Being Creative in Your Spiritual Practice with Crary Brouhard and Benny Callaghan
Meet Crary Brouhard and Benny Callaghan, members of Eckankar: Temple of Eck, which describes itself as an active individual and creative spiritual practice. They discuss the purpose and philosophy of Eckankar and how you can make your own creative individual journey using one's divine powers of imagination to create experiences and define their own truth. Brouhard and Callaghan also share their own journeys and how the knowledge they gained at Eckankar helps them cope with change. Benny explains the Soul's journey towards self-realization, highlighting religions, beliefs, soul travel, and the ability to consciously leave the body, while Crary discusses past lives and experiences. For more information, visit Eckankar.org. To experience the power of HU, visit HearHU.org.
Being Creative in Your Spiritual Practice with Crary Brouhard and Benny Callaghan
[00:00:04.260] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Good morning and welcome to Green Tea Conversations, the radio show that delves into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine to bring you the local experts who share their progressive ideals and the latest information and insights needed so you can lead your best life. I'm your host Candi Broeffle, publisher of the Twin Cities edition of Natural Awakenings magazine, and I am honored to bring these experts to you. So, today in our studios, we are visiting with Crary Brouhard and Benny Callaghan, who are both members of Eckankar, which describes itself as an active individual and creative spiritual practice. Welcome to the show, Benny and Crary.
[00:00:45.150] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
[00:00:46.180] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
[00:00:47.590] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So glad you're with us today. So, that is really an interesting way to describe Eckankar. And maybe you guys can help us understand what Eckankar is a little bit better.
[00:01:00.090] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
So. Well, maybe like I guess. Eckankar is a spiritual teaching. It's been around in its current form since 1965. And what I really like about the individual creative practice that you mentioned is that it's very much, so often when I'm talking to people and they ask what is Eckankar, I bring it back to this central tenet, which is we recognize that we are soul, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. So, I'm here on the radio today as Benny, but also as a soul, I've lived many lifetimes and I've come into this lifetime to have certain experiences and as soul, we're here ultimately to learn how to give and receive divine love. And the Eckankar teachings effectively provide soul, provide people with practices, techniques to be able to make the journey through life towards what we refer to as a journey of self-realization, of self-discovery, and ultimately to God-realization, or this greater sense of being of service and love in the world.
[00:02:06.730] - Candi Broeffle, Host
How wonderful. So, Crary, what do you, is there anything that you would like to add to this?
[00:02:14.700] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
Well, you know, Benny just did such a great job at explaining what Eckankar is. For me it's, you know, we say Eckankar is the path of spiritual freedom. And what that means to me is that there is a freedom that you can gain and your own understanding of what truth is, so that we base a lot of your spiritual understanding and truth upon your own experiences. And from that, having your own experiences and defining your own truth, you can gain freedom and your spiritual understanding of the world and of yourself as well.
[00:02:56.880] - Candi Broeffle, Host
So, it really is, it's an individual journey that you're taking on. It's very active in its practice. And the best thing about it, I think, is it gets to be as creative as you want it to be.
[00:03:08.730] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
Yes, absolutely. And using your divine powers of imagination to create your experiences and define your truth.
[00:03:17.070] - Candi Broeffle, Host
That's really cool. Okay, so, we're going to get into a lot more. But before we do, you help us to kind of get a better understanding of what Eckankar is. So, let's understand who you are. So, Benny, I'm going to ask you first. Why don't you introduce us to yourself and how you were introduced to Eckankar?
