I am extremely lucky to always have brilliant students in my classes. My current Shinpiden (Reiki Level 3) class is no exception and we had a very interesting discussion of the difference between reiju and attunements last night.
Reiju means spiritual blessing and is the Japanese basis of the practice that in Western Reiki has developed into the attunement. In Western Reiki, the attunement is considered to open and/or increase the student’s ability to connect with and channel the Reiki energy. However, in traditional Japanese Reiki, we are reminded that our innate energy is developed over time through regular practice of the precepts, meditations, hands-on healing, mantras and symbols, and the regular and repeated experience of connecting with Spirit and with others through giving and receiving reiju.
In the Usui Reiki Ryôhô style that I teach, reiju is a very simple ritual that does not use the symbols or mantras. The giver of the reiju remembers that they are one with the great bright light, and from this place of energetic connection ritualistically reminds the recipient of their own unity with that place of enlightenment through performing a series of briefly held hand positions.
I also teach the Hayashi attunements that have filtered down into Western Reiki. These attunements are much simpler, easier and more straightforward than the Western Reiki attunements I first learned. The Hayashi attunements use the symbols and mantras as part of the energetic exchange between giver and receiver. In this process, the giver connects to the great bright light but during the attunement ritual also takes time to remember each of the component elements that comprise the undifferentiated unity of the place of enlightenment, and through using the symbols and mantras to express each of these facets, teaches the student on an energetic level the steps necessary to attain oneness.
As I was attempting to express these thoughts to my students last night, I fumbled trying to think of an appropriate analogy. But one of my students did the work for me and exclaimed, “It’s like a prism!” She went on to express how the Reiki energy is the white light that enters the prism, and the symbols and mantras are the various colors of the rainbow that refract out. The Reiki practitioner is the prism itself. (What can I say? I told you my students are brilliant!)
With that metaphor in mind, it becomes simplicity itself to explain the difference between reiju and attunements. Reiju is showing the student the undifferentiated light that enters the prism—it’s teaching by introducing the end goal or destination first. The attunements teach the student to understand each of the refracted colors of the rainbow first as a way to approach an understanding of the light. As teachers, we benefit from understanding and being able to energetically demonstrate both the light entering us as well as the facets refracting from us, the Reiki prisms. Brilliant!
Joy Vernon is a Reiki Practitioner and Teacher in Denver, Colorado. She is trained in two styles of Traditional Japanese Reiki: Usui Reiki Ryôhô and Komyo Reiki, as well as the Western-influenced Usui Tibetan tradition of Reiki. To schedule an appointment or for information on upcoming classes, please visit JoyVernon.com.
(c) 2011 by Joy Vernon