Article by Phillip Hawkins
I have been a Reiki practitioner for coming up to fifteen years and a Reiki teacher for most of that time so I know that Reiki works if not in the way we think it does, and at the risk of alienating myself from many of my fellow Reiki teachers and practitioners I have to say that Reiki is not the miracle cure some think it is and was never meant to be promoted as such. Although we say it’s a universal energy it is still no more than an expression of the source that created it and as such it has neither the desire nor the authority to override our free will or negate our freedom of choice. Freewill is the cornerstone of all personal, social and spiritual development and is a major player in the healing process. Reiki is accredited with being and doing many wonderful things but what it’s not is invasive or dictatorial and to those who say ‘it changed my life’ I’m sorry but I have to say ‘it didn’t’ at least not in the way you think it did, if your life has changed it’s because you consciously, took the steps necessary to change and it changed as a consequence of your actions. Reiki may have played a part by helping to raise your awareness but ultimately it’s your life and it’s your responsibility to live it and put simply if we want something different then we must do something different. As Gandhi said ‘we must become the change we desire’.
Reiki may be viewed as a spiritual and altruistic discipline but it must conform to the universal and spiritual laws that give it form and purpose for the created can never be greater than its creator and Reiki is just one expression of a divine consciousness in the form of unconditional love which should never be confused with the ‘love’ that is controlled and defined by our emotions. If as we say it’s universal then it has to be current, contemporary and relevant to modern day needs of the individual and society as a whole, tradition is a wonderful thing and has its place but it should never be used as an excuse for the perpetuation of outdated ideas and ideals, and Reiki has to keep pace with present day knowledge and understanding of health, healing illness and disease.
Medical science has moved on since the days of Dr Usui and whether we like it or not we have to deal with the challenges of living in the twenty first century. Spirituality like tradition still has its place in modern day living and if science provides the medical knowledge then spirituality can provide a deeper understanding of the role we play in securing our own health and well being which underpins the Reiki precept that the only person we can heal is ourselves.
If we had to use one word to define what we believe what Reiki is, most if not all would use the word healing which would be correct but only as far as it goes, but we must ask ourselves what is healing and how does Reiki help bring about this change in our physical, mental and emotional condition that we can then define as the altered state of healing. Change requires choice and is a process of transition; a condition of any kind can be considered ‘positional’ and movement from that condition can be considered as ‘directional’. The condition is where we are and the point of healing is where we need to be, one gives meaning and purpose to the other and raises the question ‘how do I get there’. The common denominator for change, Reiki and healing is education and this is why knowledge and understanding is a pre-requisite for the necessary changes to take place so that healing can come about, knowledge of oneself or through the knowledge and expertise of those who can facilitate the healing process to take place.
There was a time in our not so long and distant past when we believed that illness and disease were caused by an imbalance of four humors, yellow bile, black bile, blood and phlegm, if these humors became unbalanced, you became ill. Around the same time period we were also encouraged to believe that God caused us to be ill if we had sinned, the illness was a punishment for the perceived sin and motivation to change our evil ways. The more ‘enlightened’ of the time believed that science and not religion held the answer to the causes of illness and disease. The answer was they said in the stars; if the alignment of the sun and planets were changed we suffered illness and disease because of that celestial disruption.
During this period of global intellectual and educational darkness the vast majority of people depended for medical knowledge and care on local amateurs with no professional training but with a reputation as wise healers who could diagnose problems and give sick people advice what to do. Using skills handed down from generation to generation they were able to act as a rudimentary midwife, set broken bones, pull a tooth, use traditional herbs and potions, and when required perform a little magic to cure what ailed them. There were also the ‘medical’ opportunists who had no skill what so ever, other than the ability to capitalise on people’s ignorance and fear usually at a small price or token of gratitude, that left nothing but further pain and suffering in their wake.
Thankfully an age of enlightenment was dawning and the emergence of the germ theory of disease in the 19th century led to cures for many infectious diseases that had up to that time had claimed lives in their tens of thousands. Although recent carbon dating technology has raised questions over life expectancy in the middle ages it is generally accepted that it was not much more than 35 years old, however many died during childbirth or at a very early age. By the 1900s records show that this had risen slightly to 47 for a man and 50 for a woman and by the late 20th century it peaked at approximately 77 for a man and 81 for a woman. Not a week goes by without new of a new medical breakthrough yet people’s general health is now in decline with the average person’s life expectancy in deep recession and heading towards a modern day dark age of illness and disease of epidemic proportions. It would appear that scientific knowledge is no guarantee of a long and healthy life, nor is a life of abundance, of wealth and prosperity or technological advancement.
