•Jake Collier•There’s a Zen saying: Before enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water. After enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water. This quote really rings true. We’re here not to escape this world, but to be a vehicle for divine Spirit to experience all that it has created here.
When we look out at the sky at night, we notice the distances between us and other stars and planets. From astronomers’ studies, you realize the vastness of outer space. Scientists even had to formulate a different measurement called light years because the brain couldn’t comprehend how many miles it was to Jupiter, much less to the outer rim of creation.
We sit in seemingly solid chairs with a solid floor, in a solid building, and seemingly solid bodies. But within everything there’s space between the atoms, even between sub-atomic particles. Paramahansa Yogananda describes that space as divine Spirit, that energy that’s pulsating every microsecond of time, creating and continually expanding this creation.
These bodies have basic needs: shelter, clothing, water and food to sustain us. Work becomes necessary to provide these needs. When we do it selflessly, we can feel divine Spirit within us as we work. Sunburst’s founder said, “Selfless service creates spiritual evolution.”
The more we work selflessly, or self-less-ly give, the more of divine Spirit we receive—the more active Spirit is within us. And because we feel Spirit more fully, we want to do more. It’s self-perpetuating. And in the process, we inspire one another. When we see somebody else being selfless, we’re inspired to also do that.
“Whatever you do, you must do cheerfully for the service of all, and be very ambitious in well-doing,” said Yogananda. Looking back on the history of Sunburst from 1969 onward, there’s an endless list of souls who selflessly gave of themselves to make Sunburst happen. And so we continue to move it forward, to grow Sunburst and have it be a signpost, and a destination point for people to come and learn about divine Spirit and Mother Nature.
As we change our lives to live more harmoniously with the divine plan, our spirituality grows and expands, because it is part of the Creator’s imagination, for he fashioned us not to live in fear and to suffer here. God created us, that we might experience ecstasy living here—every day, and every moment of time that we’re in these bodies. Spirit flows into us and through our senses, and with that life force we create things; we help one another; we enjoy life to its fullest.
Yes, work can be a four letter word that we dread, but we each need to make it our mission to find a beneficial work that inspires us. Find a work in which you can joyously give of yourself. In doing so, you create an energy that spreads across the earth touching other souls, inspiring them to improve themselves and make the world a better place.
Through practicing meditation, reflection and contemplation, each of us can find a beneficial work we can apply ourselves to. The joy, the satisfaction, and the spiritual growth we will experience will be beyond our imagination.
Almighty Spirit, create within me a clear space, so I might see a way forward on my path. Lead me to your embrace. Let me see you as a blazing light pulsating through inner space, so I might become your joyous child, a true reflection of you. May my efforts here help Mother Earth heal herself, and inspire others to join in this mission to heal this world and create heaven on earth. Amen
• by Norman Paulsen, Sunburst Founder • Prayer and meditation, alone or with others, attracts divine Spirit’s attention. As we pray and meditate, God can appear before us brilliant like the sun! This is the subjective light, the very face of I Am That I Am. God may also appear before our gaze like a twinkling star at the end of an inner-dimensional tunnel. That light is the reflected image of the first creation of light, the Christ light that exists within each one of us. This light of Christ pervades all the dimensions of creation, all space and all time, within us and around us.
The angels in heaven and all the sons and daughters of man who have attained Christ consciousness [saints, seers and prophets] exist in that dimension of light. If we name them, we can call them forth to visit us, to help us, to heal and illuminate us—if we but call, if we but ask.
True tithing is giving our life force to God. To sit down twice a day, whether we like it or not, and call and pray that our Creator reveals himself to us— this is the real tithing. Being willing to give of yourself, your time, your love, your energy and desire to the Divine. When we tithe to God in this way in our prayers and meditations, our efforts are returned one hundredfold.
It takes self-discipline to seek God, because our self-conscious minds always want to go and play, acquiring this thing and that, running here and there. But when we discipline ourselves to sit down, even for five minutes, our divine Mother and Father will reward us. All desires are fulfilled, all transgressions are forgiven. But we have to sincerely offer ourselves.
As a young man I made the effort in prayer and meditation at the monastery of my teacher, Paramahansa Yogananda. I spent over four years diligently applying myself to meditation, praying to God to reveal himself to me. He finally came to me, and he will come to you, if you make the effort.
This wondrous experience, which surrenders the self- conscious ego, is for every one of us to have—to know our divine Parents face to face; to know our own soul—totally divine, awaiting to be awakened within us; to have our prayers answered, our desires fulfilled, our loved ones who have passed on seen again; to see God’s face shining like the sun. It will hide at times to test you to your limits, but it is always there, always loving, always miraculously returning to you.
All We Have To Give
Oh Light of Christ, we offer the life force of our bodies to you. This is our tithe. This is all we really have to give you: our life force, our energy, our consciousness.
Oh, that our consciousness might be touched by yours. That our consciousness might expand into your body of light throughout the creation.
We are here on this Earth only such a short time, only a moment in your eternity. Let us see you face to face, let us know you, let us see that place where we go when we leave here. Let your love be with us always, eternally.
