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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

All Reiki is Usui Reiki

By Marianne Streich

Last fall I took a Reiki class with an instructor from Japan. During the class a fellow student began a question with, “I was trained in Usui Reiki….” The instructor quickly responded, “All Reiki is Usui Reiki.”

Reiki has taken myriad forms since Mikao Usui developed his natural healing method in the 1920’s, Dr. Hayashi expanded it within the context of his medical training, and Mrs. Takata introduced her variation of Hayashi’s work to the West in the 1930’s. There are now countless expressions of Reiki throughout the world—numerous schools, numerous lineages, numerous programs, and as many individual expressions as there are practitioners. No matter the expression it takes, ALL Reiki IS Usui Reiki. There is only one requisite—that the practitioner be attuned by an instructor who traces his or her lineage back to Usui Sensei. The path of that lineage is of much less consequence than where it leads.

Yes, it is important to seek instruction from competent teachers who are actively involved in the practice of Reiki, who give thorough instruction, continually grow in their own knowledge and practice, willingly answer questions, and are committed to supporting students in their Reiki journeys. Equally important, I believe, is what we do with the instruction we are given. If we are to reach our full Reiki potential, Reiki training is simply a springboard, a place to begin what will inevitably become a very personal journey, if we are willing to embark upon it. The lineage with which we are associated is but the beginning of that journey, the catalyst that impels us forward. It is not an end in itself.

Whatever our lineage, ultimately, Reiki itself is our best teacher. Although we learn a great deal from instructors, mentors, colleagues, articles and books, I believe it is through actual practice that Reiki reveals itself to us in a profoundly personal way, teaching each of us individually the best way to work with it. We need only to yield to its healing grace and allow ourselves to learn its lessons.

Recently, a client told me that during the treatment she had lost all sense of my having a physical body and “saw” me, hands and body, as only light. Not long after that, while I was receiving a treatment from my Reiki exchange partner, I became aware through closed eyelids of a bright light beside the table. At first I thought it was a lamp that I hadn’t been aware of previously, but then I realized that the light was my exchange partner. My sense of her body was of a dim shadow outlined within a bright field of light. This, I believe, is the goal of Reiki—that we merge with the energy to the degree that we become not only channels for Reiki, but Reiki itself.

I believe we achieve this deep connection, not because of the particular lineage we bear, but by cultivating consciousness. Some of the ways we can cultivate the consciousness of Reiki:

  • Attempting to vibrate at the very highest level possible in every situation. This means choosing compassion not only when we are giving a treatment to a client, but also when someone cuts us off in traffic.
  • Adhering to the highest ethical standards in our practice of Reiki and in our personal lives.
  • Refraining from judging others or comparing ourselves with others so that we may know them and ourselves as Light.
  • Engaging in a personal spiritual practice, including a daily meditation or quiet time.
  • Daily Reiki self-treatment and a deep commitment to our own healing on all levels. (Elaine Grundy’s research, reported on in the February issue, is a powerful testament to the effectiveness of self-treatment.)
  • Receiving Reiki from other practitioners. The most profound healing and the deepest personal insights have come to me during treatments from my Reiki exchange partners.
  • Continually expanding our knowledge and understanding of Reiki.
  • Giving Reiki treatments. I am most open to the lessons Reiki has to teach me while I am giving treatments to others.
  • Remaining awake and aware to Reiki’s lessons and trusting and acting upon the messages we are given.
In ever-growing numbers, we Reiki practitioners bring healing to ourselves, to other beings, and to our planet. Rather than inquiring about his or her lineage when we meet a practitioner for the first time, and perhaps mentally or verbally judging its merit relative to our own, we might better seek answers to questions such as: “How is Reiki expressing in the world through you?” “What has Reiki taught you?” “How has Reiki changed your life?” “How can we support each other on our Reiki paths?” “Are there ways we can collaborate so that each of us becomes more effective?”

We owe it to ourselves to be the best we can be. In striving for excellence, we are richly blessed, and we bring ever-greater blessings to our world.


Blogger LindaLou Haines said...

Marianne, bless you for this perspective. And, I add: Amen!
The world needs us to BE Reiki Energy, not to judge each other.

2:59 AM  
Anonymous Marianne Streich said...

Thanks, LindaLou, for reading the article and for taking the time to comment!

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Colin Powell said...

Excellent article, Marianne!

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Marianne Streich said...

Thank you, Colin. I'm glad it resonates with you.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Jane VDV said...

Thank you, Marianne, for sharing your insight and wisdom. Once again, I have come away from one of your articles with new perspectives about my beloved practice of Reiki. Truly, all Reiki is Usui Reiki!

6:48 PM  
Blogger Mari Hall said...


Excellent article. Your commitment and practice of Reiki shows. Reiki has been teaching you well. I totally agree with what you have written and enjoy reading your insights. Well Done!

Love and Blessings, Mari

12:39 AM  
Blogger The Reiki Connection FR said...

