In the evolution of Reiki from a Japanese spiritual practice, to a modern hands-on-healing system, much was lost and changed in the teaching of Reiki from 1940s through today.
Reiki’s encounters with the West during the rising of the “New Age” caused a number of Hawayo Takata’s students and their students to combine what they learned about Reiki with other traditions to “make it better”, “make it more comprehensive”, “make it more powerful” … by adding “features” and “techniques” from other traditions into the system of Reiki as it was understood then.
But what did Mrs. Takata have to say about Reiki itself? What is Reiki, according to Mrs. Takata?
Below is an excerpt from a 1975 article “Mrs. Takata Opens Minds to ‘Reiki”, by Vera Graham, in The Times, San Mateo, California (a photocopy of the original article can be seen here: http://www.aetw.org/reiki_takata_interview_may_1975.html):
What is Reiki?
Mrs. Hawayo (which means Hawaii) Takata, 74, of Hawaii, the master of Reiki, explains: “Reiki means Universal Life Energy.” It is not a religion.
She adds, “It was explained to me this way: ‘Here is the great space which surrounds us — the Universe. There is endless and enormous energy. It is universal. ..Its ultimate source is the Creator. It can stem from the sun, or moon, or stars; that science cannot prove, or tell us, yet. It is a limitless force. It is the source of energy that makes the plants grow… the birds fly.
When a human being has pain, problems, he or she can draw from it. It is an ethereal source, a wave length of great power which can revitalise; restore harmony…”
Mrs. Takata adds in her word, “It is Nature. It is God, the power He makes available to His children who seek it. In Japanese, this is Reiki (Pronounced Ray-Kee).
So, according to Mrs. Takata, Reiki is energy that “universal”, “endless”, “limitless”. Reiki’s source is the Creator, i.e. the source of Reiki is Divine. It is eternal (endless). It is infinite (limitless). “It is Nature. It is God…”
Further, Mrs. Takata says that Reiki is what “makes the plants grow”, “the birds fly”.
By extension, it should be quite obvious to conclude what Mrs. Takata did not say directly, which is that “Reiki is what sustains human life”. i.e. That which makes the plants grow, the birds fly, is also the same thing that sustains human life.
“When a human being has pain, problems, he or she can draw from it”, i.e. humans can draw from that which sustains their life, the energy to heal themselves.
Seen in this light, Mrs. Hawayo Takata did point us in the direction of the true nature of Reiki. Reiki is the very foundation of our human life. Stated another way, Reiki is our true nature, the wellspring of “great power which can revitalize, restore harmony”, the “ethereal source”.
Eastern traditions have referred to this true nature as Self, or True Self.
i.e. Reiki is True Self. Mrs. Takata did point to this truth.
It has been a limited understanding of Reiki, that has caused it to be used as an external energy source, that we need to channel in from the Universe into ourselves for healing. Out of this limited understanding came a need to make the system of Reiki more powerful, with more symbols, more techniques etc. and combine it with various other traditions. In the process, the West lost the simplicity and profundity of Mikao Usui’s Reiki teachings!
The real, deeper understanding of Reiki is that it is our true nature, and the practice of the system of Reiki is to awaken to our true nature, so harmony and freedom and healing are experienced in mind-body, and our presence is that of love, compassion, peace in the world.
All this and more is eloquently explained in Frans Stiene’s new book: “The Inner Heart of Reiki”. I recommend this book heartily for any Reiki practitioner, so they can deeply understand the source of the system and energy that they so dearly cherish.
Wake up, dear ones, to your true nature, and Be Reiki. Let Frans Stiene show you how through his book and his teachings!