The Master Key – Self-Discipline

The Master Key – Self-Discipline

•  by Dawn King  •  One of the qualities that I believe is intrinsic to Capricorn and Sunburst’s virtue of Temperance (or moderation) is self-discipline. As you read this, we may not be experiencing the Sun rising in Capricorn each morning, yet mindfulness about self-discipline is part of the spiritual path.

Telecasts in February of Carnival (ending with Mardi Gras) brought this to mind for me. Mardi Gras is a festival of indulgence in excess, sometimes called “enjoying life,” because the revelers think they will soon be deprived of some enjoyment until Spring. In earlier times, the remaining winter stores of lard and butter, or meats, were consumed then. Perhaps it was just before they all went bad due to lack of refrigeration. After this consumption, “fasting” began.

We’ve heard it said: “A sad saint is a sad saint indeed.” Enjoying life is our birthright, but overindulgence in just about anything is unhealthy. Mira Alfassa tells us: “Spiritual life does not mean contempt for matter, but its divinization. We do not want to reject the body, but to transform it. For this purpose physical training is one of the means most directly effective. I invite you to train with enthusiasm and discipline.”

Physical training for any type of sport or recreation also improves our emotional and mental fortitude. Kriya Yoga is an “action” yoga (Kriya means “action”), but with the right intention and direction. “Yogic action has three components—discipline, self-study, and orientation toward the ideal of pure awareness.”Patanjali, “Yoga Sutras,” [translation by Chip Hartranft, in “The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali”]

Mardi Gras inspired me to choose a new action that I could mindfully engage in daily until Spring (Easter). I knew that it would help me develop self-discipline. As Norman Paulsen, Sunburst’s founder, has said: “True discipline is never a restriction; it is a liberation!”

The Blessing of Discipline

The Blessing of Discipline

by Norman Paulsen    [photo: Paramahansa Yogananda instructing Norman Paulsen in a yoga technique]  To walk the spiritual path, the utmost discipline is required. Threefold development must be pursued: physical, mental, and spiritual. Many begin, but fail to make the continuous effort. The attainment of a virtuous life is the crowning achievement to be realized by the spiritual athlete.

Helping you to achieve this goal of virtue is Spirit, I Am That I Am, the pure Self existing within your soul. Yes, we all have this divine energy centered deep within. It has to be identified and brought forth.

If the beginning seeker or practiced adept is to make any progress at all, it is an absolute requirement to walk the paths of right living in this life while practicing virtue. By actively practicing virtue every day, and beginning to walk the path of service, you bring forth the pure Self within, Christ consciousness. This is Self-realization as described by my teacher, Paramahansa Yogananda.

Realization of the pure Self within your soul eliminates the functions of the false self, the selfish self. The awakening soul takes on its true image of discerning, joy filled Christ consciousness. The ego-centered consciousness must abdicate the throne to the Christ, the now illumined soul within you.

No matter how many times we stumble and fall, God is always there with us, and we have to get up and keep going. That’s what our Creator wants to see, the will to never give up. It takes discipline. God does require discipline from us, but discipline, we find, is salvation.

Disciplining our lives, meditating when we don’t feel like it, serving and helping others when we’re tired and worn out, we do these things because the heart of God beats within each one of us. The soul of God is in each of us right now, blessing each one of us right now. God is here with us.

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 unwise 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’s a liberation!

Wisdom & Humility

Wisdom & Humility

  by Norman Paulsen  The life of service and self-sacrifice Jesus of Nazareth lived and gave for all of us is unparalleled on this Earth. “Not my will, but Thine be done,” he offered. Humility in action is the virtue that he personified. By his example must we all learn obedience. We must overcome the false one, the selfish ego, by living the Twelve Virtues and walking the Eightfold Path.

The virtue of Humility arises from the Divine, I Am That I Am as the pure Self within you setting aside the emotions and desires of the self-conscious mind. If called upon, the pure Self will produce reason. Reason reflects upon the paths and the virtues, and considers the options. Divine will moves the adept to make wise decisions in the practice of humility. That wisdom springs forth from the voice of illumination, Christ consciousness speaking within you.

