Exploring Sunburst

Exploring Sunburst

•  by Nathaniel Hansen  •  I recently entered the Sunburst community as an Explorer in a six-month program meant to acquaint its participants with life at Sunburst Sanctuary. Here I share just a few golden nuggets from my experience thus far.

At Sunburst, the best feelings emerge early in one’s first weeks. Not only are the residents and fellow explorers warm and welcoming, but one also has access to a rich library of texts from a variety of powerful teachers, daily morning group meditations, and some hours of highly gratifying physical labor on the ranch. In addition, when one first enters the gates of Sunburst, one’s blood pressure drops and a sustained sense of calm and peace fills the system. This is important because all of humanity is spiritually weary and in need of soul nourishment.

“How is this possible?” one might ask. 

It is possible because the tight-knit family in and surrounding Sunburst hold one another, the land, and the world in a positive bright light. Through daily meditation and prayer, the Sunburst family practices spreading the spiritual Sun’s rays to all souls. This action of channeling light to others is Sunburst’s daily, yet potent, gift. This is important because so much darkness is delivered via media to the human heart; Sunburst counters and cures this with light—first, in the individual life, and then in a larger context.

Anyone on the receiving end of this transference of light at Sunburst knows how wonderful the physical, emotional, and spiritual results can be. A consistent daily routine, along with deep sleep on land that is devoid of city noise, releases hormones into the bloodstream that truly nourish one. This experience is rare, and a true gift. 

As one digests the stories and teachings of Sunburst’s founders, and those who inspired them, one feels in the company of true spiritual giants. So many of life’s daily problems and larger issues are quite easily solved when reflecting on these teachings. And, after a full day’s work on the ranch, one may walk over to the well-lit temple for silent personal meditation and prayer. It’s a simple, yet deeply fulfilling existence. 

I was recently struggling with a personal issue, and felt an array of difficult emotions and thoughts. One of the long-time residents advised me: “Give these worries up to God, and he will attend to the problem; he can see the macro view.” This guidance brought me such relief. I wasn’t giving up responsibility as much as taking time to reflect next to God, feeling his (and her) all powerful presence. 

And that’s just a taste of what it’s like to be here at Sunburst. There are lots of helpful materials on the Sunburst website for those interested. You can also view a spontaneous song that burst out of me while on a tractor in a field here at Sunburst. This song captures all that I’ve written above…and more! I hope you enjoy it!

Here is the song: https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=144422184601460&id=100071010383827

Let Go of Ego and Enjoy Life

Let Go of Ego and Enjoy Life

  by Emily Wirtz    Paramahansa Yogananda used to talk about how a wave is the same as the ocean, but it is not the whole ocean, just as we are each a wave of creation in the eternal ocean of Spirit. The ocean can exist without the waves, but the waves cannot exist without the ocean. There’s a still, deep part of the ocean, which is the substance of our very existence in this ocean of Spirit. You can call it whatever you want: God, Source, or any other name.

What happens for me is the thought that I’m separate from other people. I’m thinking I’m separate from those trees over there and I’m separate from other people. We forget  that we are all connected and come from the same Source. And, as human beings, we get to choose whether to listen to the voice of Spirit, the voice of our soul, or to listen to the ego voice that thinks we’re separate from each other. 

When I went to college, it was about seven hours from home. I didn’t know anyone there, and had the sense that I was going to try to get life figured out. I wanted to find out who I really was, what I wanted to do, and to expand my horizons.

I took lots of different classes, some philosophy and religion courses, and  there were a lot of ideas going around in my head. But I noticed that none of the things I read or learned about were helping me figure out what to think about my future.  

I didn’t find the answer right away. In fact, I didn’t find the answer in college, although I really enjoyed all the ideas I learned about. It wasn’t until many years later when I learned to meditate that I discovered that there’s a space beyond thought. This helped me to feel that there’s something greater than the thoughts we’re thinking, symbolized in that image of the wave and the ocean. 

So if my mind is the wave, calculating things and examining how the past went and how the future might go, and doing it’s best to be helpful, the most satisfying thing to me is knowing that there’s something beyond that, knowing that this ocean of Spirit is my very nature, is all of our very nature. 

Where is that ocean of Spirit? What is that ocean of Spirit? Who am I beyond the personality that I know? It’s only as far away as our breath, and an open heart, and a practice of being present so that awareness can fill us. 

Now when I walk around, I still think of the past, I still think of the future, I still think of ideas, I still make judgements about myself or other people. But now I know there’s more to life than that. I can turn to my breath,  and to the present moment. To open up to an awareness of Spirit, to learn from direct experience with that Presence, is a practice. Keep practicing it and over time it will develop, and help you immensely.

There’s a beautiful word that’s used a lot. It’s an ancient word: Namaste. It roughly translates to: “The Divine in me bows to the Divine in you.” It’s a remembering that our substance is that divine Source, and remembering that who we’re interacting with is that source also. 

If we’re walking around in nature, the substance of nature is divine also. Even when we’re in something that we consider “manmade” like our cars, there’s nothing that isn’t made up of that Source, made up of God. So as we go through our days, may we each remember that idea in our hearts: the Divine in us recognizing the Divine outside of us, and in each other. Namaste! 

