlightenment does seem to have contributed in some way to the development of Reiki. But he didn’t go up a mountain and come down with Reiki, as we were first told. His various studies and experiences culminated in the development of Reiki, but it was rooted in existing tradition.
Usui also did not develop Reiki in isolation. He was a member of what you might call a group of spiritually advanced people, all of whom were going in different directions but were keeping in contact with each other, swapping ideas, sharing experiences. He was good friends with a man called Ueshiba who developed Aikido, he was in contact with a man called Deguchi who was responsible for developing a new religion called Omoto kyo, there are even connections between Usui and the people who developed the spiritual system called Johrei. So Usui was one of a group of people who were all developing energetic and spiritual methods, which crystallised and as Reiki, a spiritual path / healing technique, as Aikido, a very spiritual and compassionate martial art, and in a new religion based on the use of ancient Shinto mantras.
Whereas Usui’s Reiki was a path to enlightenment, with healing others as a part of what you did along that path, in the West we have been presented with Reiki basically as a treatment technique. This is because of a historical quirk. One of Mikao Usui’s students was a man called Dr Hayashi, a retired surgeon commander from the Imperial navy, a Christian. Dr Hayashi wasn’t so interested in the ‘spiritual path’ side of Reiki, and he concentrated on Reiki as a treatment technique. Dr Hayashi taught Mrs Takata, and Mrs Takata brought Reiki to the West.
It is only in the last few years that Western Reiki people have had a chance to find out what Usui’s original system was all about, so this is a very exciting time to get involved in Reiki! For the first time we now have a chance to follow more the system that Usui set down, rather than the unrepresentative version that came through Dr Hayashi and Mrs Takata. This more traditional way of practicing Reiki is part and parcel of the courses that we run at Reiki Evolution. It ‘fills the gaps’ that there are in Western Reiki.
What is it like to give and receive Reiki?
Well, if we talk about being on the receiving end of a Reiki treatment first, while it can vary a great deal from one person to another in terms of what they feel when they’re having a treatment, you can generalise about the sort of things that most people will notice. The ‘big three’ sensations when receiving Reiki are (1) deep relaxation, (2) heat from the practitioner’s hands, and (3) seeing colours.
Reiki treatments make you relaxed: deeply, deeply relaxed. Most people who receive Reiki end up drifting in and out of consciousness, they lose track of time and sometimes an hour on the treatment table can feel like only 15 minutes. Some people – particularly men – seem to fall asleep completely. It’s very common for people to feel a lot of heat from the practitioner’s hands. It seems that the body can’t feel the energy in a distinctive way, and the best approximation it can come up with is to feel the energy as heat. Another common experience is to see colours against your closed eyelids as you are being treated. Sometimes a random rainbow light show, sometimes colours that change depending on what hand-position is being used. It is quite common to see blue, lilac, violet, purple.
Now those three experiences: deep relaxation, heat from your hands, sometimes seeing colours, seem to be about the limit of men’s experience of Reiki, assuming they can stay awake long enough to notice them! All the more subtle sensations seem to be noticed by women, though of course I am generalising here.
So what’s it like to give a Reiki treatment, then? Well most Reiki people will feel either heat or tingling in their hands as the energy flows; some people feel a bit of both. Some people have heat as their main sensation, and if a lot of energy comes through then they start to feel tingles; some people have tingles as their main sensation and if a lot of energy comes through then they start to feel heat. Tingling isn’t so much like pins & needles, but more of a fine ‘fizzing’ in your hands. There is a whole range of different feelings you can have though: throbbing, pulsing, heaviness, magnetic feelings, coolness, or even a breeze blowing under your hand.
Giving a Reiki treatment is a lovely experience. Particularly if there’s a lot of energy coming through, you can really ‘merge’ with the energy. Your mind empties of its own accord and it turns into a beautiful meditation. And because you’re not giving out your own energy, you aren’t depleted or drained at all at the end of the session. In fact you get some benefit from the Reiki that has come through you, so you’ll feel so calm and content. It’s a lovely experience.
What Can Reiki Do for You?
One thing that Reiki seems to do for most people, whether they’ve come for a course of treatments, or have learned Reiki for themselves, is to produce what I call ‘the Reiki effect’: Reiki helps you to feel more calm, content, serene, it helps you to feel more positive, better able to cope, and you’re not so affected by stressful people and stressful situations. So people might come for a treatment with everything from depression to a pain in their big toe. and they all go away feeling more calm and content, more positive, better able to cope, less stressed. and this effect is also something that you should start to notice once you’ve been attuned to the energy. Not necessarily a great big overnight transformation, but usually something that builds up in you gradually, or perhaps it is something that you start to notice with hindsight. You realise that you are thinking and feeling about things differently, or maybe your family and friends start to comment that you seem to be less stressed, less bothered by things.
If you read books about Reiki, or look up Reiki on the Internet, you’ll keep on reading that ‘Reiki changed my life’, ‘Reiki changed my life’. And the way that Reiki seems to do this is by giving you a sense of clarity. It helps you to cut through all the rubbish that surrounds people’s lives nowadays and focus on the things that are really important to you, your real priorities. and for some people the first stage of that can be to work out what your real priorities actually are. The energy seems to give you a ‘kick up the backside’ and helps you to make some changes if you need to, to get your life more in line with what’s really important to you.
