Looking Back With Gratitude, Moving Forward With Hope

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Thank you, what a year it’s been!

Sandy Burnham

At the beginning of the year I was honoured to accompany my long-term client, student, mentor and, dare I say, friend, Sandy Burnham, on the final lap of her journey with cancer. Aileen Jardine and I had been privileged to be able to give her frequent jikiden reiki treatments. Sandy had been very publicly supportive of Jikiden Reiki. And she taught me much about grace.

Infinite love and thanks.

Reiki Documentary: Hand Healing, are you serious?

Reiki Documentary Premier

In the spring I was given the opportunity to make a documentary film with Emily Macinnes, an incredibly talented, perceptive and sensitive documentary photographer and a wonderful person to work with. Please check out her website, she has such a gift for telling deeply touching stories through the medium of photography. (And has now proven her hand at film making, too.)

Our 25 minute documentary ‘Hand Healing: Are you serious?’ was premièred at the First Jikiden Reiki World Congress in Barcelona in August and was very well received.

I want to give heartfelt thanks to Tadao Yamaguchi for his encouragement, belief in us and support, without which I would not have been able to overcome my (at the time pretty crippling) fears. I am so grateful to the sponsors who have contributed towards the cost of making the film. (So far, about half the required amount to cover expenses has been raised. If you would like to become a sponsor, please get in touch).

Most importantly, I am infinitely grateful to the people who have been willing to tell their stories on camera: of initial skepticism, doubt and then very real, tangible healing outcomes with Reiki.

Many people have spoken to both Emily and myself after the screening, giving us such positive feedback. To me the most encouraging comment was from a Paediatric Surgeon, who said that if anything would make her want to look more closely at the potential of Jikiden Reiki for healing, it would be the kind of testimonials that we captured in our film.

Hand Healing, are you serious? A Reiki documentary

I now look forward to working with Emily again some time in 2015 to plan the online and offline launch of our project. The hope is that it will help change perceptions and open the minds of many more people to the benefits of Reiki.

1st Jikiden Reiki World Congress in Barcelona

Was it the line up of speakers, amongst whom were internationally respected leaders and authorities in the field of Reiki and energy work? Was it the newly emerged facts about Reiki history that Yamaguchi sensei shared at the Conference? Was it the fact that the first day of the Congress coincided with Usui sensei’s birthday, which we duly celebrated? Was it meeting old friends again some of whom live in countries far away, and having the opportunity of nurturing new and old connections? Meeting colleagues from all over the world (21 countries to be precise)? Was it the remarkable City of Barcelona?

Chiyoko Yamaguchi’s Tribe

Chiyoko Yamaguchi's Tribe

It was all of these things that made the Congress a wonderful experience, and it was so much more:

To me it was Chiyoko Yamaguchi’s grounded, unpretentious, simple, deep love of Reiki that was at the heart of this Congress, bringing people from so many different parts of the world together to be part of Tadao sensei’s vision to share Reiki in its orginal Japanese form with the world. I am truly grateful to be part of this global tribe.

4th Annual Jikiden Reiki Seminar with Tadao Yamaguchi

September saw the 4th Annual Jikiden Reiki Training with Tadao Yamaguchi in Edinburgh. We’re so lucky that he chooses to train new and existing practitioners here in Scotland every year!! Here’s feedback from one of this year’s new students: “Thank you for arranging such a beautiful seminar, with such wonderful, lovely souls. I’m still smiling ! I really had no idea how truly amazing it would be. It all flew by so quickly ! I’m only just starting to digest all the information and the whole feeling of those marvellous 4 days.” ~ Helen Kelly

Tadao Yamaguchi in Edinburgh 2014

It’s true, the trainings bring together amazing people for an amazing experience (and very solid, authentic, Reik training) every year.

Tadao Yamaguchi has promised to be back next year! (Watch this spot)

Simply Jikiden Reiki Borders Treatment and Training Studio

2014 has not only seen my 2nd anniversary working from the Ladysmith Physiotherapy Clinic in Innerleithen, but also my 5th Anniversary this November of working from Tweed Chiropractic Clinic in Galashiels.

Simply Jikiden Reiki Centre in Galashiels

Even better, my dreams are coming true: For years I’ve fantasized about my own Simply Jikiden Natural Healing Centre. And this summer I have taken on a beautiful large treatment room under the Complete Health Borders umbrella, which is big enough to hold practice events and seminars: The Simply Jikiden Borders Studio!
We’ve had our first monthly Reiki share there in October, which felt great. Now I am looking forward to regular monthly Reiju kai events and biannual seminars in Galashiels in 2015.

