On World Animal Reiki Day, I wanted to spend time with my son and to also offer Reiki to animals at Colchester Zoo in Essex UK. I arrived at the zoo on a cold wet windy day and in honesty it felt very bleak, the ground was very muddy and I thought that it was not such a good day to be outside in the elements. My son wanted to see everything, even at the age of 23, I could see how amazed he was at the wonderful collection of beautiful animals. Colchester Zoo spend a lot of time making sure that their animals are well looked after and cater for them to the highest standards. Each cage was immaculate, each run was clean and there were loads of zoo keepers milling around in the back ground. Mothers and toddlers gazed googly eyed at the animals through the glass and the wire, making lots of gurgling, laughing sounds. There was much excitement as these were possibly the first experiences for these children of meeting such an array of beautiful wild animals.
As we walked around, I came to the cage of the Orang-utan (which translates into man of the forest). An Orang-utan sat close to the glass with his head down and his hands over his eyes. He had pushed himself so close to the glass, I could see his breath misting before him. I felt a great sadness about him and there was a huge sign saying ‘don’t feel sad for the Orang-utans as they do not have the facial muscles to smile’. I put my hand on the glass and held it in front of his hand and started to offer Reiki to him. There was a huge connection and I stood with him for around 30 minutes, lots of people came and took photographs of him and I felt that he wanted to have some privacy. I explained to the people who came over that I was offering Reiki to him and it was World Animal Reiki Day, they did not understand and continued to invade our intimate moment of Reiki. I did not feel anger or resentment but I did get a sense of what it is like to be an animal in a Zoo. I understood that there is a balance of protecting such an endangered species verses people being able to see these beautiful animals. Colchester Zoo have done everything in their power to provide an environment that is as natural as possible and that the space is as big as possible. What I saw in this Orang-utan was the purest honesty, purest dignity and the biggest intelligence and the most amazing generosity to share the Reiki space with me. After a while, he lifted his head and gazed into my eyes and I swear I saw him smile and he then wrapped his hands around his head again. He had a very grounded energy which took me a little by surprise as it was incredibly knowing and ancient, in honesty I was not sure what to expect. He eventually removed his hands away from his eyes and stared straight out through the glass and I could hear him in my mind saying ‘its okay Caroline.. Don’t feel sorry for me Caroline, don’t have pity’… it was very ironic as of course this is what Kathleen teaches and he was reminding me of this huge lesson, one which I always think I have learnt but then I am often thrown into a feeling of pity when I feel sad for the animal. The point of this story is that all that he wanted from me was for me was to hold the Reiki space, he wanted me to be present with him, it was actually very simple. As much as I did do my best to hold this space for him, I was also distracted. The lesson for me on that day is that we are always learning to be Reiki and this beautiful Orang-utan taught me that this is something I need to work on more and more and more.
A day at the zoo on World Animal Reiki Day with my beloved son, was a huge tonic for me, listening to my son telling me off for taking too many photographs. ‘Mum why are you taking photographs? Look there is a red panda right in front of you. Stop looking at your photographs, how many times have you seen a red panda? ‘ ‘Well actually Michael I have not’ ‘Then stop it mum you can look at the photographs when you get home, there is the Panda right here, right now’. He knows nothing about Reiki but his wise words have stayed with me and yes my lesson on that day was definitely’ do not be distracted, be present Caroline’.