Your YESTERDAY IS MY TOMORROW

by Richmond West

Feeling hopeless, Rusty, who was sitting on his hospital bed, looked at what he had just written. His blue eyes were tired beneath his curly brown hair. Rusty ran his fingers across the stubble on his face—he didn’t dare use the cheap disposable razors in this mental hospital, which would cut his face up. The newly-sprayed smell of Lysol permeated the air around his hospital bed, for the janitor had been by just half an hour ago. Rusty was thankful the nurses let him have a yellow writing pad, though he wished he could have more than the mere pencil stub that the on-call nurse had given him. They wouldn’t let him have a pen. It was “too dangerous,” they said. But Rusty felt he needed to write, for he was trying to figure out the meaning of the female voice that spoke in his head.
I love you, Rusty, the inner female voice said. …Sodol-kai…I am Diana …

Soon, Dr. George Crane, wearing a white doctor’s smock, entered the room. He had long, disheveled gray hair along with a beard, which matched his pale eyes. The doctor was carrying a tiny, transparent plastic cup with yellow and white pills inside, along with a Styrofoam cup of water. “It’s time for your medicine, Rusty….You refused your medicine when the nurse brought it earlier. That is not acceptable.”
“Well, I don’t even know what it is,” Rusty said….He ran his fingers over his hospital gown, above his chest.
“Lexapro, for depression, but the main thing I want you to take is Zyprexa, which is an anti-psychotic,” Dr. Crane said.
“I told the nurse,” Rusty said, “and I’m now telling you: I don’t wanna take any of it. I’ve had a religious experience…”
“Rusty, you are profoundly mentally ill…,” Dr. Crane said.
Rusty turned away and looked out the window. “I feel like I’ve had a profound disconnect with reality.”
“I’m glad you realize that,” Dr. Crane said….

THE TWO FACES

Diana was going to be a terrifying goddess—that’s all she ever wanted to be as she played on that playground, beginning to create her worlds as a small child. Sodol-kai had passed by and caught sight of her delicious creativity. Yet he was saddened that she would reign with terror. Sodol-kai knew that one day she would grow up, and he remembered her face.
Inevitably, in eons of time, Diana grew better at creating her worlds, worlds where she ruled inspired by terror. Worlds of domination. Worlds of woe.
One day Diana reached the pinnacle of her goddess success. She created a world where all the faces looked up at her in pure terror. Divine and omnipotent was she, to be worshiped, but always feared.
Sodol-kai took a look at her world and was saddened by it, so he played a buddha trick on her to teach her a lesson in compassion. It would change their lives forever.
Sodol-kai entered Diana’s world, born as an infant, and smiled upon birth. He smiled into the sky, where she sat on her throne of terror. She saw his face born on her world, a face that dared smile at her from out of the womb. This enraged her, as she had ensured that childbirth and infancy was a painful process on her world. Her babies were supposed to cry. Sodol-kai laughed.
This pissed her off.
“Oh, a wise guy, huh?” Diana said, knowing he must have come from beyond the stars and invaded her world. An alien. She decided to fix him, and teach him a lesson he’d never forget.
She decided to turn the tables.
In a flash, she snapped her fingers and they traded places. Sodol-kai flew into her sky, where he now saw all the faces of terror below. And she, now below, looked up at Sodol-kai in the sky and leered a sinister smile. Then she changed her face back to terror, the same face Sodol-kai saw on everyone else. For they were made in her image, just the way she liked it.
“How ’bout that one?” Diana yelled up at Sodol-kai. “Zing! Tit for tat.”
Up in the sky, Sodol-kai looked away in sadness, and Diana laughed to herself, never realizing Sodol-kai was planning a trick. She was about to snap her fingers and throw him back from her sky down to her world, putting him in his place. She so wanted to see his smile turn to terror.
Ah, but Sodol-kai, a wise teacher, tricked his new student Diana. Before she snapped her fingers, he snapped his! He turned the tables on her! He threw her back into her sky and took his place again below. She looked back down at him, and he was still smiling, defying her taste for terror.
“Zing!” Sodol-kai yelled, stealing her line. “Tit for tat.”
She was at first terrified by his power in her world, but he kept smiling. He didn’t want power. He simply wanted to teach her.
But in those crucial moments, she fell in love with her teacher, for his smile now seemed so beautiful to her—something so very unique. The consequences of her falling in love would be enormous for them both, though little did they realize this at the time.
“Touché,” Diana said, now smiling back.
For you see, he had changed her life forever….She had wanted to hate him, but he had loved her. And this would bind them together through time.

The Moon Parable…

We think we can take the moon. We lust for it, and decide to challenge it and take it. Dare there be a limit? We think not. We will conquer it, as we conquer all else. So we reach for that moon. We decide to colonize it in our quest for the stars. We make this plan to take the moon known to God.
God says, “I don’t think so. I put the moon there with my thumb. You gotta have limits.”
“But God, you put the stars there,” we cry. “As if to challenge us to take ’em!”
God says, “If you reach for the moon, you hurt the stars. And the stars, they will respond.”
And then we say, “But we put a god-damned flag on that moon!”
God says, “Back it. I don’t see one there.”

“The Pyramid Parable

“Here’s a question that vexes me:
Is there anyone in that eye
at the top of the pyramid, on any dollar bill?

“It could be that,
like Bentham and Foucault’s panopticon prison,
there’s no one in the tower—it’s an optical illusion
meant to inspire terror.

“It could be that there is someone
very sinister and evil
there.

“Or, it could just be your eye.
You could be looking
at yourself.

“Or, perhaps the fourth option,
most bittersweet,
is that maybe it’s God’s eye.
Looking at you from the top of the prison.

