James, can you tell us a bit about yourself, your
background with Reiki, who you trained with and what service you
my early teens a brief interest in Judo evolved into interest in
Karate, then Jiu Jutsu, then Ving Tsun, also Tiger Style Gung Fu, and
much later, a passing interest in Kempo, on the way to studying a form
of Dragon-style Qi Gong.
Early on, one of the special phrases I learnt
to say repeatedly - a phrase common to the practice of all these arts -
(or words to that effect), that REALLY hurts!”
and in tandem with
learning this phrase, I learnt to appreciate the skill of my
instructors in utilising a range of remedial treatment practices:
massage, manipulation, acupuncture needles, herbs and lotions, and
'vital energy' healing techniques, in treating the various accidental
injuries which occasionally occur during the course of martial arts
to say, of all the practices, it was the 'energy work' which really
intrigued me; and so began my journey into the world of energy-based
In time, I came to focus on a small number of modalities,
namely: Magnetic Healing, Therapeutic Touch, Shen Therapy, a particular
form of Qi Gong healing, and practices based around the Japanese
concept of Seiki (Vital Life Force).
Somewhere, I heard the term Reiki.
Then I heard it again; then someone said it was a form of healing – and
simply because the name sounded like Seiki, I thought I'd check it out.After
what might be considered a 'false start', I eventually received a
series of 5 or 6 treatments, and I was hooked. A few weeks later I took
the level 1 training in Tera Mai Reiki (& Seichem). Back then I
had no understanding of the differences between the various 'schools'
like many folk, in time, as part of my journey with Reiki I felt drawn
to take initiations (attunements) and training in as many styles as
possible, so I studied a great many different styles – several of
which, I believe, are no longer being taught.
gradually I realised the need to get rid of the clutter and junk
which constituted the greater part of these many different styles....
often contact me, asking when and where I will be teaching the next
Reiki course, and are usually somewhat surprised when I explain that
the need to teach in this way is an affliction I currently do not
now prefer to take a mentoring-based approach when engaging with Reiki
However, my primary focus is on my own
application of Reiki Ryoho as a therapeutic art.
spirit moves me - I share information and understandings from a
personal perspective (and occasionally attempt to incite others to
step beyond their 'Reiki comfort zone') on a small number of Reiki
fora, and via my website. - www. something-or-other …
feel it would be remiss of me not to use this interview to advertise
and promote something, yet rather than something of my own – I
thought I'd go for: the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International
– a very worthy cause close to my heart]
would you interpret the word 'Reiki'?
With some difficulty :)
I'm pleased you
as opposed to 'translate'.
IMO it is all too easy for someone to
pick up a Japanese-English dictionary and discover the isolated
meanings of each of the two kanji used to write the single word
Reiki; or, as some choose to do, to break each kanji up into its
component elements and look at the additional different isolated
meanings of these elements. Yet if anything, I sometimes feel that
attempting to translate the single word Reiki in terms of the
meanings of the individual words rei and ki (or their elements) only
serves to take us further from the essence of the whole, single, word
For a little word, it encompasses so much.
something I keep coming back to over the years, and each time, I find
new depth of meaning.
Currently, I am content with the
interpretation: “The influence and effect of Spirit in action”.
do you think is happening in a Reiki session?
a simple level, we, as therapists “hold a healing space” in which
the phenomenon that is 'Reiki' enables and assists the client to
relax in a very focussed and profound way, allowing their
body-mind-spirit to access and activate its own, powerful, inherent,
self healing mechanisms.
All healing is Self-healing.
do you think is happening, at a basic level, in a Reiki
can really say for sure?
people seek to understand what's happening in terms of: chakras
being 'aligned', or opening the student's aura up to the cosmos, or
to spirit; or the stimulating energy meridians; or creating a'
vibrational shift'; or opening a pathway to the student's Higher
Self, or to their 'guides', etc, etc.
people talk poetically of the implanting of 'energetic seeds'.
term: 'reiju', speaks specifically of 'the giving/receiving (sharing)
of spirit' – i.e. the 'spirit' of a thing - the sharing / imparting
of the very essence or experience of a thing. Yet
some folks - in what I tend to view as an “Emperor's New Clothes” type
scenario - claim that during the reiju ritual, the teacher passes
nothing on to the student, does nothing to the student?
the most common perception is based on the use of the term
'attunement' and the associated implication that the student is
'tuned in' to an 'energy' - yet interestingly, this is a post-Takata
(i.e. post 1980) modification within Reiki Ryoho.
didn't speak about the concept of 'attunement' - rather she spoke of
'initiation' (in Japanese: 'denju') - a very different concept, and a
very different understanding about what was taking place.
a deeper level, both denju and reiju can be understood as being about
transmitting an ability (in the form of a 'memory' of experience)
from one person to another.
could we perhaps see it that, in the case of the Reiki Ryoho, the
teacher is somehow passing on to the student a 'memory' (albeit an
unconscious one) of Usui-sensei's initial experience on Kurama Yama.?
sharing of the memory of Usui-sensei's first encounter with the
wondrous phenomenon that is Reiki, and with it, a sharing of the
'unconscious competence' that is the actual ability to interact with
the Reiki Phenomenon, to Therapeutic and Spiritual effect.
in a deeper analysis, Reiki is not so much 'energy' as an
initiatorially-received 'ability to interact with energy'
skill, a 'program', an ability - imparted by a ritual act of touch
and breath, from someone already in possession of this
skill/program/ability - this person in turn having received it from
another, and so on, back to Usui-sensei, who spontaneously received
the skill/program/ability as a result of his mystical experience on
you think Reiki can be used to help situations and inanimate objects
as well as living things?
