A long time member dedicates his life to service and lives successfully with a brain tumor beyond the predicted time.
Eric Roth was born with a liver disease that affected his muscles. He had his spleen removed at age four and suffered from liver failure in his thirties. A softening of the hip bone required a crutch for walking.
Despite his illness, Eric was able to live a relatively normal life, serving in the Peace Corps in Fiji. Eventually he was led to Johrei. He studied in Japan for two years at the Sacred Grounds in Atami. He also enjoyed a career as a high school science teacher. He was a Johrei member for thirty years.
In 1991, Eric experienced difficulties speaking during a faculty meeting. His physician ordered a neurological examination, a CT scan and an MRI, which showed a mass the size of an egg in the left frontal area of his brain, near the speech center. A biopsy showed that the mass was a malignant tumor.
Three different surgeons made three different treatment recommendations: surgery and one-time radiation, radiation only, and radiation and chemotherapy. The most experienced surgeon volunteered, however, that none of these approaches would extend Eric’s life more than five years. Eric chose only to receive Johrei and to give service at the Los Angeles Center. Sometimes he received Johrei four times a day. By this time, other symptoms such as severe forgetfulness, headaches and articulation difficulties had appeared.
In December of 1991, Eric went to Japan to receive intensive Light. He also met specifically with Rev. Nakahara, a very sincere channel. She told him he would be all right, that he should concentrate on helping as many other people as possible. After his trip, Eric felt intermittent improvement of his symptoms. He continued receiving Johrei at home and receiving and giving at the Los Angeles Center.
In the fall of 1992, he experienced a high fever for several days, followed by diarrhea. His symptoms subsequently diminished. A follow-up examination was conducted the following February, showing that his tumor had shrunk to half its original size.
Eric eventually moved to Tucson, where he made many friends and gave thousands of hours of Johrei over several years. Much of his vocabulary returned, and he was able to take care of himself and to encourage other people. He died peacefully, having lived well, long past the predicted time.
Eric had befriended Harriet Peterson, who became a Johrei member and was able to be of service for over two years before she made her transition. Here is her story.
In 1989 I fell and injured my back, cracking some ribs. I had to wear a brace around my rib cage and chest that affected my breathing, so three weeks after the accident I was put on oxygen. Around that time, I also lost about eighty percent of my hearing. Altogether I was in hospitals and nursing homes for eighteen months with continuous pain and breathing difficulties.
Eventually my six doctors at two hospitals diagnosed me as being terminal, and I was released to my own apartment with long-term health care with an oxygen concentrator and a mobile oxygen tank. The next year, I met Eric Roth in the laundry room of the apartment building. He noticed that I was struggling and offered to give me Johrei. I was desperate to feel better so I agreed, and Eric began coming to my apartment regularly for three and a half months to channel to me.
After about thirty Johrei sessions the hearing in my left ear returned, my back pain disappeared and my breathing improved so much that I no longer needed oxygen and was able to go out again. I received my focal point at the age of eighty-two.
Eric and Harriet became best of friends, and Eric visited her often in the nursing home where she was eventually placed near the end of her life, as she had no other friends or family in Tucson. Before he made his transition, Eric asked Doris Adams to take over visiting Harriet. Here is Doris’s testimonial:
I moved in July 2010 to a new apartment. On that day my adult schizophrenic son had to have surgery to remove a mass from his leg, and on that day I came down with a very painful case of shingles, probably due to all the stress. The rash started under my ribs on the right side and spread around to my back, ending next to my spine. I experienced intense pain all over the right side of my upper body. The rash finally went away after three months, but the pain lingered for a year and a half, especially where the rash was but also in my shoulder.
I continued to receive Johrei regularly but had to ask for very short sessions because it seemed to intensify the pain. I began to feel very much alone in this experience, as if everything was too hard for me, that I had no support from family, and that all my regular activities were not helping me. I continued all this time to also go to church, a support group, exercise class, and to eat well, buy my despair was increasing. All the difficult themes of my life seemed to come to the surface in my mind, including my mother’s death when I was a baby, my abusive marriage, and the loss of relationship with all my sons because of money and emotional problems.
Finally, one day I observed my minister giving Johrei to another member and concentrating on the spine. He had been experiencing a deep purification and this seemed to help him. I asked her if we could try the same kind of Johrei on my spine and she agreed.
She asked that same member to give me Johrei intensively to my spine and we set aside an hour for the session. About halfway through, I began to convulse and cry on a deeper level than I ever remember crying in my lifetime. It seemed that I could barely sit up and I felt totally devastated. The Johrei giver and another member took very good care of me, showing me a lot of love and support and waiting for my emotional pain to work itself out. This took about an hour, with them sitting very close to me, hugging me and bringing me hot tea.
I went home and fell into a deep sleep. When I awoke I was still shaken. This feeling lingered for about two days, and eventually subsided along with some of my physical pain. After another similar Johrei session, about half of the pain is gone. Emotionally I am completely recovered from the feelings of trauma that surfaced and am feeling stronger, more positive and hopeful. I am profoundly grateful.
Doris used to travel yearly to New Zealand, and that year she asked me to visit Harriet in the nursing home while she was gone. I began going to see Harriet on Sundays, but it seemed like she was always sleeping and I did not want to disturb her. I would simply channel Johrei and leave. One day, however, I decided to bring my guitar and sing to her.
