The Ever Evolving Reiju
Although it later would become an important element of my practice, in my early years of learning about Reiki, I actually never heard the word Reiju. First reading about Reiki and then attending classes in the Western tradition of Hawayo Takata, it seemed to be all about “the attunement” - the secret ritual that took place during a Reiki class which would “empower” me to help others by “channeling” energy through my “Reiki hands.” Hmm, lots of “ “ s there…
I don’t mean to sound impertinent or disrespectful to anyone’s path, beliefs, or traditions; none is better than another, just different. It’s up to each of us to choose our path / way and be true to and to follow it with kindness and compassion for ourselves and others, to not attach to any feelings of anger or worry that may rise in us, to be grateful…in other words, to live and embody the Precepts. (More on that and how for me it is tied in with Reiju, a little later.)
I once heard a teacher talk about her own experiences in learning to practice Reiki. She spoke of her first attunement and then said, “But the teacher didn’t do it right, so I had to go take the class again from somebody else.” That suggested to me that attunement was a very precise ritual that had to be done in a very specific way. After all, this person was a Reiki Master Teacher with years of experience and I, just starting out, figured she must know what she was talking about! But natural curiosity and a love of the practices that quickly had become daily habits led me to want to find out more for myself.
Over time, I did learn more with continued practice and experiences, and through additional reading and connecting with others on Reiki paths that were either quite similar to or different from my own. It was when I began to study more from the Japanese perspective that I first heard the word Reiju.
In the meantime, I eventually had completed “Reiki Master Teacher” training, still in Western tradition, and had been shown and practiced the attunement process in class. I have loved and am grateful for all Reiki class experiences I’ve had – each one is a step on our path - but learning the attunement ritual kind of left me cold. Or I should say, TRYING to learn the ritual. There were so many steps; I still had the idea in my head that it “had to be done correctly or it wouldn’t work” and, unlike the natural, relaxed, feeling I experienced during hands on healing sessions or meditating on the Precepts, trying to learn to “pass” attunements made me feel a bit overwhelmed and even anxious. Quite the opposite of the Precepts!
I practiced at home for a time, using notes scribbled in class, but never did get comfortable with the attunement ritual as I’d been shown it (and as I’d felt it…and not felt it, actually.) After awhile, I stopped trying and went back to my ongoing practices of hands on healing, meditations, and the Precepts, for myself and others. I love to teach and am experienced at it, but I felt no pull at all to teach Reiki classes; I’m grateful to have felt innately, even though I now was “certified to teach Reiki,” that it wasn’t yet the time. For me, it was the time for practice, experience, and development. The “attunement” seeds had been planted; they just needed time, care, water, and sunlight to grow and evolve into Reiju. ☺
And so they did. As I read, discussed, and studied, with International House of Reiki and others, as my knowledge and thinking expanded - Reiju as initiation, Reiju as blessing, Reiju as initial experience of True Self, embodying and shining the bright light that we all are - these ideas made so much sense!
And, most of all, the direct experience of practicing Reiju from this new place just felt so much more natural, peaceful, calming. Gone were the thoughts of “Am I doing this right? What’s the next step? Where are my notes?” These were replaced by feelings of connection and confidence - confidence that if the intent was there, loving, focused, open, connected, then both / all of us who were in that Reiju space would take from it exactly what was needed at the time. Now with more and different knowledge of what Reiju was (or wasn’t), and especially with more experience, practice, and a stronger foundation, I really felt that Reiju was coming from my heart, OF my heart, instead of from (or in) my head.
These days, when Reiju IS in my head, it’s with thoughts like these….
Reiju = blessing, spiritual blessing
Reiju = interconnectedness
Reiju = beginning, from which to progress on our spiritual journey – each time, a new beginning!
Reiju = initiation, initial experience of our True Self
Reiju = sharing our True Self with others, or more like….
Reiju = realizing and experiencing that our True Self and all others’ True Selves are one and the same
Reiju = not doing, but being…at the same time, in the same space – actually, beyond time and space…
Reiju = being in the bright light together
Reiju – BEING the great bright light together…
We all have the ability to practice Reiki – to be Reiki – in fact, we already are. A teacher offering Reiju to a student (with the knowledge that there is no giver, receiver, or gift) is a bit like turning on a light over a mirror so the student can see the mirror / True Self a bit more clearly. And continued embodiment of the Precepts, practice of meditations, hands on healing, chanting symbols and mantras - and indeed, of Reiju – clean and polish the mirror a bit more with each session, each day, each moment.
During Reiju, many people feel deep peace / relaxation / connectedness; sometimes people have experiences, visions – or they don’t. Each time can be different, as each time we are different; Reiju is like jogging our memory of what we truly are, always were, and can work toward remembering more clearly and consistently: the bright light that we can radiate within ourselves and out toward others.
When I have been with a teacher, colleague, friend - or now, with a student - in Reiju, I have felt it like a melding of souls, of lights, of essences; I have felt it like a meditative place of ease; I have felt it like…a place of being the Reiki Precepts. Anger and worry dissolve, gratitude overflows, compassion and kindness, the feeling of being honest in our work, true to our way and being, connected to the person / people who are in the Reiju space with us, and to the universe…this to me is what Reiju often feels like. And it can feel like that whether I am seated in a chair with someone standing in front of or behind me performing the ritual, or whether I am standing on “the other side” as the one offering Reiju.
Because one of the wonderful experiences of Reiju is the realization that there is no “other side” – the teacher is not “here” and the student “there”, but are in the space of Reiju together, in the space of interconnectedness. In the past, I think I saw the attunement as a process, a ritual, a tool just to be used during a Reiki class, to pass along the “ability to channel Reiki” from teacher to student. But over the years, my thinking and experience of initiation / Reiju has evolved and I’m so grateful for the change!
I still think of the ritual as a tool…but simply as a tool to help me focus and then to let go of, rather than a tool like a soft hammer that gently knocks Reiki into a student’s head, hands, or energy field. ☺ I find it’s important for me to remember that I’m not giving the student anything; I’m just trying to find, to connect to, to be my own spiritual True Self and to let that flow outward and connect to the student or whoever, so that he or she can take from it whatever is needed at that time.
These days, I also think of – or feel - Reiju as another meditation practice, a gift not given to or received by one or another. After many times of practicing Reiju on an empty chair, and then sitting for a time of meditation, reflection, writing, whatever, and feeling connected to all others even when I am “alone,” I now experience it as a gift that is always available to us all, anytime, anyplace, a beautiful dance that can help us tap into this amazing feeling of connectedness and light and BEING – a gift to be shared with others and ourselves. And yet even “share” doesn’t describe it, really. Share suggests that I have something and if I share it with you, or you share with me, then each of us has a little bit less.
But Reiju, like Reiki, feels limitless, boundless, boundary-less. Like an overflowing pond during a never ending rain, it never will run down or out or become empty because there always will be more coming down, or up, or around – or from within! There is so much spiritual energy, spiritual blessing within each one of us that will just keep coming to the surface as long as we keep removing the coverings, the lampshades, the layers of dirt, dust, grime, that may be dimming the light, obscuring the brightness. If we keep polishing the diamonds that we all are, more and more of our light will shine through.
So Reiju, for me, has evolved so far away from my original ideas about attunement and what it is and what it does – Reiju is a remembering, reconnecting, re-initiation, re-introduction to our True Selves.
Hello, True Self. Nice to see you again. Thank you, Reiju, for arranging and facilitating this meeting.