Roots and Wings-The Role of the Reiki Teacher
As published in Reiki News Magazine, Fall 2017…
Those of us who are parents may be familiar with the saying – “There are two things we give our children – one is Roots and the other is Wings.” When our children are small, we are responsible for providing a secure foundation so that when it comes time for them to fly, we know that their wings are strong enough to take them wherever their paths may lead. We are their guardians in this lifetime, entrusted with their care, development, and ultimately their decision to fly.
This analogy can be used with the Reiki path. When Reiki first calls us and we respond as students, we have a teacher, who also acts as a guardian and a guide. As we proceed along the Reiki path, some of us are then called to teach and initiate others. This is not a decision to be undertaken lightly – and indeed, those of us who are guided to pass along the gift and blessing of Reiki to others must be sure we have searched ourselves, gone within, and worked through much of our own personal healing. This is not to say that healing is ever truly finished – it is a lifelong process that requires ongoing authentic monitoring. This is especially true if one decides to teach Reiki; the energetically intimate connection between teacher and student allows nothing less, and the Reiki student deserves an aware and ever-evolving teacher.
When I first embarked on the Reiki path, I had no desire to ever teach it – I simply enjoyed working with its loving, healing energy, and reaping the numerous benefits it provided to me, my loved ones, and our beautiful Mother Earth. However, Reiki soon guided me into creating a professional practice, in which I could expand the healing benefits to clients eager to experience its powerful, yet gentle, energy. It was, and is, a fulfilling and humbling experience to have this opportunity to offer healing in such a loving natural way. Although I enjoyed working with clients and rejoicing with them in their healing journeys, I soon learned that Reiki was not yet done with me. Gradually, I began to receive guidance and clear direction that I was to teach Reiki – a call I initially resisted. Self-doubt and fear reared their menacing heads, and I was certain I could never be worthy to teach Reiki. Fear raised questions – Do I know enough? (Doubtful!), Will I be a complete failure? (Likely!), Am I delusional? (Probably!) Why do I want to do this? (Why indeed, since you don’t know enough and will probably be a complete failure!)
Fortunately, Reiki stepped in to soothe, reassure, and quell my fears, as it helped me to see that these feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy were in truth a blessing, because they clearly illuminated areas in need of healing within myself. One of the most amazing qualities of Reiki is its uncompromising ability to show us what we need to heal. We need only to heed and trust. It was upon that realization that I surrendered myself to the wisdom and love of Reiki – secure in the knowledge that it will always guide me and be a constant unerring companion on my life path.
That was almost four years and many classes ago. Teaching Reiki has been one of the most fulfilling, exhilarating, and occasionally terrifying, adventures I have experienced in this lifetime. It has taken me further out of my comfort zone than I ever thought possible, yet Reiki was always there to comfort and inspire me every step of the way, with the assurance that this is part of my soul purpose and dharma, which I now know to be true.
In teaching Reiki to my students, I unconditionally embrace the concept of Roots and Wings. Assisting an individual on the Reiki path is an honor, a privilege, and perhaps most of all, a responsibility – one that I welcome with great joy and boundless gratitude. Because of this, my perspective of the Reiki teacher is that of a “spiritual guardian”, someone who cultivates and nurtures the deepening roots and the budding wings of the Reiki practitioner for as long as needed, until such time their wings are strong enough to allow them to fly. Even then, the caring and supportive Reiki teacher always welcomes a student’s return, if and when they feel the need to return to their Roots, regardless of how far they have traveled. As such, it is a lifelong responsibility.
With this in mind, it is vital that prospective Reiki teachers address their own inner guidance and personal healing prior to offering classes. To do otherwise is a disservice to the students, the potential teacher, and also to the spirit and Source of Reiki. Preparing to teach Reiki to others involves a great deal of thought and soul searching, as well as sincere efforts and progress toward personal growth and spiritual development.
Additionally, a strong sense of respect and reverence for Reiki and its Source are essential for the would-be teacher. The decision to teach carries a responsibility toward all future students and to Reiki itself, which is a sacred gift. Each attunement and/or placement received along the Reiki path opens the Reiki channels in ever-increasing degrees, allowing access to greater knowledge and a greater level of awareness. In opening to this knowledge, personal healing takes place, contributing to spiritual evolution. Respect for the opportunities offered by the Reiki path must be integrated into the prospective teacher’s being, as well as respect for all lineages and affiliations. Once again, inner searching and guidance can provide insight and understanding.
Although the decision to teach Reiki is ultimately a very personal one made by honoring one’s inner wisdom and intuition, it is wise to consider several factors before choosing a course of action. As an example, it is helpful for the prospective teacher to have substantial experience in practicing Reiki and working with the subtle body and energy field. This is best accomplished by practicing with many different individuals; the unique quality of each person’s energy signature becomes easily discernible with continued practice, and this awareness is valuable to the practitioner in providing an optimal healing environment. It also supplies the practitioner with a body of knowledge that can only be achieved through, quite literally, hands-on experience. This contributes to a rich and varied understanding of Reiki to draw upon when teaching others.
