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The Usui System

of Natural Healing

The Sacred Science
First Level Workshop Manual
This manual is dedicated to the Precious Teacher:
the Beloved in everyone and everything;
and to Wazza.

The theory and practice of Reiki is not based in the
allopathic, or any related medical paradigm. If you are
concerned about illness of any kind, please seek
appropriate professional assistance. Use Reiki
generously to complement whatever other treatment
you may decide to receive.

© 2002 by Steve Wertheim

Everything is laid out for you.
Your path is straight ahead of you.
Sometimes it’s invisible, but it’s there.
You may not know where it’s going
But you have to follow that path.
It’s the path to the Creator.
It’s the only path there is.


Table of Contents
Welcome… 1
History of Modern Reiki… 3
What is Reiki, and how does it Work?… 8
Our Energy System… 11
Would Reiki Interfere with my Religious Beliefs?… 13
The Reiki Precepts… 16
Preparing for Reiki with Meditation (Gassho)… 17
Connecting with Reiki through Devotion (Reiji)… 17
Breathing to “Cleanse the Spirit” (Joshin Kokyuu-ho)… 19
Healing/Treating with Reiki… 20
Some General Pointers for Treatment… 22
The Hand Positions for doing Treatments… 23
Some thoughts about Ethics and Energy Healing… 23
Aura Cleansing (done before and after Treatment)… 25
Scanning (Byosen Reikan-ho)… 25
Some Ways in which the Energy field may be Experienced… 26
Storing Energy for Healing… 27
Treating Yourself with Reiki… 27
The Reiki Shower… 28
Light breathing Method (Hikari No Kokyo-ho)… 28
Breathing with Gassho (Gassho Kokyo-ho)… 29
Chakra Activation (Chakra Kassei Kokyu-ho)… 29
Cell-Activation/Self-Growth Technique… 30
Programming/De-programming (Nentatsu-ho)… 31
Reiki Meditation… 31
Hatsurei-ho… 32
Crystals and Stones… 34
Healing Beyond Time and Space (Enkaku-Chiryo-ho)… 34
Where to from Here?… 35
Appendices… 41
Glossary… 53
Reiki is a simple, gentle and very powerful way of healing. Reiki is also a
spiritual path which can lead us into the inscrutable and ineffable
mystery of the Universe. Many of us come to Reiki seeking healing, and
never learn much about Reiki’s spiritual depth. Yet, these two aspects of
Reiki – the healing and the spiritual - are intertwined. Just like heaven
and earth meeting each other in the beautiful dance of time meeting
eternity; so too in Reiki, our absolute, eternal essence expresses in the
relative, constantly changing, physical aspect of our lives.

Within this dance of heaven and earth, time and eternity, physical and
eternal, we are faced with an ongoing progression of choices about how
we engage with our lives. Our karma1, interest, commitment, capacity, (and
some luck, or grace), will determine how we choose. And the way we
choose will shape the story of Reiki we’ll eventually tell.

People come to Reiki for different reasons: some for a method to heal
the physical body, for use with themselves or others. Others wish to
grow in peace and tranquillity. Many seek knowledge of the unseen
mystery behind the physical world. And maybe all of us seek a way to deal
with the suffering and meaninglessness of everyday life, and the “dark
nights” of our soul. Reiki is invaluable for all this.

As a healing method Reiki offers a simple, hands-on technology that

anyone can learn to use. If that’s all you’re seeking, it should serve you
well. But there is more.

As a spiritual path Reiki offers a collection of skillful methods to help us

come to know our real nature - not merely as a nice intellectual idea - but
a profoundly intimate, ever-deepening experience of mystery, totally and
perfectly beyond anything our ordinary minds might manufacture or our
concepts may grasp. In fact, all we can do speaking about this reality is to
point to mystery, like fingers pointing to the moon. Ultimately, it is
something we’ll know as our real nature… and as the nature of all things.

While this goal may seem ambitious, there is no need to be intimidated.

Through Reiki, you will gradually be introduced to knowledge. And as you
become able to see more you’ll recognize yourself as completely whole and
absolutely perfect, since the very beginning.

Find italicised words in the glossary.
Reiki challenges the unreasonably low opinion we usually hold about our
own potential. It challenges us

• To be as healthy, complete, and conscious as possible, in order to

fully occupy our place and role in this life.
• To become so powerful, that we may be able to make our biggest
contributions to this world from the privacy of our hearts, without
anyone ever knowing about it.
• To be a fountain of peace in the midst of turmoil.
• To be a source of healing amid dis-ease.
• To be a centre of tranquillity in the chaos of everyday life.
• To be a place of love and beauty in the midst of fear and ugliness.
• To be caretakers of this world, and of all creation.

When we first learn Reiki, we start to participate more intentionally in a

great project. Its history began in the mists of time, and its future is
infinity itself. It is the journey of all life toward greater knowledge of
itself, and the unfolding of its inner potentials. This is sometimes
described as the journey to Enlightenment, or to union with God. That
briefly, is the great story…

Within that are the smaller stories from which the big one is made – the
stories of our lives: our dreams and aspirations, our pain and suffering,
our birth and our becoming. These are the sacred contracts and life tasks
we have taken the responsibility to incarnate. These tasks may at times
challenge us greatly. Some are so large that they are shared with many
people, and take generations to complete. Some appear a lot smaller, but
are no less important in the larger scheme of things.

Reiki is one of the gifts we have to help us along this path. It comes in
humble guise, and is exceedingly gentle. Yet there is power hidden here.
Through Reiki we come to recognize our dignity, our magnificence and
we’re challenged to uncover our hidden splendour. We recognize our
responsibility to each other and to all of life. We recognize Universal
assistance as our birthright, and the miracle of unfolding as our path.

During your training I will attempt to present Reiki in its basic precious
magnificence. At the core of this is the transmission of the heart-
essence of this teaching: the atmosphere of compassion and wisdom
which is the essence of all enlightened beings, and the skilful reminders
that this is the real nature of each and every one of us. Still, the
responsibility for liberation through this knowledge always remains our
own, with infinite support if we’re willing to ask for it.

It is my wish that this manual may give you a text to refer to if

necessary. But Reiki is not a book, nor a workshop. Reiki is alive inside you:
a living current of love, wisdom, power as fresh and new as it was when Dr
Usui first “discovered” it; eternally new as the in and out-breath of the
Universe. May it bring you great joy and bless all the world!

A History of Modern Reiki

After almost a century of very gradual growth, Reiki exploded onto the
world scene during the last 5 years or so. Despite its great popularity,
the history and origins of Reiki were shrouded in myth and mystery until
the fairly recent emergence of several records describing its
development. At last it is becoming possible to piece together a more
coherent story of the origins and spirit of Reiki, as expressed by its
founder, Mikao Usui. The brilliance of Dr Usui was that he connected,
distilled and codified various complex teachings to produce an essentially
"universal" system of healing and spirituality, largely devoid of cultural
trappings, thus enabling the "Sacred Science" to be used by anyone for
the benefit of everyone.

Let us start by weaving some background to the story. In one of Dr Usui’s

biographical sketches he records his commencement on the path of
discovery of the "Sacred Science" (his other name for Reiki) with his
birth in 1865 at a time of great change in Japan. This is now called the
Meiji restoration. This period followed centuries of national isolation, of
the persecution and outlawing of “foreign” influences and thought in
religion and philosophy. Political manoeuvring placed the Emperor as the
divine head of the nation, and made the old religion of Shintoism the
state religion. Japan became more outward looking and through a series
of governmental and royal decrees, the populace was encouraged to
develop and study both the traditional ways of Japan and to look to the
West for scientific inspiration. In this climate, Usui was born in the
village of Yago, in the Yamagata district of the Gifu prefecture,
(southern Japan) to a Buddhist family, the eldest of three brothers and
two sisters.

Usui’s family was well connected and thought to have an ancestral link to
the Chiba samurai clan. His father’s name was Uzaemon and mother’s
family name was Kawaai. His family’s cultural position and being the eldest
son, opened many doors to him later in life. Through the inspiration of the
Meiji decree – to study western science, Usui became interested in
Western medicine and developed an infatuation with western things. He
worked and studied with several Western missionaries, some from the
USA and the Netherlands. He was particularly close to Dr. P, whom he
regarded as a Christian Bonze. Through this friendship he gained an
understanding of Christianity, but he never converted to Christianity. He
had turned his back on his own Buddhist background2 as he describes:

"As a Buddhist I knew that the Buddhas were all good, but during these years from the
time I was 16 (1881) until I was 27 (1892) I rejected my faith and went after the Great
God Knowledge, or at least scientific knowledge, which had been brought to our country
by the Gaijins. I studied medicine and I also studied physics and I became a medical
doctor through the kind teachings of Dr. P and other teachers, some from Princeton
University, some from Harvard University and some from the University of Chicago. I
was granted a medical degree by decree of the Emperor and was allowed to practice
with Dr. P and his associate, a Dutch physician, a Dr K. I began to learn the finer points
of surgery, having mastered pharmacology and the treatment and diagnosis of disease3."

Whilst working as a doctor with the missionaries he was struck down with
Cholera during an epidemic. At that time the treatment for Cholera was
to take small pills of rolled opium under the tongue, to slow down the
metabolism and help prevent dehydration in the hope that the patient
could ride out the fever. Usui was cared for in this way and was in a deep
state of unconsciousness, but still able to hear (and later recall) the
doctor’s conversation. Dr P told his two other Japanese associates that
he did not expect Usui to last the night; his blood pressure was very low,
as was his heartbeat. Usui recalls how sad they were, but it did not bring
sadness in him, for he started to recount his early life and teachings. He

See Appendix 1 for some very introductory comments about Buddhism, to help readers
have a better understanding of Reiki.

All quotes from Dr Usui come from the notes, autobiographical sketches, and teachings
of the Tantra of the Lightning Flash left to Watanabe Kioshi Itami, one of Usui’s
senior students and the son of Watanabe Bonze (the priest who became Usui’s “spiritual
friend/director”). Dr. Richard Blackwell and General George Blackwell now own these. Dr.
Richard Blackwell, Medicine Dharma Reiki, Full Circle Books, 2000.
thought of the pure land of the Buddha Amida where he would be going
soon at death and started to recite the Nembutsu: Amida’s mantra.

In this near-death state he then progressed through a series of

experiences during which he received teaching and found he had a
"mission" – to bring together the healing disciplines of the East and West
for the benefit of all beings. He made a full recovery the following day,
much to the amazement of his fellow doctors. Unfortunately, Usui
recounted his experiences to the doctors and they said he had been
hallucinating under the influence of opium. Following this, Usui thought he
should connect with a bonze in the Tendai Buddhist tradition of his
family. He was immediately rebuked! How could he have such profound
experiences, the bonze wanted to know, he had not even kept up the
faith? Even advanced monks did not experience these things!

Feeling utterly dejected, he turned to the other esoteric school of

Japanese Buddhism, Shingon, and again he opened his heart. This time the
bonze (Watanabe Senior) was understanding and supported him. This
experience was the start of Usui’s connection with the Buddhist tradition
of healing, formally going back 2,500 years, yet claiming an unbroken
spiritual ancestry of at least 17000 years. He continued his Shingon
studies with Watanabe Bonze and at the same time practiced and became
well known as a physician in the area around Osaka. Seven years later Usui
happened upon an ancient manuscript in a bookstore that was to provide
the material and further stimulation for the development of Reiki. It was
a 12th Century copy of a text called the "Tantra of the Lightning Flash".
Usui describes this:

"I found an old lacquer casket which had a chop of the Emoriji Shingon Temple. Being a
devout and fervent Shingonist I felt it must contain some sutras or commentaries and I
immediately purchased it for a small price… I took it home and discovered the treasure
that I had found, one that I had been seeking without knowing that I had been seeking,
and one that had been entrusted to me by the kindness and compassion of the Buddhas
and Bodhisattvas of the Three Times."