What a wonderful article, reaffirming all Reiki belief, as I am reading it I am thinking, that is so true, and yes even being a fellow REIKI Master, with my own students and clients, I feel I never fully master the complete REIKI as there is always a new experience or learning curve just around the corner, but everyday it gives me complete joy and it humbles me. I am always quietly thrilled to the reaction of REIKI, it has been a truly life changing experience for me and my journey continues. Thank you Marianne for sharing your insight. Namaste, Cher, Reiki Connection France

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Marianne Streich said...

Thank you, Jane and Mari. It is high praise indeed to receive commendation from two Reiki Masters whom I hold in the highest regard. And it is lovely to hear from a Reiki connection in France, Cher! You express so well the excitement, joy, and humility that has come to me with the practice of Reiki. Reiki blessings to all!

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I liked the article but do not agree with the author. Not all Reiki is Usui Reiki and I have proofs of that.

1. I know Reiki practioners that use different Reiki symbols from the ones Ms. Takata teached. The energy associated with these "new" and altered Reiki symbols is different from the original ones.

2. I know people who received Reiki treatments from these practioners and they felt strange and did not feel good. They felt very different when they received Reiki from me.

3. That's why I do not receive Reiki treatments from anyone but my Reiki Master and the students of my Reiki master that learned at the same time with me.

You can say all Reiki variations and lineages are energy healing because there are several energy healing therapies out there that work. But not all are Reiki except the ones Ms Takata teach and stay loyal and faithful to those teachings.

Thank you,

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Marianne Streich said...

Thank you, Anonymous, for your comments. Someone else has brought up a question regarding the symbols, which has initiated an interesting internal dialog for me about them. I'll share more when I've completed my conversation with myself!

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that not all Reiki is Usui Reiki. I'm not saying one particular "brand" of Reiki is better than another. I know someone who is a RM who says that she "took" something from one of her clients, like.. she took a blockage of theirs or something, but my teacher has told me repeatedly that Reiki is positive.. you can't take anything from them or give bad energy to someone. Whatever that person/clients body needs to do with it, it will. Now, I'm not saying she's full of it, either, but.. that doesn't sound like Usui Reiki to me at all. The lineage is very very important in Usui Reiki. And, ever since Reiki became a little more mainstream I'm just a little more skeptical sometimes about people who have Reiki.

Other than that, great post :)
Peace and Love!!

10:49 AM  
Anonymous Marianne Streich said...

To address the first comment of Anonymous regarding a recipient feeling "strange" after a treatment as a result of the practitioner using different symbols than the ones Takata taught. I can't imagine that this reaction could be attributed to the use of symbols. Much more likely, in my view, is that the recipient may have experienced a healing reaction. (I've written an article about healing reactions, which you might find helpful. It can be downloaded free on my website:

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Marianne Streich said...

Another reader asked via email if symbols not traditionally associated with Reiki, a Christian cross for instance, are used, is the practitioner still channeling Reiki.

To put any discussion about symbols in perspective, I believe it is important to note that the symbols Hayashi (and presumably Usui) used are different than the ones Mrs. Takata introduced to the West. They are drawn slightly differently, the meanings vary from what we have been taught in the West, and their usage is much more specific and limited than is typical in the West. The origin of the Master symbol that Takata taught is uncertain. If Hayashi gave it to her, he did not give it to others of his students. (The term "Master" was introduced by Takata; those Hayashi and Usui deemed worthy to be teachers were called Shihan-Kaku (assistant teacher) and Shihan (teacher). There was no symbol specifically associated with the teacher level.

This is not to say that Takata was wrong. We've been using her symbols for years to good effect. What it does say to me is that there are no absolutes in Reiki or in anything else in life. Hayashi and Usui did not attune students to the symbols; the symbols were simply introduced as tools. According to Hiroshi Doi, the purpose of the symbols is for the practitioner to merge with the energies they represent so that it is no longer necessary to use them.

The symbols are just that—symbols. It is my belief that they represent particular vibrations of energy and/or specific beings. The symbols are simply the telephone numbers we use to call them up. What is key in Reiki, and all of life, is intention. If we have been attuned to Reiki and we intend for Reiki to flow, it will. Setting ego aside, intending to be the purest channel we can possibly be allows it to flow in a more powerful way. It will flow if we use no symbols, if we use Takata's or Hayashi's, or others that have been revealed to Reiki practitioners intuitively.

According to Tadao Yamaguchi, what we call the Mental/Emotional symbol is a modified version of a Sanskrit word that represents the Goddess of Compassion. If we call on her using one of her names rather than the symbol, are we channeling an energy other than Reiki? If we use the Christian cross as the symbol through which we ask to access the energy of Jesus/Christ consciousness, are we channeling an energy that is different than Reiki? If we call on the names of God rather than the symbols, as one of my Muslim students did, are we channeling an energy that is different than Reiki? If we call on the compassion of Buddha, are we channeling an energy other than Reiki? If, as sometimes happens when I give a treatment, a symbol I did not invoke shows up over the table, am I channeling an energy other than Reiki? I don't believe so.

