Inspirations from Chiyoko Yamaguchi (part 1)
Excerpt from Women in Reiki - Lifetimes dedicated to healing in 1930s Japan and today
Through Chiyoko Yamaguchi, we have a glimpse into the attitude, both to
Reiki and life, held by the women immersed in those early days of Reiki.
There are certain qualities and a spirit that shines through and that can
benefit everyone who is willing to take the journey. Here are a few insights
Amanda gained from time with her teacher, Chiyoko Yamaguchi.
Chiyoko Yamaguchi is well-known for saying, “You just put your hands on
and people feel better.” This ‘hands-on hands-off ’ simplicity in Reiki can
be hard to believe, so hard that we often feel almost compelled to make it
more complex. We overcomplicate so much and this is only increasing as
our creations become more sophisticated and our societies so over-stimulating
that it is hard to step out of the collective tide. We have had people
tell us that they learned Reiki, but don’t practise because it is so complicated
and they are afraid of getting it wrong. Chiyoko Yamaguchi was saddened
when she came across people (when she started teaching non-Japanese)
who had learned Reiki laced with so many rules and fears that they
weren’t using it in the very situations it could help them most!
We often spend our time looking for more – the next thing, the quick
fix, the easy improvements – and even when those things purport to be
searching for spirituality and evolution, by their very nature, they can prevent
us from finding what we are looking for. The more complicated
something is, the more we end up living it from the mind, thereby missing
the deep and true experience of it. We sell ourselves short.
Traditional Japanese culture is based on the depth inherent in simplicity.
Within that simplicity there is space, room to breathe in life. To
allow. Reiki, and Chiyoko Yamaguchi’s attitude to it, teach that when the
mind wants to add more to things, it’s a sign that it’s time to stop and go
deeper instead. Reiki is allowing, letting go. It seems too simple, ‘just put
your hands on’, and yet Chiyoko Yamaguchi did just this – for 65 years.
The results spoke for themselves.
Wonder and humility
When Chiyoko Yamaguchi spoke about Reiki, she glowed. Her attitude of
joy and wonder was always present as she told stories about her experiences.
When she was giving treatments to someone, she was curious and
excited to see how much they had improved since she last saw them. There
was real humility in it. Rather than thinking she knew what should happen
and what was best for each person, she remained in the ‘not knowing’
of life, which keeps us fresh and open. She trusted Reiki and had confidence
in it, yet never took it for granted or developed a sense of self-importance
around it. Whether speaking of seeing the white dragons during
Reiju, or recounting an amazing story of healing, she relayed the story
with unassuming joy and not with any sense of importance.
Reiki for the early Japanese women in this book had no hierarchy. Chiyoko
Yamaguchi often explained that there was no difference between her and
a beginner in terms of the Reiki. She’d grown up without hierarchy. It was
not about who had taken which course and who had got there more
quickly. The competitiveness that’s out there in elements of the world of
Reiki now simply didn’t exist then. It was just about putting your hands
on and helping people. She stressed so strongly that no one was better or
more important than anyone else, it was about practice and the amount of
time anyone was willing to give. She told people during the seminars, “The
only difference between me and a beginner is that I can feel Byosen more
easily.” There was only encouragement for each person and the calm
knowing that everyone who practised would get it.
In Eastern terms and in Usui’s understanding, we were seen as a network
of living beings, all branched from the source (imagine this as a
direct vertical connection for everyone), and connected to each other
(horizontal), those connections stretching far and wide. In the West however,
we tend to think more of a ranked vertical system. We have a hierarchical
understanding because the general belief system in the West holds a
hierarchical structure. This not only gives us the impression that we have
to do something special to connect to source energy, but it causes us to put
some people on pedestals way above us whilst treading on those who we
think are below us. We urge you to endeavour to think in terms of the
vertical connection for all, plus the horizontal network in which we are all
different. We have different likes, talents and desires, we are drawn to some
people more than others in the network, but we are all equal and we all
have our unique piece of the puzzle to contribute.
One of the beauties of Reiki is the sense of community it fosters. It allows
people from all walks of life, with varied belief systems to connect at the
level that lies beneath our thoughts and ideas. There are stories of how,
when one person in Chiyoko Yamaguchi’s family was sick or injured, many
family members gathered together to give Reiki. In The Hayashi Reiki
Manual you can read an old newspaper article about several Reiki practitioners
gathering for hours at the bedside of a man with a critical heart
condition. Many of us have stories of our communities coming together to
help each other; so many are willing to reach out and do distant Reiki. In
Hayashi’s time, the more affluent who took his seminars considered giving
treatments to people in the community their way of giving back.
Chiyoko Yamaguchi also encouraged teachers to connect and share, to
help each other as they all did when she was young.
It’s a beautiful thing to see our network of beings coming together
and it’s up to all of us to ensure this sense of community continues and
Chiyoko Yamaguchi and the Japanese women in this book had no concept
of competition in Reiki. To have a competitive feeling inside is to get in the
way of Reiki. Giving Reiki isn’t about us, we are simply using the natural
connection we all have to source energy and in this context the idea of
competing with other teachers or practitioners makes no sense. Many of
us have come across teachers and practitioners who feel competitive about
their Reiki or are being possessive about their ‘area’. It’s the antithesis of
what Reiki is. We are helping ourselves and others by making Reiki available.
Competition only constricts us where we hope to expand.
The ordinary is spiritual
Chiyoko Yamaguchi was a very ordinary woman, a mother and grandmother
who loved her family. And she, and the rest of her family, used
something extraordinary in their lives – Reiki. It was the first port of call
for any injury or illness for her, a natural part of her life, rather than something
extra that she did. She was just herself when she was at seminars or
giving treatments. Reiki was a part of life for her, it was not her way of
being spiritual, it was her way of being her. You don’t have to be special in
any way to do Reiki, and anyone who lets go and practises it can do it effectively.
It can be something you use every now and then to help your family
or it can be a bigger part of your life. We are all already spiritual, so rather
than using Reiki to be a more spiritual person, use it to be a better you.
Chiyoko Yamaguchi had no aspirations to heal the world because she
knew, as Mikao Usui did when he created his Reiki system, that the only
way to make any true, lasting difference in the world is to begin by healing
ourselves. Then we have more with which to help the people next to us,
person to person. Imagine what the world will look like when enough
people do that.
(to be continued...)
You can purchase Women in Reiki by Amanda Jayne and Silke Kleemann from online stores now.