[00:03:35.250] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Sure, well, long story short, my accent is Australian, born and grew up in Australia, grew up Catholic, and was always very curious and interested in spiritual things as a child and in my adolescence. And eventually, while my upbringing in that church was really positive, there was also a sense of looking beyond the boundaries of that. There was always a sense that there was something more. And I wasn't actually, I was kind of in the generation of the spiritual, not religious. So, I wasn't actually looking for anything. I didn't think that there would be another teaching out there for me, per se. But in this quest, I guess, for self-discovery, and for looking, how to make God more of a reality in my life, I happened to stumble upon, if you like, a couple of guys one day who happened to be studying the teachings of Eckankar. And they didn't let me know about it immediately. But what I was drawn to in them, our father and son, I was drawn to their love and there was something palpably different about them that stood out when I met them. It's like, what is it about you? It was kind of funny because I was asking the dad like, so, what is it that you do? And he would tell me, like his career or his profession, his hobbies. So, I'm like, no, it's not that. It's not that. And it was kind of funny because Eckankar is, Crary talked about, being the path for spiritual freedom and spiritual freedom has many meanings. But one of the aspects of spiritual freedom is that we never push our beliefs on anybody. This freedom for every soul we recognize the validity of all teachings in all religions and soul has the right to choose its own path home to God. And so, we're not saying that Eckankar is the right path. It's simply another path for people to take. And so, out of respect for me, they weren't going to disclose it or let me know that this is what they did because they wanted to give me the freedom and space to have my own experience. But I came... I never saw anything different about him. And I ended up disclosing this is Eckankar. This is what we do. And if I'm truly honest, when I first heard about it, I thought it was the strangest thing I've ever heard because if their beliefs were so different from what I grew up with. Yet, although my mind was having questions to say, oh, that's interesting. Or, you know, things like soul travel, the ability to consciously leave the body to move beyond the human consciousness instead of the level of consciousness into the soul consciousness. That was like a really different concept for me, even though I knew it to be true from my own childhood experiences. There was this resonance in my heart that was a resonance of love with how they were in the world, which is like there was something here. And I want something of that.
[00:06:31.530] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I love that. I love how you say that you saw that there was something different. You could just sense that there was something different with them. So, how about you, Crary? How were you introduced?
[00:06:41.940] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
Yeah, so my story is a little different than Benny's. I grew up in Eckankar since I was nine, but before the age of nine, I had my own journey of seeking something that rang true for me. And so, when I was about five or six years old, I was in a Sunday school program and I was asking about past lives. And I was told that Past lives aren't a real thing and that this is our life right here. And with asked to not bring it up again and so, I went home and talked to my mom about it and just said, I really believe that I've lived before. Like, I have these memories with my best friend. And I remembered living with her in a different body than I was in now. And it kind of, you know, I don't know for my mom that she's always been a seeker for herself. I think she's always been looking for spiritual truth. And so, it kind of sent her on a journey to continue looking that maybe we haven't found something that was right for our family. And when she did find Eckankar, I remember her asking me, would you like to come to a service and check it out? And I said, well, I don't know. Do they believe in past lives? And she goes, well, actually, yes, they do. I said, okay, I'll come. I'll check it out. So, you know, I can go (8:04) kind of what Benny was saying like there was a spiritual principle that rang true for me. And I had had the experience to know that that was my truth. And I was able to find that invalidation in Eckankar. And later on in life, when I became a teenager and was in college, there was a time where I also wanted to discover, okay, is this really my path or is this the path that my mom found and raised me? And so, I spent a lot of time going inward and like finding experiences to solidify that this was also my path, that these truths that I had were also available to me through Eckankar.
[00:08:45.420] - Candi Broeffle, Host
One of the things that I was going to ask you is Eckankar is located in Chanhassen, the Temple of Eck. But there are also centers all over the world, correct?
[00:08:59.520] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Right. Yeah, that's correct. Yeah. So, we have members in over one hundred and twenty countries and the Eck works have been translated into numerous languages and there are temples and centers all across the United States, Canada, Europe, every continent except Antarctica I believe.
[00:09:18.480] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Do you know how many members there are across the world?
[00:09:22.230] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Yeah, we say there are tens to thousands and there are many more beyond that who connect with our content online or in person. We don't often make the numbers the focus because really as a spiritual practice, it really is about the individual and rather than the group, it's about how Eckankar can help serve the individual to find their own way to God and to understanding truth to themselves.
[00:09:52.140] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And if people are interested in really kind of coming and exploring it or learning more, they can go to your website, which is Eckankar.org and that is E-C-K-A-N-K-A-R.ORG, but again, they can also stop in at the center, which is, what is the address of it in Chanhassen?
[00:10:16.030] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Yeah, it's7450 Powers Boulevard in Chanhassen. And the address is on the website that can (10:24), like you said, Candi. We're not actually open due to Covid. However, we do have this beautiful one hundred and seventy-four-acre property out here with two and a half miles of contemplation trails, which people from the Chanhassen area and beyond love to come out and enjoy. Even in the snow. (10:46) do it, we were out last week and it's just so beautiful. And you know, the thing about Eckankar that I love, one of the things that I love is that spirituality can be experienced in any experience of life. It's not something that's relegated to a temple or to a church. It's like we can have a spiritual experience in our going for a walk with our friends at work. And so, you know, for me, nature has always been a really beautiful part of my spiritual practice, if you like. And so, for Covid, it's interesting, yeah, sure the temples and the centers are closed up, but spiritually, it just keeps going. You know, that connection just gets deeper and stronger.
