Tadao Yamaguchi gives unique insight into Japanese Reiki


Tadao Yamaguchi on kindnessIn this rare interview with Tadao Yamaguchi

the head of Jikiden Reiki Institute in Kyoto, Japan, speaks about growing up with Reiki as a child, his family’s involvement in the practice, their extensive treatment experience using Reiki to benefit everyday ailments as well as very serious conditions, and about his vision for the future of Jikiden Reiki.

Find out why Reiki went underground in Japan and became some kind of secret healing art, what kind of conditions respond well to Reiki, how to use Reiki to support serious health problems, who is suitable for practising Reiki, how to give the most effective treatments and more.

Read the FULL INTERVIEW here

An extract of Gisela Stewart’s recorded conversation with Tadao Yamaguchi has also been published in the November/December issue of Kindred Spirit.
Contact me if you would like me to send you a copy by mail order.

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What’s with the Baby Buddha? (What’s Reiki got to do with marketing)


Meeting a friend for coffee at lunch time, and feeling tired and frustrated from a morning spent dealing with technical and practical hiccups, the conversation seemed to suddenly become fiery when we touched on the subject of ‘branding’. What’s branding got to do with Reiki, you may wonder? Bear with me.

I had only just finished developing a strong new brand identity for ‘Complete Health Borders’, the wellness centre in the Central Borders that is home to my Simply Jikiden Treatment and Training Centre in Galashiels.

Complete Health BordersThe Maori concept of ‘koru’, the unfurling fern, seems to me the perfect embodiment for Complete Health Borders’ vision and aspiration: to offer a (near) complete range of tools and methods for unfolding personal potential: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual (if that’s what you want). A truly holistic approach to health.

At the risk of being immodest; I LOVE the visual identity that our designer has developed for us from the spark provided by my idea (the ‘koru’ representing unfolding health and the expression of life). My friend confirmed that even though not everyone may instantly pick up on the full depth of the concept, its essence: harmony with nature, unexpressed potential ready to spring to life, energy and vitality instantly communicate on a gut level. That’s what you want from a brand, and having a taste for the elegance of simplicity, I expressed a slight feeling of jealousy (as I’ve developed the koru brand identity for someone else’s business, although the day-to-day running is my job).

When I first found my vocation in life; Reiki practice, I didn’t have a clue about either marketing or business. In fact both were alien to me, as I would never want to sell anything that I didn’t truly believe in, and I have never been motivated primarily by money. It took the realisation that I can only express my purpose and contribute my gift, if I can also feed my family, to prompt me to brush up on those particular skills.  How fortunate then that I do truly appreciate the value of Jikiden Reiki.

“No need to feel jealous”, my friend says. “Your Buddha is an amazing brand ambassador, it’s so solid (made of stone), yet gentle and radiating peace. Also humorous and a bit quirky.” Now, that dear friend, made my day! If ‘brand’ is the visual signifier of an essence, of embodied values and aspiration, then my Baby Buddha IS perfect for SimplyJikiden:

blogbuddhaThere’s nothing ‘fluffy’ in Jikiden Reiki, it’s solid, practical, down-to-earth and backed up by experience and deep roots: rock solid. My friend comments that I don’t talk much about the spiritual nature of Reiki practice. That’s because I don’t need to: a sense of peace and spirituality embodied in every-day life is its very nature. Compassion in action.

(The humorous bit, that’s a part that my students and clients sometimes appreciate about me, and the quirky, well, I’ve always felt like a bit of  a one-off-kind-of-animal: I’ll choose to take it as a compliment).

Postscript:

My friend and I made an agreement that we would both blog from the moments of inspiration that we struck in our conversation. My blog post was to tell the story of the Baby Buddha, and how the image came to me.  As that part of the deal remains to be delivered, keep your eyes peeled for part 2!

Looking Back With Gratitude, Moving Forward With Hope

Featured


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!

7 years of Jikiden Reiki (and no signs of the 7year itch)


Since Jikiden first came into my life 7 years ago, I think it is fair to say that I have benefited from and been changed by the practice on a daily basis, as have many others through me. This photo was taken in 2006  in Frank Arjava Petter’s house in Duesseldorf, when I attended my first ever Jikiden Reiki training event with Tadao Yamaguchi. (Since then I have attended many). I am posting it here, because the sheer delight I felt on discovering Jikiden Reiki is palpably visible. Delight at the quality of the training and deep insight into the roots, nature and essence of Reiki practice in a way that was tangible and practical, and very much applicable, and to be applied to, everyday life. Beaming with energy after five days of learning with Yamaguchi sensei and Arjava sensei, feeling like a ball of blueish-whitish light. (I’m the girl grinning from side to side sitting to the right of Tadao sensei).

