Usui Sensei’s Birthday is always a wonderful chance to come together and celebrate his teachings because FUN FACT he probably never celebrated a single birthday! There wasn’t really a custom of holding Japanese birthdays until after WWII. Before that, New Year’s Day was the day in which everyone got older. This was because the ancient custom was that everyone got older on New Year’s Day, not the day they were born. Since then, however, due to globalisation, and assimilation, Japan has changed in that regard.
So, even though Usui Sensei may roll around in his grave for this, we can still honour his spirit via his teachings today, this week, or at the very least during this week’s full moon, dedicating this Tsukimi in a special way.
On 15 August 1865, the man who changed the way we look at bioenergetics, Buddhism, health, and enlightenment was birthed into this world. Once, twice, perhaps for the upteenth time on this planet. Who knows? Maybe it was his first lifetime, although I doubt it.
Regardless, this man who at about the ripe age of 57, created a school clinic in which healers from all over Japan could come and learn, hands-on, the ability to care for people’s suffering manifest in their anger, worries, ingratitude, sloth, and indifference.
See, some people are just late bloomers.
Last year, I wrote a comical 150th birthday roast for Usui Sensei. This year, I want to challenge each of us to go a bit deeper into our practice. Meditate upon it, and ask ourselves WWUD- What Would Usui Do?
Because some of us may have forgotten the tradition of honouring one’s teachers.
Let’s face it, many of us (especially us Americans) do not practice Reiki the way Usui Sensei did. Many of us lack the patience. Many of us lack the cultural context to understand the subtle complexities of his techniques and teachings. And really, many of us would rather play with our crystal collections than actually go hiking up a mountain, fast, and meditate for 21-days. Many of us would rather play doctor instead of doing community service, and opening up a free school-clinic like Usui did after the horrific Tanto Earthquake hit in 1923. Not many of us believe in ourselves the way Usui Sensei did. Not many of us have the courage and dedication that Usui Sensei had. Not many of us are as selfless as Usui Sensei was.
Or are we?
Today is a day to reflect upon these questions, and ask what we really want our Reiki Practice to look like? Do we want it to be yet another superficial mass media fluffy bunny business? Or do we want it to be down to earth, and about helping people grow?
Many of us have forgotten Reiki’s roots. What is that phrase? “So many seek the truth in the stars that which can only be discovered in the tree’s roots.” So many healers now a-days are trapped in the ethers, in lofty abstract pseudoscience, and have forgotten about the beauty of meditating upon a waka poem or sweating doing hard manual labour in a rock garden. So many healers now a-days are captivated by technology and angels and being a “starseed” that they forget that they are made of this earth, of the Ancestors, of the winds and rain and sunlight. Not that one is more important than the other, but we certainly have strayed away from Usui’s teachings, and I think many of the problems that face modern healers: feeling drained/zapped, feeling afraid of so-called “demons,” or feeling depressed or lost is because of this. Our awareness has expanded but we have failed to meet our awareness with practice. With mindfulness practice. With the universal wabi sabi techniques that Usui and his students incorporated into Reiki in order to reach that level of mastery and skill. Why else do we tend to dabble in so many different workshoppes and self-help certificates these days, besides simple curiosity? Is it that we are still too afraid to just sit, listen, and look in the mirror? Are we seeking so fervently to understand and cope with these new talents and abilities that have been given us seemingly without an operator’s manual?
At the end of the day, we have to remember that Reiki is an Eastern practice of mindful nurturing. Based upon the strict mental disciplines of martial arts, Buddhism, Shugendo, and Shinto. We can use this day to pull some of that wisdom and diligence into our lives, minds, and actions.
So make yourself a cup of tea, light some incense, and meditate upon the cup. Meditate upon the tea, meditate upon the Gokai, and his teachings. And then drink them up, heartily, wishing the teacher of us all a very happy birthday: “tanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu.” 誕生日おめでとうございます
Bowing peacefully three times to you,
remember that there is a joyful, courageous, grateful, diligent, and kind healer within you.