This article is an excerpt from the book Hope is in the Garden that tells the Story of Sunan Therapy. The book was written by Candace Talmadge and Jana Simons, cofounders of the Sattva Institute.
"How would you like to feel unconditional love?"
With that simple question, Jana Simons commanded my complete attention. It was a hot summer night back in 1986. Both of us were sitting on a floating dock at Eagle Mountain Lake, just northwest of Fort Worth, Texas. It was late evening; another student and I had joined Jana to chat informally after spending that Sunday in her class exploring how to use our soul (psychic) senses.
Although Jana's tone may have been nonchalant, her intent and purpose were anything but casual. It was a rather gutsy question to ask person whom Jana had known for less than a week.
But she felt compelled to do so for two reasons. First, as she explained to me later, Jana was confronted by my emotional desolation and isolation. They were so palpable to her that they reached out and grabbed her heart. It was as though my inner child were weeping and calling softly to anyone who would pay attention, "She never listens to me."
Through her soul senses, Jana was listening. My core group of six guides was the other reason for her question. My guides had been in Jana's face since we met, breathing down her neck, twisting her arm, begging her to help them get through to me. Guides play a major role in the Sunan method of healing resolution, as I was to discover.
She didn't have to ask me twice. Right there on the dock, Jana cradled my head in her lap and began speaking softly. With my soul sense of vision, I saw a brilliant blue-white light rise from my chest and reach to my forehead. Filled with awe at its beauty, I watched as the light grew in intensity and brilliance. The whine of the cicadas in the bushes along the shoreline, the gentle rocking sensation of the dock and even my awareness of others' presence about me quickly receded.
It was just the light and I: blazing, glorious light.
Slowly I began to be aware of something other than pain, that dull ache in my chest that wouldn't go away and which I had become resigned to by age 32. I was experiencing instead an emotional sensation that actually felt good, although I had no words for it at the time. But it wasn't the least bit similar to the disappointment, hurt, grief, anxiety--lots of constant anxiety--embarrassment, fear, apprehension, rejection and inadequacy that had been my constant emotional companions in this life for as long as I could recall.
Tears slid softly down my cheeks into my ears. "We have waited so very long for you to come to us and we are so very glad you are here." My guides spoke to me, using Jana's voice.
Jana pressed the palm of her hand down on my chest gently over my heart several times. She continued my guides' message: "Receive this gift of love. It is yours simply because you are--because you are a created soul. You do not have to do anything to deserve it--it is yours. Allow it to come in."
As Jana spoke these words from my guides, the light changed slowly to golden-white. In that golden-white light--the light of God's unconditional love--I finally experienced peace, joy and warmth. It seemed unbelievable: I could feel and see God's presence, and feel the love of my guides. Yet I had no desire to hide under some rock of ages. I perceived no judgment whatsoever from that light or from my guides. For a few seconds, at least, I no longer felt inadequate. I felt accepted and cherished just as I was.
"Now, Candace," my guides continued their message through Jana. "Feel your own love--feel all the love within you that you have for self and others."
All my love? I thought to myself. What love? I don't have any love, at least not any I am aware of. Didn't they realize they were talking to someone who had finally admitted to herself, three years ago at age 29, that she didn't know how to love? Didn't they know that I had mostly given up on love? I didn't have a clue where to look for it or how to find it and bring it into my life. I had lived 32 years feeling unloved and unlovable, and now my guides were asking me to feel my own love.
It seemed like too much to ask. From somewhere within me, a part of my awareness argued fiercely that this whole experience was just an illusion, that guides are not real. That small scared part of me contended that the love and the light I saw and felt would vanish beyond all recall as soon as I returned to the "real" world. This part of me fiercely resisted the experience, and would not allow me, at that time, to claim the love, the light or my guides' daily friendship and help as my own.
My interior debate grew in intensity. Silent tears changed to loud, gut-wrenching sobs that surged up from my innermost being. For at another, even deeper level of my being, I craved the love and the light, and I was certain that I had guides to guard and assist me. That small scared part of me may have dismissed the possibility of love, but my heart and soul most emphatically had not. Their earnest desire was to bask in that love and light and somehow to bring both back into my life to help me learn how to accept myself, flaws and all.
Slowly, my sobs subsided; the vision of the light faded. When I sat up I felt immensely relieved and somehow less burdened, lighter. I was also dumbfounded by an experience that was unlike anything that I had ever been through. What amazed me the most was that although this vision of the light was highly emotionally charged, it had not been painful. Until that time, I had no idea that there could be a difference between emotions and pain.
During the days following that dockside therapy session, I dimly perceived further feelings of well-being. They were subtle, running below my surface awareness like a swift, strong, inexorable ocean current. It was my heart and soul, working overtime, urging me not to pass up this chance to bring that unconditional love and light into my life. My guides told me later that they were doing their best to assist this process, sending me love and subtle messages of encouragement and comfort.
