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My Biography and Path to Reiki

(and other Metaphysical Teachings)
by Richard Rivard

Rick Rivard
I sometimes find it is useful to know a little bit about a potential teacher - not only his training, but also some of his life experience and personal beliefs.  It tends to help me understand his approach to his work, and might prepare me for a better class. Hopefully the following will give you a bit more insight into me.

Reiki Training

For those who aren't interested in the details, or are in a rush, here are the important Reiki links:

My Reiki Training to date

Reiki certificates I have received

I've taught quite a few students to teacher level and you can find lists of them at these pages:

  • Threshold Masters Canada 
  • Threshold Masters World
  • Gendai Reiki Shihan
  • Komyo Reiki Shihan
  • SSR Reiki Masters

  • Please feel free to approach any of them for a reference or for Reiki training.

    My Origins

    I was born in Windsor, Ontario, the second oldest of 5 children.   At the University of Windsor I studied Mathematics and Computer Science and this might explain my analytical slant to things.  I suppose in a way I also studied the art of interacting with others from around the world - the local pub, my fraternity (TKE) and side interests seemed to help a lot with this.  It was an interesting time to be in school. All through my secondary and university education I held part time jobs, mostly as a "jack-of-all-trades" in a downtown grocery store. This brought me face-to-face with the public consumer and the experience of trying to understand their needs ("Coffee is in isle 3, Mam.")  and it's where I met my first wife (who worked next door).

    During my university years I dated some wonderful ladies who had a strong influence on me, one of whom I had known through that part time job.  After a year of post graduate work, she and I married and moved to Toronto in 1972 where she was working on her university degree.  Because of a wrong number phone call one morning, I landed a job as a computer programmer (an analytical's dream at that time) and I remained there for nearly 7 years.  Now I was beginning to experience daily office life - quite a change for me at the time - but it was also an interesting social atmosphere.  I took up some karate lessons for a time, then squash and thanks to my ex-wife, I also got involved in hatha yoga.  I think that was the true beginning of my spiritual journey and thanks to the school owner Marie Paulyn, some other mentors and some good friends, I began to learn more about the body-mind-spirit connection. 

    However, after my ex finished her degree program at Ryerson and began full time work, she and I began to drift further apart, soon separating and divorcing. Looking back I can see that this was a powerful yet necessary experience for me.  In 1978 I took a 3 week vacation driving across Canada to the west coast with some friends.  I was startled and in awe at the look and feel of the Canadian Rockies at Banff.  At that moment the west began calling to me, and even though it rained all our short time in Vancouver, the next summer I flew there with a friend and set out to find a job.  I actually landed the first opportunity I read about in the newspaper, it was exactly as I had visualised and one that would eventually grow and teach me, open many doors, as well as introduce me to more interesting people, including my life partner.  So it was that i
    n September 1979 I moved to Vancouver, and life took a different focus for me.

    Over the next eleven years I was a manager of computer departments and software design teams for three different companies. As I moved up in the corporations I found there was more and more responsibility over my head - it felt like I was moving not up but downwards in an inverted pyramid.  And unexpectedly I was often acting as a mediator between the various department heads who wanted the services of my staff.  I suppose I had missed this in the job description. smile  Suddenly I needed conflict resolution skills and knowledge of different social styles in individuals - people seemed to have several different ways of approaching the same corporate challenge. As well, I began to understand the responsibility of managing the lives of others in a working environment, and how their home experience could have a dramatic impact on their day-to-day work.  By the end of 1990 I had moved into consulting but I now felt I had plateaued in my computer and management profession and was being pushed towards a new career.  Looking back, it seems my "research" in the work place was now completed.

