An Invitation to the Reiki Path

When we first start practising Reiki, many of us have amazing stories to share. The healing releases we first experience remain with us for a lifetime! After 20 years of Reiki practice with myself and others, I am still in awe of this incredible gift I received when I was attuned so many years ago. It is very simple. There is an initiation – an attunement we call it. There are 5 precepts. There is the practice of opening and receiving, like with receiving grace. And it centres around gratitude, kindness and letting go to the process of purification of habits, mindsets and attachments.

For me, the greatest challenge that remains after 20 years – Release control. Open and receive. Release your attachment to your intentions, your outcomes, your illness, your discord.

Release control. Release control.

In this simple journey, the colours, textures, dimensions, layers get richer and more profound with time. Yet, simply, without ego.

Please enjoy this beautiful reflection by my friend and colleague, Elyssa Matthew’s open letter to anyone wondering if Reiki practice is for them, even if they have been attuned for a long time:

An Open Letter

Dear new fellow Reiki practitioner (or maybe not so new, but just ready to begin again),

Welcome to a magical path, as magical as any new path may be – whether marriage, maternity, a craft, an art, a skill, or a course of study – only perhaps more so, as you will discover, should you pursue this path every day with an open mind, open heart, and open will, for it has the power to transform all other paths and bring you to another way of being beyond anything you may have ever hoped for, wished, or even imagined.

Feeling intrigued? Or excited? I hope so.

But as excited, curious, and ready as you might be, know that no path is without challenges, subtleties, or demands, and that, when it comes to Reiki, many before you have wandered away. It is almost hard not to. So here are a few thoughts you might like to ponder and a few words of encouragement.

Let’s start with the beginning.

Before Mikao Usui Sensei sat at the top of a mountain outside Kyoto, for three weeks, nearly one hundred years ago, he had decided that the purpose of life was enlightenment, and to this end, he had been practicing Zen meditation for a number of years. Sensei was seeking this radical transformation of consciousness which in Japanese culture has been known as satori. Nothing else was going to do anymore. It was do or die – “one life, one arrow”, a steadfast attempt to put all his energy and deep yearning into sitting, fasting, and meditating for as long as it would take for “lightning” to strike, since “enlightenment” the wise say, “is an accident, and practice makes one accident prone.”

The story, as recorded on his memorial stone in Tokyo’s Saihoji temple, tells us that Sensei got his wish
– that after twenty-one days, Grace whisked him away to a place within himself from where he could experience his identity with fundamental consciousness. Mental formations, like clouds in the sky were cleared away, and his sense of self was re-positioned within inner spaciousness, allowing fundamental radiance, like a sun, to shine through. All this happened as he felt a numinous presence engulfing him. He called it reiki (using a word which had always been in common usage).

Following his experience of self-realization or satori, Usui Sensei also discovered that something new had spontaneously become possible for him – the ability to radiate coherence and invite harmony and balance in the mind and the body, in himself and in others.

This was the beginning of what we now know as Usui Reiki Ryoho.

When Sensei began teaching Usui Reiki Ryoho, it was with these two goals in mind: health and well-being in everyday life on the one hand, and spiritual awakening on the other, the two possible end results being intertwined – as the light of our essential nature shines through and dispels suffering and obstructions, so healing of the body-mind can clear energetic pathways for natural intelligence to flow through and take us in the direction of realizing the source of healing and of all creation, and our identity with it, not as an idea, but as a deeply known certainty. And as this happens, we become more fully human – more open-minded and more big-hearted, more enlightened versions of ourselves, and also more effective healers. Sensei found that Reiki makes all this possible and so, Usui Reiki Ryoho was offered as a practice of nondual healing and awakening.

So if you are new to Reiki, or ready to start again, keep this in mind, and if you are not so new and may already have had an inkling of any of this, keep going. And in following this path, follow the founder’s example – commit fully and practice daily with deep sincerity, putting your heart, mind, and body into your practice. From your own end, that’s all you can do. The practice requires non-ambiguity, and steadfastness as well as trust and surrender. And know that these attitudes pay off. They did for Sensei.

