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.

Wisdom & Humility

Wisdom & Humility

  by Norman Paulsen  The life of service and self-sacrifice Jesus of Nazareth lived and gave for all of us is unparalleled on this Earth. “Not my will, but Thine be done,” he offered. Humility in action is the virtue that he personified. By his example must we all learn obedience. We must overcome the false one, the selfish ego, by living the Twelve Virtues and walking the Eightfold Path.

The virtue of Humility arises from the Divine, I Am That I Am as the pure Self within you setting aside the emotions and desires of the self-conscious mind. If called upon, the pure Self will produce reason. Reason reflects upon the paths and the virtues, and considers the options. Divine will moves the adept to make wise decisions in the practice of humility. That wisdom springs forth from the voice of illumination, Christ consciousness speaking within you.

At all times, the soul traveler who seeks illumination must remember the truths described in the Eightfold Path and Twelve Virtues. This wisdom moves the adept to the right decision for each occasion. Humility requires discipline and meditation to avoid wrong decisions in its application.

For instance, when Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth,” he didn’t mean the weak, or juvenile. Rather, he meant those who are able to discern and rise to the occasion, the eaters of the strong meat of truth. These are the ones who surrender to God’s will, pick up their cross and walk!

This is my soul calling you, Beloved. Can you hear me?
How can I not express humility when I observe the immensity that surrounds me?
It’s awesome vastness is filled with spheres of living light that blink at Earth from their distances!
And me, who am I? So tiny, so small, in all this boundless immensity!
Are you dreaming what I think is me? Am I heading toward perfection as a reflection of you?

Helping Others

Helping Others

by Sunburst Friend and Vedic Astrologer James Kelleher    Helping people is a good thing to do, but it can be complicated. Sometimes the person doesn’t want the help you want to give. Sometimes they are even literally unable to accept help. Other times, you think that you can help, but find out that you have overestimated your ability to help them.

When he was alive, my teacher, Sadguru Sivananda Murthy and I had a conversation in which I asked him, “It seems to me that giving to other people doesn’t really help them most of the time. If you see a guy on the street who looks like a drug addict and he is asking for money for food, you get the impression that he is not going to use the money for food. He will probably use if for drugs or alcohol.  Should you give the man money?” 

Sivananda Murthy said, “Yes, just give him something. It doesn’t matter what he is going to do with the money. Besides, you don’t know, he might actually buy food with it. It’s not your job to control what he does with your gift. Give him the money because it is good for you. The gift of money will most likely not help him, but the compassion you feel when you give it will help definitely help you.

The motivation for helping someone can be complicated. Why do you actually want to help? Most people help others out of a belief or story about themselves. The logic goes like this. “I learned from my parents that good people help others. I am a good person. Therefore, I am the sort of person who helps others.” When the person finds an opportunity to help someone, they do it, at least in part because it confirms their story about themselves. It makes them feel good about themselves. There’s nothing wrong with this type of giving. We all have stories about ourselves. It’s a lot better to see yourself as a good person than to see yourself as a dirty rotten scoundrel. But that type of giving takes place in your head. It’s not a spontaneous thing, and it is rooted in the ego. 

Some people take if further by then telling their friends about their act of charity. They may not actually be bragging, but just sharing something they enjoyed doing. When other people acknowledge their generous act, that reinforces their story about being a good person even more deeply. I don’t want to sound religious here, but in his Sermon on the Mount, Christ said, “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”. Most Christian clergy interpret this to mean that you shouldn’t brag about it when you do good. The Vedic interpretation of this is that you shouldn’t even take ownership of the action. The action should be spontaneous and so intensely present that you don’t even see yourself as the doer. That way, there is no sense of a story to reinforce. From the Vedic perspective, true virtue is the natural spontaneous expression of a truly silent mind. 

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krisna advises Arjuna to do his duty as a warrior and to protect the innocent, after first immersing himself in meditation. He tells him, “Established in Being, perform action.” Real virtue comes out of a silent mind. A silent mind has no agenda and is devoid of stories. Acting from a platform of silence, the mind doesn’t audit your action. There is no thought of yourself as a doer of good.

Unfortunately, most of us have minds that are constantly filled with an endless stream of thoughts, beliefs and stories. Does that mean that we should give up on trying to do good? Of course not. Just go for it and do your best. Actually, doing good, even if you are validating a story about being a good person, helps to quiet the mind. Virtue is simple. Like meditation, it brings greater silence to the mind. 

