I was first introduced to Reiki by loved ones in Jackson, Mississippi. For many years, my understanding of Reiki was a subtle, energetic approach to healing, often but not exclusively through touch and hands-on work. It was about tapping into the source of a life-affirming and sustaining energy that flows in and through all things, opening to the flow of that energy, and allowing it to move through you to aid and support others and oneself.
There are many versions of the history of Reiki. Translated as Universal or Divine Consciousness (Rei) and Vital Life-force Energy (Ki), it is said that knowledge of Reiki was first received by Dr. Mikao Usui in Japan. Usui established his first institute for teaching Reiki in Tokyo in 1922. This tradition was passed through Dr. Usui’s student Dr. Chujuro Hayashi to Hawayo Takata, who brought Reiki to the west and became the Third Reiki Grand Master. My training and Reiki attunement is in this lineage.
While Reiki had been present in my life for many years, it wasn’t until 2018 that I began to study Reiki as a healing modality. I met Alex Crow during my yoga teacher training at the Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in San Francisco, and completed by Reiki 1 attunement with Alex in March 2018. I completed Reiki 2 the following August. I honor Alex as my teacher, Alex’s teacher Genevieve McClendon, and Genevieve’s teacher Maureen Spencer (RN, M.Ed.); Spencer was initiated by Hawayo Takata before her death in 1980.
As I work with Reiki now, I understand it as a practice of intentional alignment with wellness and flourishing. I experience it as a practice of co-presence and solidarity, energetically and physically. Coming into connection is an act of healing, and when that connection is motivated by love—the act of contributing to the flourishing and well-being of another, which is how bell hooks describes “love”—then we are joining together in an affirmation of self as a thriving ecosystem. It is in-and-through the connection that Reiki flows, in which we become fully present to one another in the space of compassion and care.
For more about Reiki, please visit https://www.reiki.org.