[00:11:36.250] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Oh, that's so great. So, again, for people who want to learn more, go to Eckankar.org that's E-C-K-A-N-K-A-R.ORG. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, the Progressive Voice of Minnesota, and we will be right back.
[00:12:04.440] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and talk to the professionals who share their expertise on natural health with you, I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. And today we're welcoming Crary Brouhard and Benny Callaghan, who are both members of the Temple of Eck, which is located in Chanhassen. How do you feel that Eckankar has impacted your life?
[00:12:30.960] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Well, I kind of hope it's helped me on so many levels. Sometimes they're really big things and sometimes they're really little things like I think on the bigger story of the last 20 years. So, I came into Eckankar when I was about twenty-three. You know, I've been able to move past so many limitations that I think I brought with me into this lifetime, and then through my childhood, I've been able to let go of these things that were kind of holding me back. And it's just, this is part of the journey of spiritual freedom that we're talking about, is that we can enter into these higher states by letting go of the past if you like. And then on a practical level, you know, I mean, I even had an experience today where I was able to really just regain balance after, like, being thrown out of balance for a little bit. So, it, yeah helps on both fronts, I feel.
[00:13:28.260] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
Yeah, I think for me, Eckankar helps me, I think it has a larger perspective on life. It's going back to that idea that we are soul, that we don't have a soul, we are Soul. And so, I see life as a kind of like this classroom and Earth as a schoolhouse where I am gaining experiences through the human body and through all these experiences of emotions than in physical things. But the higher perspective is that I'm Soul. And so, I'm able to look at all the things that come up in life and see them as opportunities to learn how I can be more graceful or to learn how to move through these experiences with more love or to gain a greater awareness of love through that.
[00:14:22.170] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Well, that's beautiful. So, there's so much that's happening. And I want to get into so many things that both of you have said. How do your teachings, or the knowledge that you've gained with Eckankar really help you as you're going through any kind of change, whether it's a personal change or a world change or, you know, any kind of change?
[00:14:45.090] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
Yeah, so I think, you know, change is hard, and like you said, everybody in the year 2020 is experiencing change on multiple levels like, you know, in the home and their work environment as families. it's just happening all around us. And it's hard because we get so comfortable in our routines or in our structure or like how we've set up our life. We get comfortable in that. So, when a change comes in, it challenges, you know what we're comfortable with. And for me, I've always tried to stay really open and I feel like Eckankar has taught me to stay open to new possibilities and to new perspectives, because when we can stay open, then we can see things from another angle. And, you know, not to say that I don't have opinions because I do have opinions about things. But when new information comes in, I'm willing to look at that and see there's another truth here, too. How can I grow through this and how can I let this change move through me and how can I grow through that? So, I like to say and in Eckankar we say it's kind of like, you know, nobody's perfect. We're not perfect. I don't expect anyone else to be perfect and these changes our opportunities to kind of polish off our rough edges and to find ways of living life with more love and grace. Right, yeah. And I think as change comes, we end up having a conflict with that change. So, the spiritual exercises that I've gained through Eckankar, kind of helped me find balance through that change.
[00:16:26.290] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Great example. How about for you, Benny? How do you handle change?
[00:16:32.830] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Well, I think you just touched on the spiritual exercises, which are the central practice of Eckankar. So, the spiritual exercises are a creative set of techniques that can help the soul (16:49) be able to face life and be able to face change. And there are so many spiritual exercises. They include contemplative techniques, sometimes creative visualizations, oftentimes we, you've probably come across this yourself, Candi. But we have a practice of chanting the word HU. It's an ancient mantra of sacred sound and it's sung on the outward breath. HU. And you can practice this privately on your own, sing it to yourself. Or you can do it as a group. And I feel that the spiritual exercises really help me in two ways. Firstly, I do them on a daily basis. So, this morning I woke up at six-thirty, earlier than usual. But the first thing I did was go sit in my chair by the window and I sat and I chanted for 20 minutes. What that does for me is that helps me begin my day by activating and connecting with myself as a spiritual being. So, the very first thing that I'm doing is spiritualizing my consciousness. Rather than kind of getting into the day, and I've had these moments, believe me, but like where you kind of check your phone and all of a sudden you're inviting all this energy from the outside instead of connecting inwardly to that higher power if you like.
