•[Photo: Paramahansa Yogananda instructs Norman Paulsen in energizing yoga exercises,1948, Mount Washington.]
Today we celebrate the birthday of the great yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, whose direct disciple, Norman Paulsen, founded Sunburst. Norman wrote: “My teacher Paramahansa Yogananda used to say to all of us eager monks, “God is so very close; if you could only realize how close God is to you right now. You must all meditate deeply and ask God to reveal himself to you.”
If you continuously persist in thinking that your body is full of vitality, especially at times when it is weak, you will have started to open up a new, secret, invisible means of vitalizing yourself. Perform small as well as important duties with courageous cheerfulness and deep attention, remembering that God is guiding and stimulating every worthwhile effort you are making to achieve a noble ambition.
With the consciousness of God in your actions, and with the performance of noble actions, you will see that a flood of vitality will move through all your muscles and through your entire body.
While you are busily engaged in work, visualize a halo of God’s cosmic energy surrounding your body and feel that you can never become tired again because your tissues are being renewed, supplied with current from that energy. Hold fast to the thought that no matter how much physical energy you use up, you can bring it back by peace-born smiles.
• by Norman Paulsen • I remember the day I was told of my teacher’s passing out of the body. I rushed to Mount Washington to see him one last time. Paramahansa Yogananda had told me before he left that he would come to see me after he left his body.
Some months later I was living in Santa Barbara, wondering if he would ever come back. One Saturday I came home from work and sat down in my room to read. Suddenly, the wind came up outside my apartment, shaking the front of the building. The door blew open and Master Yogananda walked into my room. He stood before me and gave instructions as to how I should live my life.
I received the glorious message that he was immortal—that he could come back to talk to me, and that this was proof that we all have immortal souls. We can all come back to see our loved ones; our lives go on in this great immensity of God’s creation; I saw the resurrection of the man I loved.
Yogananda proved to me that through the practice of meditation and the ancient teachings, the way is open for all to come and enjoy life, with God-realization alive in our consciousness. That experience has brought me to this day and to this place, and I thank him, my teacher. I thank God for allowing me to be here with this message and this truth.
Through deep meditation and prayer, may we all seek those teachings that will guide us on our journey onward through our inner-dimensional tunnel, to the light that is right within us. Jesus said, the kingdom of heaven is within you. Inner-dimensionally, it is all here. Not somewhere out in space, but so near that you can touch it, feel it, and see it in your deep meditation, if you persist. Resurrection of the soul is possible for each one of us. Love is the key that unlocks the spiritual gates.
by Paramahansa Yogananda • Resurrect your soul from all dreams of frailties. Resurrect your soul in eternal wisdom. What is the method? It includes many things: self-control, good diet, fortitude, an undaunted mental attitude, and relaxation of the consciousness from body identification by daily practice of scientific concentration and meditation principles. Refuse to be defeated. You have unlimited power; you must cultivate that power, that is all.
It is time to realize your unity with all by experiencing your oneness with God. Again and again, pray in your soul: Oh Lord, come, clear away the dust of my indifference. Flood my consciousness, Oh Infinite Christ, with thy divine consciousness!
“Normality is a paved road; it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.” – Vincent van Gogh
Life has certainly not felt very normal for a while. But we can still make nourishing connections for ourselves.
Often, when we’re on a spiritual path it can feel a bit isolating. I’m so grateful that I have the Sunburst Community, both near and far, to rely on for friendship, companionship, and spiritual sustenance. – Missy Collier
“The decisive question for man is: Is he related to something infinite or not? That is the telling question of his life. Only if we know that the thing which truly matters is the infinite can we avoid fixing our interests upon futilities, and upon all kinds of goals which are not of real importance. Thus we demand that the world grant us recognition for qualities which we regard as personal possessions: our talent or our beauty. The more a man lays stress on false possessions, and the less sensitivity he has for what is essential, the less satisfying is his life. He feels limited because he has limited aims, and the result is envy and jealousy. If we understand and feel that here in this life we already have a link with the infinite, desires and attitudes change.
…Looking outwards has got to be turned into looking into oneself. Discovering yourself provides you with all you are, were meant to be, and all you are living from and for.” – Carl Jung
by Sibylle Custer • Sometimes, after a fun recreation time with friends, I ask myself: “Why can I not live all my life like that?” We make a distinction between recreation and work. We attach different emotions to each of them. Recreation feels carefree, light and joyful. Work wears heavier on your mind.
Reading something that Gandhi said changed my perception, my attitude. At a time when Gandhi was at the peak of his public work for his country—working from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day—a reporter asked him: “You are such a busy man, when will you take a vacation?”
“I am always on vacation!” he responded.
His answer startled me. I had to put the book down and think about it. What if I lived my life as though I was always on an inner vacation, always recreating? I wondered: What causes the joyfulness and light-fullness of recreation?
Then I learned about people with microscopic vision, who can perceive the tiniest particles of matter. At the most infinitesimal level they find tiny dancing suns, each with threads of light swirling around its axis, threads of energy spiraling into it and around it—spinning it into existence.
