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Lesson 2: The Origin and History of Reiki
Reiki is best described as energy, and the practice of Reiki as the art of healing is done through our own natural, divinely given energy resources. We heal ourselves using what’s already within us. This energy may be compared to the Ki energy of Japan or Chi of China, the Prana of Asian origins as well as the spirit of the Holy Ghost in Christian or Western religions. The word itself, “Reiki,” is Japanese in origin and is a dual-part term coming from Japanese words “Rei” which means “universal,” and the word “Ki (mentioned earlier)” which means “energy.” This literally translates into “universal energy,” which is the way the term is describes here in this training.
Since this ancient, spiritual healing methods of Reiki have comes from generations past, many of the specific teachings have been lost. In ancient times, stories, lessons, medicines, and historical accounts were not written down or recorded, but rather passed on by word of mouth. The art of Reiki is no different, and over time, things may have been lost without a written record in place. However, the modern-day interpretation and rediscovery of what we call Reiki has been credited to Dr. Mikao Usui, who also constructed the newly accepted name of this ancient healing art.
Upon research, it was claimed that Usui was a Christian monk who had found once again the art of Reiki and began to formulate his own methods of its use. Other written accounts of history assert that Dr. Usui had come down with cholera and was hospitalized from the disease, when he had a near-death, spiritual experience. Profoundly able to get up and continue living after having been struck by cholera, Dr. Usui decided he would devote his life to unlocking the spiritual histories and secrets of his ancestors. Shortly after, he committed himself to the study of Zen Buddhism (a religion he was brought up with) in a monastery, where he found numerous references to an ancient art of healing.
What was the name of this healing art? From his own experience on a mountaintop, receiving the light from God that he believed was given to the Buddha and Jesus to heal, Dr. Mikao Usui fashioned the name himself: Reiki, the universal life force.
It was with the start of Mikao Usui’s teachings, which were written and passed down to students, which brought the practice into the widely known and accepted form it has taken on today: a process by which master instructs student. It has also laid the foundations for further, in-depth teachings and in creating other Reiki Masters. In other words, Dr. Usui developed the modern-day process of becoming a master of Reiki, and encouraging the practice of passing down one’s Reiki knowledge onto students, who can in turn, become Reiki masters themselves and continue the cycle.
In this way, the art of Reiki can be more accurately recorded and understood, as well as carried on to others.
Let’s go back to Dr. Usui’s formation of the word “Reiki” by using the components “Rei” and “ki.” The word “Rei,” which is symbolic of our partially Divine nature (i.e. having been created in the image of God, or a higher power), also indicated our spiritual attunement. It represents how in-touch we are with our spiritual senses, our mind and body. When we are conscious of our state of self, we are using our passed-down Divine wisdom to understand our human nature. This is what we refer to when we use “Rei” to symbolize an “all-knowing” power.
The capacity to heal (which will explored in detail in later chapters) comes from one’s resources of ki, or energy. Having an elevated level of this type of energy, which fuels our enthusiasm and functionality for life, means that we are healthier; we are more ready to stave off disease, to make better decisions, and stay in touch with our emotional state of being. It is truly astounding what our will to live can help us achieve. Having more lively life energy makes life itself more pleasant and easier to navigate, as well as makes it easier to ward off illnesses that are both physical and mental. When we feel healthy and happy, it signifies that our “flow” of energy is high. We are feeling good!
What lowers our ki energy, and disrupts the free-flowing good vibes within us? Having unhealthy lifestyle habits – these bad habits are as common as dealing with a tremendous amount of stress, making harmful health decisions either with food or other consumed goods, and ignoring our emotional needs. Think of how often these choices and situations affect us on a daily basis!
However, using our Divine energy, we are able to heal ourselves. Even when it seems our routines and our lives have become too much to handle, we have it within us to repair. This is the overarching theme of the art of Reiki as a healing method. It generates a comforting love that is genuine, unconditional, and endless. This love will serve as your support system, and encourage your growth as you heal and become a healthier, happier person. Tuning into this individual power brings us together with our surroundings, with all the living things around us, and by doing this it brings us a greater sense of peace. Reiki restores the balance to a world where we have forgotten how to live sincerely with our living counterparts, animal plant and human.
This is why the healing of Reiki is so profound; it encompasses all of life, and brings a harmony that no outside force can destroy if we remember to respect and preserve it.