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Throughout recorded history cultures all over the globe have known that a “higher power” existed, and almost every culture has shown evidence, of some kind, that certain individuals among them had “knowledge” of this higher power.

East Meets West

In traditional Western cultures, we call these individuals priests, ministers, rabbis, mystics, medicine-men, shamans, healers, and yes, doctors, scientists, and even nurses.

In Eastern cultures, for thousands of years, many have been in touch with the universal Life Force Energy present in the universe. 
Today, we have begun to understand how traditional Western thinking can be complimented and enhanced and enriched through a blending with ancient Eastern thinking.
Energy healing is one of the predominant ways that this blending takes place. Some of the methods that have gained great acceptance in recent years are acupuncture, herbal remedies, meditation, many forms of message therapy, and a variety of “hands-on” healing techniques, such as Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch, and REIKI (pronounced ray-key)

What is Reiki?

Simply put, Reiki is Universal Life Force Energy.
It’s what we are, our essence.  The universe is composed of nothing more than energy.  Everything that we perceive, everything we can conceive of, is made of energy.  Every particle, molecule and atom is arranged and held together by ENERGY.
Reiki is the ancient Japanese practice that recognizes and honors this universal energy.  It is a gentle, elegant and beautiful method of energy balancing that has been in use in Eastern cultures for centuries.  We, in the Western hemisphere are only now beginning to appreciate this wonderful practice.
Reiki is NOT a religious practice. In fact, Reiki compliments all spiritual and religious practices. Anyone can practice Reiki, and everyone has the ability to learn and use Reiki.
At its most fundamental level, Reiki assists the cells of the body to function in a normal manner. The intention of all Reiki energy is for the highest healing good, no matter what that may be for the recipient.
The intentional use of Reiki cannot, by its very nature, cause any harm whatsoever to either the practitioner or the recipient.

History of Reiki

Most traditional Reiki Master/Teachers agree that Reiki originated as an “oral” tradition and has been handed down since about 1850 from Dr. Mikao Usui from Japan. The tradition was passed down to Dr Chujiro Hayashi, also in Japan, who initiated Ms. Hawayo Takata, who introduced it to the United States in 1973.
Like most “oral traditions” the story has been told many times and gained much richness over time, however, certain fundamental elements exist and are part of the story of Reiki. One of the basic elements is that Reiki is passed from one person to another through a ritual called an “Attunement”. No other form of “Energy Healing” is known to be passed along through attunements.
Another widely acknowledged principle of Reiki is the concept that it can do no harm, and will always work for the highest healing good.
Many, many beautiful stories are told about Reiki, such as Dr. Usui’s 21 day fast on Mt. Kurama where he is said to have received the Reiki symbols that are used in traditional Reiki attunements and healing sessions.
Another traditional element of Reiki are the “precepts” that most Reiki practitioners agree on:
  • Today, I let go of anger
  • Today, I let go of worry
  • Today, I show gratitude
  • Today, I work with honor
  • Today, I show kindness to another of God’s creatures.

Reiki Attunements

Reiki is practiced in many different forms, by many diverse practitioners, but one of the unifying elements is that only those individuals that have received an “attunement” are considered to be true Reiki practitioners.
Although the actual rituals of the attunements may vary, the traditional Reiki community seems to agree that attunements follow the pattern described below:
Reiki Level 1 – During this attunement the initiate can expect to be given a description of the origins of modern Reiki as developed and taught by Dr. Mikao Usui. The fundamental aspects of Reiki energy are discussed, and the initiate is asked to sit quietly and receive the Reiki energy attunement. After receiving the energy from the Master, the initiate is taught to do self-treatment, along with infusing Reiki energy to both other living things, such as plants and animals and inanimate objects such as crystals. A tradition has grown in popularity lately that discusses infusing Reiki energy into teddy bears and sharing these bears with friends and loved ones.
Reiki Lever 2 – During the second level the initiates is given the Reiki “symbols” that have been passed down to them by their Masters. In the most traditional forms of the Level 2 attunement the symbols are demonstrated by the Master and the initiates are given paper and crayons to practice drawing the symbols while the Master explains the significance and use for each of the 3 basic symbols. It has been said that one must commit the symbols to their memory so that they may rest in their heart. Once the symbols have been completely learned by the initiate they are told never to speak them out loud, or draw them on any paper that will be kept. At this time, the initiates receive the actual attunement from the Master. To finalize the ritual all of the papers are gathered up and burned in a ceremonial manner.
Master Level Attunement – During this ritual the initiate is given the Master symbol and is instructed in the traditions and lineage of the practitioner. Master Level attunements are very spiritual in nature and not to be taken lightly.
Master Teacher – This level of attunement is a further level of enrichment intended for those who are ready to devote their lives to making Reiki available to others.
Master of Masters – Can only be conferred on those who have demonstrated their
dedication to the traditions of Reiki and can take years to reach this level.

How Reiki is Used

The most significant place that Reiki has emerged is in the medical field. We are now seeing Reiki integrated into western medicine all over the country. The National Institutes for Health, through their division of Complimentary & Alternative Medicine have conducted research into the use of Reiki in various clinical settings, and continue to fund studies aimed at understanding how Reiki can be used along with traditional medicine to enhance patient outcomes.
The popularity of Reiki has exploded in recent years and can be found integrated in almost every aspect of metaphysical practice. Reiki has been introduced into magical arts, native-American ceremonies, crystal healing, Angel-healing practice, among others.
In my opinion, the most significant use of Reiki is for self-treatment. One need only receive a Level 1 Attunement to be able to experience the many benefits of this life-affirming form of energy. Everyone has access to this energy, and anyone can be attuned. You do not need anything more than an open mind to receive Reiki energy and to use it for yourself.
Just a small sample of the uses of Reiki for self-treatment are to become centered and grounded when starting out your day. In just a few minutes (I do it in the shower each morning) you can become calm and focused and approach your day from a place of peace and calmness. During the course of the day, you can use Reiki at any time to reconnect to a sense of peace and calmness. During any physical, or emotional, crisis Reiki can be used to reduce the pain and stress in any situation. Using Reiki on others, after a Level 2 Attunement, enhances and enriches your own sense of “connectedness” and revitalizes both the practitioner and the recipient.
Bottom Line – “Get attuned, and lay your hands on a body.”
                                 - Libby Barnett, Master of Masters – 9/27/08

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