How We Teach Japanese-Style Reiki
This section explains our approach to teaching Reiki, which integrates the Reiki methods coming from Japan with the Western-style of working. There is no ‘clashing’ of systems here: the Japanese techniques help to fill the ‘holes’ that there were in Western Reiki and blend effortlessly with Western Reiki. For the first time since the Usui System of Natural Healing was introduced to the West, we can ‘come home’ by learning some fundamental techniques that enhance our practice of Reiki: daily energy exercises, self-treatment meditations, intuitive working, different ways of experiencing and conveying the energy, and powerful, elegant spiritual empowerments.
Where has the information come from?
Western-style Reiki has gone through many changes since Hawayo Takata introduced it to us, with the system altering and changing in different lineages. Even in Japan, most Reiki taught there is actually Western-style. But in Japan there are still a few teachers who are passing on the original system, in its entirety or in a way that echoes some of the original approaches. For example, The Usui Memorial Society (Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai) appears to have continued and preserved some of the teachings that were passed from Usui Sensei to the Imperial Officers (Dr Hayashi et al), though this is not representative of what Usui was teaching to most of his students. It is only since Autumn 1999 that Western Reiki practitioners have had the opportunity to find out about any Japanese-style Reiki, and the first information that came through to us was via the researches of of Frank Arjava Petter and the generous teachings of Hiroshi Doi from the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. The information that they shared with us brought us a little closer to Usui’s original method.
However, there are now new and exciting sources of information that take us far beyond the methods and techniques of ‘The Gakkai’, to original Usui Reiki, untainted by any changes and developments that came after his time. Amazingly, there are a small group of Usui’s students who are still alive, the youngest of whom was 107 years old in about 1990. They are in contact with one or two Masters in the West (not me, I hasten to add!) and we are very lucky that they have decided to share with us some of the teachings that they received from Mikao Usui himself. We have now come so close to Reiki in its original form.
Original Usui Reiki is very different from the way that we have ended up doing things in the West. In Usui’s time, Reiki training was rather like martial arts training, where you met every week over an extended period of time, with an open-ended commitment to training. The emphasis was very much on personal responsibility and commitment. Students were expected to work hard to develop their abilities, and they were given the tools to use to really move their Reiki on. Original Japanese Reiki displays a tried-and-tested system designed to allow everyone to get the most out of their Reiki, through daily energy exercises, self-treatment meditations, sacred sounds, an intuitive treatment method, and spiritual empowerments. These fundamental techniques, called variously Hatsu Rei Ho, Reiji Ho, the Reiki kotodama, and Reiju, were lost or diluted when Reiki was taught in the West. When taken together, these practices can transform a practitioner’s abilities if the individual is prepared to put in consistent and regular practice. Usui Reiki was so simple, the focus was very much on self-development and spiritual development, intuition and intent, and for example self-treatments and the use of energy was quite different from the standard Western form.
Taggart was one of the first teachers to pass on this information to other Masters on a large scale in the UK, and he has now integrated these Japanese teachings into his basic Reiki courses. Anyone who goes through Reiki Evolution First and Second Degree courses will have been taught the main techniques that have come from Japan in recent years, and at no extra cost (you can learn these techniques on courses costing up to £250). These are things that you will not find on the majority of Reiki courses available in this country.
Here is the way that we have integrated the teachings of Original Usui Reiki within our basic courses:
Part One Course
For us, Reiki is first and foremost a self-healing and spiritual development method, though it is something that you can also use to help others. The course is thus rooted in personal energy work, though we cover the treatment of others in depth too.
Students on our courses will be introduced to the energy using the deceptively powerful ‘Reiju’ empowerments; these are a representation of the empowerments that were given by Mikao Usui and are based on the empowerments being taught by Usui Sensei’s surviving students.
Students are taught an important sequence of energy exercises and visualisations called ‘Hatsurei Ho’ so they can work on strengthening and purifying their Reiki from day one. We also teach Usui Sensei’s versatile self-treatment meditation, something which is not taught on most Reiki courses and which most people tend to choose in favour of the Western ‘hands-on’ approach, though we do teach both methods.
All the basic information about Reiki, its origins and history, the practical aspects of treating people, and the effects of Reiki, are sent out in advance so students come on the course with a good basic grounding in Reiki theory. We pass on a historically accurate history of Reiki and we emphasise the use of the Reiki precepts and the practice of mindfulness, both fundamental aspects of the original Japanese system that Usui Sensei taught.
The day itself concentrates on hands-on practice: feeling your own and each other’s energies, learning the ‘Hatsurei’ sequence of energy exercises, carrying out Usui’s original self-treatment technique (quite different from the Western approach), scanning each other’s energy fields and swapping Reiki treatments with other students.
Part Two Course
For us, at Second Degree Reiki is still first and foremost a self-healing and spiritual development method, though it is something that you can also use to help others. The course is still rooted in personal energy work, but we cover the treatment of others in depth too.
The Reiki 2 course concentrates on passing on the essence of Mikao Usui’s Second Degree in a way that works within the format of Western day-courses. Students are introduced to two fundamental energies and an important state of mind, learn how to use symbols to experience these energies and state, and are helped to discover their latent intuitive ability.
All the information about the symbols and how to use them is now sent out in advance, so that students can learn the symbols at their leisure (rather than under pressure on the day). Students come to the course with a good basic grounding in the symbols, their origins, effects, and the ways that they can be used on the self and to enhance treatments. The day focuses on energy meditations, hands-on practice, using intuition and controlling energy through intent.
Reiji Ho is the name given to an important intuitive technique taught in Japan; it is a way of deliberately opening yourself up to your intuitive side so that the energy guides your hands to the right places to treat. We want you to move away from standard hand positions as soon as you are able, and allow Reiki to guide you into unique hand positions for each person you treat, based on their individual energy needs. Intuitive treatments do something special for the recipient.
Two exciting techniques from the Japan deal with transmitting Reiki using your eyes and your breath (Gyoshi Ho and Koki Ho). These are explained and practised on the course, and we give other examples to show you the power of intent.
The Reiki 2 manual of course covers all these approaches and more.
Not surprisingly, the emphasis at Master Teacher level is still on self-healing and spiritual development. Our Master courses are not just about ‘attuning’ others. We show students how they can develop their Tanden (an important energy centre in the abdomen) since this was an important part of Usui Sensei’s original system and we introduce our students to the kotodama, sacred sounds used in Usui’s time for self-healing and self-development, though they can also be used to treat other people.
Obviously we do still teach students how to attune others, but as well as teaching a full Western-style attunement system, we also teach Reiju empowerments, the connection ritual that is being passed on by Usui Sensei’s surviving students. Reiju empowerments are the Japanese method used to connect students to Reiki, and repeating the empowerments at regular intervals seems to enhance the spiritual development of the individual, increase sensitivity to the energy, and allow intuition to come through more strongly.
We show how Reiju can be used at all Reiki levels, and run through Reiju variations and experiments that are being carried out in the West, including distant empowerments and self-empowerments.