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A Sacred Stories Magazine Autumn 2021


The Mystical Path

of Kundalini Yoga

L e a v i ng B i g Ye l l ow B e h i n d

SACRE D AC TI V ISM for Ending Violence

THE HEART OF THE MATTER for Spiritually Conscious Parents

Write for Good


with Oscar Miro-Quesada

WELCOME Welcome to The Owl! A collaborative sharing of contemporary ideas, fresh perceptions, art, beauty, Universal wisdom, and modern inspiration across traditional and nontraditional spiritual and religious teachings. We invite everyone to the table to share in the rich feast of Life and Living.



Sacred Stories

Vik Leigh



Ariel Patricia

Franne Demetrician Mary Ellen Lucas Laura Staley



Come On In & See What's Inside

A Sacred Stories Magazine



Up Close and Personal with Oscar Miro-Quesada 6 Will Uniting Humanity 22 Leaving Big Yellow Behind 34 Sacred Activism for Ending Violence 46

in every issue


A Sacred Story 4 WisdomKeepers 26 Artist in Residence 32 The Heart of the Matter 42 Write for Good 50


Book Excerpt: Jonas and the Mountain 56 Sacred U Courses 70


A Sacred Story by Seana Zelazo

The sea-salted air always stops us in our

of a nighttime surf session, the heavens

tracks as we climb the rocks at Sawyers

feel more pronounced, somehow closer,

Beach. Breathing in the scent of arrival,

and our sisterhood feels aligned with the

we lean into the cool Atlantic wind. With

Queen of Heaven, the Sumerian Goddess

the weight of our surfboards under

Inanna, her arms outstretched above a

our arms, reassuring and close, we

sacred space to play.

straddle the threshold between street and sea, and the magic hour before

It is through surfing that I first connected

moonrise, assessing what awaits us. It’s

with Inanna. As the Queen of Heaven,

an incoming tide. From where we stand

Inanna is both the Evening and Morning

the wave looks only thigh-high. As the

Star. She is also the dual Sumerian

last of our quartet closes her trunk and

Goddess of Love and War. Her liminality is

zips up her wetsuit, we trek down to the

a powerful connector and the threshold

water’s edge. Four mothers, our children

she occupies is mirrored in the one we

all temporarily occupied or nearly

inhabit on the water, paddling the horizon

asleep, meeting for our monthly and

between the sky and the sea. Inanna’s

year-long ritual of a full moon surf. As

father Nanna is a Moon God and her

we paddle out, the wind switches, and a

mother Ningal is a Moon Goddess, thus

waist-high set comes in. Our bodies take

our lunar ritual is ripe with her echoes.

over and we drop into the swell. It is 7:55

Inanna’s grandfather Enki is the God of

p.m., the moonrise begins in 13 minutes

Wisdom and the Watery Deep. As the

on the clear horizon just to the right of

daughter of the moon and the ocean

the storied Isles of Shoals on the New

through her ancestral line, we feel Inanna

Hampshire seascape.

welcome us where the tidal waves roll in, beckoning our souls, and deliver us to ourselves.

This is our women’s circle, four mothers in our 40’s committed to the sea. Our sport has realigned us with the moon

Our hair dripping with salt and our

and her tides. The lunar language sounds

bodies wrapped in the warmth of our

in our core. Enveloped in the darkness

wetsuits, we begin our full moon ritual 4

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as soon as we finish our surf session. To

Goddess; I can see the magic present in

watch the moon begin her ascent into

all things.

the heavens while riding the Cosmic waves brings us each into a state of

Tonight, we start a bonfire on the beach

presence and reverence. It’s a double

near the rocks and write up a list of what

baptism as we bathe in the moonlight

we have outgrown and what we are

and the ocean. To glide down the face

ready to release and transmute. Calling

of a wave, lit only by the low hung red

in the directions, the elements, Inanna,

moon opens us to the in-between, the

our guides, and loved ones, we summon

sacred portal to the Higher Realms.

their support to help us let go of all that

While we come together regularly in

is impeding us in order to alchemize it

awe of nature and the sea, our full moon

anew in the fire at our feet. In turn, we

surf sessions have helped us restore the

read aloud and hold to our hearts, the list

practice of ritual and ceremony. Indeed,

of grace and support we wish to call forth

the art of ritual has been ignited within

and step into. Our voices command it

each of us and our commitment has

into being and we witness for each other

yielded powerful shifts. The process

our generative power. We are a surfing

has guided us through a challenging

sisterhood of moon-mothers ready to

few years in which we have lost loved

give birth to the lives we are here to live.

ones, launched young ones, realized our

As the Queen of Heaven and part of our

truths, and found our voices.

sisterhood, Inanna reminds us how to create heavenly magic here on Earth,

When I am the first person to paddle

how to restore the sense of sacredness

out under a still-dark sky of morning, I

within and without, and how to always

feel safe with Inanna nearby. She is the

look for our connection to the Divine.

lighthouse to my highest Self. I have heard her call and now she speaks to

Seana Zelazo, LICSW is an intuitive channel

me directly, imparting secrets of the

offering spiritual guidance, coaching and

underworld, the spaces of the unseen,

teaching. A licensed clinical social worker,

the wisdom she is ready to share. In my

her background includes hospice, private

own relationship with Inanna and the

practice psychotherapy and training in many

moon, I have remembered the potency

healing modalities. As an athlete she uses

of the sacred art of ritual, allowing me

sport to be in sacred relationship with the

to engage in life through the eyes of the

temple of the body. 5

UP CLOSE A ND PERSON A L with Oscar Miro-Quesada

Oscar Miro-Quesada is a

and author, don Oscar is OAS Fellow in

respected kamasqa curandero

Ethnopsychology and member of the

and altomisayoq adept from

Evolutionary Leaders Circle.

Peru, founder of The Heart of the Healer (THOTH) Shamanic

A seasoned navigator of non-ordinary

Mystery School, originator of

states of consciousness, don Oscar is well

Pachakuti Mesa Tradition

prepared to help people from all walks of

cross-cultural shamanism.

life access realms of Being through which

An internationally acclaimed

multidimensional powers and forces are

shamanic teacher and healer,

available for healing self, others, and our

earth-honoring ceremonialist

planetary ecosystem as a whole.


The OWL Magazine

Ariel Patricia: Welcome, Oscar. It’s a

that is characteristic of the Andes,

pleasure to speak with you.

the coast, and the Amazon regions of Peru.

Oscar Miro-Quesada: Thank you so much, Ariel. Looking forward to seeing what emerges from this cosmic dialogue. AP: Absolutely. Let’s start with who is Oscar Miro-Quesada? OMQ: Well, there's two ways of responding to that question. One is from a shamanic perspective of being pure consciousness, and the other is from the historical perspective of being a biological entity in human form. Oscar as

As a child, I felt a deeper

consciousness is simply a friendly

identification with the tribal views

holographic projection of our world’s

and sacred lifeways of Peru’s

need to have a teacher of cross-

native peoples than my European

cultural shamanism.

descendants, although on my father's side there is a trickle of

From a historical perspective, I am a

mestizo bloodline connection

soul that incarnated in Peru, South

with the 5th Inca, Capac Yupanqui.

America, f rom a Peruvian father, and

As a child, I recall having many

an Italian-American mother. From

conversations with ancestral peoples

early on, because of my father's work

of Inca and pre-Inca origin, which

in national public health, I spent

later in life I found out were actual

my formative years in very remote

historical figures of great renown.

areas of the country immersed in indigenous reality and a soul-

This early immersion in the mythic

animated field of lived experience

reality of indigenous Peru made 7

Up Close and Personal with Oscar Miro-Quesada

it extremely difficult to return to

soul; in other words, the existence

Lima’s formal school system when

of consciousness in every living

my father was relocated back to the

form—be it the sentience of a

city. I felt like I was an alien in a world

stone relative, plant relative, animal

that wasn't mine, yet as it turned it

relative, or human relative. This

out, this experience of feeling like

living spirit is more important to

a stranger in a strange land was

communicate with than the actual

crucial to my later seeking initiation

physical body of the plant, the

into the native highland and coastal

object, or the person. So therefore,

shamanic healing traditions.

prayer, ceremony, and ritual are integral to the lives of our first nations’ people because without them, true communication and true guidance and true realization of one's inextricable interdependence with the great web of life are not possible.

AP: What an interesting childhood, to walk in both of those worlds. Can you share more about what you mean by a soul-animated field of experience? OMQ: In Peru and throughout the world, all nature-venerating and spirit-befriending ancestral peoples recognize the primacy of 8

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Without that lived partnership

the story, a vampire bat flew in the

with the spiritual reality behind the

window and attached itself to my

world of form and matter, our tribal

hair with its feet. Unsurprisingly,

wisdom traditions would vanish

I started to violently bang my

together with their ceremonial

head against the bars on the crib,

healing artistry, for they would not

eventually smashing the poor little

have an originating cosmology

bat to smithereens.

from which to continue their service presence on the planet.

When my parents woke up in the

By recognizing that everything

morning, they saw a bloodbath

in existence—from what is the

around me, the two claws of the

infinitesimal to the unimaginably

bat still attached to my hair, and

large—is an expression of soul

a big smile on my face, as though

as consciousness, this allows an

I had integrated the shamanic

experience of reverence for life and

medicine power of the bat into

All Our Relations.

my own soul through communing with its blood. In retrospect, this

AP: Share an experience growing

was my first classic shamanic

up that was particularly impactful

initiation mediated by a traditional

for you as a young person.

Shipibo power animal.