The next time I saw Jana, before class began, I found myself blurting out: "I'd like to do Sunan therapy, if you'll take me."
Huh? It seemed as though someone else were using my vocal cords to make this request. As I heard the words, however, I finally realized consciously that Sunan therapy was exactly what I wanted and very much needed. I still had no real idea of what I had just decided to do; I only sensed vaguely that it was the single most important step that I had ever taken in my life.
This time, no glorious light waited for me. I found myself in a horrifyingly dark, cramped place from which there was no escape. Even worse, it was hot and stuffy; there seemed to be almost no air left. I became aware of feeling faint and breathless. I couldn't speak, couldn't reply to Jana's gentle efforts to help me describe my surroundings. For the most fleeting of instants, I was overwhelmed in black isolation, desolate and abandoned. I sensed I was dying.
Jana also perceived exactly what I sensed. Aware of my extreme distress almost before I was, Jana lifted me out of it. She spoke a few words and I was at once able to breathe and speak. Yet I remained fully aware of the situation in which I had found myself at the outset of the session. With help from Jana and my guides, I was able to identify emotionally with that trapped person yet not re-experience any of her pain or trauma.
In a flow of unconditional love, evoked by the Sunan therapist before the start of the session, there is no separation between therapist and client. The love-flow is enhanced and directed by the client's core group of guides and the attending members of the Sunan Society, a group of guides devoted to healing resolution. That love-flow enables the Sunan therapist easily to blend her or his own perceptions, thoughts and emotions with those of the client. The effective result is one organism, united in the combined ability to see, feel, hear, know and understand the same information that both parties are receiving intuitively and simultaneously.
I gulped down a few breaths and coughed. Freed by the flow of unconditional love from the panic and pain that might have paralyzed me yet again, I was now able to use my soul senses to explore my situation. I was in an old refrigerator. The door was shut and I couldn't get out. There was less and less air inside; it was increasingly difficult to breathe. I was just a little girl, perhaps all of two years old.
"How did you get there?" Jana asked softly, already aware of the answer. Her query was designed to encourage me to stop blocking the information, acknowledge it and verbalize it, all of which are critical first steps toward healing resolution.
That took a while. At that point in my growth and development, I didn't trust information I received intuitively. Moreover, there was great anger, shame and humiliation attached to this situation. I could deny those emotions no longer. With a depth and intensity that compelled me to speak, those emotions abruptly surged forth from places within me that I hadn't known existed.
"My brother," I blurted out. "He put me in there. He said we were going to play hide and seek, but he never came back. I waited and waited."
Tears rolled down my cheeks. Tears of anger. Tears of betrayal. Questions that seemed unanswerable rose to my conscious awareness. What had I ever done to him to deserve this? Why had he done this? Older brothers are supposed to protect us, not harm us. How could he?
"Let's call in your brother," Jana suggested, sensing the unvoiced questions to which I so desperately needed answers in order to heal.
What she meant was literally calling to us in that session, for the purposes of emotional and spiritual communication and healing resolution, a portion of the soul I know as my older brother in physical reality.
My brother responded instantly. He appeared as a boy of the same age when the event took place. That boy didn't say anything and tried to avoid direct eye contact with me. The expression on his downcast face was very troubled.
"Ask him why he did this, Candace," Jana continued. "Look into his eyes."
I looked and asked silently. I found myself crying once more, even harder. But it wasn't for myself that I was weeping now; it was for that boy. Until connecting emotionally and spiritually with my brother, I truly had had no inkling of how much pain he had carried with him since his own childhood.
The full force of it washed over me now. A part of his pain was keen disappointment that his youngest sibling had been yet another girl. He already had two sisters, one older and one younger, when I showed up. He had wanted a baby brother so much, hoping for someone in whom, he believed, he could confide all his secret sorrows and thus ease them.
Most of his pain, however, had nothing to do with me. In fact, he was livid and his fury terrified him, so he did his best to deny it. He was furious because he wasn't popular in school, had trouble with his studies and because other kids laughed at his appearance. While both of us were growing up, my brother's nose had been the object of much of his highly witty but biting and often self-deprecating humor. Long ago I had realized intellectually that my brother's endless jokes at others' and his own expense were self-defense, a form of protection.
That understanding was one-dimensional, however, because it was only mental. It had no feeling behind it to imbue it with a reality beyond just an abstraction, a shallow intellectual concept. But in the flow of unconditional love, meeting my brother heart to heart and soul to soul, I was experiencing a far deeper perception and an ocean of feelings--my brother's feelings. They were only too real to me now. These emotions flooded me with the multilevel sensation of the near crippling pain and isolation he had experienced during his childhood.