Ending the year on a festive high

On the first Sunday in December we held our  2nd Scottish Jikiden Reiki Christmas Gathering in Edinburgh. We had a lovely Christmas lunch and Reiju kai afterwards (by popular vote this will now be an annual event!).

Jikiden Christmas Gathering

MarikoportraitMany thanks to fellow Shihan Mariko Tanaka Pollock for her presentation on Shinto and her irresistibly charming invitation to visit her home country of Japan for the 2nd World Congress in Kyoto in 2016.

Folks start saving now, this is going to be unmissable!

Wishing you all a joyous and relaxing holiday period and the very best for a healthy, prosperous and happy 2015.

With much love
Gisela xo

You may also want to read : How I got into Reiki, part 2

It’s about a woman on a mission to help spread Reiki 🙂 Our documentary film project will hopefully take this mission one step further. Watch this spot in 2015!

Chronic illness: How to get the best results from Reiki treatment


Jikiden Reiki at Ladysmith  Physiotherapy

I’m amazed what even just three or four Reiki treatments can sometimes achieve. A month ago I saw a client three times in quick succession, who had been frequently ill for over two years and despite regular check-ups with her doctor and repeat medication, unable to get to the root cause of her problem. Tired of being ill almost constantly, she was willing to commit to the three sessions in quick succession that I had recommended.

We were going to reassess the situation after the initial boost, but it turned out that this was all the help she needed. Usually, chronic scenarios require a little more patience and commitment. However, this lady left feeling better after just three sessions. I am convinced that she would not have had the same results with the same number of treatments if given at weekly or fortnightly intervals. In my experience, to maximise chances of improving long-standing conditions, consecutive treatments are key.

In Jikiden Reiki seminars, when talking about the history of Reiki, we teach that Chiyoko Yamaguchi and her sister Katsue went out into the community for treatment on consecutive days, and working in this way fits well with the concept of byosen, a way of observing the body’s response to Reiki treatment that is a corner stone of Jikiden Reiki practice.  While byosen is strong, get back to the problem area as soon as possible (not a week later, as is the common expectation). It seems (from a discussion I followed on LinkedIn), that one of Mrs Takata’s students, Virginia Samdahl, also encouraged working in consecutive sessions. While substantial commitment is required from both practitioner and client, experience shows that using Reiki in this way is more likely to get the desired results.

On the related subject of chronic pain, internationally respected author and champion of integrative healthcare, Pamela Miles, recently refused to be impressed with a 40% improvement  after Reiki treatment, suspecting that even better results might have been achievable with a few more sessions. In my opinion, based on treatment experience and my understanding of Jikiden Reiki,  people who commit to an initial program of consecutive sessions or sessions scheduled in quick succession, can sometimes improve considerably. Learning Reiki themselves at this point, they can then self-treat for maintenance. If only there were a way of funding blocks of let’s say four to six sessions in quick succession, perhaps to be repeated once or twice (as required), so that more people suffering from chronic conditions could experience this type of shift.

You may also like to read:

Why the one-hour-a-week treatment model may not always be what you need

Check here for opportunities to learn Jikiden Reiki in Scotland in 2013

After the event: Thoughts on learning Jikiden Reiki with Tadao Yamaguchi


at the 2012 Jikiden Reiki seminar with Tadao Yamaguchi in EdinburghDare I admit it? (I’m shy about this ): After a week of becoming fluent at hearing Japanese (but not understanding much unless translated), I have started teaching myself Japanese with the help of an Oxford University language course I got for Christmas two years ago. Will I stick with it? I hope so. In an already busy and committed life, and with my memory letting me down left right and centre, this has proven too hard before. Perhaps the effort of memorising a new language will offer a cure to my memory problems? (Thinking neuroplasticity here, and forever the optimist!)

Anyway, my language course tells me (and I’ve heard this before) that “you won’t hear Japanese people use first names often, except within the family or between close friends.” How generous of Tadao sensei (and formerly Chiyoko sensei) to treat their students as family. I love the community building aspect of Jikiden Reiki. From each Jikiden Reiki seminar I have attended (and that’s quite a few since I first discovered Jikiden in 2006), I have come home having made new wonderful and lasting friendships. After the seminar with Tadao Yamaguchi in Edinburgh September 2012I also love the humility of a teacher who keeps pointing his students to the potential within themselves and knows that this can be realised with the help of reiju and a little dedicated effort.

