he Sevenfold Path of Peace is based on the ancient teachings of the Essenes. Living the Sevenfold Path provides a foundation for lasting planetary peace. The Living Centre is founded upon the unique fusion of the ancient Essenes – Sevenfold Path of Peace, Ayurveda, Live-Food Nutrition and our living relationship with the elements – Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Ether. The purpose is to bring about an integrative lifestyle that embodies being at Peace with one’s Body, Mind, Family, Humanity, Culture, Ecology and God.
The Essenes Most Profound Spiritual Principals ~ The Sevenfold Path
The Sevenfold Path of the Essenes is a summation of their inner teaching, as noted by historian Edmond Bordeaux Szekely. The Sevenfold Path is a spiritual discipline which nourishes the expression of one’s unique Spirit through practices and philosophies that support the seven aspects of one’s life ~ the body, mind, heart/family, community, creative work, ecology, and ultimately, all of physical and spiritual reality. This path proves to be a powerful and effective spiritually inspired blueprint for harmonious living and the fulfillment of one’s Divine potential.
Of profound importance within the teachings of the ancient Essenes is their recognition of the spiritual nature of the physical universe. The Essenes consider the feminine aspect of Divinity to be the essence of the spiritual quality of the physical domain. This teaching leads us to find ways of relating to our bodies, our minds and our environment that acknowledge the loving and nurturing foundations of the physical.
Who Were the Essenes?
From the remote ages of antiquity, remarkable teaching has existed which is universal in its application and ageless in its wisdom. Traces of the teaching have appeared in almost every country and religion as far back as ten thousand years.
The Sevenfold Path of Peace, derived from the ancient Essene teachings, offers a strong foundation in essential lifestyle philosophies and practices in the art of conscious living. A consciousness based on the core vision of the unity of all life and a passionate commitment to the noblest aspirations of humankind this lifestyle model supports and empowers the individual in a balanced, happy life in accordance with the laws of Nature.
The teaching appears in the Zend Avesta of Zoroaster, who translated it into a way of life that was followed for thousands of years. It contains the fundamental concepts of Brahmanism, the Vedas and the Upanishads; and the Yoga systems of India sprang from the same source. Buddha later gave forth essentially the same basic ideas and his sacred Bodhi tree is correlated with the Essene Tree of Life. In Tibet, the teaching once more found expression in the Tibetan Wheel of Life.
The Essenes lived on the shores of lakes and rivers, away from cities and towns, and practiced a communal way of life, sharing equally in everything. They were mainly agriculturists and arboriculturists, having a vast knowledge of crops, soil and climatic conditions which enabled them to grow a great variety of fruits and vegetables in comparatively desert areas and with a minimum of labour.
They had no servants or slaves and were said to have been the first people to condemn slavery both in theory and practice. There were no rich and no poor amongst them, both conditions being considered by them as deviations from the Law. They established their own economic system, based wholly on the Law, and showed that all man’s food and material needs can be attained without a struggle, through knowledge of the Law.
They were great scholars who studied man’s relationship to the universe. They considered that we had three roles: one of individual evolution; second, a function in regard to the planet on which we live; and the third, a divine purpose as a unit of the evolving and expanding universe. All three of these acting bodies are related to each other and affect each other. Bodily health and well-being are consequently of the utmost importance both to the individual and to all other beings on Earth. They were taught how to adapt to the rhythms and cycles of nature and the changing fields of energy that surround each person.
Through study and keen observation, they mastered the art of knowing how the elemental forces of wind, sun, rain and nutrients in the soil affect different foods and how these foods will affect the individual – body, mind and emotions. They did daily morning and evening practices using the elements to purify their bodies, such as cold water baths and exposing the skin each day to the rays of the sun. Much of what they learned was through experience by being in their organic herb and vegetable gardens and fruit orchards.
The word Essene means healer or ‘therapeutic’ which they were well known for; they healed many people. They knew that disease is created when one deviates from the natural law of nature. By living in harmony with the elemental forces and the cycles of nature, health and happiness return. Weekly, monthly and quarterly fasting and cleansing practices were used to regenerate and rejuvenate the body, and to develop the will to increase and move the energy to a higher spiritual level. They sent out healers and teachers from the brotherhoods, amongst whom were Elijah, John the Baptist, John the Beloved and the great Essene Master, Jesus.