Usui began to meditate on the text, and the other contents of the
casket. He realised that he had received a tremendous treasure to help
him accomplish the “mission” he had undertaken during his near-death
experience: to develop the links between Chinese and Western medicine
through spirituality and to find a way which could help all beings. The
skills he had developed as a practitioner during the earlier years of
spiritual practice helped him work though the texts, experimenting and
learning as he went.

Mrs Takata, in her account of Reiki (the one most commonly used in the
West, even though now known to be considerably more metaphorical than
factual) stated that Mikao Usui had found a formula in Sanskrit from the
Buddhist Sutras, and that he tested the formulas through a series of
meditations on Mount Kurama during a 3 week retreat and fast.

Mount Kurama, the mountain north of Kyoto, had a long history of

spirituality and was dedicated to Kannon (Kuan Yin) the deity representing
universal compassion. For hundreds of years it had a temple, and was a
place of pilgrimage, and intensive meditation by Yamabushi of the
tradition of Shugendo. The ‘Yamabushi, sought 'Kantoku' (inspired
knowledge) through a variety of testing practices including: fasting,
seclusion, solitary meditation, group pilgrimages, chanting incantations
and prayers, sitting or standing under waterfalls. From around 1911
through to 1949 the temple was popularised and changed to an
independent group known as Kurama-Kokyo. Drawing on its esoteric
background, it adopted the divine qualities of power, light and love as the
aspects of the Supreme Deity, the Living Soul, the Supreme Soul of the
Universe, Glorious Light, and Activity of the Soul. Usui’s monument reads:

"One day he went to Kuramayama to commence "shyu gyo" (intensive spiritual training
using meditation and fasting). On the 21st day, he suddenly felt great Reiki over his
head and he received spiritual insight into Reiki "Ryoho" (healing method)4.

There are no recorded dates so far publicly available of Usui’s visit to

Kuramayama, but the inscription on the monument and Mrs. Takata’s
description leads us to believe that this was a milestone in the
development of Reiki5. On the subject of Usui’s experience of Kantoku or
Terma, Mrs Takata said:

Inscription on the memorial stone at Dr. Usui grave at Saihoji temple: Frank Arjava
Petter, Reiki Fire, Lotus Light, 1997. See appendix 2 for the complete text.

There are suggestions in the ‘Western tradition’ that this retreat started in March
1921 and that Reiki was formalised in April 1921. These dates however are inconsistent
with Dr Usui’s records.
"He saw the Great White Light come from the right, and then, like a screen. He glued
his eyes to the screen. He said what he had studied in Sanskrit, and what he saw and
studied in the Sanskrit, he said, one by one came out."

Mrs. Takata’s account of Usui’s vision is a clearly recognizable description

of an advanced tantric meditator’s experience. Through his ‘inspired
vision’, Usui received confirmation of his path and was empowered to use
this spiritual material more directly. After this experience he started
developing the system into the simple practice we now call Reiki. Based on
the complexity and power of the original tradition, he understood how
simplification and codification could make the benefit more generally
available to people who could use the healing, but may have less interest,
capacity and commitment to follow the practices in the original form.

This development of Reiki happened over several years. After finding the
Tantra of the Lightning Flash he sought to find teachers and similar
texts. He collected information from libraries and monasteries
throughout Japan, but found that he probably had the only public copy of
the Tantra in Japan. He found that the original text had been brought to
Japan from China by the Kobo Daishi, Kukai, in the 8th Century and monks
on the Northern island of Hokkaido had hid his copy during wars. Here
again in Dr Usui’s words:

"After reading it, my mind was inflamed and I sent an agent through China to Tibet to
see if any complementary texts existed… We know that the Tibetans hold many secrets
and have preserved portions of the Dharma that have been lost to the rest of the
Buddhist world. Of course this is because in their mountain land they were able to abide
in peace and escape the wars and fighting that have so plagued both China and Japan. In
this wondrous place of peace and contemplation the Tibetan people have been enabled to
put aside mundane matters and cultivate only the enlightened mind. That is why I am
seeking to obtain Tibetan material, especially any material from the great medical
college at Lhasa… “

"I would so love to travel to that place which most certainly must resemble Amida's
Paradise of Great Bliss and drink from the incomprehensibly deep well of their spiritual
wisdom in person, but age and infirmity prevents the realisation of this desire at least in
this lifetime. So I must depend upon my friends and co-searchers for truth who are
utilising the trade connections of the Indian merchants through Shigatse to Lhasa. …. So
for the present time we must remain patient and wait, hoping our prayers and
expectations might be fulfilled by the infinite kindness and compassion of Medicine King,
for I am sure our intentions and aims are beneficial.”

The Reiki Review, issues April 1984 to October 1985. The American Independent Reiki
Association Inc., Dr. Barbara Weber Ray.
Eventually another copy came to him from Tibetan Monastery at Chokpori
Ling. In comparing the texts Usui had this to say:

"…The text contained two chapters which my text did not contain, but was missing five
chapters which my text contained. Using the Tibetan text, I was able to correct the
Sanskrit of my text which had travelled through China to Japan. I considered this very
important because of the use of the sounds in summoning the transcendental healing
energy. My text had an introduction of Moral Precepts that the other lacked."

Through years of study and practice, he tried and tested the method.
Helping the sick and injured, he assisted communities to overcome their
problems. There is evidence that he helped the survivors of the 1923
Kanto earthquake. From Usui’s Memorial Stone:

“September of the twelfth year of the Taisho period (1923), there were many injured
and sick people all over Tokyo because of the Kanto earthquake and fire. Sensei felt
deep anxiety. Everyday he went around in the city to treat them. We could not count
how many people were treated and saved by him. During this emergency situation, his re-
lief activity was that of reaching out his hands of love to suffering people. His relief
activity was generally like that.”

Usui recorded the effectiveness of the Sacred Science in his notes

during the 1918/19 pandemic influenza outbreak that killed millions of
people throughout the world. While working in a hospital in Tokyo, he was
able to reduce the mortality rate from 94% to just 7%. Dr. Usui reported
how he accrued wisdom by delving into the Sutras, Tantras and
commentaries, as well as recent documents received from India, some
from Tibet, and translated into Japanese by a friend in Bombay.

In later years, as he worked teaching and transmitting Reiki, he came

across instances where whole villages or districts were afflicted with
disease or disorder. Usui recorded taking time out to study and meditate
with the ancient scriptures and texts to find an answer7. This then is how
Reiki came to the world.

What is Reiki, and how does it Work?

The word Reiki is composed of two Japanese words - Rei and Ki. The word
Rei refers to the Wisdom-Heart of the Universe: the Source of all that
is. The Precious Teacher, Padmasambhava describes:

This is a tantric way for collective healing: generally by identifying the spiritual
vulnerabilities and/or transgressions and the corresponding consequences related to the
presenting “symptoms”… and then prescribing the “cure”.
This self-originated Clear Light, which from the beginning was never born,
Is the child of Rigpa, which is itself without any parents – how amazing!
This self-originated wisdom has not been created by anyone – how amazing!
It has never experienced birth and has nothing in it that could cause it to die – how
Although it is evidently visible, yet there is no one there who sees it – how amazing!
Although it has wandered through samsara, no harm has come to it – how amazing!
Although it has seen buddhahood itself, no good has come to it – how amazing!
Although it exists in everyone everywhere, it has gone unrecognised – how amazing!
And yet you go on hoping to attain some fruit other than this elsewhere – how amazing!
Even though it is the thing that is most essentially yours, you seek for it elsewhere –
how amazing!

You may recognize this as a description of some of the qualities which in

the theistic traditions would be associated with Great Mystery, or God
who mystically is known as tenderly holding the evolution of all creation,
from the opening and closing of each flower, to the unfolding and dying of
every galaxy.

One way in which we may know Rei as humans is through mystical

experience. This lies beyond concept, dogma or the questions of belief or
disbelief. Through this we may come know eternal essence which
underlies our life in physical form. It is my sincere hope that your
practice of Reiki may enable you to have this experience again and again
and again!

Ki is the “non-physical” life energy that animates all living things. When a
person's ki is high, that person generally will experience good health and
well-being. When it is low, the person may feel out of sorts and will be
more likely to get sick. We receive ki from a range of non-physical as well
as physical sources: air, food, sunshine and sleep. The amount we have
access to and the freedom with which it flows through our system to
ensure all-over well-being, is greatly influenced by our mental and
emotional state, our beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, intentions etc.

Our bodies are reconstituted with every breath we take. Atomically we

are in constant flux. Different parts of the physical body are renewed at
different rates, but ultimately all is continually replaced. What keeps
constancy in the physical form is the relatively static nature of our
individualized, physically attached consciousness. All too often we’re
imprisoned by our addictions to psychological patterns and attitudes; and
by our blind attachment to keeping physical ‘reality’ humanly rational,
unchanging, pleasant and under our control. All our thoughts, feelings,
impulses, etc. – mostly pre-verbal and ‘pre-conscious’ - provide the
blueprint according to which the body is re-built, and the glue which
keeps it together8.

This is why it is relatively easy to improve our life-experience and our

health through changes in consciousness, through for instance replacing
“negative” patterns with “positive” ones. However, these smaller
therapeutic disturbances of consciousness often only induce superficial,
temporary benefits. Usually only transformations that overthrow the
entire egoic structure associated with dis-ease and our “old selves” open
the gates to profound change. This latter kind of transformation
frequently seems to be associated with involuntary “surrender”
experiences. Surrender has the capacity to free our attention from the
contents of consciousness, and allow us to fall into experiences of
Consciousness Itself. This is where the ecstatic aspect of mysticism
arises. Nonetheless, by and large we are too tightly guarded and closed to
allow anything genuinely new and unknown into our lives; even if this
refusal means limitation, unhappiness, or death.

Reiki can thus be regarded as divinely guided life force energy. This
describes the experience of many Reiki practitioners who notice that it
functions with an intelligence of its own, flowing where necessary in the
recipient and creating the healing conditions to serve the person or
situation’s needs.

While we can invite Reiki into a certain situation, person, or body part,
great healing energy flows best when we rest in the experience of
Consciousness Itself and so become able to recognize the inherent
perfection of the person, condition or situation exactly as it is. This
wholeness and perfection always exists and provides the unseen
supportive matrix within which that which can become visible may
In Reiki terms we comprise Essence, Energy, and Physicality (“Mind”, ”Speech” or
“Energy”, and ”Body”). Essence (Rei) is always perfect... beyond improvement and/or
defilement... yet our unwholesomely motivated action can make us lose conscious
connection with Essence. When this situation exists, our Ki (or energy), becomes
vulnerable to being stirred by troubled and confused thoughts and feelings which then
have the power to immerse our awareness in all kinds of suffering. Physicality (the
“printout”) is greatly shaped by all that went before. So we experience the physical,
interpersonal, tribal, ethical, creative, results of the motives with which we acted in the
first place. Healing thus involves reconnecting our conscious relationship to our essence
and allowing this to direct the chi or life force.
manifest. No matter what form any observable phenomenon may take as
it expresses at the physical level, the underlying Reality is eternally

The quality of Reiki therefore, is not limited by the experience or ability

of the practitioner, but rather by our incapacity to get out of its way9.
Neither can it be mis-used. It always creates a healing effect10.
Nonetheless, there are methods to enhance our ability to work with Reiki.
Some of these will be discussed later in the text.

Our Energy System11

The human body does not consist only of physical and chemical elements,
but it is also part of a larger subtle energy system through which our life
force flows. This energy system is made up of an energy field that
surrounds and inter-penetrates the physical body. It is sometimes
described as the aura. The aura contains our life force, thoughts,
feelings, beliefs, attitudes etc. It also contains information about our
physical body, our inter-personal dynamics, our past and future, our
archetypal patterns, our reason for incarnating into a physical body, our
potential, our other lives and more. Our energy system is both this store
of information, and a highly sensitive perceptual system. We constantly
“communicate” with everything around us through this system. It
operates like a conscious field of electricity that transmits and receives
messages to and from everyone and everything around us.