At long last, I knew why and how my brother could have behaved the way he did. I finally was able to see that rage, excruciating pain and isolation had formed his emotional experiences as a child. I became aware that he truly did not know any better, so he vented his rage on a baby sister he hadn't wanted anyway. I could perceive that in his own pain and isolation, he returned the same to me out of confused ignorance, not deliberate, calculated malice. I understood that he acted out of his own overwhelming need and limitations. And I also could feel that afterward, he experienced horrendous guilt at having played a part in something so dangerous to his sister. His guilt and my anger became a wall between us, making our conscious lifelong relationship strained and tenuous.
The kicker in all of this: my brother didn't have a clue as to why he had acted the way he did toward me. He was as ignorant of self as I was until that point. The wonder was that he had managed to grow up functional.
My anger at my brother began to subside. In a flow of unconditional love, I walked, for a brief time, in my brother's emotional and spiritual shoes. His pain deeply saddened me, although with Jana's and my guides' help, I was able to recognize that I was not the cause of his pain, nor was I responsible for resolving it for him. That would have to be his choice.
Through that love-flow, I also finally obtained answers that made sense to me uniquely, if to no one else. And as long my answers made sense to me, no one else's opinion mattered.
With those answers, I chose not to stay angry with my brother anymore. It was not difficult at all to make this new decision, thanks to the profound new insights I had obtained in that flow of unconditional love.
Some might argue that as a toddler, I was too young to recognize the danger of that old refrigerator and that my brother was "old enough to have known better." I regard this as a limited, judgment-based assumption. He truly did not know better. He was in far too much pain and his age didn't matter. Moreover, he may have cajoled me into hiding in that old refrigerator, but I was the one who shut the door and then couldn't get it open again. Big mistake, as my guides pointed out to me very gently.
My guides also helped me realize that I had made this mistake partly because I needed and wanted very much to win my big brother's approval. So I did my best to join whole-heartedly in the game. A need for outside acceptance turned out to be my issue as well as my brother's. The love-flow revealed not just my brother to me, but myself to me. I was able to become much more aware of my own motivations and grew immensely in self-understanding.
My choice to let go of my anger instantaneously freed me to move beyond blame, even while acknowledging my emotions as well as my legitimate right to have felt my anger and resentment. Jana encouraged me to tell my brother out loud exactly what I had experienced while trapped in that refrigerator: how painful it was physically and how humiliated and hurt and rejected I had felt.
To his great credit, my brother paid close attention, because he also desired to learn and grow. After all, he was free at any point to vacate the session, but he chose to remain.
Once I, the adult, granted that little girl the dignity of full and open expression of her/my feelings, Jana could sense another shift in my emotions.
"Do you want to forgive your brother?" she asked.
Immediately I felt a sense of relief so profound that even my physical body responded with enhanced relaxation. Peace and warmth filled my entire being. I felt more at ease with myself than I could ever recall in my life up to that point, with the possible exception of a few of the minutes I had spent in the light and the love just days earlier.
Unlike my experience of the light, however, there was no inner divisiveness this time. It was easy for me to come to the decision to let go of my anger and forgive my brother because all of me--the spiritual, emotional, mental and even physical aspects of my being--willingly participated in making the decision, not just one or two parts of me. I discovered that the healing resolution process is not limited to addressing only the intellect. It is a profound spiritual and emotional experience as well.
The session was by no means over once I forgave my brother, however. It was now time to address the wounded part of me that was still trapped in that old refrigerator--trapped by judgment against self. Jana helped me through essentially the same steps, although this time it was my own two-year-old self whose eyes I looked into and whose thoughts and emotions I re-experienced.
What I learned about this little girl was to change my life in an instant. I discovered she had made two crucial judgments about herself while trapped in black and airless isolation. First, she judged that she was not worthy. And second, she judged that she was helpless.
With further assistance from Jana, whose words were directed by my guides, I was able to forgive myself for having made those two self-judgments. It was now easy for me to recognize that they were no longer my personal truth. As Jana pointed out, my entire adult life was one long demonstration of competency and determination--not helplessness. And I was far, far more worthy than I had been willing to accord myself--until that moment.
The act of forgiving self literally wiped the two self-judgments about unworthiness and helplessness out of my emotional body. Self-forgiveness freed me instantaneously to make more accurate assessments regarding my worthiness, abilities and strengths. The sense of being at peace with self and of well-being that began with forgiving my brother deepened.
After that critical session ended, I knew that something profound had changed within me. I also experienced a multitude of sensations. Utter astonishment stands out most vividly, prompted by my total lack of conscious recall of any run-in with an old refrigerator. Jana was just as surprised as I was. Before beginning the initial series of three sessions of Sunan therapy, she had no knowledge of any suppressed traumas I might have experienced.
