What is Original Usui Reiki?

I truly believe reiki comes to you when you most need it. Just as it did with me.
The word 'reiki' is Japanese and the literal translation is ‘rei’ for ‘universal’ and ‘ki’ for ‘energy’. So ‘reiki’ is basically 'universal energy'. It is the energy that flows through every living thing that is fundamental to life. Reiki healing itself, is a trained practice of connecting to the universal energy and directing it to flow through a recipient, so it may release blocked or negative energy, resulting in re-balancing energy flow and removing dis-ease.


Reiki was re-discovered by Mikao Usui, a Tendai Buddhist Monk who lived in Japan during 1865 to 1926. There are different theories (Eastern and Western) about who he was and what his spiritual path was, but it is known that he was a deeply spiritual man who was searching for the essence of life and the secrets of healing when he experienced his enlightenment, the point at which the universe gifted him the knowledge of reiki. Usui realised the significance of reiki healing and set out to gain practical experience, which then lead on to Usui developing his practice / structure for reiki healing and for teaching reiki.

He found that healing itself was not enough if a clients' mindset was stuck in negative behaviour patterns, so to encourage people to lead a more mindful and wholesome lifestyle, he put together The Five Principles of Reiki which can be seen below.  His original teachings / structures are known as Original Usui Reiki.

Reiki itself spread around the world and evolved with different cultures and belief systems, which has now resulted in there being many different forms of reiki healing. All of which have evolved from Usui's practice. I think it is important to note that regardless of the reiki path, the healing and connection are the same. Some believe that forms of reiki other than Original Usui Reiki are diluted but I believe reiki needed to evolve, so it could spread globally and be a part of so many people's lives. Reiki I believe, belongs to each and everyone of us in our and it's own unique way. 

I believe that Usui knew how reiki would evolve, how it would reach all those who need it. Below is the inscription on Mikao Usui's headstone:

‘If reiki can be spread throughout the world it will touch the human heart and the morals of society.  It will be helpful for many people, not only healing disease, but the Earth as a whole’.

For anyone who is new to reiki, what it essentially does is release energy blockages and dis-ease from your mind, body, heart and soul, allowing your own energy to flow freely and re-balance. Reiki in its essence is an energy that embraces you, flows through you and enables you to be healed, to be whole, which in turn cultivates health, intuition and a more peaceful mind able to think with clarity, sensitivity and understanding.

The energy blockages that people experience could be a result of being tired, stressed, trauma or regrets that are hidden in the subconscious, or physical aches and pains. I would say the majority of my clients come because they just want a monthly re-balancing of energies, or to help release stress. Some people will feel the benefits straight away, some after a day or a week, or occasionally it takes much longer. Each and every reiki experience is different as it is geared to the recipients individual requirements and individual highest good.

For my part, I think Usui gave us all a gift that was once lost and forgotten but something we, not only as individuals but on a global level, all need right now. This gift from the universe to connect, to heal ourselves and others, to discover our wholeness, our being. A path which may be spiritual to some and not to others but always working towards our highest good, whatever that highest good is for us and our life / soul journey. This is by no means a substitute for modern medicine and I will always recommend seeing a doctor if the issue is a medical one. Reiki however, allows you to de-stress and can be an extremely relaxing, eye opening experience which warms your soul and fills you with love. 
The Five Principles of Reiki 

Usui introduced 125 Waka poems into his reiki development as a means to enable people to live a more mindful and wholesome lifestyle. Healing is about so much more than just the physical and the Five Principles give you a mental and  emotional foundation to build a more mindful, grounded, wholesome lifestyle. 

However, just like reiki, the Five Principles have too evolved, so now you will find many different versions where the wording is different. It is important to note that just as with reiki, I believe that the Five Principles too have their own unique meaning for each individual person. The words resonate with each of us on a different level, which is just how it should be. So it doesn't really matter which version you recite to yourself, so long as you connect to it.

The Five Principles of Reiki are as below (in English and Japanese) and, in italics what the principles mean to me personally:
Just for today – Kyo dake wa
‘Just for today’, is about coming into the present moment, being here right now and embracing this moment. Choosing to live in the moment allows to you take a breath and just actually see and feel and appreciate exactly what is happening right now. It also allows you to take a breather from what is about to come or what has just recently happened. Just breathe, be still and feel this moment. If however, this present moment is not what I choose then I have the ability to change how I react or respond. 

Do not be angry – Ikaru na
Anger can be a very healthy emotion and it is important to listen to your anger to learn why you feel angry, and how situations or people in your life have caused this anger. To suppress anger is counter-productive but to use it in a manner that is calm and thoughtful is productive. By taking responsibility for your anger, you can use it to change your life for the better, maybe in dealing with job situations or with personal relationships. Dealing with anger is an important step in healing and by really looking at it I have learned how to communicate more from my heart, which in turn has allowed me to respond to situations with calm, clarity, more understanding and how to stand firm with what I believe.

Do not be worried – Shin pai suna
Learning to not worry is probably one of the hardest things to have to do in life. It is a lesson that I have had to relearn over and over again, and I'm sure I will do again. To let go of worry is I think something that is much harder to do for people when loved ones are involved. But the truth is that there is no point in worrying about things you cannot control. Be in the moment and try to let it go. Worry brings fear and this can increase negative energy by feeding it, so it is important to try to see things in perspective and breathe and try to let it go. Worry can be a positive emotion as well, if it is used in a way that can spur you on to change things, to take control and let go of the things that cause your worry. 

Be grateful – Kan sha shi te
Now this one has caught me out many a time. There have been plenty of times when gratefulness has gone completely out of the window to be replaced with ungratefulness. Nowadays, I find that I’m grateful for waking up in the morning. That regardless of how many problems I have, I am grateful for all the things I do have like my family and friends, a roof over my head and food in my belly. I’m grateful when I have problems as I now see all problems as character building, as growth, as an opportunity to overcome and succeed. I’m grateful to the universe for giving me life and a chance to make the most of today. Yes, I do still get days when I want to slap the universe but I soon remember that I actually do have many things to be grateful for.

Do your duties fully – Gyo-o hage me
I think doing your duties fully really covers being honest to yourself and to others and doing what feels right to you. The word is daunting. Duties… what if your boss or family think that your duty is something that doesn't feel right to you? What if ‘doing your duty’, is living a life that you’re not happy in? Well, then you’re not doing your duty to yourself. People feel the pressure of all sorts of different types of duty, spiritual duty, family duty, work duty and social duty to name a few.  I think that to fulfil our duties fully we need to look responsibly and honestly at situations and do what we feel is right in our hearts. 

Be kind to others – Hito ni shin setsu ni
This really is about being able to recognise and honour the divine in everyone. If we are to truly value and respect other people we first must truly value and respect ourselves. We can do this by cultivating self-love, compassion and acceptance and realising that everyone we meet is a cosmic brother or sister and deserves kindness. Kindness come in all shapes and sizes and everyone we encounter is important, including ourselves. Being kind to those that have been cruel to you is a way of releasing pent up energy, of gaining inner peace. But never forget to be kind to yourself first and foremost and if that means walking away from people who are not kind to you, well so be it. Being kind really does lead to a more peaceful existence.