…Rusty continued. “God looks at you with love. God will not coddle you. Or cripple you. But God will care for you, if you let God. Urging you toward freedom, freedom from the prison, but you can only make it on your own. Let it be: a new dawn. Kind of takes the terror out of the symbol, doesn’t it?”

DEICIDE OF DOOM AS THE KARMA RUNS OUT—THE FINAL DAYS IN “HEAVEN”

Lord Asura became bold. His power had grown enormously, and he could see how Diana’s waned. He sent scouts to penetrate her heaven. Whereas before, Diana’s power would have turned them away with much force, this time they found cracks in her defenses. Lord Asura decided the day was ripe. It was time to take the heavens by storm.
Lord Asura sent a courier to Diana. “Surrender to me now, goddess Diana, and you will avoid bloodshed. For I, Lord Asura, am now your superior in might. So I will take your heaven for myself and add it to my crown. You can walk away and live, or you can resist and be slaughtered. This is your only choice.”
Sodol-kai, upon hearing this with Diana, was alarmed. He said to Diana, “I detest war. Let me meet with him and see if we can avoid this tragedy.”
Thus, Sodol-kai sent the courier back to Lord Asura: “Let us confer under the flag of truce.”
Lord Asura agreed. He came to a foothill at the borders of Diana’s heaven. Sodol-kai sat at an oak table in front of a purple tent, a white flag whipping in the breeze above.
Lord Asura snorted. “There is only one reason I am here. The time has come for you to pay obeisance to me, for I shall soon be your master.”
“I will never pay obeisance to you,” Sodol-kai said.
“Then I believe this conversation is over,” Lord Asura replied. He whisked his purple robe and began to leave.
“Wait!” Sodol-kai said. “I have more to say. This terrible war should be averted.”
“So say the future losers,” Lord Asura said. “For the winners, the war is on.”
“In the karmic cycles, all winners become losers,” Sodol-kai said. “It is a never-ending tragedy.”
“So says the fleeing fly to the wasp,” Lord Asura said.
“You will be a god, but then you too one day will fall,” Sodol-kai said. “For all you know is desire.”

“Yes, I was once your father and once her father,” Lord Asura said. “But I was also Diana’s subject on her cruel world, eons ago. Do you remember that? I will never forget the shame! That Diana of yours terrorized me in her ancient goddess world….And now, you wish me to remain subservient to you? Never! Your worlds will be mine.”
“How are you subservient to me?” Sodol-kai asked. “We both have heavens. And we can both have compassion now. We can forget the past and try for a better future together. We both have plenty of heavens. Why do you want them all?”
“I want them all so I can rule them all! It’s called power, you stupid idiot. I want it. And I will get it. I will never be subjected to Diana’s terror again. Now I will be the master. Subject yourself to me or get out of my way. I am going to storm your heaven.”
“Why do this?” Sodol-kai pleaded. “She changed long ago and is no longer terrorizing you. All are beautiful in God’s eyes—the eyes of the God beyond God, the creator of us all. Why covet the beauty of others when you have your own already? Why not claim power without being domineering?”
“Stop lecturing me, you who will soon be my slave,” Lord Asura said. “I tire of your beautiful heaven taunting me. It will be mine. I have said it and it shall be done. And now, this conversation is over. Armageddon will commence…shortly.”
Lord Asura whisked his purple royal robe and departed the tent. It was the last peaceful time Sodol-kai would share in this existence with his former father Titus, now Lord Asura, the man who became a demigod and aspired to be a god. Lord Asura was indeed the deification of desire.

“I’m so afraid…I don’t want to lose you,” Sodol-kai said on the beach as he held Diana. The sand, white like the sand of the Gulf of Mexico, felt cold and moist on the bottom of Sodol-kai and Diana’s bare feet. The skies darkened and thunder clouds appeared. A wicked wind whipped their clothes and the smell of salt water assaulted their noses.
“You will never lose my love,” Diana said.
“Are our defenses ready?”
“As ready as they’ll ever be,” Diana said. She closed her eyes and nuzzled Sodol-kai’s shoulder.

Lord Asura’s lightning attack was fierce and swift, with blitzkrieg force. Like ants invading a mound of dropped food, Lord Asura’s armies advanced through the heavenly hills. They could not be stopped. They would not be stopped. They were too many to stop. Sodol-kai and Diana ran from the beach and into their chalet as their forces fell back.
After Lord Asura’s armies traversed the foothills and crossed the beach, they charged to their final destination: the chalet on Mount Tara. Diana’s heaven began to tremble at the onslaught of their mighty forces. Diana and Sodol-kai fled again, abandoning the chalet and making their way further up the mountain. Their still-bare feet bled as they ran over some sharp rocks and branches along the mountainside. As wave upon wave of Lord Asura’s warriors advanced, an earthquake began. Soon it was heaven-rending and earth-shattering, indeed. Diana wept. As the earth of her heaven ripped open into a tremendous chasm, flames leapt from the abyss.
But this doomsday destruction mattered little to Lord Asura’s armies. They were prepared for these death throes of heaven. This was, after all, what they wanted: a crumbling earth and sky.

Diana was terrified, now certain she would lose her lover. But she grabbed Sodol-kai’s hand anyway as they ran for the highest peak of Mount Tara. As all final resistance crumbled, their chalet was taken by storm.
The other goddesses of the harem, those who had not joined with Lord Asura, now fled to their own heavens and left Diana to die. But Sodol-kai still held her hand as they reached the highest peak of her holy Mount Tara. Their now-calloused bare feet sunk into the cold, wet, fallen snows of the mountain as they trudged upward. The earthquake continued, growing more severe.
“Whatever happens, I will always love you,” Sodol-kai shouted over the earthquake as he held onto Diana. “I’m so sorry it had to be this way.”
“I’m not sorry for anything,” Diana said. “What we shared together was worth every minute.”