Well, concerning inanimate objects, I swear at my
from time to time when its playing up, and THAT seems to have an
effect, so ….
is now becoming popular within the medical system. What role do you
believe Reiki plays in the traditional medical system?
think it is gradually being accepted as a relaxation-based practice
which can be demonstrated to help with pain management and – in
some situations – reduce post-operative recovery times.
I feel there is a long way to go before it gains widespread
acceptance as a valid form of direct therapeutic intervention in its
Reiki and permission has always been a topic with many pros &
cons what's your view on this given the earthquake disasters in Haiti
whole permission issue is indeed a complex one. However, for now (and
I reserve the right to change my mind in the future) this is my
in-a-nutshell view on the subject:
asking for permission, the practitioner honours and validates the
spiritual essence of the individual.
In making the conscious decision
to accept the practitioner's assistance, the individual opens
themself to the transformational process.
(and most importantly, receive) someone's permission before doing
distant Reiki treatment for them, then they are empowered to take
ownership of the effects of that treatment.
you do not get their permission, then you as initiator of that change
must accept full responsibility for the outcome/effects of that
treatment (which may not necessarily be as expected).
are responsible for our own actions. Period.
in relation to a situation like the ones mentioned, IMO, if Reiki is
an 'energy', then I feel there is quite enough unfocussed 'energy'
raging about in such disaster-zones without practitioners throwing
more into the mix from a distance (however 'helpful' we believe it
IMO, one Reiki Practitioner, working
the scene, may do far more good than a thousand sending “Reiki
wishes” from the comfort of their own homes.
sometimes feel that the concept of 'sending' Reiki to a situation
(which to me always seems somehow vague and unfocussed) has more to
do with helping the Practitioner feel good about themself than
actually helping the situation. Does this sound harsh?
of course Reiki engenders a sense of heart-felt compassion. However,
such situations may be best helped by financially supporting the
rescue and relief teams on the ground at the scene, donating, food,
clothing, vital equipment, etc.
But this is just
Reiki practitioners say you can go back into the past and heal it.
What's your take on this issue?
IMO, no we do not go back into the past, we do not
send Reiki into the past.
Rather, I, understand what we are doing in
terms of healing the PRESENT – healing how we, in the here-and-now, cope with and process the influences, thoughts,
etc. generated around past experiences.
you had any notable experiences concerning Reiki that you could tell
Yes. My first experience of receiving a Reiki
treatment was a
most unpleasant one. It was a short (30 min), seated treatment,
carried out in the stale, centrally-heated, claustrophobic atmosphere
of a depressing consultation room in a NHS medical centre
[Brownie Points at least to the centre in that it rented out a couple
of rooms to Complementary Therapists].
arising in response to the practitioners touch were heavy and
oppressive compared to my experience of other energy therapies.
decided not to go back for a second treatment.
A little while
later, something inspired me to seek out a different practitioner.
I not done so, I would not be doing this interview.
you describe your relationship with Reiki, and how it's affected you?
people might find this strange, but in thinking how I would describe
the relationship, a word that jumped into consciousness was:
When its good, its very good, but ….
in some places you can now even divorce your parents.
just sometimes - I begin to wonder, can you divorce Reiki?
you feel that Reiki needs standard guidelines across the board for
practitioners to obtain certification?
Yes. With there now being so many different Reiki
and different approaches to practice, I feel we do need to look
closely at the issue of standard
guidelines in terms of both
practice and training.
all, in Reiki Ryoho we have an ethical duty of care - not just to
those who come to us for treatment, but also, to
come to us for training.
of poor standards
of training not only dishonour those receiving that training, they
also impact on the perception of the overall
of the Reiki Community as a whole, in the eyes of the very people we
need to be reassuring.
In my opinion, the setting of
'benchmark' or 'baseline' minimum standards, is perhaps essential in
order to guard against various degrees of failure in relation to the
above-mentioned duty of care; and by extension, to ensure that Reiki
Ryoho receives the professional recognition it so richly deserves as
a highly effective therapeutic practice.
are your hopes & aspirations for the future of Reiki?
would like to see Reiki Ryoho hopefully gaining ever greater levels
of acceptance - by both the public at large and the medical
professions - as a valid complementary therapy.
there anything that I/we have not asked that you find is important
when talking about Reiki?
core Reiki Ryoho is simple.
it comes to the ongoing development of our relationship with Reiki, I
think Takata-sensei said it all in four words:
“Let Reiki teach
when it comes to the therapeutic application of Reiki – again
Takata-sensei cut straight to its essence:
“Hands on [the body],
Reiki on; Hands off [the body], Reiki off”
simple – IF we want to let it be.