Additionally, in developing a diverse practice, the Reiki teacher can provide students with an extensive range of personal experiences from which they can learn. These experiences are invaluable in illustrating the concepts and techniques taught in a Reiki class. For example, one of the things I emphasize in a Reiki class is how the energy adapts to each practitioner’s individual strengths and qualities. My experience as a Reiki practitioner allows me to expand upon this concept and describe different scenarios and situations in which the Reiki energy melded with my particular style and personality, all for the client’s benefit. This has been a wonderful gift to the students, as they can relax and allow the loving energy of Reiki to work with them and guide them. Knowing that they are facilitating the love of the Divine helps to alleviate the fear of “doing it wrong”, and becoming overly focused on techniques and the simple mechanics of Reiki.
Equally important is the prospective teacher’s self-practice. As every Reiki practitioner knows, self-treatment is a cornerstone of the Reiki path. It is part of a Level 1 Reiki class, and most teachers emphasize its importance. Level 1 focuses on the physical healing of others, in addition to the necessity of self-healing. Doing self-Reiki every day is an integral factor in our personal and spiritual development; by working with the energy for our own benefit, we become actively involved in our evolution. Offering healing to others then becomes a natural progression.
Also, as we practice self-Reiki, our vibrational frequency is elevated, which promotes the release of blockages and old patterns that no longer serve our Highest Good. This continual clearing and cleansing is a path to wellness and serves to enhance our healing efforts as we become the “hollow reed” through which Reiki may flow unimpeded.
Moreover, during a self-treatment we open ourselves to the wisdom of Reiki. As we relax into the loving energy of caring for ourselves so deeply, we are tapping into the knowledge and wisdom of the Spirit of Reiki. It is in these personal and intimate moments when we learn and understand the uniqueness of our relationship with Reiki, and accept it as an unwavering source of Light. We also learn that Reiki will always guide us; we have but to listen and surrender to its loving guidance.
Regular self-practice provides so many lasting benefits for those on the Reiki path. Its importance cannot be overstated; this is especially true for the prospective Reiki teacher.
Another consideration for the potential Reiki teacher is to conduct an honest and unblinking private assessment of one’s readiness to teach, including (but certainly not limited to) personal feelings about responsibility, perceived competition, money issues, working with challenging students, and sometimes admitting “I don’t know” when asked a question. From my perspective, this assessment and evaluation is crucial for the would-be teacher, as it sheds light on areas that may need healing and additional growth prior to teaching Reiki classes. Although it is impossible to predict all the situations that may arise during a Reiki class, the most effective teachers are the ones who have come to know themselves on a very deep level, and are able to draw upon an inner core of strength when needed. In my experience, students ask many questions in the course of a Reiki class – some are expected, but most are unpredictable. With that in mind, I have learned that it is perfectly acceptable to say, “I don’t know”. In those instances, the students are assured that I will do my best to find the answer and pass it along to them. Those “I don’t know” moments have proven to be a rich source of knowledge for me! Even more significantly, they have guided me to discover truths and perspectives that contributed to my development and effectiveness as a teacher. Reiki always knows what we need and when we need it.
Of course, the true teacher in a Reiki class is Reiki itself – when we are immersed in its energy, the teacher becomes the aforementioned “hollow reed” through which the information flows. Because of this, Reiki provides many of the answers to questions raised in a class. There have been numerous occasions when I was surprised by my answer to a student’s question, and knew that the answer came from a much higher consciousness as it flowed through my “hollow reed”.
As for me, teaching Reiki has provided an incredible opportunity to learn so much about this beloved practice. I am grateful for every class, student, question, encounter, and challenge because each one encourages my growth and development as a teacher, practitioner, and individual. Since that first class almost four years ago, Reiki and I have worked together. As it guides and enhances my classes, the result is a co-creative and synergistic experience.
With Reiki as a guiding light, each class is as unique as the students who attend, and always in accordance with the Highest Good. My mantra of “Accept and Trust” serves me well, and I have learned to release expectation.
As a final note, I am deeply grateful for the students who entrust me with the sacred responsibility of assisting them on their Reiki path. There is no greater blessing than witnessing the light of Reiki ignite in the student. Also, I offer profound thanks for my Reiki teachers – they bestowed a lasting bequest of Roots, which, in time, allowed me to fly with Reiki Wings.
Accessing your Inner Guidance:
If you are considering the path of Reiki teacher, who in my eyes is a spiritual guardian, it can be very helpful to access your inner guidance. Ask Reiki for help. Then mindfully examine your responses to the following questions:
- What is my primary motivation for wanting to teach Reiki?
- Am I prepared to accept the sacred responsibility?
- Am I willing to be supportive of my students on the Reiki path? As future practitioners and teachers?
- Am I actively involved in my own healing and spiritual development?
- Have I developed a personal relationship with Reiki?
- Do I have sufficient hands-on experience with others?
- Am I respectful and accepting of different Reiki lineages and/or affiliations?
Of course, this is only a sampling of questions. Allowing Reiki to guide you will provide additional helpful insight and information. It is my sincere hope that you are guided to the perfect path for your Reiki Wings.