I am a Reiki Master Teacher with my own practice - and I was drawn to the question. It is an interesting one that poses many other questions! I am wondering where the information comes from the Reiki requires an exchange of energy. I've never heard of this and am intrigued by such a concept. It certainly is not in keeping with how I teach or have been taught. Reiki, in my opinion, requires nothing by willingness to recieve. Not that there is anything wrong with charging for Reiki, in fact it is how I make my living. However, there are many examples of times when I have given Reiki with no expectation of exchange but just from a place of love. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.
Thank you for your message. It's certainly an interesting question.
On a spiritual level I fully agree with you about Reiki itself. Reiki is the soul of love and comes from the planet or god- it is pure divine force. We are made of love, and when love flows from one to another, it is simply a way of divine sharing with divine and each of us becomes closer to our natural way of being- free, empowered, divine beings full of love with the power to choose our own fates.
Certainly I have felt energy leave my hands when touching someone casually in a hug, or in passing. It does happen frequently, as I'm sure you know.
In the Tera-Mai teachings of which I am a master there are two precepts that we teach, beyond the original five spiritual principles. The first being that there must be an exchange of energy and the second being that a person must ask.
The energy exchange principle in my tradition comes directly from Usui's experiences in the beggar kingdom. The story being that he spent 7 years healing the people and working in the streets. One day he came across one of the first individuals that he had helped. He asked the man "why are you here. I told you to go and get a job and I helped you." And the beggars response to him went something like this "But I did get a job. I even took a wife and became a responsible citizen. But it was too much work and I wanted to be here."
That is grossly paraphrased, however you get the idea. The moral of that parable being the importance of letting each person place a value on their own healing through agreeing on what the energy exchange will be.
I know that in recent years the teachings of Takata have come into question as legitimate and there are many claims that she has changed the original information- and indeed many myths about Usui have been refuted over the years.
I do however stand by the oral tradition of my own teachings and those principles have stood me in very good stead in my own practice with my students. Often these two principles really assist women in particular with boundary issues and in general serve well for those who practice them.
Energy exchange does happen on many different levels. And on many occasions I have also stepped in to offer Reiki because it was requested on a soul level (for example a woman who was unconscious bleeding on the sidewalk), and in such instances I always ask for guidance and the soul's request for energy exchange.
In such cases of course I don't require nor do I ask my students to stick the need for them personally to receive the exchange, and I ask that the person who has received will do something for others or to serve their healing process.
Or I find the value in our exchange and what I have learned from them and consider that a more than fair trade. It always is. In the case of the woman who was on the sidewalk, no one else would help. She was lying on frozen cement and needed immediate assistance. I stepped in and held her head in my hands to warm her and also focused on slowing the blood flow.
Within moments of my taking action, a woman with first aid training stopped, several people took action to call the ambulance and assist and she was able to walk to the ambulance with help and had stopped bleeding.
There was a powerful gift for me in this: I learned a lesson I was seeking about how I could impact my world and make a difference, but that i would have to be willing to take the initiative and lead so that others could follow my example.
It is perhaps one of the greatest payments I have ever received for a offering Reiki because that lesson stays with me today and encourages me even now in my work. In a very real and practical way this woman has taught me a great deal for the short time I spent with her. A more than fair exchange.
In principle, if someone is asking for Reiki it is to their advantage to place a value on the healing for themselves and out of respect to the practitioner. That way both benefit, there are no unclear or questioned issues later about giving and receiving for either- the exchange is clear- there is no opportunity for one to hold out that they have given Reiki without any return... as does sometimes happen. Exchange can be anything- provided that both agree upon what that exchange is and are satisfied with the transaction.
When I had my reiki level one I will admit, I didn't follow these precepts all of the time. And it showed. People that came to me for healing would not always benefit as they could for the work, because they were receiving it for free and would end up coming back or ending up in the same space they started in. Observing this pattern brought me back to the original reasoning for the principle of energy exchange- being the story of Usui and the beggar.
I don't mean to make it sound like a business thing. It is not. I believe very strongly in this principle myself, as science shows us that energy can not be created or destroyed- so that source that we channel which benefits us in giving it, and which is such a miracle to me still each time I use it- is given and as a result, something must shift in the universe- and this means that if no exchange is agreed upon, something will shift elsewhere.
So when asked, and in teachings, I do believe it is important to stress this concept. Especially for people new to Reiki because it sets a precedent and value on the work which has enormous benefits for all who use it.
In practical terms, and scientific terms- and even in spiritual laws, energy exchange is an important philosophy.
It sounds like you come from a different school of teaching, and I would be interested to hear more about your own work and teachings. When I first moved to BC after receiving my level one all those years ago, I was amazed at how many Reiki students did not have the same understanding of Reiki or background that I had.
But then I do not know any other Tera-Mai reiki masters on the West Coast- and have been speaking primarily with Usui Reiki Masters and Kundalini Reiki Teachers, and they do have a different set of teachings in some ways (have had some in my classes as well and we have compared notes). So I am unique in my practice in some ways, although we all agree on the fundamentals.
But I have never heard anyone ask me about energy exchange as a fundamental principle before. :) Its a great question, as I said.