Just what does it mean to call oneself a Reiki Master?
It depends, like all things, on who you ask. In my own definition, becoming a Reiki Master means someone has committed to his or her own personal growth and to embodying as much as possible in daily life the Five Reiki Principles. ("Just for today, do not anger. Do not worry. Be filled with gratitude. Devote yourself to your work, and be kind to every living thing. ")
It does not mean perfection, but rather an opening of oneself to a life of service, allowing Spirit to act through our bodies and words (the “Rei" and the “ki" together). The term “Master" is itself a bit misleading, particularly when applied to Reiki, because one does not ever “Master" universal life force energy. That's totally not the point! It's more a sense that one is working towards mastering one's experiences of anger, worry, gratitude, devotion (expressing one's gifts) and kindness to all living things.
Should students wait a set length of time before becoming a Reiki Master or Reiki Master Teacher?
Once trained to Reiki Master Teacher level, it sometimes takes years before students decide to venture fully into teaching Reiki. You really have to “live it" in order to teach it well. I have coached various people who received training as Reiki Master Teachers (from someone else) many years ago but who just now feel called to teach. Our coaching sessions support ways of integrating Reiki into their lives as well as strategizing how to teach each level and deal with student questions. These clients actually had all the necessary knowledge and attunements to do this work earlier, but they are just now embracing it in a more profound way.
Some Reiki Master Teachers would argue that this “proves" the students took Reiki Master training before they were “ready. " I disagree. The Reiki Master and Reiki Master Teacher attunement is very powerful (same Level 3 attunement; only the class content varies), and I have seen it work in very deep ways in people's lives. It may take six months to five years fully to integrate that attunement, but the process of integration at least begins with the attunement.
When Reiki Master Teachers expect students to have completed all their internal work and have finished hundreds of hours of Reiki sessions in order to become a Reiki Master, I have not found their students any more or less prepared than people who choose to move faster through the levels. Sometimes such requirements or perfectionism offer people an excuse not to move forward when, in fact, they really do need to accept more responsibility. Ideally, one wants to feel challenged but not pressured to move forward. It's a personal decision, and I only offer the class to people when I believe they could be ready for it-were they inclined to commit on a deeper level to their own and others’ healing and service.
Even though Level 3 students receive in class the attunement and the knowledge to teach their own certification classes, whenever I teach a Reiki Master Teacher class, I always offer students the chance to audit additional workshops. As they feel ready, they can then apprentice or assist me in my Reiki classes. I consider this an important but informal process, similar to how Usui's students followed him around his clinic. Students of the Reiki Master Teacher level receive the Level 3 attunement in class, and this enables them to pass along Reiki to future students. Having received the necessary instruction and attunement, they could technically skip the auditing process and just start teaching, assuming they feel ready to do so. They could also read a lot of Reiki books and practice inviting Reiki into their lives, and then teach from their own perspective rather than following their teacher's beliefs or method.
Can I take Reiki Master Teacher training even if I'm not sure I ever want to teach?
Yes. Again, it's a very personal process, and many people never decide to teach but take the classes just for personal development. That's fine; the attunement and the lessons learned continue to inform their lives. I will say from my own experience that I have learned so much about Reiki through teaching. As the old saying goes, “If you really want to learn something, teach it!" I have found this to be accurate in my case, as I've had so much more opportunity to observe how Reiki works in students’ lives. It's truly an amazing process, and the more classes I teach, the more excited I become about Reiki.
Laura Bruno is a Life Coach, Medical Intuitive and Reiki Master Teacher from Sedona, Arizona. In addition to private coaching and intuitive sessions, she teaches Conscious Eating 101 classes, Intuition workshops and Reiki Certification classes around the country and in beautiful Sedona. For more information on classes, raw food coaching, transitional coaching, animal communication, and letting your gifts shine through your career, please see: http://www.internationalrenaissancecoaching.com
Laura also authored the long-awaited book If I Only Had a Brain Injury: A TBI Survivor and Life Coach's Guide to Chronic Fatigue, Concussion, Lyme Disease, Migraine or Other “Medical Mystery, " now available at http://www.ifionlyhadabraininjury.com