A guest post by Ruth Hinks
Ruth Hinks at the Jikiden Reiki training with Tadao Yamaguchi in Edinburgh
“As far back as I can remember, I have always sought balance and harmony in my life and nurtured a strong desire to, ‘make things better’ for my nearest and dearest. Whether calming babies or returning to flight, birds stunned against the window pane, being able to help others has been motivating and rewarding for me.
However, in recent years, I had a growing feeling that there was more – more depth and breadth – to whatever it was I could do. A feeling that I was on ‘the cusp of discovery’, but had no idea what it was. Sometimes it really felt as if I could help someone with a headache or a neckache, but other times I wondered if it were my imagination or just wishful thinking?
I’d heard about Reiki: been given insights and even a book recommendation by complete strangers as well as reading books that I’d come across quite by chance on my own. With this information, I realised that what I was trying to do was to connect with Universal Energy to help others get better, but I questioned whether I was on the right track, as any healing outcomes lacked consistency or confidence on my part. I needed guidance.
A serendipitous visit to The Eastgate Theatre in Peebles put Gisela Stewart’s flyer about Jikiden Reiki in my path. Interest and curiosity piqued, I found on Gisela’s website that Jikiden means, ‘directly transmitted or passed down from one’s teacher’. So, in the case of Jikiden Reiki, there is a direct lineage from the founder, Mikao Usui. The Jikiden Reiki being taught today is as close as can be, in clarity and simplicity, to the Reiki taught by Usui Sensei, Hayashi Sensei and Chiyoko Yamaguchi. This I found very appealing. And then, the exciting news that Tadao Yamaguchi, whom I’d read about in my research, was coming to Edinburgh to teach Shoden and Okuden. If ever there were a case of, ‘The Master appears when the student is ready’, this felt like it! I contacted Gisela straight away to secure my place to study with Mr Yamaguchi.
Next, I saw a portable treatment/ therapy table for sale in the small ads at my local supermarket. Another gentle shove along the path!
The four day training course with Tadao Yamaguchi in Japanese, with translation by the delightful Dai Shihan (Teacher) Rika Tanaka, was a wonderful experience. Hungry for this new knowledge that I’d been searching for, I soaked up everything like a dry sponge. The others on the course, many of whom were repeating or had come to Jikiden via Western Reiki, were very warm and open people – their energy was palpable. It was wonderful to be in the same room with so many like-minded people and I felt instantly at ease.
It struck me how accessible and ‘everyday’ Tadao Yamaguchi made Jikiden Reiki feel. With stories of how his Mother, Chiyoko Yamaguchi, gave healing to all members of the family when he was a small boy, he illustrated how Reiki was essentially the natural First Aid. There is very little ‘theatre’ to Jikiden Reiki – just immediate, effective help flowing in response to compassionate intention.
Leaving the training sessions each day, I felt on a natural high: truly alive with a raised vibration. Centred, grounded and with improved balance, I felt better equipped to cope with anything and everything. It really gave me confidence when Tadao Sensei said that it didn’t matter how long someone had been giving Jikiden Reiki, the healing energy flowing from a newly qualified practitioner is the same as from one with many years experience. What does increase with regular practice and experience is one’s ability to sense the levels of ‘Byosen’, the build up of toxins which are the likely cause of dis-ease in the body.
Since training with Tadao Yamaguchi in August/ September 2012, I’ve felt privileged and able to help all members of my family, including our Border Collie who comes to me daily. I’ve also been able to help close friends who’ve been open to, ‘give it a go’ and have been delighted with the positive feedback.
Distance healing, learned at Okuden level, has proved very helpful also: from treating a headche in the U.S., to easing a tender coccyx incurred snowboarding in the French Alps! I’ve been able to help calm agitation in palliative care and help to bring a sense of peace to a relative at distance as he experienced the passing of his Mother. It’s amazing to be able to feel that you can help someone even though you can’t be with them in person.
Closer to home, my Husband has been the recipient of Jikiden Reiki healing on a regular daily basis. Just 3 months after I’d studied with Tadao Sensei, he slipped on the ice, falling badly and rupturing his patella tendon. Surgery was required to repair the knee and he was in a full plaster cast, then a high-tech brace for almost 3 months. During this time it has been wonderful to be able to help reduce the inflammation and ease the pain for him and for me, to feel, beyond doubt, that I really am assisting the healing process.