Lord Asura, looking above and seeing Sodol-kai and Diana on the peak of the mountain, ordered their execution and goaded his armies to advance to that highest peak.
There was little time left. Diana, sobbing, took a terrified look from the peak at the realms of woe below, knowing she would soon fall into them. Her good karma was gone. She was facing her end, the termination of her time as a goddess. Her heaven’s absolute cataclysm continued as fire fell like rain, pelting and sizzling upon the snow of Mount Tara and scorching their skin when it hit them. Sodol-kai sensed Diana’s doom was upon her, though he, as a would-be buddha and not a god, would be safe. This heaven was a result of her karma, not his. But Sodol-kai tried to save her, too.
“The way to liberation is letting go of our desire!” Sodol-kai yelled over the tumult.
“Until death do us part, my buddha husband,” Diana replied.
“I can’t be a buddha if I still desire you!” Sodol-kai shouted.
“And I can’t be a Goddess without you.”
Sodol-kai yelled even louder over the sounds of the massive earthquake and tempestuous torment: “I want you to achieve enlightenment and be saved! Worry not for me. Pine for me no more… I love you and can’t bear to see you suffer. For this reason, you have to let me go!”
“No!” Diana exclaimed.
“You have to let me go!” Sodol-kai screamed in agony over the thunderous earthquake. “You will suffer! Let me go!”
“I will NEVER let you go!” Diana screamed back.
Boulders jutted forth from the mountain and lava gushed forth. Sodol-kai could hold her no longer. Diana’s hand slipped from his grasp due to massive earthquake rumblings. She fell, tumbling into an abyss of entropy, into samsaric realms below. Their eyes never left each other as she fell further into chaos, flames lapping upon her. Sodol-kai tried to reach down for her, but there was nothing he could do. The flames were too hot for him, the rumblings of their crumbling heaven too great. Nevertheless, Sodol-kai dove into the abyss of entropy, trying to catch Diana. He flew down toward her, but the flames incinerated her in front of his tearful eyes long before he had a chance to grab her.
The other beautiful goddesses who belonged to his harem, as he belonged to theirs, rushed down to Sodol-kai to keep him from harm.

But Sodol-kai refused to be comforted. He said only this:
“I want war in the heavens no more.”

But wherever he searched, he could not find Diana. He looked for her, but she was not there.
Jennifer, sad for Sodol-kai, came to him one day and said, “…I can show you the way toward a real heaven, a real nirvana. One that is eternal. But for me to do that, Sodol-kai, you would have to let her go. That way she can let you go one day, too. You have to end the cycle.”
“That I cannot do,” Sodol-kai said, sorrowful, “for now she is suffering.”
“Then less than a buddha you’ll be,” Jennifer said, with a sad yet knowing smile.

Sodol-kai found a solitary spot. He knew that here ended the story that would begin yet again…A compassionate being, he could never leave samsara. Not while Diana was suffering. And so it was for her too, he guessed. Perhaps she had been his buddha, many ages and ages ago, past his memory. Now he was suffering, in deep desire for her. They could not let go of their desire for each other as they cycled through infinite time.
Jennifer walked up to Sodol-kai’s solitary spot, and placed her hand on his shoulder. As he wept bitter tears, Sodol-kai said, “How can she, or I, ever be saved? We are in perpetual desire. I am bound to her for infinity.”
Jennifer did not answer. There was only one last thing Sodol-kai could say, through his tears:

“I will never be able to let her go.”

Such is the way of things, when a buddha falls in love with a god.

Richmond West has taught philosophy at Fresno State University in California, Red Rocks Community College in Denver, Jacksonville State
University in Alabama, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and South University in Montgomery, Alabama. He has always been
fascinated by the study of religion and philosophy, his interests including philosophy of religion, world religions, and environmental ethics. He also
once served as a minister in the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, but he was never ordained.
An empath and a loner, nothing really felt right in West’s life until he began writing, and now he can’t imagine what his life would be without exercising
such creativity. He has been writing since December, 2004. He is currently single–the love of his life is his yellow lab, Heidi.

To learn more about Richmond West visit: www.richmondwest.net or www.myspace.com/richmondwest

A Bird in the Hand: The Tengu

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (www.sirwilliamwesley.com)

Like all truly kick butt creatures of legend the tengu has a huge list of stories and associations, but unfortunately, one may never truly learn the fact from fiction about this complex creature. Most believe the tengu began its existence in China as the t’ienkou or tianguo, an entire class of demons who are remarkably similar to the Japanese tengu. So how did the Chinese tianguo end up in Japan as the tengu? The very people the tengu enjoyed tormenting carried it there.

Some say there are two types of tengu, a higher and lower class. Others imply that they are an entire race with several classes, varying in appearances, abilities, and temperaments. Here are some things that most sources agree upon. Tengu generally have a humanoid appearance but carry birdlike features, with the lesser-evolved ones looking more like birds and less like humans. Their skin, hair, or clothing is red. All tengu have long beak-like noses and are feathered or carry a feathered fan. They have claw-like hands and many times carry a staff with rings on the top. Tengu are known to sometimes shape shift, but when they do, they usually keep some vestige of their true self, such as a long nose or casting a shadow of a bird while in human form.

Depending on the legend, tengu run the gambit of being malicious demons to benevolent creatures. Stories abound of them setting fires in front of temples, kidnapping monks and children, and trying to prevent prayer. In fact, their favored victim is the Buddhist monk, and it was those monks that left China to help spread Buddhism in Japan that are believed to be responsible for the introduction of the tengu to Japan. Tengu are generally considered proud creatures, protecting their trees and mountaintops with superior martial arts abilities. Many believe that if a tengu looks favorably upon you he will impart his knowledge of martial arts and battle tactics to you, if not in person then through your dreams.

