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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Readers speak out on permission issue

Do you need permission to give, or send, Reiki to someone? If so, how do you get it? We've received a record number of comments in response to last week's post on the subject of permission. Here are all 17 of the comments we've received so far. But due to the asynchronous nature of cyberspace, the discussion will continue indefinitely. Even if someone comes across this discussion months or years from now, they can still add comments.

Olga said. . .

I was also taught to seek permission in the three lineages I have studied, although for many years, if I could not contact someone directly, I would "check in" - "higher self" to "higher self" - and would offer the Reiki energy if that was for the person's highest good. I still like to offer Reiki in this manner, though now I am more careful to seek actual permission if possible, and certainly before posting any requests to my Reiki List.

- Olga Rasmussen

John Sawyer said. . .

Hi, Janet,

I recall reading and hearing from teachers that it was polite, if not mandatory to obtain permission before giving anyone Reiki. I take that not quite literally in the sense of actually having a conversation with the person about the subject. I work mainly with animals and since I am not an animal communicator (yet) I can't ask permission in the sense we tend to think of it. Instead, my approach is to offer Reiki with the intent that the recipient is not obligated to accept it.

With animals, this very often involves simply sitting or standing and opening the Reiki channel, intending that the recipient may draw as much as they wish. If Reiki begins to flow, I take that as their acceptance of it.

I had an experience early on in my Reiki practice where a friend asked me to "send Reiki" to a young girl relative of hers. I went into meditation and got a very vivid image of an elderly woman cradling the little girl. The old woman simply looked at me and put her hand out palm facing me. I read that as "Thanks, but it's under control."

Animals indicate with body language when they've had enough or want more, as they case may be. It's the practitioner's role to be open to those signals and act accordingly.



Janet Dobbs said. . .

Hi John,

I wanted to comment on your comment about permission and animals. You don't have to be an animal communicator to ask an animal permission for a Reiki treatment. The first thing that I do before beginning a Reiki treatment with an animal and the first thing that I teach my Reiki students to do is to always ask permission and the wait for the answer. If the animal says no or physically shows that they do not want a session at that point in time I always respect their wishes and come back another time. The animals must always be in control of their Reiki session. If you don't feel that you can 'hear' the animal saying yes or no, there are clear physical signs that they will give. You have mentioned many of them.

I have seen people giving Reiki treatments, forcing hands on treatment with the animals, making them stand or lay down on a massage table (this is too much like a vets office and the point of a Reiki session is to help them relax and heal on what every level that they may need in that point in time.) force a horse to stand in cross ties not allowing their head to lower, etc. i will not go into giving a treatment, but stay with the topic of asking permission.

It sounds to me that you are open to 'listening' to the animals and that you are hearing them give their premission.

Keep up your wonderful work with the animals. - Janet

Kaddu said. . .

Brilliant topic for a post! A similar issue cropped up in my Reiki practice recently, and I had been thinking of writing to you about it, but it kept getting postponed for various reasons. Today, when I saw this post in my "Google Reader", I recognized it as a "sign from the Universe" that I should put my views down on the webspace!

Yes, I was also asked by my Reiki teachers to seek permission first IF POSSIBLE. Yet, there are cases when a relative is so badly injured/sick that we cannot communicate to him/her directly. The person maybe in unconscious or even in a coma! Or, like I have this aunt, who is Schizophrenic.

She is no mental state to make the right decisions for himself.What I do in such cases is that at the time I invoke Reiki in the beginning of the session, I mentally state that I thank the person concerned "FOR ACCEPTING REIKI AT HIS/HER OWN FREE WILL".

My logic is that since REIKI IS NEVER SENT and always ONLY DRAWN, if the person needs the energy and WISHES to use it for healing him/herself, the energy will be taken. If not, then I don't feel any flow even after trying several block removal methods.

I personally feel that this asking for permission thing has been blown severely out of proportion. I mean, does our mind really know what the REAL us wants? Most of us spend our entire lives living a "program" that has been conditioned into us by our family and society!

