Seeing God’s Face Before Us

Seeing God’s Face Before Us

by Craig Hanson

Divine Spirit, Mother and Father,
We sit, immersed in your divine presence.
You fill us with such joy, knowing your eternal wisdom shines upon us. 

It’s brilliant light washes away all thoughts, all desires, save one,
the desire to love you with all our hearts, minds, and souls.

We know that all our actions, all our thoughts,
can bring us to the face-to-face encounter with you, our Beloved.

Amen.

As we look into the beauty of nature with our five senses, we can behold the perfect symmetry and beauty that surrounds us. It gives us inspiration, love, and guidance.

The value of meditation can be expressed in one word: peace. Peace is the absence of all thoughts. As we look upon the face of another in peace, no thoughts, no judgment, we can then behold God’s face shining back at us and realize it is our face.

The sun we see outside today winking at us through the clouds, is an expression of that same inner sun, our divine companion, that likes to play with us, hiding in and beyond the creation, playing with us, enjoying life. I’ll share a story that I feel captures the mystery and playfulness of divine Spirit.

Many years ago, I was living in a little place called Oasis, Nevada, just off Interstate-80 where I worked in the truck-stop. It was 150 miles from the nearest city and 30 miles from the nearest small town—so in the middle of nowhere—yet some amazing experiences took place for me there.

The front door had a little bell that rang when someone came into the store with its café. There we had an old cassette player, and I would play music for the customers. It was part of a game I played, imagining what kind of music a person would like when I saw them come in.

One day, around two or three in the afternoon, an incredibly beautiful woman came into the store. I had a sudden inspiration to play Jean-Pierre Rampal, classical flute music. She would really appreciate that, I thought, because she seemed very refined and also spoke French. She sat down in the café.

Having put the music on, I started to stock the shelves. The bell rang again, pretty hard this time, and I heard heavy footsteps come in the door. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a huge man. He had earrings and big patriotic tattoos. He must have weighed 270 pounds and been about 6 foot 7.

He was looking straight at me, and I suddenly thought he was going to do some damage. He walked right up to me with what seemed to me to be a menacing stare. My first thought was that I’d better turn the music off because he’s not liking that music.

When he got about three feet from me, in a surprisingly gentle voice he said, “My wife is a flutist for the Houston symphony orchestra, and she loves Jean Rampal!” His voice was so soft, and he had tears in his eyes. “Thank you so much for playing this music! You made my day, and it is nice meeting you.”

Then he turned around, and walked to the restroom. My jaw dropped, and I realized how much divine Spirit likes to play with us. That experience will always be with me. It shows that we are each created so differently, and yet are each so much a part of divine Spirit. So my prayer today is to see the divine beauty in everyone, and remember divine Spirit is always looking at us, and playing with us.

Oh divine Spirit, Mother, Father, we pray to you, that all your wonderful projections for this world will come about. We will be your hands, your minds, and your spirits, as we play and create a heaven upon this earth. So let it be done. Amen

Love Is the Key

Love Is the Key

By Norman Paulsen

Question: Is it possible to attain full God-realization through following the classical Christian beliefs, simply by studying the Bible and by prayer?

Norman Paulsen answers:
Jesus said, “These things I do, you can do also.” It doesn’t mean that everyone who goes to church and says, “Jesus is my savior,” will find total God-realization. You have to live it every day. You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk—seven days a week, not just Sundays. You have to walk the same walk Jesus did, taking on his virtues, his works. That takes a lot of spiritual work. Surely some devout Christians accomplish this. They go into their closets to pray, as Jesus said. This is the form of meditation that we are talking about in Sunburst’s Kriya Yoga Meditation.

St. John lived a life of abstinence and deep prayer in the caves of Patmos, where he wrote Revelations. He wrote of seeing the rainbow round about the throne of God. What does this mean? St. John was experiencing the masculine and feminine currents (called “ida and pingala” by yogis) arching up over the crown of his head, and reuniting with the Christ light as it reentered the body at his crown center. He knew through deep prayer that the throne of God existed within him. St. John was a great yogi—as great as any of the yogis in India.

