The Owl Magazine Spring 2021

Page 1


A Sacred Stories Magazine Spring 2021


What Divides Us

A S A C O NTIN U U M That Unites Us


Explore Wisdom from Sukyo Mahikari


Make Room for Your Gifts

LIBERATING OURSELVES and Our Beautiful Earth


with Sister Dr. Jenna

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.

Ariel Patricia Editor As the powerhouse behind Sacred

in the rapidly evolving fields of

Stories Publishing and Media,

publishing, broadcasting, and

Ariel Patricia is both sacred

online learning has quickly put

storyteller and visionary

Sacred Stories on the map as a

businesswoman. As an ordained

conscious business enterprise with

interfaith minister with vast

a soul for helping humanity prosper

experience across multiple arenas

and expand our spiritual awareness.

to include corporate, education, Learn more at

and the military her leadership 2


Come On In & See What's Inside

A Sacred Stories Magazine



Up Close and Personal with Sr. Jenna 6 Liberating Ourselves 26 Reframing What Divides Us 40 Make Room for Your Gifts 46 Excerpt from True Light 52


in every issue A Sacred Story 4 Journey to A Sacred Site 22 WisdomKeepers 32


Artist in Residence 38 Right Action in Action 68


A Sacred Story by Sheila Seppi

and memories that I did not recognize. I remembered what it was like for the soul to slip effortlessly out of the body and to return through the birth process. I remembered what it was like to be on the “other side”. I remembered past lives, and I did not even believe in them! I remembered healing methods I had never studied or heard of before. I was paralyzed with fear and thought that I was having some type of mental breakdown. When I walked by the mirror in my bedroom, I caught my reflection and was mesmerized by the stranger staring back at me.

The night of September 22, 1999 started off like any other. I tucked my three children in bed, prepared myself for sleep, and took my medications because I was plagued with a host of illnesses. Over the past two decades, I received clinical diagnosis and suspicions of having brain tumors, bone cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, migraines, multiple sclerosis, sarcoidosis, erythema nodosum and periodically I walked with a cane. Celebrex was my best friend as most days my joints ached so bad that it was hard to open and close my hands. Around what seemed 7:00 a.m. the next morning, I felt as if someone reached down, grabbed me by the hair on my head, and pulled me bolt upright in bed. It was as if lightning was running through my body and I was in a blinding white light. I do not know how long I was in this space, but I liked it. It was comforting, and I was out of pain. Ever so slowly my peripheral vision and then my frontal vision returned. As I sat there, looking around the room, everything appeared the same, but everything was different. I was in a daze.

Over the next few days and weeks, things became even stranger as I began hearing voices providing me instructions, seeing lights and images of people fade in and out of view, knowing things before they happened, feeling everyone’s emotions, and smelling aromas from unknown sources. I lived in a total state of disbelief and hardly recognized myself. I had a newfound excitement for life and discovered that I was no longer in pain! My illnesses disappeared with no explanation of how from my doctors. I did not know or understand what was happening to me. My personality, behaviors, and thought patterns were different along with my lifestyle, taste in music, and eating preferences. I was having great difficultly remembering

What just happened to me? Was I dreaming? Why was I sitting up in bed? Why do I feel so strange? My mind began racing as it was flooded with strange new thoughts 4

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things about my past, including my children’s childhoods! I became disassociated with friends and family, finding that we no longer had anything in common. They were like strangers to me, all except for my three children, mom, dad, and sister. All the relationships in my life changed or dropped away, save a few. Within three months, I left a tenyear marriage, taking my three children and moving to a nearby town. My life was turned upside down.

Over time, I learned that I came into this body as an aspect of my soul collective and embody facets of my Angelic, Pleiadian, Sirian, Arcturian, Mantis, Lyran, Andromedan multidimensional soul. My star name is Nawaila (Na-way-la). My mission is to be a way-shower for humanity and to help people spiritually awaken and evolve. If the walk-in event had not happened to me, I would not believe that such a thing was possible. I am now fully integrated into this body, secure in my sanity, and feel blessed every day knowing the truth of who I truly am.

In our new home, I began to experience missing time. At first, it was only a few minutes here and there, but then the children and I lost over six hours together one Saturday as we were cleaning their toy room. My visions increased. My intuition was at an alltime high. When I sat down at the computer, my fingers typed effortlessly as I channeled many documents. I was finding it increasingly difficult to project the appearance that things were normal, and I feared my children would be taken away if anyone found out what was really going on with me.

Sheila Seppi is the author of Walk-Ins The Cosmology of the Soul, a speaker, multidimensional life coach focusing on cosmic integration, regression therapist, healer, spiritual teacher and founder of SpiritWay Wellness. Explore the topic of Walk-Ins and The Cosmology of the Soul more deeply with Sheila’s 5 star course at Sacred U. Learn more at

It is hard to imagine the impact that such an experience can have on your life. My emotions and mental stability were constantly being broken, expanded, and healed. I challenged my sanity daily. Within six months of walking in, I found my first spiritual teacher and discovered that I was a soul exchange walk-in. A walk-in is a soul that agrees to switch places with another soul that already inhabits a body. 5

UP CLOSE A ND PERSON A L with Sister Dr. Jenna Sister Dr. Jenna is the director of the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Museums and host of the America Meditating Radio Show. She serves as an Evolutionary Leader and was selected by Empower a Billion Women 2020 as one of 100 Most Influential Leaders of 2015. She is also a recipient of the President’s Lifetime National Community Service Award and a trusted spiritual mentor committed to bridging divides in societies. 6

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Ariel Patricia: Welcome Sister Dr.

with my spiritual community, the

Jenna. It’s a pleasure to speak with

Brahma Kumaris since they came

you. Let’s get up close and personal.

into my karmic energy at the age of 17

Tell me who is Sister Jenna?

through my parents. I saw how much my parents had changed through

Sister Jenna: If you have another year

the philosophy, the study, and the

of enduring a pandemic I'd be happy


to sit on the couch with a beautiful cup of tea and try to explain to you

My mother was orphaned at seven,

what my journey has been thus far.

raped, abused, and abandoned in

In essence, I come from an Indian

orphanage after orphanage. She

and African Caribbean background. I

carries a lot of karmic energy with

was born in the Caribbean but raised

which she doesn't know what to do.

in the United States of America. I

So, growing up and watching that as

think that with this karma that I'm

a child I didn't have the language, I

carrying in this birth, I'm here to bring

just thought it was normal behavior

people together. And I've seen that

for her to be the way she was.

throughout my whole journey of life just bringing people from all walks of life together in a room. And I've appreciated that tremendously. AP: That does connect the dots because you have this beautiful spiritual leadership presence and you have a dancing, girls just want to have fun kind of vibe as well. It’s fascinating to understand how that comes together. SJ: Even though I tried to hide it in my early days, it just couldn't be hidden. I have been involved 7

Up Close and Personal with Sister Dr. Jenna

She took care of me but in terms of

Beach Miami, it was called the

watching her with everyone else, she

Globe, and the other one was on

was just a very, very angry person.

Key Biscayne, it was Key Biscayne on

As an adult that's the way, she had

the Bay. And this is like 30 years ago,

to defend herself, right? I think

Ariel. And in those days the dress,

seeing her change into something so

the look, the car, the image was so

peaceful impacted me. And I didn't

important. It was just who I was. And

know it.

so when I had this download of God's light and this download of a different

So, in my early 20s, I had a very, very

kind of love for humanity, my whole

deep internal awakening of seeing

life changed - everything changed in

things differently. And I just saw ... I

how I saw things.

saw what you couldn't see and what I saw were the heart of things, not the

AP: Tell me a little bit more about the

material things. I was seeing love at a

download, was this something you

different level, that wasn't just physical.

were tuning in to and already aware

I was seeing peace not just sitting by

of spiritual practices and then you

the ocean shore by the Atlantic, but

had a larger download? Or did this

I was seeing my inner peace and the

come out of nowhere?

peace in others. When I connected with that awakening through the

SJ: I'm Pisces, we're naturally

portal of the BKs, the Brahma

spiritual. We can't help ourselves;

Kumaris, my whole life changed at 24.

we're just born that way. But I think

Everything changed for me.

seeing my parents go through their shift and meeting so many of the

Did you know I used to own two

Brahma Kumari sisters there was

nightclubs back in the day?

an influence of the purity of these women.

AP: That's your singing girls just want And I think that it was that energy

to have fun side. I didn't know that.

of purity in the women that was my SJ: Yes, I ran two really awesome

great attraction. Purity in diet, purity

successful nightclubs, one in South

in relationships, purity in thought, 8

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purity in interaction with people, that

philosophy of the Brahma Kumaris is

when I kept watching that growing

to remind you and me how to regain

up from 17 through my parents and

our self-esteem and self-respect. It

through all the sisters of the BKs I'm

says, "When you change, the world is

certain, Ariel, that had a very deep

going to change." So even though it

impact on my consciousness.

offers various programs and classes, those programs and classes are only

AP: Sister Jenna, tell us a little bit

just to till the soil or shall I say, the

more about the Brahma Kumaris'

soul, but then you have to do the

belief or practice. You mentioned

work on yourself.

purity of thought, purity of practice, but what is the essence of the

I love the independence that the

Brahma Kumaris?

organization offers everyone who comes in to transform themselves

SJ: I think when I break it down

at their own time, in their own way.

in practical language the whole

Because that soul has an intimate 9

Up Close and Personal with Sister Dr. Jenna

personal connection to Source, to God

SJ: It evolved that way. Let me go

and nobody has any right or business

back to the 1930s, India and Pakistan

to interfere in how you should relate

weren't divided, so at the time that

to the Divine or how you think the

this awakening was happening in

Divine should relate to you.

the founder, Brahma Baba, it was in Pakistan at the time. And he had a

Once an individual learns how to

download of God's light opening up

establish the link to God, then that

his consciousness. A few years later as

individual is basically on their own.

a man in those times, his experience

And from there they start to learn

from God's light said, "The world will

how to manage their thoughts, their

not be changed through the energy

choices, and their service to the world.

of men, but it will be transformed through the energy of women." And

AP: You mentioned the Brahma

so, from that point he took a back

Kumaris are primarily women. Is that

seat in the organization which at the

by design or is that the way that the

time wasn't even an organization, it

Brahma Kumaris evolved?