OMQ: The first that comes to mind

AP: Oh, my goodness.

is when my father was stationed in the Shipibo native community in

OMQ: As I matured and began

the eastern Amazon department

my formal apprenticeship in

of Pucallpa. As there was no public

Northern Coastal shamanic

health facility, my parents and

healing arts, known as Kamasqa

several community members

Curanderismo, it became evident

created a makeshift emergency

that my experience was a genuine

treatment center. I was two years

initiation, a direct medicine

old at the time and one night,

revelation and rite of passage

while I was sleeping in in my crib

equal in vocational destiny to most

in our little hut, as my father retold

formalized apprenticeships. 9

Up Close and Personal with Oscar Miro-Quesada

AP: I'm sure you gave your parents

by severe asthma and allergies. I

great pause through your years as a

couldn’t leave the house and I was

young person.

bound to my room. I spent much of my free time in bed with my eyes

OMQ: I certainly did. According to

closed and dreaming awake an

my parents, I didn’t speak a word

infinitude of alternative worlds.

until I was three years old. My parents were a little concerned, of

I developed a deeply rich inner

course. I would just sit there with my

world where my fantasies, dreams,

head tilted and gaze out into infinity.

and inventiveness became my lived

I spent most of my day that way.

reality—where the Within became

And then suddenly when I started to

my world Without. I populated

speak, nobody could shut me up.

my multidimensional inner realm with spiritual denizens that I later realized were part of the unseen universe spoken about in worldwide esoteric traditions. This inner journey experience helped enormously when I was being formally apprenticed in the arts of healing by my mentor, don Celso Rojas Palomino, who helped me understand that I had created a cartography of such, a map of the archetypal dimensions reflective of our pre-Columbian psyche and ancestral cosmology.

AP: You were listening, which is always a good practice. Tell us more

The internal world I used was so vivid

of your childhood.

and compelling in its reality that recovering from asthma and moving

OMQ: I had a very sickly and

into the outside world with open

physically limiting childhood from

eyes was akin to a rebirth. It was as

the age of five to 10 years old caused

if I had moved from one experience 10

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of being a child into an unlimited

That is why they're so tuned into

paradise of opportunity. I couldn't

untapped psychic potentials and their

get enough of the world of light and

ability to see into the future and have

of external relationships.

extra-sensory abilities to interpret things beyond the mind, word, and

This was a pivotal moment of Self-

the senses. And because of this

awakening and understanding that

ability, much like other Heart Island or

what is above is below, what is within

South American peoples, the Kogi are

is without, what is soul is world, to

revered keepers of prophecies.

use a Hermetic wisdom adage. I also found that in both the ancient AP: Oscar, the wisdom you're sharing

Greek tradition of Iatromantis and

is profound. At least in the West,

paleo-Christian great initiatory

we live so much of our lives and

Mystery Schools, the practice of

our children's lives in a busy and

incubation—which is to go into dark

outward-facing way. It feels out of

caves and remain there for extended

sync with the natural way, which is to

periods of time—was fundamental to

allow that inner exploration that you

receiving vision and guidance from

speak of, which children are naturally

the goddesses and gods.

drawn to. OMQ: Some shamanic societies do that intentionally, such as the Kogi in Colombia. The Kogi have this realm called Aluna, which is like the dreaming of the aboriginal Australians. Their children are kept in a cave in darkness from birth until around seven or eight years old. And after they have spent time learning from Spirit in that isolated darkness, only then are they allowed to see the visible world of sunlight. 11

Up Close and Personal with Oscar Miro-Quesada

I believe the experience of

experiencing severe hypoxia leading

remaining within, free of the

to bouts of unconsciousness

external vicissitudes of life, is very

because of oxygen deprivation to

valuable. Hence, the importance of

the brain.

meditative practice and other forms This went on for maybe three or

of introspection and spiritual focus.

four months, when one night, so AP: That is fascinating. Tell us about

tired of struggling to keep alive and

your sickness and healing.

on the verge of crossing over to the other side, I started to slide into

OMQ: In the early 1950s, everybody

this in-between realm. Suddenly, I

smoked cigarettes, including my

heard my name being called like a

parents, who were chain smokers.

faint echo.

My congenital asthma was dramatically accentuated to the

I opened my eyes and in front of

point where I needed to receive

me were three very tall, angelic-like,

weekly intravenous treatments

transparent yet luminous beings,

of dexamethasone, a steroid that

radiating an incredible love. One

allowed the alveoli in my lungs to

was directly in front of me and the

open sufficiently to take in oxygen.

others flanked me to the left and right of my bed. The one in front

At 10 years old, I lost a year of

of me began to communicate

schooling because they had to

telepathically, informing me that

move me out of Lima to the central

it wasn't my time yet and that

highlands, a place called Chosica,

they were there to assist me in

just so I could breathe. At that time,

remembering my soul origin, as

my mother and I were mostly living

well as present me some future

there by ourselves since my father

scenarios of my life.

had to commute from Lima. Even though the environment was free

Then the being to my left arched

of Lima’s pollution, intermittently

over, like a willow tree with currents

I would still get severe asthma

of light, and placed his lips over my

attacks to the point where I was

heart center and torso, and began 12

The OWL Magazine

a classic shamanic extraction by

something had changed. She said,

suction, drawing out the disease.

"What happened to you, son?" I

As he did this, he gave the longest,

said, "I don't know. I had a really

most extensive syphoning breath

good sleep and now I can breathe

you can imagine. And then he

f reely." She said, "Show me,” and

stood straight up and blew it out

made me stand up and take a few

into the space above me. A huge

deep breaths. She almost fainted

portal opened in the ceiling of the

because all the doctors that I had

room and this whirlwind of density

been to and all the medicine they

flew out, was transmuted into light,

had given me hadn’t worked to

and vaporized into space. I took a


breath, and it was normal natural AP: How did that event impact


your life? At that point, the Shining One in front of me resumed to

OMQ: I could finally play outside

telepathically plant a few more

and became a very adept soccer

seeds about what my future could

player, eventually resulting in a

be like, including relationships,

full scholarship to a university in

children, education, career, and

the United States. Once f ree of

more. I saw a lot of the stupid

asthma, I resumed my studies at

choices I would make as a teenager

a school in Lima, where half of the

and young adult. He then indicated

courses were taught in English

that I should close my eyes, take

and half in Spanish There was a

a couple of deep breaths, and just

lot of influence of the American

release into a restful sleep. So, I

culture and psyche—the music,

did that. And the next day I woke

the blue jeans, and TV. Eventually

up and didn't remember anything

in the Sixties, the flower-child

that had happened to me.

movement of Haight-Ashbury brought with it the exploration of

My mother walked in the room

consciousness through meditation

to wake me up in the morning

and the use of plant sacraments,

for breakfast and noticed that

as well as other mind-expanding 13

Up Close and Personal with Oscar Miro-Quesada

substances. I became fascinated

its botanical name is trichocereus

with that path of self-discovery

pachanoi or trichocereus

even though I didn't know at the


time that it was integral to the ancestral shamanic traditions of

In time, I heard about a master healer,

most Amerindian peoples.

don Celso Rojas Palomino, renowned for cooking the best San Pedro in Peru. People from all over South America came to his place up in the Chongoyape River Valley. So I set my heart on learning his secrets.

At age 14, I started to cook a psychedelic cactus. I hated anything to do with smoke

Being a surfer in those days,

because of my experience

I combined my visit to don Celso’s

with asthma, so I refused to try

place in Salas with a surfing

marijuana. All my friends were

expedition to the North Coast with

smoking marijuana because it was

three buddies. We surfed and then

just the thing to do in those days,

headed over to Salas. I went in there

yet I only focused on cooking and

with my f riends, and I said, "don

consuming this cactus. Commonly

Celso, I'm here because I heard that

known as San Pedro or Wachuma,

you are the leading expert in the 14

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use of this plant sacrament, and I

throwing me into an existential

would love to learn your secrets."

whirlwind. Here was another person witnessing the same

We were four hippie-looking surfers,

visionary phenomenon that I

so he looked at me, glanced at the

was. It made me realize that

others, and said, pointing at me, "You

I was dealing with somebody

stay, and you, you, you get out of

whom I could trust with my life

here, I don't want to see you again."

when it came to being guided

He sent my friends away and they

to follow the path of Peruvian

left me there and took the car. This

folk healing known as kamasqa

was 1969 and I was almost 18 years

curanderismo, an ancestral

old. It was summer vacation and I

shamanic lineage that, ultimately,

stayed there a month, then took a

I was sanctioned to bring to the

bus back to Lima. In that month, so

United States.

much happened, but in one of those Tuesday night healing sessions, called a mesadas, he engaged me as his assistant together with his son and son-in-law. One evening at his ceremonial altar, in which there were placed ancient power objects laden with spirit consciousness and used to help the healing of the people of the community, emerged the same three Shining Ones that had visited me at age 10, upon which don Celso elbows me and asks, "Do you remember them?" As you can well imagine, this turned my life upside down, 15

Up Close and Personal with Oscar Miro-Quesada

AP: This is the point that you knew

is that of deep compassion and

that this was your path?

caring for one another and our entire planetary biosphere.

OMQ: Oh, yes, certainly. How can I deny it? So, I combined academic

To accomplish this, based on my

study with my own inner study and

sanctioning by don Celso to share his

apprenticeship in Peruvian healing.

ritual healing arts with those from the

During college, over summer break,

northern regions of the developed

the first thing I would do is go to Peru.

world, I originated the Pachakuti

Instead of staying at my mother’s, I

Mesa Tradition of cross-cultural

would go straight to don Celso's place

shamanism. This is the foundation

and study with him. That went on

of the Heart of the Healer Shamanic

from 1970 all the way to his passing in

Mystery School, which currently offers

1982. Following don Celso’s passing,

apprenticeships in this path by myself

I continued my apprenticeship with

and 24 other lineage-sanctioned

another renowned elder from the

teachers. We also offer other types

Cusco area known as don Benito

of initiatory experiences in hermetic,

Q’oriwaman Vargas in the Andean or

gnostic and star wisdom paths. My

Paco tradition, which is more focused

wife, Cindy, also offers some profound

on establishing sacred ceremonial

goddess initiations in awakening

relationships with the natural world;

Divine Feminine Consciousness.

whereas, my apprenticeship with don Celso focused on individual and communal healing methods. AP: Oscar, what is your work in the world today, while living in a soulanimated experience? OMQ: My service path is best described as teaching Love by the way I live. I've understood over time that the most powerful medicine 16

Carrying the medicine lineage

our native ways to those f rom

of don Celso into the northern

developed nations of the

regions came with a caveat,

world. And so, I'm dedicated to

because in those days the

fulfilling his vision.

practice of curanderismo was illegal and considered

AP: Oscar, your work is vast

superstitious bunk. A lot of

and so important. Who do you

the healers of the time were


being persecuted and jailed by government officials. There

OMQ: Mahatma Gandhi because

was a great deal of extortion

of his conviction and steadfast

going on and many ancient

adherence to a path of peace

ceremonial medicine artifacts

as a means of transforming

confiscated. It was horrible

the world. He was a true

and don Celso was extremely

embodiment of both bhakti and

concerned about the future of

karma yoga, of selfless love and

these arts.

compassionate service.

