Monday, March 29, 2010

Disturbing Divisions

I have a student who has been learning with me for close to a year. She started with no previous knowledge of Reiki, and learned Kundalini Reiki with me, followed by working on her intuitive development in many areas through Intuitive Development Coaching. She's shared her successes as she became more aware of the sensations of energy, her guidance, angels, and confidence in her abilities to work with Reiki. It's been beautiful to be a part of and witness to the many ways in which she has discovered these abilities and connections. It's changed her life for the better and helped her see her path more clearly. She has been learning with me via distance. We've never met in person, although we have spoken on the phone a couple of times. Last week, she told me this story:

Recently, she decided to attend a Reiki circle in her local area. Gathered with other Reiki practitioners, they were all getting ready to start the flow of the energy. She watched them draw symbols in the air and on themselves. She sat quietly, intending that the energy begin. Kundalini Reiki does not use symbols. She felt the other practitioners looking at her sideways. She overheard one say to the other, "Where did she get her training?" The other responded "Oh, she phoned it in over the internet." How snarky. My student left shortly thereafter.

I'm unhappy about the attitude of some Reiki practitioners about distance learning. Let's face it - Reiki energy is not limited by distance any more than love is. Learning Reiki is like learning any subject - the depth and ease of your learning is partially your effort, and partially your teacher's ability to teach you well. I teach locally and I teach by distance. In each case, I give my students close individual support and guidance. I am invested in his or her learning. I care about my student's experiences learning and working with the Reiki energy. My local students do not receive more because they are with me in person. I take my role as teacher seriously, and my students' success, confidence with their Reiki practice, and genuine love for energy work are testament to both the effectiveness of their practice and confidence in my teaching methods. I'm truly proud of my work and stand behind it.

So when one of my distance students is treated with disrespect by others who practice Reiki, I am disturbed. This is not what BEing Reiki is about. My student is comfortable and confident with the way she practices Reiki. Her energy is strong. I doubt that anyone experiencing Reiki from her would be able to tell the difference between Reiki from her and Reiki from one who learned in a local class, (provided the one who learned locally had a good teacher).

I think that the politics of those who would judge distance learning against local, or Usui Reiki against other methods, is unnecessary and negative. How about we all focus on our common goals - offering healing energy to those who need it, balancing ourselves, and trying to make the world a better place through our work? Seriously, there is enough to deal with from those who don't understand or accept that Reiki helps. We don't need to be passing judgment on each other within our Reiki circle.

Peace.

32 comments:

Monica said...

Thank you for posting this, Alice. It means a lot to me that you shared this. Reiki practice is not about being a part of some sort of secret handshake club and I felt that way when I attended the group. While distance learning can, at times, be very lonely, I wouldn't trade it for anything. You're right. It's about the rapport between student and teacher and the connection. You and I connect on a level beyond miles and I feel confident, if we met in person, it would be like long lost mentor to student picking up where they last left off.

I had chosen to augment my distance training in a in-person, local group to establish camaraderie and I was left feeling like a stray kitten in the wrong litter...such a bad feeling that I didn't deserve.

I hope your relating my experience (yep, I just outed myself as subject) is helpful to all of us and reminds us it's about 'the work' and the intention, nothing else matters.

Monica

Kellie said...

I totally agree with you Alice in every aspect. You taught me very well, and for that I am grateful. People can be so cruel!! Reiki means the world to me! I am not sure where I would be if I didn't receive it, feel it, and now know it in my heart, mind, body and soul.

Namaste'

Alice Langholt said...

Thank you Monica,

I haven't stopped thinking about your experience, and I appreciate the way you and I relate - it does indeed transcend distance. I hope that you find a local group of Reiki friends who are on the same page as those of us who honor the way Reiki helps us share light and healing.

Much love,
Alice

Kellie -
Thank you for commenting and it's always a blessing to hear from my students that their experiences have been affirming as yours has. That is what keeps me doing what I do, and believing in the power of teaching Reiki. If it wasn't as effective by distance as it is in person, I would stop teaching by distance. Simple as that.

