The Evolution of Reiki

mikao usuiThis time last week I was preparing for my first Reiki class in quite a while.  I had ordered some new manuals from the International Center for Reiki Training (ICRT) and started to look through them.  I was wondering what had changed in the manual since the birth of Holy Fire (and Holy Fire II) Reiki and got a discovery of a different sort.  

I hadn’t read over the history section of the manual in some time.  I probably shouldn’t have been surprised to see that this section had changed once again.  One thing people don’t necessarily know about Reiki is that its history has been shrouded in mystery for many years.  Ms. Takata, the progenitor of American Reiki changed or omitted many “facts” about Reiki in order to make it a more palatable practice for Western minds.  In addition, the Japanese practitioners had gone undergrounmrs takatad thanks to WWII.  What we considered to be the status of Reiki was quite a bit different from the truth.  As William Rand (the head of the ICRT) and others have gone back and re-learned the history of Reiki, a different picture emerges.

This shouldn’t surprise me.  In preparing for this class I was teaching, I went wandering through my old Reiki blog and found an article–Why is Reiki history still such a mystery?  Yes I love the rhyming.  At that time I was also contemplating a big leap in information that had changed Reiki history as I knew it.

One think I have to say about Reiki is that I am glad that it is an evolutionary energy.  The way Mikao Usui practiced and taught is different than we practice and teach today.  The energy has changed, adapted, shifted and transformed right along with its practitioners.  You know that I believe that anything that stagnates dies.  So the fact that Reiki has been able to change might explain its longevity and its spread throughout the world as a vital form of relaxation and healing. All I know is that Reiki has been a blessing to me, my family and my students and clients. If you want to read the original post, it is below.  As always, I love to hear from you.  If you have a question or comment, please leave it below.


It wasn’t that long ago, really less than a decade, that I took my first Reiki attunement.  So it surprised me a little during a recent class I was teaching how much the “history” section of the manual had changed.  Or rather, how much I think it has changed.  I lost my original manual in a flood in my former house.  But there seems to me to be a big difference between what I was taught and what I teach now.  For one thing, there seems to be greater clarity as to the timeline of Usui Sensei’s life and no question as to whether he was a Christian monk (he wasn’t).  Dr Hayashi is no longer recognized as the successor to Usui, thus losing some of his importance in the Reiki world.  Mrs. Takata’s work and teaching seems to have gathered more appreciation and detail.

On a side note, I have always felt that Mrs. Takata got somewhat of a bad rap.  I mean, here she is, a Japanese-American woman at the end of WWII trying to bring a Japanese style of healing to America.  It’s not surprising that the same ideas and ideals that would appeal to an Asian audience would not be greeted with the same equanimity in America, particularly not at that time.  The more I read about her, the more clear it becomes that many of the accusations I originally heard against her, such as she took the spirituality out of Reiki, are untrue.  It’s known as doing what you have to do in the situation with which you are presented.  The only thing I still can’t wrap my brain around is  the $10,000 charge for Mastership.  I understand wanted to present Reiki as sacred, special, and valuable, but come on!

I think the greatest change in my understanding of Reiki history comes from Dr. Usui’s discovery itself.  Frankly, it hadn’t occurred to me that there were other similar healing or meditation techniques being practiced at that time, or that when Usui went to Mt. Kurama there might be others also engaged in the same types of activities he was.  Knowing this makes his story seem much more human to me.  I like the idea that the discovery of Reiki was not some willy nilly affair, but enlightenment that came from more or less standard spiritual practices.

What all this says to me is that nothing, not any discovery, not any theory or practice, not any dogma is more important than our own personal connection to the Reiki energy.  Each of us is charged, literally, once we make the decision to be attuned, to make the energy our own, to create our own link and our own way of incorporating and expanding on the energy.  Each of us accepts the mission to bring our own brand of Reiki to the world and expand the circle of light and healing on the planet.

For me, the attunement is like walking through an open door.  It is the beginning of something, not the end of anything.  Through practice and use and prayer and meditation, our vision of what we have to offer ourselves and others comes clear.  Each of us brings our own vision of love, compassion and healing.  Mine is using Spirit to help others clear past hurts and release that which doesn’t serve.  What’s yours?

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