First, please know that “Reiki Master” doesn’t mean you are a “Master of Reiki” or a guru. It is a level designation like “Master’s Degree” that indicates that you’ve received attunement to a high enough level of Reiki to be able to attune others. Mastering Reiki is not really the goal here as much as becoming a role model and gaining your own personal understanding of your relationship with Reiki energy.
As far as timing, that’s up to you, and also a factor of the Reiki method you choose to learn. It would be advisable to get familiar with the sensations of the energy before you move forward, but that is also a subjective choice. For instance, for me, when I started learning Reiki, at level one of Usui Reiki, I did not feel very much energy flow at all. In fact, I doubted that it was working. I tried using Reiki for a year and a half thinking that I wasn’t very good at this because I didn’t feel much. Then, when I learned Usui Reiki level two, things changed and immediately after the attunement (which I also did not feel), I started feeling tingles and heat in response to “turning on” the Reiki energy and giving Reiki to another person. I was stunned. I was surprised because I had been thinking that I just wasn’t very good at Reiki, or the right person to do Reiki, before this. The realization that Reiki was working for me was a great – and very welcome – surprise. I was so enamored with Reiki, and made it a daily part of my life from that moment forward, that I went on to receive Master Teacher training three months later. I was committed to learning as much as I could, once I knew that I was able to feel and direct the Reiki energy.
Not everyone has the experience that I did when they start learning Reiki. But now, as a Reiki teacher, I am committed to making sure that my students do not spend a year and a half wondering if this works for them. When I teach Usui Reiki, I recommend that they learn levels one and two together in the same weekend, or a week apart. I also find that my students do feel and experience their attunements – something that didn’t happen for me with Usui Reiki.
I also recommend that before going on to the Master level, that the students are very familiar with the way that they feel and work with Reiki energy. I want them to have experience with the basics of Reiki level two, which includes hands-on and distance healing, a regular self-healing practice, and insights gained while working with Reiki. I want them to know how to do scanning, how to feel for blockages and areas where the Reiki is being received, and to have a basic personal way of working with the energy that’s consistent for them.
With Practical Reiki, it’s different. This is a simple and powerful Reiki method that does not involve learning a lot of structure. The healing practices for each level take as few as 5-7 minutes per day, and they offer a lot of experience with many of the main ways to incorporate Reiki into one’s life. Practical Reiki is easy enough to be learned through Master level in as few as four weeks. All of the tools are presented, simply and easily practiced, and the practitioner then has a lifetime to grow with his or her practice. Often, those who start with Practical Reiki will go on to learn other Reiki modalities, such as Usui Reiki, and will be able to use the Usui Reiki methods in a more advanced way than the novice because of their experience with Practical Reiki. Also, those who have learned Usui Reiki and then go on to add Practical Reiki to their practice find that learning Practical Reiki strengthens their experience of the energy flow, and makes them aware of the practicality of a less-structured method of energy healing.
As a teacher, I’ve learned from my own experience, and try to give each of my students the things that I feel were lacking in my own initial training. I make sure that my students feel their attunements and understand how they respond to the experience of the energy flow. I also give my students the benefit of my understanding of energy work that developed through using two methods – one very structured (Usui Reiki uses hand positions and symbols), and one unstructured (Practical Reiki allows you to put your hands anywhere you want, and uses plain English words). I also guide my students with their practice, to help them learn to become aware of their intuition’s messages as they work with the energy, and become confident in their Reiki practice.
So back to the question – how long does it take to become a Reiki Master? The answer is when you feel ready to learn all you can about Reiki, incorporate Reiki into your daily life and open yourself to sharing this beautiful energy with others, and when you are committed to living in a way that represents this relationship with Reiki, you may be ready. You’ll know.
P.S. These are the Reiki Precepts, some very beautiful and powerfully simple and yet complex ideals for a Reiki practitioner (or anyone) to have as goals for ethical living. They were created by Mikao Usui, the founder of Usui Reiki.
Just for Today:
I will avoid anger.
I will avoid worry.
I will do my work honestly.
I will be grateful for my many blessings.
I will be kind to all living things.