The Importance of Viewing Reiki as an Ongoing Practice


So the topic of this month’s blog has come from a conversation I had with a Reiki student who regularly attends the monthly events I hold to support the study and practice of Reiki for the students of Reiki I teach. Their view was that attending the regular events provided superb value and helped them greatly with their study and development with Reiki and they couldn’t understand why every student who has taken Reiki training courses does not attend such events to help their study and practice of Reiki. I had observed this fact also. No surprise as a teacher of Reiki, I personally view the ongoing practical practice and support that such events offer as an important component in the study of Reiki.

This got me thinking. With something such as Reiki, where we could think of it as a life practice over the months and years, with our understanding of it deepening over this time (like the ring lines on a developing tree) why is the participation in ongoing practice events, be that in the form of group workshops (practising techniques or concepts from what you learnt in the formal Reiki training courses), Reiki shares (giving and receiving Reiki with other students of Reiki), Repeating training courses (the option open to Jikiden Reiki students to attend courses again and reinforce levels of training at a fraction of the cost), or any further coaching from your Reiki teacher or attending talks etc not the norm? Participation in ongoing study with Reiki students in general is much lower than would be common with many other disciplines of a similar nature. So why is this the case?

Originally in Japan in the 1920’s and 30’s participation in ongoing study with Reiki was common, an accepted part of the practice if you like. For example in 1930’s Japan Reiju Kai meetings would be regularly held, where students received Reiju from their Reiki teacher (the clearing process that facilitates channelling Reiki energy) which was conducted monthly, or even more in some examples. Teaching would be given by the Reiki teacher and students would practice what they had been taught on the formal courses, such events also included giving and receiving Reiki from other students. These events would be well attended.

The ongoing support events many Jikiden Reiki teachers provide today for their students follows this format. So ongoing practice is not something new to Reiki, the importance of it was always emphasised from the beginning. And as Jikiden Reiki teachers we reinforce this at the formal training courses. So why has it not continued so much with Reiki in the west?

For a start, I would say culture plays a part. Culturally the relationship between student and teacher is different in Japan than we see in the west. In Japan it is more of a commitment between both the student and teacher, a longer term relationship and period of ongoing study would be the norm, in any practice.

As was the case with the Reiki teachings many things were lost in translation as it spread in the west, this might simply be another element of the study of Reiki that did not come through as it spread.

The way formal Reiki teaching is presented in two levels, attendance to for example 3 days of Formal training (if not doing teacher levels that is) leans things towards the idea of learning Reiki as an event rather than an process (for our western brains). It is very common with whatever approach to Reiki, that people might ‘learn Reiki’ (take formal training Courses) then that’s about the end of their contact with their Reiki teacher, or any ongoing reinforcement of what was taught, without a deeper layering of understanding as their experience grows. This has been the norm with Reiki for a long time now in the west.

Some teachers do offer Reiki share events, where Reiki students of various training approaches and teachers can meet and both give and receive Reiki, however these rarely involve any teaching reinforcement, as with such mixed groups everyone has been taught different things anyway. So although something, these events can be limited in helping students really develop with their Reiki practice. Moves to make Reiki more recognised professionally from a view of ‘best practice’ have recognised a need for ongoing development for professional practitioners with Reiki, but that more from the requirement of gaining acceptance from governing bodies and a sensible idea if you are going to be professionally delivering Reiki treatments. This being just a professional focus rather than for all students of Reiki.

A bit like Jikiden Reiki is ‘reintroducing the authentic Usui Reiki teachings’ to the Reiki community in the west, is this another part of Japanese Reiki practice that we are reintroducing to peoples practice with Reiki?

Maybe the way training courses are set up has contributed to this way of thinking. If Reiki was a group with a weekly meeting (like weight watchers) it might make more sense to attend regularly. From another view unlike martial arts there are no grades to attain with regular study of Reiki, or anything concrete to work towards after the initial formal training courses.

Previously before my time as a Reiki teacher I studied martial arts. I studied martial arts for quite a few years, and for a time I was a martial arts teacher myself. I studied to a grade of 2nd degree black belt. It would have been unimaginable that I would rock up to a teacher when I started my study, take a weekend course for each belt level, say 12 graded belt levels, without the many hours of both self-practice and at a club, under the guidance of my teacher and fellow martial arts students, with the exposure to those a bit further allow the path than me, such as the higher grade students, gaining subtle tips from those with experience as well as experiencing the repetition and refinement in my understanding and skill.

Yes martial arts training itself may differ to Reiki in many ways, but it does serve as a view of an eastern and specifically Japanese approach to learning anything really, be that a martial art, tea ceremony etc. The point being rarely is it going to take the form of a few days of formal training then your study has been completed. Yet this is an approach many take with Reiki.

If we think of riding a bike, yes you can ‘ride a bike’ with a bit of practice, say as a kid in a weekend or so, but it would be fair to say your proficiency and skill would be low if you didn’t practice after the initial learning phase. Compared to a professional bike rider, who has been racing and competing for the last 15 yrs, training 5 times a week. Your progress relative to your potential would be low as a bike rider if you have not done much practice since your initial learning to ride a bike. Yes you can ‘ride a bike’, but as with most things to be proficient ongoing practice and coaching is required.

I commonly see this idea of Reiki courses as events, rather than a practice, or a way of thinking expressed by people as: ‘I know Reiki’, or ‘I’ve done Reiki 1 and 2 courses’ (suggesting the training/learning has been done), rather than ‘I am studying Reiki’ (suggesting a longer learning/ still learning idea/view). With the riding a bike example with Reiki its a bit like stating ‘I’ve been doing Reiki for 20 years’, yet never having invested in any further coaching, training since your formal training courses 20 years ago. The distance of time that has pasted since your formal training is not necessarily an indicator of skill, or ability.

Other things to consider could be: in our increasingly time pressured world are people less skilled at prioritising their study of Reiki and self-care in general? Or is there a dominant pull in our society towards instant gratification that is at odds with such a gradual practice? Or are we increasingly not used to committing ourselves to a period of study? Or with so many ‘shinny interesting objects’ out there at our finger tips are we learning things on a superficial level, then hoping to the next course or approach? Or as teachers are we not reinforcing the importance and benefits of ongoing practice and coaching to students? Or is what many people looking for when they take Reiki training just the initial training and Reiju to be able to channel Reiki energy and that’s all they want and are less interested in the practice of Reiki?

Maybe it’s a combination of many things, I would simply invite everyone who has taken Reiki training (or thinking about taking Reiki training) to consider any formal Reiki training as the start point in their study. So I would say beyond self-treatment, treatments you perform on others in isolation and reading books on your own, what are you doing to develop your study and practice with Reiki.?

For those who are interested in the approach I take to ongoing study for the students I train in Reiki, details of my student events can be found here.

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About the author, Shaun Mckeown: could be labeled as a performance strategist, coach, teacher, or a life balance specialist. In essence Shaun is a strategic, creative problem solver, with a holistic view. He has 20 years professional experience helping people with health, well-being, sport performance, reducing stress and life balance. He has a BSc.(Hons) degree in Sport and Exercise Science, as well as experience coaching and teaching in exercise conditioning, holistic lifestyle and nutrition, sport performance and Reiki. So both science and holistic perspectives. 


The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this article. Shaun Mckeown, disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article.