was just a community. Brahma Baba inspired eight of the young women in the community to be the leaders of the Brahma Kumaris. Today they’re called the Dadis, (Dadis in Sindhi language) which means elder sister or elder one. It's a form of respect that we offer those who are elder. And when those eight young women started to take charge of the community, they built it to 9,000 centers in 120 countries with over a million volunteers. AP: Wow. So, the BKs as you affectionately call them, are ahead of 10

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their time. They're trailblazers; leading

script, we are basically actors playing

the spiritual transformation.

out our part in this unlimited movie, right? And so even though that

SJ: Yes. And don't forget women were

whole energy of consciousness

generally treated as inferior or second-

started in Pakistan when the

class citizens until Baba, which is

separation between India and

what we call Brahma Baba, started to

Pakistan occurred, Brahma Baba

awaken women in those days and let

decided to relocate the community

them know, "You are not second-class

to India, where it was easier for

citizens. You don't have to bow. Build

the empowerment of women to

your power of spiritual intelligence,


spiritual purity, and spiritual love. And that energy will transform the

But nonetheless, he was very

negativity even in your spouses, in

challenged because culturally

your children, in your community and

when you're in a system in which

there will be like a golden aged world.

you're used to the defined role

But the golden aged world has to start

of the man and the role of the

inside of you." And that was his main

woman and it's considered normal,

tenet in those days, and it continues

there's no problem. I feel - this is

still, 80 years later.

my personal opinion, as a woman I want to take care of my family, I

AP: It's fascinating starting in

want my husband to be happy, I

Pakistan, an area of the world where

want my friends and my in-laws

women are in many of the countries

and everyone to be okay. But I think

considered to have fewer rights than

where it became really challenging

men, even today in 2021. Do you

and it would be for me is if I were

believe the transformation happening

in that position of my husband not

within a spiritual order created a form

respecting me, if my in-laws aren't

of protection? It almost seems like

respecting me, it becomes difficult.

Divine design.

If they think I'm only there to cook and clean and please them then

SJ: It was. If you look at life as if it's

that makes it hard to be in that sort

a pre-destined play or pre-ordained

of environment. 11

Up Close and Personal with Sister Dr. Jenna

And so, I think that women really

all of us have been male as well. This

shook up the community and the

larger divine feminine conversation

world in those days when they started

takes it beyond the physical

to recognize that maybe this isn't

manifestation of today.

normal, this isn't a healthy behavior and maybe I do need to find my

SJ: There is no doubt that we are

strength to say, "Please don't speak to

souls, and the soul is a living entity,

me like that. Please don't treat me like

it's a living energy. Based on the

that. Please don't hit me."

choices and the intention with which souls perform their actions leave an

But do you know the Butterfly Effect?

energetic recording. The energy of the

So, even though it was happening

soul designs gender, race, nationality,

in the 1930s all the way in Pakistan

situations, and circumstances.

there's no doubt that that vibration must have been rippling quietly

So, if you're an older soul and to me,

throughout the world. So, in America,

an older soul is anyone who's taken

it's taken a long time for a woman to

more than five births in the cycle

even get close to some sort of a form

of time, of course, you are going to

of presidency. And the fact that we

go through the experience of male/

have a woman vice-president who is

female energy just to create the

Jamaican and Indian like me, I think,

balance of what life is, to create

it's the energy that spreads, it's the

empathy, to create compassion,

vibrations of individuals who have

maybe even to settle debts that are

been working at an intentional level

owed from past lives. And so I feel

that is also creating the shift in what

that if I were a man in this birth I

we are seeing in the world today.

would treat my woman with ultimate respect and love knowing that I

AP: It's fascinating the conversation

might be born a woman in a future

around the feminine and the way

birth and I would want to be treated

that you're sharing it. And whenever

like that.

I think of the divine feminine coming into balance now, I think of our souls

When we look at the whole energy of

on a larger soul lineage. I know that

karma in this way - how does a woman 12

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settle the debt if her husband isn't

SJ: Yes. I think if we even go

treating her right, if her in-laws are

beyond gender and just consider

not treating her right? She has to

ourselves to be souls and that the

gain spiritual power, and spiritual

soul carries the result of its choices

power will then transform whatever

and the intentions of the choices,

internal karmic debt that soul is

then whatever the gender, the


race, the religion, the language, the nationality that you're born

AP: Thank you. I think at the point

into you will carry that insurance

that we can see the soul and not the

of those good ways of being with

physical body being inhabited, that's

you. So it won't matter if you're

when the real balance starts. I feel

black or white or Chinese or

that the focus on the female now is

Indian, but the soul will carry the

one of those interim steps.

quality of the karmas that the soul 13

Up Close and Personal with Sister Dr. Jenna

performed in a previous birth. It's a

there are children who don't have

very deep topic.

food, they don't have anywhere to sleep, they're not able to have proper

AP: I see it as an evolutionary process

drinking water and they're definitely

of where we are now even with the

not getting an education. So what

focus on a female vice-president, is

will be their future? They have to

very important because intellectually

either steal, live on the streets or find

we can understand it so that

whatever ways they can to survive.

consciously the next steps can evolve.

But if you give them an education and you give them exposure, and I'm not

SJ: I think what's happening is that

saying you give them, but if they have

we're realizing that the only one who

that easily available then it's up to that

puts limits on ourselves is us, and there

individual to see how hard they wish to

are systems and there are people in

pursue their dreams.

power that do set up systems that can make it very, very hard for whether

Look at my mother, Ariel. I mean,

it's a woman or a particular race

she should have been a statistic on

or culture. However, if your mental

the streets, but she broke through it.

capacity believes in that, that this is

How did she do it? Courage, strength,

all you're supposed to get then that's

perseverance - she never gave up.

exactly what's going to happen to you.

And so I think it's important that every

I don't believe that if I'm black that

human being today in these times

I'm meant to be a third-class citizen -

begin to break limiting beliefs and

once you give an individual education

begin to understand that the soul,

there's nothing they can't do, there's

which is who they are has an unlimited

just nothing they can't do.

capacity, and that the rest of their lives should be spent on discovering what that is for them.

And I think that if you create things that hold back anyone from getting that opportunity then, of course, you're

AP: Absolutely. I think that's why I

going to have a society of people who

love the power of story because in

are struggling. I think of countries all

sharing your story you are informing

around the world, even ours, where

and creating opportunities for others 14

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to receive that inner wisdom, that

AP: Yes, I am. Would you like to share

opportunity, that wow, maybe I can


do that as well - and in that way, the physical journey informs the spiritual

SJ: I look at her whole journey;


it's always been so tough for her. Everything was so hard. And I don't

SJ: Yes.

know how she protected me from all that hardship. Just tell me how she

AP: Sister Jenna, who do you admire?

did that. Yes, she's a hero.

SJ: It's funny as you ask that question

Now she lives with me and I don't

the first thought went to my mother.

know if she has dementia or Alzheimer’s because her whole personality has always been so animated and so uniquely her own personality. Carrying all that trauma I think has made her energy very different. And even though she's so different than I am, I value her, I just value who she is. AP: I hope she understands or has a sense of her profound impact in this life. SJ: I don't know. And I don't know if she even cares about that. She doesn't have any desires, she just

AP: I feel like taking a deep breath for

walks around the house like a little


angel, and when anybody comes by she goes, "Why are you so pretty?

SJ: Because you're feeling my

You're so pretty. You're so cute." And if


I'm on a Zoom meeting she'll come in 15

Up Close and Personal with Sister Dr. Jenna

front of the meeting and start dancing

anything in return from anyone or

and singing.

anything. And the second thing is I would love to be able to communicate

AP: Is Sister Gita your mother?

the process for souls to have a connection to God in a very private

SJ: Yes.

and intimate way so that they can experience even a little bit of what

AP: Oh, my goodness. I didn't know

I've experienced in my study and on

that. Wow.

my spiritual path. That they just have this connection so that they can feel

SJ: Yes, that's my Jamaican side. She's

the power, the clarity, the love, the

quite a handful.

wisdom, the truth that flows through your being when you know how to

That’s who I look up to, that's who I

direct your thoughts into that right

value. And then I have a list of so many

space of consciousness. That's what I

great yogis in the Brahma Kumaris. I

would love. That has been my lifelong

definitely owe my life to Dadi Janki who

project in terms of that.

passed away last year at 104 in India. She was the spiritual mentor of the Brahma

Not in a proselytizing way at all or

Kumaris. She saw something in me that

dogmatically because everybody

I couldn't see. I never expected that I

who knows me knows I don't do that

would ever be on the path of spirituality,

whatsoever. I continue to see in what

as an official spiritual representative. I

way can I be used by the universe, by

just never envisioned it at all, but Dadi

the destiny of the drama to articulate

Janki saw that in me. And because of

to souls, their link to Source.

her vision, I'm here today. And I'm not saying that if you're AP: What is your vision? What is your

Jewish or Christian or Hindu or

passion, your next project Sister Jenna?

Muslim you're not having a link to Source, I'm saying that there is

SJ: Two things - I've always envisioned

something very mystical and very

that I want to be an energy in the world

subtle when that link moves into the

that loves profusely without wanting

form of a relationship with the Divine. 16

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Their faith is their faith. It's just that if that practice of connecting with the Divine comes into you then you will automatically keep getting signals ‘don't do that, don't think like that, don't say that, say it like this, do it like this, be like this. And you will see a change in the world.’ My mother has a little bit of whatever she has, dementia or Alzheimer's, and I respect my elders, I will talk to her with such virtues and she won't You will begin to observe how

hear me. And when I put my virtues

everything in your world starts to

aside and I speak with firmness, then

change. And I feel that when I look

she hears me - I don't like that. And

at the insurrection on Capitol Hill

I know how it feels when I raise my

in Washington, D.C. in January and

voice at her or I'm very harsh with

then I look at the hate in Myanmar

her which I hate to do because that's

and the military taking over, when

not who I am. And it's not what God

I look at what's happening with

would want me to do. Then I think

the farmers and their fear in India

about the rest of the world, and

where they're breaking through

there's no way my brothers and sisters

the red fort which has never

are remembering God if they're

happened before I asked myself,

behaving that way. There's no way.

