Yasmeen Clark says she saw dead people before she could go.
The first time was in 1961. She sat on the cold linoleum floor in the kitchen of her family home in Mosgiel, near Dunedin. Her mother peeled carrots for the evening meal and listened to The Archers on the radio.
"I didn't crawl, I scooted around on my bottom. I went for 11 months, but I didn't go when this happened, it's my strongest earliest memory," Clark says.
"I looked up and there was a woman standing in the doorway, I scooted over and pushed the door; had slammed the door of the woman. "
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She tells this memory from a room upstairs in the Pascha – Nourishing Body and Soul Center in Sydenham, Christchurch, where she runs with husband and Pascha therapist Jonathan Spark.
Clark says she was first visited in 1986 when she was 26, of her spiritual guidance and "teacher", Raman Pascha – Master Khamouri, a Persian man who lived 2000 years ago.
A booklet notes: "Raman has conveyed wisdom through his beloved Yasme for 32 years".
In 1986, Clark lived in North Canterbury and was a busy mum with two toddlers in treadmills as she began teaching meditation to other young mothers.
"In the third session I talked to my friend's husband when I lost consciousness for half an hour … When I woke up, I scrambled to remember what I was saying … they laughed and said," This man has been here talking to us for half an hour. "
She was "horrified" first.
"I thought it put me in this new age group that I didn't relate to."
For more than 30 years, Clark has made a living from sharing his "gift".
She sits under a picture of Raman, painted by a former client. Downstairs, the Aura Gift Shop offers handmade candles next to small polished decorative Buddha figures.
Sitting in a chair next to his wife, Spark, in a sharp cobalt blue suit, says that Pascha clients have included everyone from "All Blacks, Crusaders, Rastafarians, Football Mothers, and Christians" and high-flying CEOs from around the world who regularly connects with Clark via Skype.
"At some point," Spark says. "Yasmeen was booked two years in advance."
Together, Clark and Spark run seven companies, ranging from personal guided international tours to Bali, Europe and India, to hospitality companies, to group retreats at their Sundari Eco Retreat and Permaculture Farm in Okuti Valley, Little River on the Banks Peninsula.
For the past 15 years, the couple have offered a three-year Master's degree program in Pascha Therapy, which teaches "intuitive therapy", face to face or via Skype to clients abroad.
Both are directors of Pascha Therapies Ltd. Clark is the main teacher and Spark's main teacher in the Pascha Therapist Training program.
About 15 years ago, Clark also established, and chaired, a legal body overseeing the training, New Zealand Association Intuitive Pascha Therapists (NZAIPT). Spark is its Vice-President.
They have trained "at least 400 therapists" for the last 15 years, and other therapists also work from the center, each with their own customer base.
The center operates "on the edge".
"People are afraid of death. They are afraid of contact with people who are dead," Clark says.
Spark looks at his wife and nods.
"Yasmeen is extraordinarily talented in this field," he says.
"But there are people in Christchurch who probably still want to burn Yasme on the stick. It's a pretty conservative city."
"Salaam, dear hearts," Clark says, with a bright Middle Eastern accent.
This is Raman.
In flowing clothing she sits in front of the group, sitting on each side of her in the video, some armed with notes and pens to capture Raman's wisdom.
"The young man who painted Raman was a client," Clark explains. "He was in his 20s. He started listening to Persian music, Iranian radio … He was actually put on his gauge listening to one of Raman's guided meditations, and suddenly there was a light in the room, and Raman sat before the painting. He was in tears. "
During these recorded group gatherings, people gather in a circle and massage Yasme's feet as she goes on a "soul journey" to channel the old guru.
There are weekly seminars, teaching evenings and workshops based on Raman. It costs about $ 198 per. Time for a one-to-one session with Raman. Being a member of Raman's intimate life group costs $ 1990.
One year's membership of Raman's Rose Path Service, including a birthday blessing, discounts, podcasts, and a personal essay every two months, is $ 1175.
Raman has a "Facebook presence".
Spark says those seeking therapy are not required to pursue spiritual sessions with Raman.
"The two are separate. My clients range from farmers to business people, even Christians are turning up here. I meet them wherever they are. People want to be seen."
Clark agrees: & # 39; We are trying to offer both … participating in the spiritual is not mandatory.
Spark has spent 25 years teaching meditation.
"Over that time, we have seen a shift in consciousness. What we also see is that there is an increasing need for social, because the fabric of society no longer supports people," he says.
"We are totally in contrast to your normal cognitive-based therapy. We are more emotional. We do not ignore thoughts, but we seem to have balance …"
Spark describes it as "heart-centered" therapy.
"We call it Pascha therapy".
Passover was an expression describing, he says, "the spiritual guidance of the king in the time of Persia".
"Basically, someone is going out for you and offering guidance."
Clark says people often visit Pascha after trying more traditional methods.
"I know in our culture that there has been a great emphasis on getting your thoughts right, saying good affirmations and being happy, it's a very mentally driven process," Clark says.
For at least 200 years, Spark has said that there has been a "mind focus".
"We see many people really suffer because they are trying to work it mentally all the time, and if someone emphasizes their thoughts, it is not always a good place up there … Often sensitive, empathetic people are framed as anxiety but what we saying to these people is that their anxiety is often their sensitivity overloaded. "
Enthusiastically, Clark is leaning slightly forward: "People feel bad for it because they don't cope as much as everyone else seems to be …. The great word Christchurch was given. People felt & # 39 I am actually not resilient and I have to be. "People didn't feel good about it not."
Directly after the earthquakes in 2011, the Pascha Center was "incredibly busy". This has gradually slowed, but the couple says their services are still in high demand.
They see each "at least" four clients a day, five days a week. There are group classes and retreats.
"I work a lot with men," Spark says. "Yesterday I spoke to a group of 15-year-olds who no longer fit in the class … Suicide prevention work, but so hard to encapsulate .."
Clark works with people around the world: "We do a lot of Skype work with clients abroad, and have done so for years … Europe, Asia, France, Australia … I had an agreement with an executive director based in Singapore yesterday via Skype. "
"I have customers nationally who just fly to see me," Spark says.
EARTHQUAKE PREDICTION & # 39;
Jack * turned to the center of therapy three years ago.
"I ended up working on their spiritual retreat in Okuti Valley," he says.
"It's fascinating. Some of the people involved are really nice people, but it's just so weird. I went for therapy, I didn't expect to talk to an old Persian guru. It's alternative therapy I think you could say."
When he sought help, he described his mental health as "bad".
"She records everything," Jack says. "So she can't be held responsible for what Raman says." It's not her, it's Raman …
"Essentially, they have good business and repeat business from people who believe they are truly spiritual gentlemen … I had doubts, but if you ask questions, you will be proclaimed. It was pretty bad for me .. "I was very close to suicide at some point. Now that I'm out, I'm all good."
Clark says a man approached the couple for support because he had "nowhere else to live".
"We gave him free accommodation for several months to support him in exchange for gardening, which is no different for workers or others who live and work in the country," she says.
"Before long, we began to realize that this person was quite unstable … We went beyond helping him establish his business and career, including giving him a large sum of money … He asked to speak to Raman for help and guidance in exchange for gardening in our home. It was a great relief as he moved away from our property. "
Linda says many followers are "nice new age people".
"I'm intelligent and highly educated …", she says. "Being involved is still amazing to me.
"Vulnerable people seek therapy … by a woman who claims to channel the spirit of a Persian guru. How can a person without formal education in therapy create a body, call it the NZ Institute of Intuitive and Pascha Therapy when it is not a legitimate body? "
Clark responds: "I've been the channel of a Persian magic for the past 32 years. This woman was a trainee and client who was very demanding of our time …. We have NZQA Adult Education Qualifications Level 5 and an association is a legal body. "
Linda says when she asked questions about Yasmen's authenticity, she was "excluded".
Although she left years ago, she is still "concerned about what could happen if she speaks".
Clark says, "It would be good if people came to us to complain so we could solve any problem they might have. We have a formal complaint procedure."
Pascha has established himself in Christchurch over three decades. At that time, Kate says members have come from all walks of life, from "lawyers to gardeners to prominent business leaders and sportsmen".
"You would really be surprised who was involved in Pascha, it's not just hippies or weird," she says. "I knew people I respected were involved and it gave me more authority for me."
Kate attended Pascha for more than 10 years.
After earthquakes, she says some members actively began building self-sufficient homes in "safe places" proposed by Raman.
"Little River is the latest place."
Kate nervously toys with her coffee cup.
"You know that Yasme predicted the earthquake in Christchurch, right?" she says,
"Long before the earthquakes Raman told her that Christchurch would have a big earthquake," Kate says. "When the earthquakes happened, it really cemented that she was a spiritual master."
Spark says Raman predicted the earthquakes in Christchurch.
"Raman warned us 10 years earlier about the earthquake," Spark says. "But he's not a fortune teller, he's a teacher. One of his most consistent lessons is & # 39; you're love & # 39; and & # 39; the answers are within you & # 39;"
From Spain, former All Black and Crusader Norm Maxwell say that Pascha therapy had a positive impact on his life.