All our mental and emotional experiences register a memory in our energy
field, as well as in our cell tissue. Neurobiologist Dr. Candace Pert showed
that neuro-peptides - the chemicals triggered by emotions – could be

When we first learn Reiki, we’re often quite concerned about technique: whether we’re
doing it right or not; helping the person or not; whether they’re feeling something or not
etc. Most people have these concerns. But, no need to worry! Just remain present and
aware, and say “there is a part of me which is concerned about doing it right, being
helpful, and so on…” and rest in the bigger silence, knowing that both the receiver and
you are taken care of by Consciousness Itself.

Reiki is not the same as simple life force energy. The latter may be influenced by
unwholesome tendencies in the mind, and therefore may create harm as well as benefit.

It is not possible to discuss energy anatomy in any depth here. This information is to
whet your appetite to study more. Excellent material is available by Caroline Myss,
Barbara Brennan, Rosalyn Bruyere, Drs Candice Pert, Larry Dossey, Norman Shealy,
Richard Gerber, Deepak Chopra, among others.
regarded as thoughts converted into matter. Through this chemical
mediation, our emotions come to reside physically in our bodies and
interact with our cells and tissues. According to Dr. Pert the kinds of
cells that manufacture and receive emotional chemistry in the brain are
present throughout the body, which makes it difficult to separate the
body and the mind. Sometimes the body responds emotionally and
manufactures emotional chemicals even before the brain has registered a
problem. Remember, for instance, how quickly your body reacts to a loud
noise even before you’ve had time to think about it.

Caroline Myss quotes Dr. Pert on this subject: “Clearly, there’s another form of energy
that we have not yet understood. For example, there’s a form of energy that appears to
leave the body when the body dies.... Your mind is in every cell of your body”.
Interviewer: “... You’re saying that my emotions are stored in my body?” Pert:
“Absolutely. You didn’t realize that? There are many phenomena that we can’t explain
without going into energy”12.

The aura contains information processing centres called chakras13. These

work like computers that manage the circulation of energy (information/
consciousness) throughout our system. Each chakra deals with specific
areas of experience, and particular parts of the body. This facilitates our
ability to track the effects of particular mental and emotional issues on
our bodies fairly precisely.

There are also meridians and nadis. These are like the rivers and streams
that carry the energy through the physical body and the aura.

The way in which energy flows through our being depends on our thoughts
and feelings. Unwholesome or “negative”14 experiences (“stress” in some
form or another) cause restrictions in the flow of energy. Yet often we
do not allow ourselves to become aware of the stress we experience,
maybe because once we recognize what bothers us, the compulsion to
Caroline Myss’ Anatomy of the Spirit, Bantam, 1997, pp 34-35

See Appendices in the printed version of this document for the relationship between
the chakras, mind, emotions, and body.

It is essential to allow ourselves to experience anger, pain, fear, competitiveness,
guilt, grief, despair, jealousy, etc. rather than to deny these feelings for purposes of
avoiding “negativity.” These emotions are part of the human experience and part of our
wholeness. The challenge is to become skilled at relating to these experiences by
learning to free their energy for our use; rather than to suppress them or inflict them
on others or ourselves.
make changes becomes all the more urgent. Ignoring stress, whether
intentionally or unintentionally does not solve the problem. It simply
obstructs the transformational process.

The great value of Reiki is that it knows exactly where to go and how to
deal with restrictions in the flow of our life force. It works directly, even
in the unconscious parts of the body-mind that contain negativity and
blockages. These it eliminates or brings them to conscious awareness if
that is necessary for our growth. The practitioner is required to stand in
unobstructed relationship, fully and unconditionally present to the
receiver. As Reiki flows through sick or unhealthy areas, it will break up
energetic obstructions and clear out the waste, allowing a more optimal
flow of the life force to resume. As this happens, the unhealthy physical
organs and tissues receive the necessary nourishment for healing15.

As people continue exploring alternative methods of managing their lives

and their health, this technique is destined to play an important role as an
accessible and valued healing practice.

Would Reiki interfere with my Religious Beliefs?

Reiki is both a system to alleviate the suffering of life and a powerful
tool for spiritual growth. Dr Usui’s intention was that his “Sacred
Science” would be "universal" and thus able to work alongside different
philosophies and religious belief systems. Yet at its heart it was
specifically a spiritual path; simple enough to be practised without a high
degree of mental ability, but simultaneously a tool of direct perception
into the nature of reality when used by a developed mind16. He writes in
his notes:

Not all illness is the result of personal toxicity. That belief is a new age myth. Bodies
and illness are associated with our karma and our sacred contracts and as such are
profoundly linked to our life purpose. Illness may also be experienced in service of
others: Dr Larry Dossey compiled a list of western and eastern saints who’ve died of
cancer. It seems that cancer may be one of the occupational hazards of sainthood!
Illness may also be generated by energies that come from other people or situations
directing negativity our way. Or illness may come to help us to die. While good health
then generally goes along with good energy management, there is no blame, judgement or
punishment in illness. Good energetic health and a good relationship with God do not
necessarily mean that one is in good physical health; in fact it may mean the opposite!

“Developed mind” here refers to the proficient mystical sensibility, or more explicitly
to that relationship of intimacy with the Divine marked by non-dual awareness.
"I truly and firmly believe that, besides a system of healing, one can gain full and total
enlightenment by its practice and application. The merits of beings that use this system
and apply it with right mind can be accumulated, piled high as heaps the size of Mt.
Meru. It can bring much benefit, healing, and supramundane knowledge to all of

You may be wondering whether the introduction of spirituality and all this
talk about enlightenment is not just unwarranted indulgence which could
be done without. At the core of most Oriental Medicine is a profound
recognition that the cause of all disease results from our ignorance of
and discordance with our true nature. In more contemporary terms we
suffer “separation” from split-off parts of ourselves, from our spirit,
from other people, from nature, from the earth, from other species,
from God, etc. This separation makes us ill. Healing is the result of living
harmoniously with the whole. The motivation and power to strive for and
manifest harmony is closely related to the knowledge of our real nature.
Always teaching according to the capacity of learners, Dr Usui writes:

"In the past I have taught my students, because of their limited capacity, very simple
symbols and very simple initiations. This technique summonses the power to bestow the
simple pacification. What has been transmitted is only the pacification, which is called
the Soothing Hand, the Healing. It helps to pacify heal, and soothe, but there is much
more beyond this simple technique. It does not address the activity of healing in a
direct manner. It addresses it in an indirect manner by increasing the body's energy, by
relaxing the nervous tension of the body, and pacifying the upsets and imbalances. The
superior symbols, rather than the inferior symbols, are those that actually eradicate
disease. These are given in the esoteric teachings."

What are the superior symbols? What does he mean by the “eradication”
of disease? What “esoteric teachings”? Here, ultimate health refers to
the complete knowledge of our true enlightened nature (in Western
theistic terms described as Union with God, Mystical Union, Spiritual
Marriage, and so on). The eradication of disease refers to practices
advancing the removal of all obstacles to this realisation. It also refers to
the transmission of methods supporting this realisation. The esoteric
teachings17 are those that serve these goals. Physical healing may or may
not accompany Dr Usui’s “actual eradication of disease” or “healing in a
direct manner”, but enlightenment or the ultimate liberation from all
suffering is the intended goal.

The “superior symbols” do not refer to any of the additions made by any of the brands
of Reiki which added symbols to Dr Usui’s four original ones.
In a sense he was expressing the highest mystical ideal. Recognizing that
physical life is transitory, always changing and always somewhat
unsatisfactory; we find peace, tranquillity and happiness not through the
indulgence of the senses but by coming to know our infinite potential,
boundless spontaneity and eternal nature. And, becoming able to live that
realization in the world full-time. The relief of physical suffering, while
valued, important and desired, is the lesser goal. Paradoxically, a very
narrow attachment to a physical healing outcome may at times also
provide the greatest obstacle to recovery.

This in a sense is the profound beauty of Reiki: a path shorn of dogma,

fundamentalism, exclusivity, complex metaphysics, and culturally exotic
paraphernalia; at once simple, profound, able to be integrated into
everyday life and practiced anywhere. In another sense its ethos is
profoundly mystical in a universal way, with a distinctly Buddhist flavour.
There is nothing one has to believe in order to use Reiki. In fact, Reiki
will work whether you believe in it or not. But it helps to be willing to look
within oneself, to find the wisdom and compassion living there, to come to
have a better glimpse of what we’re capable of! Because of the universal
integrity and authenticity of this approach, many find that it brings them
into a deeply personal experience of their own faith (whatever that may
be), rather than a merely mental knowledge inherited from their group of
origin or someone else.

In this, Reiki encourages the valuable teaching universally present in all

the great spiritual and mystical traditions. This is that in order to know
the divine intimately, we have to turn inward18. It prompts us to the
highest and best within ourselves and calls that forth into expression in
this lifetime and in this moment – that so doing, we may become fully

The Reiki Principles

To support the growth of new Reiki practitioners, Dr Usui introduced 1st
level students to what has become known as the Reiki Principles. These
were originally borrowed from the Meiji emperor. While they appear to
be quite simple, they have a great depth and form a point of focus for

We may know God at a distance through the intellect, or through social rules; but any
intimate relationship (such as that sometimes necessary for healing illness) requires
that we embark on the journey inward. This journey has charted and recognizable
milestones, some acknowledged to be rather difficult ones, because essentially the
process is one of clearing out all ordinary human obstacles to divine union.
many Reiki practitioners. Apart from these 5 principles, Dr. Usui used a
further process of dedicating practice and merit, which had been
appended to the Tantra of the Lightning Flash. This latter text can be
traced back to the 12th Century to the teacher Ippen. It guided Dr Usui’s
practice as the larger Code of Ethics.

In the introduction to the manual given to 1st level students by the Reiki
Gakkai in Japan, Usui describes the relationship of the precepts to the
purpose of Reiki:

"With gratitude we have received Meiji Emperor’s principles, to support a proper spir-
itual path, through training of body, mind and spirit. First, we have to heal our spirit
(heart/mind). Secondly, we have to promote a healthy body. If our spirit is healthy and
aligned to the truth, body will be in harmony, naturally. The goal of Usui Reiki Ryoho is to
lead a peaceful and happy life, and to promote this in others."

The principles read as follows:

‘The secret art of inviting happiness,

The miraculous medicine of all disease:
”Just for today, do not anger
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude.
Devote yourself to your work. Be kind to people.
Every morning and evening, join your hands in prayer.”
Speak these words with your mouth
and hold them in your heart’.

As we stand at the point of meeting this tradition, we have the incredible

opportunity to learn to use Reiki as a collection of skillful methods to
open ourselves to the radiance of the enlightened nature in ourselves and
others. In the broadest sense then, Reiki is a practice of healing based
in the accurate and true use of our life force and the cultivation of
knowledge of our real nature by developing the capacity to see through
illusion. In this context the transformative fire of Reiki blazes most
brightly, and lead is turned into gold.

Preparing for Reiki with Meditation (Gassho)

“Gassho” literally means “two hands coming together” and signifies the
assumption of the meditational posture. Physically this means putting the
hands together and holding them in front of the chest - like praying
hands - a little higher than the heart. The essential point about assuming
the correct posture is to create an inspiring environment for the
awakening of the most profound meditation. There is a strong connection
between the posture of the body and the attitude of the mind, and
meditation arises naturally once the posture and attitude are inspired.
Gassho may be different from other forms of “posture” you may have
learned in other traditions of meditation. It is simple and used with many
Reiki exercises. Dr Usui taught “Gassho meditation” which was practiced
at the beginning of each one of his Reiki meetings:

Sit down with your eyes closed and hands placed together in front of your
chest. While being aware of everything happening around you, focus your
entire attention at the point where your hands meet, breathing in and out
through the hands. When you become distracted, just return your
attention to this area between the palms and the fingers. In a short while
you may find yourself becoming very still, and falling into a state of
profound peacefulness. If you are already a skilled meditator and
unfamiliar with Gassho, use your capacity to allow this posture to become
infused with Presence.

