The History of Reiki

Many books have been written about the history of Reiki and how it travelled from Japan to the west. I won’t try to reproduce that all here, but I do want to give you a little context about how the system of Reiki was developed.

Dr. Mikao Usui (Master Usui) lived from 1865 to 1926 in Japan. From most accounts he received his doctorate degree in Literature, though many of the details of his life have been muddled along the way. He was a Buddhist and studied a tantric Qigong method called the “Lightning Flash”, originally developed to achieve enlightenment, with physical healing as a by-product. Some accounts say he developed Reiki as a way to bring the powerful healing method to the masses. Many accounts tell a story of how he received the instructions on how to use Reiki and the symbols in a deep mediation at the base of a waterfall at Mt. Kurama.

However he came to know Reiki, Usui gave Reiki its name and created a system for teaching it and passing it down to others. He developed Reiki into a method of healing which is powerful, effective and non-invasive. He removed much of the religious aspects to the teachings so that there were no limitations on its use and benefit to all humankind. Reiki is not aligned with any political or religious organization and is open to all. Much like the Divine Energy that it accesses, Reiki is loving and accepting with no boundaries.

Since then, many styles of Reiki have been developed and the original 5 symbols have expanded to over 60. Reiki has spread throughout the world and is taught in many languages and cultures. Ultimately, though we can all trace back our Reiki lineage to Master Usui.

Gassho and Rei-ji-ho

Gassho means meditation with hands together, a foundational practice of Reiki. Holding your hands together, in prayer position or anjali mudra, in front of your heart, signals the beginning of any Reiki session. It centres us in the Reiki energy and activates the flow of energy through the body.

This activation of energy in Gassho is amazing as part of a meditation practice, whether or not you know Reiki. Your hands and your heart are two important ways that you interact with your world. By taking a moment and stilling both in meditation, you are able to deeply transform yourself and your world.

Give it a try now.

Notice the energy between your hands. Listen to your quiet heart beat. This is the stillness your soul is longing for. Just taking the time to be aware of the the YOU that is beyond the physical you.

I always open my Reiki classes with a short guided meditation with everyone’s hands in Gassho. I close the meditation with Rei-Ji-Ho, a practice used in Reiki to set your ego-self aside from the healing that occurs and a surrendering to the Divine wisdom that you can sense with your hands.

Both Gassho and Rei-Ji-Ho are important to help build a strong focus and intention in the practice of Reiki. But they can be used by anyone as part of a meditative practice.

Rei-Ji-Ho is simply a prayer to put your mind, your intellect in the service of the energy in your hands. You bring your hands, still palms together, to your forehead as a signal that you are putting the wisdom of Reiki above your own ego-centric thoughts. Ego here means the part of you that views yourself as separate; separate from other people, separate from the earth, and separate from the Divine.

The prayer itself is one I wrote, using the principles of healing as guided by Master Usui. In the final line of the prayer, I use the word surrender. Here I am using the word surrender in the sense that we are letting go of our own ideas about what is needed for a person and solely focusing on where the Reiki energy is guiding us. It is listening in the deepest sense of the word.

Rei-Ji-Ho Prayer

You are perfectly healthy whole and complete.

You easily align yourself with your highest good and you work in harmony with the healing principle of the Universe.

Everyone and everything in the Universe is moving easily and freely toward perfect health.

Every motion of this Universe is towards pure love and light.

The Universe is moving steadily toward this state of pure being and you are perfectly aligned with this motion.

You move with love and light because you are love and light.

Every motion of your hands and movement of your energy is guided by the infinite wisdom of the Universe.

I surrender to the wisdom in my hands.

The missing post: the universe ate my homework

A couple of days ago I sat to write about a book on Reiki that I think is an amazing read. It vanished. Instead of saving it got obliterated. Gone poof into the nameless digital void. I always pay attention when these seemingly random events occur. I ask myself: What is the deeper meaning here? What is my lesson? As it turns out, the last piece of writing to disappear was my Reiki manual for a Level 1 and 2 course I was planning on teaching. Often with writing a delay is beneficial to the overall work, giving the writer time to reflect and carefully edit. But a complete deletion, that is something else. It requires a complete rewrite and, for me, several months of rethinking. Funny how things happen.

So back to the books, so to speak. The book I was writing the review for was “The Original Reiki Handbook of Dr. Mikao Usui” by Dr. Mikao Usui and Frank Arjava Petter found here on Google Books. Dr. Usui is the founder of the Reiki system, so his original notes are a precious thing to read.

20110615-093349.jpg This book in particular is a must read for anyone who is interested in learning Reiki. There is a strong emphasis on the intention and dedication of the practitioner to helping the client to achieve vibrant health. Some of the visualization and meditation practices I have incorporated into my practice with phenomenal results. The techniques not only improve the treatment the client receives, but also improves the experience for the practitioner. Staying an open, egoless channel for the Reiki energy is a learned skill. Practice in both private meditation and surrendering to the wisdom of the energy is a key part of the message of the book.

As for the course manual, I am eager to begin again. Rebuilding from the ground up and following the advise from Master Usui to surrender to the wisdom in my hands. Stay tuned for more information on Reiki courses. If you are interested in taking a class with me email me at to get on the waiting list.