•by Dawn King• The divine dream of Sunburst is a world as it should be. The igniting energy of Sunburst is a consciousness that welcomes everyone who is willing to try living it, free from judgment. Sunburst is a place (Sunburst Sanctuary) and a people, holding the seed of this energy and journeying together while awakening into this consciousness. Sunburst draws us all towards our best behavior, and the courage to live without fear. The aura of Sunburst embraces us with unconditional love and acceptance through sincere caring and guidance for living.
Here we find inner strength and abilities we didn’t know we had. Sunburst, the Sanctuary and the consciousness, offers us an uplifting opportunity to reach for our very best self, our pure Self, the divine part of us that gives good guidance, joy, and a satisfying fulfillment to our days.
Spirit is alive in us, and this life is ever-changing. Thus, Sunburst is a fast spinning vortex. Over time, we each find personal tests pushing us to our limits. Sunburst founder, Norman Paulsen often said that we have to run to keep up with Spirit.
Visiting Sunburst Sanctuary can be a retreat from worldly goals; however, long term living at Sunburst’s Sanctuary only works for those who can put the small self aside for a life of service. Those who’ve resided with Sunburst for decades have the foremost goal of 1. developing spiritually; 2 supporting the mission and message of our founder and line of teachers; 3. supporting the work of Sunburst through daily group meditations and other activities.
Founder of Sunburst, Norman Paulsen tells us: “As each and every one of us moves toward heaven, toward the blessed experience of immortality, we will begin to feel God’s power in us, more and more. He tests each one of us to see how much we can take, like thrusting steel into the fire again and again to increase its temper. At times, you may cry to God, ‘Why am I so mistreated? O God, is your hand so set against me?’ “If you listen to the silence, you will hear God saying, ‘I want you so strong for future work that no matter what happens, you will never break.’ God cannot pour down his life and light, power and wisdom unless he is sure that the vessel is prepared to hold it. That is why the path to heaven is difficult, and described as a razor’s edge.”
Over fifty years of many people’s desires for realizing the Divine within, and those same individual’s selfless service have helped shape what Sunburst can offer today. Some of those people came and left; some are still residing at the Sanctuary. Meanwhile, the divine dream that is Sunburst, as projected by Paramahansa Yogananda and Norman Paulsen, lives on and is a blessing for all.
Paramahansa Yogananda wrote: “The greatest influence in your life, stronger even than your willpower, is your environment. When you are having difficulty in trying to change for the better, spiritual company and good environment are essential.”
•by Craig Hanson•Sunburst’s Founder, my spiritual teacher Norman Paulsen when he was a young man, lived at the Mount Washington monastery with his spiritual teacher Paramahansa Yogananda. During the final year of Yogananda’s life, he invited Norm out to a desert retreat where he’d been writing. There, one early evening, they walked around the property. This was a special time because it was an extended goodbye from Yogananda to Norm. He would be leaving his body soon, and Norm held his arm as they walked, because Yogananda was having difficulty walking.
Yogananda turned to Norm, “Promise me that no matter what happens to you in this life, you will never give up seeking God. If you get knocked down, get right back up…and keep walking.Will you promise me that?”
Norm replied, “Yes sir, I will.”
How many times in our own lives have we been challenged, faced what seemed like insurmountable obstacles. Yet we found a strength from within, a power beyond ourselves? A series of coincidences, it seems, may get us through this difficulty and on to the next challenge. I was recently remembering my own challenge.
The third day after coming to the Sunburst community, I was called upon to spend the day in San Bernardino loading a flatbed trailer with heavy produce gondolas and equipment for a new Sunburst store in SantaBarbara. On the way back that night, when we got to Carpinteria, in the distance I could see a column of flames leaping up the side of the mountain, above Santa Barbara. I thought, “Oh no, what’s happening?” I thought Sunburst farm may have been burning.
We were pretty exhausted, having been working so hard, and this was my only third day in this group. But here we were on Mountain Drive going into this fire zone about ten o’clock at night. I spent the whole night working on the fire line in a dream-like state, beyond exhaustion.
In the morning at the top of the hill, I collapsed with a group of other brothers. We could hear the helicopters swirling overhead and the relief crew coming, the hotshots from the Chumash Native Americans.
