Reiki and Spirituality - interview for the Reiki Healing Summit - Autumn 2018
In October, I was invited to take part in a three day online seminar called 'Discover the Way of a Reiki Practitioner', organised by the Reiki Rays University.
25 Reiki Practitioners from around the world discussed their work.
Below is the recording of my talk and the transcript.
Reiki and Spirituality
Deb Karpek (Reiki Summit):
Hello, summit listeners! Today it is my pleasure to introduce to you Tanmaya Honervogt.
I'm so glad that you're here! Tanmaya’s topic today is Reiki and Spirituality.
Tanmaya is a renowned Reiki Master Teacher, healer, bestselling authoress and one of the pioneers of Reiki in Western culture.
Her Reiki lineage goes directly back to the source of Reiki.
She trained with one of the few American Reiki Masters initiated by Hawayo Takata who introduced Reiki to the Western World. Tanmaya’s developing interest in Reiki came out of the passion for her own personal growth and development.
She began practicing Reiki in 1983 and over the past 35 years has worked throughout Europe, America, Japan, Australia and India. She still travels today giving Reiki initiations, trainings and healing seminars.
Since founding the School of Usui Reiki in England in 1995, Tanmaya has developed her own healing techniques, working to bring traditional Reiki into a 21st Century context.
Her six bestselling books have been translated into all the major world languages, and her books have sold around 450.000 copies worldwide.
Tanmaya originally trained as a Reiki Master, as well as in a wide variety of therapeutic and holistic healing methods, which form an intimate part of her work. Her trainings and seminars often use meditation, reflecting her understanding and experience of the human condition.
So Tanmaya, before we discuss your topic which is Reiki and Spirituality, can you tell our listeners how you came to Reiki?
Yes, of course. It's about my own story with Reiki.
My beginning started in summer in 1983.
I was still working in Germany as a teacher for primary school and as a teacher for German for foreign language but I did this for 2-3 years and I didn't really feel my work was that fulfilling for me so I wanted to broad my horizons and I always have loved traveling so I decided to explore and go to the United States, especially drawn also to California, San Francisco.
So, I stayed in Berkeley in the guest house there and I was introduced to various healing circles in 1983 but still I felt it wasn't really that gripping for me, it wasn't that what I was looking for, even though I didn't really know what I was looking for!
I just felt my hands wanted to express themselves in ways which are unknown to me yet.
So, perhaps it was a potential for healing in my hands, and I knew about massage and shiatsu; this was familiar to me but nothing happened along that line, and so, I decided to take part in an energy workshop about chakras, about healing which was quite interesting and I was so lucky to meet another German traveling woman in that workshop, and she was the first person who told me about Reiki.
So in one of the tea breaks, she was describing Reiki to me and she talked about "you just simply put your hands on your tummy and then it gets all quite hot and it really feels good and you can feel the energy flowing in”, and when she described Reiki it was for me like having goosebumps all over my back [laughs].
So I felt like “Wow, I had been struck by something here!”, so my mind couldn't explain it but I have a very good intuition so I got the address from the two teachers, Reiki Master Teachers in San Francisco.
I rang them up, so they offered me a private individual teaching because it was my last weekend, my last weekend in California or in San Francisco before going back to Germany.
So I learned, I got the Reiki attunements and then I learned the hand positions to treat another person, to treat yourself.
So, that was it actually! [laughs].
After I think that weekend, then on Tuesday, I flew back to Germany.
But interesting! In the guest house there was a lady staying, a young woman, she had a bad headache and then she asked me “Oh, can't you put your hands on?”, and I thought “Ok, I’ll try now!” [laughs].
And then, amazing!
After doing the Reiki hand positions on the head, maybe 15-20 minutes, afterwards she just felt better and the headache was gone and it was for me like “Wow! It works!”
That was my first experience with Reiki.
I love that and I love hearing people’s stories about how they came to Reiki! And I liked what you said about how you didn't know what you were looking for but you knew you were looking for something. I had a very similar experience and I think many of us have, you know? Reiki was waiting for us to find it.
Yeah. Yeah, that's true. It's for many also of my Reiki students.
Then I was doing my really first hands-on treatment to another person. The amazing thing was my hands got hot, I felt a tingling and I felt the energy being drawn into her, so these were all new sensations for me because I had no knowledge about Reiki, there was no book out on Reiki, it was in 1983; so this way I went back to Germany.
So, I will stop here with my story because it goes on with the second degree and so on.
If there’s time at the end we might come back to it but otherwise, it would be a little bit long. [laughs].
It's also on your website, isn't it? Your story?
Yeah, it is on the website.
Actually, I started a new blog which you find under the menu point Tanmaya, which is My journey – Beginnings.
And I’d like to… that is on since maybe two months, and now the next part is My first steps with Reiki, so people can follow it up.
They can follow you there…
Yeah. But it’s also in one of the books, The power of Reiki.
I describe it also very much in detail because it's quite – and I found it now myself – very interesting to read it again about my experiences; I treated myself after the first degree for three months, every day, a full Reiki treatment.
