* editors note. June 2003. I wrote the article
below more than 2 years ago. While I have not changed my views
substantially, I have in the meantime, taken the plunge and stepped
into mastership myself. As well Frank Petter, in discovering and
publishing Usui's actual handbook, and more recently, the publication
of Hayashi's notebook, has dropped something of bombshell on the
western Reiki Community. It seems, there is an argument to be
made for a transformed version of Reiki, which we may loosely
call 'Western Reiki.' Western Reiki is wide ranging and in my
view very different from the original practices of Drs. Usui and
It does not seem to me worthwhile to continue
to rail against the impurity of Western Reiki. Since it is here
and obviously flourishing. Reiki, it seems to me has made the
journey out into the world and embraced it in a way I would suggest,
not contemplated by its founders.... even Mrs. Takata.
It has embraced a great many wierd and wonderful
things. Many teachers have channeled, invented, or otherwise added
to the original premise.
It has become a bridge of sorts across the gulf
that separates spirit and science, east and west, modern and ancient,
in much the same way that we humans bridge the distance between
earth and heaven. Reiki is no longer the secret, sacred, preserve
of an individual or group of individuals and their students and
accolytes. It has made a quantum leap into the consciousness of
all humankind and is available to any who would step up and claim
the gift. Reiki has become something more than just another healing
modality. It has become an empowering energy, that encourages
us all to consciously walk the path of Grace, seeking enlightenment.
There is only one thing going on. DNA, though, requires that each
and every one of us perceives it differently. Reiki is one of
those frequencies that allows us to overcome our DNA, and begin
to see the oneness of healing expressed in a thousand wierd and
My teacher died in July 2002. She never proclaimed
a successor. She died as Mrs. Takata died, challenging and empowering
all her students to seek their own path. She taught us to value
highly the gift of Reiki, to honour it, and to become, in our
lives its living expression. She taught us to be personally responsible
and at the same time to have complete trust in the power of Reiki.
I will continue to honour my teacher, Reiki,
as well as the Master within and the Master without. It is a journey.
As I have said, I am one of those who believes that one should
have some sort of committment to mastery of the practice before
proclaiming one a master of it.
There is more to be said on this topic, to be
sure. As my teacher often said, more to give, more to receive.
Reiki has taken the journey outward. With the publication of the
Usui and Hayashi materials, Reiki, takes the journey back to its
roots, back to its beginnings, back to the centre, from which
to gain a deeper insight into the nature of Reiki and where it
fits into the scheme of things.
The ancient Taoists thought that our time on
this earth is to be spent gathering knowledge and experience.
The more knowledge and experience one gathers, the closer one
comes to wisdom. The 'Superior Man' is one who studies the laws
of Nature, abides by those laws, and who does so with a specific
purpose in mind. He relies as much on his own innate understanding
and wisdom as he does on 'messages from the universe.' He consults
the oracle, he studies the scriptures, he understands that his
earthly actions are reflected in heaven.
My teacher often said that the superior human
is one who has the tools, knows they work, and uses them. Reiki
is decidedly a superior tool. It can and does adapt itself to
whatever level the practioner brings to it.
There is the tendency to view Reiki as some
sort of superhuman intelligence that requires little from us.
To many, the practioner is little more than a passive bystander.
The journey 'home' tells us that there is a great deal more to
Reiki for the practitioner, than just channeling intelligent energy.
In my view, Reiki has already made the leap
in consciousness to the next level. It is up to us the make the
leap in our own personal consciousness, and practice. Peace.
I am not a master/teacher yet, but I do have some
things to say on the relevence of this level in Reiki practice.
Generally speaking, a Master/Teacher has the knowledge
to pass on the symbols that tune Reiki channels and other Master/Teachers.
On the one hand there are those who believe that becoming a Master
is a sacred calling that requires one's absolute devotion, Mind/Body
& soul for life. One does the practice 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week, 365 days a year, with no time off, no diversions, no hobbies.
One's life is the living expression of the practice. Becoming
a Master takes years of study, practice and discipline and not
everyone who does the work becomes a Master. That designation
is reserved for a precious few who make that Commitment.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that
being a Master/Teacher of Reiki is no big deal and you can become
one in an afternoon in someone's front room for about $60.00,
or even for free on the internet. Everyone should become a Master.
These are two very real extremes. I have met examples
of both. In between, at various levels are the rest of us.
There is one Master who charges $10,000.00 to attune
to to Mastership. She requires only a one year commitment to practice
Reiki full time and that you belong to her association.