[00:18:20.160] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Yeah, and we're going to, I do want to get into balance in how you find it. One of the things that you introduce now in just your conversation was the HU. So, am I correct in thinking I mean, please correct me if I'm wrong, but is it a type of meditation? Because so many people, so many of us wake up in the morning and we do meditate. So, what is the difference between that and the HU?
[00:18:49.460] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Great question, you know? Chanting has existed for a long, long time in many cultures and religious traditions. And many of your listeners are probably familiar with Chanting words such as OM, and it works in much the same way. So, HU is simply another word that can be chanted. You can call it meditation, you can call it contemplation, you can call it whatever you like. It's really just that. It's really in the vibration and the sound. All words carry some kind of vibration. And HU being said to be the original sound if you like, where all sounds (19:31) by singing it you'd come into harmony with that highest sense of love. But really the proof is in the putting. So, you know, whenever people asked about it, so, what's the difference between OM and HU? And I just say, well, try. Try both. See what works for you. And I know for me, having done it for so long and having chanted different words as well, HU, it just carries a vibration that really works for me.
[00:20:00.020] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And people can find that on your website as well, correct?
[00:20:03.670] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Oh, yeah. We've got a really easy way to get to it. It's HearHu.org. And that'll take you directly to a page which will tell you everything, you know, there's a HU app. There's a recording of four thousand people singing HU and it's got everything you need to know about HU.
[00:20:24.410] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Oh, that's beautiful. So again, HearHU.org. Or you can also go to Eckankar.org. You can find a podcast of this show on AM950Radio.com, on Apple and Google Podcasts, and anywhere you get your podcasts. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, the Progressive Voice of Minnesota, and we will be right back.
[00:20:57.250] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and talk to the professionals who share their expertise on natural health with you, I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. And today, we welcome Crary Brouhard and Benny Callaghan. Both are members of the Temple of Eck which is located in Chanhassen. So, before the break, we were starting to learn more about how Eckankar can help us to deal with change and some of the tools that you introduced us to. But the other thing is you started to talk about being in balance. So, what does it mean for you, Crary, to be in balance and how do the tools that you have, help you to do that?
[00:21:45.400] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
Yeah, so I think, you know, to be in balance, you have to be able to really look at yourself honestly and be able to check to see, hey, is everything in my life in order in the way that is the most balanced for me. So, what that can mean and why that's important is because when we're in balance, we can be clear vehicles to be of service or to give love or to help others. And it's kind of the outflow that can come from when we're in balance. And so, in order for me to know, like when that scale's tipping one way or the other, it goes back to doing spiritual exercises and being able to center myself in love and see myself from the soul perspective and look at life and say, okay, what element of life might be throwing me off right now? Is there a karmic situation that's come into play or a habit that I have that I need to look at and maybe edit or fine-tune? Or is it an attitude that I have that is holding me back from being able to move through and experience and learn the lesson from the experience? So, you know, to do those spiritual exercises, they can help me see things from a higher perspective and see those things and then be able to target, okay, how can I learn and grow from this experience? So, I feel like, you know, life is really built to stretch us and to kind of push us off balance, because without that, we don't really have opportunities to grow. Right? So, we're always in balance then there's no opportunity to really, like, catch ourselves and learn a lesson and come back into balance. But when we are willing to see that and recognize it, then we can move forward in a way that allows us to be in balance.
[00:23:46.090] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I love how you say that because it just, it really brings it back to, there's really no right or wrong. It's just what you're experiencing at the moment.
[00:23:55.510] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
Yeah, exactly. And I think it's fair to say, you know, we all are out of balance at some point and we're all in balance at other points and maybe in different areas of our lives. And so, it's not to like hold this perspective like, oh, because I'm you know, I strive to keep my spirituality alive in my life, that I'm in balance all the time. But that will be the goal, is to stay in balance as often as possible. And when we're willing to look at ourselves and see that, then we're able to say, okay, yeah, actually in this situation, I wasn't in balance and we can even go back and correct it. I might need to like, relook at that and either apologize for something or recreate that situation in a different way so that it is more in balance with what I want my impact in the world to be.
[00:24:41.500] - Candi Broeffle, Host
And you get to make those choices. Those are your choices to make.