At all times, the soul traveler who seeks illumination must remember the truths described in the Eightfold Path and Twelve Virtues. This wisdom moves the adept to the right decision for each occasion. Humility requires discipline and meditation to avoid wrong decisions in its application.

For instance, when Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth,” he didn’t mean the weak, or juvenile. Rather, he meant those who are able to discern and rise to the occasion, the eaters of the strong meat of truth. These are the ones who surrender to God’s will, pick up their cross and walk!

This is my soul calling you, Beloved. Can you hear me?
How can I not express humility when I observe the immensity that surrounds me?
It’s awesome vastness is filled with spheres of living light that blink at Earth from their distances!
And me, who am I? So tiny, so small, in all this boundless immensity!
Are you dreaming what I think is me? Am I heading toward perfection as a reflection of you?

Helping Others

Helping Others

by Sunburst Friend and Vedic Astrologer James Kelleher    Helping people is a good thing to do, but it can be complicated. Sometimes the person doesn’t want the help you want to give. Sometimes they are even literally unable to accept help. Other times, you think that you can help, but find out that you have overestimated your ability to help them.

When he was alive, my teacher, Sadguru Sivananda Murthy and I had a conversation in which I asked him, “It seems to me that giving to other people doesn’t really help them most of the time. If you see a guy on the street who looks like a drug addict and he is asking for money for food, you get the impression that he is not going to use the money for food. He will probably use if for drugs or alcohol.  Should you give the man money?” 

Sivananda Murthy said, “Yes, just give him something. It doesn’t matter what he is going to do with the money. Besides, you don’t know, he might actually buy food with it. It’s not your job to control what he does with your gift. Give him the money because it is good for you. The gift of money will most likely not help him, but the compassion you feel when you give it will help definitely help you.

The motivation for helping someone can be complicated. Why do you actually want to help? Most people help others out of a belief or story about themselves. The logic goes like this. “I learned from my parents that good people help others. I am a good person. Therefore, I am the sort of person who helps others.” When the person finds an opportunity to help someone, they do it, at least in part because it confirms their story about themselves. It makes them feel good about themselves. There’s nothing wrong with this type of giving. We all have stories about ourselves. It’s a lot better to see yourself as a good person than to see yourself as a dirty rotten scoundrel. But that type of giving takes place in your head. It’s not a spontaneous thing, and it is rooted in the ego. 

Some people take if further by then telling their friends about their act of charity. They may not actually be bragging, but just sharing something they enjoyed doing. When other people acknowledge their generous act, that reinforces their story about being a good person even more deeply. I don’t want to sound religious here, but in his Sermon on the Mount, Christ said, “When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”. Most Christian clergy interpret this to mean that you shouldn’t brag about it when you do good. The Vedic interpretation of this is that you shouldn’t even take ownership of the action. The action should be spontaneous and so intensely present that you don’t even see yourself as the doer. That way, there is no sense of a story to reinforce. From the Vedic perspective, true virtue is the natural spontaneous expression of a truly silent mind. 

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krisna advises Arjuna to do his duty as a warrior and to protect the innocent, after first immersing himself in meditation. He tells him, “Established in Being, perform action.” Real virtue comes out of a silent mind. A silent mind has no agenda and is devoid of stories. Acting from a platform of silence, the mind doesn’t audit your action. There is no thought of yourself as a doer of good.

Unfortunately, most of us have minds that are constantly filled with an endless stream of thoughts, beliefs and stories. Does that mean that we should give up on trying to do good? Of course not. Just go for it and do your best. Actually, doing good, even if you are validating a story about being a good person, helps to quiet the mind. Virtue is simple. Like meditation, it brings greater silence to the mind. 

It’s just cause and effect, like in physics. According to Newton’s third law, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. What goes around comes around. As you sow, so shall you reap! That’s the simplified, but very true statement about karma. It’s just physics. Albert Einstein said that, “Compounding interest is one of the greatest miracles known to man.” I would add that the habit of doing good, is like putting money in a bank account that has compounding interest. The Vedic tradition holds that the law of Karma is the most relentless force in the Universe.

For more from James, see:



by David Adolphsen  •  Sometimes when we reflect upon ourselves sitting on this small planet revolving around the sun, within a solar system within a galaxy, within a universe full of galaxies, we can feel rather insignificant. We can wonder to ourselves, “How can my efforts be of any real importance in the big picture?”

Those souls who have come before us and attained spiritual mastery have all sought to inspire us towards our full potential as spiritual beings. Their message has been that our planetary consciousness is evolving and that each one of our contributions while here on Earth is invaluable in the evolution of consciousness. They have had different names for this consciousness. Siddhartha called it Nirvana; Paramahansa Yogananda called it Self-realization. It has been referred to as Christ or Cosmic consciousness, and Jesus referred to this state of consciousness as the Kingdom of Heaven.

Over the centuries, the interpretation of the Kingdom of Heaven has become a place to go to after this earthly visit. In reality, the Kingdom of Heaven is a state of consciousness that Jesus encouraged the men and women of his time to seek and attain while still in their earthly bodies. He was very specific that those things which he was able to do, each of them (us) could do also, and even greater things!

It is through our awakening to the full awareness and consciousness of Divine Spirit within us that we are able to become like Jesus and many others who have visited this Earth and reached true spiritual awakening. It has been said that we are never closer to God than at this very moment. Through using the tool of meditation and practicing the presence of God daily, we are able to fully realize that the Kingdom of Heaven is here right now within us and all around us.

It is humbling to realize that each of us is the key to the evolution of not only our own consciousness, but also the planet at large. Divine Spirit is waiting for each of us to turn our attention and awareness toward the light and truth which wants so much to inhabit us. We have been created with the ability to evolve these animal bodies into spiritual vehicles which can reflect the highest potential of divine consciousness on this planet.

We are the gateways for Spirit to come into this world and experience the creation through us, to feel the wind upon our faces and hear the water rushing down a mountain stream. We are not only the gateways, but we are also the gate keepers. It is our great opportunity to invite Spirit through the gate and into this world as much as we can remember to do so, and to let that beautiful Being enjoy this creation through us, as it is meant to be. So once again we are humbled, but not by our smallness and insignificance, rather through the knowledge that we are the gateways to the evolution of consciousness on this planet.

Virgo the Maiden

Virgo the Maiden

by Dawn King    From the earliest human cultures, fertility and gathering food were given sacred status. Early Amerindians revered the Corn Mother. Starting in ancient Sumeria the Virgo Maiden became associated with recording the harvest; thus the mental skills of writing, noting details, and engaging in commerce were added to her areas of influence.

Sunburst associates Virgo with a virtue we call Continence. Here, Continence means self-discipline, self-control, exercising self-restraint sexually and otherwise. We should not allow ourselves to become addicted; we should be abstemious in all areas of life., instead aspiring to maintain the state of inner joy and comfort that is Christ consciousness, knowing our Divine Parents and gaining their guidance in daily life.

Today addiction lurks insidiously close, right in our computers and phones. They invite us to over-stimulate ourselves with gossip, entertainment, conspiracy theories, gambling, bullying and so many other self-indulgent behaviors. Abuse of our devices is not nurturing for our minds or spirits. 

In our normal way of life, we let ourselves be controlled by powerful thoughts and emotions, which in turn give rise to negative states of mind. It is by this vicious circle that we perpetuate not only our unhappiness but also that of others. …Nurture new inclinations by deliberately cultivating virtuous practices. This is the true meaning and object of the practice of meditation. – Dalai Lama

Continence in thought, word and deed is devotion to God, allowing us to return our love to our Divine Parents. Norman Paulsen, Sunburst’s founder said: “The conservation of life force through living the virtue of continence allows the seeker an abundance of concentrated life energy to be redirected for a higher use.”

The absolute truth cannot be realized within the domain of the ordinary mind. And the path beyond the ordinary mind is through the heart. This path of the heart is devotion. – Sogyal Rinpoche

You have to turn the key to this world in the opposite direction if you want to know God. – Sri Ramakrishna

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