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The Home Study approach to Reiki training
According to Mikao Usui's surviving students, when you trained with Usui Sense you did not follow a day course, or a two-day course, or a three-day course, in the way that Reiki is taught in the West. Training in Usui's system was an ongoing process and would have been spread out over a considerable period. Usui would visit you and give you some energy work to carry out and then you would not see him for a while. You would do the prescribed work, keep notes on your experiences and then when you visited Usui, or when he visited you, you would review your progress. You would be given additional work to carry out, and again this was reviewed some time later.
This process is of course very different from the way that Reiki has ended up being taught in the Western world, from the time of Dr Hayashi and Mrs Takata onwards. But there is one training approach that comes close to echoing the approach of Reiki's founder, and that is Reiki taught through home study. We have been pioneering the use of quality Reiki home study courses for several years now, and I would like to pass on some of my thoughts about this approach.
I think that in some quarters Reiki distance learning courses may have a bit of a bad reputation and the reason for this is that many 'distance' courses have no content: you receive a distant attunement and maybe a certificate, and other than that you are left to get on with it: no instruction, no guidance, no course materials or inadequate course materials, no support. A distant attunement with no proper training is a waste of time, because students need to learn how to work with energy, they need to be supported and encouraged, they need to practise on themselves and on other people, they need to receive feedback from their teacher and they need to have their questions answered.
But when put together properly, Reiki home study courses can provide all these things, and more. Reiki home study can provide as much quality as any 'live' course and has some distinct advantages. We have been teaching a range of Reiki subjects through distance learning, and the positive feedback that we have received from our long-distance students, from all over the world, tells us that this approach works very well indeed.
So why would someone want to train in this way, and how could such a thing work? To answer the latter question first, let's think for a moment about what is provided to students who attend a 'live' course...
'Live' Reiki Courses
All Reiki courses involve doing two things:
1. Learning some new things - receiving information
2. Carrying out practical exercises using energy: either working on yourself or on others.
The information you receive will come via two routes: through written materials and verbally. You will probably receive a manual on the day of the course, or maybe beforehand by means of pre-course study. You will listen to your teacher talking, you will ask questions if you need to and you will have any questions answered.
When you work on yourself or others you will be told what to do: you will be talked through meditations and energy exercises, you will watch (for example while hand positions are demonstrated), and these things will probably be referred to in more detail in the course manual.
The course will probably follow a set structure, so that you start with the basics and then move forward from a solid foundation. Once the course has been completed, you should then receive support from your teacher long-term.
Training through Home Study
Everything mentioned above can be provided at a distance if care is taken with the preparation of the course materials and the construction of the course. Firstly, if the manual is written in a clear, easy-to-understand fashion, with step-by-step detailed instructions, then we can ensure that there is no confusion. Reiki is a simple subject, after all. We can back up these instructions with digital images to illustrate various points, and we can provide an audio CD so that the student can hear the Reiki teacher say the things that would have been said on the live course, focusing the student on the important points. It's nice to hear a real voice!
When it comes to practical work with energy - either on yourself or on other people - then the combination of step-by-step simple instructions, digital images to illustrate points, simple audio instructions and guided meditations on CD provide you with everything you need. And where it would be a lot easier if someone could actually *see* what is being described, then a DVD provides a simple way of watching a demonstration.
But success with a home study course also comes through the student being guided as they progress through the course, not just being provided with a stack of materials and left to get on with it on their own. We have found that what works well is to break a training course down into manageable 'chunks', and the student is given a series of 'projects' to carry out. For each project they are set sections of the course manual to read, they listen to a commentary track or tracks on an audio CD, they look at digital images and maybe use a guided meditation. They ask any questions that they need to, using e-mail. They then carry out exercises with energy, either working on themselves or on a group of people that they use as 'guinea pigs' - Reiki is a hands-on subject, after all!
Finally, at each stage the student gives us detailed feedback on what they have been doing, what they have experienced, and what their 'guinea pigs' have experienced, and when it is clear that they have got to grips with the project, they move on to the next one.
