Liberation Spirituality

by Jerry Kvasnicka

heart-741511_640“To grow Sunrise Ranch as the thriving home community for Emissaries of Divine Light and as a teaching and demonstration sight for enlightened creative living.” So reads the second primary objective that emerged from our strategic planning process. Yes those who live in this thriving spiritual community are committed to demonstrate enlightened creative living in everything we do. But I was thinking that another way of putting this is that we are here to teach and demonstrate liberation.

“Liberation Theology” has long been associated with the Catholic religion. It began in the 1950s-1960s and arose “principally as a moral reaction to the poverty and social injustice” in Latin America (Wikipedia). While I wouldn’t discount the usefulness of relieving poverty and injustice particularly in that area of the world and the theology that supports the need for this kind of liberation, to me all of this is just symptomatic of an underlying bondage that affects not just Latin America but the whole world community.

Liberation from the illusion of separation

This bondage could be described as enslavement to the illusion of separation. Separation from God, separation from Universal Being, from Source, from the creative process of life, from the Grand Design, from the way things work, from Love—there are many ways of describing it. Until this fundamental separation is dealt with, until there is liberation from the illusion of separation, no amount of effort to improve the material conditions of humanity will create a world of peace and abundance.

A liberation theology will not do the job. Theology is mental. I quickly discovered this in my first year at Princeton Theological Seminary. The incoming class was required to read volumes of “systematic theology,” which were mere commentaries on the Bible, particularly the Gospels. For me it was an exhausting, mind-stressing exercise that only served to separate me from the spirit of the Bible’s essential message.

The whole world for millennia has been under the rule of a tyrant. That tyrant is the human mind separated from the control and wisdom of Spirit. Christianity itself is a predominantly mental religion. It is based on a salvation formula mentally concocted by the Apostle Paul and other early church theologians. It was intended to liberate human beings from the bondage of sin and death, among other things, but has actually served to maintain a state of bondage not only among Christians but in the whole body of humanity.

Liberation from the tyranny of the mind-made world

We live in a mind-made world—religiously, politically, economically, scientifically, culturally. Every level of human activity is ruled by the mental tyrant. The illusion of separation is universally and unquestionably accepted. And the fundamental problem is not “out there” in the institutions and systems that have been set up by the mind to run things on earth. The underlying issue and the place where liberation is needed resides in individual human consciousness.

David Karchere, Spiritual Director of Emissaries of Divine Light, puts it this way: “The goal of my life is to bring liberation to the world, knowing that liberation starts in consciousness; knowing that people who are in bondage in consciousness can’t be free in the living of their life. There has to be freedom inside before there can be freedom outside. We need a liberating spirituality that is relevant to today, relevant to this situation, and is true to the Truth of who we are.”

Personal liberation

The Truth of who we are is oneness with the Creator and with all of creation. Separation is an illusion. Hence the need for a relevant liberating spirituality. The first step in accomplishing this is personal liberation. This involves what might be called a personal apocalypse, a profound realization that I am a creator being, in fact a representative of God on earth, and I am here to bring the Light of Love in all that I do.

There are many spiritual paths and practices that may facilitate this awakening and consequent liberation. The one I’ve found to be most effective and the one that is dominantly practiced on Sunrise Ranch is what we have called “spiritual expression.” This is simply bringing the highest and finest qualities of character into everything I say and do. These qualities are associated with the divine, and their consistent expression in living eventually brings the realization, “Why yes, I am this; I am God in action on earth; this is my calling and my destiny.”

Planetary liberation

Once personal liberation is in place then it is appropriate to shift attention to planetary liberation. Liberation from the illusion of separation not only erases our perceived separation from God but also from our fellow human beings. Oneness is the reality. There is a “primal bond” that connects me to every human being on earth. This means that if any other human being is still in bondage to the illusion of separation a part of me is as well. Or, as it has been put, “As long as any are bound, none are free.”

