Reiki is a standalone teaching. It’s a full and robust teaching which is equipped to handle all human challenges, on all layers of being. (Read: Reiki Boosts Physical, Psychological and Spiritual Capacities.)

It doesn’t work only on the level of energy, it primarily works as consciousness. (Read: Reiki as Consciousness.) Reiki is a simple teaching that cuts to the core of whatever we may be facing both on our sojourn on Earth and on our spiritual journey.

Yet everyday Reiki is mentioned in the same breath with psychic ability, divination, readings, crystals, angels, energy healing/medicine, biofield therapies and other unrelated ways and means.

First, let’s dispense with the energy question. Is Reiki energy? Temporarily, it is. Ultimately, it isn’t. The energy referred to here is subtle energy or life force, the animating factor of life. Yes, Reiki will manifest within and as this spectrum and bring about the benefits that life energy brings. (Read: The Action of Ki in Reiki.)

What’s missed however is that life force or ki needs a container, a director, a source. And that source is consciousness. (Read: Codifying Consciousness.)

Reiki works at the level of life energy as needed because it’s a comprehensive approach to human existence, but it can’t work as life force without also working in and as consciousness. This is where Reiki pays real dividends. (Read Reiki: Energy or Vibration?)

Mostly Reiki is felt as a pulsation or vibration. Vibration is subtler than energy, and consciousness is subtler than vibration. Reiki is the manifestation and flow of higher consciousness. The teachings and practices of Reiki give access to higher consciousness and all of its knowledge, transformational powers, healing and rich spiritual resources like wisdom and compassion.

(Read: Wisdom and Compassion as the Path in Reiki.)

Higher consciousness is Divine Consciousness and it contains all of its inherent qualities, as well as its vibration and what’s commonly referred to as energy or life force. Its inherent qualities are too many to mention but there are four which are cornerstones: Wisdom, compassion, divine power and divine intelligence.

Consciousness itself is the witness to our lives, and we are born with it, in its purest form. It knows that what we often identify with is not who we truly are.

— Jack Kornfield

People come to Reiki because it heals, but they don’t realize it also teaches meditation. And because it teaches meditation, the healing available through Reiki is of an entirely distinct kind. It’s the healing of the illusion that we are a skin-encased person, limited in scope, ego-bound and temporary.

Jack Kornfield says, “To heal you must remember who you really are.”

There’s more truth in that one sentence than all the false teachings you may come across in the world of Reiki whether it’s online, in some books and worse from people who are actually teaching “Reiki.”

What’s mostly taught is Reiki “lite.”

This is Reiki stripped of most of its teachings and practices. In fact the only practice that’s passed on is hands-on Reiki which is unfortunately also stripped of its real power and truth, because it’s missing the supporting knowledge and other practices which enhance a Reiki practitioner’s ability to be a genuine healing conduit.

Healing at this level can only heal the person, if that. Reiki has the capacity to dismantle core illusions about the nature of reality, our existence and the nature of life itself.

In other words it has the capability to help us unmask our true nature. That is the real purpose of healing and meditation: to know intimately who we are as divine beings, not the made up personalities we parade around.

The good news is that I am not my personality. None of us is.

— Jack Kornfield

This is one of the most comprehensive posts I’ve written on Reiki or any other subject. Save it and return to it. Read it through once, then read it again. Also take time to read all linked material as you return to this content again and again. It continues below.

“Nishi Izu, Kisho no Fuji” 1937 by Kawase Hasui (1883-1957)

"Nishi Izu, Kisho no Fuji," 1937 By Kawase Hasui (1883-1957)

Usui Sensei who originated the teachings of Reiki included specific meditations as the primary practices that he passed on. (Read Meditation: The Roots of Reiki.)

Whenever a teaching includes meditation, that teaching becomes a wisdom teaching.

Wisdom traditions are found in the contemplative traditions of Buddhism, Christianity, Vedanta, Taoism, Sufism, and in the history of philosophy such as the writings of Plato and Aristotle.

Wisdom here refers to a means of personal transformation, of expanding consciousness in ways that change how we understand and relate to the world and the cosmos. Wisdom practices like meditation give us access to universal truths about our own identity, our intrinsic goodness, and transformative qualities such as peace, love, joy, and the role of consciousness in the universe.

We’re created whole and are whole at birth. That wholeness never goes away. It’s intact under all the fragments that living as humans with bodies on a physical planet inevitably generates.

Worse than the fragments is our identification with them.

We become the fragments. We believe we are the fragments. Essential healing takes place when motivated by positive or negative stimuli we find those teachings, practices and truths which enable us to pull back from the fragments and settle them and ourselves into the foundational unity of our being.

