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.
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.
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.
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.