There is another Master who charges significantly
less, about $1,000.00. This one doesn't require that you commit
your life to Reiki, only that you study with her for 1 year and
initiate 1 channel at level I. There are no requirements to teach
or do anything else.
I am sure if you look around you will find different
Masters who have varying levels of commitment to the practice.
Some make a good living at it.Others see it as a way to make a
few extra bucks every so often. Many even shun the idea that money
ought to be involved at all.
My teacher, Denise Crundall is an example of the
first category. Reiki is who she is, not what she does. She does
Reiki, every day, even in her sleep. She teaches and practices
pretty much every waking moment. She believes in the oriental
view of what constitutes a Master. She believes that mastery of
a practice comes before one calls one's self a Master. She does
not believe that everyone should become a Master, only a select
one or two who are willing to commit to the practice and becomes
its living expression.
She believes in the concept of an aural tradition.
That is one that is verbal, handed down from generation to generation
and committed to memory by a select few, or even one in each generation,
whose job it is to 'remember.' In fact, this is the short definition
of 'Master' in many traditions; 'One who remembers.'
Aural traditions are usually based on 'secret',
(particularly healing) knowledge and often knowledge that is considered
sacred. For this reason, only those with specific training are
allowed to know the secrets. Usually, this kind of secret and/or
sacred knowledge is considered to have considerable power and
not for everyone to be fooling around with.
While aural traditions tend to appear hierarchical
and feudal in nature, they are not static, but constantly changing.
Not because the various individuals add anything to or subtract
anything from the knowledge (although this undoubtedly happens),
but because the individuals who hold the resonance and keep the
secrets of a practice are constantly changing, as those who learn
them. One uses the symbols and words, these do not change, (or
ought not to), but the persons using them change, perspective
change and the Universe changes.
A Master may or may not make changes to what he/she
has been taught. In fact, if one commits to a particular lineage,
one does NOT usually make changes. In the case of Reiki, we are
not just talking about the words and symbols and concepts, but
the also the frequency of the teaching. Frequency is the particular
vibration that exists at the energetic level that manifests as
the symbols and the words. My teacher often referred to this process
as 'giving pattern to frequency.'
In other words, particular frequencies produce particular
patterns in manifestation. On the physical plane, specific frequencies
may be invoked by drawing specific patterns. Human history is
full of symbols, shapes and patterns that have religious or sacred
signficance because they can invoke higher frequencies. One of
the most popular is the pyramid. Others are the cross, the pentacle,
the mandala, and the labyrinth.
In Reiki, we use specific symbols to invoke the
frequency of healing. In a sense it is not the symbols themselves
that are the basis for the secrecy surrounding these practices,
but the knowledge of how to use them effectively. The symbols
themselves are often 'hidden' in plain site.
I was taught that Reiki symbols are sacred and
secret. We ritually burned all the practice drawings at the end
of each class. In the meantime they have been written down and
published books and on the internet. They are apparantly seen
in public view in Japan in many shrines and temples. They are
quite literally 'hidden in public view.'
Just about anyone can become a Reiki Master and
it seems just about anyone is. I even know a couple who claim
to be 'self-tuned' to mastership.
Does this tend to diminish the title of Master?
As far as Reiki is concerned, you bet!
Does it really matter? I don't know for sure.
There may well be something in the North American
psyche that innately rejects the feudalistic, hierarchical and
aural traditions of the East, while simultaneously wanting and
even needing the spiritual/healing content.
Both Usui and Hayashi, in their Japanese tradition,
treated Reiki as a 'secret' society, open only to a chosen few.
It was Hawayo Takata, and her American ideas (although she was
of Japanese descent) who gave the gift freely to all who sought
it. Those of us who have chosen healing as a profession, and there
are more and more of us everyday, will continue to practice as
we have been taught, which is in Reiki, just do it.
I have been tempted and have chosen not to embellish
what I do with anything. In North America today there are hundreds
if not thousands of Reiki Masters teaching or not teaching. In
Japan there are only 8 Masters qualified to teach Reiki, which
is a little tidbit of information I find quite compelling.
I do Reiki, daily. I do meditations. I do healings.
Sometimes I charge for a treatment. Sometimes I do it for no charge.
I do Reiki II or distance healings at least as often
as I do Reiki I.
My own belief, to finish off this section, is that if you are
going to call yourself a Master, I have the right to expect that
you are well on your way to mastering the practice, as a practice.
But it's OK if you aren't.
After all, as Hawayo Takata often said, a little
Reiki is better than no Reiki at all.
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