This attitude of spirit, rather than merely the physical posture, is always
the starting point of our work with Reiki.

Connecting with Reiki through devotion (Reiji)

“Connecting with the energy of Reiki” really is turning toward infinity;
opening the heart to the ‘highest’ experience of the transcendent we’re
able to access. Saints and mystics throughout the ages have adorned
their realisations with different names and given them different faces
and interpretations. Jews and Christians call it “God”; Hindus call it “the
Self,” “Brahman,” “Shiva,” “Vishnu”; the Sufi mystics call it the “Hidden
Essence”; and Buddhists call it “buddha nature”. And of course there are
many other names in traditions not mentioned here and many private,
individualised and personal ways of experiencing ineffability. While the
mystical traditions clearly describe different “stations” in this process of
sacred connection, for our purposes let each person do it entirely
according to his or her felt experience. Here are some experiences to
inspire you:
The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
How blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere,
They’re in each other all along
No words can describe it
No example can point to it
Samsara does not make it worse
Nirvana does not make it better
It has never been born
It has never ceased
It has never been liberated
It has never been deluded
It has never existed
It has never been non-existent
It has no limits at all
It does not fall into any kind of category.
(Dudjom Rinpoche)

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.

May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day of paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face
and a good name,
an omen as welcome
as the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.

Profound and tranquil, free from complexity,

Uncompounded luminous clarity,
Beyond the mind of conceptual ideas;
This is the depth of the mind of the Victorious Ones.
In this there is not a thing to be removed,
Nor anything that needs to be added.
It is merely the immaculate
Looking naturally at itself.
(Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche)

A basket full of bread sits on your head but you beg for crusts from door to door. Up to
your knees in the stream’s water and you seek a drink from this person and that.
Would that you could know yourself for a time! Would that you could see a sign
of your own beautiful face.
Wretched human! Not knowing his own self, man has come from a high estate and
fallen into lowliness. He has sold himself cheaply; he was satin yet he has sown himself
into a tattered cloak.
If you could only see your own beauty – for you are greater than the sun! Why
are you withered and shrivelled in this prison of dust?
Why not become fresh from the gentleness of the heart’s spring? Why not laugh
like a rose? Why not spread perfume?
Why is your Jacob deprived of the lightning of your beautiful face? Hey, O
lovely Joseph! Why remain at the bottom of the well?

Breathing to “Cleanse the Spirit” (Joshin Kokyuu-ho)19

Dr Usui taught his students this breathing technique called “cleansing the
spirit”. It is simple, pleasant and easy to do anywhere and at any time. It
is also useful for preparing to do treatment:
1) Sit down keeping the spine straight and inhale gently and naturally
through the nose. As you are breathing air through your nose, imagine
that you are also breathing Reiki energy through your crown chakra. From
time to time during the course of your work with Reiki, remind yourself
that this energy is no less than pure divine consciousness. Open on the in-
breath, and allow yourself to fall deeper into presence on the out-breath.
Allow your entire body to be enriched with Reiki during this kind of
breathing. (You may stop with step 1, or continue to the rest of the
exercise if you are about to do a treatment.)
2) Now draw the breath and the energy entering your system into the
Tanden for a few seconds. Real easy does it… no stressing! While holding
the breath, imagine that the energy from the Tanden spreads throughout
your entire body and energises it.
3) Now exhale through your mouth. While doing this, imagine that the
breath and the Reiki not only flow out of your mouth, but also from your
fingertips and the tips of your toes, and the chakras of your hands and
feet. Feel how the breath and energy flow through you as you do this.
You may like to use this way of breathing during treatments, or during
particular parts of treatments. Enjoy!

Healing/Treating with Reiki

Always remember to breathe during treatments; it is surprisingly easy to forget. The
breath “carries” the energy.
“Chiryo (treatment) builds upon Reiji (devotion) and Gassho (meditational
posture/attitude). Only when we can devote ourselves without being prejudiced by our
thoughts and feelings, will we become an instrument for the universal life energy20”.

The essence of skill with first-level Reiki has to do with self-healing and
the capacity to do a complete hands-on treatment for another person.
Ideally, during this level your technical skill with the energy field would
become comparable to the skill of a good massage therapist with the
physical body. Regarding the aspect of “inner work”, you would do well to
develop a clear awareness of your energy-system, and some competence
managing the energy flowing through you.21

From the time that you receive your Reiki empowerment22 onward, you will
be able to use Reiki. The empowerment itself is likely to introduce
changes that will unfold over a long period. Coming for training of this
kind really calls forth a bigger challenge to integrity from within, and the
commitment to a higher level of responsibility. It is not something that is
to be done lightly.

As indicated in the statement at the beginning of this section, the energy

to do a Reiki treatment is harnessed through stilling the mind in
meditation (Gassho) and resting in an attitude of devotion (Reiji). People
often refer to the “creation of a sacred space” by referring to externals
e.g. candles, incense, flowers etc. However valuable these may be, this
internal process is the primary sacred space required for Reiki. The rest
is nice, but is not really necessary for competent treatment23.

Frank A Petter “The Original Reiki Handbook of Dr Mikao Usui” Lotus, 1999, p 21.

Caroline Myss’ work is invaluable for exploring some of these matters.

The empowerment plugs us into the transmission of a live current of blessing to
support us in our spiritual quest. Through it the spiritual accomplishment, wisdom and
compassion of the great past practitioners of the tradition becomes available to us.
They develop a connection with us and make their realisation and power available to
support us temporally and absolutely. Reiki also has protection built into it: protection of
the teaching and the practitioners. We can call on this aspect at any time. When we
understand the essence of this path as the quest to come fully to realize our real
nature, we realize that the most highly accomplished practitioners of all traditions are
really our friends and protectors. They all have commitments to us that they honour
graciously and abundantly.

The word Chiryo refers to treatment, so for instance… Uchi-te Chiryo-ho (patting);
Oshi-te Chiryo-ho (finger-pushing); Nade-te Chiryo-ho (stroking); Tanden Shiryo-ho
(tanden-healing); Koki-ho (breath –healing); Gyoshi-ho (healing through looking)… all used
What do we do with the mind during a treatment? Nothing at all, simply
leave it as it is after connecting with Reiki. Consciousness Itself will hold
both you and the recipient. There is a famous saying: “If the mind is not
contrived, it is spontaneously blissful, just as water, when not agitated, is
by nature transparent and clear.” The very nature of mind is such that if
it is left in its unaltered and natural state, it will find its true nature
which is bliss and clarity. So rest in divine Presence. Through Reiji an
attitude that may be called “prayerful” arises. Some practitioners do in
fact pray. Others simply remain still, mindful and present. Still others
bring people or situations in need of healing into their awareness when
they are sharing Reiki. There is no real need to visualise anything or force
anything. All that is required is your flawless, present awareness,
cognizant and empty, naked and awake. There is nothing to be, do or
share but this and the love which naturally arises out of this. In time
each one finds an appropriate place in which to rest his or her mind.

If you find yourself very distracted during a treatment, thinking about

shopping lists and financial worries etc. simply bring your attention back
to where you are and what you’re doing. Some of the most spectacular
treatments happen while the practitioner may be struggling with severe
distraction. Equally, do not become attached to blissful experiences and
psychic phenomena during treatments. If they occur, notice and enjoy
them without getting too excited. Ultimately all these experiences are
neither good nor bad. They can be useful landmarks on the path, but also
awful traps if attachment arises. Bring the mind back to the more stable
ground of complete awareness of the present moment – physically,
emotionally, mentally, energetically – it is the only thing we really have. It
is also the greatest gift and power we can bring to our Reiki.

It is customary in the tantric tradition to dedicate our practice at the

beginning and its merit at the end, to the temporal and absolute benefit
of all beings. If it feels appropriate you may like to do this. Alternatively
close the treatment in whatever way feels most accurate to you. Finally,
rest in gratitude, knowing that your prayer has been answered.24

by Dr Usui.

This is a technical comment about our energetic-spiritual nature and our relationship to
the Universe. All prayers are heard and answered according to what we hold in our
hearts. Heaven meets us according to the maturity we bring to the relationship and
generally responds at the speed we are able/willing to manage. People sometimes ask:Is
Reiki not just another version of “good, old-fashioned prayer”? In some ways we can
Some General Pointers for Treatment
Reiki can penetrate any solid matter such as cloth, wood, steel, plaster
casts etc. so don’t let these things stop you. Also when someone feels
uncomfortable about receiving physical touch, Reiki may be offered by
allowing your hands to hover just above that person’s body25.

We will soon examine the conventional sequence of hand positions used in

the West to offer a “complete” Reiki treatment. When however there is a
specific disorder, you may additionally or separately wish to focus on the
specific organs or body parts most affected by that condition. In the
case of diabetes for instance, you would specifically treat the pancreas,
as indeed you would focus your treatment on the heart in the case of a
heart problem etc. If for example there is a tumour, it may be advisable
to spend time on the particular area where the tumour is situated.
Likewise, in the event of the immune system being compromised e.g. with
HIV related conditions, perhaps the thymus or the first chakra may be an
important focus of attention.

The golden rule is to follow the energy. Leave the hands on areas that
tingle or continue to draw energy for as long as required. Signals which
indicate that it is time to move on are varied. You may feel changes in
your hands, the recipient may give a deep sigh of relief or some other
signal; or there may just be an intuitive sense that its time to move on.
The average time to spend in an area is three to five minutes, but this is
a “rule of thumb” which may be adapted as required. Then move on,
bringing the best focus and attention to each part of the body. Allow
Reiki to continue working – nurturing the full unfolding and thriving of the
client – even long after the treatment is completed.

think of Reiki as a form of prayer designed to maximise healing, by most efficiently

getting the human obstacles to effective prayer out of the way.

Sometimes there is concern about sending Reiki to people under anaesthetic for fear
of accelerating the processing of the drugs and having them wake up prematurely. Reiki
sent for broken bones before they have been set is also a concern in that the bone may
start healing incorrectly. Technically this may be possible, but exceedingly unlikely. It’s
more important to concern ourselves with unconditional and unobstructed presence i.e.
offering Reiki in the interests of the ‘supreme’ temporal and absolute healing of the
recipient, rather than withholding it in the fear of causing harm.
The Hand Positions for doing Treatments26
There are two interchangeable basic treatment sequences currently used
in Reiki. One is based on the chakra-endocrine system and the other on
the system of meridians. We will focus on the former. It will be
beneficial to become familiar with this sequence of hand-positions as that
creates the technical basis (or a familiar ritual) within which other
sensitivities can awaken and be nurtured. Become skilled at doing Reiki
with the recipient both lying down and seated. Once you know the system
really well, allow your intuition to guide you; and certainly never avoid
offering Reiki because the full treatment sequence is not possible, a
massage table is unavailable, or some other obstacle seems to exist.

Even though we may examine other “techniques” of treatment if you

explore Reiki in greater depth, practitioners at all levels use this core
sequence of hand-positions. The greatest difference between a Reiki 1
and Reiki 3 practitioner is at the level of energetic and personal mastery,
rather than external technique. Before we consider hands-on healing in
greater detail, let us consider the ethics of our practice.