    During this time, I met my "twin flame" or "soul mate" in a wonderful and inspiring being named Nadya.  This is the most powerful moment in my life thus far and I recognised that my previous relationships had all been preparing me for this.  We seemed to slowly drift closer together and in 1981 began to share our lives intimately.  In the mid 80's Nadya gave birth to our 3 beautiful daughters and in the early 90's she returned to full time work while I remained home as care giver - "Mr. Mom", as the movie goes.  Family life now added heavily to what I would call my "Life Resume" - giving me a greater "feel" for the challenges and joys a parent often faces outside the work place.  No wonder my staff who had children were always so emotionally challenged (and tired) at work.  All those diapers and playgrounds!  But, all those uninhibited hugs! smile

    On the "Life Work" scene, at this time I was attracted to the concept of "Do what you love and the money will follow" and began to think about what kind of things I enjoyed doing. However, it was to be a couple years before a true solution presented itself.  And it did indeed come from the area I had thought of as my hobby - my metaphysical and new age interests.

    Nadya and Richard
    (from the '90's)

    Forest Guy
    Richard Today
    (Nadya is behind the camera)

    Entering the "New Age"

    Back in my university days, I had become interested in martial arts and eastern philosophies. I studied and taught Japanese Judo  (our "sensei" was not available to us very often) and I was club president for a time. Surprisingly enough, in 2002 I learned that Mikao Usui, the man given credit for Reiki, had been a student and friend of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo.  In Toronto I learned Korean Karate and Tai Chi. Then I became immersed in Hatha Yoga and Meditation techniques. Yoga helped me grasp the concept of the mind and body working in harmony. This is something required by all martial arts, but the understanding of it had previously eluded me.  There seemed to be a deeper aspect to all the oriental disciplines - one aspect I later learned was called "mindfulness".  I also learned that Yoga offered useful techniques for relaxation.

    Philosophically, it was in 1975 that two friends loaned me a copy of Jane Roberts' book, "Seth Speaks; The Eternal Validity of the Soul". (thanks Pete and Karen.) This greatly challenged my analytical way of viewing the world, but in a fashion that wouldn't let me just ignore the book.  It launched me into a life-long quest to study metaphysics and dramatically altered my concept of life and the nature of our reality. Over the next decade, in the process of reading all of Roberts'  books,  I began to unwind my analytical self and slowly allow the creative side to emerge. At the same time I felt like I was back in school, something like a metaphysical university.  Now, after over 40 years I have learned much about the process of creating our own reality, and the many techniques we employ to do so.  What is now surprising to me is that many of these concepts - available in print for over 100 years - are now being presented to the Western public by such notably teachers as Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle, James Redfield and many, many others.  Even more surprising has been my discovery that the heart of these old teachings also exists within the original Usui-Do teachings of Mikao Usui. 

    With Nadya as my catalyst we have also explored the teachings of Jach Pursel and Lazaris, Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer (and Orin and DaBen), The St. Germain press material, Esther and Jerry Hicks (Abraham), and a host of other metaphysical and "new age" material.  This is by no means the only reading we do, and I also enjoy collecting hard cover versions of the books of my favourite fantasy and science fiction authors. 

    One particular area that had intrigued me even in the late 70's was psychic healing. Several times I had come across people who had taught themselves (after much time and effort) how to heal themselves and others, and I studied some of these techniques. 

    Discovering the World of Reiki

    And so it was that In 1992, at a Vancouver psychic fair, my life path once again took a dramatic turn.  I met a Reiki practitioner named Sterling Sexton who was in the process of taking her Reiki Master's level from Harue Kanemitsu (a Reiki 1 and 2 student of Hawayo Takata, and master student of Wanja Twan and Barbara Brown).  Intrigued by the concepts of Reiki, and tired of just being an informed spectator on the metaphysical sidelines, I enrolled in her first class. I then began practicing Reiki on my family and friends. I became anxious to learn more so I began reading different books on Reiki.

    A year later I was drawn to Reiki Master and channeler, Dr. Anne McMurtry, to take my Level II.  (Anne was a student of Carrel Farmer, who was taught by Phyllis Furumoto). I was intrigued at the increase in energy that the attunement and symbols gave me and started to look for books that discussed them. I was beginning to think that perhaps Reiki might be something I would enjoy practicing full time, so I tried to find out how to attain the Master's Level. I was very dismayed to learn that it would cost me up to ten thousand dollars to do so. However, my inner voice was telling me that there was a less expensive and more informative way for me to progress. 

