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To change or not to change, that is the question!


Written by Chris Deefholts


Well Im referring to the material we have been taught and how we have been taught, and this question comes up more often than realised, partly because Reiki itself has undergone so much revision, often with quite unrelated thinking and energy signatures grafted on without apparent logic and at times, with commercial concerns uppermost.


So should we just go ahead and change things then? The first question we can ask ourselves is: What is the motive, the intention behind that?


There is no point in changing something that works just for the sake of it. It is important not to change a structure without deep contemplation as there are reasons for why things are taught in a particular way. Too may have thrown out the baby with the bath water!
On the other hand, the fundamental experience does not change, and realisation comes about in as many different ways as there are people.

So then, accessibility is also important. As students, we need to understand what we are being taught, not just in our being, but in our minds too. It needs to be fully integrated into our daily experience,
and not isolated in some oriental compartment of our mind.
For example, one of the traditions that Usui was essentially rooted in was Buddhist. The Buddha did not teach in Japanese but Pali; his teachings eventually migrated to China, were retranslated, and then brought over to Japan, receiving more refinement and interpretation. We are going to find this pattern in any kind of living sacred teaching.

Change of expression is the nature of the beast.

The teacher holds the energy, but out of compassion will usually reach out to the student to some degree. Some people can learn completely in the Silence, others struggle. I believe that is why the Reiki symbols were given out in the later years to Hayashi Sensei and others - to help bridge a gap.

So the question that arises for me is: How may I best serve my students? What is their context? Is my material relevant to them, will they find this a useful form of scaffolding whilst the house is being built? The inner work does not change but the outer form may - as evidenced in Usui-Sensei's adaptation of what he was taught.
Usui's students were familiar with the meridian system as a point of reference for energy work. So he used that. Most of my students are much more familiar with the Indian nadi (chakra) system as a point of reference and so I use that (whilst educating them about the meridian system). Does that invalidate Reiki? I believe not. Indeed, Reiki has energetic roots in Buddhism, and we must remember that even if Buddhists in Japan have forgotten it, the Buddha was Indian and steeped in Indian structures. As time has moved on some of the outer teaching has been dropped or changed, become more obscured at times.

Reiki has evolved, and will doubtless continue to do so. It is our collective responsibility to be faithful to the wisdom inherent in Reiki and to honour that by practising and living it day by day in that way it will still be Reiki, whatever outer changes manifest.

These are, I feel, important considerations for anyone approaching a teacher for training as well as those contemplating a teaching role.

With love and respect, Chris Deefholts Back

Living Reiki Wisdom 1995-2007 Chris Deefholts

Last Updated April 2007