This week I wish to talk about the validity of Distant attunements in the Reiki practice. With the growing trend in internet training, there are many distant Reiki courses cropping up all over the Web with the bulk of the training given as correspondence and the initiation given from a distance. Proponents of these courses cite convenience and cost as the main incentives to study this way. Firstly, being able to fit your Reiki course into your busy life, studying when you want to and receiving the attunements in the quiet of your own home are certainly good arguments for this method of training. Secondly the cost of remote courses is generally lower than the more traditional weekend format where your teacher is present.
Advocates express the view that if it is possible to send healing at a distance then why limit ourselves to that and why not also send attunements. Certainly there is no reason why the process itself should not be effective if carried out by an experienced Master Teacher but the question arises, ‘how does the student reflect upon their own process which naturally arises as a consequence of the initiations?
Kenji Hamamoto founder of Hekikuu Reiki say’s “To effectvely assist the student to awaken to Reiki, the teacher needs to be present, needs to be able to watch for the physiological signs that the process is actually unfolding; to receive tangible energetic feedback. It would be disrespectful to the student to merely raise the hands at a distance, take the money and hope.”
I have witnessed several students over the years that have had extreme reactions to the attunement. By that I mean, collapsing into an intense abreaction immediately upon receiving the initiation. They were in that state for hours and it was essential that I or one of my trainee masters was present to ensure that they received the care they needed until the reaction subsided. This is certainly not common, but it happens from time to time. I have also seen students react strongly upon seeing the emotional and mental symbol in the classroom as the inherent intent in the symbol released trapped emotional memory from the body spontaneously.
I believe and trust Reiki with it’s inherent intelligence knows what the student needs and ensures their wellbeing even though it looks intense at times from the outside! The issue I have with distant teaching of Reiki goes deeper though and it is not just to do with the duty of care and responsibility we have to those we teach but also to the system of Reiki itself we are teaching. It is not by chance that The Reiki Federation does not recognise Distant attunements as valid forms of Reiki training.
The economy of training this way is also debatable. A quick look on the web show’s the average cost of distant training at around £60 for level 1. For this you receive a comprehensive workbook, sometimes DVD’s, the initiations and telephone or skype supervision. When you choose to attend a training seminar with the teacher present the cost ranges from £100-£150 for level 1. For this you should receive most if not all of the above and also hands on tuition in real life situations, which for me is invaluable. By working with other students you also get to receive Reiki which helps release your own emotional blockages ensuring a better flow of energy through you. Real time question and answers and the ongoing support and comfort of your Reiki group is also an essential part of your learning.
Another important element in Reiki training, is in being shown how to feel energy. Learning to shift your attention to more subtle realms requires guidance. Practices like Byson Reikan Ho are difficult to learn without the encouragement of a teacher who is present.
Reiki is more than a system of healing for those suffering from illness, it is also a means of refining mind, emotions and body. Reiki can help us clarify thought processes, change habitual behaviour, shift our perceptions, calm our soul, release trapped emotions that maintain the fragmented aspects from our journey and reveal glimpses of our essential nature. To embark on this journey alone with a teacher in another part of the world and only a handbook downloaded from the internet as a guide and a promise is quite an undertaking.
I have come to the conclusion from the people I have encountered that anyone embarking on the Reiki journey who is tempted by distant courses will end up with more questions than answers and will very likely have to re invest in further training in order to feel confident and proficient at giving healing to others.
Over the last 18 years I have seen Reiki dragged through the mire and at times deservedly. Offering attunements on ebay (Yes it’s true) does not help maintain Reiki as a reputable system of complementary healthcare! Whilst there are practitioners out there doing everything they can to ensure Reiki as a self regulating practice is recognised by the medical profession, it appears there are equal numbers doing everything in their power to make a mess of it.
I agree wholeheartedly with Kenji Hamamoto when he said
“My vision for Reiki is to facilitate and nurture the development of skillfull and experienced and effective therapeutic practitioners.”
I personally can’t imagine how I could possibly achieve that without being present with my students…