My first Jikiden Reiki training with Tadao Yamaguchi in Duesseldorf , June 2006. I'm the person with the big grin on my face to the left of Mr Yamaguchi.

My first Jikiden Reiki training with Tadao Yamaguchi in Duesseldorf

Memories are flooding back as I see images of this year’s training with Yamaguchi sensei in Frankfurt popping up on facebook, with participants contacting me who have this incredible experience for the first time.

Recently I had a nice surprise when colleagues on LinkedIn unexpectedly congratulated me on on 7 years of dedication to Jikiden Reiki. This struck me like a bolt from the blue,  as time has just flown by since my first training in June 2006. There are definitely no signs of a 7 year itch as far as I’m concerned: I am as passionate about jikiden as ever.

So what am I getting from my keen involvement with Jikiden Reiki? Let me warn you: the list is bound to be long. On a personal level: I am definitely not the same person I was before I discovered Jikiden Reiki. A couple of weeks ago a friend stopped me in the street to tell me about a conversation she had had with one of her children: Her primary school aged daughter had asked her if I ever got angry. Because the girl had only ever seen me with a smile on my face, she believed that I would probably even smile when telling my kids off. Although not quite true, this lovely story made me smile even more. I am no saint and I can definitely (although rarely these days) blow my top, but it is true that I feel (and therefore probably radiate) a quiet undercurrent of  happiness most of the time. Like anyone else, my life has its complications and is by no means always easy. But I do feel quietly happy a lot, and I credit Jikiden Reiki for that. I love my work helping people return to physical and mental health with Jikiden Reiki treatments in my clinics in the Scottish Borders and in Edinburgh, and I love passing on these simple yet invaluable skills to others in my Jikiden Reiki courses and I love the effects the practice has on my life  and on the lives of those around me.

What other changes have I noticed about myself? Some of the qualities I have acquired through daily Reiki practice include patience, groundedness and more of an ability to see situations from multiple perspectives simultaneously; meaning I can better see and feel perspectives other than my own. When confronted with challenging situations, I don’t tend to panic and can usually think on my feet. Having been at the receiving end of  two nasty scams last year and again this year, I don’t tend to waste much time or energy on negative states of mind such as getting angry or upset (although worry can be a little harder for me not to engage in), instead finding the people and tools that can support me in effectively dealing with the situation.

Although I was lucky to receive a very good education and being naturally quite articulate, I don’t come from a privileged background, and have never been particularly confident (that is, unless I teach Jikiden Reiki). Being wired on the sensitive side and shy by temperament, I have been reluctant to reveal too much of myself. I remember with a chuckle how, when I first learned Reiki in 2003, I would keep this fact closely guarded private information only to be shared with the trusted few. This is funny, because several years later (and thanks to a process of constant, and sometimes painful, personal growth) I seem to have no choice but to fly by my true colours and to step out into the public domain bearing witness to what I know to be true. Wanting to share my my passion for Jikiden Reiki and its potential to help  people live healthier happier lives, simply by tapping into their own, innate, healing ability. Recently my efforts to bring Jikiden Reiki into environments that at first contact may not always be open to energy healing (such as conventional medicine) again triggered my fear buttons, but having done so successfully, the experience is helping me to slowly, steadily and incrementally close the confidence gap.

I am aware that I’m making it sound as if I had life all sussed, which is definitely not true. (However, for me, this makes a nice change from usually being hyper conscious of my shortcomings and failings). Just ask my friends and family and the people close to me for a long list of my flaws. All I am saying is that I have changed for the better since I became involved with Reiki practice, and I see positive changes in others, too. In my experience, the tools offered in Jikiden Reiki practice, such as the Gokai, giving and receiving physical Reiki treatments, reiju, Sei Heki treatment and hatsurei ho, as well as enabling us to practice Reiki for improved physical health, offer great opportunities for ongoing personal growth, too.

Not without reason, it seems to me, has Mikao Usui named his method ‘Shin Shin Kaizen Usui Reiki Ryoho’ (Usui Reiki treatment method for the improvement of body and mind) and described the practice as his ‘secret method to invite health and happiness.’ What could be more holistic than finding your authenticity, your stable, unfazed  core and your rootedness in compassion: all side-effects of dedicated Reiki practice. 

To be continued…

If you would like some sense of the physical healing benefits of Reiki practice, here are a few links you might like to follow:

Rehabilitation from Spinal Injury
Jikiden Reiki and Autism
Jikiden Reiki for Chronic Illness

Jikiden Reiki training with Tadao Yamaguchi in Edinburgh September 2013

After the seminar with Tadao Yamaguchi in Edinburgh September 2012If you would like to benefit from the amazing opportunity to learn Jikiden Reiki directly from Tadao Yamaguchi, please contact me through this website.