Yet he knew that if people

AP: Any final words you would

from developed nations,

like to leave us with?

particularly the United States, showed reverence and respect

OMQ: When we surrender the

for our healing ways that the

need to figure it all out and

authorities in Peru would

cultivate the ability to let it all in,

eventually start to honor and

then our earth walk becomes a

respect our ancient healing

sacred dance of healing service

traditions in the same measure.

on the planet. More than the

He repeatedly emphasized

world needs saving, it needs

that my mastery of the English


language and connection through my mother in the

AP: More than saving, the world

United States, I was perfectly

needs loving. Thank you, Oscar,

poised to start introducing

for your loving wisdom. 17

Up Close and Personal with Oscar Miro-Quesada

FUN FACTS more of it, Right now, I'm really

AP: Coffee or tea?

enjoying being at home. OMQ: I prefer coffee over tea, but I start my day with a green drink.

AP: Early bird or night owl?

AP: Book or movie?

OMQ: God, this is hard . . . these either/or's are not the way the

OMQ: A book for sure but

universe works for me. It's just

there are some movies that are

it's so dependent on the level of


teachings and work that I'm doing. If I become immersed in some creative

AP: Favorite book?

adventure, I can go a couple of days without sleep.

OMQ: Memories, Dreams and AP: Oscar, there are not many people

Reflections by Carl Jung.

who could be both ways but you're AP: Beach or mountains?

both in a lot of these. From a very young child, you've walked the inner

OMQ: Beach because I'm still

and outer worlds, the mainstream

a passionate surfer.

and the indigenous practice. You are a walker between worlds.

AP: Globetrotter or homebody? OMQ: That's a perfect description of OMQ: I'm going to say homebody

my incarnated life this time because

right now. Although, in my work,

I've always straddled the seen and

I've globetrotted the world

the unseen. I'm comfortable with a

passionately and plan on doing

very thin veil.


You can only lose what you cling to. — Buddha


We know a few scientific facts

us, some 37 trillion cells cooperate

about human existence within the

among innumerable organs, all

Cosmos. We know the Cosmos is

coming together to create the

approximately 13.8 billion years old.

beautiful and sublime unity of our

We know from those physicists who

human bodies and minds.

formulated “the Anthropic Principle” that the emergence of intelligent

What is the meaning of this

beings was built into the universe

“immense journey,” as Biologist Loren

from its very inception (see Harris,

Eisley (1959) called it? Why has this

1991). We know that life on planet

creature appeared in the Cosmos? A

Earth has been evolving for some 3.6

creature who has immense problems

billion years and that it has followed

precisely because we are self-aware.

a law of complexification leading to

The other animals may suffer and

us—the most complex production

die under various circumstances. The

of the life force on Earth. Within

lion may kill and eat the antelope. 22

The OWL Magazine

But the innocence of the animals limits

exploit the world as we find it for our

their suffering. Only human beings

egoistic purposes.

suffer from the awareness that things could and should be different. Only

For several centuries our dominant

humans remember the immense

activity as a species has been

suffering recorded in the history of our

the conquest of the Earth—the

species and agonize over why it should

development of technology, industry,

be this way.

production, transportation, and organization. Today, we find our

The Cosmos has given birth to a

entire human project in great danger

unique self-aware creature concerned

f rom the threat of nuclear war and

with freedom, compassion, justice,

the realities of climate disruption.

and redemption or “liberation.” The

We find ourselves f ragmented

Maha Upanishad of India declares that

into rival, militarized nation-states,

we are all one family of brothers and

giant competing corporate entities,

sisters. Why has the Cosmos given

competing religions, races, and

birth to us, and what is our purpose?


Spiritual philosopher Raimon

Our technological success has

Panikkar (2013) speaks of “the destiny

not solved the problem of human

of Being” and our share within this

suffering, chaos, and misery. We

destiny. Our share in this destiny has

appear no closer to “redemption” or

to do with f reedom. The Cosmos has

liberation. The disunity of our human

given birth to a creature who has the

project, along with our technological

freedom to think, meditate, love, and

power and sophistication, is

act. To use Aristotle’s principle, we

threatening to destroy this project

have the “potency,” the potentiality,


to actualize ourselves in these ways. We can also fail to actualize these

Our lack of concern and

potencies by thoughtlessness,

understanding of why the Cosmos

carelessness, hate, and destructive

has given birth to us is what has

actions. Or we can ignore the

led us to this sorry impasse. Instead

question of our human destiny and

of actualizing our potential for 23

Will Uniting Humanity Help Us Find the Meaning of Life?

mutual respect, compassion,

human destiny. It is also integral

justice, and transformative action,

to that destiny. The Cosmos has

we have substituted technological

produced a being with the gift of

domination of nature and partisan

self-aware freedom, a being who

fragmentation of the Earth. We

can ask the great questions of the

spend vastly more money on war

meaning of existence and this

preparations than on health care.

precious gift of freedom. Integral

What course of action is open to us? The first step toward restoring our quest to actualize our destiny as gifted to us by the Cosmos must be to unite—to solve the problems of war and climate destruction through ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth (Martin, ed., 2010). This Constitution addresses these global problems by creating a democratic world government explicitly designed to address our global problems, democratically and equitably. It ensures global justice, peace, and ecological protection. My new book The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet, shows this in detail. Restoring the unity and integrity of our human project through ratifying the Earth Constitution is a means for humanity to get back on the track of discovering and actualizing our 24

The OWL Magazine

to our gift is the recognition of its universality. We are all one as a divinely gifted species: our dignity and our integrity are universal. The Earth Constitution restores sacred unity by creating institutions to protect and enhance our dignity through the principle of unity in diversity. It helps us avoid our present trajectory toward selfdestruction and sets us on a course that allows us to ask the question

Works Cited

of our humanity and destiny. What wisdom and what awakened

Eisely, Loren (1959). The Immense Journey: An Imaginative Naturalist Explores the Mystery of Man and Nature. New York: Vintage Books.

spirituality do we want to bequeath to future generations?

Harris, Errol E. (1991). Cosmos and Anthropos: A Philosophic Interpretation of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle. London: Humanities Press International.

Glen T. Martin, Ph.D. is Professor Emertitus of Philosophy at Radford University and the author of a dozen books. In 2013, he received the Gusi Peace Prize International for his work with the International Philosophers for Peace, the Earth Constitution Institute (ECI), and the World Constitution & Parliament Assoc. (WCPA). ECI and WCPA are global NGOs that sponsor Provisional World Parliaments. Learn more at

Martin, Glen T. (2010). Constitution for the Federation of Earth: With Historical Introduction, Commentary, and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press. Martin, Glen T. (2021). The Earth Constitution Solution: Design for a Living Planet. Independence, VA: Peace Pentagon Press. Panikkar, Raimon (2013). The Rhythm of Being: The Unbroken Trinity. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.



The Mystical Path of Kundalini Yoga by Karuna


The OWL Magazine

“Yoga is the journey of the self,

we always are! It gives us our first

through the self, to the self.”

clue that nothing is separate.

-The Bhagavad Gita At its deepest level “yuj” points to Kundalini Yoga, because it

the never-changing ground that

emphasizes the deeply mystical

embraces and unites all of reality: the

aspects of Yogic spirituality, is

“Oneness” or the “Unity” that is found

often called Yoga’s “deeper dive”

in the most ancient understandings

and a “Raj” (royal) or “Direct

of our divinity as humans—the “I am

Path” Yoga. These deeper roots

That I Am” of the western Bible or

of the Yoga we have all become

“I am That” of our great Eastern

familiar with in modern times

traditions. I am Divine Being.

are sometimes overlooked, or even forgotten, by today’s

The second, simultaneous, meaning

practitioners. Today “Yoga” is often

of the “yuj” root of Yoga points to the

taken as referring only to actions,

actions one can take to understand,

positionings, and postures of the

to realize, this “I Am”. It points

human body—a form of exercise

to the actions, the methods and

as in much of popular commercial

techniques, to realize this Union,

Yoga. But the Yoga of the ancients,

Oneness or Divine Identity. So, in

and the deeper Yoga still available

short, the “doing” of Yoga is both

to us today, is much more

the destination and the path, as

profoundly rooted. These deeper

the great western saint Teresa of

roots are seen in the origins and

Avila said: “All the way to heaven is

meaning of the word Yoga itself.

heaven”. That’s quite a gift isn’t it? And it is true, no matter what kind of

The root of the Sanskrit word for

a person we are—and we humans are

Yoga—“yuj”—has two, quite different

quite various—for sure! Accordingly,

meanings. These take on deeper

the great Yogi’s recognized what

significance because, in the original

they called the “Tri-marga” or

language of Yoga (Sanskrit) “yuj” is

Three-fold Path(s) of Yoga—Yoga

seldom used alone; it is always in

(Life actually) as Devotion (“Bhakti

relation with something—just like

yoga”); Yoga (Life) as Actions (“Karma 27

Up Close The Mystical andPath Personal of Kundalini with Sister Yoga Dr. Jenna

yoga”), and Yoga (Life) as Knowing

practice. Although, yes, it utilizes all

(“Gyan or Jnana yoga). The great

the poses and postures (“asanas”,

Indian Yogi Sri Aurobindo, and one

“mudras”, “kriyas” etc.) and other

of the founders of modern India,

actions today familiar across our

likened them as all gateways to the

world’s commercialization of Yoga,

same room—who we are, our Divine

in Kundalini Yoga all these are more


deeply rooted in the ancient wisdom of the world’s great traditions.

Of this “deeper dive” into our Divine Nature a number of assurances are

This is the wisdom emerging from

given by our world’s greatest saints:

Yoga’s early history in the great documents The Upanishads and

Your own self is your ultimate

the Bhagavad Gita and into the

teacher. It is only your inner

“Classical Period” of Yoga (200-800

teacher that will walk with you to

CE) with Patanjali’s classic “Yoga

the goal.

Sutras: The 8 Limbs of Yoga”. Then follows the “Puranic Period” (8001470 CE), wherein the understanding

Yoga is the work of the inner self.

of nondual (Oneness) consciousness solidified, and the “Bhakti Period”

You are the Self, here and now.

(1470-1710 CE) wherein so many practices of Yoga were perfected.

Awakening, Freedom, Happiness are your birthright.

Thus, Kundalini Yoga is uniquely KUNDALINI YOGA

anchored in our understandings


of “Nondual (Oneness) Consciousness”—authentic

Of the over twenty kinds of Yoga

Awakening—and especially as it

generally recognized across the

relates to the activity of our bodies

world, Kundalini Yoga distinguishes

in serving the awakening process.

itself by its emphasis on the more

After all, it is the kundalini energy—

deeply spiritual, meditational, and

and the classic understanding of its

subtle-realm elements of Yogic

arising f rom the base of the spine 28

The OWL Magazine

and then energizing all the energy

are dynamic—and always engaged in

centers (Chakras) of the body/soul—

their own ongoing sustenance and

that characterizes and unites all the

further growth. The Ten Bodies that

varieties and schools of Yoga. In the

you will experience when you join me

mystical Kundalini Yoga, it is the

in this practice are, very briefly, our

central theme. (1) Soul Body, (2) Negative (or EXPERIENCING KUNDALINI YOGA

Protective) Mind, (3) Positive (or Expansive) Mind, (4) Neutral (or

Of course, Yoga must be experienced

Meditative) Mind, (5) Physical

not just talked about. I want to

Body, (6) “Arcline” (explained

acquaint you with one experience

more in the practice), (7) Auric

that is easily accessed through my

Body (or Aura), (8) Pranic Body

programs at Sacred U. Please enjoy

(related to breathing), (9) Subtle

my free offering “Awakening the Ten

(or Spirit-“Akashic”) Body, and (10)

Bodies” (

“Radiant Body”. They combine


into and 11th Body—“the Whole of our Embodiment”.

Yogic cosmology teaches that we have ten bodies—not just one. They

About these, in the scriptures of the

are called the Ten Bodies—or the

great Sikh tradition which anchor

Ten Etheric Bodies—since they

Kundalini Yoga, we find the words:

are actually “fields” that, together, form the wholeness of our being.

“When the God in you, and the

Functionally, you could think of these

human in you are in parallel

Ten Bodies as the variety of “hats”

unisonness, then you are an 11.

that “You” actually wear across all the

You have no duality, you have

elements of your being, existence,

divine vision, and the truth flows

and experience. You might visualize

f rom you. You don’t have to find

the ten “fields” as simultaneously

anything outside of you. The

surrounding the whole of you. As

jewels are all in you – you are rich

“fields” they don’t need to have

inside, you have satisfaction and

precise boundaries or shapes. They

contentment.” 29

Up andPath Personal with Sister Dr. Jenna TheClose Mystical of Kundalini Yoga

Sensing your Ten Bodies is a

and sense, their reality. This

bit like experiencing music.

is an amazing, and often life-

When you are, say, in your room

transforming experience, so I

listening to music, you are clearly

invite you to share it with me

aware the music is there, and its


content is also clear. However,


you wouldn't exactly be able to

Karuna is a renowned Yogini, founder of Light on, a co-founder of Light on Light magazine and the Light on Light Press, and a co-host for The Convergence on VoiceAmerica. Annually, she joins the Committee for the International Day of Yoga at the United Nations for their celebrations all around the world.

say “where” the music is in your room— or where the various attributes of the music are, say, the scherzos or the adagio’s. Given this dynamism, Yoga cosmology speaks about each of the bodies by noting various of their attributes, elements, senses, or characteristics in making up the totality of who we are. These help us understand,


FIND YOUR NEXT GREAT READ New Releases and Bestselling Books

Books available from booksellers worldwide or direct from SACREDSTORIES.COM

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE by Franne Demetrician

For many people, this time of year is

his high school graduation, helping to

about school supplies, school clothes

plan his party, shopping with him for

and backpacks. For others, about

some new clothing - all the fun stuff was

packing up their older kids and getting

a great distraction. But as the big day

them off to college. For me, the classes

approached, I found myself a puddle of

I’ll teach or the classes I’ll take. We all

emotions. Memories of my own child's

have our fall routines and rituals that

departure for college percolated up and

are comforting in their predictability.

caused me to relive the trauma of moving

This year my comfort went out the

her into her dorm and leaving her behind

window because my grandson Logan

to begin her college adventure. I was a

went off to his first year of college in a

hot mess that day, knowing that our lives

faraway land called Louisiana.

were permanently changing. Letting go was difficult. Facing her empty room

I am the mother of a single child, and my

made me feel lost and sad. I had a lot of

single child is as well. My only grandchild

work to do to learn to be a mom from

has lived within a mile or two from me

afar. And I had to let go.

most of his life. I have relished every moment with him and was fortunate

Now the feelings are much the same;

to have spent many years helping his

the same trauma of letting go and

parents care for him as he grew up. The

acknowledging that nothing will be the

suddenness of this moment in his life

same. Somehow, I feel my age more

and mine is surreal. I keep asking myself,

poignantly and realize that I am in the

Where did 18 years go? How could he be

process of yet another life lesson – “letting

in college? Was I there all this time? It

go 2.0”. I cry when I drive by Logan’s high

came about in a blink.

school, and I gaze at pictures of him with tears welling and feelings overtaking.

The months and weeks leading up to his departure were exciting and active.

What do I do with a life lesson circling

Lots of celebrating and anticipation of

back to knock me in the head once 32

The OWL Magazine

again? I know I need a strategy to get

some version of this in their lives. Like

through it. Self-talk is the first order

everything else, letting go becomes an

of business. I know he will be home

art form. For me, it is an opportunity to

again soon, and I remind myself of

gracefully acknowledge my feelings and

that every day. I’m thrilled about what

honor them with love and compassion.

he will learn about himself and the

The feelings are a validation that I am

world as he moves through his college

alive, having a human experience.

career. I keep our connection strong by sending him cards, texting him

A scene from the movie Parenthood

goodnight, and reminding him how

has been coming to mind recently. The

much I love him. Those things are easy.

grandmother is speaking, “You know,

Well, maybe not easy, but logical and

when I was nineteen, Grandpa took

employable. It’s letting go that requires

me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up,

an artists’ touch.

down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so

Letting go in life is something we do

interesting to me that a ride could make

without realizing it. In small ways, we

me so frightened, so scared, so sick,

do it every day. People come and go.

so excited, and so thrilled all together!

Things come and go. Each day arrives

Some didn't like it. They went on the

brand new, is spent, and is gone with

merry-go-round. That just goes around.

sundown. We receive it and let it go.

Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get

And if we are lucky, there is a new

more out of it.”

day arriving right behind it, and the process begins again. I teach courses

Here’s to the rollercoaster ride and the

and connect with my students; the

art of letting go.

course comes to an end and I let them

Rev. Franne Demetrician is an interfaith minister. She has been a licensed holistic health practitioner since 1995 and wrote a spiritually oriented weekly blog from 2015 -2018. Franne is a working artist, photographer, writer, spiritual counselor, mentor, and teacher.

go. I create a piece of art, someone wants to purchase it, and I let it go. And with each, there is a piece of my heart that goes along with letting go. Maybe it’s because I am an empath that the feelings are so intense and long-lasting, but I think many people experience 33

Le av i ng B ig Ye l l ow Be hi nd by Laura Gray


The OWL Magazine

“The things you want are always

need” philosophy. Either way, I am

possible; it is just that the way to get

comforted by the thought of being

them is not always apparent. The

well-packed and fully prepared.

only real obstacle in your path to a fulfilling life is you, and that can be

Recently, it struck me that an

a considerable obstacle because you

overstuffed Big Yellow serves as a

carry the baggage of insecurities and

metaphor for the past baggage I


have carried around each day. Like standing in the check-in line at the

- Les Brown

airport, shuffling our feet forward Have you ever stopped at a store for

towards the airline professional as

something and came out with that

they repeat over the loudspeaker

one item and much more?

“never leave your bag unattended”, desperately hoping that it makes the

Or perhaps you purchased

weight limit. There has been more

something completely different from

than one occasion where I have

your initial intent? Twenty years ago,

been asked to transfer some items

I stopped at a closeout store to find a

from my luggage to my carry-on to

black skirt. Instead, I discovered this

successfully check Big Yellow through

ray of sunshine bag, sitting alone on

and proceed with my travel plans.

a shelf, that I did not know I needed

Another metaphor, and life lesson: to

but somehow could not live without.

reset and lighten our load. By that I mean, unpack.

