by William Lee Rand
When I took my first Reiki class in 1981, I already had a long history of experience with healing and metaphysics having among other trainings become a Rosicrucian in 1967, and studied with a Kahuna on Oahu in 1976. These experiences allowed me to more easily perceive Reiki energy and to compare it with the other healing methods and energies I was familiar with. As I began to use Reiki I noticed I could see the energy with my inner vision. It appeared to me as small white “corpuscles” of energy traveling together in a stream through my arms. At the same time I could “see” them I was also aware of important things about their nature. One thing about Reiki that amazed and impressed me was the fact that the Reiki energy had its own awareness and intelligence. It understood the needs of the client and guided itself using a level of consciousness superior to what might be called normal human consciousness. This was significantly different than how I perceived the other forms of healing energy I had experienced with the Rosicrucians and the Kahuna. With these other forms, I had to generate the healing energy myself by using breathing exercises and meditation and then direct it with my mind. The Reiki energy arose spontaneously simply by intending to use it and it guided itself. In acknowledging this difference, I also realized I had come upon a metaphysical healing energy of great value and was filled with wonder and appreciation.
My experience indicated that Reiki was more than simple ki or universal life energy as it had been described. Reiki was life energy that was guided by higher consciousness. This concept was further validated by discoveries made about the definition of the Japanese kanji for ki and Reiki. I learned that in Japan there are many kinds of ki – or life energy and each has a different vibration and purpose. As an example, genki describes healthy ki, byoki is unhealthy ki, ki ga shimazu is disappointment, ki no okii is generosity, Ki gae is self-respect, ki maek is communication, ki yum is enthusiasm and so forth. So while there is a universal life energy, it takes on many forms some healthy and some not healthy. Applying this understanding to Reiki, it’s important to consider that Reiki is a special kind of ki. Rei means spirit of higher consciousness. Therefore, the kanji for Reiki translates into the life energy of higher consciousness, or life energy guided by higher consciousness.
The history of Reiki was somewhat of a mystery when Reiki first became popular in the west as the only information about it was the un-valided stories told by Mrs. Takata. However, starting in the early 90’s and continuing to present time, new verifiable facts, based on the reliable principles of historical research (1) have emerged that have created a more accurate and interesting story about how Reiki developed. The picture we have now is considerably different than what was originally believed.
The Reiki energy came to Usui sensei in March, 1922 while meditating on Kurama Yama north of Kyoto.(2) After this he developed the methods of using and teaching Reiki based on his previous education and experience. A few months later he opened a Reiki training center called the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai whose purpose was to train others and to give Reiki sessions.(3) Usui placed himself one step below the top level of Reiki development to emphasize the fact that there was more to Reiki than what he had received.(4) Usui sensei passed through transition on March 9, 1926. The Gakkai has continued to this present day with a succession of presidents and with the intension of preserving Usui’s teachings. Before passing on, Usui asked Hayashi Sensei to develop Reiki further. Hayashi began this process while still a Gakkai member, but left the Gakkai and started his own school after Usui passed on. Hayashi developed many new methods including the way Reiki is given to a client, a new system of reiju or attunements and a new method of teaching Reiki classes.(5)
Takata Sensei learned Reiki at Hayashi Sensei’s school in Tokyo where she enrolled in 1935.(6) She returned to Hawaii in 1937 followed by Hayashi who finalized her training as a Shinpiden or Reiki Master.(7) After Hayashi’s passing May 11, 1940 Takata developed her own system of practicing and teaching Reiki that was considerably different from what she had learned from Hayashi Sensei.(8)
This brief history shows that the system of Reiki developed by Usui Sensei was meant to be open ended. He knew there were greater possibilities for Reiki and intended that those who students who came after him would continue to develop and refine it.
To further our understanding of Reiki, let us consider the experience of those who are sensitive to Reiki energy and have received Reiki sessions from many different people. The experience these people usually report is that the Reiki energy they experience from each Reiki person has a somewhat different feel or quality to it. Often they’ll report that some practitioners seem to have more effective or unusually wonderful energy. This experience indicates that Reiki isn’t the same in everyone, but exists as a spectrum of many possible frequencies and qualities, some more effective and uplifting than others.
With the understanding that Reiki is life energy guided by higher consciousness and that this potential is open ended, how can we enter into a greater experience of Reiki and what would it be like?
One technique that is used by the Gakkai to strengthen and refine a student’s Reiki is to give many attunements. The Gakkai have meetings three times a month and at every meeting each person receives another reiju or attunement. It is said by the Gakkai that one can’t get too many attunements. This is different than how Takata taught, but if we are to move forward in our development, we need to let go of previous ways of practice and try new things. When getting additional attunements, I suggest receiving them only from your teacher or from someone you feel guided to get an attunement from. Reiki energy differs from teacher to teacher and it’s important to find teachers whose attunements are compatible with your energy and your spiritual path.
