Years ago after I gave a presentation at a local yoga studio a young woman approached me and asked what I did. I replied, “I do Reiki.” “I do too” she said excitedly. We spoke a bit about our mutual love for the healing art, then she asked again, “What do you do?”
I thought she didn’t hear me, and I kindly responded again, “I do Reiki”. Puzzled, she then clarified, “Yes, but I meant what do you do for a living??” “REIKI” I answered emphatically. Perplexed, she commented that I was the first person she ever met who was able to make a “living” doing Reiki. This really saddened me, as I know it to be true that so many practitioners would love to be merging their passion with their purse and have a profitable healing practice, or at least one that would sustain them.
One of the main reasons that some are able to do the healing work they so love and make a living, while so many others feel it is a pipe dream has to do with the concept of Mastery and Apprenticeship. Ideally, we are all teachers and students simultaneously, yet recognizing, accepting and honoring those relationships are key.
Secret #1: Attitude of Apprenticeship
My Reiki Master gave me a great compliment though at the time I wasn’t sure it was positive. When I applied for Mastery, she said “I can teach you—you are like a child.” Being open and willing to learn, having “beginner’s mind” is what she meant.
In another tradition, there is the Guru-disciple relationship. The disciple finds a Guru or spiritual master and requests acceptance as a disciple. This is followed by years and even decades of spiritual discipline, practices, and seva or selfless service in the ashram or spiritual community. In return for all the effort, the grace of the Guru flows into the disciple giving great wisdom and enlightenment.
Kumara and I know this path very well, as we devoted a combination of 50 years to our spiritual path in this way, logging untold hours of meditation, pranayama (breathwork), yoga, chanting, mantra repetition and sacred rituals.
And did I mention Service??? My first “seva” was cleaning toilets and laying sod. Kitchen seva, garden seva, hosting guests and holding massive events, building temples and labyrinths, and running AIDS hospices. You get the picture. And yes, we “paid” for the privilege. And we have no regrets, for what we got in return for our ample investment, is a wealth of spiritual wisdom, fortitude and grace.
In Japan the Reiki students performed treatments in the clinic daily for years before “graduating” to another level. And not all of them did get to the higher levels of Mastery.
My partner Kumara shared that an apprentice woodworker in Germany would pay the Master Carpenter a good amount per month for 3 years to learn the trade. Then another 3 years he would get some pay as a “Geselle”, and continue to learn the business end of the trade. Finally, he would apply for the honor of being a “Master” and take the appropriate exams etc. Not everyone made this level of artistry and business acumen.
The western addiction to “fast food” has spawned what my Master would call “fakey reiki”. Some students think they should be able to receive attunements online, or a weekend Mastery course and then wonder why they can’t teach and have a practice that supports them.
It is not just the students’ shortcomings here, but the teachers who are only offering the McDonald’s style courses at bargain rates that prevent the full transmission of the energy and power that is available through Reiki when true apprenticeship is acknowledged and understood.
Secret #2: Find a Teacher
Whether you are trying to master a musical instrument or wanting to become adept at a healing art, finding a great teacher will certainly speed up your learning curve exponentially. I find many folks here that equate reading books with acquiring knowledge on a topic. And while I love to read, I can tell you that the most impactful “learning” that I ever accomplished was with my teachers.
Often it is not just the words either. It happens sometimes primarily by a sort of osmosis, or transmission. The very state of being gets more easily downloaded than if you took years of book knowledge of a subject, especially in the realm of energy healing, personal growth and spiritual and intuitive development.
I am certainly not advocating giving away power here. But the results of devoting time, energy and resources to a true teaching are phenomenal. Personally I popped open immediately upon meeting my first guru from India. Just being near her was ecstatic. It was as if you got to enter into her energy field and transformations happened effortlessly. Then I spent the next 20 years absorbing the practices so that I could manage to hold that higher vibration more on my own.
When it comes to Reiki, I would recommend finding a Master who is focused full time on their healing art. Hopefully fairly successful so they are not in struggle, as that takes a ton of focus away from healing. Find one that you resonate with and feel good around. This is not to say they never challenge you but you should feel uplifted in general. One who is devoted to their own self-care meaning they receive regular treatments and attend to their own spiritual growth via meditation or other similar practices. A good place to start is to check the Reiki Alliance, as it if the only organization I know of that regulates its Masters via a personal interview before acceptance into the Alliance to assess how they were taught.
Secret #3: Invest in yourself
When you invest in a course or workshop, it may feel as if you are investing in that person or teacher. But the truth is you are investing in yourself through them. This concept can change the way you view these opportunities and allow you to take full advantage of them instead of wondering if it is “worth it”. Even when the experience is not always perfect, when you take responsibility for it you can always find a valuable teaching in it.
My guess is the young woman I mentioned earlier who never could make a living doing Reiki, personally had made very little investment in her training. And this is not just the students responsibility. The teacher too must set the standards high.
When Ms. Takata brought Reiki to the US so many years ago, she saw that Westerners tended not to value things unless they paid for them. So she established standardized fees for each level of Reiki which have not changed for over 30 years in the Reiki Alliance yet many have declared the values out of proportion. Takata sold her home in Hawaii to apprentice with Dr. Hayashi in Japan and learn Reiki.
Now I understand why Takata placed a very decent value ($10,000 in 1980—counting inflation it is over $28,000) on Reiki Mastery. I cannot begin to add up my investment in Reiki, energy healing and spiritual practice, combined with all the business, coaching and counseling trainings. And I have not one regret, it was totally worth every unpaid minute, and every penny borrowed.
Secret #4: Don’t be afraid to ask others to invest in you
Receiving energy exchange for services is just as valuable as giving it. The circle of giving is only complete when there is receiving. I encourage all my students especially after Reiki Level II to begin charging for their treatments.
Once I was feeling very exhausted and I couldn’t seem to clear it for weeks. When I meditated on it, the answer I received was I did not charge enough and therefore I was out of balance and alignment and getting depleted.
The rest of the message was this: You have a great fire hose of energy and healing to share, but you are only asking clients to come to you with a little garden hose. They are not able to receive the fullness of what you have to offer, and you are not feeling balanced. Right then and there I raised my fees. It was one thing to deny myself, but the thought that I may be blocking my clients and students from receiving more was unbearable.
Secret #5: Decide and take action
This is from my fabulous new conscious business mentor Kendall Summerhawk who says “Indecision robs you of massive amounts of energy.” Taking action is where many people fall down, especially spiritual seekers. You must move in the direction of your dreams and goals, with great intention. Even small actions performed consistently can have massive results over time.
Many years ago I moved from my spiritual community to a new city and was needing to find work. I knew my heart was telling me to do Reiki, but I had no way to get started. Instead of falling back on my law degree, I grabbed the Yellow pages and decided if I was going to have a healing practice I needed a massage table.
My small action allowed Spirit to step in, and I opened the page to “M” and found an ad for “Marriage & Family Counseling” that caught my eye as they mentioned holistic services. I tried to contact them for weeks with no response. Finally I drove to the office with my new Reiki resume, and eventually landed my first position in a Psychiatric practice offering Reiki treatments.
I encourage you to go for your dreams; in this time of great shift in human awakening and planetary evolution there is great opportunity. Now more than ever your dreams are within reach.