Over the years, I have traveled many places and have enjoyed numerous

According to the late Dr. Wayne Dyer,

adventures with what I have come

“To successfully open the door to

to affectionately call “Big Yellow”.

heightened awareness, we must open

Domestic or abroad, whether I

it inward.” In doing so, we discover

roll or fold my clothes as a form of

all that we have been holding on to,

packing preference, I inevitably find

both good and bad, and that which is

a way to cram and jam more things

weighing down our journey. The term

into it, ultimately satisfying the

unpacking as it relates to our lives is

“you never know what you might

very similar to cleaning out bedroom 35

Leaving Big Yellow Behind

closets. Why is it a dreaded chore? Is

of bed, say out loud five things that

it because we must come face to face

you are grateful for. Then at night,

with our past and perhaps relive poor

just as you get back into bed, say

choices? Regardless, it is imperative if

five things. They can be different

we are to create a future based on our

each time or the same. It really

now, not what was nor what might

does not matter. What does matter

have been.

is that you are incorporating a practice of gratefulness in your life. Consequently, your life and the universe will respond by giving you things for which to be grateful in return. Next, awareness is key. How are you spending each precious moment? Do you feel like you are always running to catch your next flight and dragging along Big Yellow? Are you investing your time in love or in dread? Perhaps begin keeping a daily journal so that you may become

To unpack, we must first stop and

more consciously aware of your

smell the Cinnabon rolls! Unplug

innermost thoughts. Give yourself

from all technology. Feel the

permission to write whatever

warmth of our breath on the back

comes to mind, whether it be one

of our hands and begin to practice

word or one full page. The bottom

gratefulness for another day. One

line, they are your thoughts. And if

tool I teach the youth I work with

you do not like them, you are the

is called “five times grateful” or

one who can change them. The

5xgr8ful. Each morning when you

shift in momentum and magic all

wake up before you even get out

begins with awareness. 36

The OWL Magazine

A simple way to do this is through

I hike almost every day and feel an

positive affirmations.

instant connection with the energy

Start with five meaningful phrases

the moment I enter the tree-lined

to repeat (out loud) a few times

pathway. Surrounded by nature,

each morning as you begin your

I graciously bow and acknowledge

day. For example, “I am healthy.

the plants, critters, and flowing

I am independent. I am strong. I am

streams who so lovingly share their

loved. I am respected.”


Once aware and focused on the

We create (successfully) from a

good in your life, continue to go

place of wholeness. Put another

deep and explore all that is within

way, it would be like building your

and around you. What makes you

home on a cracked foundation. Sure,

feel most centered, in balance?

the home may look good, however, 37

Leaving Big Yellow Behind

potential problems will inevitably

your passion to center yourself

find a way of creeping up and out

may ultimately lead to a place of

due to the unstable base.

wholeness and alignment with your authentic, inner self.

Throughout the years of delayed flights to missed connections and

As part of my own journey, I personally

all the life experiences in between,

have found this to be true. It all begins

I have slowly learned how to

with the process of unpacking. And

consciously unpack. Although not

leaving Big Yellow behind.

totally pain-free, it is through this

Laura Gray is the Founder and Executive Director of IPride, a selfesteem, empowerment program for youth with an emphasis on mindfulness, social emotional learning, and creative expression. IPride offers individual life coaching, workshops, and outdoor experiences to improve and elevate the overall energy.

pruning process that I have begun to fully embrace and create the life for which God has intended. In doing so, sometimes we just might discover that it is ok if the airlines lost your luggage. Breathe, smile, and seize the unexpected opportunity to discover something new or better yet, learn to go without. Yes, your

Breathe. Hope. Be.

name may be tagged on your bag, but that does not mean you have to

Please visit our website at or contact

carry it around with you every day for the rest of your life. The ancient Persian poet Rumi reminds us “The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself: everything that you want, you already are.” Through the practice of positive affirmations, journaling, and finding 38

FIND YOUR NEXT GREAT READ New Releases and Bestselling Books

Books available from booksellers worldwide or direct from SACREDSTORIES.COM

Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. — George Bernard Shaw

The Heart of the Matter for Spiritually Conscious Parents by Mary Ellen Lucas

Death. Who likes to talk about

of life, to shield them for as long as

death? Mortality is a hard topic for

possible from death.

adults to talk about, let alone talking to a child about what it means to die.

We begin early in their lives to caution

Parents instinctually desire to protect

children about dangers and safety

their children from the harsh realities

issues. Warning them about being 42

The OWL Magazine

killed or overhearing about the threats

and signs of communication from

Covid-19 brings could inadvertently

departed ones. Reading and discussing

teach a child only a fear of and aversion

this book with your children may

to death. We need to balance these

make it easier for you to explain this

protective admonitions with a realistic,

Mystery and help them perceive that

general discussion of death. You can

challenges, heartbreak and grief are

prevent a fear about death by preparing

just as much a part of life as are love,

your children with your view of the

beauty, and joyfulness. I offer here

natural evolution of living things as you

some suggestions which may give

see and believe it to be.

you some guidance in teaching about death and dying.

Clarifying in your own mind what you MODEL GRATITUDE

believe about death and dying before a conversation is needed with your child is a wise course of action. Then when the

It is an enormous privilege to be

death of a family member or a family

alive. Gratitude for this gift is woven

pet occurs, even though you can’t take

throughout my story. Grandpa Geezer

away your child’s sadness, you will be

Goose, affectionately called Grampy,

prepared with what you want to convey

developed a terrible tuckered-out

to your child and can do so in a calm

tiredness, curtailing what he used to

and reassuring manner.

be able to do. He knew his days were coming to an end but he intended to

My third children’s book, Goodbye to

remain grateful for whatever amount of

Grandpa Geezer Goose, is about the

time he had left.

death of a beloved character on Little Puddle Pond. The book intentionally

A small child is enchanted by the

has no religious overtones in order to be

simplest things. Awe and wonder

useful to the widest audience. However,

are naturally inherent in children but

throughout the book, my own beliefs

these qualities often get lost along the

about life’s continuation after death is

way as they grow up. Being grateful

reflected. The story also includes themes

is a quality that needs to be taught

about gratitude, disparate feelings

as part of child-rearing. Modeling

occurring simultaneously, eternal love

gratitude to your child at an early age 43

The Heart of the Matter for Spiritually Conscious Parents

will help them have a reverence and

of time and space to the deceased. A

appreciation for life.

child’s love for them or departed pet will be tucked away permanently into their


heart and carried with them all their life. You may wish to model placing a hand

Grief is a paradox. If you ever witnessed a

on the heart whenever your child wishes

loved one suffering from illness, you felt

to talk to the loved one and send them

the heartache of grief when they died


but perhaps also had a feeling of relief SIGNS

that the suffering had ended, that they were no longer in pain. After the death, we feel immense love and gratitude for

Grampy made a promise to send a

the time we were able to spend together

sign meant to lighten someone’s heart.

while simultaneously feeling the

Whenever someone in the flock found

hollowed-out ache of intense loss and

a goose feather, they would chuckle

engulfing sadness. Allow yourself and

and say, “Grampy sends his regards.”

your children to experience whatever

Signs sent by loved ones after death

is felt while grieving the loss. Invite

communicate their presence in another

children to identify their feelings as this

realm. How? There may not be a rational

helps in the healing process. Reassure a

explanation but there are plenty of

child everyone grieves in their own way.

stories that give testimony to the existence of ongoing communication


between the living and dead.

There is no choice when one dies.

A man once shared with me that

Perplexingly, a departed loved one is

whenever he found a penny on the

immediately gone from sight. Where

ground, he believed his “Pops” had

did they go? Why did they go? A child

sent it and intended for him to find.

may begin to wonder whether Mommy

He believed that is how they stayed

and Daddy are going to die. A good


emphasis to focus on is what remains: the memories and love. Love can be the

A mother mourning her son’s death

bridge that spans beyond the distance

went out for the first time in months for 44

The OWL Magazine

lunch with a friend. She had parked her

the language used is a parent’s steady

car away from other cars at the farthest

presence. Remain open to answering

end of the parking lot. Returning to her

questions, listen to the feelings

car after lunch, to her amazement, a car

expressed and pay attention to the

had parked next to hers with her son’s

nonverbal cues as well. All children

last name written on the license plate.

need open communication and loving support from their parents when they are grappling to understand a loss.

Not every parent will resonate with this belief, but if you do, you can encourage

Mary Ellen Lucas, an Interfaith / Interspiritual Minister, believes we can learn to make wiser choices that create pathways of connection and collaboration to ensure a better world for our children. Life on Little Puddle Pond is a series of children’s books she wrote with silly goose playfulness along with meaningful lessons. The books are pre-chapter books and appropriate for children four to eight years old. Available from online retailers worldwide.

your child to watch for signs from the departed loved one. It is very reassuring and comforting for children to know these relationships do not really die, that only the form has changed and that the communication can continue in a different manner. Not everyone believes in the hereafter. Formulating the message you want to impress upon your child about death is important. Even more important than


SACRED ACTIVISM for Ending Violence by Rachel Mann, PhD

Our world is a violent place. Currently,

This number does not include those:

there are ongoing conflicts in up

who have died, been injured, suffered

to 40 regions. Indeed, western

poverty, or were made homeless due

commentators have logged only 268

to genocide, slavery, sexual assault,

years of peace in 3400 years and an

incest, autocratic dictatorships, and

estimated 1.5 billion people killed.

all forms of oppression based on 46

The OWL Magazine

class, religion, race, culture, sexual

modes of coercion and force, however

identity, and gender.

subtle) while also standing on the truth that the solution is spiritual as much as it is material.

Over time, the effects of such conditions multiply and show up in myriad ways in individuals and

It is important to recognize the root

societies: mental illness, addictions,

causes and conditions that have

health problems, abuse, and

created this radical imbalance in

other dysfunction within families,

human thought, feeling, and action.

communities, and nations. Any appearance of harm to others or The picture is indeed grim, and

self, no matter how subtle or overt,

it seems to be getting worse. It is

individual or group, arises from a

critically important that we engage

transgenerational legacy of unhealed

now in sacred activism to end

trauma that started eons ago with a


separation from Unity Consciousness.

