In Japan in the mid 1920s, Mikao Usui started a unique spiritual practice that has come to be called Reiki. Usui said his practice was new and never before seen in the world. He did not refer to his practice exclusively as Reiki, and at the time, there were other Reiki practices.
Somehow the name Reiki stuck to Usui’s practice.
It was as Reiki that Hawayo Takata and Chujiro Hayashi, her Reiki master and Usui’s direct student, brought the practice to Hawaii in the 1930s. Takata later taught Reiki on the mainland U.S., in Canada, and Puerto Rico, before dying in December 1980.
Most of the 22 masters Takata trained continued to honor her standards, but within a decade after Takata’s death, at least one of them began offering expedited Reiki training.
Rapid expansion of Reiki healing came with loosening of Reiki practice standards
With a fast turnover from First degree to Reiki master, it didn’t take long for Reiki practice to spread around the world.
Few people would argue that global access to such a gentle, effective spiritual practice is a good thing, and this could not have happened so quickly if everyone adhered to Takata’s high standards. However, all rapid expansion coincides with a loss of standards, and this is the challenge that the global Reiki community faces today.
Perhaps the most critical question is this: Which practices are rightly called Reiki?
There is a reasonable expectation that any practice referred to as Reiki traces back to Usui—especially those practices called Usui Reiki—but we cannot assume this to be true.
Some practices marketed as Reiki have no basis in Usui’s practice. Those who sign on for such training usually don’t find this out until it’s too late.
The lack of agreed-upon standards in the Reiki community creates a buyer-beware market for the public. How can Reiki practitioners help the public navigate the sea of Reiki practices and identify those which are truly Usui-based? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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