[00:24:45.260] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
[00:24:46.510] - Candi Broeffle, Host
That's wonderful. How about for you, Benny. How do you use the teachings to help you stay in balance?
[00:24:54.280] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Well, I think the best way I can answer that is to tell you a story about how I was out of balance this morning and how I got myself back in balance. And that's really the (25:04). So, this morning, I found myself in this really interesting situation where I was suddenly thrown off balance. I had a co-worker come up to me and I love this person and we work so well together. But all of a sudden we were in a conversation that communication, for whatever reason, was just going way wrong.
And it was like all of a sudden we just we're not hearing each other. And then, you know, there was some anger that came up and I'm just sitting in this conversation confused as to what are we even talking about. And then he left and I was like, what just happened? And I really felt out of balance. Now, I need to give you the back story here. So, this morning when I woke up, I did a spiritual exercise. I chanted HU like I said, and oftentimes that spiritual exercise in chanting HU will bring a sense of peace. Yet sometimes HU can also bring insight about something that I may not be aware of.
And so, this morning, this insight came in where I've had trouble for a long time in speaking up for myself. And it was almost like this dawning of something that was always there that I'd never recognized in this way. And so, I was like, about this technique, it's a spiritual exercise where it's an affirmation type exercise. It's called the 15 times exercise. And you write down an affirmation 15 times. And the affirmation I got, in contemplation was to write down, I confidently expressed my needs with ease and grace.
And oftentimes when I write and 15 times exercise, it'll be something more open like I am a Channel for Divine Love or something like that. A lot of focus on love or something. But this morning was very clear. I confidently expressed my needs with ease and grace and I was like, wow, this is coming from? So, anyway, within an hour and a half, I was in this conversation where I normally wouldn't have spoken up for myself.
And here I was confidently able to express my needs with ease and grace. Yet out of the experience, I also was out of balance. And so, I was kind of like I just felt awful inside. This is just not the way I want to communicate with my closest person I really, dearly love and respect.
And so, and I couldn't shake it. I tried to go in and do another exercise and try to find a way through it. Anyway, what I did was I went to lunch early and I thought I just need to kind of get into balance because I'm speaking with Candi in a couple of hours. So, I just want to be like my best for Candi and be able to like... (27:40)
This is the cool thing because all of it was for this experience and it's for this learning. And so, I went home and we have this event, which I mentioned a bit more about later, that we have this online event going on right now for all of you to the event. And it's got a series of talks. And Crary actually gave this five-minute talk really easy. I thought I had listened to Crary's talk.
I now listen to Cray's old talk, and it was I won't give it away in case the listeners want to check it out later. But Crary's talk is essentially about gratitude. And she gives her gratitude technique actually that she did with friends. But I just modified it and I did it for myself and I thought, okay, here I am feeling awful about this experience (28:27) gratitude list. And so, this is how quick it can be, Candi. Five minutes of watching Crary's thing and then in two minutes I read this list. I'm going to read you some of these things.
[00:28:40.260] - Candi Broeffle, Host
[00:28:40.260] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Like my first thing I was grateful for was I'm grateful for Crary. Then I said, I'm grateful for the opportunity to become aware of what's really happening in a situation rather than be caught in the emotions. Then I said. I'm grateful to be able to learn about myself. And I'm not even thinking I'm just writing this down the stream of consciousness, like one after another. Less than two minutes. Now, the fourth one, I already was able to get about the emotions with the fourth one. I wrote, "I'm grateful for my co-worker in that he shares, my same desire for an effective project."
I was already at that point be able to step out of the emotions and see what we each bring to the table as a shared love if you like. And I said, "I'm grateful for the immediacy of how the spiritual exercises work for me. I'm grateful to be able to get back into balance when I'm not. I'm grateful to Tommy". Now, Tommy's my boyfriend, who happened to text me just as I was feeling really awful, and he just sends me this little love in this image to say, I hope you're having a great day.
[00:29:50.760] - Candi Broeffle, Host
How perfect is that!
[00:29:52.800] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
I know it's so sweet. Right? I am grateful to be able to see every experience as a spiritual experience. I'm grateful for how quickly these emotions are moving within me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to make amends with the person I just wanted. And I'm grateful for already feeling so much more balanced.
[00:30:14.630] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Awesome. So, I am curious if you don't mind sharing, did you actually have to make amends with him, or was it more just you were uncomfortable and the fact that you spoke up for yourself in that way, that it may have been something that was a little different for you than normal?