Love and light in all you do,
Alice

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this Alice. Recently I've had a situation that was similar that ended in a somewhat major (in my opinion) victory. Had someone that was a "local" Reiki practicioner that indirectly scoffed every time I brought up distance Reiki. Well the other day she was having a horribly stressful day and she asked for help calming down. I took the opportunity and asked if I could send her Reiki. She started to balk and throw up the "but it's distance" objections but eventually said she was desperate and was open to anything that might help.

15 minutes later she was snoring in my ear on the phone (mind you she hadn't slept in over 32 hours from stress). She called me back the next day, apologized for downing distance and Kundalini Reiki, and started asking more about it.

Your long time (if quiet) student, David

PandorasBox said...

This sounds like some of the comments I've received from the more "traditional" Reiki side because I'm a Western Usui Master, following the work of Diane Stein. We have no need to dis Reiki in any way, whatever form it is, in order to "big up" our own practice - that isn't "doing your work honestly" in my opinion. I've received both distant and in-person attunements and they have both worked.

Anonymous said...

Hi Alice I am sorry to hear about Monica's experience,sad to say it is
like that in all aspects of spirituality.I listen to blogtalk radio and everyone has the same problem,maybe they were not comfortable with your confidence,or the way you honor reiki and Alice,by being the best at what you do

Charms Of Light said...

It upsets me to hear that this goes on amongst Reiki energy healers. We all know that the energy transcends time and distance. We all know that it is the loving intent that helps the energy flow. I would question those who practice Reiki with any other belief.

Love & Light,
Caryl ♥

Alice Langholt said...

David,

It is not our job to "prove" that Reiki works across time or distance, or that one type is better than another. I'm glad your friend decided to be open to trying the healing you offered, and that she realized how much it helped her. I think it's sad when we are put on the defensive of the same energy that Reiki practitioners of any type or other energy healing method practitioners use. I'm glad you had the chance to educate your friend and hope that her new awareness spreads to others.

Nice to see you David!
Love and light,
Alice

Pandora's Box,

Thank you for commenting. I'm glad that you are a Reiki practitioner who also understands the way the energy works, which gives us great respect for Reiki and for those who dedicate themselves to the work of sharing this beautiful energy in whatever method we do so.
Blessings,
Alice

Anon.,

Thank you for honoring Monica with your supportive comment. She deserves to be treated with as much respect as anyone who dedicates her time to offering healing. I agree completely, and am proud of the way Monica has embraced her intuitive development.

Love and light,
Alice

Caryl,

Beautifully said, and I think your recent blog post on distance learning also sums up the issue here perfectly. Reiki practitioners would do well to focus on the good we are doing rather than who is doing their energy healing which way, and what is "better." I agree with you completely and am grateful for your comment.

Peace and light,
Alice

Pamela Miles said...

Alice, you are obviously a deeply engaged Reiki master, and I can imagine that your students get more attention than some students who attend in-person classes.

Nonetheless, it seems to me that in a situation in which the quality of the in-person and distance classes were equal--if for example, you offered both types of classes-- the students physically present with you would have the advantage of being in-person.

We learn nonverbally from being in the presence of others. Students also learn from the example of how the Reiki master interacts with her students, and the space that she keeps for teaching, both literally and subtly.

So the question about distant Reiki training is not, as you said, that Reiki is everywhere; it's simply where are the students and the teacher, and what is the optimal way for an individual to learn?

Human beings are often unkind to one another. Why should it bother you, Alice? Are you disturbed because you are judging Reiki practitioners who behave badly?

People misbehave in all walks of life, although sometimes it does seem that the Reiki community is particularity challenged by its diversity. Would that we could take a lesson from attorneys, who separate agreement and respect, who argue passionately against one another in court and then go out for a drink together.

Alice Langholt said...

Pamela,

Thank you for commenting.

I believe that I provide an example of good teaching by distance in the way that I am completely present to answer questions and offer guidance. I believe that these qualities show as much as when I am in the same room with the student. My students are completely prepared when they finish their training to go teach others, knowing how they were taught and how to help others learn as they did. I believe that this sort of caring and attention translates in person as well as by distance.

