Announcement: Robert Fueston will only be teaching the First Degree course on a very limited basis until otherwise noted. Consider this his “temporary or permanent retirement” from teaching the First Degree; he doesn’t know which it is. Masters Debra Coomer and Liza Binford have already taken over teaching the First Degree classes at The Reiki Preservation Society (https://www.thereikipreservationsociety.org/first-degree-s…/).
My teacher Helen Borth transitioned on October 3rd at the age of 85. During our training we talked a lot about the people, groups, and times of the 1970’s and 1980’s which she was a part of. She knew many of the Takata Master students and was the first Master trained after Hawayo Takata’s death. She was also a founding member of the Reiki Alliance. She was a spiritual teacher which my words written here can not capture.
Occasionally I record some of my Master students’ Third Degree training. The students don’t actually get these recordings though…well, not at this point anyway. When, and if, students become Dai-shihans in my lineage, and I feel the timing is right, then I will give them the audio recordings of when they were being trained as Masters. This is usually at the point that they feel they are ready to start training another Master.
Anyway, I recently came across a recording from August 22, 2017. I thought that actually listening to how I train Masters might give a better understanding of Shinpiden than simply writing yet another article.
In this recording, I have two Master students with me. One being the Shihan-kaku in training and the other a Dai-shihan student of mine watching me teach another Master student. I mention a bench and a Japanese handsaw in the recording…this is the initiation bench Rick Bockner and I made together (which I mention in my book – Volume 1).
Robert N. Fueston using a Japanese handsaw
The other comment on the recording I want to explain is about it being Liza’s 100th day…that is one of the practices we do in our lineage. We practice the initiations DAILY on an empty chair or on students if they are around. While this is a daily practice, a big hurdle is day 100. We have a form that we either place a check mark or a sticker on next to each day that we practice the initiations. If we forget to practice one day, then we start back at Day 1 and start the process over. So, when you have reached day 100, that means you have done the initiations every day for 100 days in a row without skipping or forgetting a single day.
I hope you enjoy this small sample of me teaching the Third Degree…
Robert N. Fueston
In other words… read Part 1 first!
“It made a difference for that one”, said the young man at the end of A Starfish Story in Part 1.
I still teach my Master students individually or in very small groups of three people or less. Normally this training takes place over the course of a few years. Occasionally I have taught week-long Master training intensives with continued support afterwards. This slow way of training is how Masters have been trained and taught to practice in traditional Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho, from Usui to Takata. It forms the bond between the Master and the student, and with the lineage.
I understand it is rare for Masters to be trained this way today. It is not that other Masters are wrong for doing otherwise; it just doesn’t work for me within the system I learned, teach, and practice. And, frankly, it seems unlikely that a student would be able to truly embody the teachings in Shinpiden in just a one-day or weekend class. Shinpiden isn’t simply straightforward rote learning, such as how to do the initiations and why we do each part in the initiations. While the initiations are important, it isn’t the vast majority of what students could be learning in Shinpiden.
The word, “Shinpiden” means “mystery” or “mysterious teachings”. The lessons we learn in Shinpiden are mostly known through practice which leads to inner transformations. For example: Let’s imagine that I am trying to teach you horsemanship (something big here in Kentucky). Can you learn horsemanship without working with actual horses? Could I simply give you classroom instruction in horsemanship and then expect you to go out into the world and ride horses or teach horsemanship to others? There are some things you can only learn by actually doing them. A lot of learning will come from actually riding on different horses and riding them on different terrain. Having a teacher with you to “show you the ropes” during this process is important.
Likewise, part of Master training is how to teach the system of Reiki to others. How can you learn to teach students without working with actual students? This is why I have my Master students assist me in my classes throughout their training, gradually teaching more and more of the subjects in the First- and Second-degree courses. Being a Master isn’t just giving some instructions and doing initiations – it is many things, some intangible; far too many for me to simply write in this article. That will have to wait for some future article(s). I recently read a statement from Constantin Dina whom I re-trained as a Master in my lineage. He wrote, “Maestria in orice domeniu nu este un substantiv, este un verb.” In English this translates to, “Master in any field is not a noun, it’s a verb.”
As far as the nonteaching parts of Shinpiden are concerned, I will use another example: If I were to try and teach you ballet just in the classroom, neither one of us should expect you to truly have learned ballet. You must take what you have learned and practice in the studio with your teacher present. Likewise, I could give you meditation instruction and you could read books on meditation. But if you don’t sit and do the practice, you won’t truly understand anything about meditation. Self-discovering the mysteries of Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho comes through practice and guidance… guidance from our teacher(s), guidance from our lineage, and guidance from Reiki itself.
Traditional teachers who train new Masters the old and slow way will not teach as many Master students as people who teach Shinpiden as a “class”. But teaching a lot of Master students isn’t our goal. It is having the patience and dedication to pass on what we have learned to others, witnessing students come into their own relationship with the mysteries of the system, with each person discovering their own true essence as a result of the practice. For me, training Masters is to “make a difference for that one”.
 It is currently believed that Usui taught about 19 Master students, Hayashi around 13, and Takata 22. After Mrs. Takata’s death in 1980, some of her Master students started holding large Master training seminars sometimes with 20 or more students.