Some thoughts about Ethics and Energy Healing

With First Level training you would not offer Reiki for money, unless you
were qualified and certified in another treatment modality. More
advanced training requires a more formal Code of Ethics involving matters
such as client confidentiality; appropriate professional relationships with
clients; respect for other therapies and therapists; adherence to scope
of practice; keeping adequate treatment records etc. Yet at the core of
all this is an internal honour code governing our activity as practitioners.
It may be appropriate to make the focus of this as large as we can get.
Albert Einstein said:

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and
space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from
the rest – a kind of optical illusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison
for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest
us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of
compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”27

Traditionally Reiki was intuitively applied and specifically focused at areas needing
attention. These treatment sequences have the benefit of systematic attention to the
entire body.
Here are some ideas to encourage your thinking about ethics:

• As practitioners: To the extent that we are able to be in present

time and in unobstructed relationship with clients and with life in
general, Reiki will flow without obstacle. This is a lifelong and full-
time practice of dancing in the mystery of Consciousness, rather
than a once-off achievement or insight. Constantly do what is
necessary to develop the capacity to be in present time and
unobstructed awareness.

• Regarding clients: Let us strive to be unconditionally accepting of

our clients, particularly when they challenge our compassion, stir
our shadow, and activate our judgements. Remain present to
whatever arises in your awareness and give yourself and your client
the infinite space of unconditional acceptance to be and to change.
This nurtures unfolding and thriving.

• The treatment process: During treatments, probably more so than

at any other time, we oversee the accelerated transformation of
energy into matter. The greatest power while doing this is found in
the quality of complete unobstructed presence. Let go of any goals
and expectations and attend to what is before you as the primary
and only point of possible intervention through which you can
affect the Universe; beyond time and distance. Then let Reiki flow.
This is all that is required from you.

• Other therapists: There is nothing like judgement and criticism to

constrict and undermine the current of healing. Sending Reiki to
matters of concern brings greater benefit than does any criticism
or gossip.

• Planetary/collective healing: Each one of us is a cell in the body of

life. As we meet challenges in the lives of our clients and ourselves,
let us allow compassion to reach out to all aspects of life
experiencing the same suffering and ask that healing be sent to
the whole body of life, that all may be healed and transformed and
all suffering may be eased.

From Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, translated by Sonja Bargman (NY: Crown,
1954), quoted in Weber, ed., Dialogues with Scientists and Sages, 203.
Aura Cleansing (done before and after Treatment)
This is done to calm, smooth, clear, or free energy from disturbances
that cause turbulence in the field. Such upsets are frequently
psychodynamic in nature. They are due to such things as emotional stress,
anxiety, or fear. Aura cleansing before and after treatments facilitates
changes beneficial to healing.

There are different ways to do this, of which we’ll describe one very
basic procedure: Place both hands at the top of the client's head. Gently
rotate each hand inward at about a 30 degree angle to its arm. Your right
hand moves anti-clockwise and your left hand clockwise. Both hands do
this simultaneously. Move your hands slowly down the body as you are
doing this. Each arm could be cleansed separately, or as a whole with the
body. Once you’ve completed the body and even during the process, flick
away any energy that may accumulate in your fingers/hands.

Aura-cleansing may also involve a direct transfer of energy from stress-

points such as the muscles at the back of the neck. Energy overload may
be moved down the long bones or the spine, to the edges of the receiver’s
energy-field, from where it can dissipate. (In the case of fluid retention
energy may be moved upward in the direction of the head of the client,
but no higher than the solar-plexus chakra).

Scanning (Byosen Reikan-ho)

Scanning is an assessment technique used in most energy healing. The
hands are held several inches to perhaps a few feet above the body,
whichever distance is appropriate to the practitioner’s intention and felt
experience of the energy field28. Scanning is a passive exercise, used
primarily for the purpose of assessment.

After making contact with the aspect of the field you intend to access,
move the hands in a slow sweeping path along the length of the body. To
begin with it may be most appropriate to attend to the aura in a general
way. Go as slowly as you need to and pay attention. Assess where the field
feels strong. If you feel drawn to stay in a particular area, trust your
sense and stay until it feels right to move on. Never withdraw from the
field abruptly, always with great care and attention.

In some traditions it is customary to do separate scans for different aspects of the
receiver. Different scans might for example be done for the aura (including the various
subtle bodies), for the chakras, and for the physical body.
Different patterns of energy may be accessed through this method. It
requires patience on the part of the practitioner. This is essential in
order to allow that which needs to be sensed and felt, to appear. What is
to be done with what one senses depends on what emerges in
consciousness. The hands will naturally be drawn to areas that need
attention. Under no circumstances should you shift energy or do anything
without having a distinct sense that the energy requires that particular
action. The golden rule is to follow the energy. From this assessment the
treatment requirements will unfold effortlessly and express as intuition
in some appropriate manner in your awareness. Thus the scan is also an
aspect of treatment. Here too no effort is required, no need to direct
the process… just be present.

Some Ways in which the Energy field may be Experienced:

Ideally the first level practitioner would develop the skill to identify or
“read” problem areas in the body and be able to estimate how many
treatments may be required for their healing. The hands ideally would be
able to feel “harmonious” and “discordant” vibrations and be guided to
where the healing is required. See if you notice:

• differences in temperature and texture (e.g. hot, cold, prickly,

slimy, soft, resistant, spongy, solid, congested, blocked, flowing,
choppy). Do not dismiss your sensing, particularly while you’re
practicing. Don’t assume your sensing is just your imagination nor
analyse the experience. Just be still and follow what happens.

• intuitive thought-impressions or sensing, or “directly knowing” what

may be affecting the client or causing stress, dis-ease, or illness.

• the client’s characteristics mirrored in your own system – physical,

mental and emotional.

• clairvoyant or telepathic information. Generally, correlate your

impressions with your client’s described experience as a check for

Allow yourself to sense in whatever way information may register in your

awareness, even beyond the categories suggested above. In the longer
term the challenge is to discover that place of knowing where we’re able
to trust the information we access, even if it makes absolutely no sense
to the rational mind.
Storing Energy for Healing
1) Connect with Reiki with gratitude and devotion so that your mind
becomes calm and the energy pure. Then inhale deeply from below
through the base of the spine, and let the energy flow into the Tanden.
Hold the breath there and soon the Tanden will be enriched with energy.
Exhale through your fingers. As soon as you feel the energy in your hands
and fingers, begin the treatment.
2) Or concentrate the energy in your hands. Do Gassho and imagine that
you are inhaling and exhaling through your folded hands. Deepen your
breathing so the breath flows between your hands and the Tanden. If you
now touch an area of the body which is negatively charged, your hands will
tingle. Let your hands remain there till the tingling stops.

Treating Yourself with Reiki

There are many ways to use Reiki for self-healing and also as a spiritual
practice. The most basic is to do Reiki self-treatments asking for healing
at all levels. Include a prayer such as "Guide me and heal me so that I may
be all that I can!" Link with Reiki at regular intervals throughout the day.
Visualize it flowing within and around you. As you do, ask that Reiki flow
to the important events or people in your life to bring them blessing. You
can also direct the flow to your life in general. This will bring healing to
the issues currently active in your life and enhance your capacity to live in
your power. The energy will also soothe and relax you, bringing you into a
more resourceful state to deal with issues and take advantage of
opportunities as they arise.

Another useful way of self-healing is to send Reiki to Source by whatever

Name and in whatever form resonates with you (for example a bija,
symbol, holy Name, Tara, Krishna, Jesus). Once you feel the energy
flowing, ask that it be returned to you empowered with the awareness
and compassion of the One you sent it to, to help you express his or her
divine qualities in your everyday life. Also ask that your negativity and the
obstacles to you knowing your real nature be purified, so that you may
come to know your true identity. Whatever you send will be returned,
infinitely magnified and filled with grace and guidance.

The Reiki Shower29.

These self-healing practices are sometimes incorrectly referred to as the “inner
teaching” of Reiki. While this is valuable energy-work, it is not the “inner teaching”.
1) Stand or sit. Make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes or leave them
half open. Breathe slowly but naturally.
2) Do Gassho breathing with the hands together at the chest. Then, move
the hands as high as possible, straightening the arms above the head.
Separate the hands as if to open to receive a shower. Imagine that you
are receiving a shower of vibrations or light from the Source/Universe
and feel it. Simultaneously say the mantra of the highest symbol to
which you are attuned30 - loudly if you are alone, or quietly in your mind if
you are not.
3) Feel the vibrations of Reiki energy. Move the hands down to the front
of the body, palms facing the body. Reiki will now be pouring from your
hands, together with the Reiki Shower all around you. Unnecessary
energy is washed down to the earth in this way. Do this a number of
4) Do Gassho again resting in gratitude to complete this exercise.
Now you may enjoy doing hands-on healing for yourself or someone else.

Light breathing Method (Hikari No Kokyo-ho)

This method is very useful for relaxation and purifying mental and
emotional negativity.
1) Stand or sit. Be comfortable. Close your eyes or leave them half open.
Breathe slowly but naturally. Breathe in through the nose and out through
the nose, or mouth if you find that to be more comfortable.
2) Do Gassho breathing to calm the mind.
3) Move the hands up as high as possible and feel the vibrations of light
in the whole of body.
4) Keeping them together, move the hands down slowly onto you lap, palms
up, loose and relaxed. Bring your mind to Tanden and listen to the
5) While you breathe in, imagine that White Reiki Energy is filling your
head and going down to your Tanden. The energy is spreading to all your
organs, to each cell. Know in your heart that the healing is in progress.
6) Do Gassho again resting in gratitude to complete this exercise. Shake
the hands well. You may do this exercise any time, anywhere, especially
when you start feeling negativity and unwholesome emotions such as
anger, sadness and fear.

Breathing with Gassho (Gassho Kokyo-ho)

In Reiki 2 and Reiki 3 you will learn symbols and sacred sounds (mantra/kotodama) to
summon energy.
The aim of this breathing exercise is to focus the mind. When you
master this skill, you will learn to release scattered thoughts and keep
your mind still. Through this you may develop the capacity to maintain a
peaceful, focused and clear state of mind. It will also enhance your
ability to sense energetically and know intuitively. Your hands will also
become more sensitive so that you feel much more energy.
1) Stand or sit. Close your eyes or leave them half open. Breathe slowly
but naturally.
2) Do Gassho.
3) Lift your hands up high and feel the vibrations of light in the whole of
your body.
4) Move the hands down slowly and stop at the chest, just above the
heart. Rest in Gassho.
5) While breathing in, imagine that Reiki is running down to the Tanden
from the palms and then filling the Tanden. While breathing out, energy
from the Tanden is moves up to the palms to be released there. Continue
for a while.
6) Do Gassho again resting in gratitude to complete this exercise. Shake
the hands.

Chakra Activation (Chakra Kassei Kokyu-ho)

The aim of this exercise is to breathe in Reiki energy and move it to
every part of your body. In this way the body is cleansed and charged
with energy. You may enter into a meditative state.

1) Stand, sit or lie down. Close your eyes or leave them half open.
2) Gassho. Hands up high and feel the vibrations of light flow into the
whole body.
3) Bring the hands down slowly to a position in front of the heart, or
place them on the lap. Do tanden breathing - in and out at the abdomen.
Breathe in and your abdomen expands, breath out and the abdomen
shrinks. Do this a few times until you feel calm and relaxed.
4) While breathing in, imagine that light is reaching every cell in all parts
of the body then coming out of the body. While breathing out imagine
that all the tension and the negative thoughts are releasing out of the

5) a). Breathe in Reiki energy through the Base Chakra, move the energy
up, stop at the Heart Chakra and fill it with energy. Breathe out from the
Heart, spreading energy in every direction and out of the body.
b) Breathe the energy from everywhere into the Heart and fill the Heart
with energy. Move the energy up into and out of the Crown Chakra to the
c) Breathe in through the Crown, down to the Heart and fill with the
energy. Breathe out from the Heart.
d) Breath into the Heart, down to the Base Chakra. Breathe out from the
Base Chakra.

Repeat a) to d) three times.

