Reiki-Mastership is a Destination – An Interview with John Harvey Gray

By Oliver Klatt

Oliver Klatt: If one reads your life story, it becomes clear, that–besides Reiki–you have had many different spiritual experiences. Today you are the longest-practicing Reiki Master in the west and an ordained minister in the Church of the Loving Servant, a non-denominational church devoted to spiritual healing. In your book „Hand to Hand“ you write about your experiences with Transcendental Meditation, Siddha Yoga and in Sai Baba‘s ashram, and you say that, as a result of these experiences, you are a more effective healer now. Can you say more about this?

John Harvey Gray: My past spiritual experiences and meditation practices that you referred to in your question have helped immensely in my learning how to quiet my mind and get out of the way of the Reiki energy flow. Together, I feel that they have made me a more effective healer.
When we, as practitioners, try too hard, we tend to interfere with our own abilities to receive the Reiki energy and transmit it to ourselves and our clients. Unfortunately, many new Reiki practitioners, in an attempt to be more helpful to their clients, try too hard. The stress they then create within themselves hinders the ability of their own body cells to receive and transmit as much Reiki energy as they could have, had they removed themselves from the effort and gotten out of the way of the process.
There are three possible outcomes from any Reiki session; the recipient can get better, or get worse, or remain the same. It is not up to any one of us, as Reiki practitioners, to take responsibility for the outcome of any Reiki session. I have always reminded my students that we are only Reiki practitioners, we are not healers. The only real factors in healing are the strength and quality of the Reiki energy flow and the physiological efficiency of the body cells receiving the Reiki energy.
Meditation practices and the Eastern philosophies I have studied over my lifetime have taught me how to live in the present and to be unconditionally non-judgmental in all things. More specific to your question, these life-long practices, and philosophical studies of mine have been invaluable aids for me, both as a Reiki Master Teacher, in communicating with my students and as a Reiki practitioner, with my clients.

Oliver Klatt: You are one of the first masters initiated by Hawayo Takata. Mrs. Takata spent many weeks with you and your first wife, Beth, in your home in California, in the 1970‘s. She taught twelve Reiki classes in your home. How was the time with Mrs. Takata?

John Harvey Gray: Meeting Hawayo Takata and becoming one of her original 22 Reiki students, was a life-changing experience for me. It was an honor to have met her and a blessing to have learned from her. It was a privilege for both me and my first wife, Rev. Beth Gray, I to have had her stay in our home in Redwood City, during her visits to California in the ‘70s. Often, she stayed with us for several weeks at a time. The three of us shared many good conversations during her visits. My wife and I had lots of opportunities to experience her teachings and her treatments first hand. The three of us took turns giving each other Reiki treatments. I remember, that after Takata suffered her first heart attack, I gave her many Reiki treatments and spent extra time sending Reiki to the back of her heart and lungs. I feel extremely fortunate to have had Takata in my life … as a teacher, a mentor … and as a friend. Takata also taught by being a living example of her teachings. Watching her live while ‘being in Reiki’ was a special gift.

Oliver Klatt: Today you teach Reiki as the Usui-Gray Integrated Reiki System, together with your wife, Lourdes. This system includes meditation and scanning the aura and the chakras. Besides the Reiki II class there is also an Advanced Reiki II class. Could you say more about your today‘s approach to Reiki?