It is up to you, then. But not only. Reiki itself, the core of your being, the natural rhythm and flow of your unfoldment will take care of the rest. Just do your personal practice (either your hands-on practice or your Reiki meditation practice which Sensei would introduce at level 2, if you have been taught that, or both – both would be best). Then see what happens.

Having said that, keep in mind that Reiki is not only an individual practice, but also a practice of togetherness. We are all in it together and we need each other in this practice. And not only when it comes to receiving an attunement (no attunement, no Reiki practice), but also subsequently, as we keep going on the path.

In Usui Sensei’s time, students would attend weekly gatherings since in order to grow, one needed to receive “reiju” (what has come to be called “attunement” in a more elaborate form) as often as possible. This practice is still in effect in the Gakkai, the original Reiki Society created by Sensei. Not that the one time Reiki initiation we are all familiar with is not enough for a new student to begin practicing, but that something happens every time in the space of resonance between a teacher and a student, between somebody who is further along the path and a new initiate, something which can lead to further unfoldment. For the same reason, the members of the Gakkai have also been practicing since Sensei’s time, “Reiki mawashi”, a group process which allows Reiki to flow from one person to another as they stand linked in a circle, everyone benefiting from the magnified effect. Something happens when two or more are gathered together in Reiki.

Reiki practice then, is not just about receiving an attunement, or collecting attunements. It is not just about an attunement having a transformational effect. That is a fact, but it is only the beginning. There is further to go in this practice, and again, this can only happen if after taking a class, one commits to personal practice daily and to group practice as often as possible with the aspiration to attain satori, or to become as good a healer as one can be, or both. And it is to personal practice and group practice, that we add the practice of treating others.

Personal practice and group practice reinforce each other. As we do the personal practice and grow, we may find ourselves in a better position to be of service to others as healers. As Japanese Reiki Master, Hyakuten Sensei, succinctly puts it, “Me, first. Then, you and me together.” On the other hand, as we practice with a group, we may find it easier and be more inspired to do the practice on our own, at home – we may develop the interest, confidence, or enthusiasm to keep going every day.

Lastly, consider this: whether we do the practice alone or with others, the numinous presence of Reiki is enough. Togetherness with Reiki is enough. Surrender is enough. This practice undertaken with the proper attitude of trust, sincerity, and non-ambiguity is enough. Nothing else is needed, for what is there that can be more real, more profound, or more healing than the beauty and power of fundamental consciousness, of the light that shines throughout Reality experienced as Reiki itself and our own essential self ? What is there that is greater than that?

Reiki practice needs no external support. It is full and complete, in and of itself. One’s wandering (or is it wondering) mind might want to make the practice more complicated or bolster it with all manner of “additives”, from objects to techniques, as prompted by one’s insecurity, confusion, resistance, attachment to outcome, expectations, idle curiosity, self-importance, or just simple restlessness and addiction to haste… (The list could go on.) The challenge in Reiki practice is to let go of all that. And this has been a challenge for many people who after taking a Reiki class or two, have rushed on to the next exciting modality, rather than committing to practice (either personal practice, or group practice, or healing practice, as they are all intertwined), or have been tempted to clutter the practice with techniques learned elsewhere, or with various kinds of objects, misguidedly believing that something else is needed aside from surrender and trust, that is aside from an open mind, open heart, and open will.

So, dear new fellow Reiki practitioner (or maybe not so new, but just ready to begin again), try practicing this way, and then let’s see what happens.

You may just find that the path begins to unfold and to transform you and your way of being beyond anything you may have ever hoped for, wished, or even imagined.

Wishing you big blessings,

Elyssa Matthews

If you want to learn more about Reiki, to walk a journey of mystery and grace, of groundedness and truth, of healing … simply … of health, happiness (inner peace) and freedom, please contact me.

Reiki Level Two starts this weekend. Don’t miss it.

Shirley Lynn