Why I’m so grateful to have Jikiden Reiki in my life
A guest post by Elaine Rainey
AFTER COMING TO THE END of a lengthy busy period at work, I’ve been dedicating some time to long and luxurious Reiki self-treatment. For me, it’s a rare treat to set aside exclusive time for such things and it feels wonderful. As I place my hands on my body, I can feel the tension easing in my shoulders, the heat building up in my body and something gently softening in my chest. I’m feeling so grateful to have Reiki in my life, making me feel so good.
When I look back through my diary at what I have achieved over this past few months, I’ve surprised myself at how I have managed to navigate this with my mind and body remaining in such a good place. It reminds me of author and film producer Jeff Brown’s words:
“There is a time to adventure heartily into new possibilities, but there is also a need for quiet integration time on the self-creation journey. We can have all the peak experiences we want but the real work happens between the peaks, while laying down and integrating on the valley floor. Growers are inch worms. Lasting transformation is an incremental process, one soul-step at a time. This may frustrate us, but it’s the only way to craft an awareness that is authentic and sustainable.”
Jeff’s words made me realise that this is exactly what I have been doing over this past few months, slowly but surely keeping Reiki integrated into my life, whenever and wherever I could, in the spaces between the busyness. And it has paid off with a level of productivity that I didn’t think would be possible a few months ago, when I looked out towards the daunting list of tasks that lay ahead of me.
The purpose of this story is not to advocate Reiki as another ‘tool’ to help us become more efficient, productive versions of ourselves. It is simply to express gratitude to a simple yet powerful practice that, if committed to over time, can transform our lives.
Jikiden Reiki training has been one of the best investments that I have ever made for my health and wellbeing. I am so grateful for the many ways that my Reiki practice has changed my life. For me, however, the most wonderful change has been to the level of contentment I now feel. This is not a kind of contentment that succumbs to the ebb and flow of life’s experiences. This kind of contentment has resilience, it’s authentic and unwavering. It’s the kind that has slowly crept up on me while I’ve been faithfully placing my hands on my body, night after night, in dedicated, regular practice.”
Elaine Rainey works as an ecologist and Jikiden Reiki practitioner and junior teacher based in Scotland, UK. Jikiden Reiki is a traditional style of Japanese Reiki, making a strong effort to keep the practice as close to its original form as possible. Elaine works with fellow Reiki practitioners and teachers to promote the benefits of Reiki, to support others through their healing journey and to encourage people to learn this wonderful healing art for themselves.
In September 2013, you will be able to learn authentic Reiki with Yamaguchi Sensei , the head of the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Kyoto, right here in Scotland. Until 2000, this level of in-depth understanding of Reiki practice had been locked inside Japan, with the first Westerners training in Kyoto in 2000, and it was only from the early 2000s that Tadao Yamaguchi started travelling to many Western countries to spread Reiki in its original Japanese form.
Jikiden Reiki Training with Tadao Yamaguchi in Scotland
Edinburgh 6th September – 9th September 2013
If interested in this incredible training opportunity contact Gisela Stewart.
A guest blog by Elaine Rainey
When Mikao Usui founded the method of Reiki Ryoho in the 1920s, he was determined not to keep it for his own benefit but to share it with society. He believed that Reiki should be made accessible to everyone, to help people improve their physical wellbeing, peace of mind and happiness*. This was an unusual position to hold in a culture where keeping such things within the family (in order to protect the wealth that could be generated from it) was common.
If we are to carry on the legacy of Mikao Usui, what are our options for bringing Reiki to society at large, so that all can benefit? What steps can we take to avoid the pitfalls that might discourage the general population from giving Reiki a try?
If we consider the mindfulness movement, pioneers such as Jon Kabat-Zinn have integrated mindfulness into the mainstream with so much success that it is now widely used in a variety of settings, from hospitals to prisons to staff wellness programmes within large multi-national companies. It has taken decades to achieve such success, but if we look back to the formative years, it becomes clear that the mindfulness pioneers had developed a winning formula from which to work.