It’s just cause and effect, like in physics. According to Newton’s third law, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. What goes around comes around. As you sow, so shall you reap! That’s the simplified, but very true statement about karma. It’s just physics. Albert Einstein said that, “Compounding interest is one of the greatest miracles known to man.” I would add that the habit of doing good, is like putting money in a bank account that has compounding interest. The Vedic tradition holds that the law of Karma is the most relentless force in the Universe.

For more from James, see:



by David Adolphsen  •  Sometimes when we reflect upon ourselves sitting on this small planet revolving around the sun, within a solar system within a galaxy, within a universe full of galaxies, we can feel rather insignificant. We can wonder to ourselves, “How can my efforts be of any real importance in the big picture?”

Those souls who have come before us and attained spiritual mastery have all sought to inspire us towards our full potential as spiritual beings. Their message has been that our planetary consciousness is evolving and that each one of our contributions while here on Earth is invaluable in the evolution of consciousness. They have had different names for this consciousness. Siddhartha called it Nirvana; Paramahansa Yogananda called it Self-realization. It has been referred to as Christ or Cosmic consciousness, and Jesus referred to this state of consciousness as the Kingdom of Heaven.

Over the centuries, the interpretation of the Kingdom of Heaven has become a place to go to after this earthly visit. In reality, the Kingdom of Heaven is a state of consciousness that Jesus encouraged the men and women of his time to seek and attain while still in their earthly bodies. He was very specific that those things which he was able to do, each of them (us) could do also, and even greater things!

It is through our awakening to the full awareness and consciousness of Divine Spirit within us that we are able to become like Jesus and many others who have visited this Earth and reached true spiritual awakening. It has been said that we are never closer to God than at this very moment. Through using the tool of meditation and practicing the presence of God daily, we are able to fully realize that the Kingdom of Heaven is here right now within us and all around us.

It is humbling to realize that each of us is the key to the evolution of not only our own consciousness, but also the planet at large. Divine Spirit is waiting for each of us to turn our attention and awareness toward the light and truth which wants so much to inhabit us. We have been created with the ability to evolve these animal bodies into spiritual vehicles which can reflect the highest potential of divine consciousness on this planet.

We are the gateways for Spirit to come into this world and experience the creation through us, to feel the wind upon our faces and hear the water rushing down a mountain stream. We are not only the gateways, but we are also the gate keepers. It is our great opportunity to invite Spirit through the gate and into this world as much as we can remember to do so, and to let that beautiful Being enjoy this creation through us, as it is meant to be. So once again we are humbled, but not by our smallness and insignificance, rather through the knowledge that we are the gateways to the evolution of consciousness on this planet.

Finding & Trusting Guidance

Finding & Trusting Guidance

by Dawn King    Perhaps you are like me, finding yourself trying to sort out the true from the untrue. Each day we are presented with a barrage of information and influencers, as well as personal decisions large and small that require knowing the truth. We each want to successfully guide our life, making the best choices for ourselves and our families.

Sometimes our choices affect the community around us, for instance voting. We are all more connected than we realize. I recently listened to a person’s near-death experience explaining that a living thread connects each of us to every other living person. The founder of Sunburst, Norman Paulsen has explained that every choice we make affects the present and future of humanity. For example, when we choose to overcome a bad habit, it helps everyone move in that direction.

It’s sobering to realize that we are each a powerful “Influencer” and that our thoughts and actions have a lasting effect on everyone else. So where do we turn for guidance when we are unsure of what to think and how to act about certain topics, or we need advice on a decision? And perhaps we should make it a point to pause and reflect before we make a judgement or action, to be certain we are assessing things correctly. It’s very easy for the ego to think it knows everything.

Paramahansa Yogananda advises:
Every morning and night go into silence or deep meditation. Meditation is the only way to discriminate between truth and error. God is the whisperer in the temple of your conscience. And He is the light of intuition.
     You know when you are doing wrong. Your whole being tells you. And that feeling is God’s voice. If you don’t listen to Him, He becomes quiet. But when you wake up from your delusion and want to do right, He will guide you.
     Thoughts and sensations are like searchlights: they throw their rays in front on material objects; they do not reveal the soul behind them. Intuition is like a spherical light, with rays on all sides, revealing the soul and also its outward projections of thoughts and sensations connected with the ego. Intuition is the bridge between the soul and the ego’s thoughts and sensations.
     If one can for a sufficient length of time remain unidentified with thoughts and sensations, and without being unconscious, he will know through the development of intuition the nature of the soul. When one is thus perfectly calm, neither thinking or sentient, nor unconscious, yet knowing he exists—a keenness of joyful being in which the thinking, thought, and thinker have become one therein is the soul’s consciousness.


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