Anyone can do Reiki

This is what Tadao Yamaguchi sees as Mikao Usui‘s legacy. Even beginners can use Reiki successfully. Tadao sensei’s mother, Chiyoko Yamaguchi, who had learned Reiki from Chujiro Hayashi at the tender age of 17 and had practised on a daily basis for over 65 years, used to stress that the Reiki coming from her and the Reiki coming from you and me is the same energy, and that perhaps the only advantage an experienced practitioner has is that they may feel the body’s healing response a little more easily. At the recent training in Edinburgh, Mr Yamaguchi emphasized that with lots of practice, any practitioner can get to this level within half a year or so. To me, this feels both humbling and incredibly matter of fact, the reality of someone who deeply appreciates Reiki, having grown up nurtured by it from before birth, but to whom energy healing is also as natural as water and air. No need to make a fuss or be all mysterious.  Since in essence, Reiki is completely natural, in harmony with nature, and everyone’s birthright. Therefore, from a purely Reiki point of view, there are also no reasons not to give Reiki. The ability to do so is completely natural, too, and part of being human. Most of us simply need a gentle reminder of what is already there.

One of my students commented that training with Tadao Yamaguchi to her felt much more ‘serious’ than attending a seminar with Amanda Jayne or myself (the content of Jikiden Reiki seminars always being the same of course, regardless of who is teaching). It’s true, Tadao sensei definitely has gravitas. But also so much lightness and humour. Attending training with Tadao Yamaguchi and Rika Tanaka, in my experience, is always highly instructive, and also so much fun.

I also like the fact that Tadao sensei is so dedicated to transporting the

Japanese values and attitudes behind Reiki practice

In Japan, the student teacher relationship lasts a life-time, and in 1930s Japan, students would meet up with their teachers once a month if they could. They also repeated the seminars several times, to consolidate their understanding of the content and to receive further reiju.  (Tadao Yamaguchi  has many photographs of the early seminars with Chujiro Hayashi which prove this). The concept of repeating the same training can at first seem strange to students from Western countries. However, practitioners who have done so invariably comment how much they had missed first time round and how their understanding has deepened.

As the feedback from the Jikiden training with Tadao Yamaguchi keeps coming in, I find myself thinking about what it takes to be a student of Reiki. The founder of the practice, Mikao Usui, deliberately placed himself on the second rung of the achievement ladder, there always being more room for growth and development. And really, how could one ever be anything other than a student of Reiki? Nonetheless, I have a lot of respect for teachers and practitioners of long standing experience with westernised Reiki (sometimes 20 years or more) who have the humility to go back to the Japanese roots of the practice, and it’s always nice for me to hear when they find the experience rewarding.

Tadao Yamaguchi will be a guest speaker at the Mindful Peace Forum in Dundee on Friday.

 ” Wonderful, thorough, clear, transparent training/teachings withTadaoYamaguchi.”
Thank you again for arranging the seminar with Tadao.  It was very well run and I felt I learnt a tremendous amount.  However I think there was so much to take in I also lost a lot.  When he next comes I think I need to repeat so that I can catch up on what I missed so please keep me posted when you arrange another visit.
Thank you for a marvellous seminar. I was fizzing with Reiki, thank you Mr. Yamaguchi.”
Had a wonderful 4 days Gisela…..thanks very much for organising it all very much appreciated. Hopefully Tadao will teach again in Scotland???
Photo credits: Thank you to Katrin Brauer for kind permission to use some of her lovely photographs taken at the end of this year’s Jikiden Reiki training with Tadao Yamaguchi in Edinburgh

How is Jikiden Reiki different from Usui Reiki?


Mikao Usui SenseiAnd what would an Usui Reiki Master get from taking this class? How often have I been asked this question in person or by email. This time, though, I have been asked in a public way, so I thought I had perhaps best answer in public, too. First of all: Jikiden Reiki is Usui Reiki, as this simple hand-healing method started with Mikao Usui in Japan in 1922. ‘Jikiden’ means directly transmitted, and in the Japanese language and culture, is a term that refers to a traditional art form,  passed on carefully from teacher to student without changes.

Chiyoko and Tadao YamaguchiChiyoko Yamaguchi, who had learned Reiki from one of the teachers trained by Usui Sensei, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, and her son Tadao decided to pass on what they had learned from Dr. Hayashi after they had met with many Western Reiki practitioners and realised how much the practice had changed, with so many new elements having come in that orginally had nothing to do with Reiki practice, and with notions that they considered fundamental to Reiki practice either not known at all or marginalised.