    1998 Aura Photo - Indigo Kid?

    I came across William Rand's book "Reiki: the Healing Touch" and learned that his school, The Center For Reiki Training, offered well informed courses at affordable prices, and at various locations around the United States. After talking to William I decided that I wanted to teach Reiki using his manuals and techniques as my foundation. I began to use some of his Reiki techniques for goal setting to figure out how I could get to one of his classes. Within a few days I found out that one of the graduates (Elizabeth Gilberg) from his Master's class was coming to Vancouver to teach Reiki. Elizabeth needed some help advertising and organizing the class here and offered to give me a discount on the her classes if I would assist her in the preparations.

    On September 18, 1994, I received my Master's Level and set out to teach my wife and children Reiki, thus establishing myself as a Reiki Master/Teacher.  It was my children who now taught me the simplicity of Reiki, as the only way they would sit still and give Nadya a treatment was if their favourite video was playing.  After laying their hands on their mother they then turned to the TV and completely ignored her for the next hour.  I actually had to move their hands to a new position as Nadya found one or the other's hands getting a bit too hot or too strong for her liking.  It was as though the girls had turned on an electric device and just assumed it would stay plugged in and so turned their attention elsewhere.

    My First attunement Practice Subjects - My Family
    My First Attunement Practice Subjects - My Family

    By year-end I began hearing about another school of Reiki run by K. Milner.  Her name seemed to come up continually and when a Detroit teacher named Glenn Derrick shared some additional concepts from that school with me one day, I decided to phone Ms. Milner.  So it was in March, 1995, I found myself in her Reiki training (later called Tera-Mai Reiki.) Her energy had been shifted by her spirit guides, but also had a surprising electric-like quality to it, one that I later learned was possibly the embedded energy of Seichim (Milner had received a form of this training at one time). Seichim was originated by Patrick Ziegler  and does not feel like Reiki, yet is equally effective.

    Discovering the Roots of Reiki

    January 1996 turned out to be another important time in my Reiki experiences as I signed onto the Internet and met a group of Reiki practitioners from around the world on the alt.healing.reiki email list. I posed the question as to whether anyone had heard of original Reiki still being taught in Japan.  I received an answer from Dave King who had visited there often and worked with teachers of old and newer Japanese schools. In July 1996 I took master level instruction in Traditional Japanese Reiki from  him. Dave, and his colleague Melissa Riggall, had recently spent time in Japan with Dr. Hayashi's 12th senior level (shichidan) student, Mr. Tatsumi (his training was from 1927 to 1931). This latter training served to shed new light as to how Reiki Ryoho was originally presented and used by the students of Usui-Sensei.

    Since that time, I have learned Dave also trained in 1971 with a student of Toshihiro Eguchi named Yuji Onuki (1926-1930), and was now working with a still living student of Mikao Usui called Tenon-in (born in 1897).  A Buddhist nun, Tenon-in and 4 other nuns had worked daily with Usui Sensei from 1920 until his passing in 1926, and she explained that Eguchi had been the senior student of Usui (1921-1926). I have continued training with Dave in older forms of Usui teachings called Usui-Do and Usui Teāte, thus getting a better understanding of Usui's original ideas.

    In 1998,  thanks to several internet friends (mainly Yukio Miura, Tom Rigler, Andy Bowling), I connected with a member of the original Usui Reiki society in Japan, Hiroshi Doi-sensei, and some of his students.  Through his teaching I discovered more of the origins of Reiki and how this old society continued to practice Reiki after Usui Sensei's passing.

