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School of Radiant Living

Page 3 – Teachings

The teachings of Radiant Living

The teachings of Radiant Living were complex and involved holistic psychological, physical and spiritual health. Several textbooks and a large series of taped lectures are held in the Beaglehole Room at the Victoria University of Wellington Library. The Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, also holds some of Sutcliffe's books as well as a run of the magazine Radiant Living which chronicles issues of importance.

According to Herbert Sutcliffe, good mental health was the key to better physical health. He taught that nature cures and can be assisted to cure not only with fresh, naturally grown food but with mental analysis. He advocated personal counselling and held individual sessions wherever he went. Disease could be the result of fear, feelings of inferiority or hate, products of the human mind which cause problems all over the world. But anyone could be assisted back to normal life and health, according to Sutcliffe, by understanding the psychosomatic (the power of the mind) and psycho-cosmology (the power of the spirit). Tools such as affirmations would eliminate fears and retrain the mind. Music, singing and public-speaking were also important.

Sutcliffe devised his own stages of human development and also identified physical body types. He was particularly influenced by Jung's belief in the importance of the soul. He believed that one must acknowledge the existence of the soul, 'the invisible which can be visualised as a (radiant) source for good within us all and which outlasts our physical life on earth'.

Diet was of particular importance and the cleansing Eliminating Diet was frequently advocated. To keep the body healthy the 16 cell elements had to be kept in harmony. He believed fruit and vegetables were 'alkaline forming' and should form 80% of the diet and the remaining 20% should be 'acid forming' proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Vitamins and minerals were also important. Food should be colourful as well as healthy and organic and a good salad (a mainstay of diet) should contain at least 6 colourful fruits and vegetables.

Physical fitness was an important tenet of Radiant Living and each school taught a variety of exercises including ones for better breathing and eyesight. Displays by members were a feature of publicity drives.

Radiant Living's spirituality was based on a liberal Christianity and rituals such as the 'rebirth' at Easter were important celebrations. People were seen as part of God - with unlimited positive potential. Evil was 'man-made - a result of fear and anxiety' - and could therefore be overcome.

These teachings were practised and promoted by the hundreds of people who qualified as Accredited Teachers of Radiant Living and ran the 36 schools around the world. Radiant Living teaching foreshadowed much of what is now labelled 'new age'.

How to cite this page

Teachings, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated