Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Welcome to the Reiki Blog Hop! A group of Reiki practitioners from around the world are all writing on the same topic, and linking to each other so you can hop around from blog to blog, reading all the different stories they have to share! I wrangled this hop, proposing the topic “Letting Go.” You can read more about the theme at the Master List page.


Letting Go

Fuzzy Kitten in a tree, from May 2014.
Fuzzy Kitten in a tree, from May 2014.

My cat, Ash, also known as Fuzzy Kitten, is making this hard. He is nuzzling the keyboard, pushing it out from under my hands, which in turn knocks the mouse off the keyboard tray. He pushes his wet nose into my hand, and then stretches his neck out causing my hand to slide over his head and settle in to the thick furry ruff of his neck. I pet him a moment. Then I resettle the computer peripherals and he does it again. He just wants attention. So I pick him up. Then suddenly he goes cubist, all jagged corners, sharp edges and stiff limbs jutting at awkward angles. He struggles and escapes. Nope, he definitely doesn’t want to be held.

“Hands, surrender, smile.” That’s what we learn and teach in Komyo Reiki. “Surrender?” a student asks. “Surrender to what?” I thought that was the obvious part. It’s “smile” that trips me up.

You can easily recognize Hiroshi Doi’s techniques in our IHR URR handbooks. They always start with lifting your arms up like a funnel and holding that until you feel Reiki wash over you like a waterfall. “But I thought the energy comes from the hara,” a student says. Yes, but this is one of the most important Reiki teachers alive today, and this is how he feels it. “I’m going to do it the other way,” the student announces. Frans teaches placing the hands on the hara, the belly, feeling the energy grow, then opening the hands like shutters on a sunny day. “Excellent. I will too,” I say.

I teach Traditional Japanese Reiki, both Usui Reiki Ryôhô in the International House of Reiki style taught by Frans Stiene, and Komyo Reiki taught by Hyakuten Inamoto. Both styles stress the idea of returning to the source, recreating as closely as possible what was originally taught. “There is no Usui Shiki Ryôhô, only Hayashi Shiki Ryôhô,” Inamoto-sensei says. He means that no one actually knows what Usui taught, what Usui’s style of healing was. He didn’t write any books. He died in 1926, and his students, except for Hayashi-sensei, all kept pretty quiet. Hayashi-sensei taught Hawayo Takata and Chiyoko Yamaguchi, the two women who maintained the Reiki lineage throughout the remainder of the 20th century. The other source for traditional Reiki is the closed society, the Usui Reiki Ryôhô Gakkai. Polite and logically reasoned aspersions are cast against each of these sources by teachers. Students bounce from lineage to lineage trying to ascertain what Usui-sensei might have taught. Without a book, or a manifesto, or a recording, or a diary from Usui, we can’t know. There is only an interview, some questions and answers, which we all scour and memorize, quoting extensively to point to the true nature of the practice. Pointing to the moon.

I find myself simplifying, reducing, letting go. Students need more and more techniques, answers, rules to prop up their wobbly practice. I’m playing Jenga. Practicing from the empty spaces. And yes, some of them collapse.

At work, clients come in. They want their chakras balanced. Sorry, I don’t do that. They want the bad energy pulled out. Sorry, I don’t do that. They want to know what I got. I got an hour of deep meditation and blissful connection to Source. Do you choose to join me there?

In Reiki, the practitioner only creates the space in which healing can occur, they do not heal another. The recipient’s body naturally takes that energy and directs it where it needs to go. “What did you get?” they ask. You know what’s sad? They want me to say that their chakras are blocked, or I found an empty spot and filled it, or removed an energetic sucker. They want to know that there was a problem. For some reason, they need this problem. They need it acknowledged, handled, shifted. This is not how Reiki works. Reiki works from the place of connection to the Divine, to the Source of All, the place of perfection. There are no imperfections here. Reiki is about letting go of our commitment to our pain and suffering.

I’m tired of not being able to fulfill the client’s need to have their energetic injury affirmed. I’m tired of explaining that if they want a psychic reading they need to book tarot, not Reiki. I’m tired of explaining to brand-new potential Reiki students that we don’t do anything. We don’t fill them with energy. We don’t take energy out. We don’t balance them. I’m tired of people adding more and more onto the system to make it better and stronger. I want to peel away until there is the tiny, fragile speck of a seed.

I mention to the bookstore staff that I probably won’t be taking Reiki clients next year. “Oh, everyone does Reiki, you’re more of a tarot person anyway.” I admit to myself this hurts a bit. “I don’t think she does Reiki,” I say. “Oh, she does something else—it’s like Reiki on steroids!” the staff person exclaims, impressed. Hmmm. I’ll keep my Reiki drug-free. This is what people want. I politely bow out.

Fuzzy Kitten comes out from under my chair and jumps up, nudging the keyboard again, putting his nose in my hand. I pick him up. He goes limp on my shoulder, body pressed against my head. His big fuzzy paws gently stretch and relax against my back. His soft delicate purr vibrates in my ear. He’s done. He jumps down and cleans himself.


Joy RBH logo


Joy Vernon has been studying energetic and esoteric modalities for more than twenty years and has been practicing Reiki since 2003. She is a Reiki Practitioner and Teacher in the traditional Japanese Usui Reiki Ryôhô lineage through the International House of Reiki, first learning this lineage in 2008 and later studying under the IHR Founder Frans Stiene in 2015. She is also a certified Komyo Reiki Shihan (Teacher) and studied under Komyo Reiki Kai Founder Hyakuten Inamoto in 2011 and 2013. She leads the Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup and is a member of Shibumi International Reiki Association and the Healing Touch Professional Association. Joy is also a Certified Professional Tarot Reader. For more information, please see her website.

© 2016 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.

Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit

Articles: 467

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  1. I always come back to Reiki, come back to the simplicity of letting go. Through Reiki its opened me up to doing Trance healing, but I always come back, always surrender and always let go. I suggest to anyone I work with to leave expectation at the door and pick it back up when the leave, they bring the potential to heal themselves, we’re just the space holders.

  2. Reiki on steroids?! Is she able to leap tall buildings in a single bound? I swear sometimes people think that there has to be a show happening with healing. That something has to pop and sparkle in order to feel like it is effective. I am just speculating that this is what she does since they mentioned steroids. Great article. Yes Reiki is simple and just being connected to Source. Healing will take place if healing is needed.

  3. There is so much here that I can relate to… yes, I too have heard the ‘like Reiki but on steroids’ line and as for the ‘what did you get?’ brigade… LOL I’ve just noticed your tags – the 3 R’s 😀 and completely forgotten what I was going to say… Anyway give a kitty high five to Ash, he sounds like a great Master 🙂

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