While going down the hill to the high school where we got breakfast, I asked one of the elder brothers, “Is this how it is every day in Sunburst?”
He smiled and said, “Oh, sure, yeah!”
I thought, “Oh boy, I’m finished…I can’t do this…Oh boy!”And on the fourth day, I packed up all my belongings and was walking down Gibraltar Road in the fog thinking, “I can’t be here anymore. But,” my mind went on, “what am I running to?”
I started walking back up the hill, and got above the fog line. In a minute I turned around and started back down the hill. Yet again I stopped and started walking back up. Finally, I sat down and said to myself, “Wait. Where are you running to? Where are you going?Just open your heart. Open yourself.”
So I walked back up the hill to be with my spiritual teacher, and through the many joys and many trials since then, I’m still trying to live what my teacher taught me. The same message so long ago that Yogananda told Norm, “Never give up!” That was something Norm exemplified, and instilled in me and others. It’s a wonderful quality because it takes us out of limited selves and into the pure light.
•by Paul Custer•First, I want to take a closer look at the concept of virtue. Existing within each one of us is the radiant light of God, known as our pure Self. It’s already there. It’s not outside you, it’s inside of you. And that radiant sphere of light that’s in you contains all of the virtues, each spinning perfectly, producing a vortex of pure radiant light.
Consciousness of any virtue is the understanding of how it works, what it does, how it manifests, how to bring it through your being, how to share it with others. But the feeling of that virtue is love. Its fruits are freedom and joy.
Love is the weave that binds all of the virtues together, allowing them to work in conjunction with each other, to support each other, to amplify each other. And love gives us understanding, if we’re applying that virtue to the best of our ability. It’s one thing to understand the concept or the consciousness of a virtue, but as you’re applying it, you can literally feel what it’s doing. You can feel the effect it has on others. You can feel the effect from others as they express virtue towards you. If you approach this by realizing that virtue already exists in you, in its purest form, then you are simply allowing it to shine forth.
As with every virtue, when you’re practicing and using Honesty for example, your intent is as important as what you say—the thought process and the consciousness behind what you express. Virtue itself is a form of life force, a true force of nature, the force to create. When you express virtue, you create a beautiful, enduring world. It has the ability to last through eternity.
The integration of honesty/truthfulness into your life has three unique parts. First is the thought process or intent behind it, the consciousness that you’re using to energize that force. Next is your ability to express it in words, in spoken concept, to deliver it as a beautiful message to others. Even the simplest thing can carry the signature of that pure life force.
The final integration is when you align your intent with your words and allow them to manifest as actions. Your actions are the final piece that demonstrates to the Universe, not just to other individuals but to the Universe, that you are aligned with the virtue that’s coming out of your core, from your pure Self. Your intent, your word, and your deed are integrated, allowing the full force of your life connection to that virtue to flow through you.
The inevitable result is that you bond with the Universe. You create a perfect golden strand of light connecting you to the entire Universe, and that is truly powerful in every sense. It allows you then to exist in that joyous state of heaven on earth, one that you are creating and choose to exist within. Remember, that if you don’t apply all this, you’re choosing to exist somewhere else. This exemplifies one of the great gifts that our Creator has given each one of us—the ability to choose.
When you’re making choices, remember that at every moment that pure vortex exists within you. It is your life force. It is your life essence, and all you need to do is let it be expressed.
As you begin to express virtue in your life, in your exchanges with the other wonderful souls that you come in contact with, you can hold forgiveness in one hand and gratitude in the other, and it will help you guide your path. Through forgiveness you remove all prior judgment from those who you meet and speak with. You remove prior judgment upon yourself, and you open the door to allow your opened heart to allow virtue to flow outward from you.
From your other hand, gratitude allows you a simple form through which you can express your love and appreciation for your existence here and for your interactions with other beings and with your Creator. That simple expression of gratitude begins the flow. Life force flowing out from you as pure virtue makes it much easier to honestly express what’s in your heart, what your intentions are, what your needs might be.
