Let Creativity Move You!

Let Creativity Move You!

by Dawn King    The image for this article is of hands on a 9,000 year-old cave wall in Argentina. Isn’t it wonderful, as though all those people are reaching out to us from the past. We have to wonder what inspired them.

Creative expression is part of our DNA. The greatest creative energy of all has manifested each of us, and enlivens our every breath, so how could we not be creatively expressive beings as well? Art in every form, whether story telling, shaping clay, creating a song, or decorating a cake, is part of being human.

Psychologists tell us that being creative is vital for our well being, and believe it’s a mechanism to help us cope with life and prepare for challenges. A story from the journal Frontiers in Psychology:

A student was severely depressed because her grades were very poor, and she felt hopeless. At art therapy she selected a black marker and colored her entire page black. After looking at it for a while, she commented that it looked “really dark and bleak.”

She looked around and grabbed some pink sculpting clay, then started making flowers: “You know what? I think maybe this reminds me of spring.”

“Through that session and through creating art,” says her art therapist, “the student was able to imagine possibilities and see a future beyond the present moment in which she was despairing and depressed.”

As Thomas Merton has written: “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.“ Today we might call this “being in the zone,” transcending time and space. Christianne Strang, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Alabama Birmingham (and a former president of the American Art Therapy Association) says: “Creativity in and of itself is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and connected to the world.”

Scientific studies have shown that the brain’s reward center (the medial prefrontal cortex) has increased blood flow when study participants engage in art. Researchers conclude that art could be helpful for improving health, overcoming addictive behaviors, as well as mood and eating disorders.

So what does creative expression do for us? 1. It clears our head; 2. Helps us make sense of our emotions; 3. Relaxes and calms us; 4. Affords us a different way to communicate; 5. Helps us imagine a more hopeful futureto solve problems and face situations; 6. Activates the reward center of our brain (the medial prefrontal cortex); 7. Lowers stress and anxiety (cortisol levels); 8. Lets you focus deeply.

It takes a little effort, but is well worth letting the creativity within you express itself. Do it for your own self-enjoyment, and you will be improving the happiness consciousness on the planet.

Compassionate Communication

Compassionate Communication

• by Valerie Joy King • It’s vital to remember how powerful our thoughts are and how much we influence others just by the way we think about them. If we’re having difficulty with another person, it’s an incredibly powerful thing to visualize their positive attributes and see them in all the light they can potentially manifest.

In reality, whatever we think about another person can cause that person to reflect those thoughts back to us. If we’re holding negative thoughts of another, we’re going to strengthen those images. Yet, the beauty of it is that if we see them in a positive light, we help that light expand and grow in them. This is the gift of silent compassionate communication we can offer all the time.

There are many tools to aid your practice of compassionate communication. Some of these work from the outside in, and others work from the inside out. This is what Yogananda called the inner and outer path of Self-realization.

A good technique of meditation such as Kriya Yoga works from the inside, clearing out our personal karmic seeds and subconscious energies. As we practice, we lift these energies up into the light of consciousness, exchanging them with the pure life force of Spirit.

The other way of practicing is from the outside in, finding tools to use during everyday life. For example, before the thought of worry or frustration turns into something big, try to catch it. If you can be aware of it, sit with it and offer it up to Spirit. It’s like catching the mosquito before it bites, or a weed before it becomes bigger and stronger. You can nip it in the bud.

The ancient yogis state that if you make a habit of always speaking truthfully, your words become imbued with spiritual power. What is truth? Paramahansa Yogananda said, “Don’t speak unpleasant words even if true,” so there is a difference between the truth and the facts.

The truth is: You are an immortal soul. You are not this body; you are not this mind. Speaking truth means communicating in ways that strengthen those truths, those realizations, in yourself and others. That is the ultimate Truth.

The Divine Within You

The Divine Within You

  by Norman Paulsen, Sunburst Founder    In our self-conscious state of mind, we often think our Creator is so far away, someplace other than within us. We think: “Maybe It’s out there in space…” or “He’s on a mountaintop.”

The Divine’s consciousness inhabits the space between each atom, between each subatomic particle in our bodies. Meditation is so important to each of us, because in the silence of our beings we can find this space where the Divine is. Just sit and be still. Pray that God will reveal himself, herself to you.

When we can perceive the center of our own consciousness, that smallest of all places within us, we can perceive God. We can hear the perpetual chant of AUM, of HUM. We can then perceive the Divine’s voice speaking to us—a real conversation with God. We hear words, actual replies to our questions.

What a wondrous thing it is that we have the ability within us to communicate with the Divine. So few really practice it! Yet, nothing on Earth is more important.

Jesus said: Seek first the kingdom of God, and: The kingdom of God is within you. How can we find it within us? We find it through true prayer and meditation.

O beloved Mother, we dedicate this day to your beautiful Earth, your garden floating in infinity. What a jewel it is! We dedicate our energy and our lives today to helping preserve your garden here for your children, now and in the future. It is a blessing to be a caretaker of your Earth, so full of your Spirit.

We love you Father! We love you Mother! Open our consciousness to your presence. This day, let us all become warriors of light and truth, that we may go forth in your will and your guidance to help your world and your children. Amen

Brigid of Kildare

Brigid of Kildare

     by Dawn King    Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17th) is celebrated in many parts of the world. Lesser known is his contemporary, Ireland’s patroness, Saint Brigid of Kildare, also known as Bridget of Ireland. These two figures of renown lived around the year five hundred.

Brigid’s father was a Druid chieftain; her Portuguese mother had been captured and transported to Ireland by pirates. Brigid was named after the Druid goddess of fire, whose manifestations were song, craftsmanship and poetry. In that era, wisdom was shared through poetry, mostly sung; therefore poetry was considered to be the flame of knowledge.

Brigid the Druid goddess and Brigid the Irish saint share February 1 as their feast day. A simple form of woven cross is attributed to her. When attached to the ceiling (above the hearth) it was credited with preventing the home from catching fire; Irish homes had thatched roofs which burned readily.

Famous for her common sense and goodness, Brigid was honored for her compassion and generosity toward those in need. As a young girl, her only wish was to devote her life to God. Women had little opportunity to exert self-will, and her father forbade her aspirations.

Undaunted, she gave away the household bounty to others. Her father decided to let her become a nun after she gave his jewel-encrusted sword to a leper. She later established a convent for women and a number of charitable foundations.

One story is associated with the official blessing Brigid received to acknowledge her as Abbess of Kildare Abbey. This famous monastery accommodated both nuns and monks. During the ceremony, the elderly Bishop inadvertently read the wrong rites and consecrated her as a Bishop. At the time, this could not be rescinded under any circumstances. The Abbess position retained such power until the Synod of Kells in 1152.

During her own lifetime, Brigid was considered to be a saint. She is known today throughout Ireland, sometimes as “Mary of the Gael” (Mary of the Irish). An excerpted translation of the oldest account of Brigid follows:

Saint Brigid was not given to sleep, nor was she intermittent about God’s love; Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for The wealth of this world below the Holy One.

The Fruit of Heaven

The Fruit of Heaven

by Norman Paulsen, Sunburst Founder    Look beyond the narrow confines of your body and this world; look into space and all eternity. Realize that our lives here are but for a moment. They can be lives of bitterness, selfishness, and deprivation, or they can be lives that open like flowers, petals receiving God’s light, and expressing it actively from the beginning to the end. Each soul has its witness, and as we live so our future unfolds.

So it is; realize that the bitterness of today will open up in joy tomorrow if you persist in virtue. One cannot create virtue, one can only receive it; it comes by grace. It comes by the return of our life to Christ. Virtue, in the form of Christ’s life force and self-control descends upon us like a silken garment. One day you are without it, the next you have it. One day insurmountable problems exist, and the next day they are gone. So it is with the kingdom of heaven, with the divine presence of Mother-Father-God.

Each soul is tested to its full endurance. The more tests you receive, the further you grow. God still tests me every day. Just when I think I’m ready to drop from exhaustion, God says, “Here’s a little more life, you can go a little further now.” When you feel you can’t go on any longer, then comes the joy, the rapture of God. If you study the lives of saints, you will find that God never came easily to them. The One who is constantly at work in all creatures, in all elements throughout infinity, never rests. And yet, It rests all the time.

God wants and expects you to be a god, in your true image, as She created you. This was God’s intention, that we dwell here in these bodies, that we enjoy life and each other in full consciousness, knowing eternity. How can we accomplish this? Every moment we must ask, “God, God, God-Mother-Father come to me, dwell in me!” The fruit of heaven is so luxurious and so ecstatic—one taste, and you will give all that you have for more. God hears our every thought, our every desire. As we think and desire, and desire and think, our future is written and our past is erased—karmas overcome.

Remember, God wants you to be an irresistible force. The vessel of your soul must contain the wisdom of heaven, the power of God. God must be sure that your vessel will not crack. Therefore, accept those tests in life that come upon you, and realize that if you persevere, it is God who is building that vessel of you that will contain Him. No matter how much our cup might want to hold the wisdom of the sea of eternity, it can only hold a cupful. It is by expanding our cup that we can contain more of that wisdom, that strength. One must be patient with God; have faith in God, whose time is eternity. We get in too big of a hurry sometimes. All will take place in God’s time if we will allow it.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness

  by Barbara McCaughey    Sunburst teachings provide a framework of “right activity” for me. Cooking is sort of a combination of the Sunburst spiritual Paths of Work and Recreation, and an activity that needs to be done in my family, but one that I also enjoy. I made the decision many years ago to keep my kitchen free of many of the time saving gadgets available to help us “whip up a meal” in no time, instead preferring simple basic tools that would allow me to slow down and infuse the food with the one ingredient that works for every recipe—love.

A couple of years ago, I awoke on a Sunday morning a few hours before I was to prepare and serve the brunch that follows our Sunday group meditation. As soon as I opened my eyes, for some strange reason, I was straining to remember the name of a comic actor. Even though his name was familiar to me, I just couldn’t jog it free from my memory banks. Although this was a pesky little thought that bothered me a bit, it was too insignificant to wake anybody so I just tried to put it out of my mind.

I started preparing the food and time seemed to go by very quickly. When there was less than one hour left before it needed to be delivered, I was disappointed with how some of the dishes were coming out, even though I had expected a good result. The time began to weigh on me a bit, and I started to speed up and try different spices and ingredients to improve the flavor.

Realizing that I was losing my center, I stopped for a moment and said, “Divine Mother, you’re the cook.” I was going to continue: “Please work through my hands,” but before I finished the word “cook,” the name “Jim Carrey” seemed to fly through all of creation and crash land in my brain!

I started laughing. I felt as though Spirit’s sense of humor was communicating approval of my stopping to remember where my life and abilities come from. One silly little desire was fulfilled in that moment of quiet reflection, but of course our greatest desire is fulfilled there as well.

One translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls includes these words:
I will bless the Creator’s name in all I do. Before I move hand or foot, whenever I go out or come in, when I sit down and when I rise, even when lying on my bed I will chant in praise.
My lips shall praise the Divine as I sit at the table which is set for all, and before I lift my hand to partake of any nourishment from the delicious fruits of the earth.
When fear and terror come, and there is only anguish and distress, I will still bless and thank the Creator for all their wondrous deeds, and meditate upon their power, and lean upon their mercies all day long.
For I know that in their hand is justice for all that live, and all their works are true. So when trouble comes, or salvation, I praise God all the same.

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