Activism is often thought of as being

There are stories of a time long past

a socio-political activity. Governments,

on the planet when beings came here

non-profits, activists, and others seek

from a place of oneness to create a

to use—depending on their philosophy

world and experiment with existence

and approach—either weapons, the

in myriad forms in this denser

rule of law and civil society, peaceful

spectrum of light. Yet, they did so

protest, and/or programs for ending

while remaining connected into the

violence and peacebuilding. All of

oneness from which they emerged.

this can be beneficial, but it is a slow drip and much of it is lost in the tidal

As illustrated in the story of Adam

wave of this self-perpetuating bloody

and Eve, some engaged in physical


pleasures, sensations, and activities. Eventually, they fell into a consciousness

Nevertheless, sacred activism

of absolute separation—an illusion

embraces the importance of such

that they were here alone. Out of the

work (without the weapons and other

disconnection with the higher matrix of 47

Sacred Activism for Ending Violence

the light-filled Creation, fear overtook

places without violence. There has

them. Out of fear, arose attachment,

been no war, no abuse, no neglect,

greed, and even hatred.

poverty, and fear. Indeed, the recorded and remembered histories of some

Grasping for a sense of security in a

indigenous peoples and even western

physical world seemingly separate

chroniclers who came to the Americas

from the ultimate source of love-

500 years ago tell a very different story.

light and nourishment, they started to fight over resources to survive.

They remind us that it is possible to

Eventually, our separation from Unity

evolve and grow through love and

Consciousness was forgotten and filled

live in Unity Consciousness. When we

with pain; a belief began that to grow

live in that state, there is no lack or

and evolve, we must suffer.

limitation. All that is needed arises in the field of experience. In truth, there

Whether we believe this story as fact

is more than enough for everyone on

or as just an allegory, it points to a core

this planet.

truth—the solution to our problems with violence arises out of an aspect of

Sacred activism to end violence

consciousness first and foremost.

embraces this message. But what does this mean in practice?

Violence in all its forms is a particular vibrational field within the holographic

In the system of Awakened Heart

matrix of reality akin to a deer path in

Peacebuilding, we recognize that the

the forest—the way the ground gets

first step is to develop radical self-

grooved and plants pushed away from

reflection. This process courageously

repeated use. Humanity has plugged

enters the shadow dimension of our

into this bloody stream for so long;

psyche to find the underlying roots of

that we have forgotten that there is an

any imbalances leading us to cycles of

even more powerful vibrational field of

pain and conflict within and outside


of us. There, we will invariably find the causes and conditions of violence.

For millennia, there have also been

Since this is a vibrational field, it is then

and continue to be peoples and

necessary to use energy healing to 48

The OWL Magazine

transmute the personal and ancestral wounds we carry. Sacred activism recognizes that as we heal ourselves, we contribute to healing the world. But our work does not stop here. We are ultimately born to be of service. Being in service is an acknowledgment of the existence of interconnection. Even through breathing, we are in service: the carbon dioxide we exhale supports the Plant and Tree People, even as the oxygen they expel feeds us. Everything is in sacred reciprocity. As we tap into and expand the vibrational matrix of peace on the planet, we open the doorway to

hearts. We will find our communities

harnessing powerful energies of

of awakened heart activists whose

transformation and change for

mission is to change the destiny lines


through engagement on every level— body, mind/emotions, soul, and spirit.

There is yet more to do. As we live in these times of great peril If we are called to the mission

and promise, there is no time to lose.

to end violence, the next step is

Rachel Mann is a sacred activist, shamanic healer, social scientist, and holistic psychotherapist. She mentors women and men who wish to integrate their spirituality into their service to others. Find out more at

action in the world. Grounded in the transformational energies of Awakened Heart Peacebuilding, we will begin to dream forth new solutions to our problems, along with hundreds of thousands of people with awakened 49

Write for Good by Laura Staley


The OWL Magazine

Sometimes breaking trauma bonds

Breaking f ree f rom a trauma bond

becomes essential for a person's

with another human being can

growth and transformations.

become a foundation for the deep

Just like a butterfly breaks free

internal work to untangle yourself

from the chrysalis, people must

f rom the voice of the oppressor

differentiate, disconnect from

that likely has become your very

relationships which smother,

own inner bully or inner critic.

suffocate, or oppress the evolution

Most of you know this voice that

of their life purpose and passions.

tells you everything it hates about

The relationship might be with

you or knows you cannot do or be

a parent, a boss, a colleague, a

or convinces you not to speak up,

spouse, or your best childhood

stand up, or show up. This inner

friend. A trauma bond happens

critic becomes your furious fearful

when a person attaches to an

foil. Being able to notice you have

unhealthy individual who causes

this fierce voice inside yourself

trauma, which can include

points you to the next steps for

physical, emotional, psychological,

breaking the ties that bind, for a

mental, or spiritual.

much-needed divorce.

If you are chronically fearful and

I've learned the most important

suppressing your own needs,

trauma bond to break is the one

preferences, emotional expressions,

I formed with myself. To release

ideas in deference to an abusive

the inner bully as the voice of

individual, you have likely formed

my perpetrators through active

a trauma bond sometimes formed

practices over time with trauma-

by an “I hate you, but don’t leave

informed professionals and body

me” edict from the abuser.

workers; to connect, listen, and

Mustering the commitment and

cultivate the tender “still soft

courage to create consistent

voices” of my younger selves who I

boundaries can be a powerful first

silenced long ago; and shift towards

step. Walking away in grace and

self-nurturing practices for my

dignity might save the only life you

whole body takes great courage

could ever save.

and commitment. Meditation, 51

Write for Good

spending time in nature, and yoga

respond f rom a soulful, centered

practice have created pathways to

place. I practice this skill every

a quieter mind, a happier heart, a

single day.

healthier body. Connecting with the silent pause between stimulus

Shedding limiting beliefs f rees

and response allows me to quietly

you f rom the unhealthy mental

check in with my deepest values

traps you, understandably, likely

and commitments, and then

created. 52

The OWL Magazine

Two suffocating limiting beliefs

work you will ever do for the world.

which might make you physically ill: Breaking f ree of the oppressor • I cannot disappoint anyone, so

inside of you can open doors to

I will persist in disappointing

unlimited possibilities for your

myself, silencing my own voice,

being, heart, mind, and soul. From

and suppressing my emotional

the struggle, the disorientation, the

experiences and expressions.

confining chrysalis of your creation,

• I am responsible for other people's

I wish for you to flutter f ree as a

thoughts, emotional realities,

beautiful butterfly.

reactions, words, choices, and

The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately supports people thriving by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, and life. Laura is the published author of four books including Live Inspired which reveals the brave and deep work of self-discovery and her upcoming book of short writings and poetry Abundant Heart.

behaviors. New beliefs which support living aligned with your soul liberation: • I can and will disappoint other people. • I can live true to my deepest held values in small steps and in meaningful choices. • I am responsible for my thoughts, emotional realities/expressions, words, choices, attitude, and behaviors. The only person I can transform is me. Clean up on aisle Laura is some of the most important work I have ever done and will continue to do. Maybe clean up on Aisle You can become some of the most important 53

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. — Mother Teresa


Janis Harper


palpable, soft. And although he doesn’t think this, because he isn’t

Either the world exists, or it doesn’t.

thinking, it feels like pure relief. Or

Jonas drops into meditation easily,

maybe he is aware of the feeling

like a pebble into a deep pool falling

when those flickers of thoughts filter

down, down into the quiet dark.

down like wavering ribbons of light

The light flickering of thoughts

from the surface into the depth of

occasionally nudge at the edge of his

his still pool. Relief. One flicker. The

consciousness, but mostly there is

awareness of the slowing down of

silence. Stillness. Nothing.

breath. Another flicker.

A deep breath expands his lungs, and

Either there is something out there,

he feels the welcome peace fill him,

or it’s all in here and reflected out 56

The OWL Magazine

there. The world mirroring our own

gave seven years of his life to as

inner landscape, allowing us to

a sessional instructor, by his best

meet what we need to. The world as

friend. Everything fell apart, one

symbol, metaphor, always personally

after another in close succession,

meaningful if you can see it, if

like a line of dominoes falling down.

you can understand, interpret the

No, dominoes don’t create a sturdy


structure, and Jonas’s life used to feel sturdy. Maybe it was more like

This is what Jonas’s post-graduate

an earthquake that shook a house

English degree in literary criticism

down to shambles on the ground.

was good for. He was adept at

Or a tornado that swept it up in its

interpretation. He could apply the

vortex, bits and pieces of staircase,

same skills he learned to analyze

table legs, and light fixtures flying

metaphor, symbol, plot, theme,


and structure in literary fiction to his own life, another kind of

Nothing he did for a few years

fiction. What is the overarching

was right. His whole world looked

theme? Main conflict? Important

wrong; he was wrong. Obviously,

metaphors? Repeating symbols?

“the universe” was banging him on the head, trying to get his

In life as in literature, repetition is

attention. No, wrong way! Stop! But

very important, a big clue, pointing

it wasn’t until he had nothing, not

to issues that are uniquely yours.

until his life was unrecognizable,

Repetition can indicate theme, and

that he finally stopped fighting for

theme gives a life shape, separates it

himself (or was he fighting with

from others, creates individuality, or

himself?) and heeded the call.

at least the illusion of it. He never asked himself, “Why What’s the theme of Jonas’s life?

me?” People who did that seemed

The major theme? For a period of

to not understand something

three years, the theme seemed to

fundamental, that being what

be betrayal. Betrayed by his wife

you imagine to be “a good

of ten years, by the college he

person” doesn’t mean you aren’t 57

Book Excerpt: Jonas and the Mountain

going to experience bad things.

not it precedes greater personal

And why would you not want to

awareness, a never-before-

experience it all? The whole life

imagined perspective, a setting out

show, including the ugly parts?

on a new path toward a new world.

