Though I originally intended to write this article for our Reiki students, I actually think that the principles here can be thought-provoking to anyone, and may be of value to those looking for a Reiki practitioner for sessions or a teacher for Reiki studies. In my former career around community health and prevention, I created and taught many ethics courses. What I learned is that guidelines can seem relatively clear on the surface, and then suddenly come to life in fascinating ways when groups gather to explore the deeper implications and applications to the real world. What I propose may not serve as definitive Truth to all. I may not have perfectly demonstrated them in all moments of my being. And I reserve the right to edit them as I explore, learn and grow. They may, however, initiate some depth of thought as they apply to ourselves and the way we live, knowing all that we think, say, do and be impacts many others in addition to ourselves.
Ethics is important in ensuring that above all, we do no harm. As such, when I teach Reiki workshops, I include some or all of these ethical principles in my teaching:
- I ask permission before sharing Reiki with others whenever possible. This will help to ensure that others are open to receiving. It also helps them to feel empowered in their own healing journey. Especially when we have Reiki II and the capacity to share distance Reiki, it can be tempting to share without asking. When it’s impossible to ask, but it would likely be accepted, I send with the intention that the Reiki serve the greatest good, going into the Universe for the healing of all-that-is if it is not accepted by the higher consciousness of the recipients for any reason. I follow the same principles when I send to natural disaster sites, conflict zones, sources of injustice, etc.
- I ask permission before touching others’ bodies, letting them know that Reiki works well when working above the body too. I tell them the general placement for the hand positions so that they can consciously choose to be touched in each of those places.
- I honor confidentiality, not disclosing the identity of my clients or any of the details of our sessions, unless I have explicit permission.
- I do not include massage techniques in offering Reiki professionally, as that requires special licensing in most states. I also check state laws and restrictions when considering doing Reiki in other states. Some have special requirements for anyone doing hands-on work.
- I always honor clients’ unique healing paths and any or all healing modalities they choose to include. Reiki works really well in conjunction with Western and Eastern medical modalities, psychotherapy, and complementary healing practices.
- I do not diagnose conditions. However, as many Reiki practitioners know, Reiki practice opens us up to deeper intuitive knowing. As my insights grew deeper, I began to ask clients if they would like for me to open up to any knowing that would help them on their healing and spiritual paths. If I receive permission, I then share following the session whatever images, stories, and messages come through. I let the client make meaning of what I share, as often what I learn has little or no meaning to me but somehow matches their needs perfectly.
- I practice non-attachment to how healing looks for others. I hold the intentions that the client sets for the session, and then I allow myself to become a hollow reed for the flow of Reiki’s divine intelligence. Non-attachment keeps me from adding my energy into clients (which may not be useful at all) and protects me from leaking my energy in an unhealthy way. I know that I personally am not responsible for ensuring healing, and as such I cannot guarantee specific results for anyone receiving my services. Similarly, I credit my clients for embracing the healing that happens for them, as co-creators of their empowered experience.
- I keep my energy field as clean and clear as possible, so that when clients come to see me, it’s easy to develop a partnership of trust, where I may show up fully as Reiki provider. As part of the human condition, we all experience pain, anger, sorrow, etc. Excellent self-awareness and self-care, along with adequate preparation for sessions, help me to be present to clients without dumping any of my “stuff” into them. During sessions, I hold my focus on the most positive version of my clients, completely “healed” and “naturally creative, resourceful and whole.” I hold my focus on being the hollow reed rather than the “healer.”
- I recommend self-healing as a primary focus for new Reiki practitioners. In some Reiki learning traditions, students are taught to focus on self-healing only with Reiki I and then to begin helping others after Reiki II. I did not learn this way, but it was the natural evolution for my Reiki path. Our focus on self-healing may ultimately make us better Reiki practitioners, in service to all-that-is.
- I think it’s important for Reiki practitioners to balance self-Reiki, sharing Reiki with others, and receiving Reiki as an on-going commitment to letting Reiki teach and heal us. When we share Reiki with others, we also receive the benefit. However, receiving Reiki from others helps us to stay in better balance, so we are more able to show up for others when our energy bodies are well-tended and fully–nurtured.
- I strive for balance in my professional and personal relationships. In my shamanic tradition, we talk about “anyi,” or balance, as the foundation for health and well-being. When we give too much without receiving, we become depleted. When we receive without giving back, we become like energetic hoarders, also unhealthy. When offering Reiki to others, it can be helpful, healthy and empowering for both when there is energy exchange, whether in currency, trade, or other form.
I honor contributions to my professional knowledge of Reiki, including the International Center for Reiki Training’s Code of Ethics, as well as the International Coach Federation and their Code of Ethics.
How does the concept of ethics show up in your life?
What ethical principles have served you well?
What other ethical codes or standards do you aspire to create and live into?
As always, I welcome any comments or suggestions you may have to enhance these codes.