In answer to your question, yes, it does bother me when Reiki people "behave badly" to one another because I think our work should give us all a sense of awe of this beautiful energy and this gratitude and appreciation should rub off to the way we treat others. Yes, we are all human, but for me, knowing that other Reiki practitioners are engaged in helping people heal gives me the impetus to treat them with the appreciation that we have a common goal. The Reiki precepts and living with Reiki as a part of my life inspire me to treat others in a loving way. So I get more disappointed when those engaged in Reiki work stoop to petty judgments over method, compared to when those who don't know Reiki "behave badly." Am I judging Reiki practitioners who act this way? Yep, guess I am. I think we have a different understanding which gives us a responsibility to live what we do through the way we treat others, including (and perhaps especially) those who practice Reiki.

And hey, next time we're in the same town, let's go for that drink, shall we? ;-)

Love and light,
Alice

David Franklin Farkas said...

Hey Alice...
As Alice knows, since she attuned me to Kundalini Reiki, I have been doing hands on and distant healing for decades. I apprenticed for three years with two shamans.

I had never checked out Reiki because of the hand positions and symbols which did not feel aligned with the intuitive way I work.

Kundalini Reiki attunement palpably raised the level of energy coming through me and gave me some new tools and approaches... all of which did fit my prior experience.

In-fighting and 'my teacher is right, your method is not,' are everywhere. Just shows we all still have things to heal, which is the real reason we are healers.

Thanx Alice!
Blissings
David Franklin Farkas

Alice Langholt said...

David,

You bring up a good point that egoic comments come from a place of insecurity often. Fear of the unknown, the need to be right, and so forth are all barriers to the kind of work we are doing with Reiki. I hope that those who have engaged in this find the self-awareness to direct the energy where it belongs.

Thanks for sharing that KR has been helpful to you. It was wonderful sharing it with you, and I am continuously grateful for your help with the KR manual.

Love and light,
Alice

Suzanne said...

When I teach, I try to prepare students for the actions of other practitioners. I always try to remind them that they are every bit the conduit a more experienced energy person is. I teach `table manners,' which I shouldn't need to, but experience mandates it. When I hold a circle I email my rules, and repeat them at the table. Yes, we are there for fun, to be with like minds and to learn from each other. The reality is that energy workers are just people, some are more ethical then others. At my table, and at most, the person who set up the circle should have worked hard to smooth that over and make her feel every bit a part of the group. I'm sure you are a wonderful teacher, but things happen. She will get stronger and more confident.

Thanks for giving me a topic for another article on ezine:)

Alice Langholt said...

Suzanne,

Thank you for your comment.

I'm glad that you and others create an atmosphere of acceptance and respect at your Reiki circles and also in your teaching. We need to be confident in our practice enough to avoid shying away from those who would judge, but also don't need to subject ourselves to ridicule from those lacking in manners (as you so well put it!).

I appreciate your reminder for Reiki teachers and practitioners that teaching manners and also self confidence are essential tools for any Reiki student to learn.

Do show me your article when it's written!

Love and light,
Alice

Monica said...

Alice,

You not only helped me hone in on my own intuitive development and connect with Reiki, but you also taught me that my distance learning style was just as valuable as any other practitioner's learning style and I do not have to answer to anyone but my own conscience, intuition and my higher power.

I was definitely confident enough to connect in-person with who I hoped were like-minded individuals that would not judge my abilities, how I learned and was attuned. I had also hoped they wouldn't be so judgemental about the fact that I am also a wheelchair user, but a comment was made about that as well. And I was confident enough to leave the circle when their values did not mirror mine.

Whether this circle was engaged over Reiki, widgets or navel lint doesn't matter. At its core, the circle should not have engaged in unwelcoming behavior toward a new visitor if its leader set up this circle to be open to new visitors and was definitely aware of my coming. I would've loved to have discussed, in a friendly banter, in-person vs. distance learning, but was not extended the space or time to discuss much of anything beyond 'what's wrong with your legs?' (as if my legs have anything to do with practicing effective Reiki) and 'oh so she dialed it off the internet, huh?'. Two of its more senior members were verbally rude within earshot with that last comment (looking right at me, and yet loudly whispering in a *nod nod wink wink* mode), but the circle leader chose not to address the issue of etiquette in welcoming a visitor.

That spoke volumes to me about the dynamic of the group. I have not heard back from the circle even after very politely ensuring the leader of the group knew why I left so politely, but abruptly without coming back. I kindly asked that he send my regrets to those who might've responded favorably to my being there and asked if he might have a discussion about etiquette for welcoming 'newbies' from different traditions in a less judgmental way. I simply requested it, without demanding it, but I held hope he still might. I bid him and his circle thanks and peace, that I hoped my presence had not caused too much distress to the whole of the circle's flow.

I have to say, though, I take issue with any acceptance of an excuse that human beings are often unkind to one another, as if we should just expect and shrug it off. Why shouldn't that be bothersome when our practice is about peace and love? Because it is bothersome, I suppose? We should occasionally want to be engaged in groups of our peers (regardless of how we were attuned and practice) or else float as solitary practitioners who risk not growing without any interaction at all. And I at least, speaking for only myself, am surely disturbed by any practitioners of any healing practice, who commit themselves to being sensitive and mature adults, still behaving badly.

I wrongly assumed that this Reiki circle would not be a spitting contest about whose lineage is better, second-guessing intentions beyond being aware of our own or whose hand positions are the most powerful. I also expected that whether or not someone's legs worked would have little importance in this atmosphere. Still, this is one moment with one circle and I am confident I will have other opportunities to engage with other circles more in line with my own heart's mission locally to augment my practice. No two circles are alike, but love, light and respect should be comparable among all, in my humble opinion.

Whether we are talking about apples or oranges in the Reiki realm, it's still all well intentioned, healing fruit to me if it works for the best intentions of the practioner, teacher and receiver inclusive.

Alice Langholt said...

Monica,

Thanks yet again for adding to our rich discussion here and filling in the details of your experience. I am proud of your confidence and your standards in knowing that people should have an attitude of acceptance and be able to ask their questions with open curiosity, rather than confronting you with judgment and scorn for being different. You held your own, responded with grace, and kept your dignity intact as you left when you needed to.

It's a shame that people acted that way, and I am in agreement with you as I mentioned before, that those of us who choose to work with spiritual energy for the good of others should also hold ourselves accountable to walk our talk. You clearly do.

I'm sure that you will find another circle that fits your needs, and if you don't, then you will start one and hold it to the standards that people deserve when they enter the space.

I'm proud to know you and blessed to be considered your mentor, Monica. Thank you for sharing your light with us here.

Love and light,
Alice

Anonymous said...

Let's see... my original intro to reiki, or what I thought was going to be reiki, was via in person classes with a woman purporting to be a reiki master. Later on, investigating the lack of a lineage when I wanted to take reiki 3 made me realize she wasn't really.

I had wonderful distant training for reiki 3 and reiki master training (my teacher split it up), including reattunements to reiki 1 and 2. I also later met him in person and got reattuned in person.

For someone like me, distant training is actually better. Why? I get really gobsmacked by energy sometimes and attunements made me kind of useless for absorbing knowledge with my left hemisphere of my brain. Separating attunement and learning worked better for me.

Sorry this happened to you, Monica. And I love your blog, Alice.

Dana Lisa said...

I am so sorry that Monica had such a negative experience at a Reiki share. I facilitate Reiki shares for my students and also attend ones that my teacher facilitates, and have never witnessed that kind of behavior. If I had, I would have immediately addressed it, rather than allowing anyone to be made to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.

That said, I have seen that attitude present itself within the Reiki community at large, where there is debate over what is "authentic" Reiki and who is qualified to teach and present it as such. While I think understanding the history of traditional Japanese Reiki can be important for gaining a full perspective of this healing practice and context in which it was developed by Usui sensei, the fact is, any time a practice (spiritual or otherwise) is adopted and adapted by a different culture, the practice will change and evolve as a result of syncretism. For example, Zen Buddhism little resembles Indian Buddhism but you're not likely to hear that Zen is not "real" Buddhism.

Reiki has come such a long way in a relatively short span of time, so we are in the thick of great evolution for this beautiful practice. We would all do well to remain open and curious - and supportive of each other's efforts to bring a compassionate healing practice into our lives and for others who need it.

