Universal Medicine

Angela Coco

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UNIVERSAL MEDICINE TIMELINE

1964:  Serge Benhayon (Benhayon) was born in Uruguay.

1970:  Benhayon emigrated to Sydney, Australia with his parents where he attended school and developed a sporting career.

1990s (Early):  Benhayon moved with his wife Deborah and their children to Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia where he continued his career as a Tennis Coach.

1999:  Benhayon had a series of esoteric revelations communicating alternative healing modalities and began practising from his home in the Northern Rivers. Benhayon named his philosophy “Universal Medicine.”

2002:  Serge and Deborah Benhayon separated.

2003: Benhayon offered the first courses and training workshops in his methods.in Northern New South Wales, Australia.

2004:  A course called The Arcane School was challenged by lawyers from Lucis Trust. Benhayon ceased using this title.

2005:  Benhayon began offering workshops twice a year in Somerset, United Kingdom.

2006:  The Universal Medicine website established.

2007:  UniMed Publishing, Universal Medicine’s dedicated publishing enterprise, was established.

2008:  Benhayon offered the first five day live-in “Retreats in Vietnam and Australia.”

2010:  Benhayon married Miranda who had been a long-standing friend of the family.

2011:  Benhayon established The College of Universal Medicine, a charitable organisation.

2012-2013:  Esther Rockett created blogs dedicated to discrediting Universal Medicine.

2013:  Natalie Benhayon, Serge Benhayon’s daughter, launched her mobile App, Our Cycles and establishes a company, Esoteric Women’s Health.

2014:  Students of Universal Medicine launched a web blog called The Facts about Universal Medicine to counter negative claims being made in the media.

2016:  Benhayon made a formal accusation of defamation against Esther Rockett.

2018 (December):  The New South Wales Supreme Court found against Serge Benhayon.

2019:  The content of the Web Blog site called The Facts about Universal Medicine was removed.

2020 (May):  The Universal Medicine website seemed to have returned to an earlier iteration and appeared in process of redesign.

2020:  Under COVID19 restrictions, Benhayon was offering his teachings online instead of at face to face meetings.

FOUNDER/GROUP HISTORY

Serge Benhayon [Image at right] was born in Uruguay in 1964. He emigrated to Sydney, Australia in 1970 with his parents where he attended school and developed a sporting career. In the early 1990s, Benhayon moved with his wife Deborah and their children to Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia where he continued his career as a Tennis Coach.

Benhayon founded Universal Medicine in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, Australia in 1999. He was inspired by esoteric revelations in which knowledge of new methods for alternative healing were communicated to him. Benhayon describes his experience in a manner similar to the ways others report revelations (See, Stark 1992). Names like “the Hierarchy” and “Sanat Kumara” were presented to him, which he later discovered in the works of theosophist Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949). He developed and began practising a repertoire of esoteric complementary and alternative healing practices. Benhayon’s background reveals familiarity with a variety of religious traditions and experience with complementary and alternative therapies (Coco 2020).

In his youth, Benhayon was exposed to an assortment of religious influence, though neither his parents nor his grandparents practiced religion. He remembers that his father, born of Moroccan Jewish and Catholic lineages, studied different religions (S. Benhayon 2017). Benhayon’s mother’s religious lineage was Russian Jew. During his schooling, Benhayon pursued an active interest in Church of England religious education, reading booklets on the Christian Gospels and attending church on his own terms. At school he excelled in athletics and later developed a career in professional tennis training. The growth of Universal Medicine (UM) is characterised by word of mouth networking, public demand, and later, by initiatives that were created and continue to be maintained by Benhayon family members and other dedicated associates.

Initially, Benhayon worked from his home, testing his healing techniques amongst friends and family. At the end of 2000-2001, he moved his practice to a hired room in a colleague’s practice. He eventually established the first UM Clinic in a refurbished old house in Goonellabah, Northern New South Wales. Serge and first wife Deborah separated in 2002 though Deborah continued to be involved with UM. By 2003-2004, he had ceased tennis coaching and was offering multi-level training workshops in his healing modalities at various public locations in the Northern Rivers. He also began conducting monthly meditation sessions based on the metaphysical worldview underpinning his healing methods (S. Benhayon 2017). A course called The Arcane School was offered briefly in 2004.

