The Way of the Spirit: A Definition of Spirituality

The following article was written for the official Reiki Jin Kei Do lineage website in 2010 but was never used, so I am presenting it here. 

‘Spirituality’ and ‘spiritual’ are words that are bandied about a lot in the Reiki world. ‘Reiki is a spiritual system’, ‘Spirituality is at the core of the Reiki system’, ‘Reiki is spiritually guided life force energy’ etc…the word keeps coming up over and over again in the context of Reiki.

There is a sort of tacit assumption in this that when we refer to spirituality everyone knows what we are talking about but is it really that simple? Does everyone know, or does everyone just work on the same assumption that everyone knows when in fact no one is really that clear at all? If you get my drift… The problem with defining spirituality is that it is as individual as the clouds in the sky. It is also just as prone to shift and metamorphose as time goes by. It is not a fixed and immutable thing but does have some properties that we can assume are pretty much universal from one definition to another, again in a rather cloud-like way.I found this definition of spirituality on the Internet in the free online

I found this definition of spirituality on the Internet in the free online encyclopedia; Wikipedia:

The central defining characteristic of spirituality is a sense of connection to a much greater whole which includes an emotional experience of religious awe and reverence. Equally so, spirituality is concerned with sanity and psychological health. As with some forms of religion, the emphasis of spirituality is often on personal experience.

If we drop the unnecessary reference to religious awe and perhaps describe this as an experience of the ineffable instead, we have a definition that sounds pretty close to the experience of Reiki. Reiki is not something separate from Spirituality after all. ‘Spirituality is at the core of the Reiki experience’ really does sum up the mutually supportive relationship between the words. We find that with the essence of Reiki and the concept of spirituality; the two are embedded within each other. Reiki IS spirituality just as spirituality IS Reiki (though those outside of Reiki’s ambit may not necessarily use this terminology). If you don’t agree with this, then try this: Re-read the above quote with the word ‘Reiki’ replacing the word ‘spirituality’.

There is one other aspect of this definition that is worth emphasizing and that is the personal, private nature of the spiritual experience. It is not something that can be shared at all, though there is a commonality of understanding about the personal nature of the spiritual experience. It is an intuitive knowing that what is experienced on the personal level is also very much defined by the fact that it is common to all.

We do need to broaden the above Wikipedia definition, however. What I think is important to come to understand is that spirituality is essentially about humanity’s search for the great Truth. It is about our aspiration to understand our place in the cosmic scheme of things and to get to grips with and know in a profound way that inner core experience that defines our nature as being as some have described it; ‘a spark of light within the mind of God’. It is through the practice of Reiki, particularly within this tradition of Reiki Jin Kei Do that we endeavour to come to realise this immutable Truth.

There is something else in Wikipedia that is worth bringing to your attention in regard to this aspect of the concept of Spirituality in relationship to the practice of Reiki:

One aspect of ‘being spiritual’ is goal-directed, with aims such as: simultaneously improve one’s wisdom and… achieve a closer connection to Deity/the Universe, and remove illusions of false ideas at the sensory, feeling and thinking aspects of a person.

And that spirituality is

the active and vital connection to a force, spirit, or sense of the deep self.

In exploring our spirituality we can see that one of its central attributes is a desire to improve or develop one’s wisdom. In coming to achieve a closer connection to the Universe – which surely is the consequence of the inner exploration (through Reiki) that has been described, we remove the illusions that arise due to the sensory, feeling and thinking aspects of our earthly existences and this naturally gives rise to wisdom. With the arising of wisdom, there is a spontaneous desire to manifest compassion in the world and in following this inclination we are then lead to an even greater understanding of our true nature and our existence as spiritual beings and thus the realization and manifestation of greater wisdom.

Spirituality, in terms of Reiki then is the deep and sublime exploration of what it is to be human and to express the realizations of that search for Truth as wisdom and compassion in the world as an active and dynamic process (often and ultimately as an expression of healing). This then creates from the clay of the Universal Energy Field (God) an even greater understanding of the true nature of our core experience as human beings. Spirituality becomes cyclic; creating an outward flowing spiral of energy that impacts on and blesses everyone and everything within its field of influence.

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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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