CHOOSING A SPIRITUAL PRACTITIONER IN AN UNREGULATED WORLD OF HEALING
Spirituality, spiritual practices, meditation, and energy medicine are becoming more and more commonplace in our modern society. While it is a wonderful thing that so many people are in a spiritual awakening of some sort, there seems to be some confusion over one’s own spiritual growth and becoming a spiritual practitioner, teacher, or business owner. Not everyone who is opening to a connection with spirit and energy is ready or called to do this for a living or offer services to the public. I have found that many clients who are just opening to spirit, meditation, or energy want to know when they can join the spiritual profession. Although it is exciting and life changing when we learn that we have spirit guides or that we can work with energy, getting business cards printed is not why we have spiritual awakenings. I do not know of any reputable practitioners or teachers who entered a spiritual path with the intention of creating some kind of business. In fact, it is almost always the opposite. The person’s own struggles, natural connections to spirit and energy, initiations (often unpleasant), and healing work for themselves will lead to years of training and spiritual development. Most reputable practitioners and certainly most teachers have spent years with multiple teachers, have fully immersed themselves in training and studying with mentors, have completed lengthy programs and continue to do so, and have volunteered services for long periods of time before ever accepting money. The universe will align and shift one’s world so the path of being in service cannot be denied if it is meant to be. However, in our modern American society, the spiritual arena can sometimes look like our fast food industry. People want things quickly, there is a sense of entitlement that leads to taking short cuts, a wantingness to hang a spiritual shingle; all of this at the expense of unknowing clients. I have heard this termed “spiritual selling” and I myself have often used the phrase “spiritual fast food.” What is wrong with following a spiritual path for our own development, growth, well-being, and to live a more fulfilled life? Where did being “spiritual” become mixed up with hanging a spiritual shingle and having a business card to prove it? Reiki is a great example of this. You can easily find reiki teachers who are willing to certify you through reiki master in just a matter of months. Reverence for the traditions of reiki have become secondary to certificates. This has led to everyone and their uncle being a “reiki master.” But what does that really mean? Unfortunately, in this society, it means almost nothing. Spiritual selling, watered down practices, cultural appropriation, and ego leave the public, those looking for healing and spiritual growth, in a messy situation. This is not to say that fast-tracked reiki practitioners, or other weekend certificate holders, don’t have good intentions. Many just want to help people, but it is wise to know the experience and background of someone who is putting their hands on you and potentially affecting your sacred energy. Who is the right practitioner or teacher for you? Who do you trust? Where do you go? How do you know you will be safe? Questions, ask lots of questions! You have the right to know the background and training of someone you put your trust into. Whether this is for healing work, spiritual guidance, a meditation group, or taking classes; you deserve to know the qualifications of the person you are working with. Would you go to a doctor who only took a few weekend workshops or read how to treat your illness online? Would you let someone practice dentistry on you because they have had their own teeth cleaned and think they can do it too? I tell my Usui reiki students that a reiki certificate is not a replacement for proper training in other spiritual practices and does not give one license to do readings, run groups, meditations, or do anything other than reiki, as it was taught. Period. The spiritual, holistic healing arena has almost no monitoring, no regulations. Anyone can call themselves anything. Even a “simple” meditation group should be facilitated by someone with advanced training, the ability to create sacred space, and to handle spiritual issues and experiences as they come up for attendees. So, what do you ask when you are looking for a teacher, a group, or a practitioner? Here are a few questions you not only have the right to ask, but you should be asking. After all, you are trusting someone with your spiritual and energetic well-being and safety. If you don’t like the answers, keep searching. Additionally, if a potential practitioner or teacher claims to have all of the answers, claims that nothing negative exists in the spirit world, or makes ego-driven claims such as being highly evolved; walk away. The last I checked, every person on this Earth is human and lives a human life of not knowing everything, having faults and emotions, and being both shadow and light. Finally, pay attention to self-given titles such as “shaman” or made up titles like “White Light Energy Worker.” Trust your intuition, ask questions, be selective. For as many fast food places that are out there, there are also many wonderful, highly trained and qualified people ready to serve you. I understand that this blog may hit a nerve with many people who are feeling called to work professionally in the healing arts. The intention is not to discourage those from doing the work, but to encourage proper training and doing one’s due diligence in walking a spiritual path for themselves as priority. The focus here is to empower the general public. With practically no regulations or legal recourse for untrained services, at least asking the right questions will give seekers a leg-up when navigating the spiritual and healing arena.
Spiritual Practitioner/Facilitator/Teacher Interview Questions
What are your qualifications for offering this service? What are your certifications and what did the program/s entail (on-line, in-person, self-taught)?
How many years have you studied this content and with whom did you train? What are the qualifications of your teachers? How many teachers have you mentored and/or trained with and for how long?
How many years have you practiced this for yourself? How many years have you been practicing for others?
What is your spiritual background? (A teacher or practitioner should be willing to share his/her story of what led to where they are now.)
Don’t be afraid to ask any other questions that may aid your decision.
By Melanie Lynn