How many of us really know at all times (on a mental level that is) as to what is the most life-supporting choice for us at any given point of time? We keep making decisions through our ego, and those decisions lead to disastrous consequences most of the times. Had it not been the case, then we wouldn't be dis-eased in the first place!

I feel that by asking a person's permission before starting a Reiki session for him/her, we are actually giving permission to his/her ego to interfere with the healing that their real self might desire. The inner child remains frustrated, the body remains ill, our life remains a mess... and all because we allow the MIND to interfere with the healing!

I have realized with experience over the last 11 years of Reiki practice that whenever I channel Reiki to someone without their explicit knowledge that I'm doing so, it works faster and better! I have also discovered that plants and babies accept Reiki most freely. . . 'coz their minds are not contstantly acting as "censor boards" in their healing!

Lastly, since we all our fragments of the same Universal consciousness, doesn't that imply that we are the various different body parts of the same single entity (which we may call the Divine)? Then why does the hand need permission from the eyes to channel healing to the eyes? Earth is also a fragment of the same Divine consciousness -- and millions of energy workers are channeling healing to Earth even as I type this post! So do they have permission from the Earth to channel Reiki to her?

I just want all Reiki communities to think about this topic with an open mind -- try to understand the "big picture". The rule that "Reiki should not be sent without permission" was made by a MIND. And nothing good ever comes out of the MIND! Laying such a maniacal emphasis on "asking permission" is denying the various basic principle of Reiki -- that it CANNOT BE SENT; it can ONLY BE RECEIVED!

Once again, thanks for bringing up this topic here for discussion. This is one of the most useful Reiki blogs that I am subscribed to -- keep sharing all the good information.Regards and love.

Janet said. . .

This is a great discussion, and it seems to be just getting started. Several people have submitted their comments by emailing , and I'll post each one separately here and look forward to more.

Thanks to all,


Pat Convery wrote. . .

I too was taught by my Reiki master that you need to ask permission to send Reiki to someone however, she felt that there some allowances with distance Reiki and when Reiki was being sent to someone who was in a disaster situation such as a hurricane. She felt that that the practitioner could send the Reiki to the person but qualify it with the rider - if the person was not able or willing to receive the Reiki , the energy should go to a receptive source in the universe.

I feel that this believe has allowed me to send Reiki to people who have not given specific permission but knowing that the energy will "do no harm" and will have a positive benefit somewhere in the universe.

Thanks, Pat!

Jeanne Boyce wrote. . .

I have been a Reiki Master Teacher since 2001, and a few times felt that it was okay to direct the reiki to the person's Higher Self, with the intention that the Reiki energy only flow if the Higher Self accepted it. I was taught that in special circumstances, the appeal to Higher Self works out and is not a violation of integrity. But it is always best to have permission if the person is able to give it.

Now I always ask if the person wants it. I have never had anyone turn the offer down. In a recent incident, my baby Granddaughter was hospitalized for a prolonged time after birth because her biliruben count was too high to go home. Her parents were distraught having had problems with their son at birth at well who was a first child. I asked my daughter if she's like me to send Reiki to Riley and she said "Mom, send anything you have..." It worked. Within 5 hours (the time of the next test) the baby's count was down and she went home with her family.

I believe that William Rand is the most accurate and thorough Reiki Master in the US, and think that everything I have learned from my own teachers was based on his teachings. So, I ask permission.

Looking forward to the article!


Jeanne Boyce

Patsy Guglielmo wrote. . .

Dear Janet,

Funny you should ask this as I have some strange stories to relate regarding permission. My master only stressed asking permission when doing distance healing and then to ask 3 times (which I always do). In the course of doing this I was requested to do a healing on someone's mother, who absolutely insisted "NO". Of course I wanted to assure my friend that I had given her mother the healing she requested but had to relate that I had failed because of her mother's insistence not to bother her. The next day, my friend called to relate that her mother had died shortly after the time that I was attempting to give her Reiki.

