There are now dozens of different Reiki schools in the West, many of which claim to be superior to others. This can be confusing for anyone interested in either taking a Reiki treatment or participating in a Reiki course.
As a result, we need to ask ourselves the following questions: Is there really such a big difference between Reiki schools? Or does it simply come down to the quality of the Reiki Master either giving a treatment or taking a course?
To understand the issue we need to realize that in actual fact there are only two real Reiki schools: those that practise traditional Japanese Reiki (for instance, Usui Reiki Ryoho) and those that have descended from Mrs Takata's teachings in the West.
What you will find is that while there are certainly differences in what is taught in Western Reiki schools, qualitatively there is no huge difference. Their core is almost always very similar - no matter what each Reiki school says.
This changes when we look at the Japanese style Reiki that has only recently been discovered in the West.
The main difference here is that healing no longer has a central place in the Reiki practice. Rather, Reiki is a path to enlightenment - and healing is just one of several components on this path.
The emphasis with Japanese Reiki is on personal evolution, and healing is in many ways just a by-product of this quest.
Furthermore, the place the 'sacred' symbols have in Japanese style Reiki is very different. Symbols in the Japanese schools are seen more as 'training wheels'. They help focus the mind of the practitioner, but have no real other significance. In this sense, Japanese Reiki is actually a lot less mystical than its Western equivalents.
Naturally, I do not wish to say that Western schools are necessarily worse and that the differences among them aren't important; but it is fair to say that when you clear away the mysticism and rituals they are more alike than not.
Reiki healing energy feels the same, regardless of whether you call it Shamballa Reiki or Rainbow Reiki.
The moral then, is that the most important thing is not what school of Reiki you are interested in trying out, but rather the quality of the Reiki Master teaching it. This, ultimately, is what makes all the difference.
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