At the time of writing this, he is just recovering from a second operation to remove the wires from his knee. He is now able to walk without any means of knee support. With physiotherapy and continuing Jikiden Reiki treatments he hopes soon to dispense with the crutches.
In my experience there are no down sides: Jikiden Reiki benefits both the practitioner and the recipient of the healing energy. My own health and sense of well-being have improved and I feel more calm and less easily stressed. The more people who learn Jikiden Reiki, as is Tadao Yamaguchi’s Life Mission, the better for everyone in their community.
Tadao Yamaguchi is coming over from Japan to Edinburgh to teach Jikiden Reiki in September. For more information about this unique opportunity to learn Reiki directly from Mr Yamaguchi and to benefit from his close connection to the original teachings and his extensive experience, please contact Gisela through the contact form of this website. For training in London, contact Rika Tanaka.
Further reading: Thoughts on learning Jikiden Reiki from Tadao Yamaguchi
Dare I admit it? (I’m shy about this ): After a week of becoming fluent at hearing Japanese (but not understanding much unless translated), I have started teaching myself Japanese with the help of an Oxford University language course I got for Christmas two years ago. Will I stick with it? I hope so. In an already busy and committed life, and with my memory letting me down left right and centre, this has proven too hard before. Perhaps the effort of memorising a new language will offer a cure to my memory problems? (Thinking neuroplasticity here, and forever the optimist!)
Anyway, my language course tells me (and I’ve heard this before) that “you won’t hear Japanese people use first names often, except within the family or between close friends.” How generous of Tadao sensei (and formerly Chiyoko sensei) to treat their students as family. I love the community building aspect of Jikiden Reiki. From each Jikiden Reiki seminar I have attended (and that’s quite a few since I first discovered Jikiden in 2006), I have come home having made new wonderful and lasting friendships. I also love the humility of a teacher who keeps pointing his students to the potential within themselves and knows that this can be realised with the help of reiju and a little dedicated effort.
Anyone can do Reiki
This is what Tadao Yamaguchi sees as Mikao Usui‘s legacy. Even beginners can use Reiki successfully. Tadao sensei’s mother, Chiyoko Yamaguchi, who had learned Reiki from Chujiro Hayashi at the tender age of 17 and had practised on a daily basis for over 65 years, used to stress that the Reiki coming from her and the Reiki coming from you and me is the same energy, and that perhaps the only advantage an experienced practitioner has is that they may feel the body’s healing response a little more easily. At the recent training in Edinburgh, Mr Yamaguchi emphasized that with lots of practice, any practitioner can get to this level within half a year or so. To me, this feels both humbling and incredibly matter of fact, the reality of someone who deeply appreciates Reiki, having grown up nurtured by it from before birth, but to whom energy healing is also as natural as water and air. No need to make a fuss or be all mysterious. Since in essence, Reiki is completely natural, in harmony with nature, and everyone’s birthright. Therefore, from a purely Reiki point of view, there are also no reasons not to give Reiki. The ability to do so is completely natural, too, and part of being human. Most of us simply need a gentle reminder of what is already there.
One of my students commented that training with Tadao Yamaguchi to her felt much more ‘serious’ than attending a seminar with Amanda Jayne or myself (the content of Jikiden Reiki seminars always being the same of course, regardless of who is teaching). It’s true, Tadao sensei definitely has gravitas. But also so much lightness and humour. Attending training with Tadao Yamaguchi and Rika Tanaka, in my experience, is always highly instructive, and also so much fun.
I also like the fact that Tadao sensei is so dedicated to transporting the
Japanese values and attitudes behind Reiki practice
In Japan, the student teacher relationship lasts a life-time, and in 1930s Japan, students would meet up with their teachers once a month if they could. They also repeated the seminars several times, to consolidate their understanding of the content and to receive further reiju. (Tadao Yamaguchi has many photographs of the early seminars with Chujiro Hayashi which prove this). The concept of repeating the same training can at first seem strange to students from Western countries. However, practitioners who have done so invariably comment how much they had missed first time round and how their understanding has deepened.
