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How do we teach Reiki and what do we teach?


Written by Chris Deefholts


Do we simply follow what we have been taught and accept our lineage teachers know best (i.e. that it worked for them so it must therefore still be valid?)? Is their teaching fully digested? Is our teaching fully digested?

And just what ARE the basics? (That is probably best discussed in a separate article).

In Reiki, as with anything else, we have to be careful not to be rigid, otherwise Reiki takes on the status of belief (a religion?) and not a living experience.

In the West we earlier-trained teachers have been forced to learn and teach from deep within, discarding what felt false, allowing the energy itself to teach and guide us, so I do not agree that teaching purely what our teachers taught us is necessarily the whole answer.

Thankfully a lot of Western mostly unintentional misinformation/simplification via Hawayo Takata and others has been cleared away by being able to go back to the roots of Reiki and working with earlier teachings, and how grateful I am to our Japanese teachers for sharing their wealth of experience.
This largely came about because so many practitioners like myself questioned the conventional material handed down to us. It just did not equate to our collective experience.

The teaching here for me was that a very important part of learning and training is to take what we have been taught and TEST IT. It has to become part of our own experience. Only then does it have validity.

And that cannot happen over the space of a few weekend workshops – it has to be practiced daily over a sustained period of time. Otherwise we get the scenario of the undigested "My teacher says . . ." to make a point which is then apparently irrefutable – and then Reiki gets set into concrete and Chinese whispers, which is how many myths have arisen…

I like to take my cue from Usui-Sensei's example. The background information about his life is very helpful. He took key elements from his extensive and broad training and made it relevant to his time and context... and he updated it with his own living experience... in the context of a very rigid society.

From the start he was inspired to adapt to the needs of the students before him and the needs of the time viz: his later students such as Hayashi-Sensei were taught differently from his earlier ones. It seems to be part of the intrinsic quality of Reiki to adapt to context and environment.

So here are some questions:
Agreed we need authentic context, that gives solidity to practice, but does being authentic to Reiki mean we should stick to the early twentieth century Japanese context and give everything Japanese labels? Work only in the ways that Usui did or do we update and adapt? Does that help or hinder the student? Bring clarity or clutter? Who is it serving - the teacher or the student? Usui gave useful techniques Japanese names because – well he was Japanese, teaching in Japan.

Hmmm. I always return to the question, what would Usui-Sensei have done in 21st Century? Usui was a living holder of wisdom, not just a powerful Japanese Reiki Master Teacher/healer, but an enlightened being - a man of profound depth and utter simplicity.

Isn't the point to live in this wisdom too?

With love and respect, Chris Deefholts              Back

  Living Reiki Wisdom ©1995-2007 C Deefholts

                              Last Updated Apr 2007