The Essenes are described as charitable, devout, totally honest, and trustworthy. They based their decisions on majority consent, pooled their wealth and possessions together, made no wars, were peace-loving and were frugal. The results of this approach to life were extraordinary. In contrast to the short lifespan of the surrounding peoples, historians of the time have recorded that it was common for the Essenes to live to an average age of 120. They walked gently upon the Earth learning from nature and observing the natural cycles. They planted trees, tended to their gardens, vineyards and orchards and lived a peaceful community life. It is known that the Essenes, with their pacifist tendencies, ate no animal flesh, honouring all life as sacred. There is much evidence, in the recently found Dead Sea Scrolls that indicates that Jesus was raised and educated in the Essene community.
“From its antiquity, its persistence through the ages, it is evident the teaching could not have been the concept of any individual or any people, but is the interpretation, by a succession of great Teachers, of the Law of the universe, the Basic Law, eternal and unchanging as the stars in their courses, the same now as two or ten thousand years ago, and as applicable today as then.”
~Edmond Bordeaux Szekely
Gabriel Cousens M.D., says this about the Essenes, in his book The Sevenfold Path: “There were no rich or poor among them because of the alignment of their economics, lifestyle, and society with Divine Law. The Essenes considered Divine Law to be the sum total of all the laws governing all manifestations of the forces of nature and the cosmos. This Divine Law is perhaps best summarized as the Living Law of Love and Harmony With All Creation. Although the Essenes lived in the harsh conditions of the desert, each person’s material needs, food, and shelter were easily and abundantly met because of that person’s alignment with the essential harmony of the universe. The Essenes were vegetarians; they avoided any form of alcohol except ceremonial wine; and they daily fed their bodies, minds, and souls with the contemplation of the earthly and cosmic forces that they poetically called angels. In the morning they contemplated the forces (angels) of Nature. In the evening they contemplated the cosmic forces. At noontime each day they contemplated one aspect of the Sevenfold Path. Through this weekly cycle, the balance and practice of peace would be reviewed continuously.”
There still is a modern Essene movement in motion. This modern Essene thought still holds fast to a Natural Conscious Living Lifestyle, replete with a vegan live-food diet and regular fasting. The story of the Essenes offers us inspiration and insight into how to live balanced, harmonious lives. The Wisdom of the Essenes is re-emerging in our time to teach the basic oneness of all life and reawaken people to the Ageless Wisdom tradition that the Essene Kinship guarded for all humanity.
Ayurveda: The Science of Life
Ayurveda often called the “Mother of All Healing”, is a complementary system of healing that originated in India over 5000 years ago. More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a “Science of Life”, (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). The ancient wisdom of Ayurveda provides specific guidelines to help us identify our constitutional nature and provides us with ways to live gently and harmoniously on the Earth while fulfilling our own health and personal needs.
In Ayurveda, body, mind and consciousness work together in maintaining balance. A lifestyle approach, Ayurveda emphasizes prevention through the offering of guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, nutrition, exercise, and the proper use of the senses and herbs. With a constitutional approach, the knowledge of Ayurveda enables one to stay vital and fulfill one’s potential.
Ayurveda embodies concepts of body-mind care which include spiritual philosophies that transcend religious orthodoxy. It represents a practical application of universal philosophical concepts based on universal life energy – ‘Prana’. Ayurveda recognizes the importance of physical balance, emotional peace, mental health, environmental mindfulness and spiritual progression in the total health picture.
Understanding Your Constitution
Constitutional medicine is a simple means of determining what you are born with, the combination of principles or forces that determine your individuality. Your constitution reveals the blueprint outlining the innate tendencies that have been built into your system. It shows the functional habits of the body as determined by the genetic endowment of the individual and modified by environmental factors. It reveals your uniqueness and your hidden potentials – your challenges and lessons along with your gifts. Your personality, body and mind, are a direct reflection of your constitution.
Constitutional medicine is the art and science of understanding the uniqueness of the individual. The main difference between individuals is the degree to which the elements of Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Ether interact with one another within the person. The ratio of the elements in your constitution and the qualities it expresses are unique to every individual, as are our fingerprints.
“The basic constitution of the individual remains unaltered during the lifetime, as it is genetically determined. The combination of elements present at birth remains constant. However, the combination of elements that governs the continuous physio-pathological changes in the body alters in response to changes in the environment.” -Dr. Vasant Lad
Knowing your constitution is the first step to anticipating the type of disorders and imbalances that can create dis-ease. Equally, this knowledge enables you to adjust your life to keep your elements balanced.