Why would you think you should

Jonas could see those possibilities

be exempt from a whole realm of

after the fact, a long time after.

experience just because it doesn’t

At the time, he could barely see

feel good? Maybe there are some

a thing; he just concentrated on

people who do feel like they’re

getting through each day, which

better than others. Maybe they are

took all of his attention and effort.

the ones who ask, “Why me? What

But that’s how stories end: crisis

did I do to deserve this?”

is reached, conflict is resolved, denouement occurs, and the

Or maybe there are those who

protagonist walks away changed,

naively believe that if they’re being

into a new, better life.

as good as they know how to be, nothing bad will happen. Cause

So, did he have to go through all

and effect. Karma. Of course, Jonas

that to get here? Where is here?

didn’t “deserve” it, any of it. He was the victim, any way you cut it. And

Sitting with thirty other people at

there’s another strange thing: why

the feet of his guru, D, in the open-

people believe that some people

air meditation hall in an ashram at

deserve what they get and others

the foot of a holy mountain in India.

don’t. You often hear this kind of

And obviously not meditating

thing said about murder victims:

anymore. His dark still pool is now

“She didn’t deserve to die.” What

all lit up by these thoughts. Just

does that even mean? Anyhow.

let them go, Jonas. It’s okay. Be

“Why not me?” is the better

here now. He breathes in “here,” he


breathes out “now.”

Falling apart is common enough

Jonas drops again into the deep,

in literature. It’s almost a

dark pool. He feels his body relax,

requirement. And more often than

his shoulders fall, his stomach 58

The OWL Magazine

muscles unclench, his breath slow.

anywhere ugly; he wasn’t on the

Relief. Here comes the soft peace.

brink of desperation; he wasn’t stuck between a rock and a hard


place. He had thought he was there, but he wasn’t. He was just here.

Two months before Jonas found himself in India, something unusual

Jonas felt something loosen inside. It

occurred. Sunk deeply into a familiar

was as if he had tightened the strings

stagnant pool of limiting thoughts,

on his guitar too much but didn’t

he came up for air and heard himself

know it, and now they were loosened.

crying out, Where do I go from

They could make sounds. He could

here? And an answer came.

hear the voice again, less thin this time, fuller, sweeter, a chord. Maybe

Where are you now?

A. Or D.

The voice seemed to come from

I am here too.

somewhere, but he couldn’t determine the location. Was it

Jonas knew that if he thought too

outside his body, over there to the

much about what was happening

left? Or inside of him somehow. In

that he would get in the way of it.

thin, ringing tones he both heard

He felt an opening, the size and

and saw the words, each one turning

shape of an almond, and it started

into a balloon, disappearing in a

to vibrate. He knew somehow

moment and filled with that sound.

that there was a kind of backlog occurring, something—words?

The ringing echoed in his head.

sounds? images?—was piling up.

Where am I now? What a question.

Jonas heard a popping sound, and

Then Jonas knew the answer:

felt himself recede.

I am here.

Great galleons cross faraway oceans to bring untold treasure and delicacies

That felt right. Here. He was just

to those gathered around bonfires

here. It was enough. He wasn’t

outside the caves that are their homes.


Book Excerpt: Jonas and the Mountain Time is measured by the motions

pens and paper and asked her

of currents and wind and moon.

mom to tell her to draw a picture

Moods allow for rhythms of feeling

the next time they came. She

that synchronize with the wonders of nature.

knew she’d need help to get her out of her scary place and back

Why has this boat come in?

to normal. Her mother had been

There is little on it.

bringing Anna to the living room

Where are the provisions, the food?

to look out the window at the

This one is not bringing in but carrying away,

city lights of Vancouver as a way

and there are some who may choose

to get her out of it. But it didn’t

to leave on this boat

help. The darkness, the squares

and take it to a far-off shore

and pinpoints of light from the

undreamed of in the measured moments

buildings across English Bay, out

and pungent air in the caves.

the huge window...all that kept her in her scary place. Even with her


mom by her side, saying gentle things to her and putting her arm

Anna was eleven years old when she

around her, Anna didn’t come back

started having nightmares—or “night

to her “normal” self. She just heard

terrors” as she overheard her mother

her own voice coming from far

whisper in her “concerned” voice to

away, through a long tunnel.

Auntie Joy on the telephone. They weren’t just bad dreams with scary

“God. Oh my God. Oh my God.”

people in them chasing her. Those were bad dreams, or maybe even

Anna tried to describe her night

nightmares. “Night terrors” might

terrors one day to her mother, but

just be the right term. They were

could only say stupid-sounding stuff

terrifying, but not in a movie way, not

like, “It’s like there’s this one black

like a horror movie-nightmare.

hair, and it’s at a normal distance away from me, then suddenly it’s

Anna was so afraid of having these

huge right in my face, then it’s going

“dreams” that before she went to

back back back and it keeps going

sleep, she put out her colored felt

back, and the empty place where it 60

The OWL Magazine

was is huge in my face, but it’s still

indeed: she was bridging worlds. She

back and there’s no end.”

came tumbling through the portal. Her third eye opened wide and didn’t

Anna was not in time and

blink. It was as if she were on top of

space. She was not in her body.

a mountain and could see the entire

Dimensions appeared and

lay of the land, everything, stretching

disappeared. She glimpsed infinity.

out every which way she looked.

And when she did, of course it was too immense, too huge for her

But it was also as if she were

perceptive faculties. Waking up

being given something that was

didn’t take her out of it because

almost too much for a person, for

it wasn’t really a sleep-dream

anyone with a body—much less

state. And she was overwhelmed

a skinny little-girl body with long

because she didn’t know what was

brown braids that curled at the

happening to her—and that was

ends and dark almond eyes that

the most frightening part.

crunched up into crescent moons when she smiled. How can anyone

In biological terms, Anna’s pineal

experience such ineffable enormity,

gland was opening. In Western

such expansiveness, such powerful

science, which still finds the pineal

creative energy; how can anyone

gland mysterious, it supposedly

see through transparencies in

regulates sleep-wake patterns

reality and into other dimensions

and reproductive hormones. Rene

just as real, and still be able to walk

Descartes called the pineal gland

and talk and eat soda crackers with

“the seat of the soul,” and in many

butter and play kick-the-can with

philosophies it is considered a portal

the kids down the block?

to the spiritual world, a physiological “third eye.” The opening of the

It can be done. Anna did it. But as

pineal gland isn’t uncommon

she grew through some very rocky

in adolescence, and is often the

teenage years into an adult, she

precursor to creative pursuits, the

was always aware that she was

flaring up of artistic passions. And in

merely keeping up appearances.

Anna’s case, it was a creative time

She’d inherited her mother’s 61

Book Excerpt: Jonas and the Mountain

talent as an actress to mimic

didn’t know what to do with all of

other people—more than mimic,

it. So she hid it. She wanted to be

to understand their motivation,

liked, after all. She had inherited

why they said and did what they

that f rom her mother too.

said and did. So she acted as if she were in the same play they were

And it was so hard to express, for

in. She was good: she could tell

another thing. It was so different

in an instant what part someone

at its very roots from what others

was playing and what part she

were saying. She had tried college

should play in response. And she

for two years, and read eagerly,

could play with the best of them—

trying to find what she knew in

because she knew the range of

literature, philosophy, science,

motivations and emotions and

psychology, religious studies.

which were appropriate for which

Anna was an excellent student

scene and cast. She was good

and asked many good questions.

with language, too. (She had also

She certainly looked like she was

inherited that from her mother,

on an academic path. She then

who had taught high school

turned to the mystical and heretical,

English after her acting career

the metaphysical, the spiritual,

ended.) No one suspected a thing.

the paranormal. Her friends saw the books on her coffee table.

Anna the 25-year-old had several

She certainly looked like she was

friends, a casual boyfriend, a job

on a spiritual, maybe even “new

tending bar at a local watering

age-y,” path. And she did find bits

hole, and the occasional role in a

and pieces of what she knew to

community theater production.

be true in various places: Eastern

She still had long brown hair, loose

spirituality, Western mysticism,

now and curly, and crunchy eyes.

ancient Greek philosophy,

And she knew everything. She

neuroscience, quantum mechanics,

knew beyond a shadow of a doubt

metaphysics, channeling.

all of the answers to all of the big questions, all of the “whys” and

For Anna wasn’t on any kind of

even some of the “hows.” She just

path. She was retracing her steps, 62

The OWL Magazine

doing it backwards. As much as it

So Anna took a different route.

looked that way to others, Anna

One day, she simply receded from

was not looking for the truth. She

the world. She all but disappeared

already knew it, of course. She was

from the face of it.

looking for some discipline, some system, someone else to have come

And this is how Anna, the little

up with it, too. For how could she

girl who sat in the dark with her

continue to live a life faking it all

mother on a living room couch,

the time? She wanted to belong

looking out at the city lights

to a community—or, at least, she

of Vancouver and uttering “Oh

needed a way to be herself in

my God,” became Anamika, the

the world. Being able to point to

nameless one. And how she came

something else and say, yes, I’m

to appear at the holy mountain of

that too, would be nice and normal.

Arunachala in the state of Tamil

She’d have someone to really talk to.

Nadu, in the land of India.

She began to envy religious people and political activists.


Sometimes she thought she would

Jonas came out of what could

explode with all that she had to

be called a “trance,” and shook

keep inside of her. So, occasionally,

himself. He grabbed the nearest

25-year-old Anna would experiment,

pen and wrote down the words

usually when she was having a

that he...heard? Felt? Saw? They

drink or three after her shift at the

seemed to form a kind of poem,

bar was over: she consciously, albeit

though he’s pretty sure no one

tipsily, fell out of character and

in academia or in the literary

told the truth when she was asked

community would call it one. He

her opinion. And the results were

wasn’t sure what to make of it, but

usually disastrous. People got very

there was something about it that

angry. She occasionally tried this

he liked, some quality. What are

sober, too, in serious settings with

galleons? He looked up the word.

open-minded, intelligent people.