This last paragraph hints at one of the advantages of home study, when compared with a live course: when you are on a live course time will always be limited to an extent. If you need to take longer -sometimes a lot longer - to get to grips with a method then you really are obliged to move on at the same speed as the rest of the group whether or not you're ready. If you feel you would really like to work on a particular stage to see what you can get out of it, to find out where it will take you before moving on, then this is possible at a distance.
You can progress at the speed that is best for you.
And once the course is completed, your teacher can still be there to offer support and advice, via e-mail. We host some Internet discussion groups for people who have been through our Reiki1, Reiki2 or Master courses, for example, so our students can also support each other.
Why Choose Home Study?
People choose to train through home study for many reasons. For some it is about geography: if you live a long way from your teacher - maybe even in a different country - it may simply not be possible to travel to attend a live course. But home study allows you to train with your chosen teacher even if they are on the other side of the planet. Some subjects are simply not available in many places - for example Original Usui Reiki or Five Element healing.
Some people, perhaps because of family commitments, are not able to take a few days out of their routine to attend a course lasting one or two days. If they choose distance learning they can work around their commitments and find time to work with the energy regularly over a longer period of time, guided each step of the way.
Some will choose home study because they simply work best that way: motivating themselves and journeying on their own at their own chosen speed, working on themselves, working on others, taking more direct control of their learning, and carrying out far more practical energy than is possible on any live course.
Students' Experiences To give you an idea of what is possible using home study, and how well put-together courses are received, here are some comments from some students:
"I thoroughly enjoyed the Reiki 1 course. The course was an excellent grounding in Reiki and clearly described what might happen, or what the student could expect, and over the period of 6 weeks, gradually developing my gift of healing. By taking small controlled steps, I probably benefited more that if I had had to learn everything in one day, then go away and practice. All the exciting discoveries were my own, and uncoloured by the experiences of fellow students. Your gentle guidance was always positive - some of my more outlandish questions remained unanswered - but that in itself was a form of (calming) guidance!" - Barbara De Mora, France (First Degree)
"Not sure what to say about the two Reiki courses I've had with you, beyond terrific! I've found your approach and teaching to be comprehensive. Even better, you've made yourself very available to answer questions and supplied the invaluable Internet support group. The combination of the CD and comprehensive course manual make for a very good study basis. Your weekly feedback and course syllabus complete the course very nicely. A very warm, open, intelligent and humorous personality comes across in the course (which I assume are an accurate reflection of you?). I'm looking forward to continuing on with your remaining courses, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend your courses to any interested friends. - Karen Small, USA (Second Degree)
"I initially thought that by needing to do my Masters as a distance course I would possibly 'miss out', but in fact I feel that I've, personally, benefited and been able to learn in a much more 'in depth' way with this course than I may have on an 'in-person' one." - Lyn Clifton, Warwickshire (Master/Teacher course)
"I thought the course was brilliant. There was so much in it and doing it distance learning mode made me work really hard over a prolonged period of time with the bonus of course being the difference it has made to my reiki practice etc. In fact there was so much to learn I wonder how I would have coped if I had attended in person. The support from you has been excellent (thanks) you've always been there to answer any queries etc. Your manuals are really excellent (still going over them) and having both video and audio for the attunements and empowerments has made it a lot easier. Your guided meditations are wonderful - whenever I feel the need for an extra 'boost' as it were, I play them instead of just doing it on my own." Thank you so much for the course - I have really enjoyed it and been stretched by it." - Frances Gavin, Surrey (Master/Teacher course)
"As a direct result of this course, my ability as a practitioner greatly improved: my power level has increased significantly, my receptivity has increased dramatically, I've become increasingly intuitive, my knowledge of Reiki and its capabilities has grown greatly, and my performance as a practitioner has greatly increased in both effectiveness and efficiency. This is by far the best Reiki course I've ever signed up for. I greatly appreciate your instructional style, giving me sufficient time and independence to undertake my own exploration of a topic and arrive at my own conclusions. My confidence and self-sufficiency in interpreting Reiki traditions and practices has grown immensely." - Ian Goldsmith, Australia (Original Usui Reiki course)
We believe that home study courses provide an effective way of teaching Reiki so long as the course is well thought-out, the course materials are detailed and comprehensive, and the student receives the support and guidance they need as they progress. It is also wonderful to be able to pass on Reiki in a way that echoes Mikao Usui's approach to teaching.
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