Reiki Attunements

This week I wish to discuss Reiki Attunements. They are an intrinsic part of the Reiki training process and provide the energetic link through the unbroken lineage of Masters Teachers back to Dr Usui the founder of Usui Shiki Ryoho.

There are many variations of passing attunements and I personally have experienced at least six different methods each of which had it’s own particular quality. When it comes to the process of giving an attunement, I admit to have had days where I wondered if simply just sitting in the room with clear intent would suffice and if I had more courage I would love to invite Master Teachers to sit quietly for their attunement until they felt it had taken place rather than me telling them it has, after all  it happened that way for Dr Mikao Usui as there was no one else there to anchor the attunement for him.

So the question arises in me, What if we release the idea that the attunement process is driven by the master giving it and entertain the idea that it is actually the person receiving it who dictates it? What would that do to the structure of Reiki? I am aware that these days Reiki masters are everywhere you look and this saturation leads people to make claims about their own abilities to attune people to higher and higher vibrations. The sceptic in me if I am honest, regards this as little more than a marketing strategy aimed at vulnerable people.

Before I go into my personal take on attunements I would like to share a story that contributed to my point of view on this subject. This is a small extract from my book Reiki and the seven chakras on my first Master Teacher attunement by June Woods in May 1995.

Approximately half a mile from Junes bungalow was RAF Kinloss, a search and rescue facility for antiquated Nimrod aircraft that were a derivative of the comet the first jet airliner in public use. Consequently they are not the quietest of aircraft particularly during take-off and on this afternoon they were practising circuits and bumps which meant every fifteen minutes a great roar could be heard that would shake poor Junes bungalow to the core as the Nimrod attempted once again to break free of Earths gravity.

“Don’t worry dear just ignore them” said June “Lets do a little meditation”

‘Meditation? How on earth are you supposed to be able to meditate with..ROARRRRRR…..the Nimrod headed off for another circuit.

So with me on the sofa, Junes cat curled up next to me and June opposite in her arm chair we closed our eyes. ‘Its no good’ I thought… I remember feeling and hearing June stand up, I felt the breeze on my right shoulder and cheek as she brushed past me. She stood behind me and it felt as if she stepped into my body. My breath became rapid as I felt myself expand. Then it felt as if someone else stepped into me then another and another, each time an expansion of my being.

When I eventually opened my eyes there was absolute silence. June was looking at me from her armchair a little concerned. “you all right?” she asked.

“I had no idea that’s what it would be like”, I said

“I haven’t started yet”, said June and so I described to her what I had experienced.

This event crystalized in me a deep understanding that the Reiki Attunement if your ready for it, will spontaniously take place without the Reiki master having to place his or her hands on you at all. Certainly with the present varieties in Reiki attunement processes on the internet, there appears to be no definitive way to pass an attunement. Some methods I have seen require us to visualise the symbols in different colours, others to place our tongue into the roof of our mouth (Hui Yin) whilst clenching the perineum muscles (Buttocks) and I have even heard of people holding their breath throughout the whole process! Now I don’t know if my attunement process is longer than everyone else’s but I don’t think I would make it to the end if I attempted it and I can swim a good 40 metres underwater without breathing.

We have so many “Beyond Reiki” systems these days I have lost count and this is where in my opinion they fall down. The orientation of higher levels of attainment is where we as human egos get caught out. The reality surely is that we must find the pearl within that has always been there, albeit shrouded in all our self perceived un-worthyness. If we are constantly striving outside of ourselves for higher and higher vibrations, how will we know that we have got it? Will we arrive at a point where we are high enough? From my experience, external orientation comes from the Ego and it will never be enough, there will always be the need for more…

I like to view the attunement as a golden seed of potential sown within that through gentle nurturing can be allowed to grow and fill the space previously occupied by the old you. Using this metaphor, we have to take personal responsibility for the journey, utilizing the tools given to us by our Reiki master to make those changes that allow the seed to develop and flourish. This is quite different to the idea that a master more powerful than us can take responsibility for our development and give us a higher vibration of being-ness when he or she feels we are ready. When we go within we discover our own unique and wonderful connection to the universe, we discover everything about ourselves that is not perfect and by gently loving and accepting those parts we are able to arrive at a point where we feel comfortable with ourselves and there is no need for external validation at all.

I made a decision a number of years ago to allow my Reiki students to pass attunements to new students on my courses once they have attained Master Teacher status. I made this decision for two reasons. Firstly to allow my students real life practice of passing the attunements giving them an opportunity to do so whilst I was there supporting them. I saw their confidence boosted by this process and a wonderful sense of humility come over them as they were touched by the beauty of it all. Secondly I became increasingly uncomfortable that people viewed me as the source of energy leading to a Guru like status that anyone of sound mind would be uncomfortable with. Unfortunately this invariably will take place in these circumstances.

By allowing anyone to attune who has learnt how to, a very simple but important message is given early on in the training, that this is a system of healing that anyone can learn and pass on when given the proper guidance and support by another Master Teacher. I will continue with this philosophy for the reasons I have stated and because I have seen many of my students go on to make great teachers in their own right..

Thanks for listening






7 thoughts on “Reiki Attunements

  1. I agree, when I first took my Master level, my teacher asked me to pass an attunement on her shortly after my own master attunement. I felt I wasn’t ready, or good enough, and that I would make a mistake. I felt performance anxiety as I couldn’t ‘cheat’ as it was my own teacher I was passing an attunement to. I took a deep breath. Focused. And just got on with it. For me, it dispelled the separation between teacher and student, and any potential for attachment and guru status. I left the room with us as equals, and also feeling pleasantly chuffed with myself! I was originally taught to attune using the Hui Yin, however feel that not using it helps me focus more on the task at hand instead of worrying whether I am clenching enough or not!

  2. I feel that the way that you take your students through each level as assists is invaluable to them. It not only shows them the correct way to do things but also helps to bolster their confidence. It helped me no end Rich.

  3. There you go again, explaining things in such a beautiful, simple way. Throughout my whole Reiki experience with you Richard, nervous newcomer without much of an idea of what all this Reiki stuff is about, through to – amazingly – Master Teacher, I can say that you have been brilliant in allowing us to realise that WE are the ones who become empowered and that you are the means for that to happen. Yes – I was one of those ‘touched by the beauty’ of giving an attunement, it was truly wonderful to experience and I thank you for the opportunity Richard.
    Love Sue x

  4. Great post again, Richard. Yes, I was taught to hold my breath in the first of quite a few Master attunements. On the one hand, it does help with focus, on the other, it feels a bit like drowning. But, like you, having learned several different methods and noting that they all “work”, it comes down to choosing the one that one is most comfortable with. Or so it seems to me.

    And, yes, I remember those nimrods right next door to Findhorn – such a beautiful, peaceful place right next door to all that commotion and preparation for war. Quite a contrast!

    Never tried giving or receiving an attunement there though! Lol!

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