Reiki and Money. The Energy Exchange
By Oliver Klatt
Reiki courses, Reiki treatments, Reiki instruction–as a rule, all of this costs money. Still, how much do I accept for a Reiki treatment? For a first degree course? For training a master? For many, these are difficult questions. It seems to be difficult to measure the value of what one gives with Reiki. Above all, it is different for every person. Many avoid high amounts, explaining that Reiki cannot be bought. Others want to have their personal service and effort recognized. They set prices based on the time they spend teaching the course and the amount of their expenses. Still others use a fixed class price, seeing it as the barometer for measuring a reciprocal energy exchange.
Money for Reiki?
Money in exchange for universal life energy? For access to universal life energy? For the ability to provide others access to universal life energy? This seems inappropriate to many people. They think, "Reiki is for everyone! Everyone should be able to learn Reiki!" Prices set with this sort of attitude seem to say: "I am consciously economical, and I do not put up barriers. I want to make it possible for everyone to have access to universal life energy." And so prices might be set at 15 Euro for a one hour Reiki treatment, 70 Euro for a first degree class, 120 Euro for second degree, and 450 Euro for master training.
On the other hand, some people view the whole matter dispassionately, assessing how much time and money they invest in their Reiki activities. That can add up to a great deal: pamphlets, copying costs, rent for seminar space, material costs (certificates, seals, stamps, and so on), CD player, CDs, and membership fees in Reiki organizations. And don't forget taxes, health insurance, and retirement benefits for self-employed Reiki Masters and Reiki practitioners. This can lead to costs such as 50 Euro for a Reiki treatment, 175 Euro for a weekend seminar, and a minimum of 2,500 Euro for master training. These prices seem to say, "I am practical. I would gladly go lower, but that is simply a fantasy. In these days, in our society, if someone wants Reiki, he simply must pay these prices."
Still others see the level of prices for a treatment, a seminar, and, above all, for training a master as a measure of the intensity, depth, and integrity of what takes place during the energy exchange. They follow the motto, "The more you give, the more you receive," believing that one who allows himself to be paid more must in some way embody this form and passes it on respectively; otherwise, in the long run, he would not be successful in his work. This type of pricing seems to say: "I hold a deep understanding within me. I stand for a particular form, for a complete presentation in a unique manner. If you feel attracted to it, allow yourself a conversation with me." These prices could be 70 Euro for a ninety-minute Reiki treatment, 200 Euro for a first degree class, 600 Euro for second degree, and 10,000 Euro for the master training.
These common ways of dealing with Reiki and money, described here as examples, seldom appear in pure form. Each of us has a bit of the idealist, the calculator, and the appraiser inside of us.
Is there a fair solution for everyone?
In the search for the absolutely perfect solution, many have already failed. Perhaps one calculated his price with an average number of three participants in each seminar (which has been the case in the last few years). By considering the accumulated costs and the personal time required for the course, he sets a fair price of 120 Euro for each participant. But then only two participants come, or a seminar is cancelled for lack of interest and the rent for the room still must be paid. Or, on the other hand, at least four people come regularly, his courses become increasingly full, and suddenly he takes in more money than ever expected! Should he now lower the price again?
Or perhaps, after doggedly struggling with herself, one changes her price across the board, or at least case by case, based on the client's or student's financial circumstances. Unfortunately, however, only people who have little money come for treatment or classes, and then even the agreed minimal installment payments no longer come in. In addition to the disappointment over this situation, misunderstandings develop. How could someone take such advantage of her? Could it be that someone with such an accommodating attitude is not taken seriously? Generally, it is not a common practice to set prices based on the financial capacity of a prospective buyer. Or is this person simply not clear in communicating her sliding scale?
Or perhaps one is a member of a Reiki association that agrees to a standard price structure and would not change it as a matter of principle. This one is along the same lines fully and completely. However, he is suddenly confronted by a special case, which suggests the need for a unique approach. What is he to do? Stick doggedly by his unchangeable prices come what may? Or for this one time allow a special solution, knowing that one special case will attract others?
Question upon question that often confront a Reiki practitioner. Surely the one absolutely right solution does not exist. We repeatedly experience special cases that we can learn from. One must have experience and one must make mistakes in order to learn from them. Truly we learn emphatic life lessons through money. After all, this issue takes us to the very root of human existence: every one of us needs money to live.
On the nature of bank notes and bills
Much has been written about the theme of money over hundreds of years. A short time ago, as I read a book published in 1884, I stumbled on an interesting passage that broadened my understanding of the energy of money. It dealt with the nature of bank notes and bills, the form of legal tender that proved, over time, to be easier to use than coins and readily surpassed them.
