I have touched on things to do with New Age and complimentary medicine in past postings, and I believe that I've mentioned that both my wife and I are Reiki Masters(meaning we can give treatments and teach) in Usui Tibetan and Karuna style Reikis. Recently I've become frequently embarrassed to admit that I have anything to do with these modalities. While my opinion of their validity hasn't changed, I'm finding it harder and harder to associate myself with others who are practioners and teachers. Maybe at heart I'm a conservative when it comes to certain matters, but it seems to me that when you are given a present as potent as Reiki to work with a certain amount of humility should accompany the gift. Instead too many are beginning to believe in themselves as on some sort of divine mission to heal the world, and in a effort to validate themselves have begun to incorporate religious symbols, icons and imagery into their practices. It has come to the point that numberous brands of Reiki are springing up all over the place: Be attuned to the angels; feel the divine ray of purple light; ascended master are with us and so on. The original concept of what it was all about has been forgotten, its become more important for too many people to become attuned to the latest fad brand then to actually due anything with their education. Reiki was designed to help facilitate self awareness and growth. A serious of symbols acting as a means to aid a person in tapping into the universal flow of energy and stimulate energy centres in your body in order to focus intent. Gradually it was expanded into a modality that could be used for treatments along the same line. The facilitator and client would agree upon an intent, and then the former would utilize the symbols to focus energy, and work with the client to fulfill that intent. There is nothing magical or mystical about it, no divine intervention was promised that would change your life or make you a new person. The process of becoming a Reiki Master is a matter of being "Attuned" to an increasing number of symbols. These serve the purpose of aiding in focusing and channeling(I don't mean talking for some star being here, but the original meaning of the word: acting as a means of passage) with ever increasing ability universal energy. By keeping the practice without basis in any religion this allowed individuals to utilize their own beliefs to formulate the means to create a way to do this that was most comfortable to them. The four levels of Usui-Tibetan Reiki; one, two, Advanced Reiki Training, and Master, are a process involving a minimum of two years of study and practice. Like any of the meditative arts it was considered essential that a student spend time with each level of study learning and assimilating, before continuing. In order to become a Master a student must be willing to under go changes that free themselves to be more open receptacles of universal energy. Ideally they will learn to be nothing more then a transmitter, allowing a unadulterated flow to pass through them to who ever they are helping. Ego and any other motivations ulterior to this purpose have to be set aside to successfully obtain this goal. Karuna Reiki is a more recent evolution of the older form. It was developed by the International centre for Reiki under the leadership of William Rand. This organization has been dedicated to the preservation and teachings of Dr. Usui's family for over twenty years and William Rand is one of the few people in North America who was taught directly by Dr. Usui's wife. When I first heard of Karuna Reiki I admit to having some skepticism, oh great someone trying to cash in and make a name for themselves. What they are though is a series of symbols that help to focus energy to deal with the traumas specific to twentieth century western culture. They are a legitimate addendum to the original work and have made the whole more applicable to our society. The Reiki Centre will only allow people who are proven Usui-Tibetan Masters learn Karuna Reiki, and they carefully monitor the certification of all teachers and practioners, ensuring the integrity of the modality. You may wonder why they are so uptight if as they say they want as many people as possible to experience Reiki. Like me they have become increasingly disturbed by the dilution of Reiki's character through the birth of so many bizarre hybrids. By strictly controlling the issuing of licenses I think they are hoping to distinguish themselves from a host of pretenders, and not lose the respect the modality has earned with other fields through the actions of flakes. With Reiki being accepted by hospitals as legitimate therapy, some even having practioners on staff, the last thing that needed is to have its credibility strained through association with the worst sort of new age Babel speak. Reiki is not a religion, it won't change your life unless your already working on changing it, and its not going to save the world. What it can do is help you focus your mind, attune you to the universal energy that flows through all live, thus strengthening your own abilities to aid yourself and others through the same process. But remember, there is no such thing as a quick fix no matter who or what anyone claims to be channeling. cheers gypsyman


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