How do we teach Reiki and
what do we teach?
Written by Chris
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
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
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