How Intention Works

Article by Angie Webster

Intention is very important in energy healing, and in life. Everything we do starts with the vibrational energy of intention. From that intention come the thoughts, words and actions that become our life. These thoughts, words and actions draw the situations and people into our life that we encounter. It is all connected, and it all starts with intention.

The intention that we set is the vibrational state that we are operating from. It sets the tone for how we will behave, how our lives will be, and even how we will feel. It becomes who we are and how others perceive us. It is the “vibe” or energy we radiate. So even before we have thought, said or done anything, our intention for how we want to be in the world and the effect we want to have on the Earth is important. It is important to our healing work, as it sets the tone for what sort of energy we are putting into our work.

There is a frequent misconception about intention, however. When you set an intention, it is not the same as making a wish and waiting for the wish to be granted. When you set an intention you are acknowledging the flow from that intention, through you and into the world. You acknowledge that you are setting your energy to a state where your thoughts, words and actions will now begin to shift and follow through to the fulfillment of that intention, even if you don’t know how that will happen.

Often we don’t know how the end result of our intention will come to be. It may seem so big or so far away from where we are now that we can’t imagine it clearly, or don’t know the steps to get there. By setting the intention, we set the course for our energy to begin to shift in the ways it needs to for the intention to come to be, to the extent that we are ready and open to it. This brings change to our minds, hearts and lives. It changes our energy.

There is always change when you set an intention. We all set intentions every day, though we aren’t always aware of them. Consciously setting an intention is different. It is a way of accepting responsibility for your life and for the power you have over it. If you set intentions for something to come to you or for a change to happen in your life, but you are unwilling to do or change anything in yourself or your life to allow that to happen, then you are blocking the intentions you set.

Reiki and Intention
Image by sogard

Both allowing and action are important to creative change. The only one in charge of your energy and your life is you. By being open to allowing change and to taking action to bring your intentions into being, you take full responsibility and control of your life. That can be a little frightening at first, but it is a great feeling when you step into it.

To use intention to expand your heart and your awareness, especially in service to others is a wonderful thing, and will serve you in the end. This is very much what we do when we set an intention for healing at the beginning of a healing session. We intend to be present for the client in a loving way, with an open heart, and allow healing energy to flow through. The intention is that the session be for their greatest and highest good, though we don’t know what that may be or what the outcome will look like. We don’t know the path the healing will take, either in the short term or in the long term. In order for the healing to be most effective, both the healer and the client must be open to change, expansion and possible action.

Having a clear understanding about intention can lead to more ease in reaching your goals and less frustration. Be open to the path that may arise for you when you set an intention and be prepared to walk it. Pay attention to the signs, even if they are unexpected. Listen to the energy within your own body and heart. Take the steps and opportunities that your mind opens to. Most of all, allow your heart and mind to open. That’s what setting an intention is all about—changing the energy of your heart and mind.

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Angie Webster
Angie Webster

Angie Webster is a Reiki Master Teacher and author. Angie’s primary focus is animal Reiki, which she adores. She also teaches classes and workshops about Reiki and spiritual growth. She works often with nature healing and Earth healing, hoping to better understand our connection with Mother Earth. Angie is the author of Infinite Reiki, Infinite Healing: How Energy Medicine Healed my Life and What It Can do for Yours. Reiki and a healthy lifestyle contributed to her healing after a 20-year struggle with neurological and chronic pain issues. She comes out the other side with a new perspective on life and now seeks to empower others, guiding them back to their own innate healing abilities. You can follow her at:,,


  1. The most important changes in my life have happened when I followed this natural law…Thanks for this reminder!Much love,Serena.❤️

  2. Open and allow the changes in your heart and mind, if the energy
    level increased in our heart and mind who and what will against us?
    really a great eye opener.

  3. Thanks once again for articulating basic fundamentals and dynamic of Intention. You are great and always helping me at right time to enjoys multi dimensions of Healer’s life.

    • You’re welcome, Hiren! I’m happy to help. Glad it came to you at just the right time for you. I will be opening registration for an online class on working with intention in everyday life later this summer. Keep an eye on my Facebook page or website for more on that, if you’re interested. Blessings to you.

  4. I have question related to intentions and sensations… I want to ask that does sensation vary according to the intention completion or how, what does it indicates when you feel very strong flow in the starting days of the intention and after few days you notice that the flow is some times feeble and strong alternately. How should I perceive this sensation as in the favor of completion of intention or non completion of the intention? This happens every time I do intention but m unable to distinguish the difference.. Please guide me..reiki blessings to you…

    • Hi Visika,
      I think the best thing to do when setting specific intentions is to set them and then let them go. What I mean by that is to be very clear and open in the beginning when we set the intention, making sure our hearts and emotions are sending out the signal of the energy we are dialing in to. Then we have to let go, or we will start to let our minds think about how the intention is supposed to manifest, which limits the paths we are open to seeing and receiving. Overall, the best goal is to work toward keeping your energy as clear and open as possible so that the energy you send out the the Universe is the energy you wish to receive back. You can best do that by doing self-Reiki, meditation, and making a point to center yourself each morning simply on the types of energy you wish to harmonize with in your life. Not specific situations, but energies, such as joy, peace, clarity, connection, or any other energy states that you choose to align with. Come back to these at least once a day, and more often if you feel down or off balance. Doing this will help you to manifest whatever intentions you set and release more easily because your energy will be clear of static and more open to receive and harmonize with your Highest Good.

  5. Thank you so much for your guidance mam.. Can I sum it up like this that visulaze your intention once a day and then forget it till you come across it next day for daily visualisation??

