The Truth Of Who We Are
By Liane Mandalis
This is the story of my family and I and how we found Universal Medicine (UM) and the circumstances that were in place to deter us.
11 years ago my partner Chris and I had moved to the Byron hinterland from Sydney. Having tired of the fast pace of the city life and the increasing crime and violence in the area in which we were living, we found solace in a gorgeous rural property amongst the rolling hills and mists of Possum Creek, NSW.
This place afforded us the much needed space and quiet for me to recuperate as I had become very unwell in the last few years due to a culmination of tragic circumstances and the ensuing undealt with trauma that was surfacing in the way of panic attacks and debilitating exhaustion. I was not coping with life and wanted a place where I could hide from what I perceived to be the ‘onslaught’ of the world.
Long before I even heard of Universal Medicine or Serge Benhayon, when I first moved to the area, I remember going to a garage sale on my street and buying a few items from a family that were moving house. I would later come to know them as Lance Martin, his then wife Anna Douglass and their young daughter.
Chris and I enjoyed the slower paced country living offered as well as being a part of the Bangalow community. We were regulars at the local coffee shop where we were warmly welcomed each day by the staff that included Sarah Baldwin (now Karam) and Kyla Baldwin, who would later become prime targets in Lance’s hate campaign.
When I was pregnant with our first child, a friend and neighbour invited me to come along to some talks that Serge Benhayon was presenting on Friday nights in Byron Bay. Although my interest was roused I did not feel to go. I had heard that this guy was the ‘local guru’ and this I had heard in unfavourable light. It was not something I wanted to get ‘caught up’ in.
During the course of the next few years, this friend would occasionally ask me if I would like to join her. I remember replying to her “It’s a no for now but keep asking me because one day I will”. True to form I attended a presentation on Esoteric Medicine one evening and was surprised with how simply some great truths were presented in a very practical and tangible way.
I remember Chris felt a bit nervous upon my return no doubt thinking ‘is she going to join yet another weird group?’ as I had a long history of endlessly searching for truth (or to be more honest, hiding from it) through the various new age modalities, of which the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner played a big part. We could say, to be fair, that Chris was still bearing the scars of all that I had imposed on him from this mentally and emotionally driven way of living.
For example, due to being a staunch vegan for 15 years, although I would never tell Chris directly he shouldn’t eat meat, I would make sure that he felt guilty for doing so, especially if he ‘dared’ to eat it in my presence.
I can now feel how abusive and manipulative it is to impose these sorts of beliefs upon others and also that my choice to not eat meat was not so much based on what supported the health of my body (I did get quite anaemic for awhile there) but more so was an emotionally fed reaction to the ‘horror’ of the world and yet another sign that I was not coping with life. It also supported my choice to not live fully grounded in the world.
Then there was the reiki. I had no sense of the strength within myself and reiki was something that I felt gave me this strength by seemingly empowering me to change and having the power to ‘change’ others. Again, deeply imposing and harmful behaviour as it was done under the pretence that ‘I have something you do not and now I will heal you with what I have and you don’t’. So we can see why Chris was perhaps a little apprehensive upon my return from what he considered at the time to be ‘a talk by the local guru guy’.
I started reading Serge’s books and something in me just woke up. Now – I am well aware at this point that those who are actively opposed to these teachings will say – ‘this is the point where she got brainwashed’, but I know to the bones of me and beyond that something BIG was stirring in me, awakening from a centuries-long slumber and it felt entirely different to anything I had ever come across before.
I started to regularly attend Universal Medicine presentations and it turned out that Chris had no problem with this as he could see it was making a visible difference in my general demeanour as were my regular counselling and healing sessions with Alison Greig, a qualified Esoteric practitioner.
Slowly my debilitating exhaustion and mood swings (which had intensified now having a young child to parent) dissipated and I became more settled within myself. What changed the most was my tendency to ‘fight the world’. I had lived life from teenage years to this point as a fervent punk/hippy/vegan activist in total reaction to life and the people in it, and now I was slowly but surely becoming more at ease with myself and those around me.
