What is Reiki?

The Japanese Healing Art of Reiki was developed by Mikao Usui in Japan in the late 1800s. Mikao Usui, a devout Buddhist, developed Reiki in his desire to understand methods of healing and medicine and to apply that knowledge.

In Japanese, “Reiki” is the word for the concept of “Universal Life Energy”. The initial stages of Reiki may be achieved by any person regardless of their personal spiritual believings or philosophy. The initial stages of Reiki include a sort of “re-awakening”, kind of re-opening of stronger healing capabilities that lie within all of us.

In Reiki, healing energy will flow into our bodies, into ourselves, We will then act as vehicles for this energy so it can be passed on to other individuals through our hands. It will become a natural process to touch somebody and let the healing energy flow when a person is in pain so this pain can be relieved. Reiki treatments restore harmony and balance in persons and bring about a great sense of wellbeing.

Clients remain fully dressed when they receive Reiki treatments. Reiki treatments go through most materials including plaster casts. Individuals treated with Reiki are not “healed” by Reiki practitioners. Their healing stems from “universal life forces” that flow through practitioners. Persons giving Reiki treatment are not drained at all of their personal energy but are, actually, replenished in throughout the entire process. Reiki will protect practitioners from taking on any pain or dysfunction of the persons they treat.

Reiki is able to relieve acute problems and pain quite rapidly, though chronic illnesses may require a number of treatments to show effect, depending on a disease’s specific nature. We know that physical manifestations usually also become apparent on the mental, emotional, and spiritual level. Reiki is honoring the ecology persons as it works on all these important levels as well. Reiki treatment goes beyond the physical symptoms and treats the root causes of diseases. Treat merely the symptoms will not be effective for illnesses’ basic causes.

Mikao Usui and the history of Reiki

Mikao Usui, a devout Buddhist believer and practitioner, had become familiar with western and oriental healing methods. He combined this wisdom with traditional elements to establish what we now refer to as “Reiki”. Usui was following his family’s spiritual traditions (they were Tendai), but it wasn’t long before he also was influenced by different curing methods as he was looking for more intense healing practices.

He found this pathway through the support of a leading Shingon Priest who understood his pursuit and was very supportive. Researching the mysteries and Esoteric doctrines of the Shingon sect, however, led to a rift between Usui and his family. Changing “sects” went against Japanese family traditions and the family’s ancestors. Despite these controversies, Usai eventually became a follower and disciple of Shingon.

Usui’s “empowerment” arose while practicing in alignment with the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas on which he focused. He gained “realized”, or complete, understanding after which he continued to develop and refine that system into a spiritual and healing practice. Part of that is included in what today is known as “Reiki”. Usui is believed to have educated and instructed many laypersons in his system, though he didn’t teach the more “esoteric” form which was only available to those desiring to gain a much deeper understanding of healing and who committed to a deeper understanding of the “path”.

Usui taught some prominent individuals and one that we, in the west, know is Dr. Chujiro Hayashi. In fact, the Hayashi teaching method reached us in the west through the efforts of Mrs. Hawayo Takata, a Japanese-American woman who was born in who is well-known for introducing Reiki spiritual practices to our Western World. This is not the only education line and it definitely not the only original information source utilized by Usui, but it is an important one.

Most probably, the deeper teachings of Mikao Usui were passed on in the following sequence:

1. Mr. Jusaburo Ushida
2. Mr. Iichi Taketomi
3. Mr. Yoshiharu Watanabe
4. Mr. Toyoichi Wanami
5. Mrs. Kimiko Koyama
6. Mr. Masaki Kondoh
These persons are the keepers of the Japanese Mikao Usui flame. They are the Original Reiki Society Usui Kai.

The first Reiki levels (these are the levels that we, in the west are familiar with) comprise of the levels for Reiki practitioners of all faiths or creeds. They have become known as Reiki 1, Reiki 2, and Reiki Mastery. Usui understood that this energy level was capable of calm and assisting a body’s natural process of healing. This was actually a more simplified system intended for individuals who were not particularly spiritual, Buddhist, or religious.

There are reports that some other individuals could have copies of the notes, diaries, and commentaries of Mikao Usui. However, I think strongly that it’s more important to find the “path” than to reconstruct that things we believe the great teacher exactly did.

Bear in mind that Mikao Usui took a personalized journey to discover and arrive at his goals. The following phrase could be something important to contemplate: “Don’t seek to follow in old men’s footsteps; Seek what they were trying to find”. That’s the concept of Matsuo Bashoe: “Universal Life Energy”.