We are here for planetary liberation. An introspective, self-absorbed spiritual practice, though seemingly yielding personal fulfillment and happiness, is incomplete and is not the liberating spirituality that the state of humanity requires at this time. There is a Kabalistic saying that reads: “First we receive the light, then we impart the light, thus we repair the world.”

Sufi mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee describes this very beautifully in an essay entitled Spiritual Empowerment: “Every human being carries within them a light that belongs to God. This light is our most precious substance. It is our divine essence, our true nature. In past centuries the spiritual work with this light has focused on the inner journey back to God, the reclaiming of our essential nature. But there is another dimension to the journey—the mystery of how our individual light relates to the light of the whole. When consciously recognized, this hidden aspect of spiritual life orients the seeker away from solely a personal journey back to God, and turns one’s attention toward service to the whole—a commitment not just to one’s own evolution but to the needs of humanity, the earth, and the needs of the divine alive within both the created and uncreated worlds.”

Planetary liberation via “subtle activism”

I am encouraged by a movement that is currently sweeping through some spiritual circles. It is called “subtle activism” and is explicitly focused on planetary liberation and world service. Stephen Dinan of The Shift Network calls it “the leading edge of spiritual practice, which goes beyond personal awakening to collective healing.” A leading proponent of this movement, David Thomas Nicol, recently hosted an event called “The Power of Subtle Activism: How Leading-Edge Spiritual Practices Can Help Heal the World at a Distance.”

Dinan also writes: “Subtle activism opens up an exciting new realm for our spiritual practices, which can evolve beyond personal growth to helping address ‘hot spots’ in the world — areas of real suffering — or even major political processes involving millions of people.” I certainly applaud this emphasis on planetary liberation. How beautifully it correlates with liberation spirituality! It is something that I and others on Sunrise Ranch have been practicing for decades. We often call it “world radiation,” and every Thursday morning a few of us gather in our Sanctuary for a World Blessing Service.

Liberation spirituality initiated by Jesus

It could be said that Jesus himself initiated liberation spirituality. He achieved personal liberation at a relatively young age and then went on to concentrate on liberating others and ultimately the whole world. Yes I believe his goal was saving humanity, but the liberating message he offered threatened the religious and other structures that were in place at the time. He was a spiritual revolutionary, seeking to break through the veil of separation and free a captive world.

In describing our work on Sunrise Ranch David Karchere strikes a similar note: “Here at Sunrise Ranch, it’s the power of people who are living on the earth in an enlightened way, not in a tyrannical way. We could protest on the steps of the Capitol but we have come to believe that the most powerful thing that we could do is to be, personally and individually, a teaching and demonstration site as a liberated person and then collectively that we could be a teaching and demonstration site of liberated truthful people. We do so with the belief that if this is done among a group of people, both right here at Sunrise and with people connected to us globally, there is tremendous power for transformation brought to the world.”

Liberation Spirituality. Nothing is more critical for the world at this time. Liberation from the illusion of separation. Liberation from the conviction that we are mere human beings helplessly saddled with original sin and other burdens. Liberation from the darkness that engulfs individual and collective consciousness in the fallen state of humanity.

There have been many liberation movements in human history. Black liberation, women’s liberation and gay liberation are among the more recent ones. I would be daring enough to say that if Liberation Spirituality were universally implemented, there would no need for any other kind of liberation. All human problems and issues would vanish even as the darkness vanishes with the coming of the light. And this liberation is not accomplished by opposing or battling anything. It happens automatically as the first objective of our strategic planning process is honored: “To create a clear and committed body of people around the globe who embody the presence of divine being and who bring a profound teaching that transforms the world.”

Jerry K. - 2013Jerry Kvasnicka, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, has had a varied career as a youth minister, a radio news reporter, a writer and editor for several magazines and journals and a custodian with the Loveland, Colorado school district. Jerry currently edits and writes for the mind-spirit section of the online magazine The Mindful Word. He has lived at the Sunrise Ranch spiritual community in Loveland for twenty-six years. He can be reached at jerry@themindfulword.org.

