Reiki has gained a lot of momentum in the New Age and Enlightenment movements. That much is common knowledge. It is often discussed in spiritual circles, but also among metaphysical groups. You might have read about it on a blog, listened to a YouTube video, or even overhead someone in Yoga classes talking about it. But where did Reiki come from? Was it always around? Did it just appear out of nowhere? Manifest from thin air? Of course not. The modern form of Reiki has existed for nearly a century now, as it was developed in the 1920s. But Reiki is just a name given to a practice that has been used by spiritual leaders around the world. Some even speculate that spiritual and energy healing is older than time itself.
The Origin of Reiki is one with a mystery to it. There are many debates on where it came from, but there is definite knowledge about it too. The one who established Reiki Healing as we know it today was a man named Mikao Usui. A wise, compassionate, and scholarly individual, Mikao Usui was born on August 15 in 1865. He entered this world in a small village filled with old customs and traditions. This area is now known as Miyama and is not far from the city of Kyoto, where Doctor Usui would one day practice. Looking at the beauty and history that dwells within Miyama, there is no surprise the man was so spiritual. Mikao Usui was born to a Buddhist family blessed with great wealth, allowing him a diverse education. As a boy, he was trained in the traditional samurai ways, due to his direct blood ties to the powerful Chiba Clan and the Hatamoto Samurai. Following his family’s desire, Mikao studied at a Buddhist monastery. It was there he gained insight into the spiritual beliefs of Buddhism, learned swordsmanship and martial arts like Kiko, a form of karate. And it was during his studies at the monastery that Doctor Usui developed his fascination with medicine, psychology, and theology.
Mikao was also given a great gift in his life. The chance to travel. A gift we should all receive in our lives. The Doctor utilized his family’s wealth, and traveled throughout the world, visiting many countries and regions. The young man studied many forms of healing, sciences, and spiritual practices. And he gained great experience by occupying many roles and positions in life. Mikao Usui was a missionary, a public servant, a reporter, a guard, and even a secretary for a time. And after many years of travel and lessons, he returned to the monastery to focus on his spirit.
The birth of Reiki was believed to come during this time in the adult Mikao’s life. While still studying at the monastery, Usui took a journey into the mountains for a special training period. For 21 days, he retreated into a cave on Mount Kurama. It was there that he fasted, meditated and prayed continuously. During these 21 days, an epiphany or enlightenment dawned upon this future healer. It is believed that in that mountain cave, Usui witnessed visions of the ancient Sanskrit symbols that helped him understand the methods and motions of the universe itself. However, the Buddhist also came to the realization that the world needed a healing system beyond religion. That there was a spiritual essence to all things, and it was not the religion alone that allowed people to perform energy healing. In fact, he believed that by restricting it to one religion, you restricted the whole world from making use of their own potential energy. He desired to share these discoveries with the world. To reveal to everyone that we could heal one another by directing the life force, the Qi and the energy of the universe, through our very touch.
This epiphany is what prompted Usui to leave Buddhism behind, and travel South to Kyoto. It was in the city that he established his official practice and taught what is now known as “Usui Reiki”. It was a form of spiritual and energy healing that utilized beliefs from faiths around the world. It took aspects of Buddhism, Taoism, and even Christianity. The dream of Mikao Usui was to enlighten the world to our potential to heal, both spiritually and physically. And to prevent this practice from being restricted to a single group of people. Without a doubt, the Doctor achieved his dream. He later moved to Tokyo and established a practice there, where he healed and inspired a plethora of individuals. Before his death in 1926, he personally mentored and taught over 2,000 individuals, and likely healed double that number.