It’s a question I hear time and again,
“Are distance Reiki attunements effective?”
There are people firmly on both sides of this important question.
So what is the truth? And who gets to decide?
What is a Reiki Attunement?
Reiki is not learned the way that we are used to learning other skills. The Reiki Teacher actually transmits the ability to use Reiki to the student during an attunement, or an initiation. The Reiki attunement is a procedure or ritual that the Reiki Teacher performs that permanently connects the student to the Reiki source, allowing the student to access an inexhaustible supply of healing energy, and to share Reiki with themselves and others.
This means that anybody, from children to senior citizen, including those who are differently-abled, can learn how to channel, or flow, Reiki. There’s no special skill involved in sharing Reiki. From day one, the Reiki begins to flow and only gets stronger the more the practitioner uses it. It’s a skill that can’t be lost, even after long stretches of not practicing. All that is necessary to activate the flow of Reiki is to place your hands on yourself or another living being with the intention of flowing the Reiki. And just like riding a bike, you’re back in business!
While no special skill may be involved in simply channeling Reiki, practicing Reiki professionally, and even proficiently with friends and family, does indeed require training and skills. And being a good Reiki Teacher requires even greater levels of proficiency. That’s where quality training comes in. So while the attunement is amazing and allows the student to begin to experience and share Reiki immediately, it is just the beginning – the very beginning – of the Reiki journey.
To be clear a Reiki attunement – whether in-person or via a distance – does not make a Reiki practitioner. Only someone who’s been attuned and properly trained in the practice of Reiki is qualified to be a Reiki practitioner or Teacher. There’s just no substitute!
The Reiki attunement process is often shrouded in great mystique. And I suppose that stems from the fact that it’s a deeply sacred initiation process. The mindset involved in sharing the gift of a Reiki attunement with another, in being responsible in that moment for activating your students’ sacred birthright to channel healing energy, like many believe we once all had the ability to do, is both awe-inspiring and humbling. By keeping much of the process secret, I think it helped to hold the sacred energy around it – at least for a time.
But then in 1995, Reiki Master Diane Stein published her tell-all Reiki book, Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art. It was the first book to include copies of the Reiki symbols, as well as details about the attunement process. The Reiki world was shaken. But even though the lid may have come off the pot on many of Reiki’s sacred tools and rituals with the publication, Reiki remains a largely relationship-centered practice, where Teachers reveal the symbols and rituals to their students. Because without Teachers, there will be no attunements or practitioners. And without an attunement, the symbols and rituals of Reiki are largely useless.
So I won’t go into details about how to perform a Reiki attunement here. That is something I reserve for my students, as do many teachers. There’s really nothing secret or mysterious about it. But it is indeed quite sacred and such a special thing to learn from your own Reiki Teacher.
How Do Distance Reiki Attunements Work?
As far as attunements in general go, there are multiple different ways to perform them. And with distance attunements, meaning Reiki attunements where the Teacher and the student are in two different geographical locations, there’s even more variety.
Some Teachers use a Chi Ball to store and transmit the attunement. You can think of a Chi Ball as akin to e(nergy)mail, where an energetic message is left for the student to retrieve at their convenience. Other Teachers even transmit the attunement through a video or audio recording.
At this point in time, I prefer to only give real-time distance attunements. This means an attunement where I connect directly with my student(s) at a mutually agreed upon time. I personally feel that this way of doing it is both very effective and honors the sacred nature of the process.
My distance attunements work exactly the same as in-person attunements. The only difference is that I begin by using Reiki to transcend time and space to connect with my students, a step that’s not necessary in an in-person attunement.
Attunements can be an intense spiritual experience. Luckily, during the attunement, we’re joined by Reiki guides and other spiritual beings who assist the process and are there to support my students, and me, too!
I use an attunement process wherein universal spiritual consciousness makes modifications to my students chakras and energy pathways and links them to the Reiki source. Like I said, this allows them to start channeling Reiki – right away. They are then able to access Reiki for the rest of their lives because the Reiki attunement is permanent.
It may sound complicated now, but it is really so simple and elegant in the way that it all comes together. Dr. Hayashi , one of the earliest Reiki teachers, described it to his student, Madam Takata, so beautifully when he said:
“The universal life force is so big we cannot measure it, so deep we cannot fathom it; therefore in Japanese we call it Reiki. It is comparable to a radio station broadcasting radio waves everywhere. There are no wires connecting the radio station with your home, yet when you turn on the receiver and tune into the radio waves from the station you receive what they are sending. Likewise, the principles of Reiki are the same. The energy is everywhere; it travels through space without wires. Once you have been connected to the energy, it flows automatically, forever. It is a universal and immeasurable energy and its power is unlimited.”
The mindset involved in sharing the gift of a Reiki attunement with another, in being responsible in that moment for activating your students’ sacred birthright to channel healing energy, like many believe we once all had the ability to do, is both awe-inspiring and humbling.
Are Distance Reiki Attunements Effective?
In short, yes. But let me share with you a bit about why I feel this way…
I have been practicing Reiki since the 90s. My attunements to Reiki Level I and II were done in-person, accompanied by in-person training. To be honest, I’m not sure that a lot of Teachers were doing distance attunements back then since the internet was not anything like it is today.