"Why are they not remembering

There's no way a man who molested

the Divine?" Because if you

a child is remembering God, there's

remember God you won't make

no way, somebody who kidnaps a

those choices. A different energy

woman is remembering God.

will come through you. And

I feel like my big assignment is I just

yet they're Christians, they're

want to see everyone connect to

Buddhist, they're Muslims, they're

Source and carry on with their lives,

Jewish or they're Hindus.

whether they remain Jewish, Muslims, 17

Up Close and Personal with Sister Dr. Jenna

Hindus, whatever. Just experience this link with the Divine and observe the magic of your life, observe how the whole thing changes for you. AP: Is that your hope for the world or is there something else you'd like to share? SJ: I think humanity will unfold as it's supposed to. I think eventually everything will be okay. I think as we go through these growing pains of transformation we are witnessing a vibration that is fed with an

happy and they'll sit under a mango

acronym that you've heard me use

tree and eat hundreds of mangoes.

called ALGAE - anger, lust, greed, AP: Yes, please.

attachment, and ego. And we will see that energy of consciousness really taking over a lot of our brothers and

SJ: Might as well, right?

sisters. But at the same time, there

I have just a few quotes that I live

will also be the rest of our brothers

by - love everybody the same and

and sisters who will be taken over by

you won't have any attachments that

the consciousness that is opposite to

will take you on a roller coaster ride.

ALGAE - peace, purity, joy, love, and

Make no one more powerful than you

truth. And we are seeing that even

that they stop you f rom loving. Don't

today, that two energies are existing.

give anyone the permission to stop

And I think as the energy of light

you f rom being a loving person. Give

increases that energy will transform

respect and you'll receive respect, give

the energy of ALGAE and it will start

love and you'll receive love. That's it.

to reduce and one day we will wake up and the world will be a golden

AP: Words to live by. Thank you, Sister

aged world. And everyone will be

Jenna. It’s been a pleasure. 18

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OM Shanti Village— A retreat place you call home. It is the Brahma Kumaris new addition to the Washington DC Metropolitan area. For more information

FUN FACTS too many. But I'll just go with Miami

Coffee or tea?

Beach just because I'm from there.

Sister Jenna: Coffee. Ugh, who wants tea?

Globetrotter or homebody?

Book or movie?

Sister Jenna: Wow, both. If I have to choose – homebody.

Sister Jenna: Movie.

Early bird or night owl?

Favorite movie?

Sister Jenna: Oh, early, early, early

Sister Jenna: Roman Holiday and


The Nun's Story.

Favorite time of day? What does

Beach or mountains?

that really mean early bird?

Sister Jenna: Oh, beach, that's not

Sister Jenna: Favorite time of day is

even a question. Everybody knows.

really at four o'clock in the morning for me. I feel myself, I feel humanity, I

Favorite beach?

feel love. It's a powerful time for me.

Sister Jenna: Favorite ... oh, that's

It's very beautiful. Everyone should

a hard one. I can't answer it, I have

get up at four.


Don’t you know yet? It is your light that lights the world. — Rumi


In 1968, as a young geologist in search

my conviction of human occupancy

of Ice Age climatic change, I was

was substantiated. But my estimate of

mapping shorelines of a dry basin I

soil and bone age lay beyond 20,000

named “Lake Mungo”. To my surprise,

years, beyond the archaeologically

edible lake shells, flaked stones

accepted age of human presence

and other relicts of possible human

at that time. Summoned by my

presence kept appearing in strange

assurance, my skeptical archaeological

places, often high in lakeshore dunes.

colleagues came from Canberra to

I realized I was wandering in the

collect the evidence.

footsteps of others much before me. Great was the surprise when, in the It was not until I observed burnt bones

process of removal, a clear piece of

cemented in an ancient soil layer that

human mandible appeared. Closer 22

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examination revealed these remains

became known as “Mungo Lady”,

as those of a cremated young woman

an assignation with almost saint-

and at least greater than 20,000 years

like status. Tribal elders had a new

ago, right at the time of the last Ice Age.

champion. Her returning Spirit had

The result of cranial reconstruction by

done its task! There was however

my colleague, the late Dr Alan Thorne,

more to come.

added even more surprise. ​On Tuesday, February 26th, These were the cremated results of a

1974, just 400 meters away

young woman but with a fully modern

from Mungo I site, my eye

morphology indistinguishable from

caught the tip of a white


object showing through the carbonate-rich band exposed

Suddenly we faced an entirely new

by active erosion. The left side of

situation. The World’s oldest record

a carbonate encrusted human

of ritual cremation and right here in

cranium lay with shallow sand-

Australia with people just like ourselves!

cover complete with mandible and post-cranial remains. Its


location, deep in the lakeshore dune, confirmed its great

This first record of Mungo burials

antiquity. This was a feature of

originally designated as Mungo I,

major importance.

Figure 1. Fragments of burnt bone eroding from block of ancient soil carbonate eroding on eastern margin of Lake Mungo shoreline dune.


Journey to the Sacred Site of Lake Mungo, Australia

a time of substantial climatic change. A previous wet, lake-full environment had already begun to dry to a more arid, dusty desert dune active phase. Dating established the burial age at 40,000±2000 years ago of this individual, Mungo Man. Simultaneously, revision of earlier Mungo Lady age estimates provided a similar 40,000-year result, indistinguishable between the two. ​The evidence of Mungo Lady cremation on one hand, the ritual Figure 2. Articulated remains of Mungo man in carefully prepared grave in lakeshore dune sands.

burial, ochre anointing and cleansing

​Excavation two days later by Canberra

a people of high intelligence. These

colleagues revealed the articulated

were people with ritual symbolism

body of a mature male in a carefully

in deep acknowledgment of life-

prepared rectangular grave. Two

death rites of passage. These ancient

additional items of great interest

Australians were communities of

emerged before our eyes.

highly sophisticated connection,

fire of Mungo Man on the other, reflect

connection both to community ​The body had been anointed with

members but equally connected

ochre, the red stain visible both on

to their environments. Of special

carbonate encrusted cranium and

importance, the ritual of cleansing fire

in traces of grave in-fill surrounding

is continued by their descendants, the

the upper body. Additionally, a large

Aboriginal people today.

charcoal-stained patch recorded the legacy of a large fire located


a short distance 1-2m away from grave outlines. Interred in deep

The ancient record appears to mirror

shoreline location, analyses of grave

the defining mantra of Aboriginal

and cover sands revealed burial at

descendants, Connection to Country. 24

The OWL Magazine

1. The enactment of Mungo burial

Encapsulated in the inadequate term “Dreaming”, that connection involves

rites on the shoreline cathedral of

a complex cosmology. It is one in

Lake Mungo presents a challenge

which mythic characters that created

to our belief systems today. They

the hills, water holes, even sun and

speak of a people with a strong

stars left legacies of spirit animation,

spiritual connection to their

voices from the past that speak to and

environment, a People-Nature

regulate the lives of people today.

connection. 2. These sacred rites were enacted

​The Mungo encounter invites us to enter into something beyond

35,000 years before the patriarch

ourselves. We are asked to be open

Abraham, the founding father of

to something outside, to listen, and

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

to learn. It involves an opening to a 3. The spiritual content of the Mungo

sense of empathy, an identification with land and with people. From such

connection to Nature recorded

empathy, there flows a new sense

in ochre and fire continues in the

of value. Understanding the ritual of

“Dreaming” tradition of Aboriginal

Mungo burials involves an expanded

descendants today.

identification with those families whose love and grief are preserved

What began in 1968 stands today as

in the lakeshore sands. In a related

an inspirational treasure in the sacred

way, the vision of lakes abounding in

place of Lake Mungo.

fish and shellfish evokes a new sense

Jim Bowler is a geologist with special interest in Australia’s climatic history. It was his study of Ice Age climatic change that led to the discovery of ancient occupation in a previously dry basin he named “Lake Mungo”. That work led to the establishment there of the Willandra Lakes World Heritage area. Now in his 90’s, he lives in retirement with Joan, his wife of 61 years, in Melbourne.

of understanding and identification with this now dry land. The awareness of the stories it has to tell calls forth a new respect, a new set of values both for land and for stories of people. In summary, the Mungo burials have established several outstanding features: 25


“We are the first generation to

worldwide changes are made in the

have dominion over the earth and

way we treat our planet.

likely the last to be able to save it.” These words from L. Hunter Lovins

So is there hope? My new book,

encapsulate both the crisis and the

Design for a Living Planet: The

opportunity facing humanity. To

Earth Constitution Solution, traces

thoughtful people, there’s no denying

the several dimensions of a truly

that climate change is real and deadly.

sustainable and regenerative design

A chorus of climate scientists has

that are necessary if the Earth

predicted the probable extinction of

and its inhabitants are to survive

humans and all other species within

and flourish beyond the present

the next century unless dramatic,

century. Our inability to deal with this 26

The OWL Magazine

catastrophic threat to our existence

us to the fact that we need to be

and to the future of our children

living the fullness of life that has

is comprehensive and complex.

been gifted to us. We are realizing

The transformations required are

now that we need to encounter

psychological, institutional, cultural,

the astonishing fullness/emptiness

spiritual, economic, and political.

of the present moment so that our daily lives are lifted to the level of joy and love. Being present to ourselves and the world is our true destiny. A number of high-level thinkers such as Ken Wilber and Ervin Laszlo have revealed stages of human growth toward this fullness of life. As we move from egoism to ethnocentrism to worldcentric and cosmocentric levels of consciousness, we encounter evermore transpersonal dimensions, ever-greater compassion, and

The beautiful disruptor in this

universality of thought and being.

doom-and-gloom scenario is

My book draws on these and other

the scientifically documented

spiritual principles as fundamental

fact that our consciousness is

to our planetary evolution into

rising correspondingly with the

a holistic and compassionate

transformative pressures that

world system based on human

we encounter everywhere. This

dignity, equality, and freedom. The

quantifiable change in our level

Constitution for the Federation of

of consciousness is shifting us

Earth is not simply another option

from a mindset of pride and

on the same level as the system

competitiveness to one of courage

of militarized, warring nation-

and collaboration. It is awakening

states; rather, it is both the result 27

of humanity’s growing compassion

pollution to the threat of nuclear

and universal vision and integral to

holocaust to massive poverty and

moving humanity to a higher level

misery for at least one billion of the

from which our spiritual destiny will

Earth’s citizens.

