Chapter 1: A Brief Introduction to the System of Reiki
“From a traditional Japanese perspective we can say that Reiki means our True Self, and the system of Reiki (Usui Reiki Ryoho) is a system that helps us to remember our True Self/Reiki again.” -Frans Stiene
Ariel is a shy gray mare at BrightHaven Sanctuary in northern California. She was rescued from the Mexican rodeo circuit, and has many scars that bear testament to her difficult past. She is now living a peaceful life where humans require nothing from her, and she can just be a horse and live in her herd. Yet due to her history, she is extremely untrusting of humans. When she first arrived at the sanctuary, she would stand very far from my Reiki students when we would come out to the pasture to share meditation. Even though she wouldn’t physically approach, she would watch us very carefully, her ears pricked at attention, showing lots of interest in what we were “doing” while we were meditating.
Learning Reiki for your horses is learning to meditate with your horses for healing. But in a bigger sense, Reiki is a spiritual system cultivating compassionate intention, which in turn brings about healing transformation. The name Reiki, pronounced “ray-key,” comes from the Japanese words “rei” meaning spirit and “ki” meaning energy. It is usually translated as “universal life energy.”
“In difficulty there is opportunity.” -Ray Hunt
If you love to ride as much as you love to spend time with your horse, chances are you’ve rehabbed your horse from an injury at one time or another. There are many ingredients to creating a successful journey back to health and soundness, and sharing Reiki with your horse can be very helpful to the healing program. Besides helping you navigate the difficulties of rehabbing with peacefulness, Reiki can give you the opportunity to deepen your bond with your horse!
I had the great pleasure of travelling from my native California to the beautiful U.K. this past September, to teach several Reiki classes at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex. Remus is located on 40 beautiful pastoral acres and is home to about 200 farm animals—horses, cows, goats, sheep and donkeys (as well as the resident cats and dogs).
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.
This quote by Thich Nhat Hanh is a great reminder of the power of meditation, especially when I am with my horse and he is not feeling well. It sounds so simple, and yet in the midst of a health crisis it’s not always so easy to remember to breathe. Recently my older, retired Quarter horse, Shawnee, had fallen and was standing on three legs when I arrived, groaning with each shift of his weight.