    Richard teaching a channeling class in Osaka, Japan (Nov. 2000)

    Meanwhile, in order to expand my abilities with energy, in 1995 I took an “Awakening Your Light Body Course” (Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer) and since then (with the help of friends) I have completed most of their graduate programs. I also learned their "Opening to Channel" technique to consciously channel higher guides from the "Light" to increase my spiritual knowledge and growth. I now offer courses in these techniques, since they are as easy to learn as Reiki, and I optionally include some of this in my master level Reiki classes.

    Expanding My Reiki Experience

    Over the past decade and a half, many Reiki friends from around the world have shared knowledge and training with me including several Seichim Reiki and SSR styles, Karuna Reiki, Tera-Mai Seichem Reiki, RAI Reiki, Ascension Reiki and most important, original forms of Japanese Reiki and Usui teachings.  I have also experimented with other healing energies including Magnified Healing and StarLight. All of these techniques have succeeded in expanding my abilities with energy work, but more important, have helped me understand the diversity of Western Reiki and alternative energy healing. I now know that there is no limit to our ability to increase our healing skills, as well as our own personal growth. 

    I also participated as the administrator of a large internet based group of over 1000 volunteer healers from around the world.  Formed in 1996,  the Distant Healing Network receives over 200 requests each week for healing energy via its internet web page, and I continue to assist with this sharing project. 

    In 1997 I was thinking of forming a Reiki organisation in my province when I discovered the Canadian Reiki Association (CRA). Since they had already created a good template for a Reiki group and had obtained a federal charter, I decided to join them instead.  Later I was to learn the CRA was very new and that I was only the 20th member. However, the CRA began to grow and was intended to be a voice for Reiki in Canada.  In 2001 as the original board of directors neared the end of their term, the CRA president, Linda Caplan, asked if I would be interested in taking over.  I found some volunteers in my student base from across Canada and we formed the second board.  I preferred someone else be in charge as I was more interested in helping things run, and as some board members left, I took over their duties like newsletter and membership.  After a couple years I found that some of my students wanted to remake the CRA into a more professional oriented group, in spite of the fact that over 95% of the members (and the Reiki world) practiced Reiki as an avocation (i.e. not their main source of income.)  Since I already had a large student base, a growing information oriented web site and Reiki contacts around the world, I realised that I was already performing a much larger service to the Reiki world outside the CRA, and the CRA didn't really have anything to offer me.  So I left the group in 2003 in good hands and went on to other Reiki interests.

    For about a decade or more Spirit had me involved in what seems to be an on-going project to explore the roots of Reiki and the life of Mikao Usui.  Even now the information continues to drop into my lap, and I try to share some of this with the world-wide Reiki community on my web pages or my own student base.  My connection with several like-minded friends in the UK, USA and Japan led to the interaction with Mr. Hiroshi Doi-sensei and his work to discover the origins of Reiki. I participated in 4 of his international URRI workshops (hosting 2 of them) and in November, 2000 I received master level training in his Gendai Reiki-ho school, as well as membership in his Gendai Reiki Ho Healing Society.

    URRI 1999
    URRI 1999

    Doi-sensei received Reiki training from Western sources, but more intimately from 2 non-Western schools of Reiki in Japan (through Kimiko Koyama and Hiroshi Ohta). In November 2000 when I visited Japan, I climbed the holy mountain of Kuramayama, where Usui-sensei reportedly fasted, I walked the streets of Usui-sensei's home village of Taniai, and I meditated at Sensei's grave site at the Saihoji temple in Tokyo.  I was also fortunate to teach Reiki in the beautiful city of Kyoto (and Osaka.)  These experiences, as well as the wonderful people I met there, helped me to gain a better understanding of Japanese culture and the roots of Reiki.

    While in Japan, I took my friend Tom Rigler's SSR class and later began to teach this interesting system of combined energies.  In October of 2002 I expanded my Japanese Reiki training by taking the master level of Komyo Reiki from Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto-sensei.  His teacher, Mrs. Yamaguchi, studied with Dr. Hayashi from 1938 - 40.  I met her and her son at the URRI 2000 conference. Also in 2002 I took the first 7 levels of Usui-Do training (to Shodan) from Dave King and Laurie Anne King. Usui-Do is a forerunner to Reiki and was taught by Mikao Usui from 1920 until 1926.  Dave and Laurie Anne are the only known non-Japanese teachers of this and are students of the late Tenon-in.  She and several other students of Sensei were still alive in Japan in the early years of this century.

