Bronwen and Frans recently wrote an interesting article “Why Practice the System of Reiki?” In this post, they make a very direct case for the purpose of personal “Practice” in the system of Reiki.
But what is the nature of this practice? Is there one best way to approach the practice of Reiki? Does that approach vary from person to person? Does the practice vary over time?
I completely agree with what Bronwen and Frans about the importance of practice. In fact, practice is the key to realize the beauty of what Mikao Usui was teaching. And that beauty is in layers. Permit me to share this using a glimpse into my practice of the system of Reiki.
Jan 2001: My very first experience with hands-on healing produced an amazing miracle. But what made that sort of thing happen with relative consistency was my diligent pursuit of what my first teacher asked me to practice. At the time, in 2001, the “practice” was hands-on healing on myself. My teacher told me to go home and for 21 days, do hands-on healing on myself – a practice that was 1 1/2 hours long each day. I did this diligently. And in those 21 days, I had a deepening of the experience of the energetic aspects of Reiki. In concrete terms, I could feel the flow of energy in me, I could feel the heat in my palms and elsewhere in my body, I could “start” Reiki and “stop” Reiki (or at least, that is what I thought was happening at the time). Whether I was right or not, the practice did yield fruit.
Feb – Jul 2001: In the following months, my teacher told me to do hands-on healing practice on myself for at least 15-30 minutes each day, and then to “do Reiki” for others. Given my experience to date with practice yielding fruit, I did this diligently as well. For the most part, each day, I’d “do Reiki” on myself for a while. And I opened up to helping others. As I did this, the energetic experience of Reiki became stronger, and the healing experiences in others became stronger, and this was the fruit of the practice at this time.
Aug 2001 – Oct 2004: Over the next few years, I found myself increasingly attracted to the precepts and really tried to live life with the ideals pointed to by the precepts. I can’t say that I was ever in the space that living entirely the way the precepts indicate, but I was definitely in a different state of mind and being compared to the years before. To some extent, looking back, in this period of time, the living by the precepts was my “practice”, even though I did not formally think of it as my practice at that time. I continued the hands-on healing work on others, and would do that for myself every so often as well. The fruit of this practice was outstanding: a general sense of inner peace and stability, a calm confidence in the flow of life, continuation of healing miracles in others, and increasing manifestations of my intentions into material reality!
Nov 2004 – Apr 2005: I was increasingly pulled to teach Reiki for the first time. So, for a month+, I spent a lot of time reading as much background and history about Reiki, about chakras, about the scientific studies on energy medicine, about clinical research studies on Reiki, and so forth. For a while there, the quest was all about intellectual understanding and broadening and deepening my understanding of all these topics so I could competently teach others. Looking back, I’d say that this period was a time where my “practice” was the pursuit of knowledge (SIDEBAR note: In the Hindu spiritual tradition, the pure pursuit of knowledge is an acknowledged practice and a self-sufficient path to awakening. People familiar with Yoga or the Bhagavad Gita might recognize the concept of Gnana Yoga or path of knowledge. This is considered one of the toughest of paths to awakening, but a legitimate path with practices that can be nurtured to sustain the journey on this path). The fruit of this was an ever-increasing curiosity about the roots of Reiki, and an ever-expanding appetite to learn more and be able to share that with others. This “practice” also led me to Bronwen and Frans’ site and articles and books for the first time, as I combed the Web for useful information on Reiki. This “practice” also led me to Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto and his Komyo Reiki teachings in Apr 2005.
May 2005 – Dec 2006: This was a period where the intellectual pursuit reached a dead-end, as my questions about Reiki went unanswered from any source I could reach out to for answers. My teaching and sharing of Reiki stopped. Energetically I was experiencing Reiki differently after Komyo Reiki attunements, and intellectually I was confused about symbols (as I shared in my earlier blog posts – link here), so I stopped using symbols in my healing work. I reached outside the system of Reiki into my Hindu spiritual tradition for support and found some chants that resonated with me and which became a sort of daily practice, for a short while (just a few minutes) each day. Though I continued to be engaged in some distance healing and some hands-on healing work, my “practice” was really based more on my spiritual tradition. The fruit of this was amazing, and in some strange way, lent a great degree of depth to my healing work and to the state of my mind in general. It was almost as if the foundations for Reiki had gotten stronger, while, at the same time, I had stopped teaching, and was confused no end intellectually about Reiki and what it really was and so forth! These were very strange times!
Dec 2006 – Jun 2007: As I briefly mentioned in my early blog posts, I was led to work with this young man with incurable brain cancer and during one very difficult day when all hope seemed lost for the young man’s survival, I was led to a very particular mantra from my spiritual tradition, which I promptly applied in my Reiki healing session with him. The result was simply stunning as the young man staged a miraculous recovery that night! You can imagine my situation – elation for the young man and his family, gratitude for this gift of the mantra which literally came out of the blue in a timely manner, and total 100% confusion about what the heck I was doing in the healing session. As these questions multiplied, my practice became simple, even if strange, and not feeling like Reiki practice any more. I was incorporating this mantra in my healing sessions and that was now the core of my practice. The fruits of this practice were unbelievably phenomenal including many spontaneous reversals of symptoms in people regardless of distance.