As the feedback from the Jikiden training with Tadao Yamaguchi keeps coming in, I find myself thinking about what it takes to be a student of Reiki. The founder of the practice, Mikao Usui, deliberately placed himself on the second rung of the achievement ladder, there always being more room for growth and development. And really, how could one ever be anything other than a student of Reiki? Nonetheless, I have a lot of respect for teachers and practitioners of long standing experience with westernised Reiki (sometimes 20 years or more) who have the humility to go back to the Japanese roots of the practice, and it’s always nice for me to hear when they find the experience rewarding.
Tadao Yamaguchi will be a guest speaker at the Mindful Peace Forum in Dundee on Friday.
” Wonderful, thorough, clear, transparent training/teachings withTadaoYamaguchi.”
“Thank you again for arranging the seminar with Tadao. It was very well run and I felt I learnt a tremendous amount. However I think there was so much to take in I also lost a lot. When he next comes I think I need to repeat so that I can catch up on what I missed so please keep me posted when you arrange another visit.“
“Thank you for a marvellous seminar. I was fizzing with Reiki, thank you Mr. Yamaguchi.”
“Had a wonderful 4 days Gisela…..thanks very much for organising it all very much appreciated. Hopefully Tadao will teach again in Scotland???“
Photo credits: Thank you to Katrin Brauer for kind permission to use some of her lovely photographs taken at the end of this year’s Jikiden Reiki training with Tadao Yamaguchi in Edinburgh
“Reiki ~ the most natural thing in the world.” This is how I would summarise the essence of Jikiden Reiki and the jikiden approach to Reiki.
Passing on the teachings of Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, Reiki is seen as essential, perfect human nature, in harmony with creation. Reiki as a healing method and as a spiritual path helps find the way back to this pure state. Step by step ‘as if peeling thin layers of paper’. Physically, Reiki energises the body so that the natural cleansing processes can function optimally.
Having grown up with Reiki from an early age, for the Yamaguchis Reiki is as natural as water and air, yet something deeply appreciated. This is the sense I get yet again while rereading Tadao Yamaguchi’s book ‘Light on the origins of Reiki’.
Related reading: Is Reiki physical or spiritual?
"Reiki will conquer the world and heal its inhabitants as well as the Earth itself." Mikao Usui
A lesson in limits for Jikiden Reiki practitioners
Guest blog by Elaine Rainey
At a recent UN High Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness, discussion turned to how the concept of Gross National Happiness (an innovative economic model originally developed in Bhutan, a Buddhist country with a longstanding tradition of mindfulness) could be applied to the rest of the world. Discussion inevitably turned to the difficulties faced by undertaking such a task on such a grand scale.
At this point, famous environmentalist Hunter Lovins took to the stage and addressed the audience with a parable about a humble hummingbird. She said:
When the forest was on fire and all of the animals were fleeing around her, the hummingbird was ferrying droplets of water in her tiny beak, one by one, to try and staunch the flames. “What are you doing?” her distinguished animal colleagues asked. “The best I can”, replied the hummingbird.
As Reiki practitioners, we are armed with such a wonderful healing resource in the palm of our hands. By nature, we tend to be a compassionate bunch who are sensitive to the suffering of others. The desire to help and to ease the suffering of others is often strong. Starting out with the best of intentions, we can soon find ourselves overwhelmed and burnt out. An image of a stressed out Reiki practitioner providing distant treatments to many people simultaneously at the end of a long day springs to mind.
So, what can we do to avoid this and to deliver a sustained and healthy level of service to others through our Reiki practice?
The answer, from a Jikiden Reiki perspective, is one step at a time, one person at a time. We are taught to start with ourselves, our family and friends, then moving out into the community around us. We are not taught methods for sending distant Reiki to many people simultaneously, or to specific areas or disaster situations. Just one person at a time.
I remember, at a Jikiden Reiki seminar, a Reiki practitioner asked Tadao Yamaguchi, the Head of the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Japan, for advice on someone they were treating distantly for a serious illness. This person lived many, many miles away and the practitioner did not know them personally. This practitioner was actually asking about specifics of the treatment approach, but Tadao Yamaguchi politely asked “Why are you treating this person so far away?
