I see more and more people advertising distance Reiki courses at every level – Shoden I, Okuden II, Shinpiden III – and to me this is a bit sad to see. Of course we all have our own journey to make and I do not mean to say that one path is better than the other. But let’s take a closer look so you can see what I am trying to say.
The system of Reiki is traditionally a meditation practice to lay bare your own inner great bright light. It is not just about getting a reiju/attunement/initiation and then – presto! – off you go and heal the world. There is so much more to the practice.
The art of meditation is not just doing a breathing practice which you learn online through a written text or a video. Real meditation practices you have to learn from a qualified teacher in person. Why? Each meditation practice and each person who practices the system of Reiki is unique. A good teacher needs to – wants to – see the student: how do they do the breathing, how are they sitting, what is their mind doing during the meditation practices, etc. This we can only really observe through an in-person class.
One other element is that a good teacher wants to observe a student when they perform a hands-on or off session so they can guide the student to become a more well-rounded practitioner. What does the teacher look for? How does the student stand or sit, how do they place the hands, what is their breathing and their mind doing, how do they respond to questions or comments from the person they are working with… Again we can only fully observe this and offer support and feedback through being with a student in person, not just by watching each other through a webcam.
That’s not to say that a Reiki class can not combine online and in-person teachings if a teacher wants to teach in this way and wants to offer their students this option. But a completely online Reiki class, while it may allow students to follow their own time schedules and may eliminate the need to travel to class, also seems to me to eliminate some very important elements, or to diminish them.
Of course we want to believe that everyone’s motives are pure, kind, and for the benefit of all, but we may wonder why people start to offer distance Shoden Reiki I, Okuden Reiki II and Shinpiden Reiki III classes. We might ask – is it because they just want to make money? Of course money is wonderful, but as this is a spiritual teaching, I wonder how much really can be conveyed through distance classes, especially to students who may be in the early stages of their spiritual development journeys.
The reiju/attunement/initiation is yet another important element. Once again, the teacher needs to see if the student is sitting in the correct posture, if their breathing is correct, if their mind is in the right state of mind. Why? Because it takes two to tango. The reiju/attunement/initiation is not a one way street in which the teacher does something for you. If we think that, then we have misunderstood what reiju/attunement/initiation is all about. Therefore a real reiju/attunement/initiation needs to be in-person so that the teacher can observe and support the student so that they are in the right space – mind – body – speech – for the reiju/attunement/initiation.
With an online Reiju, a student’s face may look focused and calm, hands perfectly held in gassho, but out of view, their foot could be tapping a mile a minute in restlessness and / or anxiety. In an in-person class, the teacher can more clearly see all the nuances of what a student is doing or experiencing and can respond to that.
And sometimes during a Reiki class, things can get emotional! Whether during meditation, hands-on or off healing, or Reiju, a student may experience strong reactions. When this happens, being with the teacher and with other students can have a calming effect. For example, if a student starts to cry while the group is practicing, a touch on the shoulder or a hug can be invaluable and just what is needed.
And along with emotional support, another point to make is that in an in-person class you see how other people practice; a group format brings up questions and experiences which you can not duplicate online.
There are many more elements which make it important to do an in-person Shoden Reiki I, Okuden Reiki II and a Shinpiden Reiki III class.
We can say the same if we learn how to ski or how to play a violin for example. Yes, we can do an online course, but what do we really get or become?
Don’t get me wrong online courses are wonderful, we teach online classes as well, but more as a support for students who have already done in-person classes.=
So don’t cut yourself short, go to a good teacher who will teach you in-person so that you get the most out of the system of Reiki and your own personal practice.
Based in Holland, Frans Stiene teaches in North America, Europe, UK, Australia and Asia.
Frans is also the author of Reiki Insights, it is the continuation of his previous book The Inner Heart of Reiki, taking your personal practice and understanding of the system of Reiki yet another step deeper.