As I sang, I could see the color coming back into her face. She opened her eyes and said, “Play another,” so I did. Each time I came to see her after that, I would notice other residents standing around Harriet’s door to listen to the music. Eventually I decided to start playing in the activity room. The residents were so appreciative that I gave up watching Sunday football to continue.
During this time I lost my job and did not know where to turn. I went to the center every morning to pray and do hoshi. One day a new person came in to receive Johrei. She enjoyed the session and asked me what other kind of work I did. I explained that I was unemployed and that I volunteered by singing at the nursing home.
She replied that she was the director of a care home and invited me to play there. I said I would be happy to volunteer, but she surprised me by insisting that I would get paid. When I told my minister of this blessing, she referred me to someone who worked at another senior facility as the activities director. I called this acquaintance, who told me that she rarely had any free time in her schedule, but that if I could get there right away she would see me. She also hired me on the spot and spent an entire hour explaining how I could get more business.
Since then my business has grown and I am busy every day singing for the elderly and handicapped of Tucson. I still like to sing Harriet’s favorite song, “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” Thank you, Harriet. Thank you Doris and thank you Eric.
As I have met more people in the community through my music, I am occasionally invited to play at a private event. A few years ago I sang at a birthday party for Gwenn, a friend of our minister who has received many blessings through Johrei. Here is part of her story written by Gerry:
My friend Gwenn is an invalid who suffers from lupus and fibromyalgia. Her husband is devoted to her care, and a number of years ago he received his focal point so he could give her Johrei at home to help her with her pain. He does not come to the center often, but he does electronic hoshi behind the scenes. A few years ago, he converted a number of archival VHS Johrei class tapes to DVD format, a task that took many hours.
The following week, Gwenn was taken to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. She was diagnosed with gall bladder disease and admitted. However, pre-op tests showed that she had had a silent heart attack, so she was immediately moved to the cardiac unit. More tests revealed no blockages anywhere in her cardiac system. By then she had received many hours of Johrei from me and her husband.
The next day a physician came to perform an ultrasound in preparation for gall bladder surgery. After a while, he said he was embarrassed to say that he simply could not find her gall bladder. It seemed to have vanished. By then her pain had improved and she joked that the light of Johrei was blinding the technician and hiding her gall bladder.
After more tests she was diagnosed with an intestinal obstruction and told surgery was still necessary. I was unable to go see her every day, so Bruce stepped in along with several other local members and some visitors from Alaska. Gwenn said:
“My visitors told me that many people were praying for me through the prayer network. I lay in that bed, hour after hour and unable to sleep, visualizing a network of hands and arms of Light surrounding me, reaching out to form a cradle, holding me safely inside. I felt the love, the Light and the fellowship. The thought that strangers were coming to help me and praying for me, literally keeping me alive, was absolutely awesome. I understood the concept of fellowship as I never had before.”
Gwenn was eventually released from the hospital without having any surgery and with no lingering symptoms. Gwenn and her husband attributed their blessings to Johrei and to his hoshi. Recently, Gwenn’s husband was asked to make another set of DVDs for the archives. He gladly agreed and spent many hours on the project as before. And as before, a few days later Gwenn was rushed to the hospital, this time with a massive stroke. I was unable to go to the hospital, so Melissa agreed to go right away.
Here is Melissa’s description of what happened that day:
Being a fairly new member, I was honored to be given this opportunity, but at the same time I was nervous. Going into the hospital was stressful. I felt like I was intruding on the privacy of the patient, whom I did not even know. At the same time, I wanted to help if I could. I decided to have faith in the wisdom of Meishu-sama.
As I was walking toward the ER, I prayed to handle the situation appropriately. When I got there, the patient was surrounded by medical personnel. She seemed much debilitated. Her mouth was drooping on the left side, interfering with her ability to speak. She could not move her left arm or left leg, nor did she feel anything in those extremities. Needless to say, her husband was extremely distressed.
Another doctor arrived when I did. He performed a brief examination and I overheard the other doctors telling him that they had administered the medication that is given to break up blood clots and that it had not been at all effective. Too much time had passed with no sign of improvement and the medication could not be administered again for six months because of dangerous side effects, so they were bringing in a radiologist to conduct an invasive process to determine the extent of the damage in her brain. They were planning to put a line into her arm and move a camera into her head to view the damage and then do a procedure to clean out the blood vessels in hopes of breaking up the clot inside her brain.
I was unsure what to do because there were so many people surrounding her, but I said a prayer and began giving Johrei to her left foot. Within a matter of minutes, I saw a nearly imperceptible movement of the foot. I thought it might be my imagination, but slowly her entire foot began to move. The doctors saw that and began testing to see whether she had sensation in her leg. She noticeably perked up and said yes. Gradually the feeling in her extremities began to increase, and finally the left side of her face began to normalize. She became lucid and was able to understand what was happening. She was clearly relieved. I continued giving her Johrei throughout.
I could see the doctors visibly relax. The procedure was canceled, the radiologist was told not to come in, and she was admitted to the neurology department. Over the next several hours she was checked and tested further, and several people told her she had dodged a major bullet. They told her over and over how fortunate she was. They had also explained that she would most likely experience various severe side effects from the medication, however there were none.
As she answered more questions, her articulation improved dramatically and we could understand everything she was saying. I can’t believe I was there to witness it. I expected the Light to work, and at the same time I was amazed. It was the most auspicious event of my life.
Tucson Johrei Center