Much of what is true for the first-level Reiki practitioner is also true for the Reiki teacher. Our most important lesson at the first level was to get out of the way, and it’s no different now. Again and again we learned that the less we bring of our own agenda to the healing, the more effective and graceful the healing will be. In short, we learned simply to relax and let it flow. But when you become a Reiki teacher there is a temptation to forget this, and again to try to use Reiki to build a strong spiritual ego identity, which might look something like this: the deep and wise spiritual teacher, shining with pure white light, who quietly waits for the a student willing to learn from the master, the one who has attained perfect spiritual liberation. This kind of identity will bring countless frustrated expectations, and it highlights the important of our first principle of mastership, which is humility.
With this humility comes simplicity. And being a Reiki teacher is really very simple: you decide when is the right time for you to teach, who you will accept as a student, and then you guide your students through the teachings of Reiki as best you can. Let’s explore each of these in turn.
Responding with Wisdom
As a Reiki teacher your responsibility, which you can think of as your ability to respond, starts with the wisdom to be able to say no. When potential students come to you because they want to learn Reiki, you decide whether you will accept them as students. This is always a choice. Allow me to say this again: You do not need to take on every potential student who requests the teachings. Some students would be better served by a different Reiki teacher. This may be because of a personality clash between the two of you, or it may be that the potential student would simply connect better to another teacher. It also may be that this potential student would be served best by waiting before learning Reiki, waiting for events to unfold in her life and later discovering that certain feeling of knowing that the time is right to learn Reiki. It might also be that you actually need to take a break from teaching Reiki. In this case, honour your own needs and do it!
Requests for Guidance
The students who you do take on will come to you before, during or after a course for guidance. First, they will have questions about the things that you teach them. This is a natural part of any kind of teaching and learning, but learning Reiki is more than just understanding and applying the techniques that are used in healing. The process of learning Reiki also brings transformation to the student on her unique emotional and spiritual journey, and as she progresses through a course, she will benefit not just from your answers to questions about the technical details of Reiki, but also from your guidance on whatever is going on for her in her life at that moment. Sometimes it is obvious how to respond, but in my experience, I have often felt under-qualified to give this kind of advice. I have been asked about diet, relationships, fine details of the chakra system, and even traditional Chinese medicine. Sometimes I know the answers, sometimes I can guess, and sometimes I have no idea. Fortunately my experience has also taught me that it’s fine to say I don’t know. People feel that they can trust a teacher who doesn’t pretend to have all the answers.
As for the Reiki course itself, some people respond to Reiki in a calm, gentle manner, but for others the experience can be dramatic. Be prepared for the fact that some students will go through intense emotional healing or even a dramatic spiritual experience. These kinds of things are likely during an initiation or a practice healing. The student may shake, cry, or shout. In this situation you will want to tell the student that she is safe, and that this reaction is to be expected—it’s a normal part of the healing process.
And when the course is over, some students will come to you with ongoing questions about how Reiki fits into everyday life, about the meaning of a particular spiritual phenomenon, or about how she should tackle a troubling situation related to healing. As before, you don’t need to have all the answers, and sometimes your best support may simply be to refer the student to someone else who can help her better. And sometimes the best response is no response at all.
In summary, you don’t need to have all of the answers, and you don’t need to teach Reiki to each and every person that asks for it. Responding with wisdom is a skill that you will develop over time, a skill that honours the needs of both you and the student. When you listen to the deepest voice of your own heart, this doesn’t feel heavy, as though you were personally responsible for teaching Reiki to as many people as possible, or as though you were responsible for solving all of the issues that your students bring to you.
When you listen to your heart’s voice, and honour it, the possibilities and potentials fall into place effortlessly. This does not mean that you, the perfect teacher, also have a perfect venue filled with perfect students. Instead it means harmony within you, a harmony which attracts students who will benefit from learning with you. It also means that you will not feel uncertainty in your teaching, but the joy of doing what you know is right. But like all good things, this sense of relaxed confidence comes with time, and may take many years to develop fully.
Fidelity to the Tradition
Most students of Reiki want to know that they are learning authentic Reiki. To me authentic means an approach to Reiki that is rooted in the wisdom of the years, while retaining the flexibility to adapt to the challenges of the present day. In a practical sense, this means I don’t add, remove or change things without careful consideration, and I disclose if I teach things that have not traditionally been a part of the Usui Shiki Ryōhō lineage.
Changing the System
If I were to change something major in the system, like the way a symbol is drawn, I would not honestly be able to call what I teach Usui Shiki Ryōhō. In order to not deceive anyone I would need to call this “Kit Reiki”, and students would rightly be suspicious of how authentic this Reiki would be.
There is very little standardisation in how Reiki is taught across the world, and we don’t want to contribute to this fragmentation by making unnecessary changes to course content. On the other hand, there is some flexibility, and honouring the tradition does not mean becoming a slave to the past. As you grow in experience of practicing and teaching Reiki, and as you discover new things in your own researches, you will want to trust your own wisdom and individuality by teaching your own authentic but unique Reiki courses.
Principles of Mastership
The principles of mastership that we observe are therefore:
- Humility. We let go of the desire to be honoured as spiritual gurus, and instead serve the student in the simple, humble role of a teacher.
- Responding with wisdom. Everyone benefits when we have the maturity and wisdom to respond to people who want to learn Reiki with a clear yes or no, and when we respond to student’s requests for guidance with simplicity and honesty, not pretending that we are perfect teachers who know everything.
- Fidelity to the tradition. We seek fidelity to the system of Reiki and to our lineage, and are completely transparent about any changes we have made.