Those who sit down and sincerely pray for others, for the world and for themselves, perform a meditation of great magnitude. Souls who combine this practice with living a life that exemplifies Jesus’ teachings live a life of great spiritual merit, and can attain true God-realization by their own efforts and by Christ’s blessing.

Prayer is meditation when it’s done with an open heart, expressing one hundred percent of your love. Love is the key to God-realization. If we don’t have love for God, we have to find it. Love delivers us to God’s heart, to His face, to His presence. That’s why Yogananda was always saying to us monks, “Get devotion—get love—you’ve got to get devotion for God!”

Intellect keeps analyzing and trying to work concepts down to where there is only one concept, and still most don’t see God when they get there. This practice of seeking God through knowledge is called jnana yoga, and it’s a very difficult path to follow. It takes a long time to finally arrive at the original concept, which is the reality of God existing in the Light.

We are joined together with God when the love of the heart opens up like a flower to receive the light. Meditation develops love for God. That’s why meditation is so important—to be practiced alone, as well as in a group. That is why Jesus said, “Go into your closet and pray.” Go to a quiet place where you and God are alone—when you awaken in the morning, and before you go to sleep at night. It’s a great and wondrous mystery, and the more we meditate, the more it unfolds for us.

If you mentally chant to God long and hard enough, you will begin to hear your voice resounding within. Sometimes, you will be able to chant from the highest to the lowest note—soprano to baritone. When you can really feel and hear your own voice ringing in inner space, then you’re going to start hearing God talking to you, saying, “Keep it up; don’t stop; I love you.” You hear His voice the same way you are beginning to hear your own, as you attempt to project it within. It’s an absolute fact that you can accomplish this in your meditations.

God is going to start talking to you, giving you encouragement, messages, direction, and love. It’s wondrous. That’s true prayer, true conversation with God. That’s real meditation. Again, that is why meditation is so important. For the early Christians, the time that they spent sitting alone, opening their hearts to Christ, reflecting with great love upon the life and teachings of Jesus, led them into that closeness and illumination, that Christ consciousness.

 

Vision of Elders

Vision of Elders

by Jake Collier

When I was a young boy, about eight or nine, my friend and I were anxiously anticipating the end of school. We raced home to his house because it was the beginning of a new show on TV that afternoon called “The Mickey Mouse Club.” It became a daily goal of mine to watch that show.

On one of the shows they revealed an answer to one of my questions—how all the wonderful images were created on the screen. They did a show about going into the Disney Studios and interviewing animators. They explained how they sketch a figure, and then on the next page the figure would be slightly different, and so on. When you flipped the pages, this figure came to life. On film, each scene or frame is a still image. All those stills are put on celluloid and run through a projector, and merge into motion and life on the screen.

The greatest animator and filmmaker is our Creator. We look around us, and we see such incredible images. From the very outer rim of creation to the very core of it, our Divine Creator projects images and gives them life. This incredible creation keeps growing; new galaxies are being born, new images are being created.

Each breath is a new beginning, a new chance, a new opportunity.

With high-powered microscopes, we learn how hard rocks, surfaces, and metals are made up of particles that have space around them. Sometimes we feel like our body is a solid mass, but when we sit in deep meditation, we can feel the space, that Divine space and energy that gives life to all we see within, and all around us.

The greatest storyteller of all time is our Creator. The greatest director and screenplay writer has set into motion this creation. It fashioned these bodies so that It may play all the parts and experience its own creation—to hear it, see it, smell it, touch it, taste it.

On a vacation or a trip, when we see a beautiful scene or image that moves us deeply, we snap a picture of it to share with others. Somehow the camera doesn’t capture what we felt. No matter how much we try to describe that experience, the other person viewing the photograph doesn’t really feel the full impact. That’s because we have to experience it on a cellular level to receive the full impact of this life.

With a tool of meditation, one can dive deep and experience the Divine, to experience our Creator. We can feel our inner senses open up, inner vision, inner hearing. Through meditation, we can receive answers to our questions. We’re able to view life around us like a motion picture, and we begin to be able to discern our direction in this life, our part in this play, this Divine motion picture. Meditation is the key that unlocks the doors, that solves the mysteries of this life.