become increasingly clear. The problem involves both the The present world political-

level of human moral and spiritual

economic system does not

development and the structure

encourage the moral unity and

of our economic and political

solidarity necessary to think of

systems. The solution is not simply

ourselves as a common human

technical, nor scientific. Since its

community. We must truly unite to

first comprehensive climate crisis

deal with the entire nexus of lethal

conference in Stockholm in 1972,

problems we are facing—from

even the U.N. system has failed to 28

The OWL Magazine

reverse the ongoing devastation; this

It is time for us to “consciously evolve,”

is not a failure of awareness of what is

to become more fully human. Our

necessary but a failure to transcend

spiritual destiny becomes more

the system of militarized sovereign

evident when we are truly united

states and an outdated economic

with all other human beings under

system. Today we have the new, more

the holistic framework of the Earth

elaborate “Sustainable Development

Constitution. The principle of unity

Goals” (SDGs) formulated for the

in diversity constitutes the deepest

period 2015 to 2030. Five years into

core of our profound, cosmically

these goals, it is everywhere evident

grounded humanity. Uniting under

that the world has not significantly

this Constitution draws out our higher

transformed in the direction of these

human dignity.

goals. Our children will live in climate hell because we have not taken the actions necessary to give them a planet capable of supporting happy and flourishing lives. The deepest political thinkers throughout history have regularly declared that the social contract by which we form government establishes a moral reality among the citizens of that contract. Today, we have no global social contract. Like barbarians, we militarily fight and kill “enemies” across the globe and throw away trillions of precious dollars on war and “defense,” resources that should be spent addressing basic human needs, fighting climate change, and creating a decent world civilization. 29

Liberating Ourselves and Our Beautiful Earth

This may seem like a lofty,

wisdom about the cosmos and

unobtainable goal, but my book

our place within it.

breaks it down into realistic • Second, we must build an

components. I endeavor to show that a design for a living planet

economy that benefits

must include five comprehensive

everyone while living within

“design initiatives” that together

the parameters of the laws of

transform our current broken

entropy, renewability, and steady-

world systems and fragmented

state prosperity.

spiritual reality. • Third, we must design a world political system that fosters

• First, we must become deeply aware of the emergent holistic

cognitive, moral, and spiritual

paradigm that derives not only

growth—growth promoting

from contemporary science

those aspects of human nature

but resonates with traditional

that include love, compassion, 30

The OWL Magazine

dialogue, mutual respect, and

peace, justice, and sustainability


institutionalized within a democratic World Parliament. It’s the result of my many years of research, thought,

• Fourth, we must create institutions – at the regional,

reflection and growth. This book

national, and planetary level –

represents my dedication to not just

that study and monitor Earth as

talking about what ails us, but to

a whole and that can respond

really providing a cure.

in a timely fashion to maintain

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

stability. • Fifth, we must generate a world Noosphere (mind-sphere) that includes a coordinating center, a brain, and a common consciousness representative of humanity and capable of protecting peace, stability, justice, and equity. The democratic World Parliament and all the carefully designed organs of the Earth Federation government under this Constitution will create the brain that our planet needs to address these lethal problems. Design for a Living Planet brings something entirely new to the conversation about our planetary crises and how we can envision a possible better future for humankind. It articulates a new global perspective: one of 31


Explore Wisdom from Sukyo Mahikari by Leena Banerjee Brown, Ph.D.

Sukyo itself means “the universal

and hikari which is Light) means

laws established by the Creator at

“True Light,” the Light of the Creator

the time of the Creation so that all

which purifies all things. Because the

things in the universe can prosper

objective of Sukyo Mahikari is to help

eternally,” and Mahikari (being a

people awaken to universal (or divine)

combination of Ma which is Truth

principles and to encourage them to 32

The OWL Magazine

respect and practice these principles

vibrations of their soul or true self,

in daily life, it is an example of today’s

as well as the subtle vibrations of

global trend toward expression

their innermost attitude and those

of universal truth and the hope

of others. The integration of these

for a healthy global civilization.

felt experiences and understandings

Typifying a spiritual community

has a profound influence on human

for the global age, Sukyo Mahikari

life. It leads to an appreciation

is an organization where people

of the close interconnection and

from all walks of life and different

relationship between spirit, mind,

backgrounds come together to

and body, and particularly the

develop themselves spiritually so

importance of one’s inner life.

they can realize their true potential as human beings, enjoy better health

A major Sukyo Mahihari principle

and well-being. A major principle of

is expressed as the principle of

the movement is its commitment to

“spirit first, mind next, body follows.”

green living and sustainability.

Utilizing both the teachings and practices, people can cultivate

In the day-to-day life of its

a positive and holistic attitude

adherents, the lifestyle tools that

and elevate the vibration of their

Sukyo Mahikari would like to share

innermost attitude in the direction

with everyone include its spiritual

of pure, altruistic love and harmony.

energy practices—the art of True

As a result, they can be people of

Light—and its teachings concerning

high self-esteem and confidence

universal principles that could

and find deeper purpose and

achieve the type of future world

meaning in their lives. Following

that so many long for. For Sukyo

a spiritual path develops the

Mahikari adepts, the practice of

mind’s reflective capacity to shift

giving and receiving divine Light

our innermost attitudes from

allows people to gradually awaken

material-centeredness to spirit-

to the existence of the spiritual

centeredness. As a result, we

dimension—the world of the subtle

more easily perceive the deeper

and spiritual realms and the reality

meaning in our experiences and

of God, Source, or Creator, the subtle

others’ experiences. This helps us 33

Up CloseWisdom Explore and Personal from Sukyo with Sister Mahikari Dr. Jenna

become more conscious of the

can express their gratitude for the

connection between the true self,

guidance and protection they receive

in the depths of our minds and

from them. Through the name

bodies, and God. We are also better

tablets, ancestor spirits can absorb

able to empathically connect with

energy from food and drink offered

others’ experiences and true selves,

by their descendants. In the astral

making others feel deeply seen and

realm, name tablets and peoples’

heard. Our relationships with others

service to their ancestors has a deep

are enhanced, contributing to our

meaning for ancestor spirits.

well-being. Such development of our human core nurtures our sense

To practice the art of True Light, a

of connection with nature (and its

person participates in the Sukyo

stewardship) and with humanity.[i]

Mahikari primary course. At the end of the primary course, he or she

When human souls return to the

receives a divine pendant (Omitama)

astral realm it is possible for their


descendants in the physical realm

a channel for God’s Light. God’s

to assist them in their astral life. For

Light surrounds us all the time and

this reason, respect and veneration

what Omitama does, rather like

have been practiced by different

a television receiver, is attract the

cultures throughout the ages in

high, pure vibrations of this spiritual

many parts of the world. Sukyo

energy and at the same time, like a

Mahikari teachings recommend that

lens, it concentrates and focuses it.

people take care of their ancestors

When a person wears an Omitama,

in a specific way which includes the

God’s Light constantly flows through

inauguration of “name tablets” for

the person’s spiritual, astral, and

ancestor spirits. The name tablets are

physical bodies, thus purifying them.

housed in an “ancestor altar” which

Furthermore, when a person gives

is placed in one’s home. Through the

Light, the Light purifies anyone and

name tablets, descendants establish

anything to which it is directed. At

a line of communication to their

the same time, the Light has a deep

ancestors in the astral realm and

purifying effect on the person also. It

provide a means through which they

is thanks to Omitama that the art of 34

which allows a person to become

The OWL Magazine

Leena Banerjee Brown, Ph.D., is the author of True Light: Ordinary People on the Extraordinary Spiritual Path of Sukyo Mahikari. She is a psychologist, a Sukyo Mahikari practitioner, and member of its Pasadena Center in Los Angeles, California, USA. She devotes her life to helping people tune in to grow spiritually through the Light and principles. Her online courses on Spirit-centered self-awareness will appear at

True Light can be practiced without the need for a long period of spiritual training. God’s Light can be radiated to anything-food, animals, plants, homes, workplaces, gardens, and so on. By purifying their surroundings with God’s Light, many people notice that their surroundings become more pleasant and often appear brighter. In ancient times certain holy people practiced the art of True Light. It was a skill bestowed

Brown, L.B. 2021. True Light: Ordinary

by God on those people, or the skill


was attained after a long period of

People on the Extraordinary Spiritual

intense training. Since 1959, as a

Path of Sukyo Mahikari. New York NY:

result of a covenant with Kōtama

Light on Light Press

Okada, the art of True Light can now The prefix O indicates respect,

be learned by ordinary people for the


first time in human history.[iii]

mi means divine, and tama means “spirit.” Thus Omitama means “divine spirit”. The spiritual cord that exists thanks to Omitama serves a different function than the spiritual cord that exists between a person and his or her guardian spirit. [iii]

Chang, S.E. (Ed). 2007. God’s Light

and the Universal Principles for all Humanity: An Introduction to Sukyo Mahikari, L.H. Europe, Ansembourg, Luxembourg. Second Edition. 35

And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings. — Meister Eckhart

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE by Franne Demetrician

So much has changed since I last

greater than myself. When I refer to

wrote for this wonderful publication.

art, I’m not just referring to fine art

Life is certainly different in the age

like painting or drawing or dance or

of pandemic. We’ve all had the

making music. Art is also cooking,

opportunity to learn some new skills;

and gardening, and skillful interaction

some practical like how to use Zoom;

with other people, and how we create

some fun like taking online cooking

our home. Art can also be plumbing

and yoga classes and doing puzzles;

or cabinet-making or ringing up

and some daunting like helping our


children learn online and keeping them occupied so that they don’t

Webster’s Dictionary defines

drive us crazy during lockdown. We

art in part as “the expression or

have witnessed some of the worst

application of human creative skill

and the best of humanity, and we

and imagination…producing works

have lost and gained more than we

to be appreciated primarily for their

can ever recount. I closed my 24-year

beauty or emotional power.” And

massage practice and have been

Wikipedia says, “Art is a creative

using a good deal of my time making

activity that expresses imaginative or

art and taking and teaching classes.

technical skill. Art is a diverse range

I’m an artist. I’m also an interfaith

of human activities... The product of


art is called a work of art, for others to experience.”

I use art as a spiritual tool. I don’t know if other artists approach their work

As a painter and writer, both of these

this way, but I do and always have. Art

definitions resonate, but I think they

is a means to an end in many ways,

leave some things out. I see art as a

at least for me. It takes me to a place

powerful part of human expression

that connects to something much

that takes its form through each 38

The OWL Magazine

person. Fishermen can find great

to describe the indescribable energy

comfort and spiritual connection

that emanates from The Mystery and

with the sea, and their work of art

animates all things. We humans are

could be bringing in a big catch.

always creating, even if we are not doing it with a conscious intention to

Fishermen can derive the same sense

create a work of art. But that is indeed

of wonder and something greater

what we are doing. Creativity is our

than themselves moving through

natural state and an ever-present

the process that allows them to bring

energy that we carry and emit in

food to people, and the sight of their

every moment. It is our essence and

net filled with the bounty of the

our connection to and expression of

catch is a work of art to them. And

the Divine.

this work of art is on a continuous journey when a chef receives the fish,

You are an artist. The Creator

which to the chef may be a work of

expresses itself through you. Isn’t

art and brings his or her creative gifts

that a wonderful idea to take into

to producing delicious and beautiful

your days? It is for me. In fact, I’m

meals that are served to the same

heading into my studio to paint,

people that the fishermen thought

and then to my kitchen to make

about when seeing their nets filled.

something delicious for dinner. My husband makes folding laundry an art form.

Returning to the definitions, I am focused on the words “a creative activity that expresses imaginative or

It’s all art if you take the time to realize

technical skill”, and “a diverse range

what a magical co-creator you are.

of human activities” - because I see

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.

art in everything. In my view, art is a tangible reflection of the intrinsic nature of humanity. We are born in the depths of Divine Creativity. All of Creation is an outward expression of Creator Energy, or God, or Spirit or whatever word each person uses 39


What Divides Us

AS A CONTINUUM That Unites Us Robert Atkinson, Ph.D.


The OWL Magazine

Enduring a pandemic that has

separation and competition, forcing

fully exposed lingering social and

us to live by a consciousness of

economic injustices, we find ourselves

duality and principles that divide.

awash in oceans of misinformation,

This becomes how we approach

with millions detached from reality.

everything, causing fear, bias,

Deep divisions have resulted from

prejudice, and discrimination to

opposing forces that are more

overtake our lives, and resulting in

pronounced than ever.

many divides – racial, economic, gender, justice, climate, etc.

Well into the throes of a great shift in the way we relate to each other

The way we perceive reality is

and the planet we share, we have

determined by the consciousness

critical choices to make in this

we bring to it. A holistic vision

transformational moment. Will we

of evolution and consciousness

allow polarization to further divide us,

enables us to see a purpose in

or will we seek cooperation and unity?

these turbulent times. In this year of lockdowns, demonstrations, and

There is no quick answer or easy

confrontations, it is apparent that

fix. It all depends upon the difficult

cycles of transformation and renewal

work of confronting our shadow

are needed to ensure our evolutionary

side, individually and collectively.


As Carl Jung made clear, “The way to wholeness is made up of fateful

Consciousness is a potentiality that

detours and wrong turnings. It is

develops through an organic process

a snake-like path that unites the

of discovery or the initiative we take

opposites.” All the divisions that have

to see with our own eyes. Only the

come about because of the natural

independent investigation of reality

differences between us are due to

expands our consciousness and

an incomplete understanding of the

transcends the seeming divides

reality we are part of.

around us.

Seeing only the parts of the whole

The challenge at hand is focusing

creates a response based on

first on the whole. This engenders a 41

Reframing What Divides Us as a Continuum That Unites Us

response based on harmony and

One side of this Continuum is

cooperation, which supports living

guided by a consciousness of duality,

by principles that unite and bind all

which creates hierarchies, builds

things together within one reality.

systems of injustice, distorts the

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We

way we relate to each other and the

are all tied together in a single

natural environment, and leads us

garment of destiny... an inescapable

through generalizations, stereotypes,

network of mutuality....”

segregation, discrimination, hatred, exploitation, marginalization,

This describes a Consciousness

imperialism, and oppression, ending

Continuum along which all things

up in racism, violence, genocide, and

are “tied together,” interconnected

war, ultimately endangering our very

and interdependent, with only


gradations of conditions, attitudes, life circumstances, and values

The other side of the Continuum

within the same whole, the same

is guided by a consciousness of


wholeness, which leads us toward 42

The OWL Magazine

respect for difference, reverence,

we join hands across differences, we

compassion for all, altruism,

can heal a great divide in the human

and love. This unites us with the


evolutionary impulse leading humanity to greater levels of

With a vision of reality as one, we see,

advancement toward universal

as did the Buddha, that “All things

human rights, gender equality,

originate from one essence, develop

economic equity, and social,

according to one law, and are

environmental, and racial justice –

destined to one aim.” Consciousness

all interconnected stepping-stones

is designed to evolve toward this

to peace.

sense of wholeness and unity.

Anything currently dividing us is

We are called to wholeness. Living

also a catalyst for uniting us. We saw

by a consciousness of wholeness

this last summer when the streets

prioritizes the whole and places a

filled with people calling for racial

unity of purpose above all else. At

justice and deep systemic change. If

the same time, a consciousness 43

Reframing What Divides Us as a Continuum That Unites Us

of wholeness acknowledges our

everything. This is how consciousness

diversity of views, appearances, and

becomes a continuum across

contributions to the whole as our

which we all move, individually and

sustaining strength.

collectively. All so-called divisions are part of this one continuum, already connected by the same whole.

This holistic view of reality does not let any of the parts become greater than the whole. As our focus shifts from

Just as racism is learned, divisions

any part to the whole, our perspective

are learned as well. They are

also shifts from separation to unity. We

both unlearned by living with

eventually let go of our attachment

a consciousness of wholeness,

to duality, and wholeness becomes

which replaces divides with

our primary focus with which we see

interconnectedness. 44

The OWL Magazine

Solving effectively the critical

Establishing a sense of belonging to

issues of our time – caring for

this community of the whole, and

the planet itself, healing racial

building the necessary trust in it,

injustices, bridging economic

is the work of a generation. Let us

extremes, establishing the

begin now; we have no time to lose.

equality of women and men,

Adapted from The Story of Our Time: From Duality to Interconnectedness to Oneness by Robert Atkinson

ensuring universal education, and building healthy and sustainable communities – requires a unified, holistic effort.

Robert Atkinson, Ph.D., is a member of Evolutionary Leaders, an internationally recognized authority in life story interviewing, personal mythmaking and soul-making. He is a Nautilus Silver Award winning author for The Story of Our Time. Dr. Atkinson is also the author of nine other books, professor emeritus at the University of Southern Maine, and the director of Life Story Commons. Learn more at www.

Humanity is approaching its age of maturity. A new story of wholeness is emerging, in which bridges are being built across boundaries to form a global community creating a culture of peace. The hard work is entering into a collective process of reflection with an open, loving, and kind heart, listening more deeply across differences, to find, ultimately, that we are more alike than different. Seeing through another’s eyes allows compassion to emerge, from which we find common ground leading to a new path of reconciliation. This is how we build wholeness and live into the unifying story of our time in which we are all at least 50th cousins. 45


(Your Room is Not Waiting for You) Recently, I’ve found myself pondering

Don’t sit down and wait for the

the concepts of intrinsic gifts—those

opportunities to come. Get up and

natural abilities unique to each

make them.

individual—and of making your own

~Madam C.J. Walker, first self-

opportunities. I stumbled across two

made Black millionaire

quotes which, at first glance, seemed to contradict one another. The first is

At first, I was fascinated by what

from the Bible:

seemed to be two vastly different perspectives—one centered on

A man’s gift maketh room for him,

celebrating natural gifts, the other

and bringeth him before great

focused on seizing opportunity.

men. ~Proverbs 8:16 Who is correct? Which philosophy are we to believe?

The second is a quote from C.J. Walker: I had to make my own living

What if the answer is not one or

and my own opportunity.

the other? Perhaps the secret to 46

The OWL Magazine

success—be it in the boardroom or in

variety of areas, including our career,

your personal life—lies in a blending

family, and finances. This begs the

of the two.

question; how do we cultivate our gifts in a way that provokes opportunity?

DISCOVER YOUR GIFTS MAKING ROOM Some people know exactly where their gifts lie while others struggle,

As the quote from Proverbs implies

wondering if they have any gifts at

and Ms. Walker certainly confirms,

all. The answer to that, my friend, is

identifying your gifts is not enough.

an unequivocal YES! But discovering

You’re going to have to create

your gifts may require a little soul

opportunities, which requires a

searching. Ask yourself these

certain level of risk on your part...and


I believe opportunities arise when we take that risk, investing our time (and sometimes our finances) toward

• What brings me joy?

honing and growing our talents. • Of those things that bring me joy, In order to make room or create

which can be used to help others?

opportunity, you must use your gifts.... and not just occasionally. Exercising

• Have I received affirmation of my gift from trusted friends and those

your innate talent requires regular

in leadership positions around me?

practice and intentionality. It also requires a certain amount of risk-

If you can answer these questions,

taking, a willingness to take a leap

you’ve likely identified your gift(s)1.

of faith, however small or grand that may be.

If the first quote is true—that our gifts make room or provide space for us—it


suggests that our innate talents open


the door and provide opportunity for us to reach our full potential in a

As Ms. Walker suggests, you cannot


hone your gifts then sit idly by...waiting

Stephen Blandino article


Make Room for Your Gifts

for “great men” to reward you. You must be actively looking for moments of opportunity and be prepared to act upon them. According to Bernard Marr, a global enterprise performance expert, one thing wildly successful people do particularly well is this—they identify and grab opportunities when they are presented2. As it happens, C.J. Walker’s story provides a perfect example of seizing opportunity. Walker was making a dollar a day as a wash woman in 1887 when her husband suddenly died, leaving her

So can you. After all, what is

sole provider for their young daughter.

opportunity, if not a room you build

Walker saw a need in the market for

for yourself?

hair care products formulated for African American hair, so she began

The idea of creating your own

selling Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair

opportunities is just as relevant today

Grower and became the country’s first

as it was for C.J. Walker back in 1887.

self-made Black millionaire3.

And, given the wrench that 2020 and the pandemic threw into so many

Ms. Walker knew her gifts, saw an

business models, we have many

opportunity within her community, and

examples of individuals finding and

grabbed it with both hands. In seeking

seizing new opportunities, especially

to develop her innate gifts she first

in unexpected ways.

sought how she could help others, a true sign of a budding leader.

Take, for example, the distilleries


Business Insider article

who, when the pandemic struck


Women’s History article

pivoted away from spirit production 48

The OWL Magazine

3. Adopt a servant mentality – use

and began making hand sanitizer.

your gifts to fill the needs of others.

Or designers who had no clients ordering gowns for galas or events

4. Stay alert, keeping your eyes open

and decided to produce custom face

for hidden opportunities.

masks in the interim4.

5. When opportunity presents itself,

Across the globe, people are using

take the lead and move on it.

their gifts to actively pursue their dreams while offering products

And so...

needed by others. The takeaway here is this—don’t sit back waiting for someone to make space or

Think of success—be it personal or

provide you with a formal offer for

professional—as a carousel. As it spins

your talents. Keep your eyes open for

round, there are spaces between the

ways to create your own opportunity.

rails, opportunities for you to jump on

A little ingenuity and a dash of

and enjoy the ride.

inspiration can make room where once there was none. With that, here

No one is going to force you to get

are my top five (5) tips for opening

on the carousel. The opportunities

the doors to your own opportunities:

will open and close, come and go, available for a moment then the


window closes.

MAKING ROOM FOR YOUR GIFTS At the end of the day, it is up to you to 1. Identify your gifts.

take control...and make the leap.

2. Ask trusted friends, colleagues,

May you do so and thoroughly enjoy your ride.

and supervisors for feedback regarding your gifts (we

Nikki Chaplin is the author of How to Consciously Design Your Ideal Life and a Personal Development Coach.

sometimes convince ourselves that a trait or interest is a gift when it is not). 4

World Economic Forum article


It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching. — St. Francis of Assisi


Leena Banerjee Brown, PhD with contributions f rom Roger L . Beck, PhD


attend to our physical hygiene, it is important that we improve both

A spiritual journey is essentially

our heart and mind to develop

devoted to developing our

inner peace.

genuine concern for others. We cultivate positive qualities such

Dr. Leena Banerjee Brown’s book

as patience, compassion and

is an account of the spiritual

loving kindness, while countering

journeys of a few practitioners

negative mental qualities like

who describe how their own

anger and attachment, which

happiness and wellbeing have

cause us unhappiness and inflict

increased as a result of their effort

suffering on those around us.

to help others. I hope that this book will be an inspiration to the

The benef it we derive f rom

many who make their way along

practicing more altruism will

their spiritual paths.

be an increase in our mental as well as our physical wellbeing. The process can be thought of as “mental hygiene”; just as we must

1 February 2021


The OWL Magazine

Chapter One: Giving and Receiving

experiences. This helps us become

True Light

more conscious of the connection between the true self, in the depths

The spiritual path of Sukyo Mahikari

of our minds and bodies, and God. We

is compatible with many religious

are also better able to empathically

paths. If one meets the practices of

connect with others’ experiences and

giving and receiving True Light as a

true selves, making others feel deeply

Christian, one may remain Christian

seen and heard. Our relationships

along the path. If one meets the

with others are enhanced,

practices of giving and receiving True

contributing to our well-being. Such

Light as a Hindu, one may remain

development of our human core

Hindu along the path. If one meets

nurtures our sense of connection with

the practices of giving and receiving

nature (and its stewardship) and with

True Light as a Muslim, one may


remain Muslim along the path. If one meets the practices of giving and

Not only do tangible benefits flow

receiving True Light as a Buddhist,

to those individuals who integrate

one may remain Buddhist along the

spirituality in daily life, but also—as

path. And so it goes for all spiritual

more and more people do this—huge

paths and practices. If one meets the

benefits will accrue to humanity as

practices of giving and receiving True

a whole, to science, and to nature.

Light with no specific religious or

The shift from material-centeredness

spiritual path, one need not adopt a

to spirit-centeredness broadens the

specific tradition to encounter God on

human heart and mind, bringing to

the path of Sukyo Mahikari.

consciousness the genuine, deep, and meaningful connections between

Following a spiritual path develops

humans, as well as deep harmony

the mind’s reflective capacity to

between humans and nature. People

shift our innermost attitudes from

who discover their true selves will

material-centeredness to spirit-

develop the motivation to fulfill their

centeredness. As a result, we more

true purpose. These inner changes

easily perceive the deeper meaning

manifest externally in countless

in our experiences and others’

ways, including restoration of the 53

Excerpt from True Light

environment, adoption of less toxic

tsunami, or even a deeply personal

agricultural practices, and production

loss of a loved one. Others are moved

of less contaminated, healthier food.

by a poignant experience with nature, a sunset that spoke directly to their

Becoming conscious of our own

soul, or a pilgrimage to a significant

connection to God makes us

spiritual shrine. Others may not be

conscious of others’ connections

able to pinpoint the exact moment

to God as well. Because all human

they decided to devote themselves

beings are born into divine

to daily spiritual practice, but instead,

connection, we recognize that we are

over time came to recognize they

all spiritual siblings. Our increased

had joined millions of other spiritual

feeling of love toward others makes

practitioners by simply walking in

it easier to foster true harmony

their footsteps toward a life well-lived.

and peace in our daily lives. War, conflict, and forceful taking from

I share my story with you not to

others become less tolerable for us.

impress you with its significance,

We recognize the significance and

but to befriend you through its

value of each person’s contribution

authenticity. With his permission, I’d

to the well-being of the whole. By

also like to share with you parts of

integrating spirituality in daily life, we

my friend Roger Beck’s story as he

participate in the improvement of the

has shared it with me. While he and

overall condition of humanity.

I hold much in common as people whose lives have been transformed


by our dedication to spiritual practice,


our stories begin in very different places. And to add to the diversity of

It’s fascinating to hear peoples’ stories

the larger story of Sukyo Mahikari, I’d

of how they took their first steps

also like to share snippets of stories

on a path of daily spiritual practice.

from a handful of friends and family

Some people describe a deep shift

who, when they heard I had begun

in perspective caused by a global

to write about my experience giving

event, like the tragic day known as

and receiving True Light, generously

9-11, or a natural disaster like the 2011

offered their own reflections. 54

The OWL Magazine

Everyone’s spiritual practice starts

very clear terms as the corticosteroids

somewhere. It’s humbling to know

entered my system. It was as if an

that we are all really beginners, in

internal fire alarm went off warning

the sense that developing a spiritual

me of extreme toxicity. I didn’t fully

practice is a process that reveals

appreciate the significance of this

itself progressively. By this I mean

moment, but I did recognize my

the farther we go on the spiritual

body’s response to this drug as

journey, the more we realize how

a spontaneous moment of deep

far there is to go! But it is a joyous

spiritual insight. It was as if I was

journey, one definitely worth

seeing through the window of my

considering. I think most of us can

soul. And so, I resolved that no matter

look back into our earliest childhood

how allergies might plague me in

memories and remember spiritual

the future, and despite the pressure

moments or insights that came to us

of being a professor of psychology,

organically. For me, times spent with

consulting psychologist, wife, and

my grandparents hold many such

mother of three small children, I


would not ingest such toxic medicine again. It was a pledge to myself made

In 2002, during a particularly busy

in a moment of deep clarity. Although

time in my life, the intermittent

I did not realize it then, it was also

seasonal allergies I had suffered since

a pledge to honor and preserve the

young adulthood took a turn for the

sacred gift of my true self, in both

worse. While I’m grateful my extreme

mind and body.

hay fever was not a life threatening disease, it was a life altering chronic

Looking back, I’m deeply grateful a

condition that was limiting my ability

relatively benign health crisis was

to engage in life as I wished to. During

enough to get my attention. Countless

a particularly severe bout, my doctor

memoirs have been written by people

prescribed a course of steroids. The

who were awakened to the spirit-

medicine had the desired response

mind-body connection through

of reducing inflammation and

extreme suffering or even near death

managing the symptoms of my

experiences. What is extraordinary

allergies, but my body spoke to me in

about my story is its beautiful 55

Excerpt from True Light

ordinariness. I am not some chosen

within. It was powerful! I felt as

being who was singled out by fate

though I had been laboring up

to walk a rarified path. Quite the

the mountain of my daily life and

contrary. I’m an ordinary person who

then suddenly I was given a drink

was blessed enough to be paying

of water from a mountain spring—

attention to the subtle yet clear

so pure, so thirst-quenching, and

message that forever changed my life.

deeply refreshing. The energy and experience were so powerful it was

But my allergies persisted. Without

like being fully immersed in water

the steroids to keep my nasal

I was simultaneously drinking. On

passages, sinuses, and lungs clear,

the physical plane, while I did not

I sneezed and dripped my way

ask for water it was suddenly given.

through another season of hay fever.

On the spiritual plane, it felt as if

The beautiful flowers and trees of my

all my life’s efforts and those of my

Southern California home taunted

forebears had been undertaken

me as I juggled clients, students, and

ultimately to reach that mountain

family with one hand while reaching


for a handkerchief with the other. So when a sympathetic colleague

I think so many of us are walking

looked into my bloodshot eyes and

up mountains like this every day.

asked me if I would be willing to

When my colleague offered to help

participate in an experiment that

me with my allergies, I was grateful

might alleviate my symptoms, I

to explore something beyond what

was enthusiastically receptive. But

doctors had prescribed, something

this time it wasn’t a drug. I was

different from all the other holistic

introduced to the spiritual practice of

methods and remedies I had tried.

True Light taught by Sukyo Mahikari.

