In 1962, I began a relationship with a man named Don Elkins which, twelve years later, resulted in my learning to channel. As Elkins and my research group developed this channeling practice, we attracted more and more interest.

Since the late seventies my group, L/L Research has offered workshops, seminars and annual Homecomings to these interested readers, attempting to be of metaphysical service in helping them with the process of awakening to their individual truth.

We just held the 2006 L/L Research homecoming over Labor Day weekend. It will come as no surprise to those who follow this column that our topic this time was the chakras and how to work with them in order to lead a more full and joyous life. The series of ten articles I wrote on the chakras and the energy body recently was intended as the curriculum material for the workshop as well as thoughts that may be of interest or aid to you.

We took those articles, plus the source quotes from the Ra group's Law of One sessions which I had used in writing the articles and bound them into an information packet which we used throughout the weekend.

We had a small group this year. An even dozen people signed up and arrived, along with a magical thirteenth participant, an old friend of L/L Research who simply showed up at the airport and called to find out plans from there. Fortunately we were able to wedge him and his chair into the circle in our living room here at the Camelot campus!

Each and every participant in the weekend took time to come to me in private and generously, magnificently, pour their hearts out in gratitude for our opening up our house and grounds to them. Many of them experienced the feeling of true family for the first time. Those attracted to our material tend to be an odd lot. The Ra Material, also called the Law of One, consists of questions asked of an allegedly extraterrestrial entity, the Ra group, by a thoroughgoing scientist and physicist, Professor Don Elkins. The responses given by the Ra group to Elkins' uncompromisingly scientifically-oriented questions can be very dense material to read, let alone understand.

The people who respond to that material tend to be highly intelligent, counter-culturally oriented, mavericks and loners with a scientific or technical bent. The basic reason is that when people awaken, they start looking outside the box for information on their situation. This brings them often to channeling as well as more mainstream, spiritually-oriented sources like religious and hermetic classics.

They peruse the words of these sources and often find no interest or resonance there. However in reading the Law of One material, they find that tang of resonance because Elkins' approach makes sense to them. That neutral, far-reaching, intellectually clean and extremely knowledgeable mind was an ideal vehicle for the Ra group to use to transmit its information.

When people who have found the Ra Material useful get together, it is only natural that they feel a lot of resonance with each other. It is as if a group of people, who generally have no one with whom to converse deeply, suddenly find a group filled with people with whom they can talk. It is a powerful thing, and leads to many an all-night conversation!

The group included a young toddler and our weekend together had us arrayed in a circle, with the big playpen in the middle of the circle. It felt more and more like a family as the group settled in to study, meditate and learn together. The little girl became everyone's child, held in many sets of arms over our time together.

I list these details because I have a point to make, but I will stop this line of thought to counterpoise a contrasting one. So please flow with me as I change the subject completely to the news of the day.

Last night, Robert Fisk, of one of U.K.'s major newspapers, The Independent, was interviewed on Amy Goodman's news broadcast, "Democracy Now." This program is the absolute best newscast available in the United States today. It has no propaganda, only a search for the truth. This show used to be available only through owning a satellite dish, but as I understand it, it is now available on mainstream radio, as NPR has taken it up. It is a national treasure, as is Ms. Goodman, in my opinion.

Fisk has been a war correspondent in the Middle East, as well as elsewhere on this round world, for some thirty years. He has seen it all. Because his base for some time now has been the Middle East, he and his family live in Beirut. His reports, therefore, are those of a man who has checked out every story by traveling to its source and interviewing native people - Fisk speaks the languages of the region.

Fisk talked last night about the 130,000 homes which Israel has destroyed using illegal cluster bombs. Those bombs killed over 1,000 civilians. The targeting was claimed by Israeli sources to be of pin-point accuracy but if this is so, the Israeli forces were targeting civilians specifically, as no hard targets were found in the areas bombed.