It's 1:00 in Spain, Maxwell cares for a cough. He's just returned home after a nine-hour bus trip to a rugby match.
He describes Clark and Spark as friends and helped more than a decade to fund Sundari, the retreat they now call home.
Maxwell first attended the Pascha Center in 2002 while being an All Black.
"I've known Jonathan and Yasmeen since then," he says. "I would go there with friends and another rugby player whose partner was learning from them. I met them that way."
Maxwell had "many" sessions with Raman in a hectic time in his life.
"Life in the public eye is not easy," he says. "For me, my life became very busy. When you have a lot to do, especially as a professional sports person, there are lots of things that pull you in different directions … Lifestyle is very fast, and it can be overwhelming at times."
Troubled by injury, Maxwell says Raman helped him cure "holistically".
"It's hard to explain that talking to Raman was interesting to me."
Raman taught him how to get in touch with his feelings and "heal his whole self".
"One of the things I really appreciated learning from Yasme, Jonathan and Raman, was how to work with your feelings and become clearer with your intuition," he says. "It is an important tool I think we all need to restore more with our hearts and how we feel what you know. We are not supported to understand what can be a lot of judgment about feelings. "
Maxwell, who left All Blacks in 2004, says his injuries caused him a lot of discomfort.
"I was trying to get my body right to play, and I discovered that I also had to cure myself emotionally because it was connected," he says.
"One of the things to be a professional rugby player is that it's a final career. It comes to an end. It forces you to look at many different things. I think I've been fortunate to get that support. I have received from many people around the world, including the Pascha Center. "
What Maxwell appreciates most about Pascha is that Raman has a golden rule: "ask yourself first".
"Raman encourages you to learn and understand your own innate tools," Maxwell says. "Many people think outside themselves. We can help support and inspire each other, but at the end of the day you are your own doctor and healer."
Raman helped him reconnect with his intuition, something he says we lose as a society, as it is not something we actively teach as children.
Maxwell says he had little to do with Spark and Clark in the "early days" more than 15 years ago, and he "still holds a lot of gratitude" to them.
But his current project, The Aotearoa Heart Project, is independent and concentrates on "very practical life skills" for the growing needs of young people.
"I created a program that was as neutral as possible in every aspect, respecting and working with all religions and ideologies, even though I'm not affiliated with anyone," he says.
Maxwell says the important thing about spirituality is that it is "very personal".
"For some, it can be so simple to walk on the beach or surf or even hunt in a forest. Some feel a connection to Jesus, Allah, Buddha or any of the other thousands of deities," he says. "For some it is possible to give and love. For me it is important not to judge the experience of others, to judge whether you are more true or real than the other. It is a personal connection to be respected."
"At the end of the day, I think the question to be asked is & # 39; if your connection is harmonious, it is supportive, it is loving to yourself and to everything, plants, animals and people? I personally Don't subscribe to any kind of ideology or religion that I find restrictive to me personally, but I respect everyone else's right to believe what they choose in relation to others. "
Spark describes Maxwell as a "very cordial guy".
"We supported a number of teams during that period," Clark says. "It was about five years from 2002."
Spark smiles: "At one point I had two-thirds of the crusades come to see me and half of the All Blacks …. Some of the people who are leading the Crusaders now are old clients of ours. We had an influence, I assume to get them to recognize the importance of the heart. "
The first rugby game Clark watched was during the World Cup in July 2003 when Australia played New Zealand in Christchurch.
"It was a little ironic because neither of us sees rugby. The first rugby game I saw was sitting next to Norm because he was on the bench with injuries and he explained the game to me."
"I work with a couple of coaches now," Spark says. We worked with the first group of professionals, they were like & # 39; all we've known is rugby & # 39;. These were guys who changed New Zealand rugby … "
To show his appreciation, Maxwell Spark gave a special gift.
"He gave me his last test shirt, it still has blood on it."
& # 39; CULT & # 39; LEADER?
Okuti Valley, a trip in the road before the Banks Peninsula Peninsula Little River, is a lush wooded place where nature is regulated.
A stingless exit leads to a reserve of stone tables, which is a popular destination for family picnics in the summer.
Birds are abundant and the lowland forest boasts kahikatea, ttara, māhoe and kānuka.
It is not an unlikely location for a spiritual retreat.
In September 2007, Hawk's Crag, Clark and Spark, along with their "friends and original investors" – bought the founder Maxwell and Macpac Bruce McIntyre – 42 acres of built-in bush-covered hill in the Okuti Valley.