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When All of Life Becomes a Meditation

by Jerry Kvasnicka


Every evening after work he descended into his small basement apartment, assumed a lotus position in front of a blank space of wall and began counting his breaths, fiercely concentrating on each number until nothing occupied his consciousness but the number. 1… 2… 3… After each cycle of ten he started over. And when he had moved through two or three cycles without any wandering of attention he let go of the numbers and focused on breaths alone. And when after further concentration he was so thoroughly fixed on the breaths that no distracting thought or feeling could enter in, he moved on to contemplate nothing but the emptiness of his own consciousness. He remained in this final state for about half an hour, thereafter rousing himself and going upstairs to dinner.

It was called meditation. He had developed this particular technique with the aid of a book called The Three Pillars of Zen. It allowed him to relax at the close of each work day, and when he returned to the affairs of the external world he saw things in a different way, at least for a little while. Mounting the steps to the kitchen sometimes seemed like ascending the golden stairway to the “celestial city.” The carrots on his plate melted into the French fried potatoes and vice versa. The wall calendar alternately sparkled and shimmered. And auras, yes the auras around people were quite distinguishable.

Seeing the light

Of course the ultimate goal was “enlightenment,” attainment of the blissful state of nirvana, deliverance from the wheel of birth and death, total union with the universe. And did he not read that evidence of this achievement was seeing the “white light” during the third stage of meditation? Well in two of his recent sittings he had done just that! To be sure, these were just fleeting patches of light, but white light nonetheless.

He began to spend a lot of time thinking about whether he had or had not been enlightened; in fact this became a major distraction during his daily meditation, eventually assuming such importance that he found it very difficult to enter the third phase at all. After several experiences of anything but blissful contemplation, he decided that enlightenment had indeed been attained earlier and that the hour he normally spent meditating could be more profitably spent reading the daily paper.

The principal character in the preceding narrative is, you guessed it, yours truly. Perhaps many reading this article have had similar experiences, for variations on the kind of meditation practice described above have reached great heights of popularity not only among young adults seeking a substitute for psychedelics but also among established professional people seeking a more effective way of coping with the pressures of the rat race than alcohol, tranquilizers and psychoanalysis. Teachers of meditation, some of them with rather dubious credentials, have swelled with the rising tide, making meditation a highly marketable commodity.

Hardly a day goes by when I don’t receive a brochure in the mail or an e-mail promoting a university or free university course in meditation, a conference on the same, or a “meditation camp” where it is combined with such things as horseback riding and skiing. And as for paraphernalia, well there are scads of ads for meditation benches, garments, shoes, posters, timers, charms, beads, special mantras and everything else to streamline the voyage inward. In short, meditation has been pretty well stripped of its Eastern religious trappings and secularized, Westernized, commercialized and otherwise appropriated as a technique by “civilized” human beings to get what they think they want.

Could meditation involve everything we do?

And what shall we do with it? Paul Dean wrote in the Phoenix Arizona Republic: “The nice thing about meditation is that it makes doing nothing quite respectable.” While Mr. Dean may be stretching things a bit, such a statement is at least in part justified when meditation is seen as something limited to lotus postures and laborious concentration, as something divorced from the activities of everyday living. I suggest that we begin to see it in a different way: as something expansive and outpouring, as a spiritual dynamic that properly includes the whole of life. Something of this broader perspective was evident in an article I found the other day in one of my old New Age magazines entitled “Natural Meditation: The Bud of Creativity.”

Quoting from the article: “Tens of thousands of Americans are looking for the source in meditation and taking workshop after workshop in search of effective techniques. Yet we are all natural meditators who need no instruction. Self-realization comes from knowing ourselves. We can close our eyes anytime, anywhere, and ask to have something revealed to us about ourselves, or we can drive, sit, lie down, walk, wash dishes, sing in the shower, and all of that is meditation.”

