•  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.

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