So marked was this transformation that further along the track Chris and a few other of my close friends who wanted to know what I was doing that was having such a positive effect on me, followed suit and began seeing Alison Greig for sessions and eventually choosing by their own free will to also attend some of the Universal Medicine presentations.
However, prior to this Chris was working in Bangalow and had begun to catch wind of the rumours about town regarding Universal Medicine (Lance Martin and Anna Douglass had just separated). To be fair, I was also a newly awakening student in the sense that I was ‘all talk with no walk’. Meaning that I was very good at speaking knowledge and feeling very inspired by what I had heard, yet without applying it to daily living and thus converting it into a lived wisdom. This was the only opening required for the lies and gossip around town to gain traction and in no time at all, Chris was in complete reaction to anything I spoke regarding Universal Medicine and I was in complete defence and retaliation to this.
What followed was a period whereby it was a bit touch and go with us. Lance was upping the ante in town and our beloved Bangalow had become a cesspool of poisonous gossip with people I deeply cared for whispering behind each other’s backs and finger pointing as to who ‘was a part’ of UM and who wasn’t.
It was really ugly and quite an eye opener for me to watch a peaceful little town become so consumed and thus divided by lies and gossip.
Chris admits to his part in becoming embroiled in the shenanigans, loudly mouthing off whenever given the opportunity to do so, about the ‘next weird thing’ that ‘UMer’s’ believed in.
At this time, due to his separation from Anna, Lance had taken to sleeping over a few nights in Chris’s workplace due to being friends with the owner of this business. It wasn’t long before Lance found out that Chris’s partner (myself) was ‘involved with Unimed’ and although the two have never met in person, Lance’s phone number dutifully found its way to Chris.
To put this into perspective, Lance was busy with what seemed to be a recruiting of ‘abandoned husbands and partners’ whose spouses had ‘run off with the local cult and guru’. This notion was far from true, it was what Lance would have others believe and became the fabric of town gossip. It was a convenient replacement for appropriately dealing with what was arising for each of them to feel as their wives and partners became more empowered within themselves, and were able to say no to abusive behaviours they had let lie in their relationships.
Chris was somewhat taken aback by this offer to join with whatever Lance Martin was organising and if we are perfectly honest, he did initially feel the sway to make the call to see what it was all about. However, he was also quick to see the situation for what it was and made his own assessment that Lance Martin was a man consumed by unresolved hurt whose mission to ‘bring down’ Universal Medicine was fuelled by his own personal fury and not a deep concern for the well-being of others.
So before he could get completely hooked he was able to rationally question himself as to why he would stand between the woman he loved and something that was (finally) allowing her to feel more settled in herself and in the world. And even though he did not agree with a lot of what Serge was presenting, or more to the point, just didn’t want to hear about it at the time, he could not and would not deny the love and care we had for each other despite all our wobbles, nor the solid foundation of support we had built together over the years. Put simply, he was not willing to jeopardise our relationship for the sake of a man who appeared to not be coping with the demise of his own.
*Important to note here is that it was not Universal Medicine causing the friction between us but our own personal unresolved hurts that subsequently were fuelled by the actions of Lance Martin and the absolute lies Esther Rockett was publishing on her blog.
Immediately after the birth of our second child, I was approached ‘randomly’ in a local shopping complex by a local journalist, Jane Hansen of the Daily Telegraph, asking if I would like to be a part of her story on babies. I drew no issue with Jane Hansen at this time, she was invited into our home to take pictures of us and interview us about our experience of our birth and new baby.
It was only in the subsequent year when she did a hatchet job on reporting a follow up to our experience and indirectly used Chris and I as spokespersons for her vigilant pro-vaccination stance without our permission, that we began to feel like pawns in a game we had not agreed to. With no ill intent on my part but also not wanting to let this lie, I addressed Jane on this lack of integrity and irresponsibility in the blog Jane Hansen and Junk Food Journalism – My Meal with the Media.
