When Permission Isn’t Possible

How do you get consent when getting consent isn't possible?

Cardinal rule number 1 for Reiki, and most every other type of Energy Healing work I have heard of, is that the practitioner absolutely must get the permission of the recipient before proceeding. It was emphasised quite strongly by my own Reiki teachers, and I have seen forum groups engage in rather lively debates on the whole subject.

But what about when you can’t get permission? Are you supposed to forego the healing work if the recipient is unable to verbally give their consent?

I faced just this situation numerous times when I was working as a nurse in a critical care unit. Many patients were unconscious, whether induced medically or through injury, or on a ventilator, so unable to speak (even if they were conscious). In these situations almost daily I had times when I would sense Reiki “switching on”. What was I supposed to do? Stifle the flow of Energy? Tell it, “Not now! I don’t have consent.”

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely, firmly believe that where ever possible consent for energy healing should come directly from the recipient. And I have refused to join healing shares where I felt that full informed consent had not been obtained. Even if I am working on a child, with the parent’s consent and in that parent’s presence, if the child through actions or words indicates they do not wish to receive I will stop.

There are a multitude of reasons why direct consent can’t be obtained. The person could be physically absent (distance healing) or unconscious, they could be non-verbal (either because of age or because of stroke or dementia). You could be working on a non-human animal, or the victims of a major geographic/weather event as opposed to a single person.

This is how I handle issues of consent:

  1. When I am working with a person or animal directly, I will always verbally ask permission before starting, regardless of their age or ability to respond back verbally.
  2. If their eyes are open, I will watch their eyes to see if there is any type of response, positive or negative.
  3. If their eyes are closed, I will slowly move my energy field into theirs. If I meet any resistance this could be a sign that they do not consent.
  4. When I begin the flow of Healing Energy through me, I pay attention to their physical reactions. Do they stay within the flow, or try to move away?
  5. Finally, I speak directly to the Healing Energy. If this energy is not wanted or needed for the recipient let it be returned to the Earth or sent to where it is needed most.
  6. When doing distance healing work if possible I speak to the person directly (either through email or messaging) to ask if they are willing to receive. If I am asked to contribute through a healing share I will ask the coordinator if consent has been obtained.
  7. Finally, I will speak to my own healing guides, or if they are present the recipient’s guardian spirits, to ask them if it is okay to send healing.

I do Reiki Healing for an elderly woman once a week. She is someone I have been seeing for a couple years now, at no charge.

I was initially asked to see this woman by her daughter. The woman has mild dementia and experienced a stroke about 6 years previously. She now lives in a retirement flat and has 24 hour carers. Background history, the woman is Afro-Caribbean and while it was never called as such, from the daughter I am aware that she used some form of root work as did her mother and grandmother going back. She is also experienced with the laying on of hands type healing work used within some Afro-Caribbean churches.

On my first visit, I had the consent of the daughter to do the healing work. I also spoke directly to the woman, let her know why I was there, and asked her if it was okay. Because she is not familiar with Reiki but she is familiar with laying on of hands type healings, the daughter and I call it “Healing”. During our first session together, the woman’s Guardian Spirit was very much in attendance, supervising the work I was doing. This Guardian made it very clear that I had permission to send Energy for general use only. I was not allowed to do any specific attempts at fixing any illnesses. How do I send Reiki if I am not sending it for healing? Send it as Love, I was told. Just send Love.

Many times with the elderly, the very young, some animals, and those who are near death, I have found that their personal energy field can be much thinner than expected and doesn’t present as much of a natural barrier. This means that a typical session can be much shorter. Rather than the average 45 minute session I do for most adults, a typical session may take only 15 – 20 minutes.

I don’t use external signals to tell me when I am supposed to move my hands, or stop a session. I go by the feedback I am receiving through the energy field and through observing their physical reactions to the healing. This comes with practice and through paying attention, and heeding the message that the time for sending is ended. I have found that with the recipient will become restless or move away from me when they have had enough. For those who cannot move away, I will meet a barrier between myself and the recipient, like a door has come down or a window has been closed. Persisting in sending a Healing will cause them to become more restless and agitated because I have continued to send after consent was withdrawn.

Finally, I would say strive to send Healing without the interference of personal Ego. When you are Healing for the recipient’s highest good, and not for personal gain/ego stroking, you will be more aware of the verbal and non-verbal and intuitive/spiritual signals which are present.

How do you handle situations when obtaining direct verbal/non-verbal consent isn’t possible?

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Filed under Healing Practice, Reiki

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