The three main constitutions, also called ‘doshas’, are known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The five elements can be seen to exist in the material universe, both organic and inorganic, from peas to planets. When they enter into the biology of a living organism, man, for example, acquires a biological form. This means that the five elements are coded into three biological forces that govern all life processes. These three forces are known as the three doshas, or simply the tridosha. The tridosha regulates every physiological and psychological process in the living organism. The interplay between them determines the qualities and conditions of the individual. A harmonious state of the three doshas creates balance and health; an imbalance, which might be an excess or deficiency, manifests as a sign or symptom of a disease.
The Living Centre offers a unique synthesis of the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, the cutting-edge knowledge of Organic Vegetarian Live-Food Cuisine and Earth Wisdom Teachings to create an integrated path toward the well-being for oneself and the Earth. We offer Ayurvedic lifestyle sessions and instruction in our workshops and professional training courses. The lifestyle training of Ayurveda and the Sevenfold Path of Peace are beautifully woven into all of our programs, seminars, workshops, and retreats.
Ayurvedic Living Nutrition
Ayurvedic Live-Food Nutrition is based on the fact that there is no one diet for everyone. Each of us is unique with different constitutions and, therefore, different nutritional needs. Ayurveda is a holistic health-care system that recognizes that every action we take in life has a reaction. Thus it is a science of bringing awareness to all of our actions: how and what we eat, how we live, what we think, how we relate intimately with others and ourselves. Ayurveda is a compassionate journey of self-discovery, providing you with the tools to becoming your own best doctor.
Ayurveda teaches that foods are carriers and balancers of Prana, the Vital Life Force. Each food has its own unique characteristics of energy and flavour through which it produces a specific effect on our bodies, minds and emotions. Ayurveda means “Knowledge of Life” and it embodies the art of living consciously.
Raw and Living Foods
The Raw and Living Food diet is proving to be the healthiest, most common sense diet on the planet. Why? Because when we eat our foods in their natural state we receive maximum nutrition and, therefore, maximum health. At The Living Centre, we feel that the mysteries of nature cannot be duplicated artificially. Nature exists in holistic forms. Their effects are also holistic. The raw food diet is based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweeds.
Raw foods have all the vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes and Phytonutrients intact. Heating food to over 118 degrees destroys all Phytonutrients and enzymes (the sparks of life) and depletes foods of their vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Live-Food Nutrition uses natural whole foods, herbs and spices to both treats, and prevent, illness. It is the original approach to eating according to what Mother Nature gifted us with. Bringing the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda to Live-Food Cuisine allows each person to customize their nutritional lifestyle to fulfill their unique needs. Some people find it challenging to eat Live-Foods in seasonal climates. Understanding the basic principles of Ayurveda guarantees that anyone, anywhere in the world will be successful with the Raw and Living Food diet.
Raw and Living Food contain maximum life force energy, and the highest amount of bioactive food nutrients, Phytonutrients, bioelectrical energy, biologically active water and electrons. They are gifts of nature for us to stay healthy.
The essence of understanding living foods is … if it is not broken, don’t fix it. Living foods are those foods that have not been cooked, processed, sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, microwaved, irradiated, or genetically engineered. Cooking destroys vital enzymes – ‘the secret to health’ says the mother of the raw foods movement, Dr. Ann Wigmore. Cultures that have eaten primarily live-foods have been reported to live a higher quality of health, vitality and joy. Fresh plant-based-live foods support immunity, a healthy pH, beauty, clarity, physical, emotional and spiritual strength.
Organically grown raw and living foods are keys to great health and vitality. They are the givers of life energy and the healers of disease. Eating these life-giving foods have proven themselves to be dynamic helpers in the healing of diseases such as diabetes, migraines, asthma, joint pain, fibromyalgia, allergies, colitis, depression, anxiety, cancer, and overall stress.
They represent an unbroken wholeness that is the original creation and nutritional gift of the Divine. The live food concept is not new; it has been around since the beginning of time. The Essenes and the Nazarenes of biblical times were known to practice this style of eating.
Live-Food Nutrition falls into a category known as biogenic and bioactive. These foods are defined as high-enzyme raw foods that have the capacity to revitalize and regenerate the body. Dr. Szekely says that biogenic foods are, “life-generating”. He theorized that biogenic and bioactive foods are capable of synthesizing entirely new substances for higher body performance and enhancing the immune system. Biostatic foods, on the other hand, are fresh foods that have been cooked. They are life-sustaining in the short term, but are gradually life force depleting in the long-term because they require the body to use stored energy to utilize.