The Editorial within the latest edition of Buddhist journal Shambhala Sun contains a useful insight into how the pioneers of the Western mindfulness movement presented their practice in the early days, in order to remove potential barriers that would prevent it from filtering into the mainstream. They focused on communicating the following three principles that they hoped would make the practice as accepted, universal and helpful as possible:
1. It is secular (available to all, regardless of belief).
2. It is evidence-based (validated by personal experience and sound science).
3. It is beneficial to our lives right now (to our health, happiness, families, society etc.).
If we consider these three principles in the context of Reiki, it becomes clear that our goal is arguably very much the same and that we have much to learn from how the mindfulness movement has approached the task that we as a community now have ahead of us.
1. Reiki is secular: Mikao Usui stated in the Kokai Denju that “all living things possess this incredible ability”. Once trained, anyone can practice Reiki, regardless of their belief system.
2. Reiki is evidence-based: Small but reputable studies on the benefits of Reiki are emerging (see http://reikiinmedicine.org/medical-papers/) but we have yet to see good quality, large scale studies demonstrating its efficacy. However, this should not leave us disheartened. As a community, we have many success stories to tell. Such testimonies may not be appropriate for convincing the medical community of the efficacy of Reiki but for the general population, a well-articulated testimony from someone they trust can have much more impact than a piece of published research ever could. Numerous testimonials have been published showing the different ways in which Reiki has helped people. For example, you can read about Reiki for stress management at http://on.fb.me/VlvfB8, Reiki with Autism at http://bit.ly/11f5s4z or Reiki in acute trauma at http://on.fb.me/WMDc3z.
3. Reiki is beneficial to our lives right now: Once we learn Reiki, we can use it right away to support ourselves, our friends, families and communities. The energy is the same whether we have been practicing for years or for just a few days. Being a beginner should not be seen as a barrier to efficacy. Once we have Reiki in our lives, it will always be at hand when we need it, helping us to cope with whatever challenges life throws at us.
In continuing the legacy of Mikao Usui, we all have an important part to play. Whether Reiki stays exclusively within our hearts, shining out towards others and speaking to them without words; whether the impact stays exclusively within our families or whether it extends to the setting up of research projects within our local communities or further afield; we are all contributing to positive change, to the changing of hearts and minds in such a way that Reiki will one day be considered as truly integrated into society at large.
* Taken from the Kokai Denju, a rare interview with Mikao Usui (the founder of Reiki practice) about the system of Reiki.
Elaine has been a Jikiden Reiki practitioner for a number of years and has recently become a Jikiden Reiki teacher (Shihan Kaku).
You can connect with her on her facebook pages ‘Jikiden Reiki Treatments’ and ‘Song of Reiki’
I’m amazed what even just three or four Reiki treatments can sometimes achieve. A month ago I saw a client three times in quick succession, who had been frequently ill for over two years and despite regular check-ups with her doctor and repeat medication, unable to get to the root cause of her problem. Tired of being ill almost constantly, she was willing to commit to the three sessions in quick succession that I had recommended.
We were going to reassess the situation after the initial boost, but it turned out that this was all the help she needed. Usually, chronic scenarios require a little more patience and commitment. However, this lady left feeling better after just three sessions. I am convinced that she would not have had the same results with the same number of treatments if given at weekly or fortnightly intervals. In my experience, to maximise chances of improving long-standing conditions, consecutive treatments are key.
In Jikiden Reiki seminars, when talking about the history of Reiki, we teach that Chiyoko Yamaguchi and her sister Katsue went out into the community for treatment on consecutive days, and working in this way fits well with the concept of byosen, a way of observing the body’s response to Reiki treatment that is a corner stone of Jikiden Reiki practice. While byosen is strong, get back to the problem area as soon as possible (not a week later, as is the common expectation). It seems (from a discussion I followed on LinkedIn), that one of Mrs Takata’s students, Virginia Samdahl, also encouraged working in consecutive sessions. While substantial commitment is required from both practitioner and client, experience shows that using Reiki in this way is more likely to get the desired results.