A fruitful discussion developed between the participating practitioners, resulting in a contact being made with a Jikiden Reiki practioner who lived locally to the person needing help.The point was not about never sending distant Reiki to people we do not know, or to those far afield. It was about keeping things simple, being practical and drawing on the resources of others if required.
This is something I personally value very much about Jikiden Reiki. The approach is very humble, straightforward, simple, grounded and manageable. One person at a time, being relaxed, doing the ‘best we can’.
You can follow the progress of the UN High Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness, and the thoughful write-ups by Claudia Chender MacLellan, at http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace
Connect with Elaine on facebook: @Jikiden Reiki Treatments
Photo credit: Zlatica Retzler (many thanks!)
Related reading: Well, how did I get into Reiki, part 1
I love it when every piece of the jigsaw fits. This is my experience with my Reiki practice. If you saw my cv, you’d be surprised at what may seem like a steep number of blind alleys and cul-de-sacs. Threads I’ve pursued for a while and then discarded. Or have I? The last thread before Reiki was particularly hard to let go of and cost me many tears. I was passionate about aspects of my research into Scottish Folklore at the School of Scottish Studies, and although if felt right to give it up for the sake of bringing up our children, this was a painful process that only feels complete now that I have made my peace with the fact that someone who could have given crucial support chose not to.
And with hindsight what a blessing that was, as the academic career I had dreamed of as a young woman would have deflected me from where I can perhaps contribute the most. When I first learned Reiki from one of the first teachers in Scotland who had trained in Reiki in Japan (in a westernised form) in the 1980s, I instantly fell in love with this simple healing practice and had sometimes remarkable treatment experiences. So much so that my Reiki Master commented he thought that with Reiki I had really hit on my path. Eight years later this feels more true than ever. My first Reiki teacher having gone abroad soon after teaching me the first two levels, I was then left looking out for a new Reiki Master, someone who I could fully trust to take the next step into the unknown with, as Reiki in its Western incarnation seemed a little mysterious to me and I had not yet found its more down-to-earth Japanese counterpart. A year or so of fortnightly meetings (I cannot be sure now, all I remember for certain is that I became a Western Reiki Master in early 2006) taught me to fully open my mind and my heart.
While I loved Reiki practice and had good experiences, I always keenly sensed what seemed to me like inconsistencies and contradictions in Reiki as it has become so well known in the West. And most of all, I longed for more insight into the Japanese roots of the practice, and as soon as I realised that these had just become accessible to Westerners through the Yamaguchi family, I jumped at the first opportunity that presented itself to train with Tadao Yamaguchi in Duesseldorf in 2006. And almost everything else that I have done or experienced before my encounter with Jikiden Reiki, be it teaching, journalism, media studies, exhibition interpretation, research, my family background or my psychological wiring all seem to come together to support me on my mission to make Japanese Reiki more accessible to the public. Even my early fascination with theorists such as Walter Benjamin or artists such as Brecht and Eisenstein comes in handy now, as I feel that their theories on building context from fragments have helped me grasp the potential of social media quickly and easily.
It’s not at all that it’s always been easy or that it is always easy now. Rather it is the deeply anchored sense that I am exactly where I want to be that sustains me in times when many people appreciate what I do as well as in those when it seems as if noone else cared. It simply does not matter, and when temporarily the going has been tough there is always my inner knowing that with Reiki I am on a path that is right for me.
Frank Arjava Petter’s workshop in Edinburgh
The incredible strength that comes with being aligned with a meaningful purpose, for me (and using me to demonstrate), was beautifully illustrated by an exercise we did last week-end at Frank Arjava Petter’s Japanese Reiki techniques workshop.
Or, in the words of the Dalai Lama: “When you do what you love, synchronicity starts happening. And because you enjoy what you’re doing, there’s less need to give up when your expectations aren’t met straight away. You have the will and the faith to keep going.” The lesson I learned from organising this particular workshop is that when I let go and trust, things fall into place as if by themselves.
View some photos of the workshop with Frank Arjava Petter here
Related reading: Well, how did I get into Reiki, part 1
Photo credit: Jikiden Reiki practitioner Zlatica Retzler (many thanks!)
Once in a while, quite often actually to be honest, I ask myself what it is that I value so much about Jikiden Reiki. There are many answers to this question. Today I want to focus on the power of being ordinary. Of simply being yourself. (more…)