It was originally Pascha Health and Healing Retreat, but now it is known as Sundari Eco Retreat and Permaculture Farm.
McIntyre and Maxwell are no longer associated with the company. McIntyre lives in Little River and his wife, Tomo Takaku, trained as a Passover therapist and worked from the Sydenham Center.
The locals say that as many as 15 families in connection with Pascha have moved into the area in recent years.
A long-term resident described "Paschas" as the "Talk of LIttle River".
"The area tends to attract alternative lifestyles, and the managers seem pleasant enough, but the farmers in the area are not so happy with what they consider to be a cult moving into the area. From some of Paschas they believe there are foreigners in the middle of the earth. "
Clark and Spark have owned a retreat property in Okuti Valley, Little River, since 2007.
"After the earthquakes, we moved to a private little farm in 2011, where we ran out of stock and a number of rescue animals," Clark says. "About this time, some clients and people we knew also bought Little River, and a large church group also bought a Little River property where a number of people lived in the country. From the few people who actually asked us about our life and what we do they admitted they were confused with this church group into. We have loved staying in Little River for the past seven years … a great haven for our own busy lives. "
As for foreigners: "We cannot be held responsible for the comments that others who may know us make their faith."
In three decades, the couple has been accused of being a cult many times, Clark says.
"The things that have been thrown at us" Sugar Spark, run a hand through his hair. "People who are nervous, ignorant and ignorant … cling to their own ideals."
He is reminiscent of a "fun interaction".
"We live in Little River, I picked up a guy who was looking for a trip back. He said" Have you heard of the cult that's moved in here? "Siger Spark.
"I said" Oh yes, I've heard about it. "I said to him," It sounds pretty scary. "He said" Yes, I know. They are up to all sorts of things. "I said," What kind of thing do you know about it? But he couldn't actually say anything. He had a conversation with me without any idea that I was the leader of the cult. . "
People are "afraid of the unknown".
"It turned out that people were mixed up," he says. "A church had bought land out there. After the earthquakes, a few people we knew had also bought land there and suddenly there was this Passover group, which is then a cult."
The mind says, "I believe it when I see it," Clark says, "The heart says," I'll see it when I believe it. "Many people are in" I believe in it when I see it "fashion, but they don't come to it, it doesn't fit their paradigm."
Clark says she has people with appointments waiting for her: "We're just a private business. People aren't tithe."
Spark smiles: "We pay our taxes."
HEART FIELD MEETING
Clark and Spark have been together for 24 years, but have experienced "many past lives together".
They met at Sparks mother's suggestion.
"I remember saying," No, mother, I don't want to meet your gray-haired clairvoyant friend, "remembers Spark, who was visiting from London at that time.
"I watched television when Yasmeen and her friend arrived. She wasn't what I expected at all, she was 30-something and beautiful. We talked for hours."
When the couple had dated for a couple of years, they saw the film The sixth Sense, starring Bruce Willis.
"I got into the car afterwards and burst into tears," Clark says.
Spark notes that the movie's plot is "similar to" Clark's childhood experiences.
"I had done many things, it wasn't always fun. I went to the family doctor, child psychologist," Clark says. "It's not always easy because there is such fear in our society. If you see these things … you are different in a very real way."
She was originally involved in spiritualist churches in Christchurch, but was abandoned because she was told that she "should stop" when she was pregnant.
"I said & # 39; I'm just pregnant, it still works & # 39;."
Mainstream religions are "dying out," says Spark: "We've been out on the fringe for a long time. What we see is more and more people are starving. They know they're part of something more, people ask what really happens when we die? "
Clark adds: "We do not sell a philosophy or religion."
Together they employ 30 employees.
"We take care of people, we take care of our employees, and it goes on. We have a business partnership in India now, we create personal trips to people," Spark says.
They enjoy touring on motorcycles.
"In India you don't go fast, 70 or 80 km, cows and dogs on the road. You look more and smell more," Clark says.
"People may have sometimes projected the cult category because people don't know where to place us in our culture. But when we go to India …"
Sparks turn their hands to their legs: "Oh my God, Yasme is treated like a goddess in India … people stop and kneel at her feet."
When Spark first met Clark, he says he also met Raman.
"I knew I was with the first genuine unconditional love I had felt …. Raman said a few important things to me … from that moment my whole mind changed."
When his wife channels Raman, she is "extremely graceful".
"It's a wonderful love affair between her and Raman," he says.
"I have often joked that I'm probably the only man happy to share his wife with another."