I assumed she was in transition at the time I was trying to give her Reiki.

The other incident relates to animals. My daughter, who lives in Italy had requested that I give her pet Reiki. She must have used a name, but I heard her say Sydney (her dog) or I assumed her dog since she is diabetic and not in good health. Well, here I was trying to get permission from Sydney to give her Reiki and she is telling me "no" in her doggie way. As a matter of fact she jumped down from the couch and left. Then she came back when i asked a 2nd time and still really didn't want it. On the third time she finally layed down and accepted Reiki. After the 3rd time I asked her, Sydney gave a long sigh, layed her head down and let me know it was alright The next day I received an email from my daughter saying thank you forgiving the cat Reiki. She is much better. You can imagine my surprise that even though I thought I was giving the dog Reiki, some how Reiki ended up at the right place in spite of me.


Dee Hucks wrote. . .

Hi I’m new to this ‘sharing Reiki knowledge’ and am very excited by it all. You asked about the permission issue, well in my teachings and when I practise Reiki I find that if the intention is good and you actually get permission then all is well.

I have had a time with a lady who I asked permission from to send Reiki to but when I sent it that night it came back in what I call “bounce back”. I know when the Reiki I send isn’t being taken in. So I spoke to a few people who knew this particular lady and they told me that it didn’t surprise them in the least that she really didn’t want anything that might help her as she thrived on getting peoples attention and pity, so if anything is done to help her then she will no longer be sick and get the attention and pity she craves. Apparently this has been happening for quite a few years, when she really wants sick at all, just mentally disturbed I think. Anyway I later heard that she really was very sick and was asking for help. When I try to send people Reiki and there is no way I can get their permission, I actually ask for help from the powers that be, and I would say that 9 out of 10 times I get answers. People might call it gut instinct or whatever they might be comfortable with. I call it God’s helping hand.

I meditated on that question of why would someone be like that, then not accept help when it’s offered? The answer I received back shocked me greatly was “The sickness for these people is like an old friend, they are comfortable with being sick, they actually will it that way. They get attention that they otherwise wouldn’t have”. That was so sad for me that I cried. Poor people my heart went out to them.

Anyway back to permission. I honestly get a definite ‘NO’ and a feeling like I have thrown a ball at a wall and it comes back to me, just not that hard. It’s one of the hardest things to describe. I just call it “bounce back”. Even if the intention is good but the person is either scared witless by the thought of Reiki (being some sort of ‘voodoo witchcraft’ or ‘the devils work’ is what some misinformed person called it) or flatly doesn’t want it for whatever reason of their own, then the Reiki won’t work on them.

Then I have had the experience of giving Reiki to someone who couldn’t answer and is in a world of their own making with Alzheimer’s. That was an experience I won’t forget in a hurry. It made me feel very uncomfortable, like I was doing Reiki to the shell of the human being because the real person had departed a long time ago. Very strange feeling for me.


Beth Lowell wrote. . .

I always ask permission when the recipient is present. I ask animals the same way I ask humans - by talking to them. If I have treated dogs before, they usually understand the word "Reiki" and respond enthusiastically by approaching and wagging and sometimes moving into their favorite Reiki position. I'm not sure if the cats respond necessarily to the words but they know why I am there and often jump onto their favorite Reiki chair or perch.

If the treatment is long distance I can ask a human being for permission ahead of time but since I can't get a clear sense of what the animal is doing or communicating without seeing him or her, I set my intention that the animal take what he or she needs. If the animal doesn't need or want anything he or she is free to not take it. On occasion I will also send to the animal's situation with the same intention.

If an animal appears unsure, rather than just assume that the answer is no, I send a little Reiki into the room so that he or she can test the water. A common challenge I face is actually with the humans even though many of them are familiar with energy work. They feel that they must call the animal or entice with treats so that they are right next to me despite my explaining that it's best to let the animal do whatever he or she wants.