Our world is in a state of upheaval, mighty changes. You and your angels, your army of light are here to see the world in peace and love, in growth and understanding.
• by Dawn King • You may find yourself, as I do, feeling that this is a season of chaos. If not, you may find that happening soon as the busyness of the holiday season and its demands crescendoes. It’s a season in which we need to find a calm center within ourselves, or be out of harmony with Nature’s inward-moving season and our innermost selves.
We are all challenged to find contentment while living in a “universe that tends to disappoint.” (I’m borrowing a phrase from Jon Meacham, a current American historian). Discontent was the root cause for Gautama’s purposeful seat beneath the bodhi tree over 2,000 years ago. The search for truth, understanding of life, should goad each of us into quiet reflection until we have our needed awakening. Buddha’s Four Noble Truths: Suffering, pain and misery exist in life.
Suffering arises from attachment to desires.
Suffering ceases when attachment to desires ceases.
Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path.
Buddha’s Eightfold Path: Right understanding
Perhaps because I haven’t studied it, Buddha’s Eightfold Path seems a bit vague to me. What I have studied is Sunburst’s similar Eightfold Path, which focuses on living a balanced life. Sunburst’s Eightfold Path: Conscious study
Sunburst teachings include an understanding of Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, and probably Buddha’s Eightfold Path. The founder of Sunburst, Norman Paulsen, had a Buddhist minister for a father. Norman was also inspired to spell out 12 virtues, which he ascribed to the personality of our Creator. When we strive to incorporate these virtues into our own personality, we find more harmony with Nature and our own strong, calm inner life force. Sunburst’s 12 Virtues: Loyalty
Sunburst reminds us to live an authentic life, true to the joyous, contented, awakened being we were created to be.
The Wisdom of Owls •by Sunburst Founder, Normal Paulsen•
In my evening meditation, I prayed that divine Mother and Father inspire me anew, to put me on my feet and let me move forward. I was awakened in my sleep by that brilliant light of Christ that I have beheld for so long.
Just outside my room I heard the hoot of an owl three times. Divine Spirit whispered, “Do you hear?”
“Yes,” I replied.
The voice of Spirit continued, “The wisdom of the owl is with you.”
I was then made aware, as the owl hooted again three times, that it was a male. I asked “Where is his mate?”
No sooner had I said this than I heard further off the hoot of his mate, three times. I realized that divine Spirit Mother and Father were using the owls to communicate their presence and love to me.
These wonderful manifestations come to each of us from Spirit as we persist in our meditations. The kingdom of heaven is spread upon the face of the Earth if we can pause long enough to observe it.
Why This World•by Paramahansa Yogananda•
Don’t depend on death to liberate you from your imperfections. You are exactly the same after death as you were before. Nothing changes; you only give up the body.
If you are a thief or a liar or a cheater before death, you don’t become an angel merely by dying. If such were possible, then let us all go and jump in the ocean now and become angels at once! Whatever you have made of yourself thus far, so will you be hereafter. And when you reincarnate, you will bring that same nature with you.
To change, you have to make the effort. This world is the place to do it.
• by Craig Hanson•On life’s journey toward understanding our true nature, trials, misunderstandings and difficult times may beset us. As we weather these trials and learn many lessons, we may hope that we can help others with what we have gleaned from our experiences.
Norman Paulsen, the founder of Sunburst, wrote a book called “Love, Life, God.” In it he talks about his many experiences as he tried the best he could to live in a way that would bring him closer to the Divine Spirit whom he knew existed within himself. He stated:
My own search for God and a face-to-face meeting did occur for me, but I had yet to live to perfect virtue, which is the very nature of God. I hope, by revealing my experiences, struggles, and revelations, that you, traveler, will be aided on your journey homeward. When trials come, embrace them as opportunities for growth. We learn compassion for others through the painful circumstances we endure ourselves.
There’s an old expression that says: Whatever pains you in others is probably within yourself. The things we find painful inside of ourselves are like the cattle prod that gets our attention and causes us to reflect, then causes us to have compassion for ourselves and others. The sanctuary of peace and perfection we long for is within. When we relax the mind through deep breathing, we relax the thoughts and come to a place of peace and calmness. This is our own sanctuary where the waters of life flow in a beautiful cascade, giving life abundantly and eternally from the fountain of life which flows through us all. As we grow closer to the Divine, as we sit in moments of silence and contemplation, as we enjoy the beauties of creation and of each other—the smiling faces before us—we come to realize that all these things are within us.
We each are placed upon the Earth to do a great work unique to our own soul. We may discover this through a lot of trial and error. Understanding and comprehension of who we are, why we were placed here, and how the creation came into being—all these profound questions, which perplexed even the greatest minds, can be known.
Albert Einstein, humbled by the magnificent order of the creation fashioned by a divine intelligence, realized that the most profound answers to the physical questions of the universe, as well as the simple questions of our hearts, were found within this quiet Self within. So it is with each one of us that Divine Spirit has created a creative genius blossoming forth like an exquisite flower. Together we can be a bouquet of souls who fully understand our infinite potential and connection to each other through our common Source.