— Pamir Kiciman, Foundational Unity of Being

Reiki is a spiritual teaching. It’s not a teaching on energy medicine or a biofield therapy. In some cases, with some of its applications Reiki may look like energy healing, but in the end it really isn’t. Why? Because it’s an enlightenment path, a way to become one with your spiritual self and the spirituality of life. As such it deals with consciousness.

This isn’t consciousness as the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings. Evolved practitioners of all traditions have described consciousness as the ground of being in which life begins, unfolds and evolves. For the past century science has promoted the view that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain, i.e., consciousness is something generated by the brain. To date there is no scientific evidence that this is so.

Consciousness… is a quickly vibrating subtle energy field, which is the basis of all material manifestation…. The world comes into being through consciousness…. Consciousness contains all knowledge, from the most mundane mechanics of the elements to the highest spiritual wisdom. Consciousness itself is the instrument of all internal forms of knowledge, transcending all knowledge gained by the senses. Awakening to the wisdom inherent in our deeper consciousness reveals to us all the mysteries of the universe. Consciousness is the source of true genius and insight. Gaining direct access to our deeper consciousness, we go beyond all external instruments of knowledge…

— Dr. David Frawley

Let’s now dispense with Reiki and psychic abilities. Here the spectrum of consciousness really has to be considered. If we begin with Consciousness as the substratum of life, as the subtlest and all-pervading vibrational and informational cause of all things, there then follows a spectrum of creation, of mind, of manifested reality. It’s always a little tricky to explain cosmic events in a progression, but for argument’s sake we could picture it like this:

Consciousness → Vibratory primeval forces → Energies → Soul → Mind → Intuition → Thought → Intellect → Abilities like empathy and/or psychic perception.

Intuition is much misunderstood. An aspect of intuition mentioned a lot is when it’s lumped together with instinct, or gut feeling. Instinct is a more animal sense, a useful one, but not exactly intuition.

Intuition is a soul faculty, a spiritual resource. It happens in the heart and the spiritual eye. Intuition isn’t the knowing of mundane things, but the full birth and establishment of the spiritual in us. It’s a direct way of knowing truth, Divine truth and other layers of truth.

Psychic ability is real and valuable. The question that needs to be asked regarding it is: what level of truth or reality does it access?

Personally, I think intuition can be sharpened and expanded through meditation, diving into the Self. There’s an ocean of consciousness inside each of us, and it’s an ocean of solutions. When you dive into that ocean, that consciousness, you enliven it. You don’t dive for specific solutions; you dive to enliven that ocean of consciousness. Then your intuition grows and you have a way of solving those problems — knowing when it’s not quite right and knowing a way to make it feel correct for you. That capacity grows and things go much more smoothly.

— David Lynch

Reiki is an intuitive art and practice. It’s a spiritual teaching which boosts one’s ability to access native intuition. Intuition is built-in but it’s schooled out of us with overemphasis on intellectual development and left-brain bias.

Again, intuition is a direct way of knowing truth, any truth personal or universal. Spiritual practice helps you reclaim your intuition.

Reiki is a spiritual practice because it includes meditation and because Reiki vibrates from the Divine. Meditation, sitting meditation, is the primary way humans have made contact with their spirituality and the universe for millennia.

Similarly, you are truest when healed. Truth lives where healing is allowed. Hands-on Reiki is a wellness and healing practice. It’s supported by Reiki’s meditations. The two form a whole.

If the Reiki class you attended or are thinking of attending only teaches hands-on Reiki, that’s a greatly reduced and truncated teaching. (Read: How the Dual Practices of Reiki Lead to Oneness.)

You can learn and apply Reiki as only ‘energy’ healing; most Reiki classes are limited to this shallow understanding. It will benefit you, create some needed changes and heal to a certain extent. You may even grow. But this kind of Reiki is not going to evolve you much.

It’s a half measure. It doesn’t go the distance. And it leaves too much room for error. When you have Reiki’s full teachings and all its practices, you’re guided and protected by a venerable body of knowledge and wisdom.

As a practitioner you can then be a true instrument. You won’t be applying a technique, but can actually be a vehicle and portal for your own greatest version and help others embody their greatest versions.

In its full-fledged form, Reiki is a transformational teaching. It spiritualizes the practitioner, shifting their identity from a separate “I” to a connected whole. It unifies the fragmented self, bringing a higher consciousness that contains peace, love, power, healing, wisdom and compassion.

Reiki makes available the opportunity for life to be an enlightened experience.


Reiki Primer: Short audio and text that looks at Reiki as it was envisioned by its founder, Usui Sensei (teacher—born Mikao Usui).

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Busting Myths About Reiki