The Path of Shumei
The Path of Shumei
An Interview with Roy Gibbon conducted by Dr. Susan Allison
Susan Allison (USA) with Roy Gibbon (USA)
What do light healing, Natural Agriculture and art have in common? Roy Gibbon, of the Educational Department at Shumei America’s National Center, explains their relationship and how these aspects of Shumei can benefit the average person.
Mr. Gibbon also speaks about some of the history of Shumei, what selfless service entails, how anyone can learn how to give and receive Jyorei, and how you can become involved in Shumei practices.
Dr. Susan Allison has a doctorate in transpersonal psychology and maintains a private practice in Santa Cruz, California. An ordained and licensed interfaith minister, she is the author of three books: Conscious Divorce, Ending a Marriage with Integrity; Breathing Room; and Empowered Healer, Gain the Confidence, Power and Ability to Heal Yourself. She has been honored as a Woman of the Year in California for her counseling work.
Roy Gibbon joined Shumei in November of 1993. He currently works in the Educational Department at Shumei America’s National Center in Pasadena, California. He is the co– author with Atsushi Fujimaki of the book An Offering of Light: Healing with Jyorei, Natural Agriculture, and Art. Mr. Gibbon also teaches classes at various Shumei Centers.
Dr. Allison conducted the following interview with Roy Gibbon during a radio broadcast of the Empowered Healer Show, which emanates from Santa Cruz, California. The Empowered Healer Show addresses the physical, emotional, spiritual, and planetary issues that need healing in people’s individual and collective lives. The program’s guests talk about issues of healing and present their perspectives and possible solutions.
The following interview took place on September 27, 2012. The text has been abridged and edited for use on the Shumei.us website.
Susan Allison: I really am enjoying your book, Roy. An Offering of Light explains the teachings and the practices of Shumei. Could you define Shumei, its history, and philosophy.
Roy Gibbon: Shumei is a Japanese word that means Supreme Light. Sharing this Light is at the core of Shumei. It is about directing spiritual Light toward people for their health and happiness. We call this practice Jyorei.
The organization is based in Japan. Mokichi Okada, whose title is Meishusama, started Shumei. Meishusama means Master of Light. He introduced Jyorei in the early 1940s. After he passed away in 1955, the organization continued to grow. Now we have a number of centers around the United States and many more throughout the world.
As well as Jyorei, we practice Natural Agriculture, which is a spiritual form of farming, and we also support the arts. We feel that beauty helps heal the soul. It elevates consciousness and promotes social harmony. Those are Shumei’s three main practices.
S.A: I am interested in how Shumei came to the West.
R.G: The first center established outside of Asia is in Hollywood. Sensei Eugene Imai—sensei means teacher—came to Southern California in the late 70s. The original center is still there. It’s a beautiful, old mansion in the Hollywood foothills. It has a huge backyard in where we have a model Natural Agriculture garden. Sensei Imai is now the director of Shumei America.
One of the things we emphasize in Natural Agriculture gardens is beauty. We grow flowers along with vegetables because we believe the consciousness of people working the land affects the quality of the food that’s grown there. Natural Agriculture is also a spiritual practice in which the farmer or gardener focuses on love and gratitude.
S.A: If you have a field or a backyard, how you start practicing Natural Agriculture—and how you keep those pesky little bugs from eating your tomatoes?
R.G: Before getting into techniques, I will give you an overview. We call Natural Agriculture a spiritual practice is because we believe all of nature is conscious, intelligent, and sensitive. The plants, the soil, the rocks, insects, air, and the water all have a consciousness. Because of that, our consciousness can interact with them. So, if a farmer is growing plants with love, the plants will do better, the soil will improve, and even the water will change for the better.
We don’t believe in dominating nature, as conventional farming does with chemicals and genetically modified organisms. They force the soil to grow whatever they want, irrespective of the type of plant or condition of the soil. And the consequence is toxic.
Overall, Natural Agriculture is closer to organic farming than conventional farming—with some major distinctions. Organic farming usually replaces the nutrients in the soil that they believe the plants are extracting. So, as a plant grows it is thought to take minerals out of the soil, nutrients that must be put back. But those who practice Natural Agriculture feel this is not right. We believe that the soil, under the right conditions, will naturally rejuvenate itself without the need for that kind of interjection. For instance, the jungles in the Amazon have been growing for thousands of years and there aren’t farmers over there adding rock dust, compost, and what–have–you to its soil. In the same sense, we believe that if we take care of the soil correctly and give it love—you might say that love is our fertilizer—the soil will rejuvenate itself. Also, if we cover the soil with leaves and grass from the immediate vicinity, that will help keep the soil soft, moist, and warm. Or if it’s a really hot climate, it will help keep the soil soft, moist, and cool. Compost is natural mulch encourages the growth of microorganisms, worms, and healthy yeasts that are the foundation of the soil.
S.A: I love the feeling of knowing that there are spirits in all things. It’s parallel to our own Native American beliefs and teachings here in this country.
R.G: Its part of the Shinto culture as well.
S.A: A lot of indigenous peoples had this belief and connection to the land, and also love and respect. That is what I’m hearing from you, this respect for nature.
R.G: Alan Wattssaid that a perfect symbol for the twentieth century would be the bulldozer. We use the bulldozer to level mountains, level valleys and generally dominate nature. But we can only get away with that for so long.
S.A: We are also bulldozing our way through the twenty–first century by being too aggressive and competitive.
R.G: We encourage a gentle, cooperative approach to life— not just in the garden, but in everyone and everything.
Imagine a farmer focusing on gratitude and developing a loving relationship with plants. Now imagine doing that day after day, year after year. That will change a person. And if you’re not dominating the plants, but looking and listening to what’s going on in the garden, and cooperating with it, that also will spill into your relationships with other people.