Sunburst Leadership

Sunburst Leadership

by Valerie King  •  A number of years ago, Sunburst’s Founder, Norman Paulsen, received an answer to his prayers concerning the leadership of Sunburst for that time when he would be watching us “from the other side.” Norm wrote down his wishes for the future guidance of our mission and purpose, naming his wife Patricia as his successor, to serve in the role of Spiritual Director and President. (Photo above: Patty & Norm)

Those who know Patty are continually inspired by the depth of her devotion to Divine Spirit and the Sunburst teachings, her loving kindness, her purity of heart, humility and strength of conviction. Patty has had the good fortune to be with Norm for 26 years as not only his spiritual student but also his wife and best friend. She carries Norm’s energy in her heart and soul. Norm’s divinely inspired choice was felt to be a great blessing.

In 2007, Norm created additional support structures to help guide Sunburst. He appointed an Advisory Board to assist and advise the Spiritual Director, as well as naming officers to carry out the wishes of the Director and the Board. Norm also created the Sunburst Council, made up of those who choose the Sunburst teachings as their spiritual path. The council is a receiving, reflecting, and projecting body. Its purpose is to envision and seed the future with divinely-inspired images.

Whenever we sit together in the presence of Spirit, we bring concentrated power to bear upon creating and manifesting God’s dreams here on Earth. Norm spoke of this creative power during a Sunday meditation:

“So beautiful are the children of God in their uniqueness. When we love one another, the power is on the move to do things, to create things, to make this world a place of peace, love, and understanding. Each soul has such a power to help, to heal, to live a life of service for each other, and for the world. This world so desperately needs this from each one of us. Love ye one another is the message we need to remember as we go forth every day.”

We are thankful that Norm had the foresight to create such strong and clear structures to carry on the work that Spirit began. Norm’s legacy continues on through all whom he touched, encouraging souls to awaken to their own Pure Self, the magnificent presence of God within.

Eyes Filled With Wonder

Eyes Filled With Wonder

By Sean Fennell

Yesterday a boy I know well, Cheechihoh, was coming to the Sunburst garden to work with me. He pestered his “Lala,” Ilene about it all morning. She was enjoying her grandson’s summer visit at her Sunburst home. But she was concerned about taking him to the garden on such a hot afternoon. Finally, it seemed a bit cooler, so she brought him over to work with me. 

Cheechihoh was amazed at all the new growth of the plants he had helped put into the ground as transplants only a few weeks earlier. His six-year-old mind had so many questions! After we placed drip hose along a newly planted bed, he saw the water dripping out onto the soil. He wanted to know, “Where is the water going?” 

That afternoon, everything in nature seemed to be a cause for wonderment. While we were working, there was a rustling above us on the hillside. We stopped to observe the source, a doe with her two spotted fawns. The youngsters were playing, jumping around amidst the tall grass. 

After a bit, Cheechihoh noticed some vultures sitting atop a fence at the far edge of the mandala garden beds. “Why are they sitting there?” he asked. I pointed to the area beneath a butterfly bush. There, very still, sat a mother quail on her nest of numerous eggs. They were probably soon to hatch. 

After an hour and a half, our work was done. But my joy at seeing the garden through a young boy’s eyes would always be with me. I felt I had learned much more that afternoon than he had. 

As we walked toward the gate to leave, Cheechihoh turned to me, asking, “Can I make this my playground whenever I come to Sunburst?” 

My eyes teared up. One of our aims at Sunburst is to give others the opportunity to see Spirit alive in the glorious body of Nature that is Sunburst Sanctuary. What better gift could I have been given that day? May we all experience life through eyes filled with amazement and wonder. 

Resident Profile: Craig Hanson

Resident Profile: Craig Hanson

Craig Hanson is a long-time Sunburst resident and ardent meditator. His love and knowledge of sacred geometry can be seen in the beautiful design of Sunburst structures as well as in many of the diagrams gracing the walls of the Sunburst lodge.

Craig Hanson

Occasionally Craig has taught wonderful and inspiring workshops for all those interested in the study of Nature’s cosmic blueprint, including the golden proportion, phi, and sacred spirals. The ancient keyhole door symbol, which embodies many of the Sunburst teachings, is based upon these sacred geometric principals. Craig’s next Sacred Geometry Workshop is on May 26th; it will be a unique opportunity to learn more about Nature and the Divine Mind.

Many years ago Craig read Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda. This inspired him to find a spiritual teacher of his own who would instruct him in meditation and a way of life that felt harmonious to his spirit. He was guided to Sunburst’s early community high in the mountains above Santa Barbara. There he met his teacher Norman Paulsen, and a group of other spiritual seekers who shared in his love of Spirit.

Craig at Sacred Geometry

 

 

On Saturday, May 26, 2 – 4 p.m. and  7-8:30 p.m., Craig will be teaching his popular “Sacred Geometry Workshop” where explore the common patterns present in nature, and understand how we are all One.

 

 

 

Craig lovingly tends to the rose garden.

Craig with roses

During his years in the Sunburst Community, Craig has become an expert carpenter, artist, and landscaper. Just ask anyone enjoying the countless works of art, including refinished furniture, and landscape projects, which were lovingly created by Craig.

His love of creativity has led him into many new endeavors such as sign making, book research and writing, and more recently the completion of beautiful oil paintings depicting the surrounding hills and nearby ocean waves. He can also be found almost every Sunday leading nature hikes on the Sunburst Sanctuary.

Craig’s love of nature inspires his artwork, such at this beautiful painting of ocean waves.

Craig Hanson painting

When asked what Sunburst teachings have done for him, Craig replies; “The teachings for me are like a blueprint, a framework upon which to weave the creative spirit within. The living teachings of the great Solar Logos pour down upon our heads. Through my meditations, I have seen and felt this Light. Sunburst is a star, joining other stars in a network bringing healing energy to our Earth garden.”

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