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The secret method...
that summons happiness

                                                      Mikao Usui



What is Reiki?

When someone asks me this question, my response is usually to ask, What is your understanding of what Reiki is? That creates a place of exploration as the "R" word is used in many different ways, and has different understandings for different people. This is only to be expected with a topic that is so intimately tied to the experience of it. We bring all that we are to the Reiki experience, our understandings, our beliefs, our identifications, and these are overlaid on the experience. This is the way our minds work, fitting the new into the old frameworks of what we "know" until we outgrow them. Sometimes we don't.

Reiki is a Word

At its simplest, "Reiki" is a word, derived from a Japanese kanji character (shown on the left), for which the most common western translation has become "universal energy".

While that’s a workable translation, the individual interpretations of "universal energy" often lean toward understandings that are entire belief systems in themselves. Other translations of the Kanji character carry different nuances of meaning, and when put together, help to discern an interpretation that I believe is perhaps closer to one that Mikao Usui, the founder of this system of healing, might recognize.

Reiki is a Concept

Mikao Usui used the word "Reiki" to describe a concept. His memorial stone records that he felt "a great Reiki over his head" before an experience of an awakening of consciousness, that led to the founding of his system of healing. That description of a sense of presence, perhaps even a mystical one, is a not uncommon description used all through human history to describe experiences of awakening, of grace, of the presence of something considered to be a higher power, Source, the Divine, name it what you will.

Reiki is a Healing System

Mikao Usui created his healing system in the form of a folk healing art, a self healing system, with a practice for the everyday person to use in their everyday life. The system acknowledges both a physical and a non physical basis for a balanced, and healthy life, it acknowledges the very human desire to be happy and to avoid suffering.

Its is at the same time both a "self-healing" practice - something that one practices on themselves, and a "Self" healing practice - a healing practice that unifies the separated aspects of the personal Self, a making whole again of who we are as a Self.

Every single person who has had an experience of an awakening of mind has sought to bring that experience to others, to create a way that others can use, that will lead them into that same experience. The healing system that Mikao Usui founded, is such a way, and at the same time a way that is experienced and conveyed through a physical hands on healing practice.

Reiki is a Treatment Form

The physical element is held in a simple hands-on healing practice used on oneself, and given to and received from others. This practice is the most visible part of the system and for many people this is what is identified as "Reiki". This in turn leads to the presentation of Reiki as a physical therapy or a modality, which then leads into all that goes with that identification.

This is a practical, valid, and compassionate use of the hands-on practice, as an extension of the basic personal practice to others. This works very well in a therapy sense, but it is remains but one aspect of the overall system of practice.

Reiki is a Path to an Awakening of Awareness

The non physical aspect of the system is addressed with five simple precepts (or principles) for daily living, described on Mikao Usui's memorial stone as “the secret method that summons happiness, the miraculous medicine that is effective against all kinds of illness.”

This core teaching is recognised by medical research, in that happiness in life has a direct correlation with good health. The precepts are then a touchstone for everyday life choices, guides for a way of being. Happiness comes from within, is held in our moment to moment choices.

The precepts are often approached in terms of conventional psychological terms, exploring how the application of the precepts creates the environment for good psychological health. This is entirely a valid way to interpret them,
and at the same time, the precepts are a "how to" for being in the "now moment".

Being in the now is a little like being in love, a fully alive state of being, difficult to adequately describe, and unable to be achieved through effort-ing. This space of being is the outcome of the healing of the separations created by our ego-minds, the bridging of heart and mind.

At best we create the environment in which it may happen, living with compassion, being in allowance, acceptance, forgiveness, and wait for the grace filled moment for awakening to the now moment to manifest. For some its initially a tantalising glimpse, and for some it becomes a stabilised state of mind. In either case it is not about holding onto the peak moment of the experience, but about living life from an awakened perspective afterward.

Mikao Usui's Memorial Stone
(Reproduced with kind permission
Hil Ohrstrom, Idaho, USA.)

The Five Precepts.
"The Secret Method,
of inviting happiness."

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