Bless the World with Kindness

Bless the World with Kindness

  by Barbara McCaughey   A documentary about near death experiences intrigued and amazed me. Six people retold their stories of being absent from their physical bodies long enough to recount thoughts and sensations that took place during that time.

One man recalled how small actions during the day can strongly affect the people present and, like the rippling effect of a rock thrown into a pond, they continue to bless or stress future encounters in an ever widening circle. Sa’Di is quoted: “To give joy to a single heart by a single kind act is better than a thousand head bowings in prayer.”

This become obvious in my own life when I needed to fill a prescription at my local pharmacy. At first visit, the clerk saw the high price of the medicine and expressed concern that the sale was not covered by insurance. She asked me if I would prefer to take less, or if there was another option open to me. Next the pharmacist assured me that he would check the price since it had doubled after my previous refill. That evening I reflected on how much I appreciated their caring, especially considering their daily volume of work.

At my next visit, the two original employees were not present, and I was told to come back another time for answers to my questions. This was a big inconvenience and when I did come back there was a very long line.

Finally reaching the counter, I was unprepared and take aback at the cashier’s stern pronouncement: “That’s the price. You want it or not?” When I asked for half of the medicine so I could pay for it, a large fee was tacked on, making that cost prohibitive as well. My level of frustration was leading to my feeling anger and disappointment that I’d been unable to improve the situation.

I found a quiet place to sit in silence and regain my composure. Breathing deeply, I felt the natural love of Spirit return to fill the space my ego had just occupied. It amazed me that two seemingly identical missions could have such different outcomes. Then the realization dawned on me that it was my own responsibility to meet trying experiences without resistance, like an aikido master who easily averts a blow which may be meant to wound him. Nothing outside of ourselves can wound our perfect souls. Unless we clash with or absorb adversity emotionally, mentally or physically, we can remain spiritually centered and in balance, unscathed.

Later in the week I came across this anonymous quote which spoke to me: The golden rule is of no use whatsoever unless you realize: It is Your Move! Remaining centered in our true selves, our perception of reality shifts to see the perfection of Spirit’s creation, and we see ourselves as a harmonious  part of it. Then Source, the Universe, God speaks for us and the ego is tamed. We can appreciate every opportunity to bless this world with kindness. It’s worth the effort to try and try again.

Lead Me To Illumination

Lead Me To Illumination

  John Kiddie    At the age of twenty-one I had an awakening. I began to realize that there was more to life than I was led to believe. I began searching for answers to my questions of: Who am I? Why am I here? and What is my purpose in life?

I was drawn to Eastern philosophies, and in turn to meditation. I tried a few different practices with varying results. Continuing my search I was carried by the good feeling that, while I didn’t know exactly where I was going, I knew that I would find what I was looking for.

As this awakening grew within me, I became aware of many different paths and practices. I yearned for a meditation practice that would lead me to illumination. A friend told me of a place nearby where people were meditating together. That sounded like a place I needed to visit.

I attended a few meditations and felt an immediate connection with the energy there. During those meditations I felt that I had come home. I came back a few weeks later to receive Sunburst initiation into the Kriya yoga technique of meditation. The feeling was so strong that this was what I had been asking for; I knew I’d found my path. As time went on, that feeling grew stronger and deeper within me. I was so happy that the yearnings of my heart had been heard, and my silent prayers answered.

As I turned the wheel of meditation, practicing the technique faithfully, I began to notice subtle, but significant changes within me. I was becoming more focused in my daily activities, giving them a higher quality of energy. I felt more peaceful, and was more tolerant of myself and others. A perspective as the Observer, viewing life through new eyes, was becoming the norm for me.

Time went on, and I felt myself embodying virtue more and more—not as a mental concept, but as a realization that this was our natural state of being. I realized a strength in myself that I’d never seen before, a strength born of virtue. This strength has continually helped me deal with the experiences life brings.

My journey is far from over, but I’m excited about this life, and thankful for all of the lessons I’ve been given to learn from. This tool of Kriya meditation is a great gift, and if used regularly with devotion, yields untold benefits.

Sunburst offers Kriya meditation several times a year. See Upcoming Events, or contact the Sunburst office for more information.

Remembering Your Oneness with Spirit 

Remembering Your Oneness with Spirit 

  by Dawn King with Paramahansa Yogananda    Unknown to most is the fact that you and I are one with that power and intelligence that has created the whole Universe, the very Life that makes our hearts beat. We have free will to hold our consciousness on an elevated plane of spiritual awareness, or to let it slip into distraction and be entertained by the endless stream of images we attract to ourselves. Yes, we have a choice to live joyous and free in our identification with Spirit, or be bound to the circumstances we create by our attachment to worldly images.

Paramahansa Yogananda is quoted as saying “You have no enemy greater than yourself, and no greater friend. God has given you free choice to keep yourself in delusion or to extricate yourself from it. It is your own dreams that are frightening you.”

If possible, remember not only during meditation but with every breath you take, that you are one with the infinite Spirit, your Creator who loves you. Your existence is vital to the manifestation of this Spirit on planet Earth. You are the hands and physical representative of this Intelligence. Each of us is a vital part of the whole, remembering, generating, and upholding the unconditional Love that is Life.

Keep your emotions, mind, and body filled with positivity for the greatest good of all. Be a smile millionaire, giving freely of compassion, hope, and unconditional love. Divine Spirit will come and remain with you, enlightening your intuition and wisdom. You will then remember your perfect oneness with the Creator. You will remember that you have come from Spirit into this flesh, into this little cage of bones, which only seems like a sort of  prison.

