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Why Reiki isn’t free

I had a few this week.. the people that Thumbtack calls “tire kickers”. One asked, “how low will you go on your prices? Can’t you give me healing for free?”.

No, I can’t. There are several reasons for this.

There are two Reiki precepts that all new students learn in Reiki 1. They are permission and exchange.

Permission means that we must have permission to do Reiki on others. They must come to us and ask. It is against healer’s ethics to force healing on anyone, and to suggest it to people we believe would benefit from it. This isn’t the same as marketing ourselves to those who are searching for Reiki healing.

When we suggest to someone that they could use healing, we are opening up a space for doubt. We create doubt in their minds that they are well, or whole. A person who is well isn’t seeking healing. I tell my new students, once people learn that you are doing Reiki, they will start asking you to practice on them.

The second precept is Exchange.

I have only seen the Legend of Usui Mikao written this way once, in David Jarrell’s Reiki Plus Natural Healing. I have taken various forms of Reiki classes five times. David wrote his materials in the early 1980s. He was a student of one of Mrs. Takata’s students, who transitioned in 1980. I consider him to be the closest Reiki Master to the three lineage holders, the founder Master Usui, his student Dr. Hayashi, and his protégée Mrs. Takata.

In David’s story, Master Usui has studied for many years, trying to find the keys to healing. He is at a Buddhist monastery seeking the guidance of the monks. They suggest a 21 day fast and meditation so that he can uncover the secrets buried in what he has learned so far.

Master Usui receives enlightenment at the end of his 21 day fast on the mountain. He then goes out, on the advice of the monks, into Kyoto to heal the poor for free. After many years he grows weary. He steps out onto a street corner and meets the first person he ever gave healing to, who is a beggar.

The beggar had gotten well after the treatment, but soon returned to the streets to his old life. He took no responsibility for his healing whatsoever, because it was free and nothing was expected of him. He was right back where he started before he had ever encountered Usui.

Master Usui realized a very powerful lesson at this time, and decided from then on to only give Reiki in a clinic, and to require some type of payment, barter, or exchange for healing. He continued to treat people for free who could not pay, but expected some type of offering from them, in the form of thanks, food, or other exchange.

David's materials are infused with many concepts from New Age thinking and Vedic (yogic) thought and traditions. His materials are very Western. However, the beggar story is told over and over again in Buddhist traditions in India, to teach a very valuable lesson.

When we expect healing for free, we are harking back to the times when doctors were witch doctors, or shamans, and were outcasts in the tribe. They were made to feel like they were the "other" and could heal only through the intervention of the spiritual realms.

The beggar story highlights what happens when people give healing away for free. Some of the materials from other classes talk about Usui's second generation students being unable to sustain themselves because healing was given away for free.

Wellness has a value. It isn't free to go to your doctor. Seeking a healer means that you will provide some type of exchange. If you place no value on your wellness, you take it for granted. The person who contacted me had a healer who had been giving him healing weekly for free.

She got tired, and stopped practicing altogether.

The precepts are the first lesson my students learn after learning the story of Master Usui. Many people still believe that healing is free. Reiki training is not free, it is at the very minimum given in exchange for something that will benefit the teacher. In the beginning, I had students and clients bring me flowers, food, and other items in exchange.

When we give healing away for free, we are saying in essence that it has no value. This is perhaps why Mrs. Takata charged $10,000 for Reiki Master training when she brought Reiki to the United States from Japan. She believed that healing had a value, and that people would not respect Reiki if it was given away for free.

The beggar story highlights an important lesson. Master Usui learned it. I have learned it. I have had many, many clients over the years who have come to me for healing or in some dire need and have been unable to pay, or have paid a very small amount.

After a while, I learned the same lesson that Master Usui learned in David's Legend. I learned that the energy I expended and gave out had to be in direct proportion to what people paid. I was expending way too much energy on people who were taking me for granted.

Some of my students have also learned this lesson. Many have not, and have stopped practicing due to people draining them dry. This is not the way of Reiki. We are unable to help everyone. People absolutely must take responsibility for their healing and their own lives.

We can give people a leg up, and help them if they have a temporary setback. But if they are using you for your energy or taking advantage of your good nature, they are not good for you. The lesson about this toxic interchange is taught over and over again in India to teach people that they must take responsibility for their own karma.

You can't heal or fix others. And you must not, under any circumstances, take on the karma of others. When people are ready to heal and value their healing, they will find you. If you are not one of my students, and need more clarity about this lesson, please contact me and I will explain it to you.

My highest privilege is being able to spread the Reiki energy to others through teaching students. I expect them to keep practicing, as Reiki is a gift that you receive that is with you for the rest of your life. I teach the exchange lesson over and over again in my classes, and some of my students also learn it the hard way.

Healing has a value. If you value your health, you value your healer. I suggest that these energy drainers learn to do self-Reiki in a class so that they stop taking advantage of others.

To work with me, use my Contact Page.

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