John Harvey Gray: The Usui-Gray Integrated Reiki System has been developed using, as its foundation, the Reiki teachings and attunements that I first received from my Reiki Master, Hawayo Takata. It has always been and it will continue to be the mission of my Reiki center, The John Harvey Gray Center for Reiki Healing, to preserve the purity of the teachings of the three original Reiki Masters, Dr. Mikao Usui, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi and Mrs. Hawayo Takata.
The source of any integrated material has been acquired by me and my wife, Dr. Lourdes Gray, through our own years of intensive and extensive training and studies. For each of us, our personal training has been followed bylengthy, if not life-long experience, in the practicing and teaching that which we have learned. From early on, our students started asking us for tools for self-development and healing, along with any practical knowledge that they can employ for themselves as well as others. They also have asked fortechniques that would help them become more efficient in their Reikipractices. As Reiki practitioners, we are not allowed to diagnose nor prescribe. We want to be sure to never cross that line.
Nevertheless, there is still a great deal of information we can acquire from analyzing biophysiology along with energy systems such as chakras and auras. For example, information derived from the studying of human physiology and chakras can be used in providing a practitioner with a more efficient session with his or her client. If, when scanning the client’s body, one finds that a particular chakra is not as strong as the others, it is safe to suspect that the glands and/or organs that receive their signals from that chakra, are not getting a sufficient amount of energy from the outside (the continuum) for optimal functioning. That insufficiency can leave the glands or organs of the client vulnerable and more susceptible to problems or disease. It does not mean that a disease already exists. Knowing that, the practitioner can then customize the Reiki session so that he or she spends more time sending Reiki to the area near the weaker chakra, in order to supplement the insufficient levels of chakra energy that the glands or organs have received. After finding the point of vulnerability within the client’s body, the practitioner may then suggest that the client see a medical doctor for a professional analysis and diagnosis.
Again, the Usui-Gray Integrated Reiki System holds true to the purity of the Reiki method as first learned and passed on by the three masters. It is vital that the method remains pure. We teach the Reiki method in its purest form … from the heart and soul and mouth of Hawayo Takata. The integration of other information that my wife and I have acquired in our lives dedicated to Reiki only supplements and enhances the teachings of our three masters. Our system provides the stage on which the Reiki student may develop the knowledge, skill, energy and intent to produce powerful healing, powerful changes, and hope for all.

Oliver Klatt: In your book „Hand to Hand“ you mention the book „Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis“ by James Oschman. This book has been translated into German–I read it last year. Isn‘t it interesting, that today modern science begins to recognize what for spiritual healers is a reality since hundreds and thousands of years?

John Harvey Gray: Yes, I find it very interesting as well. Several years ago, Jim Oschman came to visit our center to present a two-day seminar on the scientific basis for energy medicine. The seminar was extremely well-received by our students. The night his seminar ended, Lourdes and I took Jim out to dinner. The three of us had a wonderful time exchanging much useful information. We had one particularly interesting conversation about treating recent injuries with Reiki. As you know, treating emergency situations with Reiki often yields very quick and positive results. Lourdes asked Jim if he had anything to say about the effectiveness of Reiki treatments in emergencies. Jim thought about it quietly and then responded: „The cells have a window of time in which they remember how they were before the injury. It is generally a short window, just 10 to 15 minutes long. If the cells receive energy during this window they will try to return to the way they were before the injury. It is a shame that it has taken so long for modern scientists to accept age-old realties. I am glad that they finally do so.”

Oliver Klatt: In your book you write about Reiki Mastership, and you say: „While Reiki is simplicity itself at the core when accurately transmitted, it also embodies aspects that, in our view, require substantial study and experience.“ Can you say more about this?

John Harvey Gray: How do you teach something that you have not had experience using? The Reiki techniques may appear very simple, but without the hands-on experience that can be acquired only through on-going and concentrated practice, there is little substance for the Reiki Master to share with his or her students. For Hawayo Takata, Reiki was a way of being. Because of her extensive experience practicing, she imbued Reiki into every aspect of her life. Takata had a large, well-established practice in Honolulu, which kept her busy conducting Reiki sessions seven days a week. She kept this intense schedule for more than 30 years before she began to initiate masters. There is a maturity that comes from the practice. As for me and my wife, living in Reiki has given us a deep sense of comfort and confidence in our teachings and a depth of knowledge that only comes from years of substantial study and experience. Do not try to rush it.
Mastership in Reiki only comes after taking a thousand steps on one’s life path. Reiki Mastership is a destination, not a path.

Oliver Klatt: What is your advice for Reiki practitioners and masters of today?

John Harvey Gray: The best advice I can give to the Reiki practitioners and Reiki Masters of today would be to present three rules to live by: always keep Reiki pure; never alter the original attunements as passed down from Dr. Mikao Usui to Dr. Chujiro Hayashi and to Hawayo Takata; and follow these words of Hawayo Takata, „Let Reiki guide you.“ Reiki will always provide the answer if the question is asked for the highest good of all creation.

Oliver Klatt: John, thank you for the interview!

August 2008

For more Information see:

Copyright © by Oliver Klatt