• by Norman Paulsen, Sunburst Founder • Prayer and meditation, alone or with others, attracts divine Spirit’s attention. As we pray and meditate, God can appear before us brilliant like the sun! This is the subjective light, the very face of I Am That I Am. God may also appear before our gaze like a twinkling star at the end of an inner-dimensional tunnel. That light is the reflected image of the first creation of light, the Christ light that exists within each one of us. This light of Christ pervades all the dimensions of creation, all space and all time, within us and around us.
The angels in heaven and all the sons and daughters of man who have attained Christ consciousness [saints, seers and prophets] exist in that dimension of light. If we name them, we can call them forth to visit us, to help us, to heal and illuminate us—if we but call, if we but ask.
True tithing is giving our life force to God. To sit down twice a day, whether we like it or not, and call and pray that our Creator reveals himself to us— this is the real tithing. Being willing to give of yourself, your time, your love, your energy and desire to the Divine. When we tithe to God in this way in our prayers and meditations, our efforts are returned one hundredfold.
It takes self-discipline to seek God, because our self-conscious minds always want to go and play, acquiring this thing and that, running here and there. But when we discipline ourselves to sit down, even for five minutes, our divine Mother and Father will reward us. All desires are fulfilled, all transgressions are forgiven. But we have to sincerely offer ourselves.
As a young man I made the effort in prayer and meditation at the monastery of my teacher, Paramahansa Yogananda. I spent over four years diligently applying myself to meditation, praying to God to reveal himself to me. He finally came to me, and he will come to you, if you make the effort.
This wondrous experience, which surrenders the self- conscious ego, is for every one of us to have—to know our divine Parents face to face; to know our own soul—totally divine, awaiting to be awakened within us; to have our prayers answered, our desires fulfilled, our loved ones who have passed on seen again; to see God’s face shining like the sun. It will hide at times to test you to your limits, but it is always there, always loving, always miraculously returning to you.
All We Have To Give
Oh Light of Christ, we offer the life force of our bodies to you. This is our tithe. This is all we really have to give you: our life force, our energy, our consciousness.
Oh, that our consciousness might be touched by yours. That our consciousness might expand into your body of light throughout the creation.
We are here on this Earth only such a short time, only a moment in your eternity. Let us see you face to face, let us know you, let us see that place where we go when we leave here. Let your love be with us always, eternally.
Our world is in a state of upheaval, mighty changes. You and your angels, your army of light are here to see the world in peace and love, in growth and understanding.
• by Craig Hanson•On life’s journey toward understanding our true nature, trials, misunderstandings and difficult times may beset us. As we weather these trials and learn many lessons, we may hope that we can help others with what we have gleaned from our experiences.
Norman Paulsen, the founder of Sunburst, wrote a book called “Love, Life, God.” In it he talks about his many experiences as he tried the best he could to live in a way that would bring him closer to the Divine Spirit whom he knew existed within himself. He stated:
My own search for God and a face-to-face meeting did occur for me, but I had yet to live to perfect virtue, which is the very nature of God. I hope, by revealing my experiences, struggles, and revelations, that you, traveler, will be aided on your journey homeward. When trials come, embrace them as opportunities for growth. We learn compassion for others through the painful circumstances we endure ourselves.
There’s an old expression that says: Whatever pains you in others is probably within yourself. The things we find painful inside of ourselves are like the cattle prod that gets our attention and causes us to reflect, then causes us to have compassion for ourselves and others. The sanctuary of peace and perfection we long for is within. When we relax the mind through deep breathing, we relax the thoughts and come to a place of peace and calmness. This is our own sanctuary where the waters of life flow in a beautiful cascade, giving life abundantly and eternally from the fountain of life which flows through us all. As we grow closer to the Divine, as we sit in moments of silence and contemplation, as we enjoy the beauties of creation and of each other—the smiling faces before us—we come to realize that all these things are within us.
We each are placed upon the Earth to do a great work unique to our own soul. We may discover this through a lot of trial and error. Understanding and comprehension of who we are, why we were placed here, and how the creation came into being—all these profound questions, which perplexed even the greatest minds, can be known.
