In the world of social distancing, there’s no question we’ve fielded more lately than “Do you teach Reiki online?” from prospective students. It’s so hard for me to tell them no when they’ve seen many such classes on the Internet. I’m often – almost daily now – asked to explain, “why not?”
The Reiki Master community is at odds over the possibility of giving attunements via distant Reiki, and the contention has forced me to sit with my own beliefs amidst both sides of the argument, and answer the question for myself.
Are distant Reiki attunements possible? In short, yes. Any of our second-degree students and virtual clientele can attest to Reiki crossing the bounds of time and space. I have delivered Reiju for self-treatment to clients in deep crisis, and Brian shares them in virtual circles and meditation classes. They are palpable. And, we also have record of Takata Sensei delivering distant initiations for emergency therapeutic use with the caveat that hands-on attunement be delivered as soon as possible.
The real question for me is: should we offer distant attunements? The matter becomes grayer in these times of COVID, and of heightened mental, emotional and physical illness. I have a deep desire to share Reiki widely – now more than ever – as I’ve witnessed its tremendous capacity to heal the many faces of coronavirus suffering.
But, regardless of whether distant initiations are possible, online Reiki classes are decidedly not for me.
In my experience of teaching Reiki:
Practicing and receiving Reiki in class is essential. You cannot learn what you do not experience and practice. Having given several treatments in class, with feedback from the teacher and peers – our students leave confident in their ability to give Reiki and know what their recipients can expect from Reiki sessions.
- Reiki class must be interactive and, if anything, Zoom culture has made it less imaginable for me to recreate the class experience online. As teachers, we demonstrate hand positions, observe student practice, and tell the Reiki story – correcting form and clarifying questions in real time. I simply don’t know how to do that in the realm of muted/unmuted mics and dropped or delayed video. I won’t know when my students need a bathroom or water break or if they’ve taken one during a crucial piece of information.
- Reiki community begins in class through the physical and verbal exchange of experience from practitioner to recipient, the intimate questions and life stories that are shared in communion with the practice, and simply being present not just with but for others. So many of our students have created private Reiki shares at home, volunteered, or made a commitment to attending our circles together with classmates.
- When delivered face-to-face, hand-to-hand, there can be no doubt of the energetic transmission in Reiki attunements. I have – too often – had students confused about initiations, having had previous teachers deliver them through video chat or recorded video, or even given text to read as a means of attunement. These students come to class asking whether I can “see” their initiations and wondering if they have them at all.
- The giving and receiving of Reiki are fundamental to the attunement process. The connection to Reiki energy that begins with the initiation is fortified by Reiki practice.
- Students may need support around attunements. For most students, initiations are a peaceful, meditative process. But, for some they may trigger emotional or physical responses. As a teacher, I feel obligated to be present should these reactions arise.
- I honor tradition and teach Usui Shiki Ryoho. I teach exactly as Brian taught me, as John Gray taught him, and as Takata Sensei taught John. And, I feel I owe my students exactly what I have been given. And, as I invoke their names in the workshop, I owe my teachers a class to which they would put their names.