So often I run in to people that mention that they learned to do 1st degree Reiki but they never went any further with it. Their dismissive attitude tells me clearly that they didn’t get it the same way I did. Sadly I realize, they didn’t get to feel it in their bones, in their gut, viscerally, because I know when you get it that way, well, there ain’t no way you can dismiss it!

It’s no wonder, really, that student’s don’t get it. Although, Reiki has become one of the most popular healing modalities out there, the demands on the student are often quite minimal. People are intrigued by its’ simplicity and no doubt they are also influenced by the minimal initial time and financial investment that is required to get in on it. It’s pretty cheap compared to other bona fide healing modalities.

Unfortunately most people confuse the simplicity of the teachings and the reasonable cost with it being relatively benign and moderately effective. As a Reiki Master Teacher, (and an ardent fan incidentally), I would like to reassure all you students of Reiki that with your initiations to 1st Degree you have engaged with an incredibly elegant and powerful self-healing technique.

Reiki is easily and commonly taught with basic misconceptions.

i) that Reiki students at the 1st Degree level are only at an initiatory level of Reiki.
ii) that Reiki is learned as a modality with which to treat others.
iii) that beginning with 1st degree you become a ‘channel’ for universal energy.
Believing in each of these 3 unfortunate misconceptions compounds finally in creating a weakened relationship with Reiki. If the teacher fails to recognize the true implicit beauty and potential of the 1st Degree practice how can her student’s hope to experience it fully? I hope to challenge you to get, I mean really ‘get’ a bigger experience from your 1st degree.

Try not to think of Reiki as a channeling technique – it is actually an embodiment of universal energy. You don’t become attuned to channel energy – you become attuned to awaken the universal life force energy aspect within yourself. As you awaken your entire personal energy field you will resonate with the universal energy forces and rhythms of life energy as they exist universally all around you. In Reiki 1st Degree students are attuned to wake up their own latent energy force and step into a harmonized relationship with universal life force rhythms. Sounds big doesn’t it? That’s because it is.

The potential of 1st Degree Reiki offers the student a complete body of knowledge independent of how far you choose to go with it. Interestingly, even though all 2nd Degree students must take 1st Degree, most don’t even understand what 1st Degree is about, they have only considered it as being a small stepping stone to get to 2nd Degree. There are a few solid and complex, though simple, components that must be practiced extensively before one is ready to move competently on to the next level of learning.

1. In 1st Degree students are given 4 attunements because that’s what it takes to wake up after our energetic system has been sleeping for a long time. It’s like hitting the snooze button over and over. With each attunement you wake up a bit more until there is no chance of slipping peacefully into your previous slumber. Consider the attunements to be gentle incremental nudges to stimulate your awakening. With each subsequent degree you get more attunements all for the same reason – to wake you up to be more energetically aware! Of course, the Reiki attunements can only be passed on by a Master Teacher who is aware and awake her self. Usui also gave weekly Reiju Empowerments (mini attunements) for the same purpose.

2. In 1st Degree you learn various meditations that were designed by Usui to bring a fully conscious awareness to witnessing and experiencing yourself as a spiritual being of light. On a sub-atomic level we are comprised of molecules vibrating at a specific frequency. Under a high-powered microscope that frequency looks like light. We are light – luminous beings capable of continuously creating and generating life. Imagine! In the practice of Reiki we learn to amplify our light body as if we were using a dimmer switch.

3. In 1st Degree you learn a series of 5 Precepts that Usui developed to guide us into thoughtfully contemplating our spiritually moral and ethical responsibilities in life on a daily basis. Living to the best of our ability within these 5 precepts promotes happiness, compassion, peace of mind and ultimately health. Deep personal reflection is needed to understand our motivations, actions and way of being in the world.

4. In 1st Degree you learn how to give yourself treatments. Doing daily self-treatments is the single most important aspect of Reiki, yet so few Reiki student’s are even aware this is possible. In 1st Degree you also learn how to give others treatments. All students of Reiki feel compelled to share their energy with others. It’s natural to share what we learn. Unfortunately, until we learn how to patiently sit in our own healing energy we are not able to be effective as a healer to anyone else. People are always more apt to help others than help themselves. Reiki 1st Degree teaches us first and foremost to start with the self.

It is customary to take a minimum of 3 months to fully learn to embody universal energy and experience the awakening that is possible through the daily practice of 1st Degree. In Second Degree students learn how to use their ever awakening status to assist healing in another person effectively in person and at a distance. But there is no hurry, universe and Reiki are timeless experiences. There will be ample opportunity to heal the world – but it has to start with you. I encourage you all to re-visit your 1st Degree teachings and come to experience the essential nature of Reiki as it moves you in harmony with your universe.

Author's Bio: 

Andrea is a full time practicing Reiki Master, metaphysics teacher and energy practitioner. She has been using Tarot Cards and energy work to assist people in their life transitions for over 15 years and is passionate about teaching people the tools they need to feel empowered in their own lives. She is a popular teacher and offers many programs, seminars and workshop in self-empowerment, metaphysics, meditation and Reiki. When she isn’t teaching she’s busy working on her book. Find out more on her website and her blog at