Albert Einstein, humbled by the magnificent order of the creation fashioned by a divine intelligence, realized that the most profound answers to the physical questions of the universe, as well as the simple questions of our hearts, were found within this quiet Self within. So it is with each one of us that Divine Spirit has created a creative genius blossoming forth like an exquisite flower. Together we can be a bouquet of souls who fully understand our infinite potential and connection to each other through our common Source.
by Norman Paulsen, Sunburst Founder • Our Divine Creator is present in every image, living in every cell of our bodies, swirling in every atom, existing around every thought. But we are given the power to think and to make our own choices. Our Divine Mother and Father will not fully reveal themselves to us until they are convinced that we really love them, that we really want to see and know them.
The Divine created this whole universe of images and all of us, each one with a different face. It will be heaven on earth when we realize what a miracle this is. From our divine center, we can project for our world those images we want to see—humankind living at one with the gardens, the flowers, the trees and their fruits, with the creatures. We take care of them, and they are helping us.
My divine playmate, God, woke me one night, and with my eyes open or closed the whole room was filled with stars—brilliant, crystal clear sub-atomic particles, like tiny suns, living beings of light. Like swarms of bees, these beings assimilate and collect life force into images that divine consciousness wants to make visible. They were moving through my body and all around me, this swarm of living light.
God said, “This is my body—inside of you, outside of you. When you leave your physical form you fly with me in this light.”
I raised my hands up over my head into the light and it sparkled, twinkled and swirled around and through my fingers. Everywhere I put my hands into the light particles it felt like an extension of my own body. It was divine ecstasy.
I said, “Oh Father, I am really touching you with my hands! This is as close as I can get to hugging you.”
This experience is for everyone, if we will just make the effort in prayer and meditation. Life is so full of interesting things coming and going, you may think, “I don’t have time to seek God. I will do it later when I am not so busy.“ But if you seek God now, you will have a divine companion as you grow older. God will be with you, helping you to become a co-creator on the stage of life within yourself. God will be walking with you, and you will be walking with God every day—oh what a wonderful thing!
My God is very near; tears of joy run from my eyes, and down upon my cheeks.
The very vital airs I breathe are saturated with the Divine Presence.
The timeless, eternal Spirit now exists between each thought attached to this moment of my comprehension.
I become speechless and transfixed, in utter astonishment of the Divine’s presence before me, and existing in every moment.
Note: Norman always said the experience of Divine love and bliss is available to any who seek it. Renew your spirit at Sunburst’s upcoming Silent Retreat November 10 – 13. Call for details: 805 736.6528. Space is limited.
• Dawn King (text & illustrations) • It’s interesting to reflect on the judgmental biases that we each acquire from the environment in which we grow up. Today a long-forgotten memory came to mind while I was cleaning my bathroom. Many years ago when Sunburst first started, we had an office in Santa Barbara. It was on Cota Street. One of the functions of this office was to find employment for Sunburst Farm residents.
Because everyone needed to chip in some money to help Sunburst Farm feed its residents and develop the property, each resident needed to pay “rent”. We had not developed our chain of natural foods stores yet; later working at a job there was considered as payment of rent, although no money was exchanged.
At one point I was the volunteer who scoured local papers to find jobs for us. I sent myself on one of these because nobody else was available. This job was to spend a few hours cleaning someone’s home in an upscale neighborhood. I had grown up in an environment which saw cleaning someone else’s house as the lowest and worst job a woman could take. So I had to put that prejudice from my upbringing out of my mind.
With an at-your-service attitude I rang the doorbell, and followed instructions for cleaning some hard to reach areas of the client’s beautiful home. I was happy that I could easily crawl behind the couch, and climb a ladder as needed. It was a successful job.
The homeowners seemed very happy with my work, and insisted I have some milk and cookies before I left. Very new to Sunburst at the time, I was 26 years old and weighed 95 pounds due to anorexia, which I suffered for a year or more before arriving. The generous homeowners most likely were concerned that I was malnourished, and after the work I appreciated their kindness.
Today, I’m very happy that I took this job and actually did it despite having grown up in an environment that said this kind of work was supposed to be “beneath my dignity.” The experience taught me many things.
1. Honest work is never beneath one’s dignity. “Honest” means it is not stealing, lying, or involved in anything illegal.
2. We should honor and appreciate others who perform honest labor; so many menial and even “dirty” tasks are vital for the functioning of society. My humble husband never shied from dealing with the community septic system or any other task that would turn others off.
3. It’s worthwhile to reflect on and realize what prejudices we have been exposed to, and whether we’ve accepted them as part of our own belief system.
