Note: this article has been originally published on A State of Mind few years ago. Here on Reiki Paths, today I publish a slightly updated version.
I’ve mentioned Reiki few times on A State of Mind already, but I’ve never made an entire article dedicated to this subject. Today, I wish to fix that problem, and provide you with every basic information that you need in order to start your own adventure with Reiki. To start, I have to say, that Reiki is something that I recommend to everyone, no matter of his or hers religion, beliefs, and social status.
Let’s start with the simplest thing – what is Reiki? As much as the answer to this question is complex, for now I’ll stick to the most general and basic explanation. What Reiki Paths deals with is the “traditional” Reiki that has three degrees, four symbols and five spiritual guidelines (sometimes called “Five Reiki Rules”). This method’s full name is Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki.
Reiki is a method of working with spiritual energy. This energy or force is called Reiki, as well the method of working with this energy can be called Reiki. We use to say that “I channel Reiki”, and this is correct. Because this way, we know what kind of energy we’re working with. The word Reiki itself can be translated as “universal spiritual energy”.
Reiki is a practice, into which you need to be initiated. You can become self-attuned, but remember, that Mikao Usui, the creator of the system, lived in XIX/XX-century Japan, and he was a Buddhist. And that he spend give or take 20 years until he achieved his Satori (very “give or take”, as research proved throughout the years), and learned Reiki on his own. Initiation, so called attunement, is much faster way of becoming a Reiki practitioner.
You may find a lot of self-attunement CD’s and books and instructions. Please, do not be mislead. 99.9% people living modern lives in modern civilization cannot attune themselves. They need someone else to attune them, really. And it’s not really about the money, because it’s possible to find a teacher to attune you for free.It’s just the way things are – the attunement is a very energetic process ;).
Reiki was re-discovered by Mikao Usui (1864-1926), in Japan, at the beginning of the XX century. Usui was a Buddhist practitioner, and as the legend says, after 21 days of meditation on Mount Kurama (or Kuri Yama), he self-attuned himself to Reiki energy, and he begin sharing his knowledge with others. His knowledge was passed to hundreds if not thousands of people, and few dozens of Reiki teachers. One of those teachers, Chujiro Hayashi, passed his knowledge to Hawayo Takata, and she brought Reiki to United States.
From United States, Reiki expanded into almost every corner of the world, and today, it’s very easy to find a Reiki teacher that can initiate you into this practice. Of course, this is a very short version of Reiki history, but basically, that’s all that you need to know. Reiki is a system that is somehow related to Qigong and Buddhist practices, and it has something in common with Shinto religion, too. But while some relationship is clear, it’s important to say that Reiki is neither taoistic nor buddhist practice at its core. And, you don’t need to be a Buddhist to become a Reiki practitioner, too.
As for the energy itself, it existed from the very beginning. And it was often used in Buddhist medicine practices, in Taoist practices, in Qigong, and in other parts of the world. The names are different, but the energy is the same.
There is a version of Reiki history that says Usui was a Christian priest on Christian university in Japan. And that he studies in United States and that he traveled all across the world, searching for his Satori. This story is not true. Some people say that most probably, the story was made up by Takata, in order to persuade Americans to Reiki.
Reiki is a universal energy. It doesn’t matter who you are, what do you believe in etc. If you wish to become a Reiki practitioner, all you have to do is to find a teacher that will give you attunements. You may find a teacher that is willing to initiate you for free, but most of the time, it costs money. Some people say that there must be this energy exchange going on – and giving something money in exchange for a service, is an energy exchange. Right now I think that “energy exchange” is just a New Age talk, and in reality you’re paying not for Reiki, but for teacher’s time, his knowledge, skills, some food, taxes and bills :).
Reiki initiation, or attunement, is quite simple. As I understand it from my own practice as a teeacher, the teacher channels Reiki to you, and Reiki attunes your physical and spiritual body to channel Reiki by yourself. Each attunement takes give or take 10-20 minutes. So it’s not long. Oh, and during initiation, you can keep your clothes on, you don’t need to pray to any entity or deity, there are no additional attributes. You just sit, relax, and the teacher initiates you. So, it’s very normal, very safe, and not very extraordinary.
Rates vary from teacher to teacher. You can become initiated for $100, for $250 if it’s first degree, similar price applies to second degree, and third degree’s price can be anything from $400 to $2000.
I recommend individual courses, because this way, you can ask more questions to your teacher, and get more detailed answers. A course takes from one to two days, yet some teachers expand it for a whole week, too. And of course, your attunement should take place face-to-face. Most advanced Reiki teachers agree, that distant attunements are not full attunements, and they’re just a waste of money. Therefore, distant initiation is not recommended.
During my own initiation, there were no fireworks, no deities, no spirits. Actually, I felt quite relaxed and nicely grounded. Yet I’ve heard stories of teachers who initiate in the name of Jesus Christ. Well, remember that Reiki is not connected to any religion. It’s a technique that uses universal spiritual energy. It can be associated with Holy Spirit, or Chi, or God, but it’s energy, and it’s a method. It’s not related to any religion, but it can be used by believers of any religion.
I’ve mentioned that there are three degrees in Reiki practice. First, Second, Third (some teachers divide the third degree into 3a and 3b, first for 3rd degree, second type for teacher training). Now, let’s discuss these degrees a bit.
With each degree, the energy within you flows better, and you channel Reiki easier. It is a gentle process of Reiki development. I do not advise taking all three degrees at once, even if the teacher advises that. Wait 6 months between first and second degree, and wait at least a year or two between second and third degree. This way, you make sure that you won’t be hit hard by the cleansing period.
Reiki flows better with time. From my own practice, I can say there’s a huge difference in the energy flow, and your entire life after few months of work. The more you work with Reiki, the more changes you see and the better the energy flows. Therefore, do not be disappointed if nothing extra-ordinary happens after few months after your first degree. The fun part begins later :).
Reiki is a healing practice – but it heals not just your physical body, but also your mind, your soul, your emotions. It helps you work out your negative mind patterns and core images. What can it gives you? A lot of things, I would say:
And this list is just a short selection of things that Reiki gives you. It can literally change your life – for better, if you allow it. If you have more questions about Reiki, ask them in the comments, and I will be happy to answer them.
If you wish to know more, here are three books that are a mandatory reading for those who wish to start their Reiki path.
Definitely yes! In my opinion, everyone should receive attunement to first degree, at least. Second and third degree are paths for more advanced spiritual growth, but first degree is meant for you, and those close to you. You can heal yourself, and heal others, and begin your life anew – with, or without spirituality. Some things may change, and some things may remain the same, but growth is the reason why we are here.
There is an argument among certain people, that they wish not to try Reiki, or that they don’t want to be initiated, because it won’t be a learning experience. But know this, believe that you need to learn everything on your own is false, and true at the same time.. Because you’re never alone, there are people here, who can help you get this “flash” first, so you can learn things later. Reiki initiation and general Reiki practice is such flash – you get the seed, and you can watch it grow as you like it. Reiki is very individual practice – you start it with teacher’s help, but everything else is your own, personal Reiki gnosis.
The more people receive Reiki, the better this world will be. That’s all. Now, is there anything more that you wish to know about Reiki? Ask your questions in the comments below this article, and I’ll be happy to answer them.
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Are you a Reiki practitioner? Or maybe you plan to be? Share your Reiki experiences with other readers, please, and write other basic things if I’ve missed them. Thank you!