With the May 2015 U.K. Universal Medicine Retreat already in the past, I feel drawn to examine my position, and the position of Humanity at this moment in time.
Just a few years ago, if you had told me that you were going to a retreat for a few days, I think that perhaps the first feeling that I would have experienced would have been incomprehension, followed closely in second place by sympathy.
The idea of renouncing ‘normal’ life, ‘normal’ food and ‘normal’ behaviour generally would have filled me with dread, even for just a few days. All those pale, anaemic, kaftan-wearing weirdos muttering things like “far out, man” at every opportunity while shuffling their under-nourished, hunched-forward frames around in an apologetic manner would have been bound to provoke some rather unsympathetic remark from me, such as “Cheer up mate!” or “Come on now, pull yourself together!”
Such a scenario is not just fantasy but based upon a life that I have lived, whereby ‘normality’ was defined as the mainstream or what the majority did. Nobody thought that life was perfect, but nobody could think of a better way of living and so every now and then, someone would be ‘inspired’ to approach things differently, claiming that they had found the answer.
Retreats, groups and ‘workshops’ would follow, and ‘Nirvana’ would be guaranteed after everyone had parted with a large chunk of their disposable income to cover the entrance fee.
What this demonstrates more than anything else, is that for a very long time our notion of ‘Normality’ has been flawed.
A lurking suspicion that we haven’t quite ‘got it’ yet has guaranteed a healthy income for many would-be pioneers of an alternative way. However, after a flurry of enthusiasm and perhaps an endorsement from the odd celebrity or two, it would all be quietly forgotten about as all those involved would slink back to their ‘normal’ lives, seeking solace in alcohol, cream cakes or sex.
The accepted notion of Normality has taken a few knocks in recent years. When one’s children wanted to go off and hitch-hike around the world, one would have become understandably concerned about their safety and would have sought to discourage them, at the same time as perhaps nurturing a slight empathy that they too were after a better way of living that had so far eluded the ‘grown ups’.
But when they quietly and secretly left home for some undisclosed middle-eastern destination in order to join a religious organisation which every day practiced a brutality not seen since the middle ages, then at that moment must come the realisation that WE have just got it all SO wrong, that expression of shock and the wringing of hands is no longer an adequate response.
Dystopia has finally arrived on our doorstep and we can no longer turn our back on it.
When that well-known Liverpudlian songster sang “Imagine no religion”, he was onto something.
Just imagine for a moment, the current global situation if Institutionalised Religion didn’t exist.
I’m not suggesting that it would be an end to all disputes, but it would certainly take much of the sting out of the Middle East. Israel would still be Palestine and U.S.A. politics wouldn’t be divided up on religious lines as it is at the moment, with the far-right Christians constantly provoking war by their unquestioning support of Israel. With the Middle East no longer a seething cauldron of hate, the polarisation between the main global adversaries, Russia and America, would diminish.
Institutionalised Religion certainly bears a large measure of responsibility for our arrival at this dystopian state.
So what exactly is Religion?
The word religion means literally to re-link or re-connect, but like many words, through usage its accepted meaning has changed. Today, one definition is ‘a specified system of theology’.
Each system, whether Christianity, Islam or Buddhism, has its own ‘religious’ establishment which has grown into a powerful repository of dogma. As each system has become more and more entrenched in its own dogma, so has it cemented itself into an unyielding adversarial position, and so in turn has each of its ardent followers.
Thus, predictably, battle lines begin to be drawn up just as soon as ‘differences of belief’ becomes an issue.
So for Re-connect read Dis-connect and for Re-link read, Severed Link.
According to the teachings of Universal Medicine, the word ‘Esoteric’ in ancient times meant inner-most, and this is what we should be re-connecting or re-linking with; our ‘Inner-Most’, or inner essence.
In ancient wisdom we are all equal ‘sons of God’ and we all contain a spirit and a soul, along with all the knowledge that we all need about any situation that may present itself to us.
The ancient teachings also tell us that ‘Everything is Energy’ and that WE are energy.
One of the most powerful energies is LOVE, and when we lose contact with LOVE, our problems and the problems of humanity begin. If we connect with our ‘Inner-Most’ then we effectively connect with Love, which is an incredibly powerful energy.
Since these Ancient Times, We as Humanity have progressively lost contact with our inner-selves and we have fallen for such notions as ‘the cult of the individual’, coinciding with the casting up and the casting down of various leaders as their popularity has waxed and waned, according to our whim. Great Prophets and Teachers have fallen victim to this, including one of the most famous, Jesus himself.
In losing touch with our Inner-Selves, we have lost our way and Humanity has lost its way.
However, All is not totally lost!!
Students attend presentations and ‘retreats’ which use ‘group workshop’ as a way of self-discovery: this is far more powerful than any kind of ‘Lecture’ or teaching by dictation and ‘learning by Rote’.
When you’re participating in group work you actually learn by experiencing something, which is then within you forever.
To find our way forward, We have to look back!
The future, OUR future, lies in our past, and within a great source of long-abandoned and un-tapped wisdom within our Inner-Selves.
Glancing around at the U.K. Universal Medicine Retreat recently, I saw NO pale and pasty-faced, undernourished dropouts, shuffling and mumbling incoherently in an apologetic fashion.
What I actually saw was, Well-Nourished and Joyful faces. Heard and joined in with intelligent conversation, and Laughed and shared moments with Beautifully Normal Human beings as we all worked our way through the aeons-old wisdom which has a more than ‘slightly familiar’ feel to it….. and so it should, for we all know it already!
By Jonathan Cooke, France