This week in my Level 1 class, I received a really great question that I wanted to share with you all, along with my thoughts on the answer!
My student Lisa asked, “is there a way to ethically and effectively offer Reiki during a treatment if you are the one providing the medical treatment? In other words, can you be the Animal Reiki practitioner and medical provider at the same time, or would that be unethical and/or impractical?”
This question brings up some really good points I wanted to talk about:
First of all, the Let Animals Lead® method teaches that Animal Reiki and medical treatment are not the same type of treatment. In fact, Animal Reiki is in no way medically oriented. Animal Reiki is a way of being with your animals that is open hearted, without judgment, and that honors the healing power of simply being present with them. Holding space without expectations and without the need to fix is a very powerful support we can offer to our animals when they need us most.
Having established the different approach Animal Reiki has, the next part of the question would be, is it ethical to offer Animal Reiki while offering medical treatment to your animal, for example while changing a bandage or giving medication? My experience is that it is possible, but only once we clearly understand the passive nature of our purpose in sharing Animal Reiki, so let’s clarify that here:
In the Let Animals Lead® method of Animal Reiki, there are two ways to approach our practice: 1) formal meditation sessions or 2) living and being Reiki, in other words walking in the light of compassion and kindness in all that we do. Think about your life and how these two ways of honoring our Animal Reiki practice look. Formal meditation practice strengthens our grounding, which can help us sustain peacefulness, even in chaotic situations. Formal meditation practice also develops our open-mindedness and being able to see the wholeness of the animal, even in difficult situations. To honor the animal’s choice in participating in these formal meditation sessions, it’s always important to choose a time and a place where animals can leave or say no if they wish. During formal meditation sessions, we want to focus completely on the practice, letting go of everything else. This is a time to simply hold space, allowing your animals to step into and out of the space as they wish.
Regarding our second “informal” method of honoring our Animal Reiki practice, in other words living and being Reiki in all that we do, this is where we can and should incorporate the spiritual principles we live by into each and every moment of our lives. Think about what it looks like for you to live and be Reiki every day. In other words, how can we be a kinder, more compassionate, grateful, understanding and peaceful human being? One way we can answer that question is to apply the Reiki precepts to all of our choices throughout the day, not just when we are sitting in meditation with our animals.
In my opinion, once we understand the importance of embodying the Reiki precepts in our lives, it is not only possible to live and be Reiki while we administer medical treatment to our animals, but it is also advisable and recommended. Here’s what it could look like if we don’t: if we have to, for example, give a pill to our animal, and we know they don’t enjoy it, our energy around the act of giving the pill can have a big impact on how the situation plays out. If we also get stressed when we see the stress of our animal, or perhaps we get frustrated that they are not more compliant, this can spiral into a space of anger or worry, causing friction or angst that makes giving the pill even more difficult and unpleasant. We might focus so much on what is wrong with our animal in that moment, that our animal feels stress and sadness radiating from us.
On the other hand, we could instead take a moment before we offer the pill to do some hara breathing and calm our energy. We could then take another moment to look deeper than what is wrong and truly see our animal as whole, perfect and beautiful. We can stay aware and conscious of our energy, doing our best to stay positive and peaceful, as we take out the pill, approach our animal and give it to them. We can be understanding and patient with our animal’s reactions, embracing the whole experience with kindness and compassion. We can see ourselves as a light of love and peace, shining throughout the whole process. You can see, this philosophy sees Reiki as something for us, to heal and balance our own energy in difficult moments, not as a beam of energy we are sending to fix our animals “issues.” This distinction is ethically really important to ensure we protect animals’ agency and self-determination in Animal Reiki sessions.
Keeping our energy positive and calm can have an amazing effect on the way our animal may see the medical treatment they may need to have. Keeping our energy calm of course can be extremely challenging, especially when our animal may be in pain, or if it is a chronic condition and we know we have to continue these treatments for a long period of time.
This brings me back to our formal Animal Reiki meditations, where we actually just sit with our animals and focus completely on the meditations, with nothing to do and nothing to fix, only just to be with them. It’s so important that we take time every single day to do these meditation practices, letting go of everything else. This is a time that we can simply be with our animals in a comforting way, and also it helps us develop our spiritual, energetic strength to stay calm and positive in difficult situations.
As you can see, my philosophy on this issue is deeply steeped in the Let Animals Lead® method. So as a final caveat, I would say that if you are not a Let Animals Lead® practitioner, or if you are new to the Let Animals Lead® method, you may want to wait before trying these things together. In other traditions, because the practitioner leads and there is a practice of “sending” energy to health issues, it would be unadvisable to do Reiki while administering medication to your animal. It’s really important to have a deep experience in the practice of holding space without expectation and seeing the wholeness in every moment, so that we don’t inadvertently push energy at our animals, which can offend and/or frighten them.
I hope this blog has given you some food for thought, and I’d love to hear how it goes when you practice “living and being Reiki” with your animal when you have to administer medical aid.
Stay safe, be well and may the animals light your way,