Are We Sure That’s What Dr. Usui Said?

Article by Phillip Hawkins

There are many gifted Reiki practitioners who through no fault of their own get drawn into discussions about which Reiki tradition or lineage is the true one. Believing that their Reiki is the right one, they then conclude that all the other forms are misguided and misleading. There is passion behind the respective opinions; each believes that they have a duty to defend what they perceive as Dr. Usui’s Reiki and their tradition becomes a bench mark against which they judge all others and usually find them lacking. Unfortunately, once judgement enters into a discussion, people can quickly become polarised and entrenched in their beliefs with the need to defend their position usually at the cost of the other person’s point of view. Once committed to this course of action it becomes very easy to lose sight of the spiritual concepts that were the reason for our attraction to Reiki in the first place.

I think all styles of Reiki have value and merit and I have found from personal experience that many are identical with the only difference being the name or title that’s placed before the Reiki, but the moment I put my own view forward it becomes just one more opinion on what Reiki should or shouldn’t be. More importantly the moment we move away from an open community of enquiry and move into the realms of rigid opinions, and heated arguments over which style of Reiki or Reiki organisation truly reflects Dr. Usui’s teachings we have missed the point and are in direct opposition to the fundamental principles of Reiki that are carved in stone on Usui’s memorial.

No frontier
Image by photophilde

We have two versions of the Reiki story that are diametrically opposed to one another, but if we accept that all Reiki works, we must then ask ourselves does it matter if the story doesn’t quite fit the experiential evidence that Reiki practitioners are creating on a daily basis worldwide. History of any description is a story and as any historian will tell you, history is written by those with the power to do so and owes as much to the storytellers and authors as it does to the events themselves. Events throughout history have been edited and manipulated to meet the political needs of those who had the power to determine how events would be portrayed for posterity. Nothing is ever what it seems; whether it’s a perceived historical fact or the present moment. Since we weren’t there, all we have is written accounts or stories passed down like a giant Japanese whisper. Even if you the reader could have witnessed personally the whole of Dr. Usui’s life, your account of events would still only be your interpretation of what you witnessed based on your values, beliefs, and prejudices. Objective reality is an illusion; the observer affects everything s/he observes, what you believe helps create your reality; your reality colours what you see, and what you see, reinforces your beliefs.

Does it matter who called it Reiki, or how it was taught, or even if it was called Reiki in the first place. What we perceive as Reiki at this moment in time has had many names for thousands of years, experienced and expressed in many ways by different civilisations. There is only one source, but it expresses itself in many different ways, and there is more than one way to teach and learn Reiki, and each has value and merit in its own right. There has to be as many ways as there are people who come to it, we are all different, and the ways in which we learn need to be as individual as we are. Reiki is alive and free flowing and all living things must change and develop. Reiki is no different. Once this process has begun its origins are nowhere near as important as its destiny. Reiki is the journey of a lifetime; if we want to move forward we must look forward and create the future we desire, that way we won’t have to spend time re-writing the past.

Structure, in whatever form, be it the written word, hand positions, symbols or meditations are no more than a means to an end; an assist until you are able to walk and stand unaided. Each one is a teaching aid designed to take us step by step to the point on our journey when we discover and trust our own intuition and the power of intention for the structure was never meant to become a dependency or impede our progress. Through the use of our directed intent, we are able to do less and less, thus reducing the number of dependencies, to the point where we appear to do nothing and yet everything is done. Intent should never be confused with effort; effort is the energy of the ego while intent comes from the stillness of creation. The world is in dire need of every Reiki practitioner no matter what creed, colour, denomination, or belief, every time we think, talk, or act out of the desire to heal through Reiki; we heal ourselves, and help heal the world that gives us life. Indifference kills just as easily as starvation does; the ill, hungry and destitute don’t care how the parcel is wrapped as long as the content gives them life.

Beautiful Sky
Image by paul bica

In truth there are no boundaries, only those which we set ourselves, the only rule that should apply is that we put the higher good of mankind above our own differences and always put a higher value on experience than we do on theory and dogma tell us we must do. As Confucius once said ‘what I hear I forget, what I see I remember, what I do I know’. We learn from experience and become our own best teacher and in doing so we then begin to teach others what we wish to learn from life. The history of Reiki is nowhere near as important as its future and all history begins in the present moment, re-writing the history books won’t add a single minute to another’s life or make the sun shine any brighter.

We should not look to Dr. Usui or anyone else to tell us what to do, or how to live our lives for that is paying him the greatest disservice; we should start where he left off, which is the here and now, and move beyond the barriers we have set ourselves, and move out into the unknown. Development is always on the other side of established boundaries; growth always asks us to break the mould and while we argue over who is right, we can convince ourselves of the necessity to stay within the comfort of what we know. Reiki is a living, breathing, life giving energy that cannot be found in dusty words; it’s found in the free flowing action of intent that goes beyond structure, beyond form, and beyond boundaries we set ourselves. Looking at the first step we see that the journey is incomplete and imperfect; we find it lacking; in need of planning, we reorganise and restructure to give ourselves a sense of purpose and achievement; we do everything but make the journey, everything but take that first dangerous step into the unknown.

Phillip Hawkins

Phillip Hawkins

Phillip Hawkins is a practicing psychic medium. He has been practicing Reiki since 1999, and he’s been a Reiki teacher since 2000. In addition to teaching, when time allows he gives talks and leads discussion groups on the above topics. Applying Reiki on a daily basis has transformed his life and continues to do so as each day brings with it a new and deeper understanding of Reiki and of life. Phillip would like the opportunity to share that knowledge experience with others in an open minded and non judgemental way in a Reiki Rays ‘community of enquiry’.



