At a Reiki class, teachers often share their Reiki teaching lineage – who their teacher is and that teacher’s teachers – in a direct line back to Mikao Usui, who originated the system of practice we call Reiki. Lineage can be spoken of in reverent or proud tones, with people counting how close or far removed, by the numbers, they are to Usui.
Lineage in the Reiki community is one of those tenacious subjects that never really goes away. Many Reiki students first hear about their own lineage from their teacher and, from then on, it can become increasingly relevant to them.
In many traditions, lineage is used as a kind of validation that the practices, methods and teachings taught in the tradition really do stem back to the person who first created them. This means that, within some of the more competitive corners of our Reiki community, lively “my lineage is shorter than your lineage” discussions flourish abundantly. There is often an unspoken belief lurking quietly beneath this kind of discussion, that a shorter lineage can make a teaching more relevant, stronger, or even more directly transmitted from Mikao Usui although, if we examine this view rationally, it is impossible to find any logic or common sense in it. However short their lineage is, any teacher can make changes to the practices they teach.
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