All matter around us and within us, though seemingly solid and separate, consists of billions of these “sunny” particles. And we too, are kept in existence by light energy that swirls in two spirals down through the top of our heads, feeding us with life. God’s energy recreates us every microsecond. Let’s contemplate this awesome fact. Let us sit in meditation full of love and joy.
Gandhi meditated every night for three to four hours, and when the new day began he could go forth and re-create his world. We too can recreate our world, even if it’s in a smaller way. We can recreate our bodies by regular exercise for instance. We can recreate our schedules so they are less stressful. We can recreate the company we keep. Let us go forward performing all our activities with renewed and joyful life force, and a thankful heart.
Valerie King • In Sunburst’s teachings, twelve aspects of spiritual energy (virtues) are identified, corresponding to the purest energy of the 12 astrological signs. As the year progresses, and the Sun moves through each sign, you may feel the 12 energies. You may also feel that you are being tested by that energy (virtue) of the current astrological month. The sign of Cancer, whose virtue is Perseverance, tells us, “Never give up!”
The spiritual path is a purification of our habits—thought, emotion, and action habits. Little by little, we chip away like a sculptor chips away at a great stone, and reveals a beautiful piece of art. That’s perseverance. Here’s a little story.
I joined Sunburst when I was 18, and soon after took karate, aspiring to earn a black belt. My teacher was wonderful, and I really enjoyed it. Karate was fun. I worked out really hard, and this was perfect for a young person.
After a few years, I’d gotten to brown belt. Then my regular day-to-day work became very intense with lots of long hours. I was getting really tired. On top of working at Sunburst’s warehouse, I was driving the employees’ bus (an old school bus) to and from work. That made my day even longer. Still, I was practicing karate three times a week.
One night at the end of driving the bus home to Sunburst’s property, I was thinking how tired I was. My thoughts were: “Maybe brown belt is good enough. I’ve gone pretty far, and gotten a lot out of it. Maybe that’s fine. I’m just so tired. I feel like I need some kind of break here.”
I brought the bus to a stop, and pulled the lever to open the door. Who was standing right there outside the door, but Norm (Sunburst’s Founder). His face was animated, saying, “Valerie, I am so happy you’re going to be a black belt. You’ll be the first black belt woman in Sunburst, and this is such a good energy….”
I just had to chuckle to myself. Norm was such an open channel for Spirit; it came right through. Spirit was saying, “Finish this. You set a goal; finish it!”
While growing up, I’d often gotten really excited about starting something, but never quite finished it. So I needed to learn how to finish things. Perseverance was important for my spiritual growth.
Sometimes someone’s words really resonate in you, and you know it’s right from Spirit. That’s how they were to me from Norm, and what made him a teacher for me—words that strike me to the bottom of my soul.
Yet, at times we are persevering in manifesting our dreams in a way that’s no longer useful. The cycle is over; it’s time to let that go, and move on.
From almost the time Sunburst started, we had a “common fund” economic system in which we pooled our money; if we needed a coat or shoes, we talked to whoever was administrating the money. This worked pretty well, as long as we were young and didn’t have children. But once people married and had children, it became very difficult; expenses outgrew income. We tried all kinds of different ways to make it work, but were just getting farther and farther into debt.
At that time, my husband and I were in charge of administrating the funds. We would have a certain amount of money we could allot each week, and then a BIG list of requests. “What are we going to cut here?” we’d ask ourselves. It was very difficult, but Jonathan and I were hanging onto this system; we felt it was really important.
Finally, one day Norm came and sat down with us. He said, “You know, I think it’s time to let go of this financial system.”
It was then we realized that the dream we didn’t want to give up on was the dream of keeping Sunburst alive and thriving. But, Sunburst wasn’t ever a financial system, or a social system. It’s a community that came together to build Spiritual consciousness individually and collectively so that the energy would reverberate through the world. I realized I’d been holding onto
an outer thing, when it was really the inner thing that needed to be maintained.
Each sign with its virtue, has a corresponding virtue and sign across the zodiac; they balance each other. The virtue of perseverance (in Cancer) faces the opposite virtue, temperance (in Capricorn). It’s wise to temper our perseverance.
“What are we really holding onto? What is the real dream, and is this the best way to accomplish it?”
O Divine Comforter,
No matter how difficult the path,
I know You have blessed me with the faculties By which I am able to bear what comes to pass. As I journey homeward,
Please hear my soul calling.
I will pursue You every moment of my conscious life.
I will forever persevere, O Spirit Divine,
To develop the willpower to never give up!
I must meet You face to face.
I must hold You in my arms, If You will allow.
You are my Father;
You are my Birth Mother,
The Creator of my soul.
From You have I come forth into this world, Into this sea of faces.
I look for You in every face, O Beloved. Will You please come forth
And reveal Yourself to me Somehow, somewhere, someday?
I will continue to pursue You
In every image and in every place, Until I find You hiding
In the mirror image of my own face.