Personal Practices: "The Essential Foundations of Reiki "
New insights and understandings into the origins of the Reiki System, its history and practice in Japan in the early part of the 20th century have been finding their way to the West for more than a decade. With these new understandings and insights, our concepts of the practice of Reiki in the West is going through considerable shifts and changes, and is likely continue to do so in a spiral of expansion as we keep learning more.
By Margaret Ann Case, BA, Reiki Master, RPP
Director of Reiki Arts Continuum and the Reiki Professional Training Programs at the NY Open Center
One of the most important new understandings is that the original practice of Reiki as taught by its founder, Mikao Usui, a Buddhist monk, did not begin with hands-on techniques for others, but with spiritual teachings and spiritual centering forming a practice of purification and self-empowerment. Many Western Reiki practitioners had intuited this, and now we have confirmation through the dedicated research efforts of a few Western Reiki teachers like Frans and Bronwen Stiene into these original teachings, as well as increased contact with Japanese Reiki teachers coming to the West such as Hiroshi Doi and Hyakuten Inamoto.
Knowing that spiritual centering and personal practice were the foundations of the practice of Reiki in Japan presages a reorientation and change in emphasis at each step of Reiki training in the West, as well as the promise of adding greater potency to the effects of the practice.
Reiki 1 or Shoden – “Entrance.” We enter a living tradition of a spiritual practice – and of living a spiritual practice. We learn spiritual centering practices to focus, center and harmonize heart, mind and body. Hand positions for self-care are taught to help us strengthen and balance our body-mind continuum, thus opening the way to receive deeper teachings and an intensification of spiritual energy (rei-ki) that results. Precepts and spiritual reflection is also included, along with reiju or attunements to facilitate the entrance into being a conduit of spiritual energy (rei-ki).
The next step is Reiki 2 or Okuden – “Deep Within.” Mantras (jumon or kotodama in Japanese) are added to the spiritual centering practice to assist us to go deeper within, as well as intensify the purification process through sound and thought-intention. Forms or “symbols” (shirushi in Japanese) are given with the mantras to provide practitioners with a form for mental focus. The mantras and symbols also signify a spiritual path – the journey along that path, and the potential experiences that are part of that journey. Reiju or attunements are again given to enhance the receipt of spiritual energy (rei-ki).
From this foundation of Reiki 1 and Reiki 2, we open to the flow and enhanced stimulation of rei-ki (spiritual energy). Reiki practice stabilizes, balances and harmonizes our mind-body continuum, amplifying our ability to receive spiritual energy, and, thereby, increasing our ability to bring spiritual energy and the practices of Reiki into our lives for both ourselves and for others. And whether we use Reiki for ourselves, family and friends, or we go on to do more advanced training for professional and public practice of the Reiki System, the personal practice is the essential foundation.
But most of all, Reiki training is a beautiful externalization of the spiritual lesson of giving and receiving, yin and yang, ebb and flow – that the more rei-ki (spiritual energy) we receive, the more rei-ki we can give; and the more rei-ki we give, the more rei-ki we can receive. And so it is that we become part of a never-ending spiral of personal growth and spiritual expansion.
If you are interested in learning Reiki in NY, contact the New York Open Center for more information or to register for a class at 212.219.2527, ext. 2, or online at www.OpenCenter.org.
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