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
How Reiki can help with the current unrest in the world
Amanda Jayne’s article was first published on her website LearnJikidenReiki in October 2011. Anticipating presidential elections in the US, and in the wake of hurricane Sandy causing untold suffering and uncertainty, her subject seems as pertinent now as it did a year ago.
“There are huge movements rising up all over the world at the moment in what looks like ever-increasing chaos. Dissatisfaction with political systems, corporations, economies, worry over environment and nuclear leaks, and vast differences in opinions on the way the world should look and what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. My guess is that there is more to come during this period of change and I find myself speaking to a number of people who are concerned about the future and what it may hold.
There may be more chaotic energy in the coming times – or there may simply be a period of quiet change. Whichever it is, it is clear that change is happening right now and that we are all a part of it, perhaps more than we know. What is also clear, is that each and every one of us can and will contribute to what takes place in the world. Some will protest and march for change, some have already taken to the streets, some will write, discuss and argue in the virtual world of the internet and some will find themselves caught up in the fiery energy of violence or disruption in communities. There will be people who sit back and watch the changing world, thinking it has nothing to do with them, while others still may feel helpless or ignore what is happening around them.
All are contributing to what takes place in the world. It is simply the way of things. Our wants, attitudes, fears, joys, actions, connections, emotions and thoughts are contributing right now, whether we are aware of it or not. Fear and hate breed fear and hate, contributing to chaos; while moving into greater awareness and greater peace contribute to just that. As one of my teachers, Ron Hulnick says, “Every time one person resolves one issue, the whole of humanity moves forward.”
It’s good news that everyone plays a part because all we have to do is decide if the way we are currently being in our lives is what we want to contribute to the world or not. This doesn’t mean we have to sell our houses and build an eco hobbit house in the wilds of Scotland (though I would love to!), neither does it mean we must chastise ourselves over every negative thought or fear that passes through our lives. What it does mean, is that we can begin to bring awareness around our reactions, how we are feeling and what we are allowing ourselves to think into our lives. It means that we can remind ourselves when we are feeling off-centre, or find ourselves in worry or panic over the news, that our greatest decisions and ability to discern truth comes only when we are heart centred and calm. There are many practices to help us come back to centredness and Reiki is just one of them, but I highly recommend it.
Usui sensei’s intention when creating his Reiki method ‘Shin shin kaizen Usui Reiki Ryoho – Usui Reiki Treatment Method for the Improvement of Body and Mind’, was to help people to peel off the layers of ‘stuff’ we all accumulate during life, physically and mentally, so that we are no longer led by ego and come into alignment with our true selves – with Source.
For this he created and used three things:
a) Physical treatments to assist the body in eliminating toxins that build up and cause illness, to help with pain and skeletal misalignment and to calm, soothe and release emotion.
b) Psychological treatments that help the mind to let go of issues, beliefs, unhelpful thoughts and negative associations or habits it has been holding on to.
c) The gokai – the five simple principles that point us towards living well in each moment of now.
You can download an updated copy of my simple practical guide to living the gokai here.
In short, Reiki can be used simply as an everyday tool to help us stay well when we are healthy and get well when we are not, but it can also be used to help us awaken, to move into greater peace and bring us to calm centredness in the midst of what appears to be chaos.
Usui sensei saw that the world reflects the people in it, and therefore the greatest change can be brought about not by sending Reiki to a situation or an environment, but by giving Reiki to people. As each individual changes, the world changes.
No matter how complicated a situation looks, the only energy that can positively contribute and transform chaos is love. Love does not mean I won’t take action or speak out, neither does it ignore what is before me. Whether I am faced with an everyday family situation, news of a disaster or a decision about my involvement in a movement in the world I give myself Reiki, feel the energy in my body and I ask myself these simple questions:
– Is this thought coming from love or fear?
– Is this decision based on love or fear?
It brings amazing clarity.”
And what would an Usui Reiki Master get from taking this class? How often have I been asked this question in person or by email. This time, though, I have been asked in a public way, so I thought I had perhaps best answer in public, too. First of all: Jikiden Reiki is Usui Reiki, as this simple hand-healing method started with Mikao Usui in Japan in 1922. ‘Jikiden’ means directly transmitted, and in the Japanese language and culture, is a term that refers to a traditional art form, passed on carefully from teacher to student without changes.
Chiyoko Yamaguchi, who had learned Reiki from one of the teachers trained by Usui Sensei, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, and her son Tadao decided to pass on what they had learned from Dr. Hayashi after they had met with many Western Reiki practitioners and realised how much the practice had changed, with so many new elements having come in that orginally had nothing to do with Reiki practice, and with notions that they considered fundamental to Reiki practice either not known at all or marginalised.