Get away from mortal consciousness and consciousness of the world. There is no end to your consciousness; all things are glittering like stars in the firmament of your being. Suddenly you will find that your memory has subtly become intuition, the infallible insight of the soul. You no longer have to make the effort to remember anything, because memory has metamorphosed into all-knowing omnipresent intuition. In that omniscient light of divine recollection, you shall not only remember, you shall realize that you are the Infinite Spirit existing as a unique soul.

Each precious unique soul is responsible for the current frequency of planet Earth. We are dialing in what happens here, and what happens in our personal lives. Each of us has a purpose and a job to lift earthly humanity and this planet into its next state—one of greater consciousness, harmony, peace, and love. Simply by holding your own consciousness in this state, you are uplifting the planet, a work so needed and so important at this time of planetary growth. We each must awaken to the greater reality!

“Build your joys on the sure foundation of inner harmony. Cherish no thought that does not harmonize with the love and lawful ideals of the Creator. Thus, will your whole life be flooded with the light and bliss of the divine harmony.” – Paramahansa Yogananda.

The Bhagavad Gita emphasizes the following qualities of the pure Self, the individual life essence and soul of each of us:
Your pure Self is unborn, though born in a body. It is eternal, though its bodily dwelling is impermanent. It is changeless, though it may experience change. It is ever the same, though in the long pathway of reincarnation which ultimately leads to perfect union with God, the soul appears in countless forms. The soul is not slain when the body dies; and even when the soul returns to Spirit, it does not lose its identity, but will exist throughout eternity.



  by Barbara McCaughey    Sunburst teachings provide a framework of “right activity” for me. Cooking is sort of a combination of the Sunburst spiritual Paths of Work and Recreation, and an activity that needs to be done in my family, but one that I also enjoy. I made the decision many years ago to keep my kitchen free of many of the time saving gadgets available to help us “whip up a meal” in no time, instead preferring simple basic tools that would allow me to slow down and infuse the food with the one ingredient that works for every recipe—love.

A couple of years ago, I awoke on a Sunday morning a few hours before I was to prepare and serve the brunch that follows our Sunday group meditation. As soon as I opened my eyes, for some strange reason, I was straining to remember the name of a comic actor. Even though his name was familiar to me, I just couldn’t jog it free from my memory banks. Although this was a pesky little thought that bothered me a bit, it was too insignificant to wake anybody so I just tried to put it out of my mind.

I started preparing the food and time seemed to go by very quickly. When there was less than one hour left before it needed to be delivered, I was disappointed with how some of the dishes were coming out, even though I had expected a good result. The time began to weigh on me a bit, and I started to speed up and try different spices and ingredients to improve the flavor.

Realizing that I was losing my center, I stopped for a moment and said, “Divine Mother, you’re the cook.” I was going to continue: “Please work through my hands,” but before I finished the word “cook,” the name “Jim Carrey” seemed to fly through all of creation and crash land in my brain!

I started laughing. I felt as though Spirit’s sense of humor was communicating approval of my stopping to remember where my life and abilities come from. One silly little desire was fulfilled in that moment of quiet reflection, but of course our greatest desire is fulfilled there as well.

One translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls includes these words:
I will bless the Creator’s name in all I do. Before I move hand or foot, whenever I go out or come in, when I sit down and when I rise, even when lying on my bed I will chant in praise.
My lips shall praise the Divine as I sit at the table which is set for all, and before I lift my hand to partake of any nourishment from the delicious fruits of the earth.
When fear and terror come, and there is only anguish and distress, I will still bless and thank the Creator for all their wondrous deeds, and meditate upon their power, and lean upon their mercies all day long.
For I know that in their hand is justice for all that live, and all their works are true. So when trouble comes, or salvation, I praise God all the same.

How Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

How Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

  by Michele Pike    Happily, I found this quote: “ When your life is filled with the desire to see the holiness in everyday life, something magical happens; ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul” – Rabbi Harold Kushner

I felt somewhat guilty that over the years I’d given up practicing those rituals I grew up with in favor of those that spoke more directly to my soul. Reading this quote reminded me, the basic tenet of all religions is that we all spring from the same wondrous Source. Connection to that life-giving fount is our birthright. We need only to desire and seek it sincerely, and it blooms in our daily worlds with exuberance, love and a nurturing union.

This quote helped me realize that I haven’t forsaken all that my parents, religious school teachers, camp counselors, and Rabbi tried to instill in me. On the contrary, I’ve built upon it. The God that was my Lord has become my friend, as well. I used to feel left out and alone, incapable of divinity because it was so lofty and my life was so ordinary. Now I realize that the Divine was always all around me; I just wasn’t seeing.

Incredibly grateful for that which unites us, I feel a deep desire to emulate such a force of acceptance, forgiveness, nurturance, service, and abiding joy. My life is still ordinary—I work, pay bills, garden, play with my friends, and fall asleep at the end of the day, tired from my busyness. But each day I awake with a purpose: to acknowledge the unity of all beings, and to love them as they are (myself included). Going to bed at night I’m fulfilled knowing that we are all connected to each other and to the Divine beyond the veil of seeming separation. We each have the power to lift that veil every day and peek at the holiness of life’s continuous communion.

The Divine Presence

The Divine Presence

• by Mary Thatcher (at age 14)
As I bow my head in silent prayer
I feel within me, God is near.
     I pray that in some small way
     I can be of service for Him/Her today.

Perhaps a kind word, nod, or smile
Will make someone’s life more worthwhile.
When others smile or nod to to me,
It’s God’s joy on their face I see.
It’s the answer to my silent prayer
     To see this joy, and feel within me
     God is near.

She knows my thoughts and sees my deeds.
He knows my wants and fulfills my needs.
She shares my joy and will ease my pain,
He’s in the sunshine and in the rain.
In fact, my God’s in everything!
     Now as I bow my head in silent prayer,
     I know within me God is here.

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