THE LAMP OF THE MESSAGE
A Journal for the International Community of Cherags
Dear Cherags and Candidates,
Heartfelt greetings and blessings to you! We are pleased to send you the first edition of The Lamp Of The Message. This will be a quarterly newsletter sent to Cherags and Cherag candidates as a means to keep you informed of new developments in the unfoldment of the Universal Worship, and as a forum for the exchange of inspiration, information, news, and ideas. I would like to extend special thanks to Hamid Touchon of Pagosa Springs, Colorado for his inspiration and dedication which make this newsletter possible. He will serve as the general compiler and editor.
It seems like some time since I have been in communication with many of you. As some of you know, I have spent the last four years in intensive study toward a Ph.D. degree (as well as working and raising a family). My primary concentration has been on learning as much as I can about both historical and contemporary thought and experience in religion, philosophy and literature as a means to understand better the Message in Our Time and its possible unfoldment in the future. This has been an extremely rewarding time of study which has greatly deepened my appreciation of the Message and the vision of the Universal Worship. Part of my concentration in the future will be to share the fruits of this research through writing and teaching. I am convinced more than ever that there is a new paradigm (or new model or new myth) emerging in our time. It is the perspective of unity, spiritual liberty, and human development which is the essence of the Message.
Hazrat Inayat Khan saw the Universal Worship as a central vehicle for this Message and left it to us and the coming generations to actually bring the vision into manifestation. This is the exciting and challenging work which most engages my life. With the completion of my course work I will have significant additional time and energy to devote to the Universal Worship concentration.
There are a number of new projects I hope to see launched in the coming months. The first is to begin publishing a Cherag Manual which will be issued in installments. The second is to revive The Universel journal which I feel is essential for disseminating useful information and dialoguing in writing on issues related to the development of the Universal Worship. I would welcome any person(s) who would like to assist in the editing or production aspects of resuming this publication. Finally, I have several scriptural texts and other materials I would like to publish and make available to Cherags. We will be sending out more information on these as they develop.
During the last several years I have had the privilege of working with many Cherags and candidates in training programs either at the Sufi Order leaders meetings or in local workshops. These trainings have been wonderfully rewarding both for myself and those attending. We have all learned more about the vision of the Universal Worship and we have created some deeply moving Universal Worship services. I would like to expand this training work in the coming year. My hope is that I can visit each region of the country over the next year for weekend Cherag training programs and to connect more closely with those doing the work locally. My schedule now permits more travel so I would like to offer this service. If you feel there might be an interest in Cherag training in your region please contact me.
One reason for the emphasis on training and closer contact is my deep conviction that the greatest work we are doing right now is on the "inner planes" by developing an akasha (an accommodation or thought-form) which will allow the vision of the Universal Worship to manifest more concretely in the world. The strength of our work resides both in our individual realization and ability to carry out the work on a high level, and in the strength of the network of Cherags we create through coming together and exchanging our inspiration and experience. I am convinced we need to cultivate a stronger esprit de corps for this work to develop vigorously in the future. This will be one of my concentrations in the coming years.
I look forward to communicating with you through this newsletter and as we see each other in person. If I can assist you in any way in your work please feel free to write or call. I send you my best wishes and support. I will close with the words of Murshid which have been the guiding attunement of my work with the Universal Worship: “Our enthusiasm is our worship, our desire is our prayer, our eagerness is divine impulse, our hope is the promise of God. We have only to move and all will be done.”
Peace and blessings, Prajapati O'Neill