So much happened to me!
Amazing! And I personally think and I feel before you pass something on to others, like when you’re a teacher of Reiki, you need to have the full experience yourself for many years.
We all need what you're going to pass on, you can’t just have it as a film in your head.
That's very, very true. So, let's go into your topic, Reiki and Spirituality, and can you tell our listeners what does spirituality mean to you?
Yeah, I’d like to start with the word spirituality.
So, the word and the meaning of spirituality in modern times, in our times, is on a personal growth or people go on a quest for sacred meaning, for religious experience or on an encounter to find one’s inner truths.
Now, for me, spirituality is part of the Reiki.
I’d like to come back at this point or recall the history of Reiki; just looking at Usui’s life where's a certain period in his life when Usui himself went on a search.
He was a seeker for truths and for three years he meditated in a Zen Temple in Kyoto, and his goal was to gain enlightenment, he was very determined and focused and he was in a retreat for three years; this was all around 1922, and after the three years he still had the feeling that he had not yet achieved enlightenment.
So, he went to a sacred mountain in Japan – you probably like many listeners will know the story if there are Reiki people – so he went to this mountain in Japan, near Kyoto, Mount Kurama, for 21-day meditation and fast; and as I recall it from the legend of Reiki, he even said to the Abbot of the monastery of the Zen Temple, “So either I get it or you will find my bones!”
He didn't want to come back without having found the truth, his own inner truth.
And so, at the last day of this meditation, he entered in an awaken state of consciousness – you could call this his enlightenment – and in the legend of Reiki it is described that he was hit by a strong light at the forehead, and he entered this extended highest state of consciousness in which he saw these ancient symbols from the Sanskrit Sutras which he knew from there, and at the same time, simultaneously, he felt charged with a powerful healing force and the knowing how to use these symbols and mantras for healing that were revealed to him, all on the mountain in his own awakening.
So, in a way, Usui’s enlightenment, as a by-product [laughs], produced the Reiki and he himself developed this method, how to pass it on to others, how to learn, how to teach it.
So that was Usui’s achievement also.
Now, for me, Reiki and meditation, they go well together.
Yes, they do.
Yeah. I have explored meditation over many, many years when I was already quite young, around 22-23 years old.
I learned various meditation techniques and the Reiki came later to me, about 8 years later, roughly when I was around thirty, so I started off with meditation and then the Reiki healing came together.
I’d like to talk a little bit about how these both, Reiki and meditation, how they go together, and since I'm a Reiki teacher since 1992, so Reiki and meditation has always been a big part in my healing work.
Meditation is a method where you learn to go deeper within, you quiet your mind and Reiki opens up a space for relaxation and for healing.
So both go well together and we develop a greater awareness of ourselves. So, this is where the spiritual dimension comes into my practice.
Because I apply both Reiki and meditation.
And do you feel that your practice or how has your practice evolved to include that? Like how does that look in your practice?
For example, when someone receives the Reiki treatment, the person often feels as if they are touching something deeper inside.
Yeah, I like that!
After a treatment, they feel more peaceful like as if they have done meditation or if they have come in touch with something which is really an inner beauty, an inner essence inside themselves and that can happen when you receive a treatment from another person but the same can happen when you treat yourself with Reiki, so self-treatment.
You’re touching an inner space inside and it feels like... it's like a restfulness inside, peaceful, calm; it’s more like you’re coming closer to that what you really are!
There are many words for it and I’d like not to give it a word because some words are a little bit loaded. [laughs]
And it's very hard to explain because it's a feeling, you know? When we're giving it to others, when we're giving it to ourself, we're always receiving it, and I have always said it feels like a very deep meditative state.
Exactly! That's it! And that's a gift in Reiki.
It is, it is!
And I’d like to dig a little bit deeper into that.
So in spiritual terms, this can feel like entering a different dimension of stillness and of knowing the essence of who you truly are!
And Reiki can reconnect us, and we can reach a clear perception about who we truly are.
Now, again, when going back to the source of Reiki, what Reiki – this Universal Life Energy – what it really is and what it means… it's love and it’s light!
And we all know love heals and that what we really are is also love and light.
We just have a body, in a physical form; we need the body to be here on planet Earth. And that’s what I see as what we all need to awaken to and realise our own truths.
For some people, it can happen in a glimpse, but there are methods to have and one is the meditation and one is Reiki; and if you apply both together, there is the spiritual dimension in the Reiki.
So, when you're teaching, do you talk about this in your teaching or how do you pass this on to your students? How does this look to you in your practice and in your teaching?
So, in any of my trainings, Reiki trainings, I include meditation.
And besides teaching the message of Reiki healing, I include also other profound themes.
We all eventually stumble upon in life, particularly when we face difficult life phases such as separation, menopause, whatever, mid-life crisis or losing a loved one, we know that nothing in life is certain and in difficult life situations, we need to be open and accept the challenge of change.
