In 1993, NYC Reiki Center founder Brian Brunius died in a hospital, had a white light experience and spiritual awakening, during which his physical ailments were inexplicably healed. In the weeks following, he began to see illnesses and their causes as clouds of energy around the bodies of sick people. When he tried to use his hands to move those clouds away, the ill would feel better but he would suffer their sickness for several days. Not ready to take on the suffering of others, he decided to discontinue healing work.
In 1995, walking through Manhattan’s Union Square Park, Brian met Reiki Master John Harvey Gray, who came often to NYC to teach Reiki classes. John had learned Reiki directly from Hawayo Takata, the Japanese-Hawaiian woman who brought Reiki out of Japan and was responsible for its spread around the world. John himself was the longest practicing Reiki Master in the Western world until his death in 2011, and together with his wife Lourdes Gray founded and ran The John Harvey Gray Center for Reiki Healing in Rindge, New Hampshire. Today, Lourdes survives John as his official Lineage Bearer and successor, and continues the work they did together for so long.
John, like Brian, had spent time with the Indian spiritual teacher Sathya Sai Baba. He encouraged Brian to take a weekend first degree class in Usui Shiki Ryoho – the Usui Method of Natural Healing. He promised that, working with Reiki, the practitioner never takes on the energetic problems of the client. In fact, they are themselves strengthened and energized by every treatment they deliver. The very next day a lifelong practice and study of Reiki was born. Fascinated with the simple method and dramatic results, Brian repeated the Reiki I class several times, before taking the second degree the following year. Soon after, he began to offer Reiki sessions on weekends and at night after his day job, and he traveled to Japan several times expanding his understanding of Reiki’s origins.
Brian felt an immediate call to mastery, but as he was young and inexperienced, John encouraged him to “just keep practicing, and let Reiki teach you.” After ten years of treating himself daily and seeing clients part-time, Brian finally entered a 3-year Master apprenticeship with a Master trained by John who lived in New York City and ran a professional Reiki practice and school in Union Square. He left a full-time corporate job and transitioned into full-time Reiki practice during those years, and in 2007 founded NYC Reiki Center.
Brian has personally trained more than 1,500 students from around the world in traditional Usui Shiki Ryoho, and he has initiated four Masters in his intensive multi-year Master training program.
One of Brian’s students, Diane Domondon, became a regular practitioner at NYC Reiki Center in 2015, and she was called to Master training a year later. During her years in Master apprenticeship, as Diane began to teach classes, Brian saw a shift in his Reiki calling. Masters from other lineages and Reiki traditions reached out for mentoring to strengthen their connections to the origins of Reiki, and many students were asking for help opening up their own professional Reiki practices.
Recognizing Diane’s passion for serving others, her natural ability to connect deeply with students and clients, her love and talent for teaching, and her dedication to growing in her practice, Brian asked Diane to continue her Reiki journey at the Center, where she creates and leads student practice circles, teaches monthly and sees private clients. Diane has also since become instrumental in several of the Center’s ongoing projects including: researching and translating early Japanese Reiki Masters and their practices; coordinating research trips and student pilgrimages to Japan; interviewing Masters trained by John Harvey Gray to preserve his legacy for future generations; and organizing events and classes outside of NYC Reiki Center.
Together, Brian and Diane re-launched Reiki Centers of America, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to empower Reiki practitioners and Reiki Masters to develop successful Reiki Centers and thriving Reiki communities across North America. Along with Christopher Tellez at SF Reiki Center , Brian and Diane introduced the Certified Reiki Practitioners training program, offering decades of Brian’s Reiki experience and business acumen in a 6-month course to aspiring professional Reiki practitioners. In November 2018, Reiki Centers of America hosted the late Grandmaster of Usui Shiki Ryoho, Phyllis Lei Furumoto, in New York City for 3 days in her last public appearance. The event included the first ever public gathering of students trained by John Harvey Gray, and also included days for Reiki Masters and students of all lineages. It is also engaged in a major translation project from Japanese to English of Kaiji Tomita’s 1933 Reiki book, Reiki and the Compassionate Art of Healing. Also on offer are annual Reiki pilgrimage tours to Japan for Reiki students interested in deepening their connection to the roots of Reiki.
Today, NYC Reiki Center, still located in Midtown Manhattan’s Union Square after 25 years, continues to offer weekly classes, host monthly student circles, and daily in-person treatments of traditional Japanese Usui Shiki Ryoho.