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Reiki Debate: Is Animal Reiki a Thing?

In the spirit of the season of debate, I’ve been thinking about some of the more heated Reiki discussions I’ve been a part of over the years. Over this week and next, I’ll discuss a couple of contentious topics in the Reiki community.

Debate and discussion can actually be a good thing, because it gets multiple ideas out there for contemplation, and it can create more understanding in a world of increasingly polarized views. Plus, without debating and challenging old ideas, our world would never advance.

The negative side of debate is when people don’t listen to each other, and anger erupts. Intelligent discussion can turn into something non-productive and cynical. And then of course there are the social media trolls that only bring negativity and disrespect to a topic.

I’ve found that when I debate a topic with someone, it helps me understand more clearly where they are coming from, but also, in communicating my views to them, it can help me more clearly express my own understanding on the issue.

This week, I’m focusing on a statement I’ve heard from many in the Reiki community over the years:

1) “Animal Reiki is not a thing, Reiki is Reiki and there’s no difference.”

I’ve written and taught on this topic many times over the past 22 years, but when someone first challenged me with this statement, I admit I was speechless. I just assumed that everyone else had my same experience and understanding, which was unrealistic. After some contemplation, I realized that of course most Reiki people did the bulk of their work with humans, and had very limited interactions with animals, (or perhaps only worked with their own animals or animals who were friendly and trusting) so of course they wouldn’t see things the way that I did. My understanding of treatment protocol had evolved so gradually over the years with the animals’ teachings, that I almost didn’t realize how much it had changed until I was challenged!

Regarding debating of this issue, over the years I’ve found that some Reiki people are open to discussing this topic and sharing specific stories and viewpoints. I had a long discussion with one Reiki teacher, using specific animal stories to help illustrate why I don’t approach animals with physical contact and why I use meditation. We came to a beautiful and respectful understanding of one another. I’ve spoken to other Reiki people who are very rigid in their treatment protocol (for example that specific hand positions that MUST be used) and after some debate, they did not see what I do as Reiki at all. Other Reiki people (with the assistance of online anonymity), rather than discuss valid points, have unfortunately descended into negative and personal attacks, claiming that the Animal Reiki profession is fake and simply a money grab.

By honoring my inner truth, taking a deep breath and letting go of the trolls, while also learning to explain my position to Reiki people who don’t see my point of view, I have become even more confident in articulating the lessons I’ve learned from many animals along the way. I’ve also realized that my depth and breadth of experience with animals cannot be undervalued and am very grateful to the many years I have devoted to this practice and the animals who have led the way.

Animal Reiki is different not because we use some other “kind” of energy, or because we see animals as separate from nature and the universe, but because we have chosen to modify our treatment protocol in order that animals (whom we humbly recognize as sensing and understanding energy much more easily than we do) feel respected and comfortable at all times during sessions.

Next week I’ll share another controversial Reiki topic I’ve found myself debating!

Now it’s your turn! Have you debated this topic? I’d love to hear about it.

How did you speak about it? What did you learn from the discussion and how did it deepen your practice?

Stay safe, be well and may the animals light your way,

Kathleen Prasad's Animated Signature
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