If you believe you are in a forest inhabited by tengu, be sure to seek their permission before cutting down any of their trees for wood. Many woodcutters who live and work in tengu forests appease the tengu with rice cakes. If the tengu becomes displeased, they will torment the woodcutters with little things like the ax head falling off the handle or big things such as starting avalanches.

Here’s a popular little tengu story for you. One day a hunter was in the mountains when he happened to see a snake kill a bird. Quite suddenly, a boar showed up and began to devour the snake. The hunter considered killing the boar, he is a hunter after all, but then he thought, maybe he did not want to be part of this chain. He did not want to inadvertently cause his own death by setting himself up for the next predator to come along. Later that day a voice called to him from the trees. It was a tengu. The tengu told the hunter how fortunate he was, for if the hunter had killed the boar, the tengu would have killed him. Why, I’m not sure. Perhaps it’s just the tengu’s nature. The story concludes with the hunter taking up residence in a cave and vowing to never kill another creature again.

So, is the tengu an evil demon, tormenting monks, stealing babies, and killing hunters to provide object lessons? Is the tengu a benevolent creature, imparting wisdom and guidance to humanity? Unless you have a personal encounter, I would say pick the one you like. Personally, I like to imagine them as some sort of combination of everything, with heavy emphasis on the martial arts. Tengu doing martial arts creates a cool mental image. However, maybe that’s just me!

Magical Buffet Mythology: Hephaestus

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (www.sirwilliamwesley.com)

He is the God of all Craftsmen, particularly those who work in metals, a sometimes God of Fire and Volcanoes. He also was an exiled child who became a disgruntled and disfigured adult. Then he went on to construct the most important items in all of creation. When you talk about overcoming handicaps to achieve great things, look no further then Hephaestus.

Some stories say this Greek deity is the child of Zeus and Hera, other stories explain that Hephaestus was conceived by Hera alone, without you know, having known anyone (wink, wink). One telling of his life’s tale explains that Hephaestus stood up for his mother Hera when she was fighting with Zeus, and thusly Zeus expelled him from Olympus. Quite forcefully in fact, he literally tossed him out and Hephaestus fell for nine days. When he landed it caused him to become crippled and disfigured. Another version says that Hephaestus was born crippled and that Hera was so repulsed by her newborn son that she discarded him, which also involved him doing some falling from Mount Olympus. No matter how it happened, Hephaestus is always shown as unattractive and misshapen, lame and hunched over his anvil. He walks with the aid of a stick because of his physical ailments, which are sometimes played up to such an extreme that his feet are actually back to front! An interesting note here is that some people mention that Hephaestus’s physical appearance could be a caused by low levels of arsenic poisoning. This is interesting because arsenic was sometimes added to bronze to help it harden, which resulted in many smiths of the Bronze age suffering from low levels of arsenic poisoning. This meant that many smiths of that era would bear some of the same marks as their patron Hephaestus. It should be noted that I am not a medical expert, nor a history buff, so I cannot vouch that this is 100% true, but I found it to be an interesting theory at the very least.

Hephaestus was crippled and tossed aside. He only made it back to Olympus by being dragged there drunk after having constructed a chair that held his mother Hera prisoner. Athena, a suitable partner didn’t want him, Aphrodite, his sometimes wife cheated on him. Also, let’s call it a hunch; I’m guessing Mom and “Dad” never really welcomed him back like the long lost son he was. Overall, Hephaestus had it tough, but to get all symbolic ironic on your ass, sometimes the hottest fires forge the toughest steels.

It’s true, Hephaestus did not have a lot in his favor, but what he did have was mad skills (as the kids say) at the forge. Once the gods realized this, he was the go to guy for all your legendary item needs! Firstly, it is said that he built all the homes for the gods on Mount Olympus, but that’s child’s play compared to his other creations. Hephaestus is credited with having constructed Achilles’ armor, Hercules’s bronze clappers, Helios’s chariot, the Aegis breastplate, Eros’s bow and arrow, and much more. Anyone who was anyone in the Greek pantheon’s prime had to have at least one item that Hephaestus created, but all the mythological bling bling is overshadowed by one very important creation, woman.

When the gods decided to give man the gift of woman, Hephaestus created her out of clay. So ultimately it was Hephaestus that gave man the gift of woman, a beautiful woman named Pandora that was bestowed to man bearing a very special jar (or box). Of course, that is another story all together….

Profile: The Universal Light

Article provided by The Universal Light

If you want to officiate weddings, baptisms, funerals or if you help others or intend to, using massage, herbs or any of the metaphysical or para-psychological modalities, (which include e.s.p.; tarot, Reiki, hypnotherapy etc.). And if you follow any Monotheism or Polytheism belief which include Wicca and Hindu, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist or Christian belief – for your protection read this.

The AMA is constantly trying to get more and more States, as has Florida, to change their laws to read: ‘You cannot practice healing or health care without a license.’ We have many Ministers in Florida even practicing Reiki without problems. We have Ministers in the US, Canada, England, France, Hong Kong, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Switzerland and the U.K.