The twenty first century gifts us so much yet appears to be exacting such a heavy price on our health and wellbeing, the germ theory of the 19th century helped eradicate infectious diseases now the twenty first century is in dire need of a ‘theory’ that will help eradicate heart disease, strokes, cancer, obesity dementia, alcohol and smoking related deaths of epidemic proportions nearly all of which are now accepted as the result of lifestyle choices we make on a daily basis. That theory comes in the form of education; educating people to the dangers of excess, education on the dangers of ignorance to the consequences of their actions, educating them to the need to take personal responsibility for their health and wellbeing and empowering them through the acquisition of knowledge and understanding to make life and health affirming choices. This is healing through education and in the form of the truth demonstrated.
Reiki is not a miracle cure all; it will not do it for you, it will not live your life for you or make the changes that only you can make in order to experience healing. It’s not in the business of making stuff disappear as if by magic, if anything it will do just the opposite, it will take what is hidden or that which you refuse to acknowledge and shine a light of knowledge and understanding on it and say ‘ok this is what we need to deal with in order for healing to come about, I will help if you need me but it’s your stuff and you will have to deal with it’.
Healing is a process; it’s a transition from point A to point B with a multiple of increments on the scale and the more knowledge and understanding we acquire and implement the more progress can be made through either letting go of stuff that has an harmful effect on us, doing new things that affirm health and wellbeing, or by stopping the things that may be socially acceptable but literally puts our health and life in mortal danger.
When we first come to Reiki we can buy into the spiritual side of it for all of the right reasons and usually that’s because it fulfills a need within us and human nature being what it is we all like to be associated with success and feel part of something that’s important and much bigger than ourselves. What could be bigger than playing a part in healing the world one person at a time? However if we read the Reiki small print we will see that it says quite clearly the only person we can heal is ourselves so the best we can hope for is that the world learns to heal itself one person at a time, this process of learning is defined as ‘education’ and is healing by another name.
As science evolves so spirituality must also evolve in order to keep pace and provide a counter balance to the scientific ‘how it is’ with a much needed spiritual ‘why it is’ which is usually for the good of mankind. Spirituality, and Reiki as an expression of that knowledge and understanding has a place in the 21st century and a job to do, but we can only work effectively as Reiki teachers and practitioners if we have a clear understanding of what Reiki is and the role we have to play. We are educators first and foremost and it’s in that role that we help facilitate the healing process through the assimilation of knowledge and understanding. Dr Usui learned through his own personal experience that sustained healing requires the patient to let go of the victim mentality, play an active part in their life and take the lead in their own healing so that it becomes meaningful, personal and sustained.
I know from personal experience that Reiki works but I’m under no illusions as to how it works or its relationship to the spiritual a physical law of cause and effect that incorporates freedom of choice and free will. For those who say that Reiki is an expression of a higher consciousness and as such can transcend accepted physical and spiritual laws I would accept it as an interesting theory but I would have to point out that the meaning of all life is to reflect that higher consciousness through a process of continual spiritual development and the recognition of our true spiritual identity. Life is a learning process whereby spiritual lessons are learnt through physical experiences which are chosen by default or we acquire knowledge and understanding and given the chance to learn from our mistakes. What greater gift could that higher consciousness give us than the opportunity to learn, develop and grow through the exercise of our free will, and what greater punishment than to arbitrarily rob us of the lessons we must experience in order to learn thus keeping us trapped by ignorance and fear and the belief that our destiny and quality of life lies not in our own hands, but in the lap of the Gods.
A Reiki practitioner since 1999, Phillip started teaching Reiki in 2000 and using those skills and abilities he has spent the majority of the last seventeen years working with a wide range of social and educational needs including Autism and ADHD. Working with addicts dependent on alcohol and drugs, people whose lives were extremely violent and abusive, and others who had to deal with severe mental health issues. This has enabled him to work extensively in the private sector, schools, colleges, education and care in the community, the prison service and psychiatric units.
In 2016, Phillip decided to semi-retire from full-time employment to concentrate on developing his career as a published author and the setting up of his Reiki personal development programme at the Chilton Community College.