Scoobie is a small black horse residing at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex, England. Diagnosed with chronic laminitis, a deadly disease that causes lameness in horses, Scoobie lives with some pony friends in a special barn with soft flooring to help comfort their sore feet.
Recently I brought a group of Reiki practitioners to share Reiki with Scoobie and the others in the laminitic barn. I gave each student a meditation to do, focusing inward on the breath. I explained to stay 10 feet or more away from the horses, allowing them to choose to come forward if they wished. Scoobie was standing quietly in one corner of the barn, shifting on his feet a bit uncomfortably. Clearly he was not feeling well that morning. He was completely ignoring his food and standing with his back toward the other horses.
One student was so concerned by Scoobie’s discomfort that she moved straight up to him. She stood at first about 10 feet away as I had recommended. When Scoobie didn’t come to her, she moved a bit closer. Still he didn’t move toward her—so she closed the distance and stood very close. After a few minutes she began to touch his legs one by one. Scoobie showed discomfort at her physical touch and became very tense, clenching his jaw. His head raised, and he looked as if he would like to move away, but perhaps his discomfort in his feet made this difficult. I moved quietly to my student to help her. She said, “He is in pain, and I am trying to send Reiki to his legs.” I told her to take several steps back.
We stood about 15 feet away. I said, “I want you to see Scoobie as his True Self. See his bright inner light that is perfect right now, even if his feet hurt.” I turned to Scoobie and said, “Scoobie, you are such a beautiful boy. I love you. Thank you for sharing this space with us.” Then I led the student in the breath again, turning our focus inward. I encouraged her to stop trying to “fix” what is “wrong,” and instead focus on sharing a beautiful space of light and love, from her True Self to Scoobie’s True Self. This is what true compassion is all about.
After just a few minutes, Scoobie let out a long sigh and began licking and chewing (a strong sign of relaxation in horses). His head lowered, and he fell into what I call a “Reiki nap” while we continued to focus our thoughts inward to our breath. After about 15 minutes, he woke up with a bright sparkle in his eye. He lifted his head and went trotting off across the barn to a pile of hay, which he began to eat happily. All of the students began to smile, seeing such a strong and positive response to the Reiki.
The student who had approached Scoobie learned an important lesson that day that I often write and talk about: that the more we try to “do” Reiki to “fix” this or that problem, the more narrowed and negative our focus is in our mind and the less likely animals will connect to us. The more that we let go of what is “wrong”—and instead go deeper to the heart of things—the more our minds expand and open into positivity. Animals sense this positive shift and openness and are more likely to want to connect with us. When our hearts connect with animals in a space of pure compassion, this is the space where all healing possibility exists!