One time I was treating a pair of birds. I felt the Reiki flow, but the more stressed of the pair who was a self mutilater became agitated. I left the house and later I sent Reiki to the other bird and the situation from a distance with the intention that each could take what she needed.


Olga said. . .

I agree with the comments posted and also feel that sometimes this permission is blown out of proportion. For example, when we pray for others - we don't ask permission to do so - at least not most of the time - yet we do pray - for people, for situations, etc.

- Olga Rasmussen

Kaddu said. . .

Hi all! I would like to give an example of how irrational Reiki practitioners can become for laying emphasis on the "asking permission" thing!

Recently this story was narrated to me about how this wife gave Reiki to her husband without his permission for his upset stomach. The husband was a non-believer in Reiki and other such alternative healing methods. The husband woke up feeling completely fine the next morning and had to leave for work, contrary to his plans of taking a couple of days off. He worked at the World Trade Centre and the day happened to be Sept' 11. So apparently, the Reiki that his wife sent him without his consent led to his death!

Now what kind of Reiki practitioners would narrate such stories! Reiki is not some kind of magic or voodoo witchcraft! Reiki is the INFINITE WISDOM! It knows all -- even things we don't know about! If the husband was not supposed to die that day, his stomach upset would not have been cured. Maybe his work in this incarnation had been finished and it was time for him to move on!

Circulating such stories among the Reiki communities is completely belying the basic prionciples of Reiki -- that it works for your Highest good, and nothing wrong can ever happen due to Reiki.

My Schizophrenic aunt told me not to send any Reiki to her when I asked her. But her husband was so worried for her, I started channeling Reiki despite that - requesting Reiki to do whatever was best for her. It's been 4 months now, and she has shown remarkable improvement!

That is why, I request all Reiki Masters here to please take up this issue in their classes, blogs, forums, books or any other channels available to them -- and help remove this myth surrounding Reiki. The very basic concept is that Reiki is always drawn, and if we keep that in mind and do what our heart tells us to, we can never do anything wrong.

Many regards and lots of love.


Ariel said. . .

My general approach to the permission issue with Reiki is I will get permission (verbal or written) from the recipient before channelling it to them. If it's a situation where I can't get permission, particularly if Reiki starts flowing spontaneously, I will send it to that situation, not the individual.

With animal recipients, I will offer Reiki and withdraw it if not immediately accepted. I usually won't even offer Reiki unless my hands "light up" first. (And yes, it becomes obvious very quickly if the Reiki is NOT acceptable.) :D

Ariel followed up with . . .

I would also like to comment on the "attunement without permission" issue.

Considering how much of a change it can be for the attunee, regardless of whether they're ready for it or not, it seems to me to be an aggregious and hugely egotistical invasion of boundaries. It also seems like an irresponsible use of one's abilities.

Attuning an individual to Reiki is quite a bit different from channelling for a treatment.

Kevin wrote. . .

I send loving healing Reiki to my friends dogs who have been ill. I send Reiki to my family, clients and friends.

Reiki is much like love. We need to get over ourself s and get out of the way to be in the way of Reiki.


CeCe Inwentarz wrote. . .

As I share Reiki, I often feel the vibrational energy strongly leaving my hands. During my morning self-care session, I decided to share Reiki with my husband while he was sleeping,but the energy level felt very low. After I asked his permission, the energy level leaving my hands increased by at least triple. Lesson learned!

CeCe Inwentarz, RMT

Many thanks to all who have contributed to our discussion so far. If you have something to add, whether or not you've already commented, please keep the discussion going.


Blogger Janet said...

Hi Janet,

I always enjoy reading the Reiki Digest. It is very informative and entertaining too!

I too, was taught by my Reiki Master to ask permission, and if it could not be provided, then I was to ask permission of the person's higher self. Over time, here is what I have come to believe. When we want to say or do something negative or mean, such as gossip and such, we never ask permission and don't give that a thought. So why do we feel the need to ask permission to do something positive and loving, such as Reiki or prayer? Reiki can do no harm and will only be accepted if it is wanted, so I wouldn't hesitate to send it without having permission.