Fisk talked of going to a small village to see the damage after a raid. There were no targets there of any interest to the military. It was a village, pure and simple, with an old town and some outlying farms. As he drove up to the place in his four-wheel-drive vehicle, he could gradually make out that the buildings did not have the proper shapes; the shapes he had seen recently when he was there interviewing villagers. When he got there he saw that the entire village had been reduced to ash. Not rubble, mind you, but ash. He said that the last time he had seen photographs of that complete a destruction, he had been looking at his father's photographs of France during the fighting of World War One. The village, Fisk said, was fought over to the last stone.

In digging through the ashes, Fisk said, they have, so far, found 36 bodies, all of them being civilians; children and old people unable to get out of town.

Here is Fisk's take on what is happening: "legend and song," to quote him directly. He says all the players in the Middle East and in the West active in this pursuit of victory - Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Britain and the USA - possess a "self-delusion that is amazing." The right-wing extremists of the United States, Britain and Israel are perfectly satisfied to stay at war forever while they rearrange the world and corral the resources of the planet. The right-wing extremists of the Arab world are focused more and more on resisting and repulsing the machinations of the West.

In our declared intent to destroy terrorism, we have become terrorists as cruel as any others of the so-called terrorist groups of the Middle East. The more radicalized the U.S. and Britain get about stamping out terrorism in the Middle East, the more we plunder and destroy the Middle East, being none too picky about our targets. We have used cluster bombs in Iraq, Fisk says, which gives the Israelis the entitlement to do so in Lebanon, at least in their own minds.

Goodman asked Fisk how one pulls back from such a downward spiral of increased aggression and hostility, for anyone can see the eventual end of such an intensifying spiral. The U.S. has already talked openly about using tactical nuclear weapons in Iran. Although the Pentagon has so far been able to knock down such pretensions as impossibly bad policy, the ideological basis for such use remains unimpaired by any ethical brake or rein. As Yeats said, the beast is slouching toward Bethlehem.

Again, stay with me as I switch topics again. Why in the world did I drag you through this litany of international woes? I did so because this article is about true hope, true vision and true love.

Goodman asked Fisk, in a program aired perhaps six months ago now, what gave him hope. Fisk teared up in that gentlemanly, British way which does not obstruct clear speech but causes much eye-blinking and throat-clearing. "Absolutely nothing," he said.

Yet there is hope; invisible but real hope. This troubled planet is in far better metaphysical shape than its physical state would seem to indicate. When any trouble occurs, the citizens of Earth gather around to help. In the face of massive governmental indifference to various difficulties people are having in a local area, the folks in that area meet, talk, form plans and volunteer their time, energy and love to remedy the situation. The heart of New Orleans is wide open, with people of color working to create their own recovery in the lower ninth ward. Private citizens are beginning to catch on and help as well.

Whether it is our little homecoming group finding ways to stuff thirteen people into one regularly sized living room in harmony and to give mother Maria a break from tending baby Tierra or whether it is a city, state or country finding ways to tend their own, it is what good people do. And the world is full of good people.

To find the goodness in the world today, then, one must, for the most part, look away from the halls of world governance. One must look, instead, into the grass roots of people everywhere. And everywhere you find people waking up to the needs around them and responding.

There's a great quotation from the Ra Material that is appropriate to quote here. Elkins had asked the Ra group, "Is there any physical way in which an awakened seeker aids, perhaps by his vibrations somehow just adding to the planet just as electrical polarity or charging a battery? Does that also aid the planet?"

The Ra's answer is full of hope. They give the analogy of a grocery store full of products. Among them are mostly things like anger, war and killing. But one can find also "...one container in that store of peace, love, light, and joy. This vortex may be very small, but to turn one's back upon it is to forget the infinite possibilities of the present moment. Could your planet polarize towards harmony in one fine, strong, moment of inspiration? Yes, my friends. It is not probable; but it is ever possible."

I open my arms and embrace your spirit. Dear brothers and sisters of the tribe of Earth, let us look everywhere we can for that container of love, light, peace and hope. We have it, but we only have it between us. We need to collaborate! Let us together join to envision a world which is not just repaired, but re-imagined. And let us do it one act and one relationship at a time, in love and in hope.