What is Reiki
Usui Reiki (pronounced RAY – KEE) is a traditional energy healing system that harmonises and balances energy enabling natural healing to take place. Reiki means Rei - Universal Life Force Ki - energy.
Reiki is a Complimentary and Alternative Medicine practice known as Energy Medicine (NCCAM).
Healing energy is available to us all. Reiki works on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies healing dis-ease and enhancing health and wellbeing. The energy is grounding and protecting, brings love and compassion, breaks down blocks and enhances a person’s true self and natural ability to heal.
Research evidence shows the benefits of Reiki to include: pain relief, anxiety/stress reduction, greater sense of wellbeing, improved sleep, improved psychological functioning, calming/relaxation of the autonomic nervous system, improved ability to cope and quality of life. (click to link to Reiki Research)
The Reiki Principles (The Gokai)
The Reiki Principles or precepts are given by Mikao Usui (the founder of Usui Traditional Reiki) as spiritual guidelines. The principles were originally outlined by the Japanese Meiji Emperor (1852 – 1912) during his rule of Japan and were adopted by Usui for his Reiki students. They were chanted along with the Emperors poems as a philosophy for life and guides to greater awareness.
It is said that the Principles form the foundation and are core to the Reiki system and practice along with the three pillars of Reiki; Gassho meditation, Reiji Ho (inviting the energy) and Chiryo (treatment). (Spirit of Reiki)
Western translations from original documents in Usui Sensi’s handwriting translate as:
The secret method of inviting happiness
The wonderful medicine for all diseases (of the mind, body and soul)
Just for today do not anger
do not worry
be filled with gratitude
work hard (on yourself)
Be kind to people (living things)
Every morning and evening, join your hands in prayer in gassho position and repeat these words out loud and in your heart
Usui Reiki Treatment for the improvement of body, mind and soul
The Founder Mikao Usui
The principles are keys to awareness, strategies for living. There are various translations and interpretations of their meaning and application yet they are common and of core value across most spiritual practices, religions and ethics. Being present/awake, anger, worry, gratitude, work and kindness.
The best way to get a clear understanding is to work with them, taking notice of how you respond to them. Using them daily as suggested by Usui and meditating on the principles makes Reiki a way of life and is calming and strengthening.
Understanding the Principles
The principles begin with ‘Just for Today’. This concept is about being in the moment, this moment being all we have. Each principle is given in the present for us to practice in the now, asking us to pay attention to what it is that we feel and notice and to have awareness. To live well just for today, not trapped in yesterday or tomorrow, respecting the now. To be awake. When we do something ‘one day at a time’ it becomes a more manageable task and we are more likely to succeed.
The first two principles, do not anger and do not worry draw our attention to our emotions. When anger and worry come, what do we do with them? Where do they come from? The principles challenge us to acknowledge and accept our emotions, to not react or deny, and challenges us in where our emotions come from, our need to control and our ego, bringing us to move with the flow of life.
The third principle, be grateful, reminds us to acknowledge all that we have, of our connection to the divine in ourselves and all things and to feel into our hearts, to ‘count our blessings’. It is also often interpreted as to honour your elders and teachers. To value and respect the wisdom of experience and the lessons and life lessons that are brought to us by others, however uncomfortable or whatever challenges that may bring us in the moment as a part of our journey.
Just for Today Work hard. To do each thing we do to the best of our ability, with full presence, with honest effort and commitment. Also to bring our attention to the things that matter, to work hard on ourselves, our spiritual progress, our purpose, to be the best we can be, to be awake.
And finally, to be kind to all living things, including ourselves. To love and respect the divine in all. To awaken to our sense of belonging and interconnectedness. Each principles can be seen to lead to this one, to cultivate an attitude and practice of loving kindness and compassion.
The principles give us a path, a framework for happiness, for strength and confidence to deal with life’s challenges and to awaken to who it is that we are.
To do this we need to practice, to be still, to quiet the mind, to take the principles into our mind body and spirit.
‘Learn to touch the silence within yourself and know that everything in life has a purpose’ Elizabeth Kulber- Ross
Reiki - Usui tradition of natural healing
Usui Reiki as a healing art was discovered in the late 1800/early 1900’s in Japan by Mikao Usui. There are many accounts of the history of Reiki and the path Usui took in discovering and developing the healing system. Much research has also been undertaken to identify truth from myth.
What appears to be common is that Usui was born in Japan in 1865. He studied working with ki (life force energy) for healing and traveled extensively in Japan, China and Europe in pursuit of knowledge and understanding in healing practice, medicine and spiritual development.
Usui sought to understand how healing energy could be used to help others heal in a way that did not drain or deplete ones own energy and could be provided without the need to firstly build up a supply of healing energy.
At some point in his life he became a Buddhist monk and lived in meditation, devotional practice and training. During this time, in 1922, he took a 21 day retreat to Mt Kurama in Japan. Towards the end of his retreat he had an enlightenment experience in the form of a great spiritual light entering through the top of his head, an attunement to a great energy expanding his awareness and understanding of how to enable healing in others.
Following this he used Reiki for his own development and with others and began the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (Usui Reiki Healing Society) and a clinic in Tokyo providing Reiki treatments and teaching. Usui wanted Reiki healing to be available to all.
He trained 16 teachers during his lifetime including Chujiro Hayashi who later opened a Reiki clinic in Japan. One of the people Hayashi taught was Hawayo Taskata.
Hawawyo Takata is responsible for bringing Reiki to the Western world from Japan, to Hawaii to the U.S. She is also responsible for the most frequently told history of Reiki (including some facts that have been unsubstantiated) and for adding to the structure and requirements for teaching. Hawayo Takata taught and initiated 22 Reiki Masters before her death in 1980.
Usui Reiki is taught with a clear lineage showing Reiki energy and teachings have been passed from teacher to student through an attunement process leading back to Mikao Usui.
Since this time Reiki has progressed greatly and in the Western world has evolved in many ways. Many different styles of Reiki and treatment structures have developed bringing a range of healing methods.
Anyone can learn to use Reiki and receive healing energy through treatment or teachings. So fulfilling Usui’s intention of Reiki being available to all and providing much needed healing for the world.
(The full Reiki story, research findings and adaptations of teaching methods are widely available in books and on the internet. Links coming soon.)