That said, I admit having been quite skeptical of distance attunements/teaching prior to following Alice's tweets. I'm still a big advocate of in-person teaching, but from everything I can tell - as well as the feedback she receives - she gives her students thorough engagement and support. If that approach works for her and her students, then who are any of us to judge?

Judging creates division, not oneness. Reiki is a practice that above all, advocates a coming together in oneness, as exemplified by our hands coming together in gassho.

Warm regards,
Dana Young (Dragonfly Reiki)

Alice Langholt said...

Anon,

Thank you for commenting. You are a great example of how the right way to learn is as individual as the student, and the teacher is still an important factor in how well a system is learned. It's a shame that there are some people passing themselves off as qualified but not being so. Everyone needs to choose their teachers wisely.

Glad you are where you need to be, sharing the energy. Thank you for the supportive words for Monica and that you love my blog :)

Love & light,
Alice

Dana,
Thank you for your beautiful words. I'm sure that Monica and everyone who has the blessing of coming to your Reiki circle would find themselves comfortable and welcome. Thank you for setting an example and for sharing how Reiki circles can be in the right setting.

I love the way you expressed your thoughts on the evolution of Reiki, and the way you are clearly open to accepting different ways of doing things (teaching remotely) from the way you had been taught.

You are a beautiful example of one living the practice of Reiki.

Love and light,
Alice

Whitelotus01 said...

I'm a visual Reiki healer, I'm trained in both the "traditional" Usui Reiki with the symbols and traditions and also Kundalini Reiki thanks to Alice here.
The whole drawing out the symbols is like making a scene, almost BRAGGING that you are about to do something great. When I perform my Reiki sessions I visualize the symbols in my head and set out an intention and the energy still works JUST the same.
It reminds me an aweful lot of my experiences with going to church. I HATE going to church because it's the same thing every week. We stand, we kneel, stand, sit, stand, shake hands badda bing badda boom. The prayers we say during mass are not heart felt because we are just reciting them because we have to. God forbid I just stand there and say my OWN prayer, the people around me look at me as if I'm a fake, a person who doesn't care about the church and its teachings. When it's the opposite, I embrace it in different ways. Just because you have to say a set prayer does not make it right all the time, every week is different your challenges are different and so to the prayer you say at mass should be different. So why shun a Reiki healer for practicing Reiki differently during a Reiki Circle? It's because some Usui teachers try to "brainwash" others into thinking that the symbols are the ONLY way of doing Reiki.
I feel bad for your student Alice, but I wish she had stuck it out. Altho I understand completely why she didn't! Negative energy in a Reiki circle is NOT a productive healing experience and SHAME ON THEM for making your student feel she was not worthy or a legit Reiki Wonder Worker!

Dana Lisa said...

Whitelotus,

It's interesting that you should say that about the symbols, because in another discussion I had with Alice on Twitter, I mentioned that often in Reiki circles, I do not draw the symbols on my hands because there may be people there who have not received the symbols yet. Out of respect for the tradition I was taught, I do not actively engage the symbols physically unless if everyone there is also using them. I also added that I actually prefer most of the time to silently chant the mantras/jumon. For some reason, I naturally connect that way. It may be because I am not that inclined towards visualization, but as a poet and someone who does kirtan (Sanskrit chanting), chanting the Reiki mantras just feels right to me. It allows me to connect in public situations and during Reiki treatments without being conspicuous.

Any ritual, no matter how powerful, can become empty if compassion and good intention are missing.

Warmly,
Dana Young
(Dragonfly Reiki)

Alice Langholt said...

Krystal,

Thanks for your comment. I think it's important to remember that even though you (and I) don't necessarily draw symbols in the air, others are finding their connection to Reiki through the ritual of doing so in their way. You do what is meaningful to you, and so we are not going to judge the way others do what's working for them. We don't want others scoffing at our methods and so we aren't going to say ours are better. They are simply better for us, in the way we practice at this time. As long as everyone in the Reiki circle is being respectful of the purpose for being there, there should be no need to judge the way symbols are drawn or intended, or not used at all.