We learn about how much thrust it takes for a rocket to overcome the field of this earth’s gravity. Likewise, meditation takes will power; it takes conditioning; it takes practice. To break out of these images that we see around us, and discover who we really are, takes an incredible amount of effort and dedication. How we’ve lived our lives in the past, how hard we put forth an effort each day, and how much Divine Grace we are given, all factor into how and when we make a break through. Men and women before us have done it, have broken through and become one with their Divine Creator.

In a motel room one night, I started to meditate. As soon as I sat down and started circulating the light, a room opened up before my inner vision. Ancient ones in white robes were walking into the room, about seven of them. They began to sit down and face me in meditation. The figure closest to me held up his hand with the palm facing towards me. I felt an energy of acknowledgment, understanding, and willingness to help and be a part of our lives here.

What we see with our physical eyes is just one plane of existence. There are so many other planes, wonderful places of beauty. By meditating and going within, we can discover these places and experience them. They become an aid in helping us get through the trials of existence here.

The ancient ones are watching us. They cheer us on and celebrate our victories; they feel our pain when we’re struggling. They are here to help us, to encourage us. They understand how hard it is here to break through.

I was so overwhelmed and overjoyed to experience their presence. The next night in my motel room when I began to meditate, there they were again, all sitting in meditation with me.

We have each other, and we have the help of the angels, and the ancient ones that have walked this journey before us. They have blazed the trail and marked the way. All we need to do is make the effort. Then we can realize and experience things in this life that are beyond description, beyond words, for when we experience a touch of the Divine, we are changed forever. It gives us an insatiable thirst to be divinely touched again and again.

Almighty Spirit, our Creator, our true friend,
We give thanks for the opportunity to participate in this drama we call life.

Guide us, keep us strong and healthy, that we might maintain and overcome any obstacles that confront us. Open up our inner senses, that we might experience the oneness that truly exists here in this creation, the oneness of Your life and Your love. Help us to see your face in everyone we meet, and may we always see your divine fingerprint in this creation.
Amen.

Achieving Goals, Setting Intentions — The First Step

Achieving Goals, Setting Intentions — The First Step

We each should be asking ourselves, “How can I get off to a good start this year? …this month …this week …today? Or, we may be wondering how to accomplish something that might seem daunting—beyond our abilities. What to do first?

If you know that your goal is positive, worthwhile, and helpful to humanity and the planet in some way, then Go for it! Your first step should be to fully visualize, or conceptualize your goal. Sunburst’s founder, Norman Paulsen, usually asked for spiritual direction before beginning any undertaking. This could have resulted in a quick Go for it!  during meditation, or the need for repeated requests for direction over many months. Timing is everything, and perhaps it wasn’t time to act yet.

When we’re simply thinking of “How can I get off to a good start today,” or “What should I focus on today?” we can usually get a quick answer. Hopefully we meditate each morning and feel inspired. Beyond that, Paramahansa Yogananda stated that we were given rational minds to help us solve problems, and function successfully on this dimension. Give yourself some time to think through what needs to take place.

Setting clear intentions can make a world of difference. Sometimes we add to this a prayer asking for help in accomplishing our goal. If we’re still uncertain that the direction we are about to take is the best one, asking for Divine clarity is a good idea. Sometimes, we haven’t gotten clear direction. Sometimes Spirit wants us to make a decision ourselves—to commit to an action by our own volition. If we are truly wanting to serve the Divine plan, we move forward with a heart that is open to changing course, if it’s needed. Trust that such a needed change will become obvious very quickly.

Sunburst Sanctuary facilitates our getting off to a good weekly start every Sunday. Each New Year finds Sunburst offering a blessing ceremony for our intentions into that year. On January 4th, Saturday evening, we gathered in the Sanctuary Lodge for a fire/seed ceremony. At this event, accompanied by inspired music, we symbolically cast what did not serve us into the fire, and set free our positive aspirations into higher realms. It was a beautiful ceremony amidst friends, old and new, reminding us of our unity with all the love and sweetness within and behind this creation.     

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