The purpose of most ‘religions’, (belief systems) is to grow in membership. Ours is simply to state what it is. Most ‘Churches’ are buildings, ours is not. There are Christians, Jews, Muslims, Wicca and Hindus who already have acknowledged their membership in TUL . We embrace all . Donald A. Rosenthal, ND.; PhD. Executive Director of the American Alternative Medical Association and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners; Dr. Marijah McCain of the Herbal Healer Academy; Dr. Allison Dahlhaus of the Reiki Blessings Academy; and Dr. Gale Kurtz President of the Traditional School of Sacred Arts have acknowledged their membership in and are legally ordained as ministers in TUL. Some of your closest friends or neighbors may have acknowledged their membership as well. By becoming an ordained minister in TUL, your 1st Amendment rights to preach and educate about the benefits of whatever modalities you believe in, are protected. If you are ordained in a different church and its purpose is not for the promotion of healing through natural means (the Creator’s), you may be well advised to transfer your ordination. Remember, by becoming a legally, ordained minister, you separate yourself from State laws regarding religious beliefs and come under the 1st. Amendment.

It was not until well after 250 AD that the business of training Priest and Ministers began. Prior to that, people followed the Spiritual guidance from within – we still uphold that method! Now is the time to make this move. You cannot become a minister to circumvent the law. But you can become a minister to practice your religious beliefs.

To acknowledge your membership in TUL, you become a Deacon,

To protect yourself in your service to others, you become Ordained and use the title Reverend, You also will be able to make additional income by officiating weddings, baptisms and funerals. We have some ministers who simply specialize in weddings. Basic ceremonies are well covered in a very inexpensive book called, The Broadman Minister’s Manual by Franklin M. Segler.

To use Dr. before your name or DD after your name, you become a Doctorate in Divinity.

To more answers to questions NOT COVERED on our web site; www.theuniversallight.com, Simply call TUL 9am -9pm est at 1.513.825.8290 or e-mail at: tulight@cinci.rr.com

Our Mission

Our mission, set forth on January 8th 1970 is to create & function according to scriptural authority in the physical/carnal (unspiritual) world a church. To be known as The Universal Light Church which will be spiritual, (not Spiritualist). It will be without walls and the only one of its kind we believe to truly exist. This church and its members shall be free to believe the truth within themselves and to function accordingly under the protection of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. We, and hopefully you agree, have the basis of all our beliefs, Psalm 118.8 which is in the exact middle of the entire ‘Holy Bible’. We believe everyone and everything in the physical world is a member of this church, even though most do not acknowledge it, others acknowledge and become a Deacon and yet others become Ministers in order to minister to others in a modality or modalities which are their Creator’s -given talents . This church believes in both the Preterist and the Futurist philosophies. We do not conform to the ways of this world. And most importantly, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” We are one in the Spirit.

We believe that the Creator gave everyone free will and to establish any rules, regulations and/or dogma is to deny free will! So we set forth the declaration to follow what you truly believe, (religion), in your heart to be true, is what you should do in order to live to the best of your ability. The Creator gave us guides and directions through the Scriptures in order to find the truth within our self. We believe in individual spirituality rather than religious dogma. We believe in the spirit invested in each and every human being to follow “The Still Small Voice” in their heart. We believe in the Creative power to heal through all forms of natural modalities. We are Spiritual beings which have a mind, emotions and physical body. The mind is not us and is dualistic, both Carnal and Spiritual. Carnal or unnatural, the good is for self and Spiritual or natural, the good is for others. While we do not disbelieve in the medical/drug modality, except for emergencies we believe that other modalities might be a better first choice. All things, as all seasons, have their time and place. In Truth, all modalities are in fact, counsel. Our ministers will give counsel coming from the Spiritual by way of natural (or natures) ways, such as, intuition, healing hands, herbs, astrology, numerology, graphology, tarot cards, palmistry, and any number of other modalities known to be in the Metaphysical and/or Para psychological realms. We believe all things begin in the spirit then to the mind where a decision is made between carnal and spiritual, then to the emotions which then affect the physical. There are numerous books on the market suggesting the emotions cause disease. But the study of cause and effect leads us to the mind which stimulate the emotions. The stronger the spirit the more apt the mind will choose the spiritual mind rather than the carnal and better health should prevail. Even Hippocrates, is known as the “Father of Medicine” was quoted saying … “A physician without knowledge of astrology has no right to call himself a physician.” When there is a lack of harmony, peace, lack of ease in the entity it is called a dis-ease. Should this dis-ease continue for any length of time it will out picture in the physical form in what is called a disease. This is the reason that most modern doctors will admit that the best thing they can do in most cases ….. is to put the body in a position to heal itself.

1 Corinthians 12:13
John 4: 23 — 24 and Matthew 6: 5 — 6
A word we use here to refer to that which is more widely known as, God, Allah, Adonai and hundreds
of others. www.ldolphin.org/names.html
1 Peter 4: 7-11 (N.K.J.)
www.preterist.org/whatispreterism.asp
Romans 12: 2
Psalm 118.8
Romans 12: 2
Romans 12: 6
Webster’s International Dictionary; opinion, advice, direction: instruction in or recommendation esp. It is
given as a result of consultation.

More Scriptural Support

From the New Testament book of Revelation Chapter 22: 1-3 (New King James Version)

“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its streets, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore 12 fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The LEAVES of the tree were FOR the HEALING of the nations…. and his servants shall serve him.”
In verse 1 it clearly shows that the river of life, which symbolizes the healing power of God, proceeds from the throne of God and of the Lamb. The throne of God symbolizes the authority of God, and the throne of the Lamb symbolizes the authority of the church. The source of natural healing is the creative power of God, and the church shares the authority in dispensing and to mankind.
In verse 3 the writer says: through the help of natural healing which comes from the benefits of the tree of life, the curse of sickness would be lifted and his servants shall serve him”. We believe this means that God wants us to serve him by making natural methods of healing available to people through the gifts He has given to each one of us. As the apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 12: 5-6: There are diversities of ministries, but the same God. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all.

