Double sensation, through the intuition of identity between which is touching and that which is being touched, links the subject-body withe the object-body…and brings them into an interfusion. ~ Ichiwaka Hiroshi
What is the real reason that Mikao Usui taught hands on healing on ourselves?
Before we delve into this question lets first of all establish that from a traditional perspective the word Reiki symbolizes True Self. By using the word Reiki, Mikao Usui was pointing out that the system he created was there to help us to re-discover our true selves. This is apparent by his use of the precepts, as the precepts deal with the intricacies of the True Self.
People in early 20th century in Japan appeared less interested in meditation or chanting mantras as their world was opening out and being culturally influenced by western cultures. Mikao Usui created the system of Reiki in this environment: a practice for people without interest for chanting mantras or meditation but which still would bring them closer to re-discovering their true selves. The result was a hands on healing practice for themselves.
This hands-on healing practice evolved over time to become a more externalized practice, and today many of us have forgotten the inner/hidden (Japanese Ura) meaning of hands on healing on ourselves.
What is the inner/hidden meaning of hands on healing on ourselves?
The first thing we need to ask ourselves is what is happening in our mind when we place our hands on ourselves?
When I touch my body I am both the person who is touching and the person who is being touched. This sensation within our mind triggers a letting go of the “I”, this happens because we find it difficult to realize that we are touching and being touched at the same time by our own body, so we let go; we let go of the “I”. On the deepest level it helps us to trigger a state of non-duality or in other words–we re-discover our true selves.
Ichiwaka Hiroshi, a Japanese contemporary philosopher, states it very beautifully in his book Seishin Toshite no Shintai – The Body as the Spirit.
Although I am touching myself who is [also] being touched, this doubling of sensations is further internalized to enable me to discover myself who takes note of touching, which invites me to a purification of the thought that “I am touching.
The more we purify the notion of “I am touching” the more we can let go of the “I”. Yet this can only start to happen when we are mindful during the process of hands on healing. This will not take place when we perform hands on healing on ourselves while watching TV or when our mind is all over the place.
Consequently, it is only if we are mindful during the process, that hands on healing on ourselves becomes meditation. Meditation is when our mind is not being distracted by the past, or future, or gets carried away by the present.
In this way we are also creating a very intimate relationship with ourselves, as intimacy only happens when there is a mutual agreement between two elements, which means we feel no difference between what is being touched and the the toucher.
For example, if I touch a tree and I feel there is a big difference between me and the tree, intimacy will not take place, however, when I let go of the notion of “I am touching the tree”, the “I” and the “tree”, then we can become intimate, and finally reach a state of non-duality.
The more we let go of the “I” the more we can reach into this state of non-duality.
Mikao Usui also pointed this out within the precepts.
Do not anger
Do not worry
Show compassion to yourself and others
When we look deeply within the precepts we learn that they say: let go of the “I” because it is the “I” who gets angry and worried, and it is the “I” who gets in the way of being really compassionate.
All of Mikao Usui teachings point in the same direction, letting go of the “I”. This is also the deepest meaning of hands on healing on ourselves.
We might think that hands on healing was developed to alleviate our physical pain, but that is really only the outer meaning of hands on healing. The inner/hidden meaning is letting go of the “I”. Because when we let go of the “I”, there is no “I” who is worried about the pain and discomfort.
In the precepts, Mikao Usui also asks us the to perform Gassho. Gassho is placing our hands together in a praying position. This position is about the left hand touching the right hand and the right hand touching the left hand–the toucher being touched. Which further helps us to let go of the notion of “I”, bringing us deeper into in a state of mind of non-duality.
In his book Ichiwaka Hiroshi states this about gassho:
In many religions, the reason that one closes his eyes, and joins his hands together when he prays is because he attempts to reach by way of his activity a certain pure state that is without fissure between activity and passivity, between interiority and exteriority, and between subject and object.
It is only when we let go of the notion of subject and object, toucher and being touched that we can re-discover our True Self/Reiki. This is also the inner/hidden meaning of hands on healing on others, but we can only really start to see this if we have had a direct experience during hands on healing on ourselves.
Bronwen and Frans Stiene are the co-founders of the International House of Reiki and co-authors of The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, Your Reiki Treatment, The A-Z of Reiki Pocketbook and the Reiki Techniques Card Deck. Bronwen and Frans teach in the USA, Europe and Australia. Visit the Courses page to find a course near you.