by Jake Collier • Our founder and teacher, Norm Paulsen, used to refer to everyone as soul travelers. Truly we are spiritual beings traveling at this point in time, in these bodies, at this place. How precious is this process of spiritual evolvement. We must try to live our lives in a way that creates an environment around us which stimulates our higher selves, a way that motivates us to continue with our inward journey of discovery.
Years ago, in the late 70s, I was working at Sunburst’s organic wholesale produce warehouse in Los Angeles. One of the guys there had season tickets to the Dodger’s Stadium. I’m not that into baseball, but in the midst of L.A. and far away from the rural lifestyle I was used to, it sounded like fun, so I went with a good friend.
One of the first things we noticed was that we were surrounded by very boisterous people. But while looking out at all the thousands upon thousands of people in that stadium, I found myself talking to Spirit, saying, “Wouldn’t this be incredible if all these people had a common focus on you? What if all these people were chanting AUM together, if they were all meditating at this moment? How powerful that would be!”
It will happen. There will come a time when the majority of the brothers and sisters walking this earth will know God, and will realize that God is alive in them. We all hope that we are there to experience it, to feel it, to be a part of it.
As we do our spiritual work each morning and evening, as we sit down and meditate, we create future opportunities for more meditations, for more spiritual understanding. We take that vibration with us. When we look into someone’s eyes, or we hug someone, we pass on a little bit of that vibration, that awareness. Hopefully it falls on fertile soil and others will begin to awaken and begin the process of peeling back the petals, so that we may all find out who we really are, why we are here, and where we are going when we leave.
I Am That I Am
Please help us on our journey here,
That we may discover our true selves
In our relationship with you,
That we may walk this Earth
With you living through us,
You experiencing this life
And all that you have created.
You are our divine companion,
Our true friend,
And we love you.
by Norman Paulsen
The self-conscious mammalian brain has developed over the millenniums, and today, on this planet we are expressing it in its full potential. Why meditate? Meditation leads us within where we gain freedom from our limited ego consciousness and realize Divine Consciousness, and our immortality.
Human’s higher brain structure has the ability to create all of the abstract images its imagination can produce. We see around us every face is different. What a fantastic thing this is, this divine consciousness which is all of us! This consciousness is the point from which all things came forth; and it is contained in each one of us right now. It can be directly perceived through meditation.
We suffer, we are sad, only because we do not know who we really are within. Cosmic consciousness is for each and every human being. It is only when we begin to inhabit our higher brain structure that we begin to understand our relationship to the world and all life forms. Then we truly begin to caretake all the images that the Creator, I Am That I Am, as created—including our own bodies.
Scientists studying subatomic particles find they have mysterious abilities. For understanding, the science of the future will be investigated within man and woman in solitude and meditation, within the great higher brain. Subatomic energy is I Am That I Am. It fills the space between the atomic structure of our bodies. Remove the space between the electrons and protons of your body right now and you couldn’t be seen. We are looking at space when we look at each other.
Our bodies are a mass of particles of light that represent the physical. It is an illusion that each of us has a personality with a name, likes, dislikes and desires. We think that we have limitations. We think that we are suffering or are weak. We think we have desires unfulfilled. It is an illusion. For all is this one Divine Consciousness momentarily conceding to be each one of us until we wake up and realize that each one of us is it. We are actually the wealth of the whole creation, the instrument that I Am That I Am created so that it could enjoy the creation.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all things will be added unto you.” Why was that said? Because it’s a fact. What is heaven? It’s all space and eternity. It’s the creation and Divine Consciousness everywhere and in everything. Oh, what a miracle to be alive—a glorious thing!
Remember the great gift of this body is to investigate it and to use its powers that you might, from this vantage point on this planet, perceive the whole universe. It’s a great blessing to be alive. The lesson for every individual is to learn through consciousness and thought to move life force and control light. This you can do. This is why meditation. Let’s meditate.
OM…Mighty Spirit, we love you.
Mighty Spirit, we love you; you love us.
We love the world. We are one with all images.
All images are me.