Wikipedia said, “A galleon was a

Same results.

large, multi- decked sailing ship 63

Book Excerpt: Jonas and the Mountain

used primarily by European states

without him knowing, the more

from the 16th to 18th centuries.”

excited he got. It was a different

That was it, the quality: it had an

kind of excitement than he

“old” feel, 18th century-ish maybe.

felt when he discovered a new

Jonas himself would never use

way of looking at a poem in a

words like delicacies or untold. And

literary analysis course. His body

the people in the caves? The boat

was actually tingling. But his

is for carrying away, leaving for

mind seemed calm. What just

unknown shores, not for providing

happened, anyway? Of course,

sustenance to the cave-dwellers,

having studied English literature

not toward maintaining a lifestyle.

at university, the first person he


thought of was Coleridge and the much-discussed way he wrote

Measured moments. He liked that.

his famous “Kubla Khan” poem,

Time is measured by the motions /

one of his best. In Coleridge’s own

of currents and wind and moon.


There was some sense there. Perhaps time isn’t a real thing

The Author continued for

or whatever in itself, but only a

about three hours in a

measurement we make. In the case

profound sleep, at least of

of the poem that arrived, it is nature

the external senses, during

that dictates time, the movement

which time he has the most

of ocean currents and the moon

vivid confidence, that he

and the way the wind blows. Or

could not have composed

we use nature’s movements as a

less than f rom two to three

measurement, a way of ordering

hundred lines; if that indeed

our day-to-day lives. There is night

can be called composition

and day, after all. And seasons. But

in which all the images rose

maybe those are not passages of

up before him as things, with

time until we make it so.

a parallel production of the correspondent expressions,

The more Jonas studied this

without any sensation or

“poem” that came out of him

consciousness of effort. On 64

The OWL Magazine

awakening he appeared to

Excited. Alive. Curious. Could it

himself to have a distinct

happen again? And what should

recollection of the whole, and

he do with this poem thing?

taking his pen, ink, and paper, instantly and eagerly wrote

Why has this boat come in?

down the lines that are here

................... ....


and take it to a far-off shore undreamed of in the measured

In university, Jonas always

moments and pungent air in

attributed Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”

the caves

to the painkiller he’d taken before a nap. But obviously he hadn’t thought about it much. Drugs usually don’t enhance creativity,

Jonas didn’t really know why he

but stifle it. He knows that now.

was going to India, except that a

He knows that well, after taking

friend was going and invited him

whatever pain-numbing kind of

along. Since he was growing tired

drug he could get his hands on

of his job at the print shop and

after Carla left him, then adding

was feeling that a daily change

amphetamines when he had to

in his life was on the horizon, to

get back to a regular teaching

match the inner changes he was

schedule. And he wasn’t even trying

experiencing, he said yes. Why

to be artistically creative. The drugs

not? He had enough money saved

seemed to wear away his very

and India was cheap. Besides, he

neural fibers so that just preparing

hadn’t traveled since he and Carla

his academic writing class felt like

took a trip to a resort in Puerto

slogging through waist-deep mud.

Vallarta, which was the beginning of the end of their marriage.

You don’t get this from drugs. Jonas knew the lingo, too:

Jonas didn’t know what to do

“automatic writing,” even

with these inner changes. He had

“channeling.” But he didn’t want to

had several more “experiences”

think about that now. He felt good.

where something shifted inside 65

Book Excerpt: Jonas and the Mountain

of him, he backed off (it was

voices when they were doing their

indeed almost like taking a nap!),

thing. It polarized people, divided

and the next thing he knew

them into camps of skeptics and

there were these images rising


up and he felt corresponding words toppling out of the images,

Jonas wanted a quiet life. He

sometimes slowly, other times

didn’t want to have to defend

rushing up like a fountain. Now

himself. He had enough of his own

he always had a pen or keyboard

problems, thank you very much.

handy to take dictation. That’s

He liked these apocryphal poems,

what it felt like: taking dictation.

though. They interested him,

Often his eyes were closed, and

and made him feel something.

he didn’t know what was going

Different. Special. Like there was

on until after, when he read the

indeed more to life. But he didn’t

words written.

tell anyone about them. Except Bruce.

But he hadn’t heard that voice again, that other voice that

Jonas’s travel companion was a

seemed to talk directly to him

fellow worker at Kinko’s. Bruce

and asked him where he was.

never went to university but

And he didn’t want to address the

read voraciously, and often over

“poem-giver,” ask him or her (or

a print job when it was just the

it?) questions. He was scared of

two of them working overtime

the response. He didn’t want to

Jonas and Bruce would have long

be a channeler, didn’t want to be

conversations about what Bruce

thrown into a strange new world.

was currently reading. Jonas

What would happen next? People

admired and envied Bruce’s joie

would want things from him, want

de vivre. He was Jonas’s age,

to hear what the poem-giver said.

mid-thirties, and had spent his

He would be labeled a “psychic,” a

life seemingly enjoying himself—

“medium,” a “channeler.” He knew

working happily at various joe jobs

about famous channelers who

while traveling intermittently to

looked weird and spoke in strange

hot countries, surfing, climbing, 66

The OWL Magazine

and having casual relationships

A Search in Secret India, by

with hot women. He had an

Paul Brunton, he got especially

innocence and enthusiasm about

interested in Advaita Vedanta

life, and believed in everything.

philosophy, or non-dualism, and

He was lucky, too. He hadn’t

a prominent Indian sage who

experienced the dark side like

died in 1950 named Sri Ramana

Jonas had. Bruce was also Jonas’s

Maharshi who had lived in a cave

physical opposite—a perpetually

on the side of a mountain for a

tanned, blond, muscular, square-

couple of decades. As far as he

jawed, Greek-god type, a contrast

knew, lots of people (and animals

to Jonas’s serious academic-

and insects!) were drawn to this

nerd look: tall, pale, and skinny,

quiet man who just liked to be

with a long face under a mop of

alone and meditate in his cave. So

unruly dark hair. People think he’s

when things got too busy and his

Jewish, but he’s not.

group of followers got too large, he moved to another cave. Now

Lately, Bruce had been on a

there’s a whole school of thought

serious spiritual kick, learning to

and teachings and a “lineage” of

meditate and chant, and reading

guru-disciples originating with

about Buddhism and, more

Ramana, and he’s considered to

recently, Hinduism. Jonas could

be one of India’s greatest sages of

contribute to the conversation

all time. A real master.

because he had taken a couple of courses in Eastern Religious

Ramana’s own guru was the

Studies at university, and did

mountain in whose caves he lived.

some yoga and even meditated

Mt. Arunachala is supposedly a

sometimes. Bruce had read

very special holy mountain in

some of the Bhagavadgita and

India. Jonas didn’t understand a

various books about eastern

lot about this place. For instance,

mysticism and philosophy, like

how can a mountain be a guru?

Autobiography of a Yogi by

And what’s so special about this

Paramahansa Yogananda. After

mountain that it draws all manner

he read a book from the 1930s,

of spiritual seekers and gurus and 67

Book Excerpt: Jonas and the Mountain

sages from all over the world?

Tiruvannamalai, or “Tiru” for

And apparently it always has. The

short, looked like all the other

mountain is said to be the god

dusty, dirty towns they’d driven

Shiva incarnated. But in Jonas’s

through on the way to get here:

knowledge of India, Shiva seemed

cows, dogs, oxen, motorbikes,

to be incarnated everywhere.

cars, rickshaws—and people—all

It’s also called the “magnet

weaving around each other on

mountain” because it draws

narrow garbage- strewn streets

people to it, and many find it

lined with tiny store fronts and

difficult to leave. And it’s supposed

food stalls. The difference in

to be filled with iron ore.

Tiru is that, in addition to the hundreds of Indians—women in

Well, Jonas would soon find

brightly colored saris and men in

out for himself, because Mt.

plain lunghis—there were many

Arunachala is where he and Bruce

white people walking around,

were headed.

dressed in traditional Indian clothes and riding motorbikes and bicycles. And another difference was the number of

The cab ride to Tiruvannamalai

old Indian men draped in bright

from Chennai was four long, hard

orange cloth, with long grey

hours, and Jonas was still suffering

beards and knotted dreadlocky

from the two-day air travel from

hair. “Sadhus, holy men,” their

Vancouver through London and

cab driver said.

Delhi to Chennai, in Tamil Nadu, India’s large southeastern state.

After Jonas and Bruce found

And then, upon arriving, the

a room in a travelers hotel,

shock of it all: the incessant heat,

Mountain View Towers

the swarms of people, the filth,

(apparently there were cost-free

the smelliness, the cacophony of

rooms at Ramana’s ashram, but

honking horns. It’s true what they

they were too tired to look into

say: India is an endless assault on

staying there), Jonas left Bruce

the senses.

napping in their room, and hiked 68

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up the four flights of stairs to the

want to go anywhere. More than

rooftop, where there was an open-

that, he had no desire for anything.

air restaurant with cushions for

His tiredness vanished—all he

seats and low tables on the cement

was aware of was the deep, heavy

floor. Jonas plunked himself down

sensation at the root of his body.

cross-legged on a cushion, grateful

And a feeling of immensity. And

to be out of the car and sitting in a

peacefulness. Immense peace. He

different position.

is here. After all.

And there was the view, as


advertised. Mt. Arunachala sat there, a nondescript lumpy red-

Janis Harper is a former adjunct English professor turned expressive arts therapist, as well as a writer, singersongwriter, and actor. Her lifelong passions for the arts, metaphysics, spirituality, and philosophy come together in Jonas and the Mountain. Although she has published mainly nonfiction, she considers this novel to be the truest work she’s ever written.

brown hill, with some scrub on it and patches of rock. But as Jonas gazed up at it, wondering at its ordinariness, the tail end of his spine began to hurt. No wonder, he thought, my tailbone is aching after hours in the bumpy cab. But the sensation was different than an ache: it felt like there was a heavy weight in it. Sometimes after yoga when he was sitting and trying to meditate, he felt like this, like all of his body’s energy was settling into his base chakra. Jonas’s lower spine seemed to extend past his body and down down down into the earth, like the roots of a tree. He felt he would never move again; he was rooted to this spot. And that was somehow perfectly fine. He didn’t 69

Excerpt from True Light

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Where Learning is Experienced 70

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The Owl Magazine Autumn 2021  

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