But it was truly my colleague’s love, care, and attentiveness as a person

The first time I received True

that opened my mind and heart

Light, I experienced profound

to the transformation available to

connection with the infinite. It was

us all. Sukyo Mahikari is simply the

an experience of coming alive to the

messenger. It’s the True Light that

depths of truth, love, and harmony

truly transforms. 56

The OWL Magazine

I now know it was pure compassion

she leaned over and, gently touching

that motivated my colleague Lorri

my shoulder, said “Why don’t you

to introduce me to True Light. Lorri

receive some Light today?” Without

was the kindest of people to work

hesitation I followed her into an

with—always thoughtful even when

adjoining room with warm wood-

our work was challenging and

toned wainscoting adorning the lower

stressful. I remember the day Lorri

walls and soft white upper walls and

suggested I receive True Light. I was

ceilings that drew my eyes toward the

feeling small and tired under the

rustic tin chandelier that hung over

burden of my ongoing allergies and

a massive walnut conference table.

an exceptionally difficult caseload.

Lorri introduced me to her friend Eiko,

As a consulting psychologist at a

an older, shorter woman dressed in

Southern California non-profit where

a plain skirt and top similar to what

more and more high risk, substance

I was wearing. I immediately sensed

addicted, developmentally challenged

Eiko’s warmth, and soon thereafter

babies, children, and adults were

recognized a loving presence about

being served, it was easy to become

her that was quite immovable. I took a

discouraged. That day I was catching

seat at the table with very little idea of

up on paperwork at Lorrie’s office,

what was about to happen.

which was in a lovely old Spanishstyle adobe mansion with a red clay

I knew Lorri and Eiko had been

tile roof and a stand of palm trees

good friends for many years and

towering above. Lorri strode into the

that they were both members of a

room dressed in a long, flowing coral-

spiritual community with a name that

colored suit jacket and black silken

sounded Japanese to me. I trusted

slacks. Her eyes shone even brighter

Lorri, and although I had just met

than the fine jewelry that accented

Eiko, I settled in the chair in front

her stylish wardrobe, filling the room

of her and within a few minutes

with beauty, optimism, and hope.

felt relaxed and comfortable in her

The energy of the room immediately

presence. When Eiko invited me to

shifted when Lorri arrived—like a ray

receive Light, I was entirely ready to

of sunshine, as they say. When she

experience something new. I didn’t

saw my tired face and weary smile,

know what it would be, but I was 57

Excerpt from True Light

open. Facing her with my eyes closed,

totally blocked again. Then I would be

I listened as she chanted a powerful

lucky enough to receive True Light for

prayer of purification asking that I

about half an hour. Again, by the end

be purified with True Light. Then

of the day I would not only be free

she radiated invisible energy, True

from hay fever and sinusitis, I would

Light, from the palm of her hand held

be energized and refreshed. I would

about a foot in front of my forehead.

feel happy and healthy.

She radiated True Light first to my forehead, then to the back of my head

Although my husband David

and neck, then to my lower back in

was skeptical of invisible energy,

the vicinity of my kidneys. The process

surprisingly, he encouraged my

lasted for about half an hour. At the

exploration of Sukyo Mahikari. As

end of the session, we each offered

an optical engineer, David tends to

a prayer of gratitude to God, and

be more focused on the concrete

thanked each other.

than on the esoteric, yet he noticed early on the correlation between my

I felt dynamically activated inside,

spiritual practice of True Light and

but was speechless at first—unable

my allergic responses beginning to

to articulate this experience which

subside. When he would notice me

was truly beyond words. How could I

getting stressed and coming down

communicate the pristine, powerful

with allergies, he would sometimes

silence inside me? Slowly, by the

ask “Have you received Light lately?”

end of the day, my energy level rose

This would remind me to reach out to

and my breathing became clear

a Light giver to do so. Over time, his

and unencumbered by the allergies

skepticism abated somewhat, as he

that had been plaguing me. I cycled

could not deny the change he noticed

through the same experience

in me. His engineering mindset

several times over several months.

caused him to test causation theories

When professional and family life

with an analytical approach. After

challenges would cause my stress

much scrutiny, he was able to prove

levels to rise, my immunities would

to his own satisfaction the connection

fall and I would begin sneezing and

between my well-being and receiving

my sinus passages would become

True Light. 58

The OWL Magazine

After receiving Light for the first

of similar backgrounds gather and

time, never again would I pursue

form relationships of support and

the practice merely as a way to heal

encouragement—educators’ groups,

my allergies. I knew right away that

health practitioners’ groups, and

there was a greater purpose. The

scholars’ groups, for example. I was

conscious reconnection with the

invited to be part of the scholars’

divine was so blissful that my first and

group, which was an interdisciplinary

most powerful impulse was to further

gathering available to serious

pursue this reconnection. My next

practitioners where Roger was

impulse was to learn how to offer this

already a long-time member. The

same gift to others. That would come

first time I went to the scholars’

soon enough! But first I would devote

group, it was a small gathering of

my efforts to receiving True Light as

about eight or ten people. At one

a way to begin to unite my life on

point I was sitting beside Roger and

spiritual and physical planes.

learned that he was an economist with a deeply profound practice


of giving True Light. He had been


practicing for quite some time at that point, whereas I was fairly new

I’ve met some amazing True Light

to the practice. As I sensed the depth

practitioners along the way, many of

and authenticity of his practice, I

whom have become dear friends to

asked him how he was able to share

me and my family. When I began to

the practice of giving True Light

feel called to write a book about my

with his colleagues in his academic

experiences giving and receiving True

field—something I was eager to do.

Light, initially I thought I would just tell

He responded quite matter-of-factly,

my own story. But when I talked with

“I have not been able to pass on my

Roger Beck about it, I knew his story

practice to any of my colleagues.”

was also integral to this book. In fact,

This was astonishing to me. I could

that encounter is a story in and of itself!

tell, having just met him, that Roger is one of the most pure souls on the

In Sukyo Mahikari there are

planet. If he can’t share the practice,

professional groups in which people

how would I? 59

Excerpt from True Light

As I’ve gotten to know Roger quite well

the Japanese Alps, Roger was there

over the years, I have seen time and

reviewing the course. After the course

time again that he is indeed what I

was complete, a large group of us

would call “a clear spring”— a person

traveled by bus to a very sacred Shinto

with an especially pure character.

shrine called Ise. Along the way,

Many years ago he and I participated

we stopped at the Sukyo Mahikari

in a scholar’s meeting in New York

center where we were welcomed very

where I was speaking about self-

warmly. People were paired up to give

reflection. I remember how quickly

and receive True Light, and somehow,

Roger engaged in an exercise in

Roger and I were assigned to one

which I asked the group to call upon a

another. As we gave each other Light,

childhood memory. Everyone engaged,

I recognized that this was part of a

but I remember vividly that Roger

divine arrangement.

had immediate access to his own soul memories. This comes through as a

The Ise shrines are where the

joyous, childlike quality in him at times,

Japanese emperors receive covenants

which makes him very accessible as a

from God before a new reign begins.

scholar and quite endearing as a friend.

Toward the end of our time at Ise,

I expected that his family and friends

we were taken to the sanctuary of

would see and admire this and want to

the princess who had been given

at least borrow some of Roger’s “divine

the responsibility of finding this

spark” from him. But no. He told me

sacred place by her father. Princess

that none of his family and friends had

Yamatohime-no-mikoto’s shrine was

received the gift of giving True Light

a beautiful forested area, which we

as a result of his example. Perhaps this

walked through in deep serenity. As

was the moment that, unbeknownst to

twilight fell and we were preparing

me, a seed was planted in my mind to

to leave, I looked back at the gate

share Roger’s beautiful story through

of the princess’ shrine and saw the

the book you now hold in your hands.

setting sun streaming through in radiant beams. I wanted to capture

When I traveled to Japan to take an

the moment on film, but my camera

advanced Sukyo Mahikari course at

was full. So I asked one of my traveling

the World Shrine Suza in Takayama in

companions if she would be willing 60

The OWL Magazine

to take a photograph for me on her

medical team to help him manage

camera. She told me her camera was

this disease. But when all the medical

also full but, in a light-hearted way,

community offered him was over-

she suggested we ask the princess

the-counter pain medication to

for help. As she successfully snapped

treat the symptoms, which really

the photo, we both laughed and

didn’t help at all, he began to explore

beamed at our good fortune. At that

non-pharmaceutical solutions by

moment, I noticed in the corner of my

connecting with a wide variety of

eye Roger smiling too. He had quietly

alternative health practitioners.

observed us enjoying the natural beauty of this sacred space, with a

Over time, Roger experienced

genuine appreciation for the divine at

gradually worsening joint inflexibility,

play. When I noticed that Roger had

sometimes with mild pain, in

smiled as he observed our wondrous

his hands and feet. This gradual

experience, I was inspired to ask

worsening was punctuated, every year

him to join me in writing about this

or two, with severe but, thankfully,

beautiful spiritual path we share.

brief bouts of arthritic pain in other parts of his body. And, just as I had

I asked Roger to begin by sharing

experienced, Roger told me that

with me his very first experience

these widely spaced experiences

with receiving True Light. He

with severe symptoms were always

responded by giving me a bit of his

associated with unusual physical or

background story, beginning in the

emotional stress. Roger was especially

fall of 1979 when he was diagnosed

good at tracking the cause and effect

with rheumatoid arthritis. Because

relationship between increased stress

he knew people who were badly

and increased pain. He noticed a

impaired by arthritis, his diagnosis

pattern wherein within twenty-four

both shocked and frightened him.

hours of the stress experience, acute

He was determined to do everything

pain would follow. He told me about

in his power to avoid the debilitating

a time he had experienced intense

grasp of arthritis. Similar to my

arthritic pain in his shoulder within

initial approach to my health issues,

hours of dragging a boat across

Roger’s first step was to set up a

the sand to the water’s edge. That 61

Excerpt from True Light

amount of exertion was enough to

and I share this appreciation, and he

trigger a major pain episode that

has taken it to the point of growing

might last up to a week.

much of his own food.

