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Reiki Debate Part 2: Can You Learn Reiki Remotely?

Thanks to everyone who emailed me your thoughts and opinions about last week’s debate topic (see Reiki Debate Part 1, HERE).

I received some amazing and insightful messages from people such as:

“It is hard for me to believe that a specific hand position is a prerequisite, but rather a specific ‘soul position.’ “

“Yes, holding space is a very real, kind and honourable way to practice. Especially for animals in high distress or sickness.”

“I have found that by practicing Reiki in this way [the Let Animals Lead® method] it shifted how I approached any living energy with Reiki and I’m grateful for the distinction.”

“I think if there is a way, we can calmly suggest, that Animal Reiki is an evolving modality, and that those who don’t believe it to be this way, can do what they believe, but you and I know, it’s something more.”

Today I’m continuing our discussion of Reiki debates with another hotly debated topic in the Reiki community:

“You can’t learn Reiki remotely.”

With the pandemic moving interactions to the online platform this year, wow this is a big one in the Reiki community right now! When I began teaching tele-classes on various Animal Reiki topics over ten years ago, I received a lot of pushback from the Reiki community at large. I mostly skirted around this issue by not offering official Level 1 and 2 certification courses remotely. However, a few years ago when I decided to certify people online in the Let Animals Lead® method, Levels 1 and 2, there were a few Reiki friends and students who broke ties and spoke out very negatively against me. It was actually surprising to me, the level of anger people seemed to feel on this issue.

Tradition is an important thing, and I value the traditional Japanese teachings of Reiki. I understand and respect the decisions of many Reiki teachers and organizations to only teach in-person, as well all need to find our own comfort on this issue.

However some of the reasons remote learning has been rejected by the Reiki community don’t sit right with me.

The main reason I’ve heard is that the attunements don’t work distantly. In my opinion, energy knows no bounds, for we are all One. Isn’t this what we practice when we learn distant healing? Why would this be true for Reiki sessions but not attunements?

Others say that Usui didn’t teach remotely, so we also shouldn’t. I believe Reiki is an evolving practice, as we are each uniquely evolving as we work on our spiritual journeys. Also technology has changed the way we relate to each other and our world, and I wonder what Usui would have thought of Zoom 🙂

Some reasons given against teaching remotely make perfect sense to me, such as saying that there needs to be live personal connection and discussion with the teacher to refine and hone the learning process of the student. One Reiki person pointed out (rightly, I think) that learning from a powerpoint with no opportunity for personal interaction does not create the powerful, inspirational experience of Reiki energy, nor does it allow Q and A that come up through the practice. In these cases, the teacher has no opportunity to assess the student’s learning through real-live practice and support, and there is no assessment as to whether or not they really “got it.” However I would add that some in-person courses (according to stories I have heard from Reiki people trained elsewhere) also suffer from this deficit.

By honoring my own inner truth on this topic, taking a deep breath and letting go of the arguments that made no sense to me (which meant going against much of the formal Reiki community), while also addressing the valid concerns I heard, I’ve created a deeply interactive experience in my online certification courses. I do not use the manuals of my human Reiki teachers, and have created my own materials and teachings for the Let Animals Lead® method.

I’m very proud of the quality of the curriculum and the achievements of my students. Quality of teaching is always at the forefront of my mind when I create something, and as my Level 3 students can tell you, I always emphasize the power and purpose of a Reiki teacher to set the stage for the learning of the student. Many students have described my online certification courses as “intense” and “immersive” but “worth all the work” because of the deeply transformative effects.

What makes a quality Reiki course?

Some Reiki organizations now accept any in-person course certification, without any evaluation of content, length or quality, but don’t recognize any remote learning certificates with an assumption that it was “unacceptable.” It seems to me that there must be a better benchmark for deciding if a student has or has not learned the teachings of Reiki 1, 2 and 3.

In my opinion, a quality Reiki certification course is not defined as “remote = bad” and “in-person = good,” but rather by these 4 ingredients that can only be given by a good teacher:

1) knowledge of and respect for foundational Japanese Reiki techniques

2) wisdom about how Reiki helps in various situations, gained from real-life experience

3) compassion that radiates and embraces all students, and that only comes from living Reiki every day

4) teaching techniques and exercises that create active, interactive and inspired (not passive) learners.

These 4 qualities will shine through any course taught by a talented teacher (be the courses in-person or remote).

"The true power of Animal Reiki lies in the many formal and informal ways that we choose to bring Reiki love, light, peace and compassion into each experience and interaction in our lives." Click To Tweet

What makes a successful Reiki practitioner?

Ultimately, whether we decide as students to learn Animal Reiki in person or remotely, the power is in our own hands whether or not to dedicate ourselves to the practice every day so that we can truly embody it. The true power of Animal Reiki lies in the many formal and informal ways that we choose to bring Reiki love, light, peace and compassion into each experience and interaction in our lives, and that is something no teacher can give us.

But animals can help us and show us the way!

Have you ever debated about remote Reiki training? I’d love to hear about it! Next week, I’ll share my thoughts about the most important rules we should follow when we find ourselves in a Reiki Debate 🙂

Stay safe, be well and may the animals light your way,

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