Note: This was taken from “How to Tell People What You Do,” a Zoom session held by Animal Bonds to give Animal Reiki practitioners some advice on how to explain Animal Reiki, and what it is that they do, to people. If you want to join upcoming sessions, check out Animal Bonds on Facebook and Instagram. The team tackles different topics related to animals, pets, compassion and empathy, just to name a few.
People usually begin a conversation by asking, “What do you do?”
The problem with telling people we do Animal Reiki? They get caught up in the word “reiki” and we lose them – or we usually answer the question with, “I do animal meditation” or “I meditate with animals,” and still, we lose them, too.
We also get confused sometimes, trying to describe what we do.
If you’re an Animal Reiki practitioner yourself and you feel the same, we list some of the strategies we can use to explain Animal Reiki and its benefits more adequately (and hopefully get them onboard).
Or if you’re someone who’s simply curious about Animal Reiki and you’d like to know more, this information can help.
Know your audience
“Reiki” can be a charged word, and a lot of people think they know what it is. Others might be clueless and lie, because they don’t want to appear ignorant. We’ve also found that some of them stop listening once you hit that word.
Knowing who you’re speaking to and being able to adjust accordingly is important. We have to be able to read people just like we have to be able to read animals.
Once we get the conversation going – and it’s important that we do – then we have more of an opportunity to explain Animal Reiki to people.
Start with the benefits of Animal Reiki
Try sharing the results and the benefits of Animal Reiki after you tell them, “I meditate with animals.”
You could say: “I support the emotional wellness of animals. I help when animals are stressed, sick, grieving, or their family is experiencing a major life change, such as a divorce or a move. I do this through meditation.”
And then you can also add: “I teach and use meditative techniques that will transform a stressed, shut-down animal and improve their focus, or turn them into an open, trusting one. It can bring relaxation and peace to all animals, especially companion animals.”
Another option would be: “We support animals and their emotional needs during their darkest time.” This is important to highlight, because these needs aren’t being met – not at the shelter, and sometimes not even at home. They’re not being met when they’re at a circus or in a zoo. The emotional needs of animals are last, if at all.
It might also help to reveal that our work in Animal Reiki answers the following questions: “How can we make life more comfortable for animals? How can we make the vet’s office less stressful? How can we make the shelter less stressful?” Meditating with them is part of our contribution to their well-being.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with saying you meditate with animals – because people know what meditation is, and its benefits. It clicks, and it’s a starting point. In fact, using the word “meditation” is a safe bet. You can even make a comparison: We get stressed, animals get stressed. Meditation helps us, meditation helps animals. We get helped as well, because their energy is strong and ours isn’t.
It’s part of our volunteer work at the shelter
Just like people have different roles, Animal Reiki is one of ours.
The animals come in, they may have been traumatized, and they are shocked into this environment. We work with them, and we work with them through it – and we put them first.
Animal Reiki is similar to human Reiki
It’s a healing meditative technique, but with animals. It’s a meditative process that reaches out and calms that animal, helps them cope with what’s going on around them, and we connect with them. They begin to heal, and that allows their own healing energies to activate. We want to make them as comfortable as possible.
Learn more at the links below:
This brings up another aspect that we have to prepare ourselves for. You may hear people say that what you’re doing isn’t Reiki. Rather than try to argue with them, just say, “You know, you’re right. It’s not human Reiki as we know it.”
We can be open to that. If people know Reiki as a hands-on system, and if that’s what it is, then no, that’s not really what we do. And we need to be okay with that. Because it doesn’t mean that this doesn’t work; it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. There isn’t really a word that sums up what we do.
When we ask them if they know what Reiki is and they don’t, then it’s easy to explain what we do. If people already have a mindset and an idea of what Reiki is and what it’s like, then it’s a little bit harder to say, “It’s not like that.” So you may have to “retrain” them a little bit and point them in the right direction.
Here’s what we think meditation isn’t, though: Just sitting there for eight hours, not talking and not doing anything. That’s not what Animal Reiki is, and it’s not what we do, either.
Meditation doesn’t have to be 15 hours a day. Meditation can literally be just you breathing meditation for 10 minutes. But again, you have to be really careful with how you word things to people, and to be more tactful. Observe the vibes coming off of them.
Animal Reiki is different from animal communication (among other things)
Animal Reiki and its practitioners don’t interfere with the care of animals, be it their food, medication or routine. We don’t force things on them or on other people, either. That includes the vet, the groomer, and other professional animal organizations.
Animal Reiki isn’t hands-on or touching the animal. It’s not about “beaming” or directing energy, or using symbols. We’re not trying to “fix” animals; we’re meditation-based, and we’re here to support them and their healing.
We’re not mediums or animal communicators as well. (If you’re an Animal Reiki practitioner, and a medium or an animal communicator on top of that, then we suggest that you offer those skills as a separate service if people are interested or receptive.)
Some people assume that we’re psychic or we get messages, and that we offer treatments. We don’t. Animal reiki diverges here, and it’s different. The approach is different. The meditative state you’re in is different. Your mindset during this state is different. And if you want to learn more, then these are your options.
