Lead Me To Illumination

Lead Me To Illumination

  John Kiddie    At the age of twenty-one I had an awakening. I began to realize that there was more to life than I was led to believe. I began searching for answers to my questions of: Who am I? Why am I here? and What is my purpose in life?

I was drawn to Eastern philosophies, and in turn to meditation. I tried a few different practices with varying results. Continuing my search I was carried by the good feeling that, while I didn’t know exactly where I was going, I knew that I would find what I was looking for.

As this awakening grew within me, I became aware of many different paths and practices. I yearned for a meditation practice that would lead me to illumination. A friend told me of a place nearby where people were meditating together. That sounded like a place I needed to visit.

I attended a few meditations and felt an immediate connection with the energy there. During those meditations I felt that I had come home. I came back a few weeks later to receive Sunburst initiation into the Kriya yoga technique of meditation. The feeling was so strong that this was what I had been asking for; I knew I’d found my path. As time went on, that feeling grew stronger and deeper within me. I was so happy that the yearnings of my heart had been heard, and my silent prayers answered.

As I turned the wheel of meditation, practicing the technique faithfully, I began to notice subtle, but significant changes within me. I was becoming more focused in my daily activities, giving them a higher quality of energy. I felt more peaceful, and was more tolerant of myself and others. A perspective as the Observer, viewing life through new eyes, was becoming the norm for me.

Time went on, and I felt myself embodying virtue more and more—not as a mental concept, but as a realization that this was our natural state of being. I realized a strength in myself that I’d never seen before, a strength born of virtue. This strength has continually helped me deal with the experiences life brings.

My journey is far from over, but I’m excited about this life, and thankful for all of the lessons I’ve been given to learn from. This tool of Kriya meditation is a great gift, and if used regularly with devotion, yields untold benefits.

Sunburst offers Kriya meditation several times a year. See Upcoming Events, or contact the Sunburst office for more information.

You Have Such a Teacher

You Have Such a Teacher

•  by Valerie King  •  When I was seventeen, I fell in love with God. The taste of Spirit had come to me in meditations, and I had to have more! I prayed for a guide who knew the way up the mountain of God. Miraculously, I was led to Sunburst and its founder Norman Paulsen, who was to become my brother, teacher, and friend.

Norm’s profound love of God kindled my desire one-hundredfold, to behold the Divine One within, to feel no separation from that presence, to know it in every particle of my being.

How does one describe a true teacher, and the gifts God brings through him? The depths of spirit-joy, sitting in meditation together, quenched lifetimes of soul thirst.

With amazing humility, Brother Norm shared his own spirit-journey with so many; its times of trial and times of blessings. His heart’s true desire was—and still is—to see all of God’s sons and daughters awaken and realize who they are, and become true caretakers of one another and this precious garden world.

The other day, my heart was missing the physical presence of my dear friend. I felt inspired to open a book of Rumi’s poetry, and my gaze fell upon these perfect words: “I am your deepest being. Quit talking about wanting me!”

I had to laugh, as I felt Norm smiling along with me. I am blessed to have such a teacher. You, too, can have Norm as a teacher, brother, and friend. Norm is very present and available, having been released into the place beyond time. He joyfully continues Spirit’s work of encouraging all souls to discover their divine home, the heart of God. You, too, are invited to join in this endeavor.

Walt Whitman wrote about this sacred work in his poem To Him That Was Crucified, “…we all labor together, transmitting the same charge and succession…till we saturate times and eras, that the men and women of races, ages to come, may prove brethren and lovers, as we are.”

Editor’s Note: And so, too, has Valerie moved on to those rarer dimensions from which she is still teaching. Photo is of a class she taught at Sunburst Sanctuary in 2017.
Val teaches at Sunburst


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. 

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