Sometimes the energy can make you dissatisfied for a while. You doubt your job, you doubt your relationships, you look carefully at different areas of your life. and sometimes you may decide that yes, you are happy with that, yes, you are going in a direction that feels right for you, but sometimes you may make some changes, and Reiki seems to give you the strength to do that too.
For a few weeks after being attuned you may have a bit of a rough ride. You may have some emotional ups and downs, up and down like a yo-yo. you may feel dissatisfied with things, you may have some physical symptoms coming to the surface like a cold or some headaches. The energy can get to you all the time, and it is starting to bring things into balance, and part of the process of bringing things into balance involves releasing things: thoughts, emotions, physical things.
Health benefits can come from simply being attuned to the energy, without having had any treatments at all. For example, some people I’ve attuned have found that long-term painful conditions have partially or completely resolved: the pain of scoliosis, plantar fasciitis, long-term back pain. Reiki will gently work on you in the background once you’ve been attuned, and you can increase the beneficial effects by focusing Reiki on yourself in different ways.
In terms of treatments, there’s no proper scientific evidence to back up claims about the effectiveness of Reiki. They haven’t taken a big group of people with arthritis, say, split them into two groups, with half of them being treated by Reiki people, and half of them being treated by ‘pretend’ Reiki people, and comparing the results. There’s nothing like that as far as I can see, so most of the evidence is anecdotal, and as far as Western science is concerned, that isn’t enough. So although anecdotally Reiki has done some amazing and incredible things, even in very serious and life-threatening conditions, there’s very little ‘proper’ scientific evidence to back up such claims.
So when I talk to people about the effects of Reiki, I talk about my personal experience of treating people, and I have found that Reiki has produced some amazing results: with long-term pain, stress, low energy levels, sleeplessness, with emotional blocks and long-term emotional issues. all those unresolved things that we keep well hidden, all that stuff that is grinding away under the surface that we don’t want to deal with. Reiki takes the lid off these things and allows us to release them, and that allows us to move forward. Reiki works on all levels. It deals with physical problems; it works on the mental and emotional levels too. It takes a person as a whole and helps to bring them into balance.
So you can share your Reiki with your family members, you will be able to make a real difference to their lives by treating them, and you will benefit from the treatments that you give too. What a wonderful gift we have in Reiki.
How Do You Learn Reiki?
The strange thing about Reiki is that although you can find out it by reading books, you can’t actually ‘do’ Reiki until you’ve been ‘tuned in’ by a Reiki Master (teacher). The Reiki ‘attunement’ connects you permanently to the source of energy, and once you’re attuned then the ability will never leave you. You don’t have to be a very spiritual person to learn Reiki, you don’t even have to believe in it. You simply need to go on a course and it will work for you. Isn’t that wonderful?
People notice many different things when they are attuned. Some people feel very little; others have profound experiences. But what you notice when being attuned isn’t a guide to how well the attunement has ‘taken’: Reiki works for everyone.
Reiki is taught at different levels: you start with first Degree and then after a while you move on to Second Degree. This can be seen as ‘practitioner’ level. We do not recommend that you take Reiki first and second degree over consecutive days, because we believe that you need to have a chance to put Reiki into practice for a while. You need to do some self-treatments, and you need to get your hands on some real people so that you feel comfortable with treating before you move on to the next level. You also need to give yourself a chance to get to grips with the new energy that you are connected to, and let everything settle down a bit before moving on. Most people nowadays go on to take Second Degree level, and then a few might decide to move on to Mastership.
When you become a Reiki Master, one of the things you learn is how to connect others to Reiki. To be able to pass on Reiki to others is a wonderful gift. And Mastership isn’t a final destination: it’s just the first step on an exciting journey! You can’t become a Master of anything by going on a two-day course, so real Mastery comes through dedication and practice.
Making Reiki Part of Your Life
Once you’ve been attuned to Reiki the ability never leaves you, but how clear a channel you are for the energy depends on how regularly you use it. Reiki isn’t something that you just learn about: Reiki is something that you practice. Now the best way to make sure that you’re going to be a strong channel for Reiki is to carry out energy exercises every day for 10-15 minutes. We teach you energy exercises called Hatsu Rei Ho, which come from Japanese Reiki. As well as doing your daily energy exercises, it is a good idea to treat yourself regularly too. This will again clear your energy channels, and it will increase the beneficial effects that Reiki has on you. Though Reiki works on you slowly and gently in the background all the time,the more you work with it, the more it will work on you.
In its original form Reiki was a path to enlightenment, and this spiritual aspect has never really left Reiki, though it is usually presented to us as a treatment technique. So for many people, Reiki helps to fill that ‘spiritual void’, it can help you to find your true life purpose. It can help you to feel more connected spiritually no matter what your religious beliefs might be. And because Reiki is not attached to any religion, it is not attached to any belief system, then it should not conflict with anyone’s beliefs.
To finish our talk, I want to share with you a few simple ‘life principles’ that Mikao Usui recommended his students follow, and for me these principles encapsulate some of the beneficial changes that Reiki can bring to you. These are his ‘precepts’:
- Just for today do not anger,
- Just for today do not worry,
- Be humble,
- Be honest in your dealings with people,
- Be compassionate towards yourself and others.
Reiki has the potential to make a wonderful difference to you and the people you care about, it can fill the spiritual void that so many people feel nowadays, and it helps to bring things into balance on all levels. If anything I have said feels right for you, if you like the sound of what you have heard, if you can see yourself learning a simple and powerful energy technique, then let us know and we can have a chat about it. You won’t regret it! Thank you very much for your time.
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