4. When we perform any honest task with a glad heart in true service to others, or an attitude of service to Spirit, no task is too far beneath us, and no task is too large or too hard.
Selfless service is always attended to and aided by unseen angel helpers. What a blessing! You can feel it!
“I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that I will fall heir.” – Gautama Buddha
These words remind us that we are each responsible for our own actions and our own karma. It fits this time of year, the fall equinox.
In Jewish tradition Rosh Hashanah comes at the start of the fall season, and is a time of reckoning. Likewise, Hindu tradition sets two weeks aside for facing one’s own responsibility for one’s karmic lot. This time is especially aimed at overcoming victim consciousness around family issues. We need to recognize how we ourselves have been negligent in our thoughts and actions, or perhaps used bad judgement. Just as we want to be forgiven, we must forgive those we judge as having wronged us.
Here are Paramahansa Yogananda’s words on personal karma:
You should make a greater effort. Forget the past and trust more in God. Our fate is not predestined by Him; nor is karma the sole factor, though our lives are influenced by our past thoughts and past activities.
If you are not happy with the way life is turning out, change the pattern. I don’t like to hear people sigh and ascribe present failure to past-life errors: to do so is spiritual laziness.
• Patricia Paulsen • There are many spiritual traditions that exhort you to: “Hurry and finish up your karma so you can leave this planet and go to a more heavenly realm.” The beauty of Sunburst’s teachings is that we’re not in a hurry to get out of here and never come back. We are to fully enjoy the amazing miracle of this life, the sacredness of our Mother Earth, and all life here. That’s what Sunburst is about.
You and I are not this body, not this mind; we are immortal souls, each one of us. And that immortal soul has been given free will to love the Infinite Being, or not. That’s a really powerful gift.
When we live in alignment with divine will, we can move through this life experiencing ever-new joy, love and peace. Even in the midst of life’s storms, there’s a place in you that is Peace, but you must discover this and cultivate it. You can feel at one with the immortal soul that you are.
You hear of “mindfulness, mindful living”—what does this mean? It means being present and centered in awareness, noticing the rising of your thoughts, without reaction. This requires a certain amount of mental discipline and effort. I love our brother Norman’s statements on mindful living:
Mental discipline arises from commitment to the vision you seek— knowing what you want and dedicating your life to bringing it forth into being. It is foolish for anyone to think that they can attain any true level of realization without a life of self-discipline. True discipline is never a restriction; it is liberation!
Meditation is a practice that helps us clear out subconscious habits and conditioning that are no longer of service to us. Discipline of the mind opens a whole canvas onto which you can project and receive. It’s not empty space; it’s full of Presence, life, love, our true nature, who we really are. We were made in the image and likeness of our creator Mother and Father. That’s powerful.
Where do we start? How can you be mindful about your activities in life—what you’re doing with your life force—if you’re not aware of your conduct? Consciousness is with you all the time. You have to become aware of it and focus it to make good decisions. This effort of focus will allow virtue, your divine nature, to come forth through mindful living, making the right choices in life. How often do we act unconsciously and make decisions?
Asking ourselves to be self-disciplined and control our thoughts may seem an overwhelming task. But if you guide your awareness to watch your breath, and feel at home in your body, you gain confidence: “I think I can do that.” You’ll realize that the more you practice conscious breathing with a full in-breath and full out-breath, you begin to calm your heart. By doing so you begin to calm your mind, your thoughts. This is a simple way to calm mental restlessness.
Be kind to yourself; have compassion, not judging when your thoughts keep moving all over the place. Come back to your center of “being here now” and say, “I will keep returning again and again to this present moment, this next breath.” Through such a simple practice, you’ll begin to discover that prana, the life force of Spirit itself, rides on your breath.
Spirit is always trying to help us find our way back home to peace, equanimity and joy, for this is our true nature. Our Creator doesn’t want to see us suffer. We’ve been given tools so that we have a way to return home right within us. The kingdom of heaven is not somewhere else. It is within us, and when we find it within, we find it everywhere around us. We simply have to do the inner work first.
Our dynamic will and conscious awareness is the seat of virtue. It can help us create the future we want to see—not by grasping, but by willingly allowing ourselves to be an instrument for this Presence to work through for the betterment of the whole. Conscious conduct is the wellspring of mindful living. It brings joy to our lives.