Choosing Your Reiki Path: Beware of “Fast-Food Reiki”
By Donna Miller-Small, Reiki Practitioner & Master Teacher
Whenever I celebrate a special occasion in my life, I go out to dine in a fine restaurant. There I can linger over each course, allowing me to appreciate the ambience, savor each bite of food, enjoy the conversation, and end-up feeling up-lifted by the holistic experience. Would I think for a moment of going to a fast-food joint with empty calories and a speedy in-and out mentality? Of course not! Yet, figuratively speaking, this is exactly the choice an increasing number of Reiki students are making without knowing it.
The current trend toward “Fast-Food Reiki” takes two forms, but is really two sides of the same coin. On one side, Level I is offered in a quick-fix three or four hour time slot. On the other, breaking with long-standing Reiki Tradition, practitioners teach both Levels I and II as well as ART and Masters together, without separation.
Notice how different the traditional schools of Reiki handle training. For example, a Level I class involves a full day of training, lasting at least six hours, where students receive thorough grounding in the basics, practice hands-on techniques with careful supervision, share in meaningful conversation with each other, and participate in question/answer dialogues. William Rand, noted Reiki authority, fully supports this philosophy: “I recommend that the minimum time necessary be at least six to seven hours. Along with the attunement, it is necessary that the student be shown how to give treatments and also to practice giving treatments in class.”
The flip side of the coin, combining two levels at a time, also fails to honor the process. From the beginning of Reiki, teachers separated the levels for good reasons. Tradition has maintained that beginners should be given time to digest what they’ve learned in Level I. They should spend the following several months practicing on themselves, friends, and family members. Only then, if and when they feel ready for it, should they continue with Level II. In fact, many students conclude after Level I that they’ve gotten enough benefit and don’t want to spend extra time, money and effort in further training. Similar thinking guided the separation of ART from Masters.
Choose What Works for You
To be fair, there is an argument for shorter hours and combining levels. In our fast-paced lives, some people today are sorely pressed for time and, practically, may only be able to squeeze in Reiki instruction in a condensed time-frame. The question, though, for these people is, “Is this really the time to save a few hours, or could I better find other ways to cut time, where there is less at stake?”
While learning Reiki isn’t quite like celebrating a special occasion, you are taking a serious step into spiritual learning, growth, and healing. As such, only by giving this training its due respect can it yield its precious fruits. Moreover, although the factory-style approach may, metaphorically, “fill your belly” with food, the fix is illusory and liable to give you indigestion.
Ultimately, spiritually wolfing down your food in fast-food fashion or dining in a fine restaurant is your decision. However, listening to the voice of Reiki’s Traditional wisdom can help you make an informed decision that’s genuinely best for you.