People end up on First Degree courses for many reasons and come from an amazing variety of backgrounds, all attending for their own personal reasons.
Reiki courses in the UK present a whole variety of approaches.
Some traditional Western-style, some more Japanese in content, some wildly different and almost unrecognisable, some free and intuitive, others dogmatic and based on rules about what you should always do and not do.
Reiki is taught in so many ways, and students will tend to imagine that the way that they were taught is the way that Reiki is taught and practised by most other Reiki people.
What I have tried to do in this article is to present a simple guide to the essence of First Degree.
What it is all about and what we should be doing and thinking about to get the most out of our experience of Reiki at this level.
My words are addressed to anyone at First Degree level, or anyone who would like to review the essence of First Degree.
First Degree is all about connecting to the energy, learning to develop your sensitivity to the flow of energy, working on yourself to develop your ability as a channel and to enhance self-healing, and working on other people.
There are many approaches to doing these things, and I wanted below to touch on each area and to dispel some myths that may have been passed on.
Connecting To The Energy
On your Reiki course you will have received some attunements or some empowerments.
Attunements are not standard rituals within the world of Reiki and take many forms, some simpler and some more complex.
They have evolved and changed greatly during their journey from teacher to teacher in the West.
There is no right way to carry out an attunement and the individual details of a ritual do not matter a great deal.
They all work.
Equally, there is no right number of attunements that have to be carried out at First Degree level. T
4 is quoted often as being the correct number but this has no basis in Reiki’s original form, and whether you receive 1, 2, 3 or 4 rituals on your course, that is fine.
On your course you may have received some empowerments rather than attunements, though these are less common.
The word Reiki empowerment refers to a connection ritual that has come to us from some Japanese sources, and is closer in essence to the empowerment that Mikao Usui conveyed to his students.
Again, there is no correct number of empowerments that has to be carried out.
One is enough but it is nice to do more.
What we experience when receiving an attunement or an empowerment will vary a lot.
Some people have fireworks and bells and whistles and that’s nice for them; other people notice a lot less, very little, or even nothing, and that’s fine too.
What we feel when we have an attunement is not a guide to how well it has worked for us.
Attunements work, and sometimes we will have a strong experience, but it’s not compulsory!
Whether we have noticed a lot, or very little, the attunement will have given us what we need.
Since in Mikao Usui’s system you would have received empowerments from him again and again, it will be nice if you could echo this practice by receiving further empowerments (or attunements.
Perhaps these might be available at your teacher’s Reiki shares or get-together if they hold them.
But it is possible to receive distant Reijo empowerments and various teachers make them freely available as a regular ‘broadcast’.
This is not essential, and your connection to Reiki once given does not fizzle out.
But it will be a beneficial practice if you could receive regular empowerments from someone.
Developing Your Sensitivity To The Energy
People’s experience of energy when they first start working with Reiki can vary.
Some people notice more than others, particularly in the early stages.
And if we perhaps notice less going on in our hands when compared with another student on the course we can become disillusioned to an extent.
That little voice in your head says I know Reiki works for everyone, but it’s not going to work for me. I knew it wasn’t going to work for me.
Well if this describes your situation then, I can say to you that Reiki will work for you though your particular style of sensing the energy may not involve the more usual heat, fizzing, tingling and pulsing most people experienced.
There are a few Reiki Masters out there who feel absolutely nothing in their hands.
But this is common as Reiki is still working for them.
Sensitivity to the flow of energy develops over time, with practice.
Some people are lucky enough to be able to feel quite a lot in their hands and in their bodies to begin with.
But others have to be patient, trust that Reiki is working for them.
And perhaps focus more on the feedback that they receive from the people that they treat.
Rather than what they feel – or don’t feel – in their hands.
It will be worthwhile if all First-Degree students spent some time regularly practising feeling energy: between your hands, around your cat or dog.
Or your pot plant or a tree, around someone else’s head and shoulders, over someone’s supine body, noticing any differences in the sensation in your hands as you move your hands from one place to another.
Do not expect to experience a particular thing or a particular intensity of feeling.
Be neutral and simply notice what experience you have and how that experience might change from one area to another.
On some First-Degree courses this process will be taught as scanning, where you hover your hands over the recipient’s body, drift your hands from one place to another, and notice any areas which are drawing more energy.
This can provide some useful information in terms of suggesting additional –
Or alternative hand-positions to use when you treat and can suggest areas where you are going to spend longer when you treat.
Working On Yourself
It is vital that after going on a First-Degree course, you establish a regular routine of working on yourself –
in order to develop your fledgling ability as a channel and to obtain the benefits that Reiki can provide in terms of balancing your life and self-healing.
Most people decide to learn Reiki because they are looking for some personal benefits as well as looking to help other people, and the way to get the most out of the Reiki system is to work on yourself regularly.
On your First-Degree course you will have been taught a self-treatment method, perhaps a Japanese-style meditation but more likely the Western hands-on self-treatment method.
You will most likely have been given a set of hand-positions to use.
But please remember that these positions are not set in stone and, particularly if some of the hand positions are quite uncomfortable to use in practice, you will develop your own style.
It is fine to change the hand positions based on what feels right from one self-treatment to another, and you should do what feels appropriate.
There is no correct set of positions that you have to use, and each hand-position does not have to be held for a particular period of time.
Treat for however long you have time for, and however long feels right for each hand-position you decide to use.
Many people are taught that they have to do a 21 day self-treat and some people have the impression that they then do not need to self-treat any more.
The 21 day-period has no real basis, and I can say that you ought to be thinking in terms of working on yourself long-term.
To gain the greatest benefits from this wonderful system you need to persevere and make working with energy a permanent feature of your life with Reiki, a basic background practice.
The effects of which will build up cumulatively as you continue to work with the energy.
You may have been taught a series of energy exercises and meditations called Hatsurei Ho which comes from Japanese Reiki.
And I can commend this practice to you.
It is a wonderful way of grounding, balancing, and enhancing you ability as a channel, and should be a regular part of your Reiki routine.
Treating Other People
First-Degree is also about starting to work on other people, a process which also benefits the giver, so plus points all round really!
A few students may have been taught not to treat others at First-Degree.
Or for a particular prescribed period, but this is an unnecessary restriction and Reiki can be shared with other people straight away.
There are many different approaches to treating others, and we should not get bogged down with too many rules and regulations about how we ‘must’ proceed.
Reiki can be approached in quite a regimented way in some lineages/
And students may worry that if they are not remembering all the stages that they have to carry out they will not be carrying out the treatment properly.
This is an unnecessary worry because treating other people is simple.
So here is a simple approach that you can use.
Close your eyes, put your hands in the prayer position and take a few long deep breaths to calm you and still your mind.
You should have in mind that the energy you will channel should be for the highest good of the recipient.
But there is no particular form of words that you need to use when commencing your treatment.</p
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