What would a Usui Reiki master get from taking Jikiden Reiki training? I have taught a number of Reiki masters, who have hugely appreciated what we teach and who found that it has clarified many questions for them and deepened their understanding and their practice. I have also met  one or two who were happier with their own way of doing things.

So, I will answer your question from my personal experience, as ultimately we choose what’s right for us, and that’s individually different isn’t it. Having trained in Western Reiki to master level first (which in itself was a wonderful experience, and Reiki as a healing practice ‘caught’ me straight away), I could nonetheless sense the inconsistencies and felt uncomfortable at being given tools with applications that I knew from experience, worked just fine, but didn’t know where they were coming from. Incidentally, I have heard Phylllis Furomoto express what seems to me a very similar frustration at her experience of learning Reiki from her grandmother, Hawayo Takata, in two interviews.

I want to make it very clear that we have no criticism of Mrs Takata and are deeply grateful to her for having found a universal format (i.e. devoid of it’s original (Japanese) cultural and spiritual context) that allowed Reiki practice to successfully spread in many countries around the world. But in different historic circumstances from those Takata sensei found herself in in Hawaii and America just after the World War II, we can now gain access to the specific Japanese cultural and spiritual roots of Reiki practice, and for me that is important, as it makes the practice intelligible and trustworthy, and allows for deeper understanding.

Just for the record, I’m not saying that only Jikiden Reiki training allows for understanding of Reiki practice, and I have seen many practitioners grow deep roots and insight into the nature of Reiki simply from consistent practice (the path that Takata sensei recommended).  I had also realised a thing or two about Reiki practice and Reiki treatment in this intuitive way that weren’t being taught in Western Reiki. (My first Reiki Master had learned  in the 1980s, just a few steps away from Mrs Takata). You can imagine my delight when I found these confirmed, explained and elaborated upon in the Jikiden Reiki teachings.  In my opinion though it was perhaps the fact that Reiki was passed on without its Japanese roots that has also opened the door widely to  misunderstandings and to Reiki becoming amalgamated and confused with so many other ways of thinking about energy work. Instead of blending everything with everything else until we end up with grey, why not simply accept that there are many paths to healing, and different windows to truth (and keep our window clean)?

Again, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that combining Reiki practice with other healing modalities or other thought systems is necessarily wrong and must never happen. But we are now in a situation where Reiki has become amorphous and personally, I can understand why anyone with their critical faculties intact might dismiss this wonderfully simple and accessible healing modality after a 20 minute browse on the internet. Jikiden Reiki is very much about keeping the practice as much as possible to how it was conceived of by its founder, and there’s a rigour and discipline in Jikiden Reiki that I see as a mark of respect to the original teachers.  Reiki was born out of an experience of enlightenment and crafted as a healing method from a broad knowledge base of different traditions. Mikao Usui prided himself in the simplicity of the method he had created, and to me this is one if its incredible strengths.

Frank Arjava PetterAsked why he hasn’t founded his own school of Reiki, internationally respected Reiki teacher, researcher and author Frank Arjava Petter gave the following answer in a recent newsletter: “Personally I don’t see the point in adding another new form of Reiki to the confusion because I think that trying to improve upon “soul energy”- Reiki- is quite inappropriate. Let’s be respectful instead to what we have been given by Usui Sensei and those who carried the torch after him.”

So without being able to reveal the details of Jikiden Reiki practice (you will appreciate that these are being passed on directly from teacher to student), what are some  of the aspects that I most appreciate about Jikiden Reiki?

I value the conceptual framework for how Reiki energy interacts with the diseased body and think that it has great practical value. In Jikiden Reiki, we don’t work with set hand positions, but instead  focus treatment on the areas where there are accumulations of toxins (byosen), using Reiki to help the body break them down and eliminate them more effectively. From a jikiden point of view, a toxin free body tends to naturally show a quick healing response and is quite capable of looking after itself. Yet, living in the 21st century it’s almost impossible not to experience toxin overload. Training practitioners to develop sensitivity in their hands so they can find the problem areas in my opinion is an invaluable asset, as working directly on the problem areas tends to get faster results when illness is already manifest and is also a skill of great value in preventative health care.  Using Reiki early on, perhaps we never need to experience the more serious conditions that may develop if we don’t regularly clear the build up of toxins. And what a blessing to have the means to do this in our own hands!