Around this time, Jane Hansen was also responsible for some very biased reporting concerning Universal Medicine as seen through the lenses of the disgruntled Bangalow men mentioned previously. Albeit a bit naïve at the time, I contacted Jane to let her know there was another side to the coin assuming she was not aware and she let me know in no uncertain terms that she was indeed well aware of both sides.
I must admit this shocked me somewhat because in my world, if you are aware of both sides, you present both sides so that your readers can draw their own conclusions. It was then that the whole charade that these people were engaging with to sully the name of Universal Medicine became so apparent to me.
I mention all this because we are a family that has ended up seemingly randomly positioned in the thoroughfare of all this although it was by no conscious seeking to be so on our part. Just circumstances that we found ourselves in and situations that arose that allowed us to see clearly the game being played here by those that seek to taint the reputation of what I consider to be an exemplary organisation that has so much to offer each and every one of us by supporting us to live more vibrant and full lives, causing no harm to anyone, despite what is being said contrary to this by those that seek to detract from it.
I have never met Esther Rockett but I know she will be reading this astutely so she can perhaps dismiss it as ‘boring brainwashed ramble by a devotee of Serge’s’ and perhaps proclaim that Alison Greig has ‘hypnotised’ my friends and I through wielding some mysterious (fictional) power or ‘Svengali-like sway,’ and with a proverbial microscope in her ‘gloved’ hand, may well proclaim from her chosen dominion in cyberspace that she cannot be bothered to read it and perhaps suggesting again as she did after my last piece, that my eloquence has been given to me because I have been told what to write with the aid of Serge and or Alison seemingly because I am not capable of voicing for myself, direct from my body, my personal experience of this abuse.
Of course we know nothing could be further from the truth.
This is 100% me and this is 100% my gorgeous family and we are not the sort of people that can be intimidated to hide in the shadows for shame of the gossip being spread.
For we would far rather be condemned for living what is true, than be left alone for living what is not. And while I know that sharing this and ‘exposing’ myself and my family in this way has the potential to make us a target for ridicule and attack, I know that what we live is far greater than anything that can be put in place to stop us living it. And this is being lived with enormous gratitude to the depth of support and non-imposed guidance of Serge Benhayon, Alison Greig, Universal Medicine and all the absolutely exquisite people that have become a part of our lives in the last five years.
Look at our family photo. This was taken spontaneously by my sister on my iPhone at a funeral of a much loved family member in July 2017. All my family were there as I have deep and loving bonds with my family, as does my partner. And although we had gathered under these circumstances and there was an undeniable shared feeling of sadness that comes from knowing you will never see and hold that person again, there was also for us the joy of being with family, supporting each other and being able to celebrate and honour the member whose life had come to a natural close.
This photo is not photoshopped and for me it captures the feeling we hold true to as a family, that no matter what life seems to ‘throw our way’ (the circumstances that we attract) there is a way to not change or go under in the overwhelm of emotion but hold steady with the truth of who we are and the absolute joy that comes from sharing this with the world, knowing that every other person is equally made of this love and this light.
What our personal experience highlights here is that as abusive as all these lies can be, they can only stick if you give them a surface to stick to. And thus it is the integrity of the way we live and our true connections and relationships with each other, that provides the solid footing that will ensure we are not bowled over by this force and the harm it seeks to cause. Had Chris and I not taken responsibility for the part we played, and let our hurts get the better of us, we could have very well ended up in separation.
And so in closing I would like to make the point very clear that it is not Universal Medicine that splits up families, it’s a lack of love being lived that does. This is the same poison that fuels all forms of separation amongst us – the lies, the gossip, the comparisons, jealousy, judgments, condemnations and reactions that prevent us getting on with what needs to be done and that is simply returning to a more authentic way of expressing the truth of who we are.
With love from Us All,
Liane, Chris, Ruby and Lulu
- Bignall, P. (2011, February 9). 42:The answer to life, the universe and everything, The Independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/history/42-the-answer-to-life-the-universe-and-everything-2205734.html