Jul 2007 – April 2008: As I shared in previous blog posts, I met Frans at just the right time in 2007. He was instrumental in helping me understand what Reiki really was, and what the system of Reiki really was. What a relief it was to discover that Reiki had a depth to it, and that it was a spiritual path, and that somehow, without understanding all of that, I had stumbled upon my own ways to get into those states of being that Mikao Usui was teaching via the precepts. What a total relief it was to know that I could now really pursue a spiritual practice with very concrete steps to the awakened state or satori. And what a relief it was to realize through Frans’ teachings that all that I had practiced was not in conflict with the system of Reiki as originally formulated by Mikao Usui, and what I had experienced along the way had a simple foundational explanation. All this relief translated to a total ease and acceptance to let Frans guide me to next steps. I started, as most Shinpiden students of IHReiki would know, with the CKR chant. That was my practice for months. And the fruits were devastating, horrible, painful (or at least that was how I experienced it physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically at that time, though later I’ve come to a good understanding of what the heck happened there). Never before had I experienced such difficulty and such a cascade of complex issues in my life at any one time. Frans stood by me, providing guidance on a continuous basis, as he had promised me. Without that, as I’ve stated in these blog posts before, I’d have quit this whole thing, for it was too painful to even bother with.
May 2008 – Now: Over these four years, Frans has monitored my practice and my progress, and has worked with me online via Skype, via email, and in person a couple of times, and moved my practice along, guiding me to appropriate next steps. So, currently, my practice involves something that Frans taught me just a month ago when he visited Cincinnati. I continue this amazing journey under his guidance. My job is to continue to practice what I am supposed to practice at a given time. And the fruits of my current practice are amazing, but very challenging for me to describe in words. What shall I say! Perhaps, it would be best to say that the layers continue to fall. Leaps continue to happen in my understanding and experience. Glimpses of the deeper layers of Truth come every so often. And with it the humility that I really don’t know anything, and to even momentarily feel that I do is folly! So, the journey continues, and more wonders lie ahead in my experience.
Why I shared this in such detail is not to make any special case for my journey. No! My intent is to point out that in each stage of my Reiki journey over 10 years, there was one constant thing at work — did you see that in what I’ve shared above?
It has to do with something in the title of this blog post … my “practice”. Unfailingly the “practice” bore fruit each step of the way, leading me along on my journey.
I asked at the start of the post some questions. It is time to answer them now.
But what is the nature of this practice? As you can see, my practice varied over time. Sometimes it was hands-on-healing work, sometimes it was following the precepts, sometimes it was the intellectual pursuit of the truth of Reiki, sometimes it was the chanting of the symbols/mantras, sometimes it went outside the system of Reiki to my spiritual tradition, and now it has ended up in the form of practices from the amazing and systematic path of the system of Reiki. But the most important part is that I practiced something at any given juncture of my journey.
Is there one best way to approach the practice of Reiki? My notes above should clearly reveal that there isn’t one best way to approach the practice of Reiki. At least that has been my personal experience. But, under the guidance of a teacher who’s walked the path ahead of you, you can get the guidance needed about the practice on the path. For me, Frans was that teacher! The system of Reiki as formulated by Mikao Usui is the thing of beauty. Many different paths exist within that system, and yet at the same time, they are simply like different rivers taking different paths to the same destination ocean – DKM, or The Great Bright Light. A good teacher, like Frans, can help a student find “their way”, while providing the guidance they need on their unique journey!
Does that approach vary from person to person? As wildly varied as my practices have been, I have to guess that each person would / could indeed follow a different trajectory or path. This is also clearly revealed in the notion that IHReiki students have heard and learned about being “true to your way and your being”! Anyone who tells me that their way is THE WAY, it triggers the bullsh*t filter in me so strongly, it makes me cringe (SIDEBAR note: Unfortunately the world is full of misguided people like this who are so sure that theirs is the only way. Sad, but true)! There is no one way that fits all people. Mikao Usui knew that and that Truth shines through in his original teachings!
Does the practice vary over time? Sure! The reason I put timelines in my notes was to give you an indication of just how much variance was there in my practice over time. This is probably not unique to me in any way. I’m sure other practitioners have experienced the variation in their practice over time as well.
It is only in looking back at my journey that I realize just how integral my personal practice has been to the journey itself! It is not that I knew in advance about the importance of practice! Rather, I think I stumbled on to it – call it a blessing, something I now cherish!
This is my 2 cents on the topic of practice. What would make this richer for everyone is if you would share your thoughts or experiences about the notion or importance of practice, and perhaps your practice through comments below!
Thanks for this space to share my thoughts and your time in giving it a hearing!