[00:30:36.570] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Well, the story isn't over yet, so, I haven't had a chance because we kind of came straight into this. I'm feeling much better about the whole situation. And I do know comically because this is part of it. Crary mentioned (30:51) earlier, you know, we were good people. We have great intentions. I believe that about everybody. And, you know, here I was in a situation that I have the ability now, no matter what, to bring more love to that connection. And so, I do intend till I get back to the person and just say, hey, you know, that was really uncomfortable, you know, how the conversation went. And just to express, you know, and not to apologize for expressing my needs too, that's a really great thing to be able to do and got to be able to have harmony with people in our world. It's really a beautiful thing, I believe.
[00:31:30.250] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
Well, and It's such a great... Oh, go ahead.
[00:31:32.100] - Candi Broeffle, Host
I was just going to say it's just so interesting because so many times we think, we imagine something to be happening in that situation that may not even be happening. It's just our perspective of it. And you may go back to this person and they may say, I didn't have that experience.
[00:31:49.920] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
You may well be right, Candi and we could do another podcast at some other point.
[00:31:59.940] - Candi Broeffle, Host
(31:57) perspective. What were you going to say, Crary?
[00:32:01.860] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
I was just going to say it's a great perspective or an example, I guess, in how you can move through something and not create more karma throughout your day because a lot of times what happens is we get confronted by something that affects us in an emotional way and then we pass that on to other people throughout the day not knowing because we're not aware that something upset us and then being carried through. And I just love that you were able to correct it so quickly and then now move through with such love in the way that you will then greet your co-worker and also greet the people throughout your day, you know, the domino effect of love going out into the world.
[00:32:41.100] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
And this is spiritual freedom, because I know for me, at different times in my life, I have had experiences and I've chosen to carry attitudes about people or situations and beyond the day and carried on for a long time. And it's just not necessary. We create karma for ourselves by doing that. And so, that spiritual freedom where we can release these things, see in the immediacy of the moment, and say, you know what, I choose a different future for myself, I've chosen a different day for myself. I don't need to do that.
[00:33:14.340] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
And I think that goes back to what we were saying about Change earlier like that's such a great way of explaining why it's important to be able to deal with change because as you're able to not hold on to opinions or hold onto emotions, you're able to move through that change, quicker.
[00:33:30.360] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Exactly. Oh, so nice. Thank you for that very good, clear example of how this plays out. For people who want to learn more about Eckankar, visit Eckankar.org. It's E-C-K-A-N-K-A-R.ORG. To read the online version of Natural Awakenings magazine, visit NaturalTwinCities.com. You can find a podcast of this show on AM950Radio.com, on Apple and Google Podcasts, and anywhere you get your podcasts. You're listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, the Progressive Voice of Minnesota, and we will be right back.
[00:34:21.350] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Welcome back to Green Tea Conversations, where we delve into the pages of Natural Awakenings magazine and talk to the professionals who share their expertise on natural health with you. I'm your host, Candi Broeffle. And today we're talking with Crary Brouhard and Benny Callaghan, who are members of the Temple of Eck, which is located in Chanhassen. So, Benny, I'm going to ask you, earlier in our conversation, you talked about letting go of the past. And so, I'm curious, why is it important for us to let go of the past, and what are some of the things that you do in order to enable yourself to do that?
[00:35:00.770] - Benny Callaghan, Guest
Wow, great question. So, I feel like the reason why letting go of the past is so important is so that we can live more fully in the present, because so often it's kind of like running these old programs in the back of our mind that we think is life and we think is ourselves, that we think is the truth. But really, it's just noise and it's outdated programs. I've got a real experience to kind of illustrate this. And it came from a spiritual exercise I did over several weeks last year. And the spiritual exercise is from one of the Eck books, and it's called The Disentanglement of Soul. And it talks about the practice of Soul Finding Liberation. And I'll read just a little bit here. Sri Harold Klemp, who's the spiritual leader of Eckankar, who is speaking, who speaks on the online event that we'll talk about a little later. He writes, in this exercise, "going forward, be prepared to let go of memories or the retelling of life stories that needlessly entangle soul. Let the inner master help you clean out your inner closets. There will be more room for love." And as soon as I read this, I was taken back to a story that I've been telling myself and telling people for a long, long time. It was a story about my childhood and certain difficult experiences I've had. And the retelling of this story over and over again had created it more of a reality when actually it was not a reality.