Reiki is the energy of compassion—compassion on a more profound level than most humans are capable of experiencing. That is why it comes through us and is not our own energy. That is why it is both profound and simple. That is why it becomes stronger and more powerful as we open up to it, as we cultivate the consciousness of compassion.

I believe there are many energies/beings of compassion who stand ready to assist us with Reiki. How we access these energies is not important. What is important is our intention of being pure compassion and that we call only on those energies/beings who represent the very highest levels of compassion.

There is nothing wrong with limiting oneself to the symbols that Takata taught or to those Hayashi taught. But when I place my hands on a client and "see" Usui Sensei on one side of the table and Jesus on the other, I don't question whether they represent the same version of compassion, what symbol got them there, or whether I used a symbol at all, but just called their names. I don't question what I am transmitting. I simply stand in awe and gratitude and accept the gift, basking in the amazing LOVE that is present, and allowing it to do its work.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous Robert Fueston said...

I feel this article has several good points. One, that lineage does not make you nobler or better than anyone else. And two, actions speak louder than anything else. So when we try to judge others based on lineage, we are showing our own ignorance. However, that being said, there is a certain form in which Usui expressed his teachings. I have seen "Reiki" video's in which the viewer is suppose to stare at a crystal on the screen and this then will attune or initiate them into the Reiki energy....Usui did Reiju in person. My point is, at what point is it no longer Usui Reiki (Usui's style of utilizing Reiki) and is someone else's style of Reiki. I think at some point, with so many changes, Usui himself would not recognize his own system if he were to come back and view what is being taught as his style today. If people change the system, what they have is another system, so the honorable thing to do would be to change the name. Barbara Weber Ray did this (The Radiance Technique) as did many others. It helps avoid confusion in the long run. I am not saying other styles don't work, I am just saying that there is honor in changing the name if the system no longer reflects Usui's own teachings. After all, there many religions that contain a God as the source of all. Does that mean that all those religions are the same? Certainly not. And the different names of these religions help to distinguish them and clarify to everyone their own certain set of beliefs and practices.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Marianne Streich said...

I believe that any practice or modality combined with Reiki should be done with the utmost discernment and absolute integrity. The origin of everything we teach should be revealed completely to students, and we should be very clear and forthcoming about our rationale for any practice we introduce. Giving a style another name is one way of making it clear that the teachings are significantly different; however, Reiki has evolved from the beginning. Usui expected it to. Hayashi's style (with Usui's blessings) differed from Usui's to some degree, and Takata's differed significantly from Hayashi's.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Deborah said...

This article was compassionate and peaceful like Reiki. There are a lot of hairs rising on the backs of Reiki practitioners about the different "expressions of Reiki" When I began practicing Reiki I perceived many "separate" aspects of Reiki to accept or guard against. In my beginning of "doing" Reiki practice I have come to just "BE" Reiki. I have experienced the Oneness and feel a connection and peace with other expressions of Reiki. It goes without saying we want honest and caring practitioners. Great article. A fresh breath of Oneness.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this interesting article.

Even I do not agree with your opinion...

First of all you was taught that "All Reiki is Usui Reiki".
Since Mrs. Takata death many variations of Reiki have evolved (it seems that now we have over 1000 Reiki styles /schools.). Some of these have indicated by their names (which in some cases include the word Reiki), that their energy is not the same, which is appropiate. Others use the same name, Reiki, when in fact the energy is not , and the energies vary greatly in their value as healing tools. In some cases the distance from Reiki is so great that students do not even who dr. Usui was and never heard of Mrs. Takata.

The word Reiki has come to mean specific healing modality into a particular healing vibration. And therefore Reiki as the word as is used in the West is not an umbrella definition for many different kinds of healing or frecquencies. Why ? The answer is very easy.. Because when the symbols, initiations (attunements) and method that connect us to the Reiki energy are changed/altered/modified the resulting frequency is different. Thus the energy resulted will be also different. Sometimes subtly, with not a great variation and very often totally different. This does not necessarily mean that the alternative frequency is not an effective healing energ, but that is a completely different form, and in this case is not Reiki.The important word here is frequency. As I said above Reiki is a scientific healing modality. It is not a matter of emotion, principle, opinion or experience. There is a Reiki frequency and the practitioner is, or is not, tapping into it.

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The term "Master" was introduced by Takata. Here is a misunderstanding.

On Mrs. Takata' s certificate is stated the following:
" Mrs. Hawayo Takata is hereby certified by me as a practitioner and Master of Dr. Usui's system Reiki of healing "

Or this statement shows us with clarity two interesting facts:
a) First that the term Master was not an invention of Mrs. Takata and was used by Hayashi sensei and
b) Hayashi did not changed the system that he learned from Usui sensei.

5:50 AM  

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