As you can imagine, this caused

In August 1986, Roger took a trip to

Roger quite a bit of concern.

visit some friends in southeastern

He remained frightened by the

British Columbia, far from his

possibility that his arthritis might

Edmonton home. The day after he

ultimately bring him to a serious,

arrived, he experienced a massive

painful, and debilitated condition.

arthritic attack—despite the absence

But rather than let his fear debilitate

of any extreme physical or emotional

him, Roger used it to spark his

stress. He experienced severe

intention to find a solution. For a

inflammation in his right arm from

period of about seven years, Roger

wrist to elbow. Just moving his arm

engaged in an earnest, intent,

was intensely painful. He felt simply

wide-ranging, and open-minded

horrible from head to toe and spent

search for a solution. He read widely

the day in bed. When he told his

and tried a variety of remedies

friend about his extreme pain and

including the Kelley Program

suffering, his friend asked a simple

(which emphasized detoxification),

question: “May I offer you True Light?”

vitamin and mineral supplements,

Roger knew his friend had become

a macrobiotic diet and other dietary

a member of Sukyo Mahikari, but

modifications, Transcendental

he had no idea what that meant.

Meditation, and herbal supplements.

Knowing Roger now, I’m not surprised

Nothing cured his arthritis—or even

to hear that he accepted his friend’s

began to diminish it. While each

offer, but Roger assures me that his

of these remedies had solved an

positive response was surprising even

arthritis problem for others, none

to him at the time.

of them helped Roger. But what he did gain from this exhaustive

Before Roger’s friend began to offer

study was an awakening to the

him True Light, he told Roger he

critical importance of food quality in

needed to understand two things:

promoting health generally. Roger

“First and foremost, whatever happens 62

The OWL Magazine

is up to God, and second, I am not

would be some time before Roger

trying to cure you of any disease.”

came to understand the importance

Roger remembers his friend’s

of purifying pain-free areas of the

words verbatim because he found

body in addition to painful areas. But

these caveats so very unhelpful and

even in that first time of receiving

incongruent with his worldview at

True Light, as his friend held his

the time. In his mind, his arthritis

hand above his swollen arm, Roger

obviously needed a cure; that’s why

felt a physical sensation unlike

he was willing to receive True Light

anything he had felt before. And he

in the first place! But even more

was amazed.

significant to Roger was the fact that he had been an atheist for more than

Roger recalls that the next morning

twenty years. He didn’t even believe

he felt somewhat better. So that

in the God his friend claimed would

evening, when his friend offered

control what would happen when

to give him True Light again, he

he received True Light. Roger and I

humbly accepted. His friend began

both laugh now as we reflect on how

by probing Roger’s swollen arm,

amazing it was that he was willing

which felt like it was made of stone,

to receive True Light despite these

with his fingertips. After his friend

troublesome “flaws” in his friend’s

gave him True Light for about thirty

thinking. But laughter aside, the truth

minutes, Roger was surprised to find

is Roger was desperate for help. His

his arm had regained some degree

fear of the effects arthritis might have

of suppleness. By the next morning,

on him was truly crippling.

Roger noticed further improvement in his overall condition. Somewhat

Much to Roger’s surprise, his friend

stunned and speechless, Roger

radiated True Light from his hand to

awkwardly thanked his friend for

Roger’s forehead, then to the back

helping him in a way he could not

of his head and neck, and then to

begin to comprehend. As Roger

his lower back above the waist. He

prepared to head home, his friend

wondered why True Light was being

told him how to contact someone in

directed to these parts of his body

Edmonton in case he ever wanted to

when the pain was in his arm. It

receive True Light again. 63

Excerpt from True Light

As if to underscore the difference

but even as Dominique welcomed

between Roger’s experience in

him inside, he noticed that the

British Columbia and his previous

house was sparkling clean. He could

acute arthritic episodes, there was

practically see his reflection in the

no improvement in his arm during

dark gray tile floor in the vestibule.

the next three days when he did not receive True Light, even though

Upon first meeting her, Dominique

historically his acute arthritic

struck Roger as a strong person in

episodes normally reflected day-

every way. Roger guessed she was

by-day improvement once past the

in her mid-thirties, and when he

peak of pain. Still not convinced

learned she taught ballet classes at

that True Light was the cause of

a local dance studio, that explained

his relief, Roger couldn’t deny

her physical strength. But he also

that something inexplicable had

noted that she seemed strong in

happened when his friend had

character as well—an all-around

offered him that invisible gift.

solid person. In a slightly Frenchsounding accent, Dominique

About a week after he returned

welcomed Roger to the center

from British Columbia, Roger

and then immediately cautioned

phoned his friend’s Sukyo Mahikari

him that his goal of recovering

contact in Edmonton, assuming

from arthritis did not align with

that he would make arrangements

the purpose of receiving and

to receive Light again in a few

giving Light. She could say nothing

weeks. When he reached out to

about whether there would be an

Dominique, who had established a

impact on his physical condition.

temporary Sukyo Mahikari center

Rather, the purpose was spiritual

in a house she rented not far from

purification which would allow

Roger’s home in Edmonton, she was

him to grow closer to God—which,

very persuasive in convincing him

of course, Roger didn’t believe

not to wait. So, a day or two later

in at the time. Discouraged by

he arrived at the center. It was just

Dominique’s insistence on the

a regular-looking suburban home

centrality of divine will, Roger

in a middle class neighborhood,

weighed the benefits of what he 64

The OWL Magazine

had experienced in British Columbia

anything he had experienced

with his own desire for relief from

up until that point in his life. He

pain and potential disability, and

tried to describe the sensation he

in so doing, allowed the scant

experienced while receiving True

possibility that giving True Light

Light on his lower back, but he

might actually have some spiritual

couldn’t find any words other than

significance. Clinging slightly less

“wonderful!” He said it was almost

firmly to his atheism, but remaining

like he had entered an altered state

fully committed to overcoming

of consciousness. Even though he

his arthritis, Roger concurred

still didn’t know how he felt about

with Dominique that he would

spirituality, he kept coming back

receive True Light in the way she

to the temporary Sukyo Mahikari

had sincerely described it. Her

center to receive True Light from

dedication and expertise earned

Dominique two to three times per

Roger’s respect, even if he didn’t


agree with her belief in God. By the end of September, Roger was When Dominique began to give

still uncertain about Sukyo Mahikari

Light, Roger was struck by the

and unable to fully wrap his mind

power of her practice. Her voice was

around what was happening to

loud and clear as she began to recite

him as he received True Light. But

the prayer of purification. She was

he felt that receiving True Light

indeed a skilled Light practitioner,

without being able to give True

but because Dominique had

Light was too one-sided, so he

dedicated her house as a temporary

asked if he could learn to give True

Sukyo Mahikari center, she was

Light—which would mean taking

also practicing in a sacred space.

the primary spiritual development

Receiving True Light at a Sukyo

course. There was a primary course

Mahikari center would be a much

scheduled at the Sukyo Mahikari

more intense experience for Roger

center in Seattle in mid-October,

than receiving Light at his friend’s

but to attend the primary course,

house in British Columbia had been.

Roger needed the approval of the

He said it was physically unlike

person in charge of the Seattle 65

Excerpt from True Light

Sukyo Mahikari Center. Looking

hangs on a chain and is placed in

back on this, Roger laughs at how

a white cloth pocket sewn inside a

unprepared he felt going into that

practitioner’s undergarment. It is

telephone interview. His mind was

handled with reverence and clean

still in turmoil with regard to his

hands each time it is put on or taken

professed atheism and he really

off. The spiritual leader of Sukyo

had no idea what he believed. But

Mahikari creates an omitama for

the Seattle director did not require

each practitioner so each person’s

him to accept any particular beliefs.

omitama is their own. Having an

Roger was welcomed to attend the

omitama connected Roger to God

primary course because his desire

by a spiritual cord, allowing him

to give True Light to his family

to radiate True Light, despite any

and others was grounded in pure

impurities he may have accumulated


over many lifetimes.

Roger was attentive throughout

By the time Roger completed

the three-day primary spiritual

the primary course, he no longer

development course, but he now

identified as an atheist. Looking

admits, at the time, he really didn’t

back on his visit with his friends in

feel as though he had absorbed

August of 1986, Roger once told me

much or achieved much clarity

with tears in his eyes “I can see how

of mind from listening to the

God reached down, picked me up,

teachings. But on the third day,

and turned me around 180 degrees”

when he received his omitama—

as he described his introduction

the divine pendant that allows

to Sukyo Mahikari as the loving

practitioners to give True Light,

redirection of his life.

something shifted in Roger. Metaphorically, an omitama

You will notice throughout this book

is like a magnifying glass that

that we often use the verb “to allow”

concentrates the sun’s rays—except

when describing events, large and

it concentrates God’s True Light.

small, in our life stories. This is quite

In physical form, the omitama is a

intentional, as it reflects a humble

small, circular golden locket which

acceptance that even while we are 66

The OWL Magazine

thoroughly engaged and active in

to give and receive True Light even

our lives, we acknowledge the divine

though he did not understand it.

arrangements by which all things are allowed to transpire. With this

Roger was amazed to find that,

awareness, we begin to partner with

mysteriously, the prediction that

God in working toward transformation

he would come to understand

of self and the world, with God as a

the divine or universal principles

loving companion guiding all things

through giving and receiving True

toward the good of all.

Light (and further study of the principles) proved to be correct.

The primary spiritual development

As he made spiritual progress,

course teaches that if we practice

concepts he had been conscious of

giving and receiving True Light we

but did not understand suddenly

will gradually come to understand the

became clear to him, one after

divine principles behind and within


the experience. But we also have spiritual experiences that help us gain

After two years, Roger attended the

wisdom. Roger went to the center

secondary spiritual development

and gave and received True Light

course. Although he was still

two to three times a week and began

hoping for a cure to his arthritis,

giving True Light at his home. He had

he was no longer frightened by it.

many spiritual experiences as he gave

He was able to leave the question

True Light that could not be explained

of his arthritis in God’s hands and

within normal sensory-based

accept whatever outcome God

thinking. Roger told me of a time

arranged. After another two or

when giving True Light alleviated his

three years, his arthritis symptoms

wife’s extreme pain. She was rolling

simply disappeared. He was deeply

from side to side in bed, clutching

moved by this change, which filled

her sides in an unexplained agony,

him with a profound gratitude that

so Roger offered her True Light. After

fuels his desire to repay God for this

several minutes of receiving Light her

great blessing.

pain disappeared completely. Roger


was dumbfounded. Yet he continued 67

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