1. Animal Reiki = compassion.
Reiki teaches us to be compassionate to ourselves and to others. Ultimately, there is no difference, since all is One. It is this Oneness space that Reiki helps us to tap into with its many tools. When we are with our animals, we can often touch this space, feeling our hearts merge with our animals’ hearts. These moments are so profoundly moving. We can often see a wonderful healing response arising naturally from these compassionate moments.
It is at these moments when we realize there is no giver and no receiver, just a beautiful, shared healing space. I love this quote by Lama Zopa: “The most powerful healing comes from developing compassion for all other living beings, irrespective of their race, nationality, religious belief, or relationship to us.” This includes animals. Imagine what a healing place the world would be if we always showed compassion to ourselves and to others!
2. It is not about interpretation.
It’s true, that Reiki deepens intuition. This means that in our treatments or meditations with animals, we may begin to feel certain sensations, or gain a deeper understanding of what the animal is feeling and going through. This is called hibiki or “echo” in Japanese. It is important for the Reiki practitioner to remember that the more we focus on what we are feeling and what it means – in other words, the more we interpret what we receive intuitively – the more we create a separation between us and the animal. Reiki teachings help us to realize our innate Oneness, and in order to do this we must let go of our opinions, wishes and judgments about what is happening. Interpretations of hibiki can make our mind very narrow and small. The more we can let go of these thoughts, just let them float by like clouds, the more open our mind and heart can be, and the more present we can be for the animal. It is our openhearted presence, or “being” with our animals, without our judgments and interpretations, which is the real healing power of Reiki. Letting go of our judgments is also about being compassionate, which again brings us back to Usui’s precepts.
3. It is not about hands-on healing.
Yes we can say that Reiki for humans often includes hands-on healing treatments. However when we work with animals, we must use a different approach: one that takes into account their way of being in the world and their awareness of the subtle nature of things. What if the animal is behind a fence or in a tree? Would we need to climb over the fence or up the tree and touch them to be able to support their healing? No, and in fact, sometimes approaching an animal physically is the last thing we would want to do (either for our own safety OR because of the animal’s preference). The most important part of a Reiki treatment for an animal is NOT touch, but rather, the practitioner’s state of mind. What is the best state of mind to be in? We can look at the Reiki precepts for clues. Animals are very sensitive to our emotional states. The more we are in a space of anger, the more this will be disturbing to an animal. The more we focus on fear and worry, the more unpleasant it will be for an animal to connect with us. The more we come from a space of humility, gratitude and compassion, the better responses we will see from the animals. Let go of your hands and open your mind: this is the best way to support your animal’s healing. In this open space we can realize that there is no need for physical connection because we are already One in our heart. This Oneness is real compassion.
4. It’s about acceptance of things as they are.
Reiki is a healing system. The word “healing” is a bit of a loaded term isn’t it? What exactly does healing mean? People often have certain expectations that if their animals receive a Reiki treatment all physical/emotional problems will disappear. If that were true, the world would be a very different place wouldn’t it? So we have to ask ourselves, if that is not the case, what does it mean to truly heal? In reality, our bodies are finite, and we do not live forever. Does that mean that healing eventually fails us all? Or perhaps we are missing the possibility of deeper and more profound healing: the healing of our inner spirit. We can see from the Reiki precepts that Mikao Usui taught, that true and lasting healing is about our state of mind. Sometimes life is difficult and sometimes it is easy, but how do we deal with the things that come our way? Sometimes our animals will get better and sometimes it is their time to pass, but with the tools of the system of Reiki, we can create a beautiful space of peace and balance no matter what our beloved animals or we may face. Again, compassion here is key, for only through compassion can we let go of our ego; it is our ego that is always judging what needs to be healed and how the healing should take place.
5. Don’t wait until someone gets sick; practice Reiki with your animals now!
People often only think of healing as something we do when we are ill. However, what if we could bring compassion and healing to all that we do? I invite you to begin each day sitting with your animals with compassionate thoughts. Keep compassion close to your heart all through the day, wherever you go. Find opportunities to show compassion to all beings. End your day sitting with your animals and contemplating the compassion you have shared throughout the day. Watch your relationship with your animals deepen and heal just from this! With daily practice in compassion, your inner balance and well-being will become strong, your spirit courageous. Your animals will reflect and support your strength and balance. And then, if you or your animal faces illness, you both will be ready.