Article by Phillip Hawkins
It seems inherent in human nature to make things complicated; we take the simple things in life and make them unduly complex and more difficult than they need to be, it’s almost as if we distrust simplicity and automatically presume that there must be more to ‘it’ than meets the eye. Maybe it’s because we are born with love as our default mechanism but as we grow we learn to fear and mistrust to such an extent it becomes second nature.
Our approach to spirituality is no different; the more important we perceive a thing to be the more serious we become in its pursuit and in doing so we can lose perspective and objectivity and adopt the rigid mindset that something so profound must be complex and esoteric. There are some who actively feed this myth by taking something simple, making it appear complex and complicated only to charge considerable amounts of money for the pleasure of making it ‘easy to understand’. This is also the basic principle of ‘rebranding’ where a product goes full circle usually with a new name; new packaging in order to attract new customers to what is an old tried/tired and tested product. We see this in all things spiritual with people coming forward with a new spin on a very old idea, and it doesn’t come much older that creation itself.
Reiki provides us with an excellent example of how a basic practice can give birth to countless derivatives which on close inspection are separated only by the front cover of the manual that carries its name and the obligatory symbols that try to create a sense of uniqueness, which on closer inspection is superficial or nonexistent. Even if you factor in the differences between the Eastern and Western versions of the Reiki story and strip away the ‘packaging’ that is used in some cases to add volume and make it look more than it is, you are left with three very simple principles upon which everything else hangs. Unconditional love is the spiritual energy that forms the basis of all creation; our free will is the means of all physical and spiritual growth; and this creative spiritual energy follows our intent to literally form our reality.
In Reiki as in many things in life ‘less is more;’ which when you think about it is the simplification of our actions, we do less until we reach the point where nothing appears to be happening yet everything that needs to be done is done through the power of our intent. Dr Usui’s memorial stone carries the inscription that his desire is for our Reiki to be ‘formless and free flowing’ this can only happen when we let go of the many physical trappings that can restrict its flow and impede our Reiki practice to such an extent that we become bogged down by techniques and procedures that provide rigidity and structure, and comfort in the knowledge, that which is seen to be done provides visual ‘proof’ that something is happening.
All of the techniques, hand positions and symbols used in Reiki work for no other reason than they are all underwritten by the principle that energy must follow our intent, read any book on the use of Reiki symbols and techniques and you will invariably find the link between the symbols and the catalytic power of our intent. Dr Usui would regularly empower/attune his students when they were nowhere near him, he was able to do this because he understood and accepted the spiritual law of intent. He also had no need or desire to do anymore than was necessary to achieve the desired outcome. If we need proof we need look no further than science to validate this principle. Quantum physics provide both the mathematical equations, which are a prerequisite to scientific study, and research based proof that all energy, spiritual and physical is responsive to the conscious mind and instrumental to the creative process.
There is nothing wrong with using symbols, hand positions or well documented techniques in our Reiki practice; they all work by nature of our intent. The level of their success will be defined by the quality and quantity of our intent, the recipient’s receptivity to Reiki and the effect of the above principles. Reiki as we know it is ‘energy’ pure and simple; all else are nothing more than add-on’s to try and give form to the formless. The danger comes when we begin to believe that the hand positions, symbols and techniques ‘are’ Reiki and must be used ‘religiously’ in a pre-determined way in order for it to work. If the ultimate goal is for Reiki to be formless and free flowing; the acceptance and application of unconditional love as the energy of creation and the use of our free will and intent, should be the only prerequisite to our practice, formless and free flowing in effect, simplicity itself.
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.