The greatest application of honesty is your relationship with our divine Creator, your willingness to open your heart and to recognize what your abilities are and aren’t, and to openly share that and to ask for the strength and the virtue of life force to create a deep loving bond between you and your Creator. Then applying honesty to your actions shows the Creator your willingness to apply all that you have just stated, whether it’s easy or whether it might be more challenging. Each time you express virtue as an integrated flow of life force, you are manifesting heaven on earth.
• by Dawn King • Last week we celebrated World Oceans Day (June 8). As vast and important as our oceans are, couldn’t we devote a month…or all year, to recognizing their amazing function in our very existence? And the incredible coincidence of how the Sun, Moon and oceans and weather work in conjunction to make Earth habitable. This doesn’t even take into account all the food we derive from the ocean. The more one learns about Nature, the more we are in awe, and the more we find that a “coincidence” seems unlikely.
Sunburst Founder, Norman Paulsen has explained that humanity is standing on the threshold of a quantum leap into a dimension of consciousness we’ve only dreamed of, a state of awareness in which we experience God existing in all beings, and all of Nature. How much more we will enjoy life when we open ourselves to this awareness!
Norm also tells us repeatedly that we are here to be co-creators with the Divine, as well as caretakers of this rare garden planet, and caretakers of each other. “Your sincere efforts will help heal humanity and our Mother Earth, and inspire others onward toward virtue. Your work will become a portrait of God within you.”
I’m sure the Divine wants us to realize how precious all of Earth’s resources are. So here’s a few facts about the oceans and water that may be new to you:
The total amount of water present on Earth is fixed and does not change. Powered by the sun, water continually circulates between the oceans, the atmosphere and land. This circulation and conservation of Earth’s water, known as the water cycle, is a crucial component of our weather and climate.
Earth’s water is always in movement. Water changes states between liquid, vapor and ice. These processes happen in the blink of an eye or over millions of years. Today, about 71% of Earth’s surface is covered by water. But a few billion years ago, there may have been little to no surface land visible at all.
• by Dawn King – photos by April Juels & Dawn King • After many months of Covid restrictions, Sunburst hosted a well-attended Kriya I Retreat (May 12 through 15).
Sunburst’s Kriya II retreat is planned for October. Call the Sunburst office if you’re interested, or want to reserve your place in the next Kriya I retreat, January 2023.
Spring has blessed the Sanctuary with normal rains. Flowers gardens are blooming and Sunburst members are revitalizing the produce garden.
Deer can be seen caring for their fawns. Bluebirds are in abundance, and the hay field is growing daily. Each Sunday, 10:30 a.m. group meditation is followed by refreshments and fellowship, offering wonderful opportunities for enjoying the beauty of Sunburst Sanctuary and those who attend.
• by Barbara McCaughey • Oh Mighty Spirit, my Mother, my Father, my Creator, we are thankful you have given to us a mission to be good and faithful stewards of our planet. We are blessed to be surrounded by flowers and plants. Under our watchful care, they spring forth in beauty. Their form and their exquisite color remind us of the perfect idea that created them, and that you are present everywhere. We are blessed to be surrounded by animals who count on us to respect and protect them. Might we give them their rightful place in this creation and might they in turn give to us their wisdom. Help us to make the choices that will harmonize our heart song with the song of creation. Amen
We’ve all been told that if we listen to our conscience it will keep us on the straight and narrow path. The conscience is God’s life in each one of us, communing with us and directing us, unimpeded by the chatter of our minds. When we seek to live a virtuous life, we are willing to sit and listen for the voice of conscience before we act.
When we hear the directive and act on it, we can see the result of our actions. We notice that they either bring us joy or they bring us pain. Our Divine Mother and Father love us unconditionally. There is no judgment from our Divine Parents.
But when we don’t feel the joy that is our birthright, we can look honestly at our choices to help us change that which keeps us from union with the consciousness that we’re here to express. When we have this personal relationship with God we recognize it in all life. We see other beings, our brothers and sisters, plants and animals, as teachers.
In this world of images, our greatest challenge is to know we have been given the creative force. We must look through the images in order to bring into manifestation our divine nature. Let’s call into us today that life force. Let it move through us, and inspire us. Then let’s give it back in service and love and apply our will to look honestly at how we can strengthen a permanent union with all we hold dear.