From the Old Testament the book of Ezekiel 46: 1-12

Our scriptural authority for believing that natural healing and natural medicine is in the domain and under the authority of the church and not in the domain and under the authority of any secular corporate or human government authority is found in our dynamic interpretation of Ezekiel 1-12. Some have called this old method of interpretation the Preterist School of prophetic interpretation.
In verses 8-9 the writer speaks of the same river and clearly shows that the river gives healing in life wherever it goes. This river proceeds from the temple of God which clearly symbolizes the healing power proceeds from the church of God and isn’t restrained by any human corporate or human governmental authority. Natural healing proceeds from the freedom of God and the church which represents Him.
In verse 12 it says, “Along the bank of the river on this sign in that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fall. They will bear fruit every month because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their LEAVES FOR MEDICINE.”

Scripture uses the words heal, healing, and medicine!

Our Background

Finding that the basic beliefs of most religions were thesame and only the dogma of mankind that caused the differences, the Universal Light Church was founded. TUL set out to establish a simple church that would represent as closely as possible what was believed to exist in spirit. (Spirit or energy, is what most followers of religion referred to as God/Allah, Alpha and Omega, I Am That I Am; spiritualist as the Light, Creator, Primal Energy, The Higher Power, or as the physicist referred to it has “the unified field”.) Since the majority of its members were more familiar with the Bible was used for scriptural authority. Also interesting reading is the Torah, the Qur’an and the Dhammapada.

Around 1974 the TUL began The Universal Light Inc., it was incorporated as a non-denominational, non-dogmatic, parapsychological and metaphysical church without walls. It is a 501(c)3 not -for- profit
Corporation. It is has become a legally recognized church with ministers internationally. Often ministers continued to practice their own very dogmatic religion. TUL refers to people whose religious beliefs cause them to put their efforts and energy toward the positive and good of others, “LIGHT WORKERS” and we can and do ordain them they have all legal rights and privileges of any priest, minister or rabbi.

As we work to build the New Paradigm, TUL found a new responsibility; the protection of light workers, since they use various metaphysical and parapsychological methods and tools which may not be understood by the general population. Many Light Workers have learned their art through inspiration, meditation, mentors, angels and other so-called “unorthodox” or “alternative” means. Today in fact, we are seeing many in the traditional healing fields such as medicine blend with those of the metaphysicians and parapsychologist. Remember it was “The Father of Medicine” who was quoted saying, “The physician without knowledge of astrology has no right to call himself a physician.” TUL also certifies Light Workers in ministries of their choosing. Any TUL minister can serve in multiple ministries and be certified in such. If you feel the need of a course or someone to tell you what you should believe, you are not yet ready to be a minister of The Universal Light. TUL also confers an accredited Doctorate in Divinity to those who qualify. It updates its records on each of its ministers annually in order to validate that they are still active with in the church. Update cost is only $25 if paid by October 1st. each year. Most States require a licensed minister to maintain an active ministry in the church it was ordained. Any minister of TUL can be validated from anywhere by phone. The Constitution protects an ordained minister regardless of the state in which they set up their ministry. However to officiate a wedding the laws of each state must be complied with. (A TUL minister can call its headquarters in Cincinnati any time to find their States laws regarding this.)

Just imagine for a moment that if everything that exists from people, trees to stars and planets were melted down into one big spot and nothing else existed including space. This would be in what we call TUL. It is the bases of all that is, in and around everything. Nothing exist without. It would be like “The Force” in Star Wars. Now most believe this created all things. Physicists tell us that everything comes from this unified field in the form of waves, these ways turn in the energy and the energy turns into matter. This could be the FORM of creating. Now some say that it banged (exploded) everything into existence. And some say that it just evolved into the different things. Now some say everything came from intelligent design, so they can call this TUL, intelligence. Do you see where I am going with this? Just indulge me for a moment and let’s change the name TUL to God or Allah or any one of a hundred different names. I think no matter how you want to believe things came about, it’s simply proves there IS some thing, (not necessarily matter or anti-matter — possibly what we call spiritual) which is God/Allah.

To more answers to questions NOT COVERED on our web site; www.theuniversallight.com, Simply call TUL 9am -9pm est at 1.513.825.8290 or e-mail at: tulight@cinci.rr.com

Something for Nothing: The Zero

Article by Rebecca
Image by Will Hobbs (www.sirwilliamwesley.com)

The Beginning and End of Things is a Number.

Numbers matter. Let’s face it; numbers make the world go, whether in time, in money, or in the highly sophisticated equations that make the simple day-to-day possible. The ancient mathematical philosophers believed that the study of numbers could reveal the laws of space and time and the principles of creation. Let’s all take a moment to go; those guys knew what they were talking about! In Greece, even numbers were feminine and passive, and odd numbers were masculine and active. For China, odd numbers were yang, and even numbers were yin. Numbers have a fascinating history, because you know, they’re everywhere. If we were to pick a number to discuss in one of our columns where would you start? Yep, at zero.

Zero is the number of potential. I mean, it’s before all other numbers. If you know, counting wasn’t enough for you; zero can represent the womb, an egg, or a seed due to its shape. All of those things reveal to us possibilities, thus reinforcing the idea of zero equaling potential.

The last digit added to most numerical systems was the zero. It represents an absence of values and is used as a placeholder in place value systems. Due to its numeric value, or lack thereof, zero can symbolize nothingness, death, void, and mystery. Thus making zero something that may symbolize beginnings and endings. It’s almost like a circle. Hey, wait a second! Maybe that is why the zero can also represent eternity. In Mayan glyphs, the cosmic spiral represented the zero.

