For many years now, the feeling that it would be really nice if the whole Grand Master trip would go away has been gaining ground within me. The GM trip began in the early 80s with the death of Hawayo Takata. No living grandmasters existed up until that point in the practice. Takata did not normally refer to herself in this way.
After Takata’s death, one master initiated by her announced she was now THE Grand Master of Reiki and the successor to Hawayo Takata. She also made major changes in the system that Takata had taught. Others initiated by Takata were unimpressed with the announcement, and were in agreement that Takata’s grand-daughter Phyllis Furumoto was the one Takata clearly intended to be her successor.
One result of this was the formation of The Reiki Alliance, with ironically a founding statement of masters being equal in the oneness of Reiki. And at the same time, recognising the concept of a position of Grand Master that was clearly not equal. This situation continues til this day. To be fair, the notion of a Lineage Bearer as a title for the successor had not then come into use.
While this can easily be explained away as a defensive reaction to the original claim of one person to be ‘The’ Grand Master, the grandmaster trip was begun. From that simple beginning there are now announcements of becoming a grandmaster after a week long ‘Grand Master’ training, so the concept is become almost ordinary by nature of being so easily gained, a piece of paper in fact.
For me, the designation no longer serves the practice, its students or the holder of the title. It serves to lead practitioners to regard someone as an authority figure which creates a power imbalance.
It doesn’t serve the practice and its students as practitioners too easily give up their power with a ‘tell me the answer’ or ‘tell me what to do’ approach instead of simply doing the practice and allowing the answers to surface in themselves. It also serves to create unhelpful identification of ‘My’ and ‘Our’ grandmaster.
It doesn’t serve the holder of the position as it’s all too easy to become hooked on the mind’s perceptions and manipulations of knowledge, position and power. As a useful marketing tool it becomes more difficult to give it up. The Grand Master pedestal becomes a barrier to the further and full potential of the holder.
Sadly, in the end it serves no-one.