When I was first introduced to Reiki, it was via email from a partner of mine living in the United States. He was studying to become a Registered Massage Therapist; one of the extra speakers the school brought in for the students was a Reiki Practitioner. When my partner told me what the practitioner said and did, I laughed. I kid you not, I laughed loudly and heartily.
“How can that be so? How could someone possibly heal you without even TOUCHING YOU? That makes absolutely no sense!”
Ah, how the Universe works its mysterious ways, hm?
I am a Master level practitioner and teacher of both Usui Reiki Ryoho and of Karuna Reiki. I now understand and practice and share the ‘sacred art of inviting happiness’, the ‘miraculous medicine for all diseases’, that is Reiki. I began studying Reiki in 2006, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. My teacher was a Metis shaman named Karen Edwards. She taught me a great deal about things beyond Reiki, such as arrogance of ego and how to be authentic and humble. I am still learning today, by going over my Reiki manuals when I can. With Reiki, we are always learning.
The first thing we are taught when it comes to learning Reiki is how to describe it. How do you tell strangers what you can do with them? How do you explain we don’t heal people outright but rather help them to heal themselves? How do you make people feel comfortable allowing you into their energetic field?
We do this very simply, by offering up the most ancient and easily understood definition of what Reiki is – it is a Japanese stress relief technique. It’s as simple as that. If a client comes to a Reiki session and receives nothing else, let them at least receive a relief from their stress and aches and pains of the day. Maybe they won’t leave the table without a limp. Maybe their headache will not go away right away. But I can guarantee that a Reiki session will offer anyone who is ready a chance to rest and to relax.
Reiki in all its forms is a gift. The greatest part of that gift is not receiving it from a practitioner; it’s actually received from the client, for the client. Allow me to explain that further, because it may sound confusing. Why would people pay to lay on a table when they’re actually gifting themselves the session?
So many people are not giving themselves a break. We all need one, everyone needs a few moments each and every day to relax, to chill, to process, to experience calm and serene sensations. Most people are not giving themselves this gift. When a client says ‘yes’ to Reiki, they are allowing themselves to experience the gift they deserve. By getting on the table, by laying quietly and by allowing themselves to relax, the client has already begun to heal. Without ever being touched, they have given their body permission to feel, to cleanse, to release, to rest and relax. And if that isn’t holistic healing’s very base and core, then I surely wouldn’t know what is. Healing is nothing if the client is not comfortable, which is why for me the ‘sacred caim‘ is so important. More than anything, I try to offer people the opportunity to rest and relax, even if only for one hour of the day, of the month, and sometimes of the year.
Usui Reiki may be called Usui Shiki Ryoho or Reiki Ryoho. It is the form of ‘laying on of hands’ developed by Usui Sensei (Mikao Usui, 1865-1926). He had family relations that were involved with modern medicine, and had himself a strong interest to heal and help others. What he developed came to him through spiritual means but it’s important to remember that Reiki is not a religious practice based on dogma or specific requirements or denominations. Reiki is for everyone, and the very name implies its important meaning; ‘Rei‘ is often translated to ‘Universal light and love’ and ‘Ki‘ can mean ‘life energy’. Usui Sensei shared his learnings with others, teaching people the ways to use Reiki to heal when hospitals and medical practices weren’t easily available. He lived during a hard time for Japan, and witnessed many tragedies in his lifetime. Usui Sensei knew that there was a god-like power based on infinite, unconditional love that every living being was entitled to. He learned how to channel it for the sake of others, and taught this craft to his students, who went on to develop it themselves. Reiki moved to the Western World in the early 1900s, and soon began to evolve. There are many styles of Reiki available now, though no one form is better or higher than another.
“It simply is what it is.”
Karuna Reiki was developed by Master William Lee Rand in 1995 who defined it with the help of dedicated students of Reiki. The word “Karuna” is a Sanskrit term meaning “unconditional love, compassion and spiritual evolution.” The practice takes Reiki to a new level, and practitioners deal with higher degrees of spiritual beings using Karuna Reiki. The vibrations are high because the work a client is doing may be greater and may go deeper than with Usui Reiki. There is much in Karuna Reiki having to do with forgiveness, with self evolution but also with realizing the connection between the individual and the Whole of the Universe.
“One cannot give another a sweet smelling rose without a bit of that fragrance staying on their own hand.”
When we heal with others using Karuna Reiki, we are always healing ourselves. While this is also true with Usui Reiki, it’s deeper with Karuna. It’s this depth that causes us to call on our Higher Powers even more than before. There is a depth to the channelling that is not easy to navigate, and only when a practitioner has worked through their own evolution can they help guide another. Where Usui Reiki acknowledges we are all in various states of healing, no matter which side of the table we are on, Karuna Reiki says “let’s go deeper, let’s go higher, I have gone there and I will take you there, and it will be what it is.”
That may read as a lot to take in. Reiki is not dangerous, no form of Reiki can be, so keep that in mind always. Reiki cannot and will never harm client or practitioner. When we work with Reiki, we accept that everything is exactly as it’s meant to be, AND is GOOD. If we choose to use Karuna with a client, then something guided us to do so. And it is meant to be, and it is good.
Sometimes when I am working with clients, I am asked about whether or not I can turn my Reiki off, because they really want ‘only’ a massage, or ‘only’ Usui Reiki. I cannot turn off the Reiki that I have been attuned to – and if I could, I would never. I know that people who are asking these questions have some fears and reservations. I trust that they have come to my table for a reason, and that whatever discussion we have to help them relax is exactly what they needed. I have never had someone get off my table when learning that Reiki will be a part of their massage. It is not a Reiki Massage by any means, but as soon as my hands begin working on someone’s muscles, my Reiki channels open and my palms heat up. People have asked if I was heating them up manually with a hand warming tool. I smile and tell them about Reiki, because that’s all it is. Healing is meant for all, and when I touch someone, be it in massage or in a friendly hug, my Reiki is activated. For that, I am grateful.
Reiki helps me to feel empowered, like there is no situation I will encounter, witness or come across that I can’t at least offer some form of healing to, even distantly. That is the power of Reiki, for me.