When dealing with numbers, bigger is generally better. That is unless we’re discussing money owed, or the number of days until vacation. Nevertheless, in the mystical world of symbolism and numerology, bigger numbers represent more complex and intriguing things. At least that’s what all my books tell me. However, in my mind, a number that is all encompassing, one that is the beginning and the end, or even eternal, well in my mind, that is number that deserves to go before all others.

For someone who is horrible at math, I have to admit that I find numbers and the history of mathematics very interesting. Find that idea difficult to grasp, try starting at Wikipedia and see what you think. Here is Wikipedia’s number zero entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/0_%28number%29.

Ten Questions with a Yoga Instructor

1. What is Yoga
Yoga is clean thought, clean action, clean relationship. In my practices I try not to stimulate the mind or get caught up in day dreaming and thought theatre. Yoga can be washing dishes, running, conversing with my four year old son. Yoga can be seated meditation, asana, or giving road directions to a stranger. Yoga is anything and everything that is done with reverence and attention. I use mantra when my mind wants to run. It is wonderful to have the rhythm and beauty of the mantra with me often.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are an amazing source for classical yoga contemplation. The sutras begin by setting the atmosphere and introducing the topic:

atha-yoga-anusasanm And now let us talk about yoga

The second sutra gives the definition of Yoga:

yogas-citta-vrtti-nirodhah Yoga is the cessation of fluctuations of the mind.

The entire rest of the book expounds on this idea. There are tools that help us sync up with the outside world, tools to help us know ourselves and the divine, experiences to note that show us we are getting close or having glimpses of this still state of mind.

I believe we all can live in the state of Yoga day and night. That the attempt purifies itself, and that the extreme of samadhi is as great an achievement as right action based in love.

2. What makes Ashtanga Yoga different from other types of Yoga?
Ashtanga Yoga in the tradition of Krisnamacharia and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is a lovely and multi-dimensional system designed to bring stillness to the mind and peace to the world. I don’t think it is all that different from other traditions of yoga. It just happens to be what I take to. It is extremely physical, like climbing a mountain. There is a set sequence of postures, so it is like taking
the same trail up the mountain every time I climb it. The trail and the views and the varying terrain become familiar. I become moreadept at climbing through the practice of climbing. It becomes a
moving mediation, I no longer need to think my way through.

Ashtanga Yoga is named after the eight limbed path that is explained in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The name is very clever, serving as a reminder of how to approach the mat, how to attempt this big physical practice, how to be content, how to experience these qualities of life
on the mat and then let them overflow into the rest of the day. The practice purifies quickly and anchors calmness, openness, ease in the world.

The eight limbs are:

Yamas

ahimsa non-harming
satya truthfulness
asteya non-stealing
aparigraha non-accumulation
bramacharya chastity

Yamas are basically all the ways one is respectful to the “outside” world. I think it is interesting that chastity is out of consideration for others, not centered on the self.

Niyamas

saucha purity
santosha contentment
svadhyaya self study
tapas austerity
ishvara pranidana constant devotion to the divine

Asana; postures, the fact that we are mass, or the fact that mass exists
Pranayama; breath regulation, energy regulation, the fact that we are energy, or the fact that energy exists.
Pratyahara; sense withdrawal, change
Dharana; concentration, the ability to focus
Dhyana; meditation, the ability to stay connected, continuous and naturally adjusting focus
Samadhi; absorption, enstasy

3. People tell me “Power Yoga” is the same thing as Ashtanga Yoga. Is that correct?
Power Yoga is the title Beryl Bender Birch, my much loved teacher, choose to name her book that introduced the west to the Ashtanga Yoga System. Power Yoga is written with the average person in mind. Beryl makes the assumption that the dedication required to take on the practice of
Ashtanga Yoga is already alive in each of us and all we need is a little attention to detail. She is really an honest person, always comes back around to the basic good in people.

These days Power Yoga can also refer to practices of Ashtanga like intensity, with out the structure of sequencing.

4. What are the health benefits of Ashtanga Yoga? Everyone wants to know, can you lose weight doing Yoga?
The health benefits of yoga are all encompassing and undefinable. Is it a health benefit if you begin to make decisions more easily? Is it a health benefit if you become part of a community? Even if all
that community does is practice yoga together? Or are health benefits only stronger nails, cleaner teeth and the correct blood pressure? When we start looking at the person as a whole, the community as a whole and the world as a whole then separating things to qualify them doesn’t work so well. It could be a health benefit to my love Scott that I do yoga. Or to my neighbor that my family does yoga.

I teach a class “Yoga for Weigh Loss.” It gets people in the studio, where there is little judgment, where we can love ourselves up in a new way, where we can experiment with movement and contentment and discover who we currently are. The weight loss is a side effect of the
exploration.

It can go the other way too. The same practices, the same system can add weight on someone who needs more. It is a system of study, the experiment is one’s own.

5. What, if any, connection exists between Yoga and spirituality?
Life is sacred. We are taught to separate and look at small pieces, break things down and apart to look closely. Yoga is about looking at the connectedness that makes up all the parts. Yoga is
working spirituality. Practicing yoga and studying yoga allows us to walk in the world with respect and continuously discover that balance of action and acceptance to what is going on.

6. How can I find an Ashtanga Yoga instructor?
In finding any Yoga instructor you need to look for someone you respect, someone you could drive across the country with. Someone that is consistent in and out of the studio. All yoga instructors are spiritual teachers, but not all to the same degree. Shop around if you are not completely satisfied.