On the related subject of chronic pain, internationally respected author and champion of integrative healthcare, Pamela Miles, recently refused to be impressed with a 40% improvement after Reiki treatment, suspecting that even better results might have been achievable with a few more sessions. In my opinion, based on treatment experience and my understanding of Jikiden Reiki, people who commit to an initial program of consecutive sessions or sessions scheduled in quick succession, can sometimes improve considerably. Learning Reiki themselves at this point, they can then self-treat for maintenance. If only there were a way of funding blocks of let’s say four to six sessions in quick succession, perhaps to be repeated once or twice (as required), so that more people suffering from chronic conditions could experience this type of shift.
You may also like to read:
Why the one-hour-a-week treatment model may not always be what you need
Check here for opportunities to learn Jikiden Reiki in Scotland in 2013
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 works so well with very different personalities: those who have a need to talk through their experiences (who often gain considerable clarity with Reiki treatment), and those who choose to keep their inner landscape private. Importantly, Reiki works equally well for those people who prefer privacy, a way of processing feelings and experiences without going into or sharing their ‘story’. Over the years, I have worked with Reiki with a number of very ‘private’ clients, what a relief to them not to have to talk….and still come out so much lighter.
photo credit: Zlatica Retzler
I am not an animal Reiki specialist, but when a creature in pain or distress comes my way, my heart naturally goes out to them and I’ll give them Reiki.
My first ever animal client was my friend’s little budgie, who was very poorly at the time. I was struck by how animals have such an advantage over humans, as they fully trust their intuition. They don’t need to understand how Reiki works to know that it makes them feel good. Their mind doesn’t seem to get in the way as it can do for some of their two legged counterparts. So this little budgie just sat on my hand unrestrained for half an hour, adjusting its body position according to where it wanted my hand to be. Then flew off back to its cage, exercised its wings vigorously for a couple of minutes and was fine after that.
Mouse tamed with Reiki
Since then, I’ve been treating friends’ and neighbours’ animals once in a while as and when required; and as a cat owner, I frequently find myself treating mice. Actually catching mice that our cats have brought into the house and let escape. And the amazing thing is that some of them, in the short time that it takes to catch them and carry them outside again, become tame, especially young mice. I have a video somewhere of a mouse sitting unrestrained in my hands for a few minutes, grooming itself and nibbling on cheese that my children were offering it. One day, when my kids are no longer too embarrassed, I’ll put the video online.
Last year, we also rescued a hedgehog, who had been caught in netting, and after getting care instructions from the vet (you can feed hedgehogs cat food!) nursed it with Reiki. You know how a hedgehog will curl up to protect itself from enemies. Naturally, this is what our hedgehog initially did. So I curled my Reiki hands round its spiky body, and amazingly, within half an hour or so of doing this, my hedgehog friend became completely tame. No more curling up after that, just inquisitive eyes peering over the edge of the cardboard box to greet me each time.
More recently, because of my daughter’s passion for horses, I’ve also helped out some equine friends occasionally. One of them, a young curious horse interested in everyone and everything, managed to fall asleep on a busy yard, while I was giving him Reiki for his sweet itch wounds. Trying his best to keep up with what was happening on the yard, he just kept dropping off despite himself! I used Jikiden first aid techniques for his wounds and found that they did dry up considerably. I also found that Reiki helped with a badly swollen joint on a horse, and working with another little pony friend just now, I feel honoured by the trust these graceful creatures seem to have in humans who approach them with Reiki hands, even if otherwise unskilled with horses!
Horses seem to love Reiki
In Jikiden Reiki, we don’t teach how to treat animals because the original teachers didn’t teach this. Having said this, giving animals Reiki treatment seems to work very well and Jikiden Reiki offers the additional advantage of teaching practitioners sensitivity skills in their hands that help with assessing where treatment is needed (byosen sensing). Since an animal can’t tell you where they hurt, being able to asses body feed-back in this way can be enormously helpful.