So, I've been practicing this exercise of just becoming aware of the story and then letting it go. Now, what happened over the period of time I've been studying the Eck teaching tips. For one thing, we recognize dreams as a source of truth and as a source of knowing ourselves. So, I'm an avid dreamer. I write down my dreams. And over the years I've been taken in the dream state back to these experiences of my childhood where they were always different and oftentimes early on they were very charged, very difficult if you like. But over time they became more light and more free and less difficult or less emotional. Well, interestingly, after a few weeks, several weeks of practicing this exercise, I had a dream experience where I was at a high school reunion. And in this dream, I was able to confidently go around, shake the hand of every person there, lovingly, joyously connect with each person. And it was just the most amazing dream and something that was so far beyond the story I've been telling myself and so far beyond what I would ever have imagined in the physical world that I woke up from the dream, Candi. And I knew without a doubt that my healing had been complete on the inner (38:02).
And so, I went into contemplation that morning with absolute gratitude for this experience. I mean, this is profound inner healing. And I just said thank you for the healing. And then I had this little whisper saying, now it's up to you. Do you want to keep retelling the old stories? And I was kind of like, wow, yeah, it really is. This is the discipline, because now I almost have like an upgraded computer if you like, an upgraded machine that I'd be running this old computer program that doesn't need to be on this machine. But it was really up to me. So, going forward, a month after this experience, I happened to be in Australia and I randomly met this guy who happened to go to the same school as me. And the context where we met was not in the same location as the school. It was really random. But it struck me by the supposed randomness that, oh, this is like a plan from Divine Spirit like it had to happen. And so, I went to ask him what his experience was. I went to tell him, like into my old story. But within one word of opening my mouth, I realized, hang on a second, I cannot repeat my old story. And instead, I asked him, what was your experience? And he was able to open up into how his experience at school was so wonderful, so beautiful. And it just, it made me smile almost at the way you were talking about before. About, you know, it's really just a perspective like, we create stories about life all the time, but they're not necessarily true. And I was able to, in that moment realize that I was free of this old pattern and it was like surely letting go of the past. So, I'll just read that quote again from Sri Harold, because I really think it's so powerful. "Going forward, be prepared to let go of memories or the retelling of life stories that needlessly entangle Soul. Let the inner master help you clean out your inner closets. There will be more room for love."
[00:40:08.880] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Isn't that beautiful? Thank you for that story. Now, you guys, have, you had said how grateful you are for that, which kind of brings us right into your online event that is happening the entire month of November, actually already starting in October, called The Power of Gratitude, the Secret of Spiritual Living. And so Crary, we've already heard that you're doing some of the workshops during the event and it's focused on gratitude. So, tell us about that. Why going into the New Year really getting clear on gratitude and why it's so important for us?
[00:40:49.170] - Crary Brouhard, Guest
Well, you know, I think what I've learned from my experiences and Benny touched on that. I shared a talk on the event, which you can find if you're interested, is that gratitude is such a wonderful tool for spiritual survival. And what I mean by that is, you know, we live in this world, but we don't have to be of this world. We can move through the world and all of the experiences that we have, all of the turmoil and things that happen within the social consciousness, we can rise above that and see everything from a different perspective. And I think gratitude for me is what helps me find my way through those things. It's like, you know, everything that happens to us in life is a gift. It's a gift from from God. And I think that when we are able to see, you know, it's our attitude that decides whether we're living a heaven world or not, and really, gratitude can open that doorway to heaven.
[00:41:57.690] - Candi Broeffle, Host
Oh, that's so beautiful. Now, your online event is offered for free for people who are new to Eckankar. And in order to learn more, people can go right to your website, which is Eckankar.org and that's E-C-K-A-N-K-A-R.ORG. This is a great way to start off our New Year, really focusing on gratitude and getting some great skills to do that. The event lasts throughout the month of November and so people can get some really great information from you. I want to thank you both for being with us today and sharing your experiences with Eckankar. And thank you for joining our conversation as we awaken to natural health.
To read the online edition of Natural Awakenings magazine or to check out our complete online calendar of events, visit NaturalTwinCities.com. You can find a podcast of this show on AM950Radio.com or Apple and Google Podcasts. You've been listening to Green Tea Conversations on AM950, the Progressive Voice of Minnesota, and I'm wishing for you a lovely day!