Almost all of us who have dogs have experienced working with them through orthopedic injuries or ailments at one time or another. Many of us have rescued dogs who may have come to us injured. Others of us may have dogs who have faced ordeals such as surgery or a long rehabilitation due to orthopedic issues. Healing can take a long time, and issues are often chronic and painful, which takes a toll on us as their loving caregivers, and can also cause stress in our dogs.
The system of Reiki gives us several tools to help us help our dogs find peace and harmony through the difficult times. Reiki is very powerful because it’s about finding balance and well-being, even in the midst of a difficult disease or chronic condition. Although we may think of Reiki as a hands-on healing modality, this is only true with humans. Animal Reiki sessions look very different. For animals, Reiki is a meditative practice that nurtures heart-to-heart connections. This creates healing because true healing starts where our hearts connect. Because of its gentle approach where animals lead each session and no physical contact is required, Reiki is ideal for dogs who may be extra-sensitive or in pain due to their orthopedic issues. Some dogs may choose hands-on contact during the meditation practice, but others may not. The healing does not come from physical contact, nor does it come from our focus on what’s wrong. It comes from a much deeper place, beyond our conscious awareness: the place of heart connections.Through Reiki meditation, when we connect heart to heart, we can experience a deep sense of peace and harmony. Click To Tweet
Through Reiki meditation, when we connect heart to heart, we can experience a deep sense of peace and harmony. Because they are so sensitive and in tune to our mind and emotions, our dogs will be drawn to us when we radiate this peacefulness. When we use meditation techniques to radiate peace and compassion and connect heart to heart with our animals, I call it, The Reiki Space.
The Reiki Space is an inner sanctuary of comfort and happiness, a space that you radiate through meditation and a space your dog can sense. It is a shared space of light and love where body, mind and emotions can restoratively align. Healing is about becoming whole, and this is possible at any time, even when your dog is facing a long recovery or chronic pain.
How can we create The Reiki Space for dogs so that they can find healing, peace and harmony in difficult moments? If we look closely at The Reiki Precepts, the central teaching of the system of Reiki, we can see that it starts with our own state of mind. The precepts hold the keys to our natural, inner healing potential. We must work to embody the Precepts within ourselves, and then we can hold a Reiki Space of support for our dogs.
The Reiki Precepts are
For today only:
Do not anger.
Do not worry.
Show compassion to yourself and others.
The more we stay mindful of these precepts the more we can begin to experience a deeper and more balanced way in the world. The precepts remind us to stop and breathe, listen without judgment, and look deeply to the heart of things. Rather than simply reacting from an emotional state, we learn to harness our inner power of mindful presence. Radiating this beautiful mindfulness—without anger or worry and with gratitude and compassion–can transform and relieve the suffering of the dogs we love.
It’s important to have a healing plan with our trusted veterinarian. And certainly, there is a time for “doing” important things to help our dog get better. But sometimes we get so caught up in dealing with the ongoing problems, that our relationship with our dog can take a back seat. Focusing only on the problems can also have a “snowball effect” of emotions within us such as anger, worry, helplessness and so on. These negative feelings can hinder trust, openness and our ability to listen, thus negatively impacting our connection with our dogs.
Reiki meditation can help us take the time to ground ourselves, and stop focusing on the negative or avoiding what’s difficult, so that we can just “be” with our dogs. By doing so, we honor them and remember to see them as more than just their ailments. This kind of mindful presence is a powerful way to reassure your dog that everything is ok, and that you are here at this moment, whatever it looks like, even if it’s difficult. It’s a way to say, “I see you,” instead of, “I only see what’s wrong with you.” It is a powerful healing attitude to accept your dog completely and without judgment, even when she is not feeling her best, and she will feel your relaxed, open heart and be drawn to it. When your acceptance of your dog comes from a place of gratitude – without anger or worry – this creates a peacefulness that is very contagious, and your dog will feel a great deal of strength and comfort from your presence. The more well-being you can create for her, the more conducive conditions you are creating for her to heal herself.
Sometimes we want so much to help our dogs that it can be very difficult to let go of anger and worry and find gratitude in tough moments. This is why the fourth Reiki precept is “practice diligently.” Through daily Reiki meditation we can practice creating a beautiful Reiki Space of calm. “Reiki time” with our dogs becomes an important healing time, where we can stop all “doing” and just “be” together. It is a time to open our hearts and connect with loving-kindness. The more we practice, the easier it becomes! The healing power of the state of being not doing is extremely strong, for there is no greater healing power than love and compassion!
This leads us to the fifth and final Reiki precept: Be compassionate to yourself and others. Compassion is really about loving-kindness, a way of living that is mindful, relaxed and full of gratitude. By practicing the first four precepts, we will learn how to face difficult moments with more compassion, and thus more balance and harmony.
Reiki practice teaches us that our greatest healing power lies not in what we can do to our dogs, but rather in how are when we help them through healing challenges. Simply breathe, practice listening and being present with kindness for your dogs, no matter what orthopedic ailments they face. Love and compassion are the strongest healing forces in the universe, and this is the real Reiki Space that heart-to-heart connection develops within us.
Water therapy is often beneficial for dogs with orthopedic issues, so I’d like to share a special water-themed meditation for you to try with your dog. Symbolically, water has many things to teach us about the many layers of healing. Water represents strength through change, strength through remaining formless. The water on the surface of a pond may be still and peaceful, clear and pure, yet it is also very deep, and under the surface there can be so much movement of the creatures that call the pond their home. In the same way, Reiki with your animal can appear so quiet on the surface—as if you are doing nothing at all but sitting with your animal. And yet, when we look deeper, amazing healing can be happening just beneath the surface.
When we look at a pond, we can see the sky reflected in its surface— and in this way the pond can at once be grounded physical nature and reality, while at the same time it can reflect heaven and sky above—open limitless space and possibility. In this same way, when we sit with our animal in the Reiki space we can be with them, connecting in this physical moment, while also connecting to the spiritual dimension in which limitless healing possibility exists.
In one way, a pond remains the same over time, we can always count on it being there, as seasons and years pass, but in another way, every time we look at it, it may reflect something different—blue or grey skies, storm clouds, sun or rainbows. The pond will always be a mirror of this present moment in time. In this same way, we can learn to be present and open to whatever this very moment with our animal may look like—without judgment, without worry, without clinging—with love, compassion and openness.
The Healing Pond Meditation
As you sit with your animal, imagine you can pour all your light and love—your compassionate intention—into a pond. Simply invite your animal to come and drink from this healing pond for healing as they wish and as they are comfortable. Remember to relax, be patient, and remain positive. Just be in the moment with your animal. It is in this quiet, open state of mind that all healing possibilities exist…
Signs that Reiki is working include signs of connection or relaxation, including peaceful breathing, relaxed sighing, or becoming drowsy or falling asleep. Even small shifts from discomfort to peacefulness that you can observe on the outside indicate big shifts on the inside of your dog!
This Reiki meditation, and many others, can be found in my book Everything Animal Reiki. If you’ve found this meditation helpful, be sure to take an animal Reiki course from a local Reiki Teacher to learn even more Reiki tools to assist the dogs you love.
*This article was originally published in Dogs Naturally Magazine