With the production of bills, I read, there are two aspects with special significance. First of all, a bill must be designed in a way that makes it impossible to counterfeit it. Secondly, all the notes of a given denomination must be totally identical in order to be unequivocally identifiable. Bank notes delineate themselves from each other through two completely opposing features. On the one hand, through their uniqueness, for example by the watermark, the hologram, richly detailed drawings, and so forth. On the other hand, through their interchangeable-ness. After all, all bills of the same denomination look the same! Ultimately, it makes no difference with which 20 Euro bill you pay. Every 20 Euro bill has the same value.
This interplay between distinctiveness and sameness ensures a common functioning of the energy of money: the unmistakable, regulated design of the notes prevents counterfeiting and guarantees the unmistakable and quick identification of the bills in a daily routine. The actual value of the paper on which the bill is printed plays no role.
In spite of the practical value, the easy availability of bills actually lowers the value; the special becomes common, the unique becomes mundane. Surely this is the basis for the widely disparaging attitude toward money in general, including expressions such as "filthy money" or beliefs that too much wealth is harmful. Growing up, we are downright "inoculated" with this sort of attitude, which is clearly not conducive to a positive and successful relationship to money.
To change this attitude, it can be helpful to consider the aspect of the uniqueness of the bank note. The best way is to use some bill you already have as an example. What, exactly, do the bills look like? What motifs are used? How artistically are they executed? How does the paper on which they are printed feel to the touch? How does the water mark look? What is unique about it? How is one bill distinguished from another of the same value? Precisely now, with the new Euro currency, there is such an extremely interesting consideration of money, and that certainly is conducive to healing a problematic attitude toward money.
By the way, it is interesting to see that each individual "common bank note" can also have an absolutely unique meaning. In a situation having to do with the correct change, for example, often one has a single note, usually the last of a given amount in the person's possession. Or, when you want to give cash as a gift, you make an extra trip to the bank to get brand new bills.
Naturally, particular categories of bills could have a greater or lesser meaning, for example: the big bills for paying large sums and smaller bills for tips.
Money and the Feeling of Self worth
Dealing with money can take on many forms. One aspect we cannot avoid: dealing with it individually and personally. Our attitude toward money matters is stamped throughout our personality. Above all, the feeling of self worth plays a decisive role in the bargain. After all, it is the basis of every difficult attitude toward money matters: "I am not worth it."
"As an adult I do not deserve what I was not allowed to have as a child." "As a woman I do not earn what men normally earn as their just due." "I do not deserve to be paid for something which, to me, appears totally obvious as my due." "I am not worthy to surpass others."
These sorts of beliefs, whether consciously or unconsciously accepted, usually guarantee a difficult attitude toward money. This can appear as unnecessary frugality, posing at times as self-sacrifice.
Surely one cannot simply come along and demand a fantasy price for anything. But if you believe you do not deserve fair payment, as a rule, you will not receive it. The greatest blame for this is your own negative attitude toward money, not that other people have no money or that no one recognizes the true worth of your achievements.
Although it might be difficult to believe, generally one receives what you believe is a fair amount. Each of us sends out a personal "self worth message" into the world and the world responds to it. Therefore every mental or psychological work we do on money matters should begin exactly at this point. It is useful to get clarity on this matter. How valuable is one's personal service "out there in the world"? How much is reasonable to charge for it "out there"?
Let's ask once more concretely: What do I think my Reiki treatments are worth at the present time? First degree seminars which I organize? The Master training which I offer? What sum comes to you spontaneously? How high is this amount? Is it really suitable, considering all reliable factors? Is this the price that I now charge for my effort? How do these prices compare with those of others'? And now, asked the other way around: How much am I willing to pay for a Reiki treatment? When I wish to learn Reiki, how much is participation in a first degree seminar worth? In order to deepen my path in Reiki, how much is the initiation in the second degree worth to me? Do I find people who, through their offerings, correspond to my needs? How am I in my personal contact with these people?
These are questions with no easy answers. Questions one can view as open questions or motivating forces. Questions that are useful for repeated analysis of this topic.
I wish that we could find the suitable answer for us. Perhaps it could help to remember that, basically, the greatest luck on the earth is to perform a job that one enjoys and for which one is appropriately paid. When someone accomplishes a task and another pays him such that the first person is satisfied, and the other does not feel overcharged, it is surely something very fine. Both benefit from that. Neither loses and both win.
Translation: Olivia Salazar
Edited by Barbara McDaniel
Copyright by Oliver Klatt