Feedback from last year’s training with Yamaguchi Sensei

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

Reiki ~ The Most Natural Thing in the World


Natural Healing with Jikiden Reiki“Reiki ~ the most natural thing in the world.” This is how I would summarise the essence of Jikiden Reiki and the jikiden approach to Reiki.

Passing on the teachings of Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, Reiki is seen as essential, perfect human nature, in harmony with creation. Reiki as a healing method and as a spiritual path helps find the way back to this pure state. Step by step ‘as if peeling thin layers of paper’. Physically, Reiki energises the body so that the natural cleansing processes can function optimally.

Having grown up with Reiki from an early age, for the Yamaguchis Reiki is as natural as water and air, yet something deeply appreciated. This is the sense I get yet again while rereading Tadao Yamaguchi’s book ‘Light on the origins of Reiki’.

Related reading: Is Reiki physical or spiritual?

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


The length and frequency of Reiki treatment depends on your conditionAs a Reiki practitioner I find that my clients often come with unspoken expectations about their sessions with me. Showing up for treatments at weekly intervals is one of them, and at times this appears to be a rule set in stone. Yet working in this way does not always get the best results.

A toxin free body is in a better position to take care of its own healing needs

As Jikiden Reiki practitioners, we  are guided  by the sensations we feel in our hands when placing them on a client. This body feedback helps the practitioner to locate the areas in the client’s body where toxins have accumulated. Carefully observing how these sensations change over time helps us to assess how long to treat a specific area and when to expect improvement. We refer to this skill as sensing byosen (pronounced: bjoh sen).

Our treatment decisions, in Jikiden Reiki, are based on this concept of byosen, tuning into and following the body’s natural healing response. As we focus energy on an area with high accumulations of toxins, Reiki helps to break these down more effectively. The sensations we are looking for can be felt at their most intense when this happens.  Often, the toxins are deeply buried within the tissues, though, so Reiki is needed to first bring them to the surface. During these periods we may not feel so much. So careful observation over a period of time is indicated!

We suggest an individually tailored program based on what’s going on in your body

From a Jikiden point of view, there are no standard hand positions nor a standard length of treatment. Of course we would not keep you on the treamtment table beyond your endurance limit. But for severe cases, a 70 to 90 minute treatment might be quite in order. Chiyoko Yamaguchi, my teacher’s mother, and herself trained by one of the original Reiki teachers, often gave Reiki for an hour and a half, and then asked her client to be back next day or as soon a possible, when she was working with severely ill clients. And this she would keep up for a period of two or three months, if necessary, until the sensations in her hands (and the client’s health of course!) indicated improvement.

Why you may want to learn Reiki for self-care

Of course, seeing a practitioner this frequently would be difficult to afford for most people. This is why Tadao Yamaguchi, the head of the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Kyoto, often recommends that someone who is seriously ill, learn Reiki and also receive frequent Reiki treatments from a family member or someone who is able to make this level of commitment to them.

Even with comparatively more minor health problems, the weekly treatment model may not always be best. While byosen is strong, perhaps two or three treatments in one week may help the client to return to full health much more quickly by comparison to the alternative of making weekly appointments by default.

Related reading: On the benefits of Reiki for cancer patients

Mikao Usui’s Legacy: Healing the World one Person at a Time


Mikao Usui found his healing ability after a retreat on Mount Kurama

"Reiki will conquer the world and heal its inhabitants as well as the Earth itself." Mikao Usui

A lesson in limits for Jikiden Reiki practitioners

Guest blog by Elaine Rainey

At a recent UN High Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness, discussion turned to how the concept of Gross National Happiness (an innovative economic model originally developed in Bhutan, a Buddhist country with a longstanding tradition of mindfulness) could be applied to the rest of the world.  Discussion inevitably turned to the difficulties faced by undertaking such a task on such a grand scale.

At this point, famous environmentalist Hunter Lovins took to the stage and addressed the audience with a parable about a humble hummingbird.  She said:

When the forest was on fire and all of the animals were fleeing around her, the hummingbird was ferrying droplets of water in her tiny beak, one by one, to try and staunch the flames. “What are you doing?” her distinguished animal colleagues asked. “The best I can”, replied the hummingbird.

As Reiki practitioners, we are armed with such a wonderful healing resource in the palm of our hands.  By nature, we tend to be a compassionate bunch who are sensitive to the suffering of others.  The desire to help and to ease the suffering of others is often strong.  Starting out with the best of intentions, we can soon find ourselves overwhelmed and burnt out.  An image of a stressed out Reiki practitioner providing distant treatments to many people simultaneously at the end of a long day springs to mind.

So, what can we do to avoid this and to deliver a sustained and healthy level of service to others through our Reiki practice?
The answer, from a Jikiden Reiki perspective, is one step at a time, one person at a time.  We are taught to start with ourselves, our family and friends, then moving out into the community around us.  We are not taught methods for sending distant Reiki to many people simultaneously, or to specific areas or disaster situations.  Just one person at a time.

