On Teaching Reiki and Other Energy Work - - -

There is a dilemma that every teacher of Reiki and any other energywork faces. It is a paradox that, although the students in their early 20s are probably the most teachable, this group rarely has any interest or patience  in learning energywork, [life is seemingly too exciting and busy!]. When people mature and are ready to learn, usually in their 40's and 50's, many times, a lifetime full of habits, "hang-ups" and beliefs may get in the way of the openness required for the study of energywork. It is a challenge to the teacher.

When we are very young, without the intellect and experience to understand the meaning of what we experience in energy work, teaching specifics is of  very limited value. At some point in our teen years, usually late teens, we are quite aware of energy flows around us, but we are much too busy and usually too hesitant to undertake any formal energy studies. At times, one is even somewhat embarrassed to admit an interest in this area. In order to have a productive long life as an energy healer, it is probably best to start the learning process in the mid 20's to mid 30's.

Thus, the learning process is both learning and un-learning. One must un-learn all of the cultural assumptions about energywork and touch*, while mastering the new material of Reiki, or of any other form of energywork. In addition, there may be much that the teacher has to offer in the understanding of personal energy and universal energy which the student may initially find to be seemingly in conflict with personal values and habits, as well as with cultural values and assumptions..

For instance, if the energy needs of a client or student deal with the first and second chakra [a issue widely understood in Eastern thought and practice], how can the teacher effectively address these issues in a culture where even the mention of these areas of the body will raise anxiety in the student or client, not to mention the difficulties in adequately dealing with energy in these areas. This is especially important when teaching cross-gender. How can the teacher lead the student and provide assurance that this is part of the normal energy work in many eastern energywork traditions? The teacher in the US must handle each of these within the law and within cultural sensitivities.

All of this means that the teaching will go slowly, with each person having conceptual limits beyond which they cannot go. Each of us has been acculturated in a particular way. This includes the issue of "Control". Most of us share a common culture in the United States; some of us also bring with us the cultural assumptions of other cultures and places. Each "significant other" may also provide reactions to the student which may create teaching problems.  Each teacher needs to learn the most effective way to explain subtle energy to the student, and must also realize that there may be much which cannot ever be taught, except in generalities. Much of what there is to learn is not explained, but rather it is experienced.

There is also the question of the pace of teaching each student. Some students can move ahead fairly quickly with energy work studies. Others may proceed more deliberately, reaching plateaus of competency and comfort where they stay for protracted lengths of time. Still others cannot seem to move past a certain level for various reasons. Each kind of pace is correct and appropriate for the student in question. Each student and RM should find that level and style of teaching which meets the needs of the student.

Each teacher will come to realize that there are certain forms of energywork which they teach well, and others which are best referred to better teachers. When I look for a Reiki Master candidate, I obviously look for certain qualities. These include the ability to work with challenging situations and people. I look for those who will be able to handle Reiki with great care and sensitivity.

[* - Our culture is particularly sensitive about touch issues, which are generally culturally associated solely with sexuality. This assumption affects the energy worker very directly. The teacher dealing with touch is automatically suspect, and must demonstrate that they are scrupulous about getting informed consent for touch of any kind. In addition, while most people are somewhat lacking in daily experiences of caring touching, the usual reaction is to suspect any form of touch until proven that it is not sexual in any way whatsoever. This phenomenon occurs whether working cross-gender or same gender. The only difference is that men are somewhat reticent to accept touch, and women are more likely to be wary, although accepting touch more easily. Both reactions initially prevent the kind of relaxation that one is striving for.]