    Gendai Reiki Ho and Komyo Reiki Kai Training 
    a   b

    In the Fall of 2004 I took another class with Dave King. This time he shared the first 3 levels of Usui Teāte, which according to Tenon-in had been Eguchi's 1925 style of teaching in the Usui dojo under the watchful eye of Usui Sensei.  At this level it is very similar to Usui-Do, and the repetition provided new insight and experiences for me into the original purpose of Sensei's teachings.

    In recent years I have received several copies of old Reiki books, some dating back to the 1930s, and one is the work of a well known URR Gakkai Shihan. With the help of my Japanese students I have been able to get translations of these and have shared some of  the resulting "new" knowledge of Reiki origins with my students and at my public Reiki pages.  It seems my Reiki adventures are not yet over.

    Threshold Resources

    All of the above are reflected in my style of Reiki training that I call Threshold Reiki. Like Doi-sensei's Gendai Reiki Ho (Modern Reiki Method), it is a blend of old Reiki and new Reiki, and is intended to lead the student to discover their own appropriate way of practicing the spiritual and healing ways of Mikao Usui Sensei.  In order to retain a wider focus of the practice of Reiki, I also continue to offer master level training in other styles I have been certified in such as Gendai Reiki Ho, Komyo Reiki Kai and Sekhem-Seichim-Reiki

    While I find it most enjoyable to teach classes in person, I have found over the years I have attracted students who were unable to travel to me (or bring me to them) and who wished to receive my classes in a distant format.  While I was reluctant at first, I discovered that providing this service caused me to create a better set of training materials as well as adding in CDs and videos.  So while the classes are now very much suited to the distant student, the improved and additional material provides a welcome benefit and a great source of review for my in-person students.  I have been teaching distant classes since 1997 and I actually find that most distant students spend more time interacting with me (email, phone, etc.) and seem to stay connected much longer. Since I enjoy getting to know the individuals in my classes, this is a welcome benefit for me.  And I encourage all students to retake classes (at no charge) in a live setting with me.

    In recent years, my own healing and energy work have moved beyond the boundaries of Reiki and I always involve my spirit guides in these pursuits. Over the past 2 decades or so my explorations in energy work have led me through many amazing shifts and experiences, sometimes evolving my energy bodies, my chakras and heart centre, and often involving the creation or awakening of new energy focuses within me that I cannot find any reference to elsewhere.  If not for the ongoing support (and clairvoyant vision) of students, friends and especially my family, these experiences could be very disturbing, let alone challenging.  I've learned from my interactions with other energy worker colleagues that many of us are having these kinds of experiences, often unique to ourselves, as our spirit friends assist us to bring higher and more evolved energies to our planet in these changing times. The "future" as we used to think of it, seems to be here, now.  I can't even guess where this will all lead to, but I know it will not be a dull experience.

    Thanks to Spirit, the Sharing never ends.

    Richard Rivard

    "And he thought of those he angered,
    For he was not a violent man,
    And he thought of those he hurt
    For he was not a cruel man
    And he thought of those he frightened
    For he was not an evil man,
    And he understood.
    He understood himself.
    Upon this he saw that when he was of anger or knew hurt or felt fear,
    It was because he was not understanding,
    And he learned, compassion.

    "And with his eye of compassion
    He saw his enemies like unto himself,
    And he learned love.
    Then, he was answered.

    "Just open your eyes
    And realize, the way it's always been.
    Just open your mind
    And you will find
    The way it's always been.
    Just open your heart
    And that's a start."

    from "The Balance" by Graeme Edge
    from the album, "A Question of Balance" by the Moody Blues

    If you have comments or suggestions, Contact me (Richard Rivard).   I will try to answer them all.
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