Science has a habit of supporting spiritual teachings even though they may first appear to be at odds with one another. For years science and spiritual teachings were thought by many to be antagonistic yet as ignorance and fear has given way to knowledge and understanding that apparent gap has closed as we have come to realise that both science and spiritual teachings are discussing the same realities albeit in languages alien to one another. That is until quantum physics became the universal language that both the scientist and the teacher could relate to and identify with in relation to their own particular school of thought.
Spiritual teachings that were once considered no more than woolly abstract concepts are now being validated by the sciences that provide both the mathematical equations and the necessary evidence to be considered as scientific proof of spiritual truths. Teachers tell us that we are ‘beings of light’ and quantum physics now confirm that all matter, including matter that makes up the human body, is itself made up of waves and particles of light.
Physicists such as Max Planck, David Bohm and J. S. Bell were able to prove that matter including the physical body doesn’t exist in the way we think it does, and the concept of an ‘empty space’ is an illusion, that at the heart of our universe, there are no separate parts to anything, and that everything is connected to everything else. This means that we do not exist ‘in’ a universe; we were created as part of a universe that illuminates and animates all things.
This has far reaching implications to Reiki students and teachers alike as we must accept that given such evidence Reiki, which by our own definition is a universal energy, can’t exist separate from the rest of the universe. Reiki is part of creation and as such common sense and logic must lead us to the conclusion that we are already connected to the universe and Reiki even if we are unaware of the fact. If this is so, and quantum physics and spiritual teachings appear support one another in this conclusion you can’t connect through an attunement, empowerment or otherwise what is already connected.
So what is an attunement and what purpose does it serve?
Before I offer an answer for your consideration let us take a moment to consider that there a reported 300 Reiki derivatives worldwide and I think it’s reasonable to accept that the majority if not all of them will have some variations on the teaching and attunement theme as part of their training. With all of these variations there has to be a common denominator that links them all together. There is; if we accept for a moment that they are all Reiki regardless of their brand name or individual identity, then that common denominator is our attention and intention which allows us to work with the energetic connection that already exists to bring about a desired outcome in the form of raised awareness in the student. Not to connect but to educate.
If we further accept that atunement’s ‘work’ to educate with all of their variations then we must also accept that structure the atunement process isn’t as important as our attention and intention which underpins the whole procedure no matter what form it takes.
It’s recorded that Dr Usui would at times empower/attune his students when he was nowhere near them simply by using his attention and intention. Now we can dis-empower ourselves by saying this was Dr Usui and he was able to do things we can’t do because of who he was. Or we can adopt a more pragmatic approach and simply accept that he was able to do what he did because he understood, accepted and worked with the realities discussed at the beginning of this article. Not as we may have first thought to connect his students to Reiki, but to simply make his students aware of the connection that already existed. He did this by raising their level of awareness through increased knowledge and understanding, the basis of all healing, education and awareness. As Dr Usui himself said the only person we can heal is ourselves and we do this by taking ownership for the life we lead and investing time and energy in our health and wellbeing. This we can only do when there is a shift in our level of awareness to such an extent that we are willing and able to consider new ideas and apply that knowledge and understanding in the way we live life.
If you believe we are spiritual beings developing through a physical expression of life, then you must also accept that this connection is infinite regardless of how many transformations it may go through. If however, you believe we are mortal with an indeterminate time between our first and last breath then our physical connection to the universe begins at the moment of our conception and is reinforced at birth. Either way the connection exists; what is missing is the awareness.
So what purpose does the attunement serve?
The attunement is guided learning and a teaching aid; we all learn in different ways and to do this we need to be able to absorb information in a way that resonates with us and makes sense. Attunement’s work on several levels and provides a physical experience that gives the student a point of reference; a date in their diary to refer back to and say that’s when I was connected to the universe. The only thing it can’t do is initiate a connection that already exists.
If we can accept this train of thought then it must lead us to a natural conclusion that whatever educates the student to the connection they already have with the universe can be defined as an attunement. If on reading this you feel it is a step too far, I would ask you to consider that Dr Usui wasn’t attuned or empowered by anyone. His moment of enlightenment came not in the form of an attunement but through the dawning of his own spiritual awareness. Sitting in meditation he realised it was through the existing connection that his journey of spiritual development had gained a new direction, purpose and meaning. It was not to connect but to understand the nature of our relationship to a universe that sustains us.
This does not in any way dis-empower the Reiki teacher, if anything it places a greater responsibility on their shoulders to provide ongoing support, to educate and empower their students to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of their relationship with universe and the role we have chosen to play.
Healing in relation to Reiki is a by-product and was never meant to be the defining principle of what Reiki is all about. Reiki is and always has been a discipline of personal spiritual development. It’s through this that we educate and then heal ourselves. The only person we can heal is ourselves and we have neither the responsibility nor the authority to arbitrarily heal others. Educate and empower yes; so that they can take ownership and live their lives in such a way that promotes their own health and well being.
As a teacher I have a duty of care to educate and to challenge my students to think for themselves to ask questions and seek out the truth where ever that may be. To do so is not to dishonour or disrespect what has gone before but to use the established as a solid foundation from which we can gain a new perspective and raise our level of awareness, which is the basis of all personal development. The word Reiki is a label; the problem with labels is that once attached they take on a life of their own and we can then begin to identify more with the packaging instead of the content, and buy into the belief that tradition, manuals, hand positions, symbols and attunements are Reiki. They are not; they are a man made physical interpretations of a spiritual truth. Reiki when stripped back is a distillation of knowledge and understanding, a prerequisite for all education and healing, for without knowledge and understanding neither one would be possible.
Attunements have their place in Reiki; they along with the rest of the students training provide a point of reference to which the student can relate to and identify as the start of their Reiki journey. As teachers we need to be able to put this timeline into context. Their Reiki journey may just be beginning but it comes not as a starting point in life but simply as a continuation of a spiritual journey that began long ago when we became a part of creation.
Are we immortal spirit or mere mortal that is for each of us to decide for knowledge and understanding never comes to us complete? No matter when we believe our journey began or where we think our chosen path may lead us, our destination is that of spiritual enlightenment. It is our home, and like the prodigal son of old it is a place that we will all return to one day.
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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.