What would a Usui Reiki master get from taking Jikiden Reiki training? I have taught a number of Reiki masters, who have hugely appreciated what we teach and who found that it has clarified many questions for them and deepened their understanding and their practice. I have also met one or two who were happier with their own way of doing things.
So, I will answer your question from my personal experience, as ultimately we choose what’s right for us, and that’s individually different isn’t it. Having trained in Western Reiki to master level first (which in itself was a wonderful experience, and Reiki as a healing practice ‘caught’ me straight away), I could nonetheless sense the inconsistencies and felt uncomfortable at being given tools with applications that I knew from experience, worked just fine, but didn’t know where they were coming from. Incidentally, I have heard Phylllis Furomoto express what seems to me a very similar frustration at her experience of learning Reiki from her grandmother, Hawayo Takata, in two interviews.
I want to make it very clear that we have no criticism of Mrs Takata and are deeply grateful to her for having found a universal format (i.e. devoid of it’s original (Japanese) cultural and spiritual context) that allowed Reiki practice to successfully spread in many countries around the world. But in different historic circumstances from those Takata sensei found herself in in Hawaii and America just after the World War II, we can now gain access to the specific Japanese cultural and spiritual roots of Reiki practice, and for me that is important, as it makes the practice intelligible and trustworthy, and allows for deeper understanding.
Just for the record, I’m not saying that only Jikiden Reiki training allows for understanding of Reiki practice, and I have seen many practitioners grow deep roots and insight into the nature of Reiki simply from consistent practice (the path that Takata sensei recommended). I had also realised a thing or two about Reiki practice and Reiki treatment in this intuitive way that weren’t being taught in Western Reiki. (My first Reiki Master had learned in the 1980s, just a few steps away from Mrs Takata). You can imagine my delight when I found these confirmed, explained and elaborated upon in the Jikiden Reiki teachings. In my opinion though it was perhaps the fact that Reiki was passed on without its Japanese roots that has also opened the door widely to misunderstandings and to Reiki becoming amalgamated and confused with so many other ways of thinking about energy work. Instead of blending everything with everything else until we end up with grey, why not simply accept that there are many paths to healing, and different windows to truth (and keep our window clean)?
Again, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that combining Reiki practice with other healing modalities or other thought systems is necessarily wrong and must never happen. But we are now in a situation where Reiki has become amorphous and personally, I can understand why anyone with their critical faculties intact might dismiss this wonderfully simple and accessible healing modality after a 20 minute browse on the internet. Jikiden Reiki is very much about keeping the practice as much as possible to how it was conceived of by its founder, and there’s a rigour and discipline in Jikiden Reiki that I see as a mark of respect to the original teachers. Reiki was born out of an experience of enlightenment and crafted as a healing method from a broad knowledge base of different traditions. Mikao Usui prided himself in the simplicity of the method he had created, and to me this is one if its incredible strengths.
Asked why he hasn’t founded his own school of Reiki, internationally respected Reiki teacher, researcher and author Frank Arjava Petter gave the following answer in a recent newsletter: “Personally I don’t see the point in adding another new form of Reiki to the confusion because I think that trying to improve upon “soul energy”- Reiki- is quite inappropriate. Let’s be respectful instead to what we have been given by Usui Sensei and those who carried the torch after him.”
So without being able to reveal the details of Jikiden Reiki practice (you will appreciate that these are being passed on directly from teacher to student), what are some of the aspects that I most appreciate about Jikiden Reiki?
I value the conceptual framework for how Reiki energy interacts with the diseased body and think that it has great practical value. In Jikiden Reiki, we don’t work with set hand positions, but instead focus treatment on the areas where there are accumulations of toxins (byosen), using Reiki to help the body break them down and eliminate them more effectively. From a jikiden point of view, a toxin free body tends to naturally show a quick healing response and is quite capable of looking after itself. Yet, living in the 21st century it’s almost impossible not to experience toxin overload. Training practitioners to develop sensitivity in their hands so they can find the problem areas in my opinion is an invaluable asset, as working directly on the problem areas tends to get faster results when illness is already manifest and is also a skill of great value in preventative health care. Using Reiki early on, perhaps we never need to experience the more serious conditions that may develop if we don’t regularly clear the build up of toxins. And what a blessing to have the means to do this in our own hands!
