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Reiki and the Rhetoric of Reiki

….Reiki is NOT a belief system!!!!!

The unfortunate consequence of Reiki having no intrinsic philosophy or rhetoric is it opens the doors to immense misunderstanding. When it goes into a culture of a country it morphs to suit the country. This is absolutely fine and practical in order to open people to coming to learn Reiki, it can often be helpful to ‘tweak’ the story. The first known ‘tweak’ came from Hawayo Takata herself, the first Reiki Master to introduce Reiki outside of Japan. When she introduced Reiki to America she taught that Usui was Christian. Would people have come to learn Reiki if they had known Usui was Buddhist? We don’t know, but obviously Takata thought not, and I respect her choice.

We see variations to a lesser scale in countries like Thailand where it is taboo to touch the head of another person– the Reiki positions have been adapted to miss out the crown altogether. I have also seen Reiki positions avoid the naval area in certain cultures and so on and so forth. In and of themselves these rules and regulations help to ease Reiki into a culture that would not otherwise be open to another way of teaching, and in this respect I am happy to see these variations flourish if it means Reiki also flourishes.

What I take exception to is the fearful or fantastical messages being taught, which paints Reiki as some kind of mystical therapy based on spirit worship, or delusion. In America we have the Catholic Church proclaiming Reiki to be inappropriate for Catholics to practice. Universal energy is inappropriate?

Reading the rhetoric it is easy to spot so many glaring errors and misunderstandings that it doesn’t even bear defending, but it does show how badly misinterpreted Reiki is in many parts of the world.  The shame of it here is it excludes an entire audience from the benefits of Reiki simply due to misunderstanding.

In India we have a whole host of deluded practices including using Reiki to change your destiny (whilst you sit on your couch doing nothing), having to treat your Reiki teacher as a Guru –urgh! And the view of well respected Gurus like Sadhguru talking about Reiki as a dangerous process of taking on someone else’s karma. What the heck?! With the deepest respect, these are incorrect and misguided interpretations of Reiki as we know it.

Obviously in some cultures Reiki’s ‘tweaked story’ has got a bit out of control! As Reiki practitioners and Teachers it is our opportunity to set the record straight. When we come across such tall tales it is our duty to speak our own truth, but that can only come from our own authentic experience of Reiki. When you treat yourself with Reiki there is an opportunity for you to deepen your understanding – not through reading or talking to others, but in the actual experience itself. Where does Reiki take you? How deep can you go, can you drop your thoughts, and then who are you? You are not your thoughts, your beliefs, your shoulds and shouldn’ts, you are much deeper and vaster than that. Reiki will take you there if you loosen your own interpretations, bias, and beliefs. Let go of what you think you should and shouldn’t do with Reiki, and let the energy guide you.

When you drop all stories, beliefs, rhetoric you begin to see that actually universal source and you are the same essence, you come from the same source, which of course makes perfect sense – how can we be outside of universal source? But often in the noisiness of our thoughts and grasping mind we miss the obvious and get sucked up in the rhetoric which breeds delusion or fear.

Whenever you hear or read something that makes you contract inside, this contraction is a sense of mistruth. Reiki expands; it does not contract. Rules and regulations contract. Small minds contract. Delusions and lies contract. Dos and Don’ts contract. Go on your own inner journey, and encourage your Reiki family who have had different teachers and different ‘tweaks’ to do the same.

photo credit: POP via photopin (license)


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