When self-expression trumps self-realization, meditation expands

Yes meditation in the true sense includes everything we do. However, to facilitate this I believe self-expression rather than self-realization should be our primary concern. We are not particularly interested, as is the case with many meditators, in acquiring self-knowledge; we are simply interested in giving forth the blessing of life in each unique situation that we encounter. As one of my mentors put it: “True meditation might be defined as the direct participation of one’s body, mind and emotions in the spiritual expression of one’s true nature in the field of one’s own particular responsibility. This is God in action on earth.” I might add that when this is done, self-realization is added as a bonus.

In contrast, the popular approach to meditation is often based in getting—getting a victory in the big tennis match, getting “peace of mind,” getting self-knowledge, ultimately getting out of the earth into some kind of inner heaven. But to me authentic meditation is actually a quality of attunement with the higher vibratory levels of spirit for the purpose of letting what is present at these levels be revealed in form on earth. It is outer-directed, not inner-directed. It is letting heaven come on earth, not escaping from the earth into an imaginary heaven. We truly meditate as we fill the forms of earth with the substance of heaven by the consistent expression of the truth of ourselves from moment to moment.

Speaking of filling the forms of earth, how would you like to go “meditate” with me on the heavenly substance represented by a banana split at the nearest Dairy Delight? This reminds me of the young woman who took up Transcendental Meditation to lose weight and her mantra was “Hot Fudge Sundae.” I understand that she consumed 362 mantras during her first sitting and would not come out of her meditative trance until a real hot fudge sundae was put in front of her. There must be better way, and if you have genuinely meditated on the words of this article you should know what it is.

Jerry K. - 2013Jerry Kvasnicka, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, has had a varied career as a youth minister, a radio news reporter, a writer and editor for several magazines and journals and a custodian with the Loveland, Colorado school district. Jerry currently edits and writes for the mind-spirit section of the online magazine The Mindful Word. He has lived at the Sunrise Ranch spiritual community in Loveland for twenty-six years. He can be reached at jerry@themindfulword.org.

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What Is Your S.I.Q.?

by Jerry Kvasnicka

S.I.Q.S.I.Q. stands for “spiritual intelligence quotient.” It has to do with the spiritual discernment and consequent expression in living that results when consciousness is primarily informed by the universal essence that connects us all rather than by reaction to external factors. For personal and planetary health S.I.Q. is far more important than plain I.Q.

When I look out at the world that human beings have made I am tempted to repeat the words of one my favorite bumper stickers: “Beam me up, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.” Yes, there’s plenty of I.Q., plenty of “brilliant” ideas concocted by the human mind. But there’s very little S.I.Q., without which life as it was created to be cannot flourish on earth.

People with high I.Q.s developed nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. People with a high I.Q. developed genetically modified organisms, ‘blessing’ us with GMO crops and foods. People with high I.Q.s developed pesticides and herbicides that are killing our bees. People with high I.Q.s devised a process for getting oil out of the ground called fracking that uses massive amounts of water, contaminates the water and causes earthquakes in some areas. People with high I.Q.s devised land use policies that contribute to desertification. And people with high I.Q.s came up with the internal combustion engine; it runs our cars and trucks but spews carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that contributes to global warming.

Problems spring from solutions!

Oh what wonderful things have been given to the world by people of high intelligence! News commentator Eric Sevareid hit the mark when he said, “The chief cause of problems is solutions.” Another way of putting this is “Today’s problems are yesterday’s solutions.” The human mind, uninformed by Spirit or what we might call Universal Being, was never intended to govern this planet.

In the United States hundreds of thousands of laws have been put on the books by the U.S. Congress, all for the purpose of solving problems and creating a just, peaceful, prosperous and happy state for everyone in the country. Has anything even remotely resembling this come to pass? Certainly not, and the underlying reason is low spiritual intelligence.

Religion lowers spiritual intelligence!

How is spiritual intelligence increased? An obvious answer might be: religion. Nothing could be further from the truth. Human religion lowers spiritual intelligence. Why? Because it is the product of the human mind and human imagination, not of any real connection with Spirit. Religion interposes a veil of beliefs, doctrines, creeds, holy books, rites, rituals, relics and assorted salvation formulas between Spirit and human consciousness. Spirit has a difficult time penetrating this veil, if it can get through at all. Clogged with religion human consciousness tends to languish in a helpless victim state of identity.