While the concept of byosen can easily be taught in a week-end workshop, you will appreciate that the skill of effectively reading a client’s body comes with time. This most useful perception skill is subtle at first and really begins to unfold with practice, ideally on others, not just oneself. Once fully developed, the ability to sense byosen gives useful insight into the natural healing process, and helps the practitioner make important treatment decisions: where to focus treatment and for how long. Are we dealing with a chronic problem or is it acute? How long to stay in the same area during a session, and how many sessions will be needed? Don’t get me wrong: We are not medically trained and cannot diagnose the nature of the problem or name your disease. We simply decide  where focusing Reiki treatment is most useful, and can assess healing progress and frequency of treatments needed for best results based on the changing sensations in our hands. On a number of occasions, the ability to sense byosen has also helped me to find areas where emotional trauma was stored in the body, and for this then to be safely released with Reiki treatment.

Going back to why adding more isn’t always a good idea and may create clutter where there once was clarity, I really admire the simplicity of the healing system created by Mikao Usui. Once the original context and intentions have been re-inserted into Reiki practice, we simply don’t need to worry about many of the complicated debates found in Western Reiki (on issues such as grounding or protection for example) as we realize that the answer has already been built right into the core of Reiki practice. “In the Western mind everything seems so complicated”, Chiyoko sensei once said. I  love the elegance of a system that takes care of complexity in the simplest possible way.

Personally, I also like that spirituality in Jikiden Reiki is implied in everything, as natural as water or air, and therefore need not be shouted from the roof-tops. (My colleague, Amanda Jayne has written a wonderful blog post on this, which I would encourage you to read). Instead we focus on becoming compassionate by working on ourselves. For this we have the Gokai, or 5 Reiki principles, which Arjava Petter describes not only as a road-map to enlightenment, but also as a reliable compass of our progress, indicating where we still need to work on ourselves. And this, at least in my case, is very much work in progress, and helps me to keep humble and real.

I had already mentioned how grateful I am for the insight Jikiden Reiki allows into the tools that we use in Reiki practice. This is a far different experience from being given shapes and words and their application. Learning about the context from which these tools were taken and their inherent meaning and function not only makes sense of the treatment methods we use (physical, psychological and distant) but also allows for a unique insight into the philosophy behind Reiki practice and the world view underlying it.  It is also here that we find the answers to issues that have become very complicated and involved in Western thinking about Reiki.  Again, everything fits so elegantly and addresses the task at hand in such a straightforward way.  Sei Heki treatment for example accomplishes incredible results, even with long-term mental or emotional patterns, and knowing the background to this treatment method it becomes clear how this can be achieved in such a simple way. I am of course not saying that you will find scientific explanations here, and you probably don’t expect this. I find Jikiden Reiki spiritually trustworthy and offering a coherent system though.

Ultimately, everything we do in Reiki practice is designed to bring us back, gently and at our own pace, to our original state of perfection and oneness, and Jikiden Reiki offers simple and effective tools along this way.

 

Why we really don’t need a Guru


relaxing after the Jikiden Reiki seminar

Once in a while, quite often actually to be honest, I ask myself what it is that I value so much about Jikiden Reiki. There are many answers to this question. Today I want to focus on the power of being ordinary. Of simply being yourself. Continue reading

Stop, and do Reiki!


In Jikiden Reiki, we teach a special technique used only for First Aid: cuts, grazes, bruises, sprains and even burns. It works beautifully and tends to get fast, clean healing results. The bleeding stops more quickly, and sometimes you can literally watch the blood congeal and a crust form in front of your eyes. It’s as if watching the healing process through a time-lapse camera. As a mother, I have plenty of personal experience here using Reiki to deal with the countless scrapes and grazes that come with early childhood. Continue reading

Tadao Yamaguchi teaching in Edinburgh in July!


Tadao Yamaguchi, Head of the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Kyoto

Tadao Yamaguchi, regarded by many
as the leading authority on Reiki
today, will be coming over from Japan
to Scotland in July. Mr Yamaguchi has not
seen many doctors in his life. There were no
creams or pills or bandages in the
Yamaguchi household at all. His mother
Chiyoko had regularly experienced the efficacy
of Reiki as a treatment method not only for
common ailments, but also for injuries and
more serious health conditions from an early
age, and learned how to practise Reiki from
Dr. Hayashi, a medical doctor and Captain in
the Japanese Navy, when she was only 17.

click here for course dates

Watch this video
to get an impression of what it’s like to attend
Jikiden Reiki training with Tadao Yamaguchi.


To read the full article in the Big Issue 827_PXX_EDUCATION