Kate Jones has been a Reiki master for 25 years. She is as passionate about Reiki now as she was when she first learned. In this blog she muses on the value of Reiki in daily life and shares her experiences of Reiki as a practice and a spiritual path relevant for today.
My husband Alec turns 60 this month. In celebration I am sharing with
you an interview with him about his practice as a taiji teacher and
Reiki master first published in Reiki Magazine International in 2000.
K: What drew you to learn Taiji?
always wanted to learn a martial art and meditation. One day in
1973, I was watching a TV programme about the Hong Kong kung fu movie
industry. There were shots of actors leaping across buildings. It
went straight from this to a little old man in a park, standing
still. Then he started moving very, very slowly. What I didn’t
realise was that he was actually moving at that speed; I thought
they’d slowed the film down. At the back of the park was a road
hidden by trees and a lorry went by. It just went belting across the
screen and I realised that this man was actually moving that slowly!
It struck me as unusual and extremely graceful; how on earth could he
keep his balance, moving that slowly? So I started looking for a
taiji teacher: it took me seven years to find one!
K: How did you come to learn
studying and teaching taiji for some years, several people had told
me that they felt a particular quality of touch in my hands. They
suggested I should do something with it in some kind of healing
capacity. Then I found a leaflet about Reiki. I thought that if I
learned Reiki, when I touched people to adjust their posture in the
taij class, I could zap their tension. Then they would relax into
the posture and understand the movements better. Part of my mind
thought that this was what I was looking for: it didn’t take long
to learn and it wasn’t expensive. But the other part of my mind
thought it was some kind of get-rich-quick scheme – how could you
possibly learn a healing technique in 3 days? I rang the number that
was on the back of the leaflet and they started telling me about the
course. They told me how much it was and I had enough money; when it
was and I had the weekend free. Then they started telling me where
it was and it turned out to be held in my taiji teacher’s house!
So that clinched the decision.
of my taiji students have learned Reiki. There are certain exercises
in the taiji and qigong classes that give you an opportunity to feel
your energy moving through your hands. Most people who have done
Reiki can feel it sooner and stronger than those who haven’t. It
enhances that connection because it’s all Qi or Ki.
K: Do you feel
that being a Reiki master affects your Taiji?
There’s a parallel path of my personal growth in my practice of
taiji and in Reiki. Becoming a Reiki master was part of that growth.
So I couldn’t say exactly what Reiki or taiji has done, but they
have both greatly affected my path of personal growth. I met someone
in 2000 who I hadn’t seen for over 10 years. She said that I’d
changed completely in that time: I was a more confident, more open
person. She could really see the growth.
down once and wrote a list, taiji one side, Reiki the other. For
each of the taiji principles, in terms of using them in daily life, I
could put something in the Reiki column as well. It’s the same
with Reiki: anything I could put down about what Reiki is or does
there was something in the taiji column to match. When I’m giving
Reiki to someone it puts me in touch with that sense of there being
no boundary between where I end and the other person begins. The
energy crosses that boundary and blurs it. I also experience that in
my solo taiji practice: I feel a part of my environment; I don’t
stop at my skin. Both disciplines give me a sense of my place in the
universe, my connection to the scheme of things.
K: Do you think
Taiji can benefit Reiki students?
you’re giving a Reiki treatment, whether you’re standing or
sitting, you have to find ways of aligning your body to be
comfortable and relaxed, so you don’t lean on the other person.
One of the main things in taiji is posture and the alignment of the
body. You work with balance, so that you’re not fighting against
gravity. Also, there are taiji exercises that work on the quality of
touch. There is one called ‘sticking,’ where you rest your palm
on the back of someone else’s hand. They move their hand around
and you keep the same quality of touch as though your hand is stuck
to theirs. Having done that for several years before learning Reiki,
I found that when I came to put my hands on someone I knew how to
touch them: the quality of touch was already established.
K: Could you talk about the
discipline in Taiji?
are different styles and schools of taiji, but whichever form you
learn you do the same form all the time. That’s the discipline of
it: you don’t need to change it. If it’s difficult in places
it’s meant to be. Once you relax into the idea that it’s like
that for a reason, that simple understanding changes it and makes it
easier. Mental resistance creates physical resistance and
constriction, so relaxing mentally relaxes you physically. Then the
movements become easier.
a freedom in discipline. The structure of the form is what gives you
the freedom to express the quality of your own energy. You don’t
have to change the form to be creative. It’s the boundary of a
movement that defines it. If you go beyond that boundary it becomes
something else, a different movement. That’s true of the whole
form: it’s the boundaries that give shape to the art. Without the
boundaries, there is no shape and without the shape it’s just
somebody moving about, not following the taiji principles any more.
For example there is the principle of empty step: if you take a step
that’s too big it’s no longer an empty step: you fall. The
boundary of an empty step is very important to discover and to work
on the edge of. A boundary is a dividing line; if you cross that
line then what you are doing becomes something else, something
formless. The difference between form and formless is that form can
be reproduced and therefore passed on to others. For example if
someone offered you some water to drink and you said yes please and
they pour some water at you, it’s not very helpful. You need a
container to make use of the water. The container is the form.
I see an
exact duplication between Taiji and Reiki in that. I see that as
true of any spiritual discipline – you have to have a container and
the container is the form. The form includes the personal practice
and the method of teaching.