What is REIKI?
An ancient Japanese technique, Reiki (ray-key) is a non-invasive, energy based approach to relaxation and healing. Subtle yet powerful, it is designed to stimulate the body's natural ability to heal itself on all levels - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Using a variety of different hand positions, on or just above the body, Reiki Practitioners work to increase energy levels within the body, thus restoring balance, health and well-being. In addition to its calming effects, Reiki also helps in reducing the symptoms of anxiety, digestive disorders, insomnia and chronic stress.
Reiki is not intended for use in diagnosing, healing or preventing disease. It is not an alternative to todays Western medical and psychological services, but rather an adjunctive therapy that can help support healing and increase a feeling of wellbeing.
While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not affiliated with any religion or religious practice.
The Japanese Kanji characters that represent the word Reiki can be translated to mean:
Rei = Universal
Ki = Life Force Energy
Over 100 years ago, the essence of Reiki was rediscovered in a cave by Mikao Usui on Mt. Kurama, not far from Kyoto, Japan. Although many are under the impression that Reiki is some "New Age Hippie Stuff" due to its being changed in the west to include chakras and auras (which are ancient themselves), they couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, this healing methodology is ancient and based in Shinto and Buddhist beliefs.
So why are we just hearing of it now? If it's so "ancient", why is it only 100 years old? A brief reminder of history is required for this to make sense: First of all, the Japanese did not have a written language until it came over from China. Even if they did though, Reiki was so normal in every household that they probably wouldn't have written about it anyway. For generations, the Japanese people used Reiki as their first aid kit. Every member of the household had Reiki, as did many of their neighbours. It's just what they did. Then came war, with Japan coming out on the losing end. Under American oversight, an internal war on ancient traditions was waged by the Japanese people themselves in order to be seen as a more progressive island nation. They banned many traditional things, including instruments, artwork and especially Reiki. It was not "Western" because it has yet to be scientifically proven.
Now back to Usui Sensei. He was born August 15, 1865 in the village of Taniai in the Miyama-Cho (district) of Gifu prefecture in southern Japan. Over the course of his life, he had many varied and unusual jobs, and a later life identity crisis made him question the fundamentals of life. Searching for his own state of inner peace, he embarked upon a three-year meditation retreat at one of Kyoto's Zen Temples in 1919. After he had finished his three years, he felt he was still missing something and sought the counsel of one of the abbots. This abbot suggested to him that perhaps the only thing he had yet to experience for his enlightenment was death, a common last resort for some spiritual schools of thought. As many had done before him, Mikao Usui hiked up a mountain in search of death.
Below is an account (Koyama Sensei) of Usui Sensei's Enlightenment:
(Frank Arjava Petter, This is Reiki, ©️2012, page 47)
"(He) sat for about twenty days on Mount Kurama in the gassho position in absolute emptiness, without a thought in his mind. On the last day of the journey to himself, the event that he was so longing for took place: Sitting in a small shrine on the mountain in the evening, something like a lightning bolt hit him in his forehead, and he became unconscious. His sense of time vanished and he did not know how long he remained in this state. When he gained consciousness again, he felt his whole body vibrant with tremendous energy. Never before had he felt so deeply rested, and the body and mind were filled with light and energy. This is how he experience Reiki for the first time...
After his Enlightenment, he was so excited to get back down the mountain to the abbott to verify his experience, that he wasn't as careful as he should have been. (From Koyama Sensei):
"Usui Sensei climbed down Mount Kurama to drink water from a nearby creek. On the way down, he ripped off one of his toenails and intuitively placed his hands upon it. Mysteriously, the pain disappeared and the bleeding stopped. When he at last reached the village, he came across a girl with a toothache and healed her. This is how he encountered the healing power without having searched for it."
And "REIKI" was born...