And so begins THE SUN’s first advice column. Leaf answers his own questions this first time around. Next month, why not yours?

I sit in my home and write. Through a window, the sun shines warm and bright upon me. I feel relaxed, sensual, good in the radiance of the sun. I move into another room to get a book. The sun cannot reach me through the walls, and these rooms are darker and colder. If windows did not exist in this building that is my home, the sun would not brighten my life while I was indoors. These windows are, in effect, a channel for the sun. A channel is that by which something passes or is transmitted. The rocky river bed allows the rain waters to flow together on their passage to the sea. We are all channels, we are all vehicles through which love and wisdom (or negativity and ignorance) can pass. A meal prepared for friends, a poem, a painting, a greeting are some of the ways we channel the gifts that make us who we are. I have frequently heard “channel” used in an esoteric, awesome way, a channel being a unique someone who possesses difficult-to-attain knowledge of the most secret wisdoms of the universe. We all have this knowledge. We all manifest our awareness of these secrets in different and unique ways. Some of us write about psychic phenomena and some of us drive a bus. Some of us publish a magazine and others help a plant or baby to grow. Ad infinitum. WE ARE ALL CHANNELS, and what we know, what we feel, who we are, determine what we channel. Every day numerous messages channel through us, and the effects of our behavior, our transmission, is powerful and influential.

To heal is to help make whole. Most of us are whole at birth. As we grow hungry and cold, we need our mother’s breast and arms to heal us, to help us regain our Oneness with life. In the course of growing older, many of our basic life needs are not met. Generations of human beings have not felt at ease with life; they have hungered for something that they were not being given and did not know how to get for themselves. Earlier in history, the demands of survival necessitated using most energy to obtain food and shelter. When survival needs were met, some groups put energy into regaining lost wholeness by experiencing the love and wisdom of the Universe. These people turned to God and Nature, to experiencing feelings and rhythms rather than denying or fighting them. Because wholeness was personally felt, the need for technological advancement was minimal. When you have everything you want, what else do you need? In other cultures, such as western Europe, large populations on small amounts of land with depleted resources stimulated a continuous growth of technology (more and “better”). Something was lost, and many people have never regained the wholeness of life. From generation to generation, happiness has been sought (or pain avoided) through the accumulation of quantity over quality; value has been measured by materials, or rigid and intolerant belief systems. Humans have aggressively destroyed their environment (nature around us and our bodies) in a search for something we have from the beginning. Three-fourths of all cancer is caused by human-made products. We are a chronically sick nation and spend billions of dollars for drugs (symptomatic medicine, tobacco, alcohol, etc.) that perpetuate our illness. We spend billions for gadgets that perform the labor that our bodies need in order to feel strong and healthy. We spend billions to feed our pets and the poor are hungry. We destroy Nature as we misdirectedly accumulate and throw away junk. One-fourth of the food in America goes from stove to garbage can (not compost pit). We seem to have lost our precious gifts, our ability to feel and channel love and wisdom.

Dis-ease: a separation from ease. Esse in Latin means is. Dis-ease is, therefore, a separation from being. We pass our dis-ease from parent to child, culture to culture. Our fear of not getting what we want (what we think we need) keeps us in perpetual anxiety. Neurosis, the disease of this century, is our fear of not getting. We act, pretend, in order to get or not to lose. What’s this about? I guess (along with many others) that instead of the love and nourishment that we really needed as children, we got too many rules, possessions, food, substitutions that we didn’t need or want. We learn to take what we can get, and so many of us now treasure inferior alternatives as if they were the Real Thing. We crave the right person, the chocolate sundae (or honey ice cream), the dollar. We crave God, Oneness, psychotherapy with the same fervor, the same clutching. Another possession, another idea to put us at ease.

We are now entering a New Age. An age when we can separate what we need from what we think we want. We can do what helps us regain our wholeness rather than increase our alienation from life. How do we heal ourselves? There are probably as many ways as people. The most basic way, and probably the most effective, is for us to be in touch with ourselves. As we experience who we are, as we experience what we do that is healthy and unhealthy for us, the unhealthy, the suicidal begins to drop away. Our bodies, our selves seem to have an innate drive to wholeness, to oneness. The effective healing techniques (ancient and new) allow us to be aware of our “blocks,” the negativity that separates us from our love and wisdom. Massage, meditation, diet, herbal medicine, psychotherapy, astrology, yoga allow us to experience our strengths and negativity, and the effects of both. We can use our rhythms to grow healthier and regain our lost parts.

The purpose of this column and THE SUN is to be a channel of awareness, of love and wisdom. As channels, all of us influence the way we each feel and perceive. As channels of negativity, fear, hate, greed, lust, we perpetuate and reinforce the disharmony. As channels of beauty, health, appreciation, caring, knowledge, love, we help each other to enjoy life (ourselves) more. Every act has the potential (and probably the actuality) of effecting others. Brief warm hellos have helped lift me from caverns of gloom. Angry and mean remarks have triggered my pain and insecurity. I have often seen small amounts of caring being just the sunbeam that someone else needs to regain rhythm (as compared to the back-breaking straw). I do not encourage false “love” or “happiness,” but that we be in touch with ourselves, in touch with what we are feeling and what we have and want to give (if anything) in each moment. By being in touch, we will not misdirect our hurt and anger to the innocent, but, instead have the option of experiencing our incomplete feelings and not drag them around with us or be dragged by them. As we experience and complete our incompleteness, our windows become clearer and allow more light through. As we get more in touch with light and wisdom, we heal each other, and life becomes richer and more enjoyable.

I would like this to be a two-way channel. Please send any comments, concerns, questions to me, Leaf, care of THE SUN, Box 732, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.