Benhayon named his religious vision “The Way of The Livingness” (TWL). Around the time he began voicing his esoteric impressions publicly, a friend handed him a compilation of writings by Alice Bailey (Bailey 1971). In Bailey’s writings, which Benhayon asserts that he has not read very closely, he encountered a worldview that resonated with his own revelatory insights. He maintains that his methods extend the esoteric goals of the Ageless Wisdom tradition by developing practical applications to guide people in their evolution (S. Benhayon 2018). In 2008, Universal Medicine ran the first of what were to become recurrent yearly five-day retreats, in Vietnam and Australia (Unimed Living 2014c). These retreats were later extended to the United Kingdom.

Many UM activities have been prompted by participants seeking avenues for sharing the UM worldview. Participants designed and launched the UM website in 2006. Volunteers also established UniMed Brisbane Pty Ltd, a clinic which began offering complementary and alternative healing therapies to the public in 2010. Benhayon established The College of Universal Medicine (CoUM) in 2011 as an organisational vehicle through which UM practitioners could offer services to the broader community. Benhayon opened the Hall of Ageless Wisdom, the main venue for delivering his teaching and training sessions, in Wollongbar, Northern New South Wales in 2016. This Hall is used for public gatherings where he delivers his esoteric teachings and engages participants in a variety of personal development programs. A significant expansion of TWL first offered in 2017 is The School of Initiation (TSOI), a course offering training in improving one’s grasp of esoteric principles and awareness of the energetic nature of reality. TWL teachings are supported by an ever-growing base of published books which are available through the UM web site. The title pages of Benhayon’s books indicate that they are authored by “Serge Benhayon and The Hierarchy.” The Hierarchy is understood as the tradition of evolved beings, the Masters, who have passed but whose wisdom is available to those like Benhayon himself who are able to receive it.

DOCTRINES/BELIEFS

Western esotericism originated in part from the works of theosophist Helena P. Blavatsky (1831–1891) (Hammer 2004). The “Way of the Livingness” teachings exhibit clear affinities with this tradition particularly in its iteration in the works of Alice A. Bailey (1880–1849. In its broad features, TWL embodies the key themes of western esotericism as identified by Hammer (2004). Tenets include the beliefs that: human souls originate from one original source of light and it is their evolutionary task to work toward returning to the pure original source; all forms of life are interconnected and thus the improvement of the individual’s energetic state contributes to their’s and other’s progress; types of energy permeate all living organisms, and; by means of understanding correspondences between types of energies on different planes of existence, human beings may work towards balancing the play of energetic fields in their minds and bodies, thereby promoting spiritual evolution.

“Esoteric” refers to invisible wisdom of the body which carries the knowledge of interconnectedness with all being. Benahayon proclaims that a “new soul-full light” was introduced to the world by Christ in 2000-2001 (S. Benhayon 2009:18). This new Christ consciousness, referred to as the “Second Coming,” infuses love energy into the world making possible an evolutionary change from oppositional to harmonious human relations. A catalogue of social problems including, “gender suppression, bullying, rape, paedophilia, the need for war, greed and hate” (S. Benhayon 2015:140) is frequently recounted in presentations. At the core of Benhayon’s message is the belief that individuals need to cultivate respectful relations, both internally within their own bodies and externally with others. While Benhayon and others have been able to source Ageless Wisdom and apply it in their lives, Benhayon observes that lay persons are not able to access it so readily. His healing methods and metaphysical teachings are designed to help people awake to this spiritual wisdom. Pertinent features of Benahyon’s worldview are the ways he interprets the concepts of gender, prana and intelligence, which are key to understanding the principles of his healing therapies and personal development courses.

Similar to the gender characteristics of new religious movements observed by McGuire (1994), Benhayon asserts that in modern society people are estranged from their essential natures. He teaches that women embody the sacred, but also that the godhead is both female and male, and, in reality, not gendered. Different and complementary energies are aligned with female and male bodies; the female essence is stillness and the male’s is movement. Femininity and masculinity are not understood as prescribing social roles but as qualities of energy in femaleness and maleness. Benhayon teaches that women should return to their sacred feminine energy and men must learn to relate to it. The emphasis is on people’s need to discover their true natures by balancing both feminine and masculine qualities. For Benhayon, it is the excess of masculine solar energy that is overly affecting human bodies in the form of harmful prana.

