I have received many calls lately about this subject, so I thought it was a good time to discuss what to look for when you want to learn Reiki.
First, as in anything, not all Reiki Masters, or Teachers, are created equal. The title Master simply means someone who has enough knowledge, experience, and training required to teach and attune others to practice Reiki. So, that being said, the first thing I highly recommend is to ask the Reiki Master you are speaking to how long they have been practicing for and, more importantly, how they themselves were trained.
Traditional Reiki training is through the Usui System, which is the original foundation of Reiki as established by Mikao Usui in Tokyo in April 1922. On the basis of his lifelong spiritual journey and experiences, Mikao developed “The Usui System of Natural Healing”. He started a healing society named “Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai”. Shortly afterward, he opened a clinic in Harajuku and began doing Reiki sessions and teaching classes.
At the age of 60, in 1925, he opened a larger clinic in Nakano and began traveling and lecturing until he passed away from a massive stoke on March 9, 1926. In four short years, he taught over 2,000 students and trained 16 teachers. He wanted this simple technique to be available to all people worldwide.
Mikao Usui used to teach Reiki levels over long periods of time. It has since been shortened to several days, and in some cases I’ve seen and heard from people, just one day. Knowing the remarkable history to Usui’s lineage and training, it makes one wonder how all of that knowledge in Level I or II could possibly be compressed into one day.
Reiki Level I involves learning the history, lineage, hand position, practice, meditation and attunements, of which there are four. Four attunements cannot possibly be administered in one day, thus, teachers that offer Level I training in one day are only offering one attunement. This is not, in my opinion, ethical Reiki Level I training or preparation.
In Reiki Level II you learn the sacred symbols used in healing, practice distance healing, meditation, smudging and house blessing, and attunements. Again, rushing all of this into one day is impossible.
So, research who you are going to train with. Are they registered with the Canadian Reiki Association? In order to be a member with CRA, you must follow strict guidelines which ensures the training is traditional, as Usui intended. Also, ask what their training was. How long did they study with their Master in order to complete their own teaching training?
I have seen weekend courses for Masters designation, which makes me shake my head. Do Universities or Colleges hand out degrees over the course of one weekend? No. You spend years studying. How can you be a “Master” of anything after one short weekend or a few weeks for that matter? Believe me, the proof is in the training you receive. You would feel completely unprepared if your training were too short or didn’t involve everything it should. Wouldn’t you rather know everything you need to know, and take the time to do so?
Second thing I will discuss is price. Look at the cost this way; how many hours are being offered for the total cost? I charge $285 for my Level I course, and $333 for my Level II. I offer the courses over a minimum of 18 hours; which equates to just under $16/hr for level I and under $21/hr for level II. My price is
enough to cover my time and materials. It is neither the lowest nor highest I’ve seen offered. So consider what is offered for the charge. Does the time involved and price make sense to you?
Lineage is also important. After Usui’s passing, one of his students, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, opened a centre for healing and teaching Reiki. Hayashi traveled through Japan spreading the word of Reiki and teaching it. He brought it forth in a way that people were able to study with him for periods of five days at a time to learn the different levels. Our level one was divided into four sections and level two into two. To become a teacher was probably taught over a longer period of time. A substantial amount of time was required between each level as well as much practice.
It was Hayashi who taught Hawayo Takata, who in turn brought it to America. Hawayo Takata, was living in Hawaii; she was very ill and looking for an alternative way to heal. She was led to Hayashi in Japan. He had two practitioners working on Hawayo daily, for several hours at a time, for several months. She did heal, where upon she asked Hayashi to teach her Reiki. After her studies were complete Hawaya took Reiki back to Hawaii, where she opened a clinic. Before Hayashi’s death he was able to see Hawayo once again, where he proceeded to teach her to become a teacher of Reiki. She was only one of two women taught by Hayashi.
When Hawayo was in her eighties she initiated 22 others as Reiki Teachers so they could carry Reiki on after she was gone. It is these 22 teachers who carried Reiki out into the world, today there are thousands of people all over the world practicing Reiki. Beth Grey was one of the two women taught by Hawayo. She went on to teach others in both USA and Australia. It was in the USA that she met and later taught Barbara MacGregor who lives in Hong Kong but had visited USA to be taught by MacGregor. Marli Joy Fromowitz was living in Hong Kong at the time she met Barabara and was taught by her. Marli Joy Fromowitz is my Reiki Master, and I have studied solely with her since 2001. This lineage connects us to a very traditional and honoured method of training. Marli and I are the 5th and 6th level descendants or grand-daughters as it were.
The last thing I’ll mention is connection. I’ve had students re-do their Level I with me because for some reason, they didn’t get what they thought they were looking for the first time around. This could be time, intent, or connection. Sometimes, just finding the right teacher for you is what matters. How do you feel in their presence? Did you speak with them before the class ran? Did they spend some time with you prior either over the phone or in person?
Going on this journey is personal. Whether your goal is to study for yourself or because you want to start helping other people in the future, this journey is important. Who will walk with you on your way? Will the teacher stay in touch with you and answer questions? Will they invest their time not only in the class, but in the future?
Mikao Usui is buried at Saihoji Temple in Suginami-Ku, Tokyo. A large memorial stone was erected by his students, describing his life and work with Reiki. In order to continue his tradition and vision, I encourage you to learn and train in the most honourable way possible. Let light and knowledge be your guide.
In Wellness, Jennefer