In your situation at church, the culture of the congregation is what usually dictates the way the ritual of prayer is performed. Those who choose not to follow the culturally accepted ritual will stick out unless you find yourself in a congregation where it's accepted to "do your own thing." Or you find a congregation where others do prayer the way you do. You may be expecting too much from the one you've been attending. It doesn't mean they are wrong or it's meaningless to them just because it doesn't resonate with the way you connect. Just a thought.


Dana, you put it well in your follow up comment. We use symbols (or not) the way that it helps us connect. As long as compassion and good intention are there, the energy will flow.

Love and light to you both for contributing so much to the discussion!

Alice

Dia said...

Politics crop up in so many places! I was intrigued to read that Usui didn't teach symbols to many of his students, who were monks & nuns, & already knew prayer healing!
I have trained 'traditionally' with a student twice removed from Phyllis Furomoto, (Takata's granddaughter) & have had friends in the Sechiem system - such rich variety!! Because we all learn different ways, my teacher also recommended 'experience Reiki from someone.' When she was 'refreshing' someone's symbols, she'd always ask them to draw what they remembered; & one of my students (German by birth) always used the power symbol for sending over distance! Worked for him - training wheels, as one friend put it!

One of the saddest 'elite' questions I had was from a 2nd Degree practitioner who had a visit from a friend with Cancer. That gal had been told not to receive Reiki from anyone who wasn't a Master, & 'fit' to handle the intensity of her illness - didn't Takata teach family members Reiki, so they could work on each other????
I told the friend that I agreed, I saw no reason she couldn't work on the gal - other than the person's own fear! &
that we needed to honor her preference.

Blessings

TN said...

Alice
You are indeed a beautiful reining blessing.
This blog post a d subsequent comments are inspiring and encouraging. So happy to have you as part of my reining lineage via kundalini reiki.

Your students are blessed to have such a supportive and graceful teacher in you.

Love and peace
Tamu Ngina

TN said...

Sorry the Droid I am on is annoying.
The words should have read
Reiki blessing
And Reiki lineage

TN

Alice Langholt said...

Thank you, Tamu,

I'm so appreciative of your friendship and the blessing of sharing Reiki with you. Sending you light and love always.

Alice

ReikiRanch said...

yes, healing others is most important. Keep up your blog! People are reading it and learning.

I work at this great Reiki site -- hope I can share it with you. The Reiki Ranch School

Patricia Singleton said...

I send distance Reiki to others all the time for healing. I have a large group of people that I do this for each night.

My sister who lives in Texas just recently took Reiki I and a month later Reiki II because she has seen what me sending her Reiki can do for her. She wanted to be able to do it for herself. She has also recently quit smoking and I think the clearing from the two Reiki classes is why she has been successful at this for the first time in her life.

Reikihealer said...

There is no room for prejudice and superiority in the energy healing realm. Those who remain in a higher vibration will always see true healing for the recipient-as in the highest good for all.
Sharon Baker, http://www.healerscorner.blogspot.com

Alice Langholt said...

Sharon,

Thank you for your response to my post. I agree with you and appreciate your succinct summary of the key point about energy healing. That we are all in this to be of service and any bickering is of a useless, harmful, and negative vibrational level. It has no place in this work.

I'm looking forward to you being a special guest poster on my blog, (July 12th!) and anticipating a great response to the giveaway of your new book, which is beautifully written. (Stay tuned, readers!)

Love and light,
Alice

travellindaze said...

hi alice! i just came upon your blog and and glad to have found the wonderful community of souls that have gathered here! this post highlights a standard problem in any form of spirituality. i have encountered yoga classes like this as well. its disturbing and sad. i myself practice reiki everyday, silently, and without show. i tend to doubt the sincerity of those that need to "show" others their "skill", it becomes more of an ego trip than a true spiritual experience. we should all be showing a little more love for each other than that! thanks for your insight and love, i will be checking back often.

Alice Langholt said...

Travellindaze,

Thank you for your comment! I am glad you understand that it's not about showing, but about doing. That said I don't feel that it's necessary to do Reiki silently or secretly, but simply confidently and sincerely, with respect to others who are doing the same (in whatever way they find most effective for them to do so). So however you are comfortable sharing Reiki, I am glad that you are doing so! Much love to you on your journey and please keep commenting when you feel guided to do so! I am glad to hear from you.
Love and light,
Alice