I remember, at a Jikiden Reiki seminar, a Reiki practitioner asked Tadao Yamaguchi, the Head of the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Japan, for advice on someone they were treating distantly for a serious illness.  This person lived many, many miles away and the practitioner did not know them personally.  This practitioner was actually asking about specifics of the treatment approach, but Tadao Yamaguchi politely asked “Why are you treating this person so far away?
A fruitful discussion developed between the participating practitioners, resulting in a contact being made with a Jikiden Reiki practioner who lived locally to the person needing help.The point was not about never sending distant Reiki to people we do not know, or to those far afield.  It was about keeping things simple, being practical and drawing on the resources of others if required.
This is something I personally value very much about Jikiden Reiki.  The approach is very humble, straightforward, simple, grounded and manageable.  One person at a time, being relaxed, doing the ‘best we can’.

You can follow the progress of the UN High Level Meeting on Wellbeing and Happiness, and the thoughful write-ups by Claudia Chender MacLellan, at http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace

Connect with Elaine on facebook: @Jikiden Reiki Treatments

Photo credit: Zlatica Retzler (many thanks!)

Well, how Did I get into Reiki? Reiki Journey Part II


Japanese Water Garden (Jikiden Reiki trip to Japan)

Related reading: Well, how did I get into Reiki, part 1

I love it when every piece of the jigsaw fits. This is my experience with my Reiki practice. If you saw my cv, you’d be surprised at what may seem like a steep number of blind alleys and cul-de-sacs. Threads I’ve pursued for a while and then discarded. Or have I? The last thread before Reiki was particularly hard to let go of and cost me many tears. I was passionate about aspects of my research into Scottish Folklore at the School of Scottish Studies, and although if felt right to give it up for the sake of bringing up our children, this was a painful process that only feels complete now that I have made my peace with the fact that someone who could have given crucial support chose not to.

And with hindsight what a blessing that was, as the academic career I had dreamed of as a young woman would have deflected me from where I can perhaps contribute the most. When I first learned Reiki from one of the first  teachers in Scotland who had trained in Reiki in Japan (in a westernised form) in the 1980s, I instantly fell in love with this simple healing practice and had sometimes remarkable treatment experiences. So much so that my Reiki Master commented he thought that with Reiki I had really hit on my path. Eight years later this feels more true than ever. My first Reiki teacher having gone abroad soon after teaching me the first two levels, I was then left looking out for a new Reiki Master, someone who I could fully trust to take the next step into the unknown with, as Reiki in its Western incarnation seemed a little mysterious to me and I had not yet found its more down-to-earth Japanese counterpart. A year or so of fortnightly meetings (I cannot be sure now, all I remember for certain is that I became a Western Reiki Master in early 2006) taught me to fully open my mind and my heart.

While I loved Reiki practice and had good experiences, I always keenly sensed what seemed to me like inconsistencies and contradictions in Reiki as it has become so well known in the West. And most of all, I longed for more insight into the Japanese roots of the practice, and as soon as I realised that these had just become accessible to Westerners through the Yamaguchi family, I jumped at the first opportunity that presented itself to train with Tadao Yamaguchi in Duesseldorf in 2006. And almost everything else that I have done or experienced before my encounter with Jikiden Reiki, be it teaching, journalism, media studies, exhibition interpretation, research, my family background or my psychological wiring all seem to come together to support me on my mission to make Japanese Reiki more accessible to the public. Even my early fascination with theorists such as Walter Benjamin or artists such as Brecht and Eisenstein comes in handy now, as I feel that their theories on building context from fragments have helped me grasp the potential of social media quickly and easily.

It’s not at all that it’s always been easy or that it is always easy now. Rather it is the deeply anchored sense that I am exactly where I want to be that sustains me in times when many people appreciate what I do as well as in those when it seems as if noone else cared. It simply does not matter, and when temporarily the going has been tough there is always my inner knowing that with Reiki I am on a path that is right for me.

Frank Arjava Petter’s workshop in Edinburgh

The incredible strength that comes with being aligned with a meaningful purpose, for me (and using me to demonstrate), was beautifully illustrated by an exercise we did last week-end at Frank Arjava Petter’s Japanese Reiki techniques workshop.

Or, in the words of the Dalai Lama: “When you do what you love, synchronicity starts happening. And because you enjoy what you’re doing, there’s less need to give up when your expectations aren’t met straight away. You have the will and the faith to keep going.” The lesson I learned from organising this particular workshop is that when I let go and trust, things fall into place as if by themselves.

View some photos of the workshop with Frank Arjava Petter here

Related reading: Well, how did I get into Reiki, part 1

Photo credit: Jikiden Reiki practitioner Zlatica Retzler (many thanks!)