Welcome to Second Acts, a series of interviews with interesting people who discovered new pathways midway through their lives.
Udo Erasmus, Ph.D., known as the Father of Flax Oil, is responsible for our modern understanding of the importance of essential fatty acids in the human diet. His discoveries came as a result of becoming sick from working with pesticides. It’s a testament to his perseverance and generosity of spirit that he not only healed himself but also gave the world the knowledge, the manufacturing process, and the industry’s quality standards to produce oils made with health as the first priority.
Beginning in the 1980s, Udo went on the road to promote the use of flax oil. He wrote Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, which became the industry’s bible on fats, and developed his own organic oil blend that contains the optimum ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids.
Before talking to Udo, I assumed that his primary transformative experience had been his illness and healing. Instead, he shared the story of his quest for peace that started in World War II and led to a mystical experience and a life of service.
AK: You started to find out about the health benefits of oils when you were poisoned by pesticides that you had been working with. Do you consider that your primary Rewire Me moment?
UE: No. The rewiring began before that. Basically, it came out of being born in a war that was unbelievably terrifying. I was always searching for how people could live in harmony. I knew peace was not the absence of war, because the war ended when I was two but when I was thirty I still didn’t have peace. The political peace, that’s actually a ceasefire between wars, right? Peace is something much more present and much more powerful and much more personal.
The other thing that was big for me from a really early age was the thirst to feel fulfilled. I always felt this pain in my chest and I didn’t know what it was. Nobody wanted to talk about it. I wasn’t happy and it hurt. Everybody I talk to about it, they want to distract themselves from it, but it is actually the most precious gift we have—that ache in our hearts—other than being alive.
In my search for peace, I got interested in the teachings of the great masters of the various cultures. I read all the scriptures. I was interested in what the masters were saying, not the people who wrote about it 300 years later or the Church. I wanted to know what it would have been like to be there.
We were told in those days by the religions, at least the ones I was familiar with, that you can’t see God and live. If you see God, you die. In other words, you can only see God after you die. But then in the Bible, Moses saw God and Jesus saw God and Isaiah saw God and lived, so I thought it must be possible. It was very logical in a way, but it was also quite sincere. I really wanted to know.
I was desperate and so I hitchhiked from Vancouver to the west coast of Vancouver Island. I decided to go there for the weekend to clear my head. I got to the beach and somebody had made a little house between two logs. I went into it, went to sleep, and in the middle of the night I woke bolt upright. There was a being of light, on a cloud of light. You couldn’t tell if it was male or female. You couldn’t tell if it was young or old because it was made of light. There was a message, but the message was not in words, because light has no lips to speak English, but the message was very clear, so I got to put words to the message: “I am come not to judge but to love.”
Now I can’t tell you whether that was an experience inside or outside. It didn’t have dimensions, but it was a real experience. It was not a hallucination. I was not on drugs. The power of the universe is a lot bigger than the power of my imagination, right? I was in a position where I was desperate and really wanted to know. I was very humble and sincere at that moment.
AK: How did that affect you? Do you think it confirmed what you already believed, or do you think it changed your notion of God and the way things are?
UE: I think it answered my question at a depth that I had never been to and that I had no idea existed. The moment that I got that message, my confusion was instantly and completely erased. I was completely inspired and I have never since that day had any questions about what the essence of the message of the masters was, because all of the masters had that same message in one form or another. There are some Christian texts that say, “A life of purpose requires a personal experience of the divine.” Those personal experiences are all different, but the people who’ve had those understand each other quite well.
AK: How do you think that has shown up in your life?
UE: I had always been looking for, “What can I do that will get me taken care of, that will get this feeling in my heart taken care of?” Now I look around and say, “It’s not about me anymore. What needs to be done around here?” I started thinking globally.
Then when I was sick, I got really focused because now I had a problem and it needed a solution, and why not make it global? I thought there must be other people who could benefit from this knowledge, because I didn’t know it and I had a background in science, so why not pass it on?
We had to develop the machinery and the methods, and then out of that came the book Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill. Then out of it came flax oil and I developed a blend that has all of the good and none of the bad; the right ratio, right packaging, everything, and I’m very proud of how that turned out. A lot more benefits came from it than I suspected.
For more information or to contact Udo, visit his website at UdoErasmus.com.
- Second Acts: Grief As a Spiritual Path
- Second Acts: Brace for Impact
- Second Acts: Living at Large in the World
- Second Acts: Embracing the Chaos