Here are some good sites for Ashtanga teachers (alphabetical order):

Ashtanga.com
Ashtanga.net
Ashtangamaui.com
Ashtangayogi.com
Mandala.ashtanga.org
Manjujois.com
Power-Yoga.com

7. What if I don’t live near any instructors?
If you don’t live near any Ashtanga Yoga instructors there are a number of good studios around the world where you could get started. I started practicing six months before I met up with Beryl and Thom. I thought everything was going well, I was happy. Then I heard people practicing and watched people managing their own challenges gracefully, with out goals and realized that I was a very very very beginner. I need a teacher, even if I only see her once a year.

There are good books and videos as well, but nothing is like the personal transmission.

8. What is the funniest name for an Ashtanga Yoga pose? Please describe the pose to us.
I think the funniest name for a pose is Tittibhasana, hilarious. Tittibhasana means firefly, the legs are way up over the shoulders, there are a few versions in Intermediate Series. The name sounds like
titty ba assana. First grade humor.

9. What do you think is the biggest misconception about Yoga?
The biggest misconception is “yoga isn’t for me.” Or maybe the biggest misconception is “I am good at it.”

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.
What is your favorite yoga posture? And your least favorite?

My least favorite pose is anything involving putting weight on my wrists. My wrists are very weak and fragile, so doing those poses requires a lot of caution and moderation, so they’ve all become my least favorite.

Rebecca, doing the triangle pose.
Rebecca, doing the triangle pose.

My favorite pose is triangle pose. I like this pose because it was the first pose that I noticed that my flexibility had increased. Whenever I do it, I feel that same sense of accomplishment each time.


Kathy McNames has been practicing and instructing Yoga for over 20 years. She lives in Burlington Vermont with her husband, Scott York and their son Sabian York. Sabian is currently 4 years old and loves sledding. Kathy co owns Yoga Vermont with Liza Ciano.
Kathy’s passion for life involves community, service and study everyday.

http://yogavermontblog.blogspot.com/
www.yogavermont.com

HSI Seance

“The people at the Holistic Studies Institute were incredibly friendly and a lot of fun. They hold weekly séances (Fridays at 8:30 pm and Sundays at 6:00 pm) and I have every intention of visiting them for one of those sooner rather than later.” – Rebecca “A Moveable Feast: HSI” 10/02/06

Well sooner just happened. On Friday January 19, 2007 I headed back to the Holistic Studies Institute in Albany, NY to attend one of their séances. My husband Jim, who has gone with me on every Magical Buffet field trip, was unable to go with me on this one. As a testament to how cool Jim is, it took 3 members of the Northern NY Paranormal Research Society and one of their friends to compensate for his absence! That’s right, I brought together two great groups that go great together, the Holistic Studies Institute and the Northern NY Paranormal Research Society. If you know the NNYPRS, you know they never turn down a chance to check out any paranormal experience!

Just like my first visit to HSI, things were not as anticipated in a very good way. It looked like the renovations on their offices were either complete or very close to it. The space is a wonderful mix of metaphysically homey and professionally officey, is it any wonder why I like these guys? Things there were bustling as people were leaving from the healing circle that just got done and people were showing up for the evening’s séance. In that bustle, Dave (NNYPRS Albany Team Leader), Dan (Team Member), Misty (Team Member), her friend, and myself made our way into the sacred space set up at the back of their offices.

The lights were dimmed and relaxing music was being played. A large group of people started coming in and grabbing chairs that lined the walls of the room. In the center of the room was a small table with two Spirit Trumpets sitting on it, and later a chair was positioned near it so spirits could take a seat there if they chose to. The room is wonderfully multi-functional. That evening it was being used for a séance, but other times it serves as a church, and others a classroom.

Charlene Robbins was leading the séance. The first thing she did was split up our motley group, which might seem a bit odd, but it was done for a reason. Since we all knew each other we could be sharing the same energies, which could confuse the mediums from being able to determine exactly who certain messages were intended. So after we all split up, the séance began.

Charlene first gave us all a little information about HSI and their séances. Someone came around to collect donations. We were all told to put ourselves in an open position, which meant arms down and feet on the floor, a difficult task for a leg crosser like myself! Then all of the lights were turned off and the music was turned up.

We started out with what I will describe as a group guided meditation. Charlene guided all of us to an open and relaxed state. I have to confess, I am notoriously bad at relaxation and meditation, so I was not as relaxed as I probably should have been at the end of the opening. After that, Charlene began getting in contact with spirits.

For obvious reasons, I agreed not to write about messages relayed to people at the séance. These can be of a personal nature, and although I’m not naming everyone there, most people would probably not like me airing their spiritual laundry in a public forum. Here is what I will share with you.

Charlene was the lead medium, but HSI helps people get in touch with their psychic abilities and there were other HSI people there that also acted as mediums. They were encouraged to share impressions they were getting with others. In fact, if anyone felt they were seeing or experiencing anything of note they were encouraged to share with the group. It made for a séance, but also an educational experience for those interested in exploring their possible inclinations towards mediumship.

I wish I could say that I saw some mind blowing physical manifestations, but alas none were to be had. That’s okay though, the Holistic Studies Institute does not endorse the use of any of the tricks that gave Spiritualists of the past a bad name. This means that sometimes there are no big surprises, but what it also means is that if something happens….something actually happens. Also, not being that psychically aware, there could have been spirits forming a cheerleading pyramid in the middle of the room and more than likely I would have been oblivious!

The séance lasted about an hour and a half, and was worth the time for the relaxation practices alone! Just like the last time, the folks at the Albany, NY Holistic Studies Institute were friendly, kind, and just gosh darned likeable!

Just like I mentioned the last time I wrote about HSI, they hold weekly séances (Fridays at 8:30 pm and Sundays at 6:00 pm), except on the weekends they hold their psychic fairs. To learn more about the whens and wheres I encourage you to visit: www.holisticstudies.com.