I remembered a story recently I like to pass down my Reiki lineage. It was passed on to me by the woman (Jone Eagle) who first initiated me as a Reiki Master in 1997. It very much reflects my idea of how I like to train my Master students. I’ll write a short article explaining what I mean by that statement and post it in a future blog. In the meantime, I’m providing a copy of the story below.
Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.
One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up.
As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer he called out, “Good morning! What are you doing?”
The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.”
“I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?”
“The sun is up, and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”
“But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach, and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”
Over the past 20+ years of teaching I have told a few students that I often am fully conscious while I am “asleep”. During some of these times, I have conversations with Reiki Masters – some I know only by name. It wasn’t until last year however, that I heard the term “lucid dreaming” talked about on a radio show.
I didn’t know there was a name for what I had been experiencing. For those of you unfamiliar with lucid dreaming, I offer up a personal experience as an example. One night, I went to bed and fell asleep. In my dream, I was fully aware that I was dreaming. Mrs. Takata’s Master students Virginia Samdahl and Barbara McCullough were both there. I said to them, “My body is asleep right now and it could wake up at any time – so we have a limited amount of time to talk. Before my body wakes up I would like to ask you some questions.” This question and answer session went on for some time. What was a little bothersome was that sometimes they both would both be answering at the same time. During those times it was a struggle to process what they were saying and I would have to ask for clarification or for one of them to repeat what they had said. Luckily, not all my interactions with Reiki Masters in my “dreams” happen this way! Normally during my “nighttime learning”, everyone takes turns talking…just like we do in our normal everyday conversations while we are “awake”.
As I mentioned before, I’ve only told a few students about my lucid dreaming or other personal experiences. This is because for me, they have been just that – personal and I have kept it as such for all these years. However, the inward urging from my teachers has become more like inward shoving – but in a nice-ish sort of way. The importance to open up and share more of my own experiences has been made perfectly clear to me. And this is what I have to offer just for today…
Note: There is a relationship between my previous post about Shuhari and this post. I would like to offer some more “depth” regarding the previous post regarding changes to the way I will be teaching Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho.
I find it interesting that each year it seems the lineage, my teachers, and I are staying in communication and more…but not by phone, FaceBook, or Skype.
This communication started during my classes many years ago where sentences would involuntarily come out of my mouth, my ears would hear the words, send the information to my brain, and I would “hear” this for the first time (at the same time the students heard it). I was often amazed at the clarity at which something would be said – much better than I could have said it myself. The frequency of these occurrences started happening more and more – both inside and outside of the classroom. This reminded me of Mrs. Takata’s teaching, “Let Reiki teach you!” Although I admit, when I heard these words of Mrs. Takata, I wasn’t thinking of Reiki teaching me in this particular manner (and Reiki can teach us in many other ways as well).
During the past year or two, especially in classes, I find myself sitting in silence and “listening” for what needs to be done next…sort of like waiting for instructions to come. Sometimes though, I receive lots of instructions or sentences at the same time. At these times, I pause and see which one feels the more urgent. I pick that one and afterwards sense if the other set of instructions or sentences still need to be done or stated (if I can still remember what they were at that point!).
For those skeptics who might think things like this are simply all about having a good imagination…think about this for a moment. Can you get your own brain to rattle off two different sentences at the same time to yourself? Try it. I don’t think it can be done. I don’t think our brains can overlap sentences like that simultaneously. However, our brains have the ability to hear two sentences being spoken at once. This is something other than “imagination” it seems.
For many years now, it seems I am co-teaching and at other times I am just a student in my own classes.
I have learned from my experience that the lineage is alive and teaches through us. These Masters are available and accessible to us (yes, even those that have already transitioned out of their physical bodies). “There is no such thing as death…only transition” Takata’s husband (Saichi) told her.
It is my lineage and my past teachers who are impressing on me now what I should “change”. For example, I have taught Second Degree over twelve hours for many years. However, there is more information and techniques in the Second Degree in my lineage that I would like to share but simply run out of time in these classes. Students already seem to be overwhelmed by the information and possibilities of the practices in Second Degree. Simply adding more classroom hours and throwing even more stuff at them all at once doesn’t seem like a good solution.
Teaching Second Degree in smaller segments appears like the best solution at the moment (so I am told by my lineage). So instead of a 12 hour class over 2 days, I might do an 18 hour class over 3 day with days or weeks in between each parts of the class.
I believe students will be able to learn better this way. This will also give students time to practice and integrate what they have been taught in the previous Second Degree session. But because changing the format of the Second Degree class goes against tradition, I have been very resistant to implementing it. Now it seems the lineage won’t stop bothering me about it until I do.
Now comes the creative part….how to do the scheduling!
“Without the lineage, you have nothing.” – Fran Brown
My mom asked me in a FB post, “What was involved in your decision?” (in response to my decision to publish Volume 2.) I replied,”Once I reached 20 years of practice in 2016, I felt a shift in me. Where I felt that I had enough experience to do what I felt was right for the practice regardless of tradition.”
I feel we must first follow and practice tradition to fully understand WHY we have traditions. We can then reap the benefits of these traditions. Now however, at this point in my practice, I need to rely on my own judgment in these matters and see where that takes me. After discussing my inner process with one of my senior Master students, Mihai Albu, he suggested I look up the concept of Shuhari. It is amazing when you experience something for yourself first, then hear that “it is a thing” if you catch my meaning. You can read about Shuhari here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuhari
More about “changes” will be addressed in the next post…stay tuned!