The word 'Reiki' is often translated as 'universal life energy'. However the word 'Reiki' has also come to refer not only to this energy, but also to the way or system of practising.
All Reiki ways of practice begin with the founder of this healing art: Mikao Usui. He offered Reiki healing to beggars in Kyoto, but discovered that some of them became sick again. This led to one of the first understandings about the Reiki way: that the healing of the mind, emotions and spirit are important for lasting healing. So Usui developed the Reiki principles, to remind us to pay attention to our non-physical aspects. These principles have also become part of the Reiki way.
An essential part of the Reiki way Usui developed subsequently was the initiations (or attunements) by which the connection to the Reiki energy and way can be given by one person to another.
The next person in my lineage (line of teachers) is Chujiro Hayashi who developed a sequence of hand positions that offer a comprehensive treatment. His successor Hawayo Takata brought this teaching out of Japan, creating another aspect of the Reiki way: that it is available to anyone who wants to learn. She gave us her interpretation (rather than translation) of Usui's meaning and intention behind the Reiki Principles.
After Takata's death, the Reiki way evolved further: some chose to maintain unaltered the system she had taught, others made changes such as re- translating the Reiki Principles. One thing that remains common to most Reiki systems, however, is an understanding that Reiki practice is guided by spiritual principles.
In all Reiki ways people's hands are used to apply the energy of Reiki to the recipient (unless the practitioner has no hands in which case the feet can be used). Frequently, including the Reiki system as Takata taught it, the healing is delivered through touch - although it can also be given with hands off the body for particular circumstances. In other Reiki systems the treatment is given without touching the body.
There is no right or wrong Reiki system: each one has a particular quality. It seems that Reiki wants to connect with as many of us as possible, so is available in a variety of flavours that can meet the wide range of people's attitudes and beliefs! My personal taste is for simple Reiki practice, honouring tradition (like a Sunday Roast!). Others may like their Reiki flavour to have added spice, such as the Indian chakra system, angels or crystals. If it were not for the appeal of different Reiki systems, Reiki might be ignored by people who can benefit from it.
The Reiki way common to most (if not all) Reiki systems is the intention to live healthier lives through natural healing. People who come together to share Reiki, often notice a feeling of connection that goes beyond our differences. Perhaps this is because we are caring people, wanting to live better lives, to help others and to see more healing in the world.
So the word Reiki refers not only to the energy but also the way that it's practiced. When you are deciding who to receive a treatment from or learn Reiki with it's important to find the right flavour for you: a way you feel inspired by, so that Reiki (the energy) can support you in living a long happy and healthy life!
Article written by Kate Jones - Ludlow
My Reiki journey began when I first received Reiki in 1987 after spraining my ankle. Later that year I learned more about Reiki's healing potential when I received treatment after a sudden bereavement. Having experienced how much it could help, I learned Reiki in 1989 and have been... [read more]