  1. Hooray for a like minded Soul!
    I agree 100% with every word Phillip has written. It is so refreshing to know someone think’s the same as I do, no ego, no fanfares “I am a Reiki Master” just a beautiful humble soul doing what he was born to do.
    I too am a practising psychic medium practising Reiki since 1999 and teaching since 2000!
    I tell all of my students Reiki is just a word and the symbols are just that, symbols!
    Throughout the years I have met Masters who claim you have to go into trance to allow the energy to flow! A thought, intent and Reiki will go to wherever or whoever may need it, simple’s!
    Thank you and Namaste for such an interesting article
    Mags ‘Wise Owl’ Elson

  2. Thank you – amazing how ego wants to slip into everything creating another division, another label, trying to tell us we are separate, when Reiki is showing us we are one in this energy we are sharing.

  3. I can’t agree more. My feelings exactly. I thought that perhaps my ego was getting in my way in that I believed that my thought, my moment, my tear, my smile, my touch was enough and that perhaps I did not understand it all fully when just by reading your article allows me to realize that I understood it completely.

  4. Funny thing about the teachings of teh old masters, and teh new Masters of masters around teh world. Ego can be tantalizing right? smething i like to se is how they treat themselves and teh resto ofthe mortals that haev not been tuned into any type of reiky… i have been practicing Reiky at home for teh past five years i have perceived this in people who think that isnce they are masters or teachers they are far better than the old lady at teh corner who happesn to have a big power to heal you by simply saying GOOD MORNING and give you her brightest smile while selling flowers.
    I have also heard these types of discussions on all types of systems …be it Usui, Karuna, Fusion, Seichim, KArmic etc etc…’s amusing as soem traditional guys need the strict laws to make it easier for them to live by. Others are simply tuned into teh energy source and teh symbols are only part of a ritual…..Thank you fr thi this article is excellent!!!!!!!! NAMASTE!

  5. I agree with Phillip. Very well written article. So true.
    I am interested in being part of any Reiki discussion.
    One added note though, ego should not be part of Reiki as said.
    I teach my students with a visual clue which is especially good for new students. Visualize a shelf or a box on a shelf, place your ego in it before practicing. I know that sounds weird but many of my students which go back 15 years still use that visual.
    When done with a Reiki session, mentally open the box and again don your ego.
    I had hard core bikers, small children and many others that appreciated a visual versus just that it needed to be done.
    Please keep me on your list of future articles or postings.
    Have a beautiful and blessed day!

  6. While relatively “new” to Reiki, but not to the flowing Energy of the unnameable, I could not reconcile what I was hearing/reading about lineage, outer forms, symbols, rules, regulations, etc. that people were attaching to this beautiful expression of Grace and Energy called Reiki. My heartfelt thanks for this article as it confirmed in me what I had intuitively seemed to know. My thanks from another bit of the fabric of Reiki.

  7. Reading the article above, “effort is the energy of the ego, intent comes from the stillness of creation”, beautifully sums it all up. Intent, thought by its very strength and spontaneity, does it all. very nicely expressed by Phillip. Intent is the key !!

  8. Thanks for the point of view that so many of us share. I personally believe that Reiki is evolving and in a positive way. The more people who work with these energies, the better our world may be. There is no right nor wrong way really as long as the intention is positive, compassionate, and open. The symbols, which I use, are merely tools albeit very special ones. I feel privileged to be in such wonderful company. May each of us share the energy in our own special way.

  9. It is always refreshing ~ to me at least ~ to read the words of others who seem to take a position of common sense and acceptance. The more I am able to let go and allow my ‘own style’ to manifest albeit perhaps with slight daily variations, the stronger I feel the energy flow. Thanks to everyone for sharing ~ for sharing is a large part of what ‘It’ is all about.

  10. Dear Mags ‘Wise owl’, Laura,cJackson,Grace, Barbara, Marilyn, Sanjeev, Johan and Chris
    Thank you so much for the feedback and kind comments, its always nice to make contact with kindred spirits, My apologies for the delay in replying but Iis important to me to try and give thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my work even if tthey don’t agree with what I may have to say.

    I believe that Reiki like many things in life is very simple and straight forward if we would only allow it to be, but being human we seem to like to complicate things and are sometimes drawn to those who would take something simple make it complicated and then charge students for making it simple again, but each to their own.

    The ability to trust our own judgement and inner guidance has been bred out of us and we have become conditioned to mistrust and doubt our own ‘still quiet voice’ and i believe that part of the process of healing oneself is to allow Reiki to help us rediscover our true selves. Reiki can be described as healing, unconditional love and divine spirit but it works no matter what we call it, define it or package it ready for resale. We are only because it is… not the other way around and it doesn’t need our approval or permission for it to exist or do what it does.

    All healing comes through knowledge and understanding and the only person we can heal is ourselves but Reiki isn’t confined by such limitations, and simply waits to be invited in to begin its true purpose of helping us realise that we are spirit in search of a physical experience to help us develop and grow, and on realising this fact the physical body begins to reflect that spiritual truth.

    I’m in the Reiki Rays directory and thats where you can find my contact details. Now that we have met lets not be strangers, my time is yours if you need it so please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can be of service to you in any way.

    Kindest Regards

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