“We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” This bumper sticker states the truth. But most human beings in effect affirm the opposite: “We are human beings trying to have a spiritual experience.” And I might add that they use religion and all of its paraphernalia in an effort to induce this experience and have some kind of connection with God. But as long as identity remains at the level of a mere human being trying to connect with a remote and often punitive God, spiritual intelligence remains at a low level and the world continues to slide down the road to oblivion.

To increase S.I.Q. it might be useful to begin with the affirmation “Be still and know that I am God.” Being still, clearing mind and heart of all the mental and emotional clutter from out of the past, human consciousness is then in position to experience the communion with God that is already present. Yes we are already in communion with God and always have been. We just haven’t been aware of it and feel we need to somehow manufacture it by external means.

God is worshipping you!

Worship is one of these devices. For many human beings worship involves coming together in a church, mosque, synagogue or temple to reach out to a distant God via prayers, hymns, scriptures, sacraments, etc. But for those who have awakened to their already existing communion with the Most High, worship becomes something radically different. David Karchere, spiritual director of Emissaries of Divine Light, beautifully describes this:

It’s not hard to see how the efforts of human beings to be religious, or even spiritual, so often cut across the already-existing reality of the presence of what God is, if that word God has any meaning at all. And what really has to happen for there to be a change in human experience is a breakdown of whatever veil there is in the human mind and heart that doesn’t understand how the reality of God is worshiping them now, already.

Knowing that you’ve been worshipped, is worship of God an effort? Do we have to go through some great ritual, ceremony, or reach some high religious fervor in order to worship God? If we need rituals and ceremony, it’s to break down the veil that’s present in our own heart—the veil of unseeingness, the veil of ingratitude—so that we can know what’s already true: we are being loved, we are being worshipped. Knowing that you are loved, knowing that you are worshipped, is it hard to love and worship back? Is that an effort? Not at all.

This is a radical departure from the common conception of worship and of communion with God. Instead of making an effort to worship God, this is saying that God is worshipping us! And so worship becomes primarily the celebration of an already existing fact. Yes we can still engage in singing, praying and various forms of ceremony in a service of worship, but the experience is different when the dynamic is celebration of divine imminence rather than reaching out to a distant God.

You are a Temple of the Living God

“Be still and know that I am God.” Speaking this, feeling this, living this, being this raises spiritual intelligence. As I do this I come home to the truth of who I am: a spiritual being, a representative of Universal Being, an angel incarnate. As Uranda, founder of Emissaries of Divine Light, observed: “Truly man, as God created him, male and female, is the Temple of the Living God.”

To this one might reply, “Well, I certainly don’t feel like a spiritual being, let alone a being that God is worshipping.” Okay, but could it be that your feelings are giving you false information? Your mind and emotions, like mine, have probably been conditioned for decades to believe that you are a mere human being, a victim of circumstance and, if you’ve been exposed to Christianity, a helpless carrier of original sin. The first step toward spiritual intelligence is to delete this mental and emotional default programming via a process of conscious deprogramming.

Replace habitual reaction with divine action

How does this work? It’s very simple. Begin with the assumption that you are a spiritual being, a representative of God on earth. Pretend if you must. Then no matter what comes to you or who comes to you, simply act as though God might act in relation to that circumstance. No matter how habituated you are to react to the situation on the basis of impulses arising from the conditioned self you have known, respond to the situation from your highest vision of how a spiritual being made in the very image and likeness of God would handle it.

This begins to establish a spiritual baseline in consciousness and from there spiritual intelligence may increase. Because the more you override habitual reaction in favor of activating the highest and finest qualities of character and the unconditional love at your core, the more you realize, “Why I am this! This is my very nature!”

We know what we express. Express Spirit and know Spirit. Invest everything we say and everything we do with Spirit and our S.I.Q. continues to increase. And this not only increases individual S.I.Q. but, perhaps more importantly, raises the spiritual intelligence level of the whole body of humanity and serves to save our precious planet Earth from the excesses of ordinary I.Q.