In Western culture, prana is commonly used singularly to refer to the life force but in Eastern doctrines, prāṇa is used in a variety of ways which reference a range of movements and inputs of various mental states and senses throughout the body (Blezer 1992). Following theosophical teachings, Bailey, whose writing has informed aspects of Benhayon’s system, incorporates these more extensive understandings of prana. In her view, while prana is necessary to the continuance of life, it may also inhibit an individual’s energetic evolution. Incarnational debris also contributes to a person’s pranic condition. In Benhayon’s canon, “discarnate beings” or “the lords of form” are the sources of evil energy that constitute harmful prana (S. Benhayon 2009:292) which invades the three lower chakras of the body. Thus affected, people are constrained by “false and misleading beliefs and impressions that lie hidden in the Mental and Physical Causal Bodies” (S. Benhayon 2006:16).

According to Bailey, what is known as “intelligence” is the accumulation of all sensory inputs from people’s experience and past lives (Bailey 1934, 1951). In Benhayon’s reasoning, what society calls “intelligence” is the assemblage of thought constructs, emotional sensations, and relational behaviour formed by excessive masculinist energy. This intelligence is an incomplete form of knowledge uninformed by the body’s and soul’s input. Women have been the ones to suffer most from the overemphasis of masculinist solar pranic energy, which manifests in cultural phenomena that objectify and sexualize their embodiment (S. Benhayon 2011:518). Consequently, Western science has been unsuccessful in solving humanity’s relational and health problems (S. Benhayon 2013b). A practitioner aspires to transcend these pranic influences and access their fiery soul energy by learning to recognise and deconstruct unhelpful feeling and thought patterns and heal those parts of the body where harmful prana has taken hold.

ORGANIZATION/LEADERSHIP

Universal Medicine’s primary activities are imparting its Ageless Wisdom beliefs, teaching and training in esoteric healing techniques, and supplying complementary healing services. While these philosophical and commercial facets of the movement are managed by different organisational entities, they are thoroughly intertwined in practice. UM’s stated religion, The Way of the Livingness, is not registered officially as a religion in Australia. The organisation has grown and spread its influence through networked entrepreneurial activities coordinated through the main UM web site which is available in five languages (Dutch, French, German, Spanish or English). It contains information about Serge Benhayon, the movement and the many products and services on offer. Events are advertised there, and one also registers and pays to attend UM programmes through the web site. Individuals driving UM’s activities are its founder and leader, Serge Benhayon, family members and people dedicated to the UM worldview who are referred to collectively as The Student Body.

Benhayon personally delivers The Way of the Livingness sermons and training workshops. Expression and Presentation sessions devised by students are first perused by Benhayon to ensure that they accurately interpret and apply his teachings and are informed by the appropriate form of energy. At a Unimed weekend, sessions are individually advertised and priced, though TWL sermon is always free of charge. A person may choose to attend one or any combination of events.

Benhayon’s immediate family; partner Miranda, and children Simone, Michael, Curtis and Natalie also contribute to UM’s activities. Miranda manages the organisational aspects of the Goonellabah clinic, training workshops and public events. Simone, who lives in the United Kingdom, teaches and practices esoteric healing methods and is the main contact for Benhayon’s biannual visits to UM’s base in United Kingdom. Michael and Curtis possess mainstream qualifications in acupuncture and remedial massage respectively and have incorporated TWL principles and esoteric healing styles into their practices. They work at the Goonellabah Clinic as well as helping out at Unimed weekends and engaging in a range of other UM related activities.

Natalie is highly active at Unimed weekends and shares the stage with Benhayon during TSOI sessions, but she has also set up and led independent initiatives. She instituted Esoteric Women’s Health (EWH) as an organisational entity for her smartphone App called Our cycles, a technology which enables women to track their menstrual cycles. EWH evolved into a business with its own web site. It coordinates a wide range of “services, events and products that provide the opportunity to return to living in ways that allow women to honour their body and innate stillness whilst keeping up with their many commitments and demands” (N. Benhayon 2013a). The Girl to Woman Festival (in hiatus since 2019) is an initiative under the EWH umbrella (N. Benhayon 2019). Practitioners qualified in complementary healing therapies, as well as people who are experts in their fields, for instance law or education, partner alongside the Benhayons in offering services through EWH and the College of Universal Medicine.

The College of Universal Medicine is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of members of the student body (College of Universal Medicine 2020a).The College offers both free and fee-paying events including  “workshops, lectures, online courses, well-being days and community presentations” (College of Universal Medicine 2020b). Students also established Unimed Living, a large media and communication platform which brings together facets of UM teachings and applies them to all aspects of life. Information ranges from food recipes to workshops on anxiety for men (Unimed Living 2014b).

 

 

 

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