In the late 1990s, I was working in London, as I still am, and reading a good deal of psychology books, especially those concerning Carl Gustav Jung, a friend of my psychiatrist grandfather. At the start of the new millennium, my interests became what many would see as more esoteric, including astrology and crop circles. At Watkins bookshop, on a side street off Charing Cross Road, I noticed an advert for Reiki healing, and on several occasions on Saturday mornings, I received Reiki treatments in a very smart basement room. This was quite an experience, and I clearly remember on the first occasion the sensation of heat that I felt. This was not mere imagination! I soon read much about Reiki, about Mikao Usui, its "discoverer," and about Mrs. Hawayo Takata (1900-80), a Hawaiian lady of Japanese ancestry, who brought Reiki to the United States and to the West in general.
By 2002, I had decided that I wished to receive Reiki attunements so that I could give myself, and others, this beautiful and peaceful healing energy. I noticed, in a magazine, an advert placed by Maggie Jamieson, a remarkable Scottish lady, who at that time was living in the English County of Berkshire. She is a Reiki master, and I contacted her to ask if she would be happy to give me the necessary attunements. Fortunately, she was! So, on a summer's day in 2002, after spending the previous night in the nearby town of Reading, I met Maggie for the first time. A wonderfully happy meeting. The attunement ceremony was conducted after we had chatted for a while, and it was very beautiful and affecting. After that, I gave myself Reiki regularly, and in 2004 returned to visit Maggie, by now living in the village of Woolstone, on the Berkshire/Wiltshire border, and close to the ancient Ridgeway. This visit, which took place on my 45th birthday, was for the second attunement. Afterwards, we walked up to the top of the hill overlooking the village, into the side of which is cut one of the ancient Bronze Age white horses. Standing at the top, we said our goodbyes and embraced. I felt most strongly that the spiritual connection between us was, and would always remain, unbreakable. I still feel that now. From where I stood, I could see maybe seven English counties in the bluish far distance, as well as the cooling towers of Didcot Power Station, which have since been demolished.
In the years since 2004, I have not practised Reiki every single day, but often, and I am now once more making it part of my daily routine. It certainly gives a feeling of peace and contentment, and Mrs Takata recommended that we let go each day of worry and anger. She had herself, as a woman in her 30s, been healed of very serious medical conditions after being treated in Tokyo with Reiki each day for some weeks. She had been going to undergo a serious operation when she was inspired to ask the surgeon if there was any other way for her to be healed. He told her to go to Dr. Hiyashi, who was successor to Mikao Usui, and later on she, in turn, succeeded Dr Hiyashi and began giving Reiki to many sick and troubled people back in Hawaii. Many years after the War, she moved to the US mainland and began a successful Reiki practice, which she maintained until her death at the age of 79. Her husband had died, quite young, in Hawaii before she became seriously ill in the 1930s, and they had two daughters. All those who have come to know of, and experience, Reiki in the West have only been able to do so as a result of the life and work of Hawayo Takata. We owe her an immense debt of gratitude, and all of us who wish can experience Reiki as a method of healing, and preferably join to it good sleep and nutritious food. I would encourage those who read this to investigate Reiki if they wish to.