Many cultures of the past knew what researchers are beginning to speculate, that food is more than simply nourishment for the body, but a potent metaphor for a relationship to spirit. Choosing foods that contain the highest life-force; bringing loving and meditative awareness to food’s potentially powerful effects; indeed, when consciously cultivated, such awareness becomes a vehicle for connection to Mother Nature, the Divine and the mystery that is life itself.
The Living Centre offers a unique synthesis of Ayurvedic wisdom with the cutting-edge knowledge of Organic, Vegetarian, Raw Food Cuisine and Ayurvedic Living Nutrition to support you in reclaiming or maintaining the health and well-being of body, mind, emotion, and spirit. Those attending any of our workshops or courses are nourished each day with a Live-Food lunch to support the body for energy and vitality, the mind for clarity, the emotions for contentment and the spirit for expansiveness.
The Five Great Elements
Ayurveda and the Essenes believed that everything in this universe is made up of combinations of the Five Great Elements or building blocks. This includes the human being which also acquires a soul or spirit. These five elements are known as Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Ether. It should be understood that we derive from and are expressions of an un-manifest and undifferentiated Creative Principle, which is One. These five elements are to be understood in a material sense as well as a subtle sense.
The Five Great Elements form the basis for all things found in the material creation, from a grain of sand to the complex physiology of every human being. Balancing these elements in just the right way for each unique individual is the key to maintaining health and treating disease, should it arise, whether it is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.
Earth represents the solid state of matter. It manifests stability, permanence and rigidity. In our body, the parts such as bones, teeth, cells and tissue are manifestations of the Earth. Earth is considered a stable substance.
By Earth, we are to understand not only the terrain of our planet or the iron in our red blood cells and spleen, but also the quality of steadfastness of mind, strength of one’s moral fibre, one’s slow and quiet undeterred advancement towards a goal, and the resistance to the manifestations of others.
Water characterizes change and represents the liquid state. Water is necessary for the survival of all living things. A large part of the human body is made up of water. Our blood, lymph, and other fluids move between our cells and through our vessels, bringing energy, and carrying away wastes, regulating temperature, bringing disease-fighters, and carrying hormonal information from one area to another.
By Water, we mean to imply the cohesive aspect of reality which flows into and holds things together, perfectly and simply witnessed in the ubiquitous H20 molecule. The other elements too were intended by ancient physicians to communicate the essential universal principle inherent in a particular element.
Fire is the power to transform solids into liquids, to gas, and back again. In other words, it possesses the power to transform the state of any substance. Within our bodies, the fire or energy binds atoms together. It also converts food to fat (stored energy) and muscle. Fire transforms food into energy. It creates the impulses of nervous reactions, our feelings, and even our thought processes. Fire is considered a form without substance.
By Fire we mean the universal force in nature that produces heat and radiates light; it is our passion to pursue despite obstacles and delays; it is what burns away the cloak of ignorance and allows the Truth to shine with brilliance. Fire removes doubt from the mother-substance of the human heart and replaces it with joy.
Air is the gaseous form of matter, which is mobile and dynamic. Within the body, air (oxygen) is the basis for all energy transfer reactions. It is a key element required for fire to burn. Air is existence without form.
By Air we mean the transparent, rarefied, kinetic force which sets the universe in motion; it moves the blood through the vessels, waste from the body, thoughts through the mind; it moves the birds to warmer climates in winter; it moves the planets around their suns.
Ether is the space in which everything happens. It is the field that is simultaneously the source of all matter, and the space in which it exists. Ether is only the distances, which separate matter. The chief characteristic of Ether is sound. Here sound represents the entire spectrum of vibration.
By Ether we mean the subtlest of all elements, which are everywhere and touch everything; in the mind, it is the vessel which receives all impressions, in the heart space accepts love; space is receptivity and non-resistance to what is true.
Every substance in our world is made up of these five substances. All substances can be classified according to their predominant element. For example, a mountain is predominantly made up of the Earth element. A mountain also contains Air, Fire, Water and Ether. But these elements are very small compared to the Earth. Ayurveda defines a human as the assemblage of the five great elements plus the “immaterial self”.
At The Living Centre, every workshop and course incorporates a mental and physical understanding of the elements as an essential aspect of comprehending your topic of study and yourself. In each of our Foundational Courses offered through The Living Centre, you will have the opportunity to participate and experience Earth Wisdom Teachings, which are foundational to the centre. An exquisite time to reconnect with and receive the life-giving forces of the elements to nourish body, mind, emotions and spirit.