While the concept of byosen can easily be taught in a week-end workshop, you will appreciate that the skill of effectively reading a client’s body comes with time. This most useful perception skill is subtle at first and really begins to unfold with practice, ideally on others, not just oneself. Once fully developed, the ability to sense byosen gives useful insight into the natural healing process, and helps the practitioner make important treatment decisions: where to focus treatment and for how long. Are we dealing with a chronic problem or is it acute? How long to stay in the same area during a session, and how many sessions will be needed? Don’t get me wrong: We are not medically trained and cannot diagnose the nature of the problem or name your disease. We simply decide where focusing Reiki treatment is most useful, and can assess healing progress and frequency of treatments needed for best results based on the changing sensations in our hands. On a number of occasions, the ability to sense byosen has also helped me to find areas where emotional trauma was stored in the body, and for this then to be safely released with Reiki treatment.
Going back to why adding more isn’t always a good idea and may create clutter where there once was clarity, I really admire the simplicity of the healing system created by Mikao Usui. Once the original context and intentions have been re-inserted into Reiki practice, we simply don’t need to worry about many of the complicated debates found in Western Reiki (on issues such as grounding or protection for example) as we realize that the answer has already been built right into the core of Reiki practice. “In the Western mind everything seems so complicated”, Chiyoko sensei once said. I love the elegance of a system that takes care of complexity in the simplest possible way.
Personally, I also like that spirituality in Jikiden Reiki is implied in everything, as natural as water or air, and therefore need not be shouted from the roof-tops. (My colleague, Amanda Jayne has written a wonderful blog post on this, which I would encourage you to read). Instead we focus on becoming compassionate by working on ourselves. For this we have the Gokai, or 5 Reiki principles, which Arjava Petter describes not only as a road-map to enlightenment, but also as a reliable compass of our progress, indicating where we still need to work on ourselves. And this, at least in my case, is very much work in progress, and helps me to keep humble and real.
I had already mentioned how grateful I am for the insight Jikiden Reiki allows into the tools that we use in Reiki practice. This is a far different experience from being given shapes and words and their application. Learning about the context from which these tools were taken and their inherent meaning and function not only makes sense of the treatment methods we use (physical, psychological and distant) but also allows for a unique insight into the philosophy behind Reiki practice and the world view underlying it. It is also here that we find the answers to issues that have become very complicated and involved in Western thinking about Reiki. Again, everything fits so elegantly and addresses the task at hand in such a straightforward way. Sei Heki treatment for example accomplishes incredible results, even with long-term mental or emotional patterns, and knowing the background to this treatment method it becomes clear how this can be achieved in such a simple way. I am of course not saying that you will find scientific explanations here, and you probably don’t expect this. I find Jikiden Reiki spiritually trustworthy and offering a coherent system though.
Ultimately, everything we do in Reiki practice is designed to bring us back, gently and at our own pace, to our original state of perfection and oneness, and Jikiden Reiki offers simple and effective tools along this way.
“I have come home feeling very strongly that I have the tools to vastly improve my life and the lives of those around me, and it is a huge positive for me. Thank you very, very much.”
Having experienced the countless benefits for myself and for my family many times, I am passionate about bringing Reiki well-being to you: through treatments in my clinics or through passing on this down-to-earth natural healing method in my courses. Jikiden Reiki is so simple that anyone can learn how to practise it, yet it offers invaluable tools for returning to or maintaining good health.
“Wow, I feel so much lighter now.”
Other than relaxation, this is the most frequent initial treatment outcome I hear about. Jikiden Reiki treatment offers a wonderful way of not only melting away stress and tension, but also bit by bit helping to release our emotional baggage, in many cases without ever even needing to talk about it.
And of course, Jikiden Reiki treatment can be used to aid numerous physical conditions, as this simple natural healing method stimulates your body’s innate healing response and promotes overall balance and resilience. So it’s a great tool for preventive healthcare, too!
And the method is so simple that anyone can learn how to do this.
Jikiden Reiki training is comprehensive and with a down-to-earth focus on treatment. The method is taught in the same way it was originally practised in Japan without fashionable New Age add-ons and with its cultural and spiritual core intact. Only since 2000 has it finally been possible for Westerners to tap into the Japanese roots of this popular healing practice, and I am currently the only fully qualified teacher in Scotland.
Why Jikiden Reiki?
Jikiden Reiki makes a strong effort to keep practice and teaching as faithful as possible to the original methods taught by Mikao Usui and Chujiro Hayashi. Jikiden Reiki is pure and simple, using a clear framework for how to use Reiki in the most effective way to enhance the body’s natural healing systems. Read more on what makes Jikiden Reiki different…
” Reiki is not something we want you to think of as special. It is something everybody can do that is part of daily life” Tadao Yamaguchi
Edinburgh February 2011
with Amanda Jayne & Gisela Stewart
Shoden February 25th & 26th, Friday 6pm – 10pm, Saturday 10am – 7pm
Okuden February 28th , Sunday 10am – 6pm
Contact Gisela for course information or go directly to Amanda’s website