But my guides did know. They had been with me in that refrigerator, doing their best to support me. Our guides often know us better in many ways than we do ourselves--until we start to free ourselves from the limitations of self-judgment.
That is why guides play a major role in the healing resolution process. In fact, the process was developed by a guide (a nonphysical being) who calls himself Dr. Sunan. The Sunan therapist does not decide consciously which issues a person faces. That is always determined by the person's guides, with help from the Sunan Society.
Another totally unexpected and happily welcomed event transpired when I got into my car to go home. Gone were my usual sweaty palms, thumping heart and tense muscles. I drove the 42 miles back to Dallas relaxed and at ease. It was the first time in my life that I had ever been able to drive without experiencing intense anxiety bordering on terror. In the following days I discovered, to my renewed amazement and deepening gratitude, that the constant, low-level panic I had been experiencing every day, in and out of cars, was simply gone.
"This Sunan therapy is powerful stuff," I thought to myself.
Just how powerful was revealed to me during two separate instances some months after my initial series of four sessions of Sunan therapy. The first of these instances occurred toward the end of 1986. Local media began running stories about panic disorders and phobias. As I read the lists of symptoms and indications, I finally had a description of what had made my life pure misery for probably three decades and what I had resolved in just four sessions of Sunan therapy.
It was undiagnosed panic disorder. I say "undiagnosed" because no physician or traditionally trained therapist had ever evaluated me and made such a diagnosis before I undertook Sunan therapy. But I know what I experienced every day of my life: I endured almost every symptom of panic disorder, never even realizing I had a problem.
Even worse, during 1986 my panic disorder was about to develop into full-blown agoraphobia, which very likely would have rendered me unable to leave my apartment or function on the job. That was why my guides were so insistent that Jana do something quickly to help me. They knew far better than Jana or I at that point just how much emotional and spiritual trouble I was in. And they also knew that healing resolution offered me the hope of a way out of my panic and my pain, provided I was willing to take it.
The second instance occurred on my 33rd birthday in 1987. My brother phoned--a most unusual event, since our relationship had always been distant. We didn't know each other at all and had very little contact.
He was in a very emotional state. Although I cannot remember the exact words that changed the tone of our conversation, suddenly my brother was crying. He wanted to know how his behavior toward me when we were both growing up had affected me. I recall little else from my brother when I was a child except constant putdowns and spiteful, mean-spirited teasing. Now, after all these years, he wanted to know how that behavior had made me feel.
"I felt rejected," I replied. There was no anger in my voice, and the sadness I felt was on his behalf, not mine. I had resolved this issue for myself 10 months earlier. Yet it was important for him to hear the truth of my experience in the conscious state now, just as I had shared it with him heart to heart and soul to soul before.
He began to sob. "I'm so sorry. Can you ever forgive me?"
"Consider it done," I answered, my own tears beginning to flow. This time, they were tears only of rejoicing.
We then spent more than three hours on the phone, crying together--and laughing as well. For the first time in our lives, we talked about so much more than the superficial. We shared our feelings, our hopes, our dreams and our schemes. My brother is a successful artist these days, but back then he was just beginning to have his work shown. I have always been in awe of his immense talents not just as a painter, but as a musician, a writer and as a business person. He can do anything he puts his attention to, and do it far better than most of the rest of us. Writing is my profession and my passion, so we happily found we have something in common: a keen and abiding interest in the creative process.
My brother and I still live in cities thousands of miles apart and lead separate lives. We don't even visit each other in person very often. But between us now there is a bridge of love as well as mutual respect. This came about directly as a result of Sunan healing resolution.
This type of experience after healing resolution is by no means unique to me. One graduate of the institute's internship to train Sunan therapists got a call from his ex-wife just a few days after completing his first week of training back in 1989. During that internship week, this delightful man resolved many of his significant issues with women. I don't know the details of his sessions, but they obviously included his former wife. When she called, the two were able to establish a different, more friendly relationship. He told Jana and me that he was so happy finally to let his ex-wife go in love instead of anger and pain.
Other clients of the healing resolution process have reported similar warming trends in what had been cold, troubled or even nonexistent relationships. Imagine this type of healing spreading throughout this nation and this world. Imagine people beginning to free themselves of enough pain to want to connect with each other, instead of coming together reluctantly and in fear because they have been told they "ought to." So many of us dreamed of this during the so-called radical 1960s, with its civil rights marches and antiwar protests. And most of us searched diligently but in the wrong places--outside of self--for resolution to problems that originate from within self.
The longer I work with the Sunan process of healing resolution, as client and as therapist, the more convinced I become that if we truly desire healing and peace for our world, then we go within first to heal and make peace with self. Within our judgments against self are the origins of war, of hatred, of fear, of persecution, of prejudice, of ignorance. Yet within self also are all the wisdom and the love we could ever need for healing resolution, for building bridges of love.