    • Visika,
      It is much more important that you come back to the overall qualities you want to have in your life, or that you want to be. Come back to those each day, rather than the specific details of an intention.

  6. THanks Angie as always for another write up that informs more abt how Reiki works best ! I had been setting intention towards a life situation around 1.5 yrs ago and i was putting a lot of ” what i wanted the end result to be like ” into it , not only wld i feel depleted post each such session but also it just wasnot working , nothing moved at all!
    Recently i started Sending Reiki and setting intention to the same matter and told out loud not just to the Universe but also to my self ” i let it GO , do as You Will ” ” i am Free” !
    Within 12-15 days , energy moved , things to help that situation moved!
    Its an awesome amazing miracalous experience to work with Reiki and intention in this manner !
    I now know and have learnt , Reiki and intention work only when we ” Let it Go and leave all to Divine Will”
    Thanks Angie!
    Loves and respect always

  7. Thanks for explaining the difference between making a wish and setting intentions. I still find it to be a confusing concept. In some cases, the intentions we set don’t come true because they’re not intended for our highest good. In a recent forum, we had a discussion between expectations vs. intentions. And in all honesty, people seemed to be unsure of how to separate the two. A lot of it is in the phrasing of the intention. But I don’t think it’s clear cut. For example, I have been sending myself Reiki and intending that I enjoy myself on my trip to Europe. That seems pretty neutral. However I enjoy myself is how I enjoy myself. However, in a previous situation where I did this, the trip feel through. It was devastating. I guess it wasn’t meant to happen, but people’s explanations about why, when I posed it to the group, were quite superficial. I was planning a trip to Vegas. A place I’ve been many times before and always enjoy myself immensely. Most people responded with how Vegas was a horrible place with negative energy. And yet, for me, the place had positive energy. I was disappointed that the group couldn’t come up with a better explanation than the sharing of their own stories where they had gone to Vegas, or knew others who had, and that everyone had a terrible time because of the cost, the bad energy, etc. What’s bad energy to one person isn’t necessarily bad energy to another. So while I appreciate your article, I still think there needs to be a better explanation of how to separate intent vs. expectation. Because as the group somewhat agreed, there is some expectation that goes along with intent. Your thoughts are appreciated.

    • Hi AJ,
      Using your example of your trips and your wish to enjoy yourself, I will explain a little more deeply. When you make a wish to enjoy yourself on your trip, you are asking for something pretty specific to happen, even though you are open to how the enjoyment might occur. There is nothing wrong with wishing for enjoyment on a trip at all, nor is there anything wrong with choosing the destination you desire. However, it is important to realize that neither wish making nor intention setting mean that you will get what you desire. The Universe is always supporting us, even when we don’t get our wishes met. Intention setting is simply the combination of a thought with emotional energy.

      We all make intentions all day long, every day, even without knowing it or being aware in many cases. When you want to consciously set an intention, it is helpful to let go of any attachment at all to the outcome or the path to the intention. In other words, be open to only your highest good, however that may come to you. Let the Larger Energy of the Universe (however you see that) move the energy to bring your highest good, knowing you can’t see the full picture or control all of its aspects. In the case of your trip, you might set the intention that you are open to receive whatever is in your greatest good in relation to the trip and its outcome. Or you could set the intention that you be supported and guided in whatever way is best for you at this time.

  8. Hi Angie. Thank you so much for your reply. I respect your approach and appreciate your explanation. I really like the idea of letting the larger energy of the Universe move the energy to bring about my highest good, knowing that I can’t see the full picture or control all of its aspects. I guess that makes me wonder about the decision to plan a trip to begin with. I believe that the aspects of the decision are the result of both conscious and subconscious intentions. If the larger energy of the universe was flowing towards me and working for my highest good, then I believe this is definitely a factor in why I chose to go on a trip, and in where I chose to go.

    I agree that it’s important to let go of any attachment to the outcome or path of the intention. However, in some cases, such as planning a trip, there must be an element of control. Perhaps you would explain this differently, but the control as I see it lies in the choice to save money, book the plane fare and hotel accommodations, and so on. This could also be described as setting an intention or being proactive. I think there are many ways to frame things and each way comes with a different charge, or energy flow, for the person making the decision. I think what I have realized is that invoking Reiki in all situations isn’t necessarily in my best interest. I believe that if Reiki works for our highest good, than our highest self also knows when Reiki won’t work for our highest good. I’ve been reading a lot about visualization, EFT, and the Law of Attraction. While I always hope each method will complement the other, some of the approaches resonate with me more strongly than others, depending on the situation. Thank you very much and have a wonderful day.

    • It is a bit different from a plan, although a series of intentions often lead to plans and goals. An intention is a thought of action, movement, or maintaining something in it’s current state. It is usually accompanied by a desire or an emotion that is coupled with the thought. We have lots of them throughout the day and most we don’t notice. For example, you can have the intention to be open-hearted to a friend as she talks to you. Or the intention to rest. Or the intention to walk across the room.

      To consciously set an intention, you think about what you want to feel like as your intention unfolds and comes to be. What will that be like for you? How will it look and feel? What will your life be like? Let yourself feel that in your mind, emotions, imagination and in your physical sensations? Then there will be actions you will need to take (or stop taking) in order for that to unfold. Pay attention to how these courses of change or action present themselves to your mind and life and be prepared to follow them. That is how an intention unfolds into a plan–with lots of smaller intentions. But it starts with one intention, such as the intention to feel better or be more loving.

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