I have written in several of my books, I have written about this part, so I mention only The Complete Reiki Tutor and one chapter is about Reiki for healing the spirit so I bring very practical guidelines and also hands-on forms which can help that.
And coming back to practicalities and practical guidance, I have recently, last year, I have invented a new section on my website which I call Practical Reiki and here, I guide you step by step to learn how to give Reiki to specific topics, for example easing separation or balancing your chakras or Reiki for palliative care.
So you learn how to give extra Reiki to specific areas on the body when you experience any physical, emotional disturbance or any imbalance; it can be on the physical level, on the mental, emotional or spiritual level.
And coming back to my teaching and the trainings, and it's really interesting, I seem to attract people and Reiki students who are looking for more meaning in life and I'm ready to answer questions from life to death, the profound topics in life, and one bigger focus is, including myself, that we all need to set our own priorities right.
There is a reason for why we are here!
I love that! Yeah, I agree. Thank you! Before we wrap up, do you have any last words or any other words of wisdom you’d like to share with our listeners?
Yeah, I would like to share a very practical lovely meditation technique which I have developed – and there are quite a few, but I only mention this one – I call it Inner Peace Meditation where we use sound and breath and, of course, the hands-on to connect us to the energy of the heart.
So when we are centered in the heart, the heart transmits harmonious vibrations which we do experience as love and peace, and that's a lovely meditation technique.
Though I’d like to mention that there are more meditation exercises, for example in this book – I mentioned before The Complete Reiki Tutor – such as relationship healing, Hara centering, listening to the heart, and many more; I'll just mention a few.
So, for the Inner Peace Meditation you don’t need necessarily music, though I use music when I do it in a group, in a training class, but if you do it on your own, you can do it sitting or lying down, even in bed, in the morning for the example and in the evening.
You put either your hands, your left hand goes under the right armpit and the right hand goes under the left armpit, and then you make a humming sound like you breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth Hmmm, as long your breath goes.
You can do it for 5 minutes, for 10 minutes, depends on how much time you have.
And this humming sound is on one pitch; it can be low, medium or high but you don't change the pitch. That sends out harmonious vibrations to the heart, to the heart chakra, and eventually it vibrates in the whole body, depends how long you do it.
Sometimes you can do it for 15 minutes, but start with 5 minutes and see how you feel, 5 to 10 or 7 minutes, and after that you would kind of just remember to connect to a space of love and peace rising up from the heart, and allow that feeling of love and peace to rise up from the heart.
And you do that also for several minutes.
But the humming is a vibration which really connects you very deep with the Heart chakra and it all starts to send out these harmonious vibrations.
That’s a beautiful meditation! Thank you for sharing that with us. I think I will try it when we are done with our interview. [laughter] Thank you very much! Is there anything else you'd like to share before we close?
Yeah. Reiki is really a pass to awakening and to choice.
And Usui actually in his story, in his life, he made it a point, you know, when he had his own awakening.
And then, with the Reiki together, that's all; for me, that’s why we're here. It's your own journey, your own spiritual journey, your own spiritual growth!
You want to know the truth, your own truth:
Who am I? What am I?
I have this saying that I like to share with my students and it says Reiki finds us when we need it and it gives us what we need, and for me and my Reiki experience it really gave me back to myself, you know?
I always say that it was like a giant key that opened a door and behind that door were so many things that I personally needed to heal and to really become who I am, and that has also been the experience of many of my students. It’s just such a lovely gift!
Yeah. And I love also the simplicity in it!
It's so simple, isn't it?
It is also for me an honesty; simplicity and honesty and sincerity about the whole method of Reiki, and it becomes a lifestyle if you want.
I mean I have students who are 50+ from age, they are counselors, they have their own clients, they have done so many educational trainings besides of Reiki, and suddenly they come to Reiki and they go like, “Oh, this is it!”, and they tell me: “Tanmaya, I didn’t know that! I have done so much and this is it, and I love it!” and they treat themselves every day.
This is really for me a big focus.
I do it myself! I treat myself every day – I love the mornings – and it allows me really to enter deep spaces inside!
It’s always meditation and Reiki, and I love the energy’s streaming and flowing.
I think it's so important to connect with it the daily! Like you said, you can't really teach unless you have owned it and the only really way that you can own it is by doing it, you know, to yourself every day! That can't be stressed enough how important self-Reiki is.
Yeah, that's a strong part especially whenever I teach the Reiki first degree training; people get homework actually, I became like a school teacher [laughter], for 21 days, at least for the 21 days!
I do that too, exactly! This is your homework!
Start to an hour to 20 minutes and after that, it's done. If you do it for 3 weeks, don't want to miss it anymore. [laughs]
That’s true! It becomes a habit, that’s why. Oh, thank you so much!
This was so interesting and I appreciate you sharing all of your experience with us.
Thank you too, Deb!
Reiki blessings to you!
The full 3 day seminar was organised by the Reiki Rays University and is available to listen to - click here.
The cost to listen to the full seminar is $297.