Brief Introduction to Reiki from the Perspective of Reiki Jin Kei Do

The following article was published on and was written as a promo for an online workshop that I ran on the now defunct Healing Garden website in May 2007

Reiki. Considered by some to be a hands-on healing therapy and by others as a profound practice of spiritual development with the potential to lead the adherent or practitioner to the realization of enlightenment. Reiki is in fact, both of these things.

The system as we know it today was first developed in Japan in the early part of the 20th Century by a lay practitioner of Tendai Buddhism; Mikao Usui. Usui’s focus in developing his system was to create a set of tools for practitioners to engage in the process of self-healing and thus to ultimately achieve enlightenment. Usui’s original system was very much embedded within the discipline of meditation. The word Reiki is made up of two Japanese kanji ‘Rei’ and ‘Ki’ which when combined roughly translates as ‘spiritually guided life force energy’.

In developing his system, Usui incorporated profound metaphysical symbols that he personally utilized in a meditation on the holy mountain of Kurama, not far from his hometown of Kyoto. This widely reported 21-day meditation retreat in which Usui utilized an ancient meditation practice called ‘Buddho’ (first passed on from the historical Buddha to his student Avalokiteshvara – the Bodhisattva of Compassion) lead to him achieving the state of ‘satori’ in which he gained a glimpse of enlightenment.

It was one of Usui’s last students, the naval captain Chujiro Hayashi that took Usui’s system of spiritual development and stripped it down and transformed it into the popular and hugely successful hands-on healing therapy that we know today.

As a healing therapy, Reiki involves the transfer of energy from the Universal Energy Field, channeled via the practitioner, to the recipient. In this way, the energy enhances and boosts the natural healing capacity of the recipient and brings their being on all levels (mind, body, spirit) to a much more healthy state of balance. Reiki will help to remove blockages that are inhibiting the state of health. Reiki is wisdom and compassion and knows exactly what is needed on a healing level at all times. The practitioner acts merely as a channel for this healing energy but in the process of giving a treatment, also receives a treatment themselves.

On a more profound level, the system of Reiki can be used as a guiding set of tools and techniques for the practitioner to engage with on their own personal journey of self-discovery. Within one tradition of Reiki, that of Reiki Jin Kei Do, there is a philosophic orientation towards the development of compassion and wisdom with Reiki so that in developing oneself spiritually, the practitioner has so much more to give in a healing context. If one wants to heal the world, then it is important to heal oneself first. This approach to Reiki involves a great deal of meditation including an engagement with Usui’s own practice of the Buddho at higher levels within the system.

Whatever way one approaches the system it is true to say that Reiki is making a profound impact not only on the metaphysical community but on the world at large. It is the fastest growing therapeutic system in the world today and shows no signs of slowing up. Reiki works well with all other forms of therapeutic intervention, whether that is alternative/complementary or traditional Western medical approaches. It will help to shorten the time it takes to heal and boosts the recipient’s immune system.

Reiki is a discreet practice that has no connection to other New Age and metaphysical systems. Although it has been modified in recent times by many practitioners and teachers in the West, in its pure form it does not contain any elements of other healing systems or involve itself with connecting to or invoking angels, spirit guides or other higher beings. Reiki is a very simple method that has never needed any of this extraneous input but does work well regardless of the additions made to it by its many adherents.


About Steve Gooch

Steve Gooch was born in March 1962 in Rugby, Warwickshire in England and grew up there with his two brothers and sister. He moved to Corsham in Wiltshire and attended Bath Academy of Art, where he studied sculpture and printmaking, before going on to work on projects for the artists Joe Tilson and Nick Pope. He also helped with the publication of a limited edition folio of Paul Eluard’s poetry. Steve moved to London to study for a postgraduate teaching certificate and then worked as a teacher of art in the UK. He gained his MA in Education with the Open University and also studied the discipline of Reiki with his Reiki teachers in Newcastle upon Tyne. His daughter Marianne was born in 1994. For a period of time, Steve devoted himself to teaching Reiki in his hometown of Rugby, before moving to Egypt, where he resumed his career as an art teacher, becoming the Head of Art in a prestigious British International School in Cairo. He continued to teach Reiki, introducing the discipline for the first time to Egypt. He also wrote extensively on the subject for various Egyptian English-language magazines. Returning to the UK, Steve’s son Sam was born in 2004. Not wanting to go back into the teaching profession, Steve took a job as a chef in a vegetarian restaurant and wrote his first book ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do: The Way of Compassion & Wisdom’. It was the world’s first book on that particular tradition of Reiki and is still considered to be the standard reference work on the subject. Steve them moved to Sudan, where he was again Head of Art at the prestigious Unity High School, and built an online living history for the school, called 'The Unity High School Archive'. It was in the process of building this archive that Steve uncovered a major scandal involving senior members of the Anglican Church, local dignitaries, and members of the faith communities. As a consequence, he got to know the head of the Secret Police in Khartoum quite well and then promptly left the country. Steve moved back to Egypt and took up a post as Head of Art in a school in Alexandria. Very much involved in the Reiki community in the UK, however, he founded the national organisation ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do UK’ and became the editor of ‘Focus: The Journal of Reiki Jin Kei Do UK’, and then set up the global ‘Reiki Jin Kei Do International’. He also set up the global video-arts project '12seconds for Peace'. The concept grabbed the attention of a number of big names in the peace movement, including Nobel Peace Prize nominees, and threatened to go viral. Circumstances (revolutions and social unrest) put it on the back-burner. Likewise, a major peace initiative called the 'Global Concert for Peace', scheduled for the summer of 2013, which would have been the world's biggest musical event, also went on the back-burner. Steve moved to Saudi Arabia for a little over a year in 2014, before returning to Egypt to take up a senior management position in another British International School in Cairo. Finally, after a year of professional purgatory in which he realised that there is no such thing as a good British International School in Egypt, he decided ‘enough is enough’ and quit the teaching profession for good to focus on his writing, art and Reiki classes. He is currently living in Cairo and writing ‘The Temple of the Djinn’, which is loosely based on the events that he uncovered during his time in Sudan. He is also teaching Reiki and working freelance for a variety of Egyptian magazines. He misses the UK and is looking forward to spending more time in his home country with his children. He'd also like to find time to paint and make sculpture.
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