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Reiki Before it Was Reiki

Article by Phillip Hawkins

Reiki as we know and understand it was introduced to the world in the late 1800’s and is by definition a ‘universal energy’, so we can safely say that for over a hundred years this particular expression of energy has been known as Reiki.

Since the universe didn’t just appear at the end of the 19th century it’s also reasonable to assume that this energy source has been around for much longer and expressed in many ways before Dr Usui rediscovered it and gave it a name that had meaning and relevance to his language and culture. If for example Dr Usui had been a North American Shaman or medicine man then the name, the values and its teachings would have reflected that particular culture and belief system with all of the spiritualism and symbolism that goes with it. We can see from this that in many ways Reiki is a ‘brand name’ for what is a very generic universal product, a label that’s been attached to something much bigger, more dynamic and more powerful. Something that’s infinite in size, duration and meaning.

When we attach labels to people the wearer tends to either live up to or down to the value conveyed, as if the label takes on an identity all of its own. We look at the label and say ‘this is who or what it is’ and we no longer look beyond the limitations that measurement imposes to see or seek out its true nature or meaning. If as the story says Dr Usui ‘rediscovered’ Reiki then we should ask the question was this infinite energy lost, misplaced or were we simply overlooking what had always been there.

To put the hundred and thirty odd year Reiki history into context it may help to consider some scientific and biblical numbers available to us. Science informs us that the universe is approximately fourteen billion years old, the earth four and a half million years in the making populated by ‘modern’ homo sapiens in their many forms for the last two hundred thousand years as part of the universe’s and mankind’s ongoing evolutionary process. A process they add that’s free from divine purpose or intervention.

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Image by keith ellwood

The biblical timeline is much shorter but no less confusing. We are told that a creator who existed before time had either meaning or substance, through his infinite power and wisdom created the universe and everything in it over a period of six days. On the seventh day he rested to admire his handy work, and was we are told, impressed with what he had created. Obviously there is a real conflict between these two versions of events but we must remember that nothing is set in stone and both science and religion are defined and directed by their own evolutionary processes.

There was a time in mankind’s history when the church ruled supreme and was too powerful to be challenged. The biblical records available at the time were presented literally as gospel to be accepted without question as the factual and truthful word of God the creator, those who couldn’t or wouldn’t accept the official version of events risked punishment, torture or death at the hands of the religious establishment.

The ascent of science provided both the evidence and power to challenge the might of the church and the validity of its written word, and what was once viewed as sacrosanct is now accepted by many clergy and most theologians as a spiritual story that shouldn’t be taken literally as the obvious flaws and inaccuracies undermine the spiritual values it promotes.

Science has fared no better as one scientific model after another has been promoted only to be replaced as contemporary knowledge and understanding changes the way we think the universe works. The technological advances provided by science comes at a heavy price with mother earth having to suffer the consequences and pick up the bill like a dutiful parent for the actions of her wayward children. Both science and religion are the self proclaimed saviours of mankind yet both have failed. Science extols its own virtues writing off pollution and toxic waste as an acceptable price for progress, whilst religion takes up its usual position on the moral high ground blaming anything that can’t be explained through common sense, logic or reasoning on God’s will, thus ensuring the buck never stops with them.

So if Reiki is neither science nor religion what was before it was defined as Reiki? It was, it is and always will be knowledge and understanding in the form of spiritual awareness.

Religion isn’t the same as spirituality and it has to be said that God however you wish define him/her/it/them isn’t the same as spirituality. For thousands of years, in diverse cultures around the world, inspired spiritual teachers such as the Buddha, Jesus, and Lao- Tzu proposed life changing views that were based on the attainment of consciousness, or in laymen’s terms the acquisition and application of knowledge and understanding in their everyday life. They taught that there is a reality that lies beyond the limitations of our physical senses, although we can see rocks, mountains, trees, and sky, beyond the reach of the five senses lays an invisible realm of infinite possibility that responds to our thoughts, beliefs and actions, the key to unlocking its potential is consciousness, or knowledge and understanding. Go within, the teachers said and you will find the true source of everything: including your own greatness through the realisation of your true self. Today the teachers of quantum physics are repeating a similar message, the language is different but the message remains the same.

These ancient teachers offered something far more radical than a disempowering belief in a detached higher power. They offered an alternative way of viewing reality that begins not with external facts and physical constraints, but with inner wisdom and access to unbounded knowledge and understanding. The great irony is that these teachers of old were in their own way scientists too, their way of uncovering knowledge bears a striking resemblance to the approach adopted by modern science.

First there was the idea or hypothesis, the spiritual truth that needed to be tested. Then the experimentation to see if the hypothesis was valid through truth demonstrated. Finally offering this new way of achieving knowledge and understanding to those who would listen, asking them to take the responsibility of applying it to their own lives in order to raise their level of awareness and the life changing benefits this would bring….Reiki anyone?

The spiritual hypothesis that was presented to the world thousands of years ago contains three spiritual truths that will resonate within every modern day Reiki practitioner. Firstly there is an unseen or invisible energy force or reality that is the source of all matter or things visible. This invisible force can be known and understood to us through the raising of our own awareness. And finally there is intelligence, a creative power embedded in the cosmos that links, illuminates and animates everything within it….healing anyone?

The term Reiki is just a momentary note on an infinite timeline whose origins can’t be explained by either science or religion in isolation. The answer to this question is to be found in the middle ground of spirituality at a time when science can finally accept that it doesn’t own the monopoly on mans development. In a time when we are willing and able to look beyond the labels of Gods regardless of denomination with the restriction of measurement those labels impose and religion surrenders the belief that it alone holds the power and responsibility for mankind’s salvation.

Knowledge and understanding is the basis of all healing for without it healing in the truest sense of the word would be impossible. A process of truth demonstrated where a change in perception is a prerequisite to the healing of the physical condition for without knowledge and the understanding it brings we will remain ignorant to the underlying causes of all manner of illnesses and diseases that are to be found hiding in the darkness of ignorance and fear. This invisible force that we have come to know and work with through the raising of our own awareness, and with it the intelligence and creative power that links, illuminates and animates everything within it….knowledge and understanding anyone?

Phillip Hawkins
Phillip Hawkins

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.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Drew February 22, 2015, 10:21 pm

    just started reading and and trying to understand. The last 2 months. Something has changed in me. Can’t put a finger on it but see things different I’ve studied TM Yoga Zen Tao Buddism over the young years but lost it. I’m back. Something about Reiki is calling. Some things agree with other things not sure yet. Thai Chi is bringing back home. Something is going on now in my life I’m 68 had many good thing in life and horrible thing happen. To me and family. Now some how is a new beginning.

  • Indira February 23, 2015, 3:19 am

    Just as law of gravity existed even before Newton discovered it, Reiki also was there since long. Rig veda the oldest script has many reference about it though the name was not reiki, one reference I remember is , ” use your hands with it’s 10 branches ( fingers ) for healing “. There are references of removing pains, sufferings , even giving back life in Mahabharata, and Ramayana,the great epics of India.

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