Article by Phillip Hawkins
As I have stated elsewhere in various articles I don’t refer to myself as a Reiki Master even though I have completed the necessary training and gained the certification that would allow me to do so. I have also gone on record as saying that different isn’t just ok its vital for our development and growth as individuals and society as a whole, so to those who have completed all of their Reiki training and want to refer to themselves as a Reiki Master that’s your prerogative and I will always support any ones right to do so. In effect what I’m doing is exercising my right not to use that particular title and give my reasons as to why I feel the title of Reiki teacher is far more appropriate to the job we do. If we look at a definition of Mastery we will see that it can be described as the ‘possession or display of great skill, technique or knowledge that makes one master of a subject’ and there’s the rub since Reiki by our own definition is universal life energy can we in all honesty say that we have mastery over the infinite, I think not.
The problem we face is that what we consider as Reiki in the form of training manuals, hand positions and various techniques isn’t Reiki at all; they are simply a means of communication that tries to describe ways in which we may access and use the power of Reiki. Esoteric teachings tell us that ‘the way that can be named is not the way’ and using the same analogy we could say the ‘Reiki that can be written is not Reiki’. The study and production of Reiki training manuals and articles like this one only allows us to lay claim to a certain level of academic knowledge and articulation. Reiki energy is just that; infinite energy in both name and nature. There are those who will say that the title of Master is merely tradition and in some ways an honorary title but if we study both the eastern and westernised versions of Reiki story we find Dr Usui didn’t use the title or refer to himself as a Master of Reiki. This title along with other changes such as the use of symbols, hand positions and in some cases excessive training fees appears to be later additions to the Reiki timeline that started with Dr Usui and continues through to the present day.
Dr Usui taught Reiki plain and simple. It wasn’t as far as I’m aware prefixed with names of Angel, Crystal, Rainbow, Starchild or any other creative title; these are just further examples of contemporary re-branding. The argument that these are stand alone Reiki disciplines loses a certain amount of credibility when on reading the various training manuals you discover that there are striking similarities in both content and layout, and in some cases are identical with only the front cover showing any kind of creative individuality. If we wish to hold up the title of Reiki Master as some form of bench mark to personal commitment and achievement then we need to ensure that our credibility isn’t undermined by services and product quality that falls far below levels implied by grandiose titles.
Once I had completed my first and second degree Reiki training courses I waited until I felt ready to take the next step on my Reiki journey which would eventually include Reiki advanced practitioner and ultimately my Reiki Master Teacher qualification. This step required a great deal of thought and research on my part to ensure I was comfortable with the Reiki teacher I was going to entrust this very important training to. That research provided a great deal of food for thought and it has to be said some doubts as to the value personal and financial of the qualification to be achieved. The options made available to me included a yearlong home study course that included two weekends with the Reiki teacher, I was offered a weekend Reiki Master Course at £750 with the proviso that I forget and discount any and all teachings received from my previous teachers. The most surprising was a one day Master Course for the princely sum of £5000 to which I said thank you, but no thank you. I eventually found a Reiki Teacher just outside of London living in a cottage literally a stone’s throw away from the river Thames, her training fees were fair and I loved her sensitive but down to earth no nonsense approach.
I completed my advanced practitioner and Reiki Masters and some of my teachers last words to me were that I had shown promise and sensitivity and would one day go on to teach Reiki. When I asked when that would be she said that only I could answer that question because only I will know when the time is right. Six months later I taught my first Reiki students. I feel sure that the examples given above are in no way indicative of the north east of England and a straw poll nationally and worldwide would provide similar variations in both standards, duration and costs, with some Reiki organisations providing structure and conformity whilst others claim the moral high ground due in no short measure to their lineage and the self imposed Reiki titles.
When you come down to it you do your research, you consider your options then you pay your money and make your choice and in doing so you become a part of the Reiki history and storyline. People come to Reiki for various and diverse reasons some learn it but never use it, while others use it in their own way and have no desire to progress beyond the initial stages of their training, and of those who have the desire and ambition to progress through the advanced levels of training only a small proportion become teachers themselves and that’s ok, each to their own, in their own time and in their own place. Difference is more than just ok, it’s vital to our health and wellbeing for knowledge and understanding of oneself is the first part of the healing process and the first step on the road to our recovery.
To Master or not to Master that is the question… and only you can provide the answer. I am a Reiki teacher and practitioner and the title of Master is one piece of baggage I have no need or desire to own. I have taken the time to gain both academic qualifications and teaching practice in mainstream education specialising in challenging behaviour and complex educational needs to give both depth and breadth to my ongoing Reiki development, but I am still only a work in progress, a Reiki student by any other name. Reiki is a wonderful thing, its many things to many people but one thing it’s not is rocket science and it’s inappropriate and misleading to make it out to be more complex than it is. There may be a time in my spiritual and personal development when the title of Master may become appropriate but based on my progress so far it certainly won’t be in this life or the next. When my time comes to return home to spirit and review my progress I’m sure I will see the comment somewhere on my report card that reads ‘has potential but must try harder’. I will be ok with that because it shows I’m heading in the right direction and that one day I may just get there, wherever there may be.
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A Reiki practitioner since 1999, Phillip started teaching Reiki in 2000 and using those skills and abilities he has spent the majority of the last seventeen years working with a wide range of social and educational needs including Autism and ADHD. Working with addicts dependent on alcohol and drugs, people whose lives were extremely violent and abusive, and others who had to deal with severe mental health issues. This has enabled him to work extensively in the private sector, schools, colleges, education and care in the community, the prison service and psychiatric units.
In 2016, Phillip decided to semi-retire from full-time employment to concentrate on developing his career as a published author and the setting up of his Reiki personal development programme at the Chilton Community College.