My first Reiki Teacher was very traditionally trained. She had learned Reiki in the tradition of written notes not being allowed. As she let me and my classmates keep the copies for our Level II Reiki symbols, she shared that she should really have us burn them, as was tradition. But instead, she would let us keep them since she’d found too many students simply can’t remember them after class and end up getting confused, or worse, not using them.
When I got very ill and became disabled, and then wheelchair and housebound, I was guided to continue my Reiki training. (You can read more about my Reiki healing story here: Finding My Path: My Reiki Healing Story – Part 1.) But there was no way that I could go to an in-person class! So I found a teacher who was giving credible distance-based Reiki attunements and training. She was wonderful, accessible and the training was great.
And the attunement! Oh, the attunement! She gave me my first Reiki Master Level attunement, in real-time, via a distance, and it was incredibly powerful. I experienced an immediate shift in my Reiki, both in the quality and the flow.
That training changed my life. I was required to do multiple assignments and case studies. I had to do plenty of attunements. It took seven months to complete my training and I really earned that certification.
It changed my relationship with Reiki, as it got me giving myself powerful daily sessions. That in turn changed my health and got me out of the wheelchair. It was incredible! It also got me practicing professionally and teaching my own students.
Unfortunately, however, I let some nagging doubts and fears creep in, poisoning me against my own success, and allowed myself to question my own experience. I had heard a lot of buzz that “distance attunements aren’t effective.” And that those that receive distance attunements aren’t “real or valid Reiki practitioners or Masters.”
I’m sad to say that I allowed myself to feed into the fear and feelings of inadequacy and question my own validity as a Teacher and practitioner. So almost as soon as I could, I traveled to take in-person training for the Master Level with a renowned Reiki Teacher.
Now, keep in mind that this particular Teacher has been pretty vocal about the ineffectiveness of distance attunements. So I was so afraid of how my classmates (who I was assuming agreed with the Teacher) and Teacher would react to the fact that I had received my Reiki Master training via a distance that I didn’t share that I was already a Reiki Master. I was careful not to ever lie about it, but I avoided the topic at all costs. I didn’t want to be stuck in a hotel feeling like I was being judged. And yes, I know this says volumes about my own insecurity, far more than it says about anyone else and their hypothetical judgements.
And so while we did the training, and I watched some of my classmates (some of whom were already Reiki Masters) struggle to remember how to draw symbols and perform attunements, I kept my mouth shut. They thought I was some sort of prodigy because I was zipping through everything and supporting those in my group in figuring it out, too. But really I was just a well-trained Reiki Master – already. Albeit, via a distance.
When the time came for the first attunement of the class, I was so excited! If my first Reiki Master attunement had been that great and it had been via a distance, which wasn’t supposed to be that effective, this one was probably going to blow my socks clear off.
And so the attunement began.
And the attunement ended.
[Queue cricket sounds.]
It was great. But it wasn’t better. And the training was great. But it wasn’t better.
To be clear, I have ZERO regrets about taking that Reiki Master training in-person. It was wonderful! I will cherish those memories and connections I made with my classmates and Teacher – forever. They were all amazing!
But more than anything, it helped to confirm that my distance training had indeed been valid. And it helped to affirm for me that my desire to share quality, credible distance Reiki training with others was definitely worth pursuing.
And since sharing more distance Reiki attunements with others and continuing to explore the many, many innovative capabilities of Reiki, I have concluded both empirically and intuitively, that distance Reiki attunements are just as complete and effective as in-person attunements.
While I can’t verify that every Reiki distance attunement given by every Teacher is effective, I also can’t verify that every in-person Reiki attunement given by every Teacher is effective, either. If a Teacher doesn’t know what they’re doing, that’s going to hold true whether they’re working in-person or via a distance.
But I do know for sure that the attunements that I give are 100% effective, and that the one given to me was effective, too. And therefore, I would assume, that other Teachers trained to give distance Reiki attunements in the same way that I do are giving effective attunements, the same as those taught in-person the same as I was are giving effective in-person attunements.
There is absolutely a chance that some of the distance attunements being offered these days are bogus, meaning they’re being offered either by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing or someone who doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do, i.e., send the attunement.
Obviously, this latter scenario is a non-issue when it comes to in-person Reiki training. You definitely know when you’ve received an attunement in an in-person class since your active participation is required.
So for these reasons and the uncertainty that they can create when it comes to distance Reiki training, it’s really important to trust the Teacher with whom you choose to work. But we’ll discuss that – and more – in Part Two of this blog, Are Distance Reiki Attunements Effective? – Part 2
Thanks so much for reading Part One of this blog series! I hope I’ve got you thinking and that I’ve started to answer some of your questions about distance attunement.
So what are your thoughts so far? If you’d like, please share in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!
And I’ll see you in Part Two! Click here to continue reading.
So Reiki ON, my dear Reiki friends!
Wishing you peace and love and many Reiki blessings,
Tarin Rataic, The Reiki Guide
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