6) Practice the same way as 5), but instead of filling the heart with
energy, fill the following Chakras: Tanden - Solar Plexus - Throat - Brow.
7) Do Gassho again resting in gratitude to complete this exercise. Shake
your hands and clear the mind. When you do not have time to do the
complete sequence, finish off at 5.

Cell-Activation/Self-Growth Technique
Cell Activating Method. This is a healing of the whole body by applying
light energy to those areas that are in a state of imbalance.
1) Stand, sit or lie down. Close the eyes or leave them half open.
2) Do Gassho breathing to start the process.
3) Raise the hands and feel the vibrations of light flow into the whole of
the body. Bring hands down. Breathe slowly at the Tanden. Use the mind's
eye and scan the whole of the body, top to bottom. Try again. Find un-
balanced areas and apply Reiki energy there when you breathe out. While
you are doing that, speak to the imbalance mentally as follows (preferably
in your own words).

"You are stiff and stressed. Now you are blessed with Reiki Light, so you can be all right.
Your anger, sadness and fear are all gone with the light. You are a perfect being and
let’s carry out whatever you are supposed to do"

Then move to the next problem area.

4) When you are accustomed to this exercise, you’ll find the Reiki Light
reaching imbalanced areas instantly. You just need to say "You are now
5) Instead of using your mind you can scan the body with your palms and
do the same as 3)
6) Gassho and finish.

Programming/De-programming (Nentatsu-ho)
This is to send your wish to your Higher Self with Reiki.
1) Stand, sit or lie down with your eyes closed or half-open.
2) Do Gassho breathing.
3) Lift your hands up high and feel the vibrations of light flow into your
hands, down the arms, and fill your whole body, allowing you to become
deeply relaxed. Bring the hands down and place one palm on the forehead
and the other one on the back of the head. Say an affirmation such as:

"I am one with the Universe.” (or any affirmation of your choice).

4) Move the hand on the forehead to the back of the head and put it on
top of the other one that is already there. Allow the energy to flow there
for a few minutes.
5) You may do this for other people, but make sure to understand their
intention very well.
6) Choose your affirmations carefully. Never use this technique for
selfish reasons, and do not try too hard otherwise you may create tension
and imbalance. Always practice Nentatsu-ho in a very relaxed and
meditative state.

Reiki Meditation
If you have been practising meditation, you may like to continue your
usual practice. However you may also like to try Reiki meditation. You will
be filled with and surrounded with a high vibrational field, meaning that
energy of a lower vibration will not be able to come close to you. This
protection is more important than seems possible. In the morning and
evening carry out the meditation with the right affirmation.
1) Prepare your self as before, doing Gassho breathing.
2) Connect with Reiki using the Reiki Shower, or the highest symbol you
are attuned to.
3) Raise your hands up high and absorb the Reiki energy.
4) Close the eyes. Bring the hands together (Gassho) and down to the
height of your forehead.
5) Breathe in and out calmly and allow yourself to become aware of your
oneness with the Universe.
6) If you feel any tension anywhere, release it and allow yourself to
relax. Feel that you are breathing in from your hands and out from your
hands. After a while as your meditation deepens, your hands may come
down or may open. Do not worry about that, all is well.
5) Raise the left hand a little, palm up and fingers curled as if you’re
cupping an egg. Put the right hand palm down on the lap or thigh. If you
are left-handed reverse this. Visualise Universal Energy coming in
through the raised hand, and release the energy through the lower hand
that is your dominant hand. If you have any physical problem areas apply
your dominant hand there, or mentally direct the energy there.
6) Move the raised hand down slowly to the left side of the lap, palms up
and slightly curled. Now both hands are in the lap.
7) In this position, rest in the Universal energy of love and tranquillity
for a while.
8) Put one hand on your heart and give positive affirmation to your
higher self.
Put one hand (does not matter which) on the forehead and other one on
the back of the head and give affirmation. Rest in the universal love and
harmony for as long as you like
9) Do Gassho and finish.

This is a process to enhance your capacity to channel Reiki and to help you
grow energetically:

Standard Posture (Kihon Shisei)

Sit on the floor or on a chair. Relax and close your eyes. Focus your
awareness onto your hara. Put your hands on your lap, palms down.

Focusing (Mokunen)
In your mind say "I'll start Hatsurei-ho now" to your sub-conscious.

Dry Bathing or Brushing-Off (Kenyoku-ho)

Place the fingers of your right hand near the top of your left shoulder,
with the fingertips over the indentation just in from the edge of the
shoulder (where the collar bone meets the shoulder). Keep the hand flat.
Draw the flat hand diagonally down across the chest, over the "V" of the
sternum (where the rib cage meets) down to the right hip. Repeat this
procedure on the right side, using the left hand. Repeat the process on
the left side again.

Now, place the right hand on the edge of the left shoulder, fingertips on
the edge pointing outwards. Draw the flattened right hand down the
outside of the arm, all the way to the finger tips, all the while keeping the
left arm straight at your side. (This can also be done with the arm
straight out in front of one – which may be easier for some people.)
Repeat this process on the right side, with the left hand on the shoulder
and drawing it down the right arm to the fingertips. Repeat the process
on the left side again.

Connect to Reiki
Raise your hands high up in the air, visualize and/or feel the vibration or
light of Reiki flowing into your hands and running down the arms, filling
your whole body.

Cleansing Breath (Joshin Kokyuu-ho)

Put your hands on your lap with your palms up and breath naturally
through your nose. Focus on your hara and relax. As you breathe in,
visualize white Reiki light coming in through your crown chakra, into your
hara and then expanding to the whole of your body, melting all your
tension away. As you breathe out, visualize the light that filled up your
body expanding out through your skin, into infinity in all directions.
Continue this for a few minutes or as long as you like

As described above.

Concentration (Seishin Toitsu)

Remain in Gassho. Imagine that you are breathing through your hands.
As you breathe in, visualize the light of Reiki flowing in through your
hands into your hara, your hara being filled with light. When you breathe
out, visualize that the light stored in your hara radiate out through your
hands. Continue this for a few minutes or as long as you like

Focusing (Mokunen)
Put your hands back on your lap with your palms down. Say in your mind:
"I've finished Hatsurei-ho" to your subconscious.

Open your eyes and shake your hands up/down/left/right for a few

Crystals and Stones31

Most of the research concerning the use of crystals has dealt with varieties of quartz
(including ametrine, amethyst, citrine, rose, smoky) and particularly clear quartz. See
Norman Shealy M.D., Ph.D. (1995), “Miracles Do Happen”, Element, pp 203-204; Richard
Gerber, M.D. (1988) “Vibrational Medicine: New Choices for Healing Ourselves, Bear and
Dr Usui used quartz crystals as carriers of energy from the divine
“store-houses of merit” to his clients, maybe because they exhibit the
properties of piezo-electricity and pyro-electricity. This means that they
can receive, store, and emit electrical energy and transform physical
energy into electricity. This is what makes crystals so useful in modern

Our energy (thoughts and emotions) of course is electro-magnetic. This

essentially may be why crystals can be so useful and beneficial to us.32
It is only the capacity of our hearts and minds that limit the use we are
able to make of crystals.

After you have decided on the crystal you wish to use, cleanse and
programme it. The cleansing can be done in many different ways, as long
as the intention is clear. The programming can be done more or less
elaborately, using prayer and heart-energy. A simple way is to use a
healing phrase or other statement or affirmation of intent. Use a short,
simple, positive, emotionally meaningful goal stating what you want to
create, rather than what you want to get rid of. Create an image to go
along with this goal and allow the crystal to go to work! Finally, charge
your crystal and your intention with Reiki as often as you wish to. Enjoy!

Healing Beyond Time and Space (Enkaku-Chiryo-ho)

Sitting still, imagine holding the person or situation you wish to send Reiki
to (or even the whole world) in a ball of energy between your hands. Allow
the current of blessing and healing to move between your hands and to
and through the recipient. Remain unconditionally present to whatever
arises in your awareness, blessing all without judgement.

As an evening practice this way of using Reiki may take the form of
expressing gratitude for and sending Reiki to all the experiences of the
day. As a morning practice it may focus on what is to come during the
hours that follow.


For example in a study with 141 chronically depressed patients who used a quartz
crystal mentally programmed with their own healing phrase. This reinforced a two-week
therapeutic programme. It was found three to six months afterwards that without
further treatment, 80% remained improved as opposed to 28% who used a glass crystal.
The quartz or glass was randomly assigned double blind (i.e. neither researcher nor
patient knew whether they were getting quartz or glass). See Norman Shealy’s book
referred to above.
Any situation or experience or person (even if they are not on the earth
anymore) may be blessed in this manner, with no limitation of time nor

Where to from Here?

When we first learn about Reiki a whole new world of wonderful
possibilities opens up to us: a simple system to alleviate suffering from
the roots and a tool for personal and spiritual growth. The question of
course is how to make this a reality in our everyday lives, rather than its
being just another book of ideas to cram into our heads, or a dream of
possibilities to be forgotten with the passage of time.

There are a number of ways. The most crucial may be to make a firm
commitment to yourself to realise your goals and to seek your bliss. Or at
least to free yourself from suffering. Then the value of using Reiki may
be more obvious and you may have greater motivation to learn to utilize it
effectively. This can be done fairly simply: by linking with Reiki from time
to time during the day, and by using it whenever you require help. These
paradoxically often tend to be the times we are most self-abusive:
judging and blaming ourselves when self-acceptance and kindness really
offer the only genuine way forward33. In fact link with Reiki as you wake
up in the morning and as you fall asleep at night. Empower your food with
Reiki. Also do regular treatments for yourself and others. This has the
benefit of helping you develop the internal and external energetic skill to
live more consciously and to do the work of Reiki 2 and 3 if you ever wish
to continue studying it. The more immediate benefits should not be
underestimated. They extend way beyond the obvious.

The teachers sometimes say that all the suffering we encounter is

presented to inspire us to open our hearts to the practice of healing and
compassion in the world. They also say that when we do this, its like laying

Often we misunderstand compassion, thinking that it is selfish or wrong to be kind to
ourselves; or that simply by focusing on the suffering of others our own problems will
disappear all by themselves. Making friends with ourselves, being generous to ourselves
and uncovering our own kindness and confidence are essential for coming to know our
real nature. It’s important that we first uncover our own fundamental goodness, our own
Good Heart, and that is the aspect of ourselves we identify with and nurture. It is
essential to begin with ourselves, offering ourselves love and compassion before going on
to help others. If we neglect doing this, our “help” may be motivated by unclear motives
and subtle selfishness and have harmful consequences both for others and ourselves;
quite contrary to our intentions.
on a vast heavenly banquet, even if there are only one or two guests for
the feast. Don’t be skimpy with your gifts! Chogyam Trungpa wrote:

"When you awaken your heart... you find, to your surprise, that your heart is empty. You
find that you are looking into outer space. What are you, who are you, where is your
heart? If you really look you won't find anything tangible and solid. Of course you may
find something very solid if you have a grudge against someone or you have fallen
possessively in love. But that is not awakened heart. If you search for awakened heart,
if you put your hand through your ribcage and feel for it, there is nothing there except
for tenderness. You feel sore and soft, and if you open your eyes to the rest of the
world, you feel a tremendous sadness. This kind of sadness doesn't come from being
mistreated. You don't feel sad because someone has insulted you or because you feel
impoverished. Rather this experience of sadness is unconditioned. It occurs because
your heart is completely exposed. There is no skin or tissue covering it; it is pure raw
meat. Even if a tiny mosquito lands on it, you feel so touched. Your experience is raw and
tender and so personal... real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from
letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart."