Another method is to simply take the next level of Reiki training or to review a class you’ve already taken before with the same teacher or a new teacher. This is one of the most dependable methods of increasing the quality of your Reiki energy.
I also suggest saying prayers and using affirmations asking for guidance and help to increase the quality of your Reiki energy. Listen to your inner heart and follow your guidance and ask that only the highest and most fully illuminated spiritual beings provide help. You may be guided to a new Reiki teacher or to a different diet, exercise program or to new Reiki techniques or a new Reiki share group that will be of help or something similar to this. It’s also possible using this method to attract guides that will give you spiritual attunements that increase the quality of your Reiki energy in amazing ways.
Another method to increase the quality of your Reiki energy is to continue to give yourself Reiki sessions and receive them from others with a focus on healing any parts within yourself that might resist higher quality Reiki. I know this might sound unusual, but these parts can exist for a number of reasons. Also, keep in mind that Reiki respects free will and if there are parts that don’t want higher quality Reiki, it will be difficult for it to become established within you. As an example, a part might not want higher quality Reiki because the new Reiki is different and the part is afraid of change. Or a part might resist higher quality Reiki because in order to do so, it must let go of the spiritual guides it has and accept new guides and it is use to old guides and not willing to let go of them. Or a part may not feel worthy of such a wonderful experience and would feel uncomfortable with this new level of Reiki. And of course there could be lots of other reasons. I suggest saying prayers and asking for clarity on this issue so you are shown any parts that may resist higher quality Reiki so that you can begin working with them to heal.
Developing a greater feeling of gratitude and love toward Reiki will allow Reiki to grow stronger. When I experienced a heart attack at the end of 2003, one of the lessons I learned came when I was lying on the operating table receiving a heart cath. I was giving myself Reiki and also receiving Reiki at a distance from hundreds of other Reiki practitioners. And as I lay there I could see my heart on a computer screen displayed in really time. Even though it had been through so much trauma, it was still there doing its job beat after beat after beat keeping me alive. I was so amazed to watch it beating and could feel its consciousness. As I watched, it spoke to me and said it wanted to live and was able to do so because it was filled with gratitude for the life energy it received. It said life is a gift that comes to us freely and it is gratitude that keeps the door open. Following this lesson and focusing on gratitude, I recovered quickly.
This same method can be used to increase the quality of our Reiki. When you give yourself Reiki focus on feeling gratitude for how freely Reiki comes to you. Ask that your gratitude for Reiki be healed and grow stronger and stronger and stronger. As your gratitude develops so will your Reiki.
Koyama Sensei, past president of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai has said that Reiki is the light of love. What a wonderful description! And it’s important to keep in mind that love works best when it is reciprocated. So while giving Reiki to your heart, focus on feeling love for the Reiki energy and for the source that is sending it to you. Ask Reiki to help you heal and develop your love for Reiki. Make this a habit; do it on a regular basis. As you do this you’ll find the light of love getting stronger and stronger and stronger until you have a wonderful uplifting experience in which all your cares are gone and you’re completely in the moment of love, experiencing it as a beautiful warm radiant light within!
As you continue with this process the radiant light of Reiki will penetrate every part of your being and enter into those areas deep within your psyche in which you are manifesting your reality. When this happens your life will transform and you’ll begin living your life from the heart of Reiki.
This is a wonderful uplifting joyous experience in which your life is filled with everything good. It is worth whatever you need to do to enter into this sacred place. To really understand it, you need to experience it. So I encourage you to make the decision right now to spend time each day developing the quality of your Reiki energy. Every area of your life will receive benefit and so will all those who come to you for Reiki sessions. May all the blessings the heart of Reiki has to offer be yours now.
1 Busha, Charles and Stephen P. Harter. Research Methods in Librarianship: techniques and Interpretations. Academic Press: New York, NY, 1980.
2 Okata, Masayuki, Inscription on the Usui Memorial Stone, Saihoji Temple, Tokyo, Japan. 1927
3 Inamoto, Hyakuten. Reiki Healing ART training manual. (Inamoto, 2009), p 3
4 William Lee Rand. Interview with Hiroshi Doi. Reiki News Magazine, Summer 2003 p12
5 William Lee Rand. Interview with Hiroshi Doi, Part II. Reiki News Magazine, Fall 2003 p13
6 Fran Brown, Living Reiki, Takata’s Teachings (California:LifeRhythm, 1992), 29-30
7 Helen Joyce haberly, Reiki:Hawayo Takata’s Story (Maryland: Archedigm Publications, 2000 Memorial Edition), 33.
8 John Harvey Gray and Lourdes Gray with Steven McFadden and Elisabeth Clark, Hand to Hand, The Longest Practicing Reiki Master Tells His Story (Gray, 2002).
This article appears in the Spring 2010 issue of Reiki News Magazine.