The following article first appeared in Cairo East, April 2018
Scan your eyes across the ocean of well-being practices that are threatening to drown us all in a tsunami of asanas, meditations, pendulums and oils, and you will see one or two really big waves dominating all of the froth.
One of the biggest out there right now is the Reiki wave. Admittedly not quite as big as the Yoga wave, but there is a surge going on and Reiki is rising.
But what is this thing called ‘Reiki’ that everyone’s rushing to learn? That depends on who you ask. Most Reiki practitioners will tell you that it’s a simple hands-on healing system, using the energy of the universe. And that Reiki can instigate a deep sense of peace and tranquillity and aid in healing on all levels of being. And it works whether you believe in it or not.
That would be a fair description of Reiki up to a point, but it’s not the whole story. A better description would be that it’s a deep and personal self-development practice designed to help bring about a complete transformation in the life of the practitioner on all levels. It’s a method for helping to eliminate the suffering that we are all subject to on a daily basis. It’s a method to help us cope with every day stress, to resolve anxieties and return us to a state of freedom from negative emotions and the trauma of past experiences. Reiki is not just a hands-on energy healing method but includes a deep engagement with trusted and time-tested meditation methods. These are enhanced and deepened through a connection to the universal energy that can, incidentally, be used in hands-on healing. The two methods support each other in a symbiotic relationship.
Sadly, as Reiki has grown in popularity, it has, through the usual process of not very mystical osmosis, taken on all the attributes of just another marketable commodity on the shelves of the wellbeing supermarket. Stripped down and divested of much that gave it meaning, many of its teachers have sometimes committed as little as an afternoon or a day to their own Reiki Master’s training. Essentially then; masters of nothing.
There are however, an increasing number of people, interested in the deeper developmental aspects of Reiki, who are looking for and demanding a more traditional approach to the discipline. A method that not only combines the hands-on healing aspects, but also the meditation and breathing methods that allow them to really work in a profound way on themselves.
Reiki Jin Kei Do, is one of those traditional methods. It’s a method that dates back to the founder of the system (a Japanese man; Mikao Usui who wanted to develop a method to help people get rid of the suffering in their own lives) and encourages its students to reflect deeply on the nature of their own lack of physical, emotional or mental wellbeing. ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do’ means ‘the way of Reiki through compassion and wisdom’, and has at its heart, a focus on meditation methods that help to develop and strengthen these two qualities. Qualities that are sort of essential for effectively working on others when they come for a Reiki treatment.
It’s the focus on meditation that is one of the key differences between the traditional approach to Reiki and other approaches. Science is increasingly recognising the benefits of a regular meditation practice. It’s well known that a practice of meditation will help reduce the lactate concentration of the blood, which if not addressed could lead to a state of metabolic acidosis. Meditation is also known to help reduce stress and anxiety levels and to bring about a much deeper sense of calm and peace in the practitioner. So proven are the effects of meditation that it is being introduced into many schools around the world as it helps students improve their mental focus and therefore their academic achievement. It also helps to reduce instances of poor behaviour in the classroom.
Meditation then, is central to the practice of Reiki because of the many well-known mental and emotional and thus physical benefits that follow on from it. But more than this, Reiki Jin Kei Do emphasises respect for the integrity of the system itself. Nothing is added in to the practice and nothing is taken out. This is fairly unique. It is getting increasingly hard these days to find a Reiki teacher who teaches the pure essence of the system; without including their own personal beliefs, other wellbeing practices, or increasingly bizarre New Age concepts. To become a teacher of Reiki Jin Kei Do or another traditional form of Reiki could take a year or more, and there are not many willing to commit to that sort of discipline. Those that do make a commitment to teaching the system in its pure form. This means keeping their own beliefs and other practices and methods out of what they teach, so that no potential student is left feeling disenfranchised.
As a hands-on therapy, the benefits of Reiki are also becoming increasingly well recognised. In the UK, Reiki is being used extensively with cancer patients. The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust, raises money to fund Reiki for cancer victims within the UK’s National Health Service. Practitioners are placed in hospitals or other cancer related centres and work alongside conventional medical approaches. Patients consistently give positive feedback on the benefits that they receive from Reiki. One study from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada, noted that when Reiki is used on cancer patients, “…fatigue decreases over the course of treatments, there is an improvement in the quality of life, and there are significant decreases in levels of tiredness, pain and anxiety.” Chemotherapy patients who have received Reiki, also report a significant decrease in the side effects of the treatment. This, combined with the meditative disciplines of Reiki Jin Kei Do are ensuring the primacy of Reiki amongst the plethora of alternative and complementary methods designed to bring about a state of wellbeing.
There are a small number of traditional Jin Kei Do teachers that you can connect with if you wish to learn Reiki. Nefertiti Afifi, Miral Dera and Zeinab Aloub can all be contacted via Facebook.
Tips for finding a good Reiki teacher:
1/ Always ask if a teacher has a lineage (the line of teachers back to the founder). Many Reiki teachers don’t, but it’s a cornerstone of the system. If they don’t have this, what else is missing from what they are teaching?
2/ Find out how long they took over their master’s training. Many are claiming the title ‘Reiki Master’ after a weekend or an afternoon’s training. A Jin Kei Do Master will have taken a year or more.
3/ How long should you wait between levels of training? If you can fast-track through the system in a matter of days or even weeks, it’s likely you are going to get very little other than the basics. Not good.
4/ Ask about what support is offered after the training. Are there regular support meetings that you can attend? Is there online support?