The most mysterious part of the system of Reiki is the attunements. Knowing few Reiki Masters confused about some of the new systems of Reiki and especially about the attunements; I felt like I need to share how I see and practice attunements with the purpose of empowering any confused Reiki Masters to feel confident in the way they practice attunements.
So, here I put a disclaimer that, everything I’ll write here solely reflects my truth and my own understanding (with my limited human mind) filtered from my own experiences, tendency and inclinations. These are accumulated knowledge from my studies with my teacher Frans Stiene and how I see and practice Reiki. My last intention is to offend anyone or create polarity in community. Please take whatever resonates with you and trash the rest. Always remember that Reiki is like the Sun and it just shines on. It’s us humans who put labels on it and make it our own. Reiki doesn’t mind.
Having said that, attunement is the most crucial element of the system of Reiki. You can read books on Reiki, you can practice precepts, you can learn meditations but attunement awakens our energetic connection to Reiki. I always think attunement as a remembering process, remembering who we really are. Someone (in this case the Reiki Master) who already has a connection to the Great Bright Light, shows you , exposes you or shares this Light with you. Attunement is that initial experience with Great Bright Light that you can cultivate and nurture, until you yourself become that Light.
Here comes a choice for Reiki practitioners during both their practice and attunements: either to see Reiki as an external energy frequency and channel it or internalize it by reaching deep down to our innate bright light, nurture it and expand it. For me the purpose of the system of Reiki is to “be” Reiki, to “be” the Great Bright Light. What it means to “be” Reiki, is to live in a state of mind of non-duality, non-attachment, loving kindness and compassion. Regardless to say, precepts point out this state of mind, step by step by working on our anger, worry, fear, living in the moment by being grateful, by bringing our true potential to earth and being kind and compassionate to all living beings. The symbols and mantras of the system of Reiki point us in this direction too. With time and practice, our true self, our clear bright light shines through and Voila: We become the Great Bright Light.
Let’s get back to the Attunement. How does the Reiki Master show/share this Great Bright Light to the student? One thing I find common in all attunement rituals is the mutual Intent of the Reiki Master and the student. It’s the intent of the Reiki Master that the student will receive the attunement (or have an initial experience of the Great Bright Light) and it’s the intent of the student to be open to receive it. When there is this mutual intent between a Reiki Master and student, the attunement works regardless. The ritual of performing the attunement is just a tool.
Even though the attunement ritual is just a tool, the way I practice attunements, I see the steps in the attunement ritual as steps to bring the Reiki Master (myself) to the right state of mind to be the Great Bight Light.
Obviously it’s not easy to get to that right state of mind right away. That’s why we have rituals because rituals help us to get to the right state of mind. Since our body and mind are connected, the physical act of ritual makes the mind act in a certain way. We rock the babies to sleep, we light a candle or chant a prayer before meditation, etc. With the physical act, we prepare our minds to be in a certain way. Reiki attunement ritual is not different. The purpose of the ritual is to bring the Reiki Master to the DKM space, or Great Bright Light, so that Master can be Reiki and share it with the student.
The more the Reiki Master can be Reiki and reflect this Light, the more the student can be exposed to. I believe the higher the Reiki Master’s frequency, the higher the frequency student is exposed to. How much the student can get (or raise his/her vibration) depends on how open and empty the student is. At the end, it will work anyway but how much you get will depend on how much the Reiki Master can share and how much the student can receive.(1) That’s why they repeat the attunements every week in Japan. Every time you receive an attunement, especially if you continue to working on yourself, you can get a little more out of it and raise your own vibration.
At first Mikao Usui didn’t have a formal attunement process. His students would be attuned by just simply being at his presence. According to his early students, he’d sit across from the students and that was enough for the students to be attuned. However, most of his early students were spiritual practitioners, mostly monks or nuns. They were open to receive and they didn’t need rituals to be performed on them. As Mikao Usui started to have more lay students, he developed Reiju, Spritual Blessing, so that the students would get the implication that they were acted upon and that they were receiving something.
Reiju is still the ritual performed by the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai in Japan and absolutely my favorite ritual. There are no symbols and mantras in this ritual or no levels, students take as much energy as they need/can at that point in their lives, attunements repeated frequently and each attunement deepens student’s energetic connection. Reiju is performed in a state of mindfulness, with compassion, unconditionally, without any attachment to any given outcome. There is no giving or receiving. Master and students simply share the non-dual state of Great Bright Light and just allow it to happen. Allow what to happen? Whatever the students needs at that time.
The ritual mostly followed in West developed by Hayashi, a student of Mikao Usui. Hayashi took Reiju and added symbols and mantras. He also had slightly different rituals for different levels of Reiki. Hayashi also thought slightly different attunements to his students as well as to Mrs. Takata. My first Reiki teacher, William Rand, created the Usui/Tibetan attunements with Tibetan symbols and has recently changed it to another new system of Reiki, with another new symbol.
In my opinion and experience so far, there is no right or wrong ritual for as long as you have the right Intent. Having said that, I personally like to stay closer to the original, but that’s my personal choice. Honestly, I look with suspicion when people start to add new symbols or channel information but again that’s because how I choose to practice Reiki. After all, this diversity of systems of Reiki gives me more motivation to stick to what resonates with me and I think everyone should be comfortable with what/how they practice Reiki.
However, there is one thing constant in all the different Reiki attunement rituals I’ve learned: The Intent. I practiced William Rand’s attunement for years. Now I practice another ritual coming from Hayashi/Tatsumi lineage. My favorite is the original Reiju and I share it abundantly when I share Reiki blessings. However when I pass attunements, I fall back to the Hayashi/Tatsumi ritual. I think they are all beautiful and we’re so lucky to have these tools. Obviously you can sit across from the students and expand to be the Great Bright Light. Some of the most powerful attunement experiences I had, happened without the physical interaction or ritual, by just simply sitting across from my teacher. However if the students are new to this field, they might need to feel the physical touch or some ritual taking place in order to convince themselves something is really going on.
A milestone in my Reiki teaching journey was the decision I made to use the ritual for my own spiritual practice. Do we all need to do it this way? Of course, not. Believe me when I first started to teach Reiki, I passed attunements, following the ritual, almost mechanically, and guess what? It worked, because I had the right Intent. Also, I was told that there were Reiki guides/ spirit guides who help us with the attunements and that all we need to do is to tell them our intent and say which level’s attunement and boom, it was done. I used this method and I “outsourced” the attunement process to my guides. I must tell you they did a great job because all my early students reported great results with their practice.
However, at some point I realized that, the attunements can be an excellent opportunity for me to become the Great Bright Light. (I must give all the credit to my teacher Frans Stiene for this realization). One day, I asked my guides to step aside but I still asked them to be present in the room and correct if I do something wrong. Gradually, I asked them not to interfere and I took the whole responsibility myself. Did I do a better job? Probably not, at least not in the beginning, but it was worth the risk.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that; just Relax! the attunements will work if you simply follow the ritual you’ve learned from your own Reiki master and keep a clear Intent. Yet we, Reiki masters, have an option to use Reiki attunements as a tool for our own spiritual development. Knowing that they’ll work either way, we can decide if we want to consciously practice being the Great Bright Light during this sacred time we spend with our students and attunement after attunement repeatedly merge in that space, become one, eventually take it outside the attunements to our daily lives, live in the DKM space until eventually one day we realize our Divine self, the Great Bright Light.
(1) If you’d like to read more about the state of mind and energy frequency during treatments and attunements, you can read this article from Judith Pennington: