•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 oursoul, 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!
• a group meditation prayer, by Norman Paulsen•Almighty Spirit, your light and energy moves through our bodies and minds. Fill us abundantly with your love. Let us see you face-to-face, brilliant like the sun, shining within the upper chamber of our minds.
What a miracle it is to be alive, and to contemplate you, oh God. All that we see, all that we know, came forth from your divine presence. From the testimonies of those who have passed before us, we know that you can become visible to us. We know that we can see you, we can hear your voice, and feel your spirit hands upon our heads.
I am your child, Mother-Father Divine. I pray that I may be a light in this world for others. Open wide my heart, that I may receive your love abundantly. The world needs your light so desperately in all hearts and minds. I pray that your light and love may be spread to those who are afflicted and injured and lost in the darkness. I pray for the cessation of wars, greed and suffering. I pray that this world can again be a garden of beauty for your children to live upon, loving each other, helping each other, growing together. Oh Beloved, I pray for this, and for the future of this beautiful planet.
I believe in the immortality of my consciousness, oh God. I believe that you created each one of us, so uniquely immortal. Let us realize our eternal souls, within our hearts, that we may bathe in the light of your presence. Lead us into this realization Oh God, that we may spread it to all.
With my heart’s intent upon you, breathe the Breath of Life into my soul. Let the dove of mercy and love descend upon the crown of my head. Even as Jesus received, let us all receive the dove of your beloved presence, the breath of life, into our hearts and minds.
I know you are here. I desire to feel you beat in my heart, and breathe in my lungs. You gave me this life; you can take it away. Let me see my immortality in you, Almighty Spirit. I will meditate on you. I will coax you to reveal yourself to me. I will love you with all my heart and devotion. I desire your love and your presence, that I may be an instrument to bring peace to this world.
Your unseen hands have fashioned us, and support us, every microsecond of time. You are within us; you are around us. We observe the uniqueness of each soul. No two faces are alike—each one exhibits a different expression of you.I can perceive you, oh God. I feel you beating in every heart. I feel you desiring to give to every mind your love, your compassion, your healing.
Heal our bodies that we may walk with you in strength and purpose, not just for ourselves, but for all our brothers and sisters. May we turn the presence of our minds inward upon you, that we may see you and hear you in our meditations every day. What a wonder it is to be alive! What a wonder it is to meditate upon you, Father, Mother, while sitting upon this tiny world floating in the infinity of galaxies and stars. Yes the immensity of your creation is stretching away from us in every direction; and here we are, so miraculously alive. What a wonder it is, this life that we have!
May we enter our closet, interiorize our minds when we pray, and observe who we really are in our meditations. May we open up our hearts to receive the breath of life, that unimaginable love. May we feel the anointment on the crown of the head, like warm oil, the life and breath of God descending into us. Yes, the kingdom of heaven is within.
Almighty Spirit, we your children thank you for bringing us together on this day, in the light of your presence. Each one of us, in our own way, desires you in our hearts, in our minds, in our souls. Walk with us. Remind us that you are within us and love us dearly, each and every one.
A Prayer by Norman Paulsen•Mighty Spirit, Mighty Beloved, Divine Mother and Father, we, your children, love you—our life, our Creator. We seek to hear your voice. We seek to know you as a son or daughter should know their mother and father. We know you are alive because we are alive. We know you can hear us, because we can hear. We know you see us because we can see.
Our hearts ache for loss of knowing you. Our world suffers in anguish and despair for having forgotten you—for having forgotten your cosmic laws of love and virtue. We seek to know you as sons and daughters not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of all the world, and all of your children.
If you reveal yourself to me and I hear your voice, and see your light, I shall know on that day that I have regained my natural state, that I have again become a true son or a true daughter, that I have come home. On that day I will realize that by becoming my natural self again I am in no way above or below anyone else, that I am nothing to be venerated or upheld, that I am just a natural son or natural daughter.
On that day I will set about, Oh God, to do your will, wherever you guide me in your creation; for without you nothing would exist. Without you my heart would cease to beat; my senses would no longer function. You, my Director, my Creator, my Divine Mother and Father, my Eternal Companion, my Beloved, my Dearest Friend, be with me from this day forward.
Enter into me, that pure Life that you are, that in an instant you can heal me and transform me forever. Let me be reminded every day of the twelve virtues, that I diligently apply them to my life. Through you, my Mother and Father, I shall become a son, a daughter, in the body of Christ, the Eternal Light.
[Sunburst Images – top: Sunday Service during Covid; below: Meditators receiving a spiritual blessing.]
by John Henry • The virtue of Equanimity is so powerful in its nature because it helps us control our thoughts. Every thought, word, and action that emanates from us is creating the world that we live in. It is an awesome responsibility to be a true human in this world.
Sunburst’s founder, Norm Paulsen, always used to say that we’re either building up energy, or losing it. We can use the virtue of equanimity to shape our thought processes and control them, which balances our energy, and protects us from depleting our life force.
It resounds in my soul how important it is to defer to God for thoughts—to act and speak according to divine laws and with unconditional love. Let us be willing to let our competitive ego natures fall away, and trust in the guidance that comes through the pure Self, allowing virtuous inspiration to enter into our souls.
In the spiritual life, we’re constantly being asked to grow. Sometimes that growth is slow and imperceptible. But sometimes it happens very suddenly. In the book, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, the author states that the third agreement of Toltec wisdom is to make no assumptions. Prejudice, equanimity’s opposite, tempts us in this direction. However, with wisdom and discernment, we can move through difficult situations and continue to grow.
There may come times in our lives when controlling our thoughts, and applying our concentration and all of our talents to a situation isn’t enough. Those are opportunities when God forces us to rely on spiritual guidance, and we’re shown what phenomenal results can come when we do so.
We may walk around at times thinking we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. In most cases, it’s just not true. I’m telling you this because I know that times will come when you can’t figure out the solution to “your problem” with your mind. That’s when you learn to rely on your relationship with your Creator.
When the Mayan calendar was going to end in 2012, some people believed it denoted the end of the world. Actually it marked the beginning of the future. That future is based on much higher thought than that of the past. Spiritual athletes are ushering in this higher thought. A cornerstone of any sustainable future is equanimity.
Of all the virtues, equanimity is the key to our ability to live with one another in brotherhood, to live in fellowship, thinking of the needs of others before our own, and further developing our ability to receive direction from God. The teachings of Sunburst reveal the conduit between each of us and Spirit, as well as all other enlightened spirits throughout the universe. Together we can usher in a bright future for humanity and planet Earth.
Almighty Spirit, our hearts are filled with but one desire; that is to awaken from this dream of being separate from you. It is our desire to remember our true identity, our oneness with you. We offer you all of our successes and our failures in exchange for the grace of knowing your peace and love, which is your nature. Amen.
by Valerie King • One recent Saturday I was reflecting on an extremely intense week. Work was so stressful, and my body wasn’t feeling well either. In short, I felt exhausted mentally and physically. It seemed that there was no end to the trials and worries of life.
But it was a beautiful spring day outside, the grass was vibrant and green, and the tiny wildflowers were starting to show. I decided to try walking our labyrinth as a healing practice. I took my shoes off so I could feel the wonderful life and presence of Mother Earth underneath me.
I remembered that a sanctuary guest had told me she liked to start her labyrinth walks with a question for Spirit, and that often she would get an answer while walking. So I looked at the radiant sun shining in the east and asked, “How can I find healing and balance?”
As I walked my bare feet gladly felt the cool dark earth and the soft wild grasses and flowers now growing in the pathways. All Earth seemed to be singing a deep hymn of gratitude for this beautiful morning. My heart began to lift and I started softly singing a song I remembered from my childhood.
It was a hymn based upon Saint Francis’ poem about Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Mother Earth, and all the creation. The chorus simply says, “Oh praise Him; Oh praise Him; Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!” This song echoed the gratitude in my heart for the joy I was beginning to feel.
As I came close to the center of the labyrinth, I was singing a verse about humankind: And all ye men of tender heart, Forgiving others; take your part. Oh praise Him, Alleluia! Ye who long pain and sorrow bear, Praise God and on Him cast your care….
And I smiled when I reached the very center as I sang these words, for I realized they were the answer to my prayer. How can I find healing and balance? “Praise God and on Him cast your care.”
I don’t have to try to carry all the worries and burdens of life alone. I just have to do my best with the responsibilities given to me, fill my heart with gladness and gratitude for God, and cast my cares into the brilliance of his light. That light can take much better care of my worries than I can! Thank you, Divine One.
Light on Sunburst Sanctuary – Opening the Gates Once Again! •
Appropriately for the change in seasons, Sunburst opened its gates to participants in two gatherings this past weekend. On Saturday, the Sacred Geometry Workshop delighted participants with various activities that opened eyes and minds to recognize the divine signature found throughout nature.
Craig Hanson, Sunburst’s Sacred Geometry specialist who has studied this subject for over 45 years, offered a slide show, a walk in nature, exploration of divine patterns in Sunburst’s Permaculture gardens, a drawing activity, and other educational demonstrations.
On Sunday, the public was once again invited to services in Sunburst’s meditation temple. In-person Sunday meditation services had been paused since Covid became an issue. It was a glorious day to meditate and receive inspiration together, as well as visit with old friends, welcome new friends, and enjoy some time together. Everyone also had the opportunity to take home organically grown vegetables from the Sunburst Permaculture gardens.