S.A: Jyorei is an essential part of Shumei. What are its origins and how is it given?
R.G: The person giving Jyorei conducts energy from beyond themselves, from the Spirit. As Jyorei givers, we are just the conduits for this energy. Jyorei’s purifying energy detoxifies the body and purifies the blood. It strengthens the immune system, calms the mind, and balances the emotions.
We don’t charge for Jyorei, it’s a gift from God. It’s not faith healing; you don’t need to have faith or believe in it for it to work. You can give Jyorei to kids, infants, and to people who are unconscious. You can give it to plants or animals.
S.A: I saw a picture in your book of people in chairs. The person giving Jyorei held an arm out and sent Divine Light from the palm of the hand to the person in the opposite chair. If they got tired, they switched hands. Is that accurate?
R.G: We should be relaxed when giving Jyorei. So if our arm gets tired we switch hands. Jyorei is very simple. We direct energy just to the forehead and the top of the head. The idea is that the forehead, or third eye, is very receptive to Light, and the top of the head, or crown chakra, is our most direct connection to the Divine.
Jyorei’s Light is a conscious, intelligent energy. The Light knows where to go and what to do. So the Jyorei giver simply has to get out of the way and allow the Light to do its work.
S.A: I love that, because it’s about getting out of the way and realizing that divine intelligence knows where to send the Light.
R.G: Yes. We also recognize that we’re not the doer, we’re just a conduit for the energy.
S.A: Can anyone be trained to give Jyorei?
R.G: Yes, although training may not be the right word. Because giving Jyorei is very simple, it doesn’t need elaborate training. We just raise our hands and direct the Light.
To give Jyorei, one goes through an initiation. We get an ohikari, which is a cloth pendant that we wear. The ohikari acts like a lens that focuses the energy so that we can convey it to others. Probably the key thing with Jyorei is our motive. Why do we want to share Light? We do not charge money for it. There’s no real status involved. We are not Jyorei masters or anything like that. The reason a person shares Jyorei is to help others and bring Light into the world.
Fortunately, when we are directing this energy, it moves through us, the giver, on its way to the receiver. So we benefit from that Light as it comes through us. As Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
S.A: Could you talk a little about hoshi?
R.G: There are two motives that draw people to Shumei: one is a need to be healed; the other a desire to heal others. We hope that those who come for healing eventually will come to help others. It’s what the Buddhists call the Bodhisattva Ideal, which means that one benefits most from helping others. We call it hoshi, which in Japanese means service. Anything we do to be of service, whether for the world or for friends and family, or for supporting Shumei’s mission, these are all forms of hoshi. It could be something as simple as sweeping the floor, stuffing envelopes, or helping in the garden—it’s all hoshi. Being of service is a spiritual practice. You could look at it from a higher perspective and say that you are really serving God, serving God by serving the world.
S.A: It doesn’t have to be some grand thing we do in the world. It could be a small act of kindness. Selfless service could be something others might perceive as very small.
R.G: Somebody might be cold or rude. But that person might be going through a very difficult time and that’s the best they can do. For us to be kind, and give them a smile can be a powerful form of service. If we give that person the benefit of a doubt and assume he or she doesn’t really want to be cold or rude, just that frame of mind is a form of hoshi.
S.A: It’s so important for us to not assume something about anybody, really.
R.G: We should try to see the good in others, or, on a deeper level, to see God in others. As we open our mind and our connection to God, those perceptions will be more likely.
S.A: How you would define Light?
R.G: When we get to higher truths, we enter a realm beyond words. For example, what is consciousness? We know what it is because it is a direct and immediate part of our experience. Yet, we are unable to define it. The same is true with the word Light. Of course, we know that physical light is made up of zillions of photons. Going deeper, we see it as waves of energy not particles.
We know about things because we experience things, but we don’t know what anything is at its core. We don’t know what electricity is, only how it operates. Nor do we know what light is. The same is true for Spiritual Light. It exists at the border between form and formlessness. It affects the physical world but is not of it. The Old Testament book of Genesis tells us that in the beginning there was Light. In the New Testament’s Gospel according of St. John, John calls the Light at the beginning of the world the Word or the Logos. Some say Logos is Jesus or God, others that it is Intelligence.
This Light from God, or Source, is like the light from a flame. Light is one of the properties of fire, as is heat. At first the light is part of the fire, but after radiating from the fire, it is no longer considered part of the fire. The same goes for Jyorei in relation to God. The Light of Jyorei can be considered as part of Divinity or as an independent phenomenon, similar to how a photon can be considered as either a particle or a wave, depending on the how one views it.
Spiritual Light is experienced both objectively and subjectively. It is at the core of who we are. Spiritual Light is the first expression of God. The more we connect with this Light, the more we align with its beauty, harmony, and tranquility. This Light is both healing and inspiring. That Jyorei focuses God’s Light, gives it incredible power.
S.A: How does one become a member of Shumei?
R.G: A good place to start would be to attend one of our Sampais, where people chant and exchange Jyorei. There is no obligation and no charge. You don’t have to join Shumei to go to a Center to receive Jyorei or attend Sampai.
If a person wants to become a member and share Jyorei with others that person needs to take a few classes and get an Ohikari. One can go to the visit page to see where all the different centers are.
Editor’s Note: For information about acquiring An Offering of Light: Healing with Jyorei, Natural Agriculture, and Art, please contact us by E–mail at su.ie1508310887muhs@1508310887ofni1508310887">su.ie1508310887muhs@1508310887ofni1508310887
or by phone at 1 (626) 584–8841 between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM (P.S.T., USA). You might also check with your local Shumei Center for copies.
For more information about Susan Allison Ph.D. and her radio show, use the following Internet address: https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2026/empowered-healer