You may know someone who has taken a Reiki class, have heard the word Reiki, or have been to see a Reiki healer. What exactly is Reiki? It is, equally, a form of physical and spiritual healing. Reiki is not a religion but rather a spiritual connection with self and the world around us. Reiki is a balancing of energy (chi) within the body at the various chakra points and along the kundalini. Chakras are centers of energy and power in the body. They align from the root of our body to our crown. Most people first hear about chakras in a yoga class. Each of the seven chakras represent a different energy, emotion, and physical aspect of the body. When one chakra becomes unbalanced, the rest of the body can be affected, so balance within the entire system is important. Kundalini is the spiritual energy within you. When activated, a person becomes more conscious, inspired, and energetically powerful.
Reiki’s teaching is attributed to Dr. Mikao Usui, even though the ideas behind them are quite ancient . Dr. Usui was a man who sought answers about the miracle of healing. He trained as a Christian minister, and as a Buddist monk. Additionally, Dr. Usui learned several languages so that he could read ancient texts, including Sanskrit (a very ancient language) so that he could read the Tibetan Buddhistic writings, all in the quest to discover these answers. When he thought he might have the answers he sought but was unsure of their veracity, he told a monk who directed him to meditate on Mount Kuri Yama near Kyoto, Japan. Dr. Usui was to stay there twenty-one days in meditation and fasting. He asked for enlightenment and confirmation of his findings. On the last day his third eye was opened and he was given the symbols of healing. On his way down the mountain, heading back to Kyoto, Dr. Usui had the opportunity to practice healing with the symbols, and with amazing results. He would continue to heal many people of all ages and backgrounds. Eventually, he took on students to carry out his work and to pass on the five Spiritual Principles whose essence says that the heart is the doorway of love (for self and the Divine). One of his students, Dr. Hayashi, opened the first Reiki clinic in Tokyo. Dr. Hayashi trained Hawaya Takata of Hawaii and a Japanese woman. The latter continued his work in Japan while Ms. Takata trained students in the United States.
Granddaughter of Ms. Takata and Grand Master of the Reiki Alliance, Phyllis Furumoto said, “So often it seems that many Reiki Masters and practitioners are overly sensitive to things like lineage, certificates, and membership in the “right” organizations. The important thing is, Do you know within yourself that you are connected to Reiki? If you do, then nothing else matters.” There are many organizations, schools, and teachers of Reiki. I have met those who are dismissive if you aren’t trained by a certain group or have twenty plus Reiki signs, and others who radiate an energy that welcomes all. As a Reiki Master/Teacher, if I receive a student who has studied elsewhere, I like to know whom they studied with and what they know. That is polite and respectful to those teachers. From there I teach the guidelines by which learning from me will progress. Finding the teacher that is right for you is important. Ask about their training, years of experience, expectations, and how long the training program will take. While a student can be initiated in all three levels in a weekend, I don’t think this is an ideal situation. It doesn’t give you time to assimilate the energy or your own journey into this practice, and you really don’t have time to practice and ask questions of your teacher as you go forward. Again, look for a teacher who is upfront, willing to answer your questions, and with whom you feel comfortable.
I do not have twenty plus Reiki signs that I use. Not because I don’t believe in them but because, for me, I like simplicity. I feel that if you really know a few signs, then how you use them to restore energy and healing opens a multitude of options. These signs are symbolic hand motions that are drawn over an area of healing. Just as words, used frequently, can have power, so it goes with these symbolic signs. As students become attuned in each level of Reiki, they learn a new sign, its meaning, and how to use it. It is the attunement that is the Reiki. Your body is opened energetically so that the energy flows freely. As you do more energetic healing, you will become increasingly sensitive to the energy around you. It is important to learn how to manage this. A responsible teacher will work with you on techniques. Reiki One is about your personal healing. A student will be attuned between two and four times over a 4-6 week period as well as learn the symbol for physical healing. Anyone can be attuned to Reiki one, even children. Some people are content to simply be attuned to Reiki One. It brings them balance and a feeling of self empowerment. Those who move on to Reiki Two will be working on healing the emotional, mental, and karmic energies. This is a stage that involves the hard work of resolving personal past issues. This stage can take up to six months and involve a great deal of learning from the teacher. Reiki Three is the master and teacher level. You can become a master without becoming a teacher. This is about healing the spiritual (not religious) part of an individual. How long this stage takes depends upon the work of the student and the additional information the teacher has to present. When you pay for your attunements, you are receiving the time and talents of your teacher. You may have three Reiki Masters with similar backgrounds but who charge differently. Do your homework before you choose a teacher.
If you wish to receive Reiki healing, the best way to find someone is through word of mouth. Many of my clients have been referred to me by their friends and colleagues. I am always grateful for this. If you don’t know of anyone, but take a yoga or similar class, ask your teacher. I am sure that you will get a referral. Upon first meeting a client, I like to gather some general information and also ask about past Reiki experiences and why they are visiting me that day. If someone is experiencing Reiki for the first time, I explain further. Reiki can be done laying down (preferred)on a table or while seated. In both cases, fully clothed. I do not put my hands on a person, ever, without permission to do so. I start at the head and let my energetic field meld with the client’s. I take as much time as is needed for the client to feel comfortable. This is also when I check where the imbalances are located in the body. The client is welcome to talk and/or ask questions at any time during the session. Occasionally I will ask a question when I am uncertain about an energy I might be detecting, or I might point out something that I notice. In general, a session will last about 45 minutes with about 10 minutes for the client to feel grounded and ask further questions. Payment takes place at the end of the session. I am often asked how often one should receive Reiki. That is an individual choice. I have had weekly, bi monthly, and monthly clients. Reiki can also be done on children (with parents present), land, and animals. I have had clients in all three areas.
I love doing energy work. I feel connected to the universe around me and I love to help people. In the process, I become more attuned to the energies around me. Like shamanic practices, Reiki practices come with responsibilities. It is important to work on oneself regularly. Practicing clean, responsible energetic practices includes giving Reiki with permission only, and making sure my energy is balanced and clear before working on others. Reiki is a beautiful way to bring balance to ourselves, others, and the world around us. I hope you have a chance to experience this healing.
Barbara Aspland-Wolf, Reiki Master/Teacher, Garden Gate Herbals
The Art of Psychic Reiki, by Lisa Campion
The Hayashi Reiki Manual, by F.A. Petter, T. Yamaguchi, C. Hayashi
Reiki A Comprehensive Guide, by Pamela Miles
The Essential Guide to Chakras, by Swami Saradananda