Reiki is a combination of two Japanese words
Rei, which means Spirit, and
Ki, which means energy.
Therefore, Reiki can be literally translated as spiritual energy. We are talking about the energy that makes up all things. Everything is created from energy. Quantum physicists are learning more and more about this energetic world. So when we say Reiki energy in a general way, that is what we are talking about.
The system of Reiki was created in the early 20th century by a Japanese man named Mikao Usui, and this system was about spiritual development: the spiritual development of our own energy. A by-product of this personal inner, spiritual work is to be able to assist others with their own self-healing.
Reiki and Animals
One of the things about Reiki that is so wonderful for the animals is that you absolutely don't need physical contact or touch, and it is totally gentle and non-invasive. So when we talk about animals who are sick or have been traumatized or abused or have some issues that they need healing with, Reiki can address all of these issues -- physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Whatever the issues are, Reiki can address them all from a gentle, non-invasive space.
I think of Reiki as more of a meditation that we do with our animals than an active treatment that we are doing to our animals. It is very different from many other holistic modalities because of its very passive and gentle nature.
It is such a beautiful way to connect to another species -- seeing the animals at a deeper level. When you connect in the Reiki space with another being, you see that we are all the same, that we are all connected and we are all one.
And that brings us back to the spiritual ideal that the founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui, taught to go deeper within ourselves and uncover our true nature, which is, in a nutshell, remembering our oneness with all things.
Anybody who has ever loved an animal has already connected energetically because that is the way animals connect. That is who they are.
Those of you who have dogs, you will notice that dogs assess a person before they go up to them. They already know so much about the person. Once they have sensed and understood the person, they may say, "Okay, I am going to come up and greet this person now." They can read us energetically, whereas humans need verbal interactions we have to have a conversation, and it is much harder for us to connect on that deeper level. But since animals don't talk, they have all these other ways to communicate.
Those of you who have cats know that there are certain people your cat gravitates toward while they may hide from other people. Your cat is so sensitive and is making these assessments not based on any kind of verbal conversation or any action. How are they coming up with the evaluation? From energetic communication.
All of our animals speak with us energetically every single day, and that is how we connect to them. The problem is that most of the time we don't get it, we are so busy and have so much chatter in our minds, things we have to do, etc., and we miss all this subtle communication that is happening with our animals. But it is there, it is there all the time, every day. We only need to learn to stop and listen.
This is one of the reasons I love working with Reiki and animals. I can say to my animals, "Hey, I am a lowly human being who has a great deal of trouble sensing energy, I cannot wrap my brain around it, but I know that you are the master of the energy. I will just sit here with you and maybe you will teach me." So another way that Reiki is so different from other modalities is that the animals take over and they show you, they show you exactly where they want Reiki. For example, many times, they will put a body part that is bothering them right into your hand during a treatment.
Other animals like a horse in a pasture might stamp his foot, and you may realize that foot might be bothering him. You could be working with a much older, fragile animal, and he might just crawl into your lap and fall asleep. And maybe he had not been able to fall asleep until that Reiki session.
In shelters, animals are brought in and who knows what their backgrounds are, and they are in a strange place. They are surrounded by other animals they do not know. While we don't know what is going on for each animal internally, we do know it is a very stressful time for them. When Reiki practitioners go in and offer Reiki to the shelter animals, they will lie down, take a deep sigh and go to sleep. These are animals who have been completely stressed out, shaking, perhaps dogs who have been pacing and barking incessantly. Don't lose hope; it doesn't matter how stressed the animal is. In most cases, the Reiki state is so irresistibly peaceful that even highly traumatized animals will show these behaviors.
So, we don't have to understand or know much about the energy. It's okay because the animals will take over, they will step into that space and take what they need and show us it is working. They can show me more about the energy, and in this way, we are able to grow and deepen our own spiritual connections.