Love and light,

Thanks, Fran!

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Danelle said...

Hi All,

I haven't checked my gmail in quite some time and saw this post. I have been attuned to Usui Levels 1 & 2, then Attuned to Tera mai Reiki and Tera Mai Seichim Reiki. I began my path because of an animal brought into my life who was dying of cancer, thus I was attuned to Reiki for her. I truly believe she brought Reiki into my life because I had been "thinking" about it for quite some time. With that said, being a Reiki practitioner myself I have recently been sent healing without my permission and when I specifically said "no" for various reasons of course and it wasn't the right time.

As a teacher of mine has explained to me about feeling worse when I was receiving the healings (even though I had said no) I was in fact feeling much worse! My teacher wrote to me and said, "You are very correct in offering Reiki under the circumstances that the client accepts it for some reason or rejects it for another. It cannot be forced on anyone who doesn't want it. You accepted no Reiki from your 'friends' what you sensed with the pain was their interference with your free will, not their healing."

Another question my teacher asked me is would I just grab someone off of the street and start Reiking them or give someone a hands-on treatment without asking? No. So why should a non-contact treatment be any different? And why would you want to treat an individual without asking their permission first? Is it that you are actually unwilling to ask their permission?

Do you think that
you know best - that you have the right to decide for them?
Many people seem take the stance that it is OK to 'send' Reiki ( - give an absent
Reiki Treatment) without the individual's permission, so long as it is done with the
intention that the individual's 'higher self' only accept it if it is for that individual's
'higher good'.
IMO sending without permission to an individual's '"higher self' should only be even
- let alone acted upon - as a very last possible resort.
OK, so the thinking seems to be that the individual's 'higher self' knows what's best
for them, and will only accept the Reiki on these terms. But even if the 'higher self'
does indeed know what's best for them, does this justify your intervention?

My teacher also wrote in his book "Advanced Reiki Techniques" the following regarding sending reiki without permission:
"Compulsive Helpers in Reiki
One very potent samskara is compulsion. It manifests in millions of ways that you can figure out yourself. It is the self-will of the subconscious, acting from samskaras that makes the reactive person do things. One of the major compulsions of the spiritual seeker is often compulsive helping.
During Reiki Support some of you have experienced my apparently taking away something negative from a tabled person and then apparently putting it back. What I usually did was take away some cold reactive area, usually around the shoulders, and then look at it to see if it actually belonged to the person. If it didn’t, if it was just a barnacle on the ship from an outside source then it was flicked off. If it did belong, then it was Reikied with bright violet symbols in the order Second, First, Third, First, and then replaced. It was their very own problem, now lightened from the load of other people’s garbage, and returned.
That person may have specifically been incarnated to deal with that continuously occurring samskara. To remove it may cause you to take on that problem yourself, if you didn’t have it already. Your “help” might have been the cause of wasting someone’s incarnation. Not a good idea. They could quite possibly equalize the score by doing the same for you next time. Perfect justice rules the world, long term.
The compulsive helper, spiritual healer, does this kind of thing all the time, and often ends up with terrible ill health because of it. It is due to meddling. The more aware you become, the more aware you are of peoples’ problems. BUT the fact that you can see them does NOT necessarily mean that you are the one chosen to deal with them.
You have seen parents destroy the self esteem and functional abilities of their children by doing everything for them. The effect is disastrous to all the parties in both instances. It is the job of the compulsive helper to deal with the compulsion of what seems potentially, socially acceptable behavior, by developing discrimination, the first spiritual virtue.
They must learn to deal with their own stuff FIRST and not succumb to the nonsense that this is selfish, in the sense of unacceptable behavior, as the ignorant consensus says. It is optimum, not selfish, to get your own stuff fixed first. You can only give what you have attained. Doing otherwise produces more problems.
By insisting that people ask for Reiki help before you give it you are making them the cause instead of the effect. If you then channel Reiki to them impersonally you are karma free in the situation. They will be helped to the extent that is available to them this time, and in the correct areas.
This is a very brief and contracted explanation of my own attitude to giving Reiki. In the Support Group we always ask permission, and then put the affair out of the reach of ego by invoking spiritual aid in the form of the Ministry prayer. I initiated that approach to offset the karmic problems mentioned, and others.
Please read between the lines as well as on them. There is much more to it. You can answer the ten thousand “ Yeah, but! “ and “ What if?” questions that the doubting and constantly carping current lawyer’s mind can produce from this summary, by contemplation.
One amazing healer, who I admire tremendously and who wasn’t talking about Reiki in particular, said that “You don’t ask permission to send love to someone, so what’s this thing about asking permission to heal.” A valid question from his viewpoint.
Love is not something that you do. It is not a verb. It is a state of being. Read that line again. It is the secret sensation of the Self. I can love everyone without interfering in any way with their karmic pattern. When I can channel Reiki to a problem or situation that the person has in this life I could be altering something considerably, unless I can do it totally impersonally. Loving them doesn’t necessarily do that.
When a practitioner channels Reiki he or she is applying something from another universe to a mundane situation. Maybe the client doesn’t understand this s at all. But you still ask a blind person’s permission to help them across the road, even if they seem to want to do it. Common courtesy."