It’s important for us to make that distinction, so that when we talk about Animal Reiki, we also acknowledge that this is not human reiki adapted for animals. It is its own kind of parallel system.
Unfortunately, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin Animal Reiki. A few of us have found it hard to convince organizations that we only have the animals’ welfare in mind, that we’re not there to take over, force or change things, and that we are really here to help.
Thankfully, most of them have been open to giving Animal Reiki another chance – especially when we show them what we do, and what animal reiki is like. Which brings us to another topic…
Animal Reiki and it’s practitioners are professional and respectful
We’re professionals and we need to act accordingly. And that carries a lot of weight.
Some people may shut you down and go, “Oh, this is some kind of woo-woo thing, right?” Again, talk about the meditative practice and show them the results. It makes a difference.
Mention the animals you work with
We meditate with dogs, cats, horses, chickens, birds, pigs, emus, goats… and tigers, alligators, crocodiles and snakes. Even insects. When we put an exotic animal into the mix, we have their attention. And they get shocked.
“Oh my God, how do you do that?”
“You can do that with a snake?”
“Wow, that’s crazy.”
“That’s so cool.”
It works, and it makes them want to learn more. It makes us excited and enthusiastic, too, and it snowballs.
We can also relate our personal stories of sharing our space and energy with animals. For example, we’ve had birds and insects in our area who’ve sat next to us or on our shoulder, and followed us. They come by and peek in; it’s like they’re saying hello. It’s a humbling experience.
Same with what we sometimes do when we’re at adoption centers or shelters, or even at Petco and PetSmart. We literally sit on the floor right there. When people ask why, we tell them we’re sharing our energy and our space with the animal. And then they’ll just stand there and watch (which can be uncomfortable, but it’s okay).
Some of them check back after shopping, and they notice a difference in the animal. They see it. We then explain it to them. They even want to know who they can contact to do the same thing for their own animals!
Point them to useful resources
Plus, the support from our group is so outrageously good. There’s always somebody who can help you and guide you and answer your questions.
You have the ability to welcome and guide other people as well, and work together in tandem to find the best way and the best approach. Know that you’re not just flying out there solo, which is often the case in human Reiki – you just speak, you’re on your own, and you may not have a support system.
Who knows? The person you’re talking to might be interested and can’t wait to find out more. Invite them to sign up for a free consultation or to book a session. They can even take a class to learn Animal Reiki and use it at home with their pets.
Your Bonus Meditation Guide
It’s good to clear your mind after any session or meeting. Try these steps – they’re easy, you can do them almost anywhere, and we think they’ll make you feel lighter.
Find a comfortable position with your spine straight. Close your eyes. Start by taking a couple of deep breaths in and out to release any stress that you may have been feeling.
Begin to feel your body relax as you release the stress. Start breathing in through your nose; pull that breath all the way down to your belly and feel that breath ignite that beautiful light that resides inside of you. And then as you exhale out, this beautiful light goes out through your breath, your skin, and into the space around you.
Take another breath and pull it down to your belly, really igniting that light that already exists inside of you. It’s growing larger and larger now. And then exhale it out into the space around you. Breathe in, holding it down to the belly. This light is so bright. Now it’s illuminating every cell in your body. And as you exhale, it goes out into the space around you, and the space is growing larger and larger. Breathe in, down to the belly. And then exhale the light. Repeat.
Reach a place where you feel like your entire body is illuminated with this beautiful light, that you fanned the flames that always lives inside of you. But now it’s grown so bright, so large, that it’s expanded out into the room, into your community back out to the heavens, this beautiful space of light and healing that you have created and that resides inside of you. Just let your breath find a natural rhythm and sit in this space.
Now bring to mind the planet, this beautiful blue planet that’s our home. That is the source of all life. The plants, the trees, the animals, us – this planet that allows us to safely exist. View the planet as if you are an astronaut out in space. See yourself floating out in space, looking down on our beautiful planet and all the life that she supports. Now send this beautiful light to the planet. See it coming from your heart center just streaming down through space and wrapping around the planet like a warm and comforting blanket, encompassing the planet or all life. Hold that space and let the planet, the animals and the plants know that they are loved, that they are respected, that there are people who are supporting all of this beautiful life. Just hold this vision and send this beautiful light. Keep sending this beautiful light to all life and to the planet.
Know that this is our home, and that we share it with all other life forms. Feel the gratitude Mother Earth brings to us. She gives selflessly so all may live. Let’s repay her with our beautiful light. Hold that space now, and let’s give thanks to Mother Earth, to all the animals that share our journey on the planet, to the planets, to the oceans, and to the rocks. To our home, give thanks.
Slowly, allow yourself to become aware of your body. Pull yourself back from space. Come back to your body. Notice the room you’re in, what you’re sitting on. Feel this physical plane again. Wiggle your fingers and toes, or just roll your neck.
When you’re ready, go ahead and open your eyes.