Just for today, I will be honest in my work. The fourth Reiki precept asks us to be “truthfully dedicated to spiritual progress and everything you do.” Like the earlier precepts, this one encourages us to be fully present as a clear conduit for the flow of healing Reiki energy.
What, exactly, does it mean to be fully present?
I asked three animals—Great Horned Owl, Jaguar, and Lynx—for their perspectives on the question of honesty in work. Their answers gave me a new perspective on the challenge we as people have with this concept.
With an echo of its call, Great Horned Owl said, This is a good time, while I am resting. At night I hunt.
I am the silent hunter. My feathers are silent in flight, so my prey is not forewarned. The kill is swift. There is no suffering, only exchange of energies. I take only what I need to survive and to nurture young. My body, my eyes, my feathers are all in accordance with my role. That is part of the answer to your question.
It is all about focus, and bringing your whole self to your work. Be who and what you are. The sparrows fly an undulating pattern. The vultures soar on thermals and updrafts. Neither attempts to fly as the other. I fly silent and swift among trees, a narrow course full of obstacles, to follow and catch my prey. Vultures could not do this, nor could sparrows. Each has our unique patterns of flight. That is the lesson to apply to your work. Bring your whole self and your unique talents to it, and to the healing and growth that it provides.
Great Horned Owl stretched his wings and talons, and settled on the tree branch before continuing: A container does not hold water if it is full of holes. Showing up is only part of the process. Bringing your full self means being a conduit that is free of leaks. Energy leaks, attention leaks. Any distraction is a leak. As one appears, acknowledge it and plug the hole, so to speak. Flying through dense trees requires my full attention. If my attention wanders, I may crash into a branch or miss my prey. It is like that in your work. Focus and be there fully, so that the other may gain the benefit of the healing. That is your concept of honesty in work. Do you understand?
“I do, Great Horned Owl, and thank you for your wisdom.”
Next I asked to speak with Jaguar. A raspy cough announced her arrival. I asked the same questions.
Honesty, Jaguar said, is being fully yourself, in each moment. There is no place for giving only part of yourself. There is no place for “almost” or “not quite.” If I did not bring my full attention, all my senses, my whole body, to my work, I would not eat. I would not survive.
This concept of honesty in work—others call it integrity. The word does not matter. The fullness of your attention, your engagement, does matter. On work such as yours, there is temptation to let the mind wander, to let your focus become blurred. People tell half-truths, shaded truths. We know that humans like to take shortcuts. That is not honesty. To work with energy as you do and be less than a clear channel is not honesty.
The efficient use of power is full engagement in the process. Imagine stalking and getting distracted by butterflies! That would mean no meal today. It is not just about the hunt—when I rest, I rest. I play. I love. I bring my full self to whatever I am doing. That is honesty. When I cease to bring my full self to what I do, I will cease to be. That is the rule. Walk in my paws and feel the power of full presence.
Jaguar stretched at the side of the clearing in my meditation, to make room for Lynx.
Lynx emerged from the brush and said, I have been listening. You are trying to understand honesty from the point of view of the animal kingdom. These are artificial concepts to us. We are who and what we are. We bring our full selves.
Owl and Jaguar have stated it well. Another word for it is commitment. You can sample without commitment. That does not lead to healing, growth, or a full belly. It is an internal standard. Stating the precept, asking the question, showing up, are all good beginnings. It is what happens next that gives it meaning.
It is people who need to be reminded of these things. When we hunt, we cannot be distracted by thoughts of how hungry we are. It is like that with your work. For people it is not, in most cases, a matter of survival. It is a matter of stretching yourself, of discipline and dedication. Yours is a journey of the mind and what you call spirit. Yet you fill your minds with clutter that is, to us, irrelevant and a distraction. When your mind wanders, your full self is not present. You can ask yourself in each moment, “Am I fully present?” You will know. When you are fully present in any aspect of your life, it will move more smoothly. You learn and grow. If you are not fully present, you can wander from the path, and even become lost.
For us, there is no half way. ‘Almost’ would mean death. For people, it is possible to live halfway, not present. That is the source of your questions. To live and work fully, dedicated to your pursuits, honestly bringing your full self, is the path to growth. Why would you do otherwise?
I thanked Great Horned Owl, Jaguar, and Lynx for sharing their wisdom and perspectives. Great Horned Owl had reminded me about focus, and that each being has unique talents to develop fully. Jaguar stressed that honesty is bringing your full self to whatever you do. Lynx shared those thoughts, and reminded us that we can check in with ourselves at any moment to see if we’re fully present, for that is the path to growth.
It is a matter of integrity and commitment—other words for honesty—and of bringing our full selves with dedication to this work.
Just for today, I will be honest in my work, and in all my endeavors.
 Shoden and Animal Reiki Training: The Basics, manual, Animal Reiki Source, 2010, p. 9.
Note: This is the fourth of five articles about animal perspectives on the Reiki precepts.
Rev. Nancy Schluntz is a SARA practitioner member and offers for Reiki for animals (and their people) who are approaching the end of life. Nancy also offers Reiki to animals at the wildlife rehabilitation center where she volunteers.