As we work with Reiki, we easily come to experience and know our “raw
and beautiful” heart. We become open to allow its profound capacity for
tenderness and bliss to guide our path through life. But it is only through
ongoing practice that this experience becomes effortlessly possible and
capable of stability and constancy even amid the chaos of everyday life in
the modern world. During Reiki 1 the focus is on learning about energy.
Internally, we learn to identify it as it runs through and around us and to
manage it as best we can through our awareness and discipline. At the
external/practical level we used the metaphor of the massage therapist
and the physical body as an image of what is required at this level.

During Reiki 2 we’re challenged to learn to transform energy by

developing our capacity to see through illusion. Focusing on three basic
tendencies that cause our suffering, we are introduced to the three Reiki
2 symbols. With the evocation of these ‘whole-ing’ archetypal forces we
learn to make that which is hidden visible and to give voice to that which
is not seen. We are reminded of dreams we have forgotten and are
encouraged to grow in the skill of transforming negative energy into a
more positive, enlightened expression34.

During Reiki 3 we’re challenged to master the skill of remaining in

present-time and non-dual awareness; and to come to know “reality” as
Reiki, like many processes of spiritual development, offers the phased introduction of
complex knowledge by which the speed of change and the potential for ego disruption
may accelerate as we continue along the path.
“holographic”. We recognize that space and time are useful constructs we
require to organise our experience in the physical dimension and not much
more. We realise that all is interlinked and simultaneous and that
everything we do affects everything else. We’re challenged to recognize
enlightenment and infinite possibility as our real nature and to realise our
capacity to meet any energy which may come our way – regardless of
whether it presents “positively” or “negatively” - to liberate its power,
and harness it in the service of our supreme goals. The focus at the 3rd
level is on self-liberation, and living our essence in the world. In the
words of Joseph Campbell:

"Two degrees of initiation are to be distinguished in the mansion of the father. From
the first the son returns as emissary, but from the second with the knowledge that 'I
and the father are one'. Heroes of this second, highest illumination are the world
redeemers, the so-called incarnations, in the highest sense. Their myths open out to
cosmic proportions... The aim is... to realize that one is, that essence; then one is free to
wander as that essence in the world. Furthermore, the world too is of that essence. The
essence of oneself and the essence of the world: these two are one. Hence
separateness, withdrawal is no longer necessary. Wherever the hero may wander,
whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence - for he has the
perfected eye to see.35"

One comment from Dr Usui is pertinent in this age of new age spiritual

"The character of the person who is practising the higher levels of the Lightning Flash
should be one who is dedicated to healing, not to self-aggrandisement, ego-satisfaction,
or material profit … The individual who is initiated should be of good character, but most
of all they should have the mental capacity to absorb the wisdom that is contained
within each degree of the system. They should be stable individuals, not flitting from
this healing system to that healing system like a careless butterfly feeding on each of
the blossoms of a peony. They should be willing to dedicate themselves to the perfection
of one system, before continuing on and seeking other systems."

These are wise words, and well worth heeding. If you are not already
dedicated to a particular healing/spiritual modality, I would encourage
you to stick with Reiki for a while and perfect your capacity to work with
it before moving on to another system. It is infinitely more valuable to
commit oneself to mastering one method, while remaining open and
respectful to the insights of all others; rather than shopping around from
one teaching to another without any continuity or real, sustained
dedication. There is a Tibetan saying “Knowing one, you accomplish all.”
Joseph Campbell in The Hero's Journey.
Without the discipline of this dedication, we can very easily sabotage our
own growth.

As a new practitioner you may also be surprised by many, and

unfortunately often competing “forms” of Reiki being offered. As Reiki
developed in the West, the diversity of “additions” and “improvements”
has become rather alarming. I feel this developed as a result of a lack of
understanding the less obvious aspects of the Reiki system (not
surprisingly, referred to as the “inner” and the “secret” teaching), and
the Western idea that more and bigger is better. Dr Usui’s comments are
probably much more applicable now than when he wrote them more than
eighty years ago:

"It is fine to use other adjuncts, such as massage, Shiatsu and so on, to aid the
individual. It is even proper to incorporate things such as body movement, and exercise,
which when the Tantra of the Lightning Flash was written were unimportant because
people had more physical activity in that day. This lack of physical activity does cause
blockage in modern individuals. So these things are beneficial and can be incorporated,
but other systems which indicate they channel spiritual energy from this or that source
for healing are unnecessary and a waste of valuable time and endeavour because within
the system of the Lightning Flash all of this is contained."

Therefore, practice, practice, practice! Give yourself the chance to

experience and become skilled with this gift.

For a while after receiving the Reiki empowerment, you may experience a
process of energetic re-adjustment. The nature of this is shaped greatly
by how grounded one is, and how skilled at transmuting energy. The
empowerment introduces a charge of awakening consciousness and our
challenge is to accommodate that in our everyday, ordinary, physical lives.
Until this accommodation is complete, re-adjustment will be ongoing,
sometimes for hours, sometimes for years. Energy that is not creatively
engaged and radiated becomes morbid. This may find expression through
anything from major physical illnesses through to very minor experiences
of feeling out of sorts. The exercises presented earlier in the text may
be used with considerable benefit. If you experience insomnia, attempt to
identify and correct the disordered energy causing the disturbance in
sleep and eat moderately before going to bed. For the rest, the easiest
and most direct way to channel energy is through the body. Do
treatments! And do exercise especially in natural settings, consciously
connecting with the energy and expressing it through the movement of
your body. Also, sing and dance to give expression to the energy. That
assists greatly to integrate the energy, decrease discomfort, and
establish newer and elevated levels of equilibrium.

And remember that when we re-enter our ordinary lives after a workshop
or retreat or other time out, the gravity of our usual habits and
relationships quickly tend to push newly-opened doors shut, sometimes
even leading to our feeling a bit depressed. This is a common experience
and there is no need for guilt or blame. However, it requires that we make
some effort to keep the door open. Solitude and silence (even in small,
committed doses) are invaluable for this. During your time alone examine
whether the details of your life do harm to yourself and/or others. And
examine whether your motives serve your quest to come to know your real
nature, or not.

Use Reiki with reverence and with trust. Rest in the protection of the
tradition and come to know the energy. It is your own. May it help you
achieve your goals at all levels, relatively and absolutely!

Love after Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you,

all your life, whom you ignored

for another,
who knows you by heart.
Take down the love-letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.


Appendix 1: Some Notes on Buddhism

In the Tibetan tradition the word for Buddhist is nangpa, which means someone who
seeks the truth in the nature of mind itself (Consciousness Itself) rather than in the
contents and phenomena of consciousness. All the teaching and training in Buddhism are
aimed at this one single point: to come to know the nature of the Absolute and so to
free us from the fear of death and help us realize the truth of life.
However Buddhism can be regarded as a collection of skillfull methods (Dharma), alive in
a body of practitioners (the Sangha) gathered with the mutual aim of supporting the
realisation of one’s real (buddha) nature. The buddha nature of each and everyone of us
is no different from the Absolute itself (described as the “Nature of Mind”). The
tradition generally traces its origin to the Shakya Prince Gautama Siddharta, who
achieved Enlightenment (completely realised his buddha nature) in Northern India
approximately 2500 years ago. He is commonly referred to as Shakyamuni Buddha. It is
important to realise however that there are groups which claim an unbroken lineage
seventeen thousand years old, which go back to the Buddha Shenrab Miwoche rather
than Shakyamuni Buddha.

The simplest way to relate Buddhist understanding to the ideas of the theistic
traditions is to think of “Enlightenment” as comparable to “God-realisation.” At the
external level of religious expression and cultural paraphernalia, of course there are
many differences. At the level of mysticism and essential process, the similarities
greatly outweigh any differences which seem apparent36.

The Buddha Shakyamuni drew people together around the issue of the universality of
suffering, and the equally universal wish to be free from suffering and achieve lasting
happiness. Out of this focus various kinds of teachings arose to meet the varying
interest, capacity, commitment and situations of people longing for these teachings.
Starting from the model of human-beings comprised of three dimensions: body, energy,
and essence, three kinds of teaching arose. These are the paths of “Renunciation”
(Sutra Teaching), “Transformation” (Tantra), and Self-Liberation” respectively.

If the entire focus of Buddhism is aimed at coming to know the nature of mind, why do
people find such difficulty conceiving of its depth and glory? Why does it seem like a
slightly outlandish improbability? The teachings speak about four impediments which
prevent our having this realisation right now:

1. The nature of mind is just too close to be recognized. Just as we are unable to
see our own face, we find it difficult to look into our own nature.
2. It is too profound for us to fathom. We have no idea how deep it could be; if we
did, we would already to a certain extent have realised it.
3. It is too easy for us to believe. In reality, all we need do is simply rest in the
naked, pure awareness of the nature of mind, which is always present.
4. It is too wonderful for us to accommodate. The sheer immensity of it is too vast
to fit our narrow way of thinking. We just can’t believe it, nor possibly imagine
that enlightenment is the nature of our minds37

Another potential obstacle to Westerners encountering Buddhism may be the vast

pantheon of deities, images, symbols etc. It is essential to realise that at a very
fundamental level all the Buddhas, icons and symbols associated with them are mirrors
of the “aspects and faculties in everyone, which in the Buddhas have been made
manifest38”. By giving them their own existence and form, it is easier to recognize and

See also Sogyal Rinpoche’s discussion in Chapter 21 “The Universal Process” of “The Tibetan
Book of Living and Dying”, Rider, 1992.
Sogyal Rinpoche “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”, Rider, 1992, p50.
Eva Rudy Jansen,The Book of Buddhas, Binkey Kok Publications, (1990) pp ix-x.
understand these aspects. However, the ultimate goal is always to turn the insight thus
obtained inwards; where it leads to self-awareness and spiritual knowledge. Then the
constricting bonds of the conditioned mind which trap every thinking being, may be
released. Only when you break through this conditioning is there room for liberating
enlightenment. Viewed this way, Buddhism can be seen as a system that is based on
profound psycho-spiritual insight.

In the words of Roman Catholic monk, the late Thomas Merton: “The symbols of the
higher religions may at first sight seem to have little in common, but when one comes to
a better understanding of those religions, and when one sees that the experiences which
are the fulfilment of religious belief and practice are most clearly expressed in symbols,
one may come to recognize that often the symbols of different religions may have more
in common than have the abstractly formulated official doctrines… The true symbol does
not merely point to something else. It contains in itself a structure which awakens our
consciousness to a new awareness of the inner meaning of life and of reality itself. A
true symbol takes us to the centre of the circle, not to another point on the
circumference. It is by symbolism that man enters affectively and consciously into
contact with his own deepest self, with other men, and with God… One cannot apprehend
a symbol unless one is able to awaken, in one’s own being, the spiritual resonances which
respond to the symbol not only as sign but as ‘sacrament’ and ‘presence.39’”

Thus, the qualities represented by these religious symbols (and the Reiki “symbols” you
may learn if you continue with Reiki) are not only external images of divine power. They
are vessels of the holy power they portray. The purpose and goal of each one of these
symbols is to help us to realize the divine within ourselves, uncover aspects of ourselves
which are still hidden and achieve our own inner perfection. They are tools for spiritual
growth and mystical experience. For one who knows how to use them, they provide
instruction in cultivating the seed of inner divinity through a process of self-
transformation and mystical union.
As such, the symbols provide a representation of the spiritual potential which the
practitioner may come to recognize within, and which he or she may endeavour to
experience and become. We meditate on and enter into the symbol and extract an
essence in the form of a blessing. Through this practice we have a way of realising
magnificence and coming to know our real nature. Hope that helps you understand Reiki

Appendix 2 – Dr Usui’s Memorial

The inscription on Dr Usui’s memorial at the Saihoji Temple in Tokyo, briefly
describes his life. The memorial was erected by his students shortly after his
death. Mr. Okata, a member of the Gakkai and Mr. Ushida, who became
president after Usui Sensei’s passing, wrote the inscription40. The large words at
the top of the memorial read: "Memorial of Usui Sensei's virtue." The remainder
of the inscription reads as follows:

Thomas Merton, Symbolism: Communication or communion? New Directions 20, New York,
This translation is from Inscription on the memorial stone at Dr. Usui grave at Saihoji
temple: Frank Arjava Petter, Reiki Fire, Lotus Light, 1997.
“Someone who studies hard (i.e. practices meditation) and works assiduously to improve
body and mind for the sake of becoming a better person, is called ‘a man of great spirit.’
People who use that great spirit for a social purpose, that is, to teach the right way to
many people and do collective good, are called ‘teachers.’ Dr. Usui was one such teacher.
He taught the Reiki of the universe. Countless people asked him to teach them the great
way of Reiki and to heal them.