So that leaves me to question other people's feelings of the person the Reiki is being sent too isn't accepting it because of the ego getting in the way; but couldn't it be said it is our ego's getting in the way by sending it and insisting? I admit, I have done a few distance healings to people without permission...I just got caught up with my fellow reiki people telling me to send reiki and I obliged without thinking or going into meditation. Thus, I have broken the rules myself without thinking. This happened a 2-3 times, but I am a little more wiser now and know what I need to do. Also, the entire permission thing can also be argued because it also crosses confidentiality borders. If you are requesting healing for someone without their permission, and then asking others to send healing and giving specifics of the issue for the are essentially breaking confidentiality and trust issues. My background is that of a substance abuse counsellor, thus the trust/confidentiality issues are huge with me and I bring that into Reiki.

Also, the post regarding the Reiki given to the man who died in the WTC Tower was in an excerpt by James Deacon who said it is most certainly an urban myth, but it is just an example of how drastic things COULD BE when giving Reiki without permission.

I want to touch more on the animal side of it but will have to post again. Great discussion. I love reading everyone's posts and learning from all of you.

Much Love,


12:54 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

What a great discussion! I've enjoyed reading everyone's thoughts, and like a majority of you, I was also taught only to send if given permission.

I agree.

IMO - it is the individual's choice whether or not they receive healing.

Back in my early Reiki days, I worked with someone who was very hard to work with. One morning, I thought I would try sending him some healing - just to see if it would help.

Energetically, I felt a HUGE push-back. He didn't want it. On some level, he felt it coming at him and he refused it.

From that point forward, I've never sent healing unless specifically given permission.

We are all on our journeys - and they are ours to dictate and learn from. If we want healing, we can receive it. But we have the choice.

And sometimes, the choice NOT to receive is as healing as the choice to receive.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Nancy the artist said...

I have a question: I feel moved to start a worldwide sharing of Reiki in suppport of world leaders and world peace. I think I recall being asked to join in something similar a couple of years ago. At first I thought of sending the support to President-elect Obama and his family, but I was reminded by friends to consider permission.

I see other posts about sending Reiki at times of natural disaster and wonder if combined energy and prayer for world peace would be in the same category. My mind keeps returning to the principles that Reiki can do no harm and goes only where needed. By asking that the positive energy flow through me in whatever way it is needed for the greatest good, I don't have an intention of controlling somone's behavior. Should I look more deeply into that aspect?

If anyone agrees that this is an idea with merit, could you suggest if there is an auspicious date or time worldwide for its effectiveness to be enhanced? And how one goes about announcing it? On a site like this perhaps?

I think the movement I heard of in the past was for ten or twenty minutes at a particular time.

Thank you all

1:54 PM  

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