The founder of Sunburst, Norman Paulsen, was born during Aquarius. His birthday is February 3. Aquarius is the Sun sign for January 20 to February 18. It is called “the Water Bearer” because, as a friend to all, it pours forth the humanitarian spirit.
Inventive and unique in nature, Aquarius is a Fixed Air Sign. It is steadfast in its ideas—fixed in that it never gives up on what it believes is right. When Norm Paulsen introduced the concept of associating virtues with zodiac signs, he attributed Charity to Aquarius.
The planet associated with this sign is the rather eccentric Uranus. In Sunburst’s early days one of Norm’s favorite quotes was from a 1967 music album called “The Zodiac,” by Mort Garson. “In the friendly opal light of Uranus, all men can blend yet still be what they are.”
We are all children of the same Divine Mother and Father. Norm urged us to see that Divine light of Spirit in each other. That is the true charity by which we can uplift friends, family and all of humanity.
“The Zodiac, Aquarius” complete lyrics:
Four, four hundred or four thousand dreams may decay into indigo dust that covers Aquarius and still the voice will say ‘love’
Go, be, but forget no one
Weak, strong – all belong
In the friendly opal light of Uranus all men can blend yet still be what they are.
by Ischa Beharry
In the silence of my soul, words, sounds, scents, impressions, thoughts and feelings seemed greatly amplified, yet with a gentleness and sweetness almost indescribable. And as I walked slowly and mindfully through the Sanctuary gardens with friends old and new, joy swept over my being in such gentle waves that my only reaction was exactly what our teacher, Sharon Ray, hoped it would be – a taste of what the Silent Retreat should evoke: A journey into the Path of SMILES and a deeper connection to Divine Spirit through silence and mindfulness.
A dedicated practitioner of the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn, Sharon has embodied the concept of mindfulness in her daily life and needs not verbally extol its incredible effects on her quality of life, spiritual awareness or demeanor—it expresses itself naturally and gracefully in the truths and virtues that are her life’s guideposts, and in her very demeanor, speech and interaction with others.
Thich Nhat Hahn invites us to train ourselves to walk with reverence. Wherever we walk, whether it’s at the railway station or supermarket, we are walking on the Earth and, therefore, upon a holy ground. To walk with reverence everywhere is to find nourishment and solidity with each step. Each mindful step brings us back to the here and now, reminding us that we are alive on this beautiful planet. It propels us into present moment awareness. Ultimately, all of us are looking for our solid ground, our true home. The Earth, and the Present, is our true home. We can’t be grounded in our body if our mind is elsewhere.
Following the Path of SMILES, we are guided by the meaning of this wonderful acronym:
S is for Smile – uplifting my vibration
M is for Mantra – expressing my heart’s desire
I is for Inhale and exhale – aware of my breath
L is for Letting go – of my name and game
E is for Ears listening, Eyes watching – I come to my senses
S is for Sensing – the Presence of the Divine in and around me
Experience being the greatest teacher, I have to humbly agree that for the two days I practiced mindful walking and the Path of SMILES, the beauty and wonder of the Earth and its creatures around me was greatly amplified. Being in the moment was joy unbounded! There was no room in my mind for anything worrisome; my mind was totally absorbed in the moment, whether I was mindfully eating, looking at the beautiful pond and gardens, walking the labyrinth, listening to the birds, or perusing the roadways looking for tiny pieces of quartz crystals amidst the gravel.
As the Master Hahn himself says:
No one has lived in the past or the future, only the now. The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. While you are walking, smile and be in the here and now, and you will transform that place into paradise.
Yes! I do enjoy the beautiful sanctuary where I happen to live; however, during every Silent Retreat its beauty, peace, tranquility, and divine resonance is, for me, amplified a hundred-fold! Ah, the power of many together!
Thank you, Sharon Ray, for bringing this priceless gift to Sunburst as a prelude to an approaching beautiful spring when the subsiding rains and entrancing green hillsides beckon us into mindful walking. And thank you, Thich Nhat Hanh, for reminding us that the very ground we stand on anywhere and everywhere is still Sacred Earth, and has the power to connect and ground us if we are mindful and receptive!