Dr. Usui was born in the first year of the Keio period called Keio Gunnen, on August 15th
(1865). His first name was Mikao and his other name is pronounced either Gyoho (or
Kyoho). He was born in the village of Yago in the Yamagata district of Gifu prefecture.
His ancestor's name is Tsunetane Chiba. His father's name was Uzaemon. His mother's
family name was Kaweai. From what is known, he was a talented and hard working
student. As an adult he travelled to several Western countries and China to study,
worked arduously, but did at some points run into some bad luck. However he didn't give
up and trained himself conscientiously.

One day, he went to Mount Kurama on a 21-day retreat, to fast and meditate. At the end
of this period he suddenly felt the great Reiki energy at the top of his head, which led
to the Reiki healing system. He first used Reiki on himself and then tried it on his
family. Since it worked well for various ailments, he decided to share this knowledge
with the public at large. He opened a clinic in Harajuku, Aoyama, Tokyo in April of the
11th year of the Taisho period (1922). He not only gave treatment to countless patients,
some of whom had come from far and wide, but he also hosted workshops to spread his
knowledge. In September of the twelfth year of the Taisho period (1923), the
devastating Kanto earthquake shook Tokyo. Thousands were killed, injured, or became
sick in its aftermath. Dr. Usui grieved for his people, but he also took Reiki to the
devastated city and used its healing powers on the surviving victims. His clinic soon
became too small to handle the throng of patients, so in February of the 14th year of
the Taisho period (1925), he built a new one outside Tokyo in Nakano.

His fame spread quickly all over Japan and invitations came from distant parts asking
him to heal many ailments. Once he went to Kure, another time to Hiroshima prefecture,
then to Saga prefecture and Fukuyama. It was during his stay in Fukuyama that he was
hit by a fatal stroke on March 9th, of the fifteenth year of the Taisho period (1926).
He was 62 years of age.

Dr. Usui had a wife named Sadako. Her maiden name was Suzuki. They had a son and a
daughter. The son, Fuji Usui took over the family business after Dr. Usui's passing.

Dr. Usui was a very warm, simple and humble person. He was physically healthy and well
proportioned. He never showed off and always had a smile on his face; he was also very
courageous in the face of adversity. He was at the same time, a very cautious person.
His talents were many. He liked to read, and his knowledge of medicine, psychology,
fortune telling and the theology of all religions around the world, was vast. This lifelong
habit of studying and gathering information certainly helped pave the way to perceiving
and understanding Reiki. Reiki does not only heal diseases, but also amplifies innate
abilities, balances the spirit, makes the body healthy and thus helps achieve happiness.
To teach this to others you should follow the five principles of the Meiji Emperor and
contemplate them in your heart. They should be spoken daily, once in the morning and
once in the evening. 1) Don't get angry today. 2) Don't worry today. 3) Be grateful today.
4) Work hard today (meditative practice). 5) Be kind to others today. The ultimate goal
is to understand the ancient secret method for gaining happiness (Reiki) and thereby
discover an all-purpose cure for many ailments. If these principles are followed you will
achieve the great tranquil mind of the ancient sages. To begin spreading the Reiki
system, it is important to start from a place close to you (yourself). Don't start from
something distant such as philosophy or logic.

Sit still and in silence every morning and every evening with your hands folded in the
"Ghasso". Follow the great principles and be clean and quiet. Work on your heart and do
things from the quiet space inside of you. Anyone can access Reiki because it begins
within yourself!

Philosophical paradigms are changing the world. If Reiki can be spread throughout the
world it will touch the human heart and the morals of society. It will be helpful for many
people, not only healing disease, but the Earth as a whole. Over 2000 people learned
Reiki from Dr. Usui. Even more learned from his senior disciples who carried Reiki
further. Now after Dr. Usui's passing, Reiki will continue to spread far and wide. It is a
universal blessing to have received Reiki from Dr. Usui and to be able to pass it on to
others. Many of Dr. Usui's students converged to build this memorial here at Saihoji
Temple in the Toyotoma district. I was asked to write these words to help keep his
great work alive. I deeply appreciate his work and I would like to say to all those who
respect his teaching that I am honoured to have been chosen for this task. May many
understand what a great service Dr. Usui did to the world."


Bonze – A spiritual minister, teacher, priest

Bodhisattva - A Bodhisattva is a being whose sole wish and commitment

is to benefit all sentient beings and who dedicates his or her entire life,
work and spiritual practice to the attainment of enlightenment in order to
be of the greatest possible help to other beings.
Consciousness Itself – A personal, utterly non-conceptual revelation of
what we are, why we are here, and how we should act. This experience is
described in different ways in the different mystical traditions. An
intuited experience beyond the dualism associated with the contents of
consciousness such as good-bad, desireable-undesireable, love-hate etc.

Dark nights – Experiences of mystical madness and depression marked by

particular characteristics that distinguish these from ordinary
psychological madness and depression.

Dharma – In this context dharma refers to the spiritual teachings that

ultimately derive from the Enlightened Mind, and to the spiritual path

Egoic – A sense of identity circumscribing the parameters of our

concerns and self-definition. Our conditioned way of accessing, holding
and expressing energy and aliveness. It is the way of being in our bodies
that we have learned by emulation of parents and societal norms and
“internalised” as the energetic template through which we hold the life
force. The egoic body can only sustain a circumscribed range of energy
before it manifests exhaustion or illness.

Esoteric – A focus on the subtle energies and the nature of mind rather
than the exoteric focus on the five senses and the contents of the mind.

Gaijins – Japanese term for foreigners.

Gakkai – The Reiki Organisation founded by Dr Usui, currently under

leadership of its sixth president.

Hara – Sometimes referred to as the navel chakra in the esoteric

teaching. At conception the “sound” of our incarnation is said to arise
from the navel chakra, laying the basis on which our energetic structure
can grow. Also see “Tanden” below.

Karma – The law of cause and effect. Any intentional action taken
physically, verbally, or mentally serves as a “seed” that will bear the
“fruit” of its consequences in the future when the conditions are right
for its realisation. Positive actions have positive effects such as
happiness; and negative actions have negative effects, such as
unhappiness. Karma does not mean that life is determined, but that
conditions arise out of past actions.

Kobo Daishi – The monk Kukai, 774-835 CE, founder of the Japanese
Tradition of Esoteric Buddhism, and awarded the title of Kobo Daishi
(Great Teacher) by the Imperial Court.

Lightening Flash, Tantra of the – The Healing Tantra which inspired Dr

Usui’s exploration and eventual discovery of Reiki.

Medicine King – or “Medicine Buddha.” The representation/embodiment

of the healing power of all enlightened beings; or of all healing power in
the universe.

Mystical/Mysticism – Finding the truth within, in immediate experience

of divine presence and one-on-one relationship with God. Moving through
social and intellectual constructs of divinity, through a “door of
aloneness” into the experience of spiritual intimacy and ‘knowledge’
revealed in secret.

Nangpa – Literally “inside-er”… seeking the truth in the nature of mind

itself, rather than in the contents and phenomena of the mind.

Nembutsu – The mantra/prayer of the Buddha Amida (“Boundless Light”)

that is used to invoke the heart essence/consciousness of the Buddha.

Nirvana – The attainment of complete liberation from ignorance.

Non-dual awareness – A state of perfect unobstructed being where the

boundaries marking separation break down and Oneness is experienced.

Psychodynamic – In this instance referring to conscious and unconscious

processes in the bodymind involving thoughts, emotions, sensations,
personality/egoic templates, archetypal dynamics etc.

Reiju - In the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, no separate initiations were and
are given for the different levels of Reiki. The student receives an
initiation called "Reiju" every time he or she attends the weekly or
bimonthly meetings.
Rigpa – Innate awareness/experience of the truth of our real nature
characterised by the presence of its sky-like Essence, its radiant Nature,
and its unimpeded Energy of compassion. The experience of non-dual

Real nature – See Rigpa, Consciousness Itself, Mysticism, Spiritual.

Sacred Contract – The idea that each one of us is here for a specific
purpose, embodied in the events, challenges, talents, people, relationships
etc. in our lives. Starting from the assumption that the Universal script is
scripted, yet free will exists. Where we move from the position not only
about what we can get out of this life, but what we are here to give.

Samsara – The realm of suffering that arises from the occluded dualistic
mind trapping us in delusions of ignorance and duality.

Sanskrit – The language of ancient India and its spirituality and religion.

Shingon – A form of Japanese esoteric Buddhism in which Usui eventually

found a home and which provided the context from which he developed

Shintoism – Shintoism and Buddhism were two of the most widespread

forms of religious and spiritual practice in Japan. And yet Japanese
Buddhism underwent various experiences of persecution, one of the most
recent around the time of the Meiji restoration when Shintoism was
institutionalised as the official state religion of Japan.

Spiritual – The challenge and impetus to a way of life that honours the
highest aspect of ourselves while simultaneously celebrating the physical,
human, time-bound and personal side of our nature. Living the
transcendental principle in time and space so that one’s whole being may
conduct a higher energy into the manifest plane. In full expression it
introduces the spaciousness of being throughout the whole range of
ordinary living.

Surrender – Breaks with the familiar and the known, freeing us to

transcend to different dimensions of consciousness. Surrender
experiences generally refer to particular events. However surrender also
describes a way of being characterised by living in the space of
“Consciousness Itself” with constant openness to the revelation of the
mystery of life.

Sutra – Texts of teachings that came directly from the historical Buddha
Shakyamuni. The sutra teachings are based on the “path of renunciation”
and form the base of monastic life.

Tanden – An energetic centre approximately three fingers’ width under

the navel.

Tantra – The teachings and writings that set out the practices of Tantric
Buddhism, many rediscovered by yogis of the terma tradition. Tantras are
based on the principle of the “transformation of impure vision into pure
vision” and include practices such as working with the energy of the body,
the transference of consciousness, dream and sleep yogas, etc.

Tendai Buddhist – Together with Shingon, representing the two most

visible Japanese forms of esoteric or tantric Buddhism (Mikkyo).

Terma – Sacred objects, texts, or teachings hidden by the spiritual

adepts of one age for the benefit of a future age in which the termas are
found. The tantric masters who find termas are known as tertons
(treasure finders). Terma have been and may be found in physical
locations such as caves and cemeteries; in elements such as water, wood,
earth or space; or received in dreams, visionary experience and in deep
levels of consciousness. Dr Usui’s discovery of Reiki is sometimes
referred to as a mind-terma.

Transmission – Spiritual teaching including the heart-essence (energetic

charge and atmosphere) of the teaching, the knowledge and the means to
apply the knowledge to the student.

Unobstructed relationship – A quality of free attention between two or

more persons. Here the individuals are able to see each other as whole, as
divine, as if they are two mirrors facing. This can arise when all self-
involvement by those persons is absent.

Yamabushi - Mountain Monks of the tradition of ‘Shugendo’ (or the “Way

of Cultivating Spiritual Powers”). The ‘Yamabushi’ sought 'Kantoku'
(“wisdom”… see “terma” above) through a variety of testing practices
including fasting, seclusion, solitary meditation, group pilgrimages,
chanting incantations and sutras, sitting or standing under waterfalls.