Peter Skelskey, president of Eckankar and a member of its board of trustees, is a world traveler, lecture, and a member of the clergy at the Temple of ECK — Eckankar’s world spiritual center in Chanhassen, Minn. As president, he assists the spiritual leader of Eckankar, Sri Harold Klemp, with bringing the ECK teachings to people in more than 130 countries.
Skelskey spoke with The Edge at this time to highlight the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Eckankar, and the 25th anniversary of the Temple of ECK, a place of worship for all people who love God.
These events will be celebrated on October 23-25 at the 2015 ECK Worldwide Seminar at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The seminar will include workshops, roundtables and spiritual discussions, as well as a main program on Saturday evening featuring the spiritual leader of Eckankar, Sri Harold Klemp. “These seminars are always an uplifting and life-changing experience for me,” Skelskey said.
The public also is invited to an open house at the Temple of ECK from noon to 4 p.m. on October 23-24. The temple is located at 7450 Powers Blvd., Chanhassen, Minn.
What is the purpose of Eckankar and the ECK teachings?
Peter Skelskey: Eckankar teaches us how to recognize and accept God’s love in our lives. We learn how to accept this love fully and to be a vehicle for God’s love.
All people are Soul, and we are all children of God, regardless of whether we are on a spiritual or religious path or on no path. We learn to respect each other as Soul with unconditional love.
God is love, and, as Soul, we are too. Our main purpose is receiving and giving God’s love to all life.
We learn how the spiritual laws of the worlds of creation work, and how we can work with them to function as a co-worker with life.
Eckankar, as a religion, provides the means for an individual to find more meaning in life, and to understand what God’s love is through a gradual unfoldment in spiritual consciousness. This unfoldment eventually leads to ending the rounds of birth and death on Earth known as reincarnation.
Tell us about the history of the ECK teachings and the Light and Sound of God.
PS: Throughout the history of mankind, there have always been highly spiritual beings known as the Vairagi Masters who have taught those Souls who wanted to know: Who am I? Why am I here? These Souls were ready to know about the teachings of the Light and Sound of God. The teachings were most often taught one-on-one, Master with student.
In the middle of the 20th century, an openness in society’s consciousness arose. Paul Twitchell, the modern-day founder of Eckankar, was chosen to bring the ECK teachings to the public for people who were searching for more of God’s love in their lives. This marked the beginning of Eckankar in today’s era. Harold Klemp, the current spiritual leader of Eckankar, is the author of over 100 books on living life in the Sound and Light of God.
The Light and Sound is the essence of God, which is the ECK. They are the two parts of creation that bring life all together. They are also known as the Holy Spirit, or divine love.
In Eckankar, we learn to contemplate and inwardly contact the inner Light and Sound of God to help us in our daily life.
The Light and Sound help us to better understand who we are and why we’re here. Eventually, we become aware that we are a part of this Light and Sound of God, as an atom of divine love. We realize this lifetime is a journey of experience, and we learn how to live in this world and be a part of God’s creation, serving all of life.
Our main goal is to gain spiritual freedom from this physical world and move upward on our journey home to God.
What distinguishes Eckankar from other religious movements?
PS: In Eckankar, we have the Living ECK Master, a living teacher. There has been a Living ECK Master since the beginning of mankind on earth. He keeps the teachings of ECK, the Light and Sound of God, pure. He brings the truth of this teaching to fit the consciousness of the world as it is during the period he is the Living ECK Master. Today, this teacher is Sri Harold Klemp. “Sri” is a title of respect.
His full title is the Mahanta, the Living ECK Master. The Mahanta is the inner part of him that teaches us during our contemplations and can take us on a spiritual journey during our dreams. The Living ECK Master is the outer part of him that teaches through talks and writings.
What is Soul Travel, and how does an individual who practices the art of Soul Travel benefit from it in his or her daily life?
PS: Soul Travel is an experience in contemplation during a spiritual exercise or in a dream experience, where you are lifted up above the physical element. You then see life from a greater perspective and see what is the next step to take that will help you in your spiritual unfoldment and/or in your daily life.
Soul Travel helps you lose your fear of life in the physical world as you see how you also have life on other planes of existence. In your personal life, or at work, school, etc., Soul Travel gives you a sense of calmness and an understanding that life is much greater than just this physical existence — that, as Soul, life is eternal.
Through Soul Travel you gain experience in the heavenly worlds. You get some idea of the many different levels of heaven. This inner experience gives you a conscious connection with all life. It helps you experience life with joy and the understanding that God’s love is everywhere and we all exist because of God’s love for Soul.
Tell us about the HU chant that you use in Eckankar.
PS: The HU chant, or HU song, is a simple spiritual exercise that anyone can use to raise their consciousness to experience God’s love.
The HU is the most ancient name for God, not God Itself. When HU is sung out loud or quietly to yourself, it opens you to help from the Holy Spirit.
When you sing HU, first fill your heart with the love of God. The HU becomes a love song to God, a spiritual exercise, or unconditional prayer.
While singing HU, you are not asking God for anything. You’re saying that you are willing to accept whatever needs to be in your life. You’re saying, “Not my will, but Thy will be done.” This is true prayer, allowing God and the Holy Spirit to enter your life and lift you to a state of solace.
The HU is the most precious gift that God has given to each of us as Soul.
The HU can be used by anyone of any faith who is in pain or in need of love, comfort, or spiritual guidance. The HU can heal a broken heart and lift the consciousness of all who sing it.
Is there a goal for ECKists in terms of spiritual growth, such as enlightenment or total awareness?
PS: One of the main goals is Self-Realization. We discover that we are Soul. We don’t HAVE a soul; we ARE Soul. We learn the validity of life, that life is a continuum. We reincarnate, gaining in enlightenment and awareness, until we ultimately become God-Realized and a co-worker with God. We become simply a vehicle for the Holy Spirit, which is the Light and Sound of God. We live our lives according to the laws of divine love, which are unconditional.
We learn, as a vehicle for God’s love, to do God’s will. This is revealed to us as we surrender our beingness to God. We reach a point where it is most loving, most desirable, and most joyful to live in God’s love. Our desires in life become desireless love. We do whatever Spirit would have us do in service to all life.
I understand that Eckankar does not proselytize, but presents its teachings to the individual to make a choice to study them or not. How many people currently practice the teachings of Eckankar?
PS: Eckankar’s membership numbers have continued to rise over the years, and we now have ECKists in over 130 countries worldwide. There are also many people around the world who have benefited from the ECK teachings and remain members of their religion. This is a main benefit of the ECK teachings. They can help people establish a better relationship with God regardless of what religion they follow.
For more information on Eckankar, visit the Temple of Eck at 7450 Powers Blvd., Chanhassen, Minn., call 952.380.2200 and visit www.eckankar.org.