How often have you seen information about Reiki that starts with this: Reiki is a Japanese word meaning universal life energy.
What is wrong with that sentence?
First of all, there are no Japanese words. The Japanese language is written in pictograms, not words.
I hear someone saying, “Picky, picky, picky.” And I completely own it. I am picky, picky, picky. But that doesn’t make a pictogram a word, or even a reasonable equivalent.
Japanese is a language of nuance. It is not as specific as English is. So this is a place where picky, picky, picky might be useful.
A pictogram is a stylized picture. Even the most florid word is linear compared to a picture. Words define; pictograms suggest. And they can only be understood in context.
The definition above traces back to Hawayo Takata, the Reiki master who, with her Reiki master Chujiro Hayashi, brought Reiki from Japan to Hawaii in the late 1930s.
I want to go on record as having only the most profound admiration and gratitude for Mrs. Takata. That doesn’t mean we freeze-dry everything she said and use it without reflection.
Anyone who heard Mrs. Takata say those words also heard her say more, and likely felt her hands as well. Taking a line from a live event and turning it into the lead of an article doesn’t work. When writing, we have only our words with which to interest people. Make them count.
Use your words to tell people what they want to know about Reiki — how it can help them. If you lead with a definition that tells them nothing, you lose the chance to tell them more.
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