Jerry K. - 2013Jerry Kvasnicka, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, has had a varied career as a youth minister, a radio news reporter, a writer and editor for several magazines and journals and a custodian with the Loveland, Colorado school district. Jerry currently edits and writes for the mind-spirit section of the online magazine The Mindful Word. He has lived at the Sunrise Ranch spiritual community in Loveland for twenty-six years. He can be reached at jerry@themindfulword.org

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Depression and Its Antidote

by Jerry Kvasnicka

i_am_stronger__teen_depression_by_hopelesslavenderA radio talk show I listened to a few years ago featured a female sociologist being interviewed on the subject of depression. She said that according to recent studies married women are more likely to suffer from depression than married men, that some two thirds of all married women do experience depression, and that employment outside of the home doesn’t reduce a woman’s susceptibility. Later it was brought out that men intent on suicide are generally more efficient in disposing of themselves than suicidal women; the latter quite often botch the job and can be pumped out, dug out or fished out.

While these may be interesting facts to some they probably have little relevance to a consideration of depression for our purposes. Probably many people reading this article have yet to commit marriage or suicide. But how many would claim that they never experience periods of depression? Can anyone on earth make such a claim? I doubt it. Depression is a fact of existence (notice I didn’t say life) in the mixed-up, messed-up world in which we find ourselves. And pockets of depression will remain until the mess is completely cleaned up.

Psychologists distinguish between two different kinds of depression: that which is related to external factors and that which doesn’t seem to have an external cause but is just there. In the first instance things like failure in school, rejection in a relationship, loss of a job, slumping stock prices or deterioration in the world situation can trigger periods of depression. In the second instance the depression cannot be directly linked to anything external but manifests nevertheless in deep and persisting feelings of boredom, loneliness, emptiness, futility and disintegration. It has been described as a vibrational void or vacuum in which nothing seems to give pleasure anymore. As it was put in Ecclesiastes: “All is vanity…. There is no new thing under the sun.”

Chemical imbalances, vitamin deficiencies and childhood trauma

In some circles depression, like alcoholism, is considered to be a disease. It has been related to chemical imbalances in the body, a situation that can presumably be corrected with certain drugs such as Paxil or Prozac. Other forms of depression have been traced to low blood sugar and specific vitamin deficiencies; in these cases high-protein and vitamin-rich diets are often recommended. And of course psychiatrists have a field day connecting depression to the deprivations and traumas of early childhood.

One can go on at great length describing and analyzing depression, classifying and sub-classifying its causes, symptoms and supposed treatments, applying high-sounding scientific terminology to all these things, and thereby making it quite respectable and even worth talking about at your next bridge party. But what is the value of any of this beyond providing the sufferer with a handy excuse and the false assurance that depression is normal? Does any of it get at the root cause of personal and collective depression? Does it help me to deal with the immediate effects of depression in my own consciousness? No to all of the above.

The ultimate cause

I am pretty sure that nothing resembling depression existed in the original, pristine, garden state of humanity. It follows that all depression, whether triggered by external events or not, is nothing but an effect of fallen human consciousness—i.e. the self-induced separation of human beings from the original divine state—and won’t be eliminated until human consciousness is universally restored to correct polarity with the creative process of life.

Okay, so how in the meantime do we handle this effect? By fighting it with antidepressant drugs, megavitamins and other substances? By seeking to erase childhood conditioning through psychoanalysis? By taking a long vacation or moving to another city? By getting married? Or divorced? While these procedures may provide momentary relief for some people, nothing is done about the underlying cause, nor is any real inner strength built; and so the depression, though temporarily driven underground, will inevitably surface again, perhaps in a more insidious form.

To handle depression the first thing to remember is not to fight or resist it in any way, since resistance simply gives power to what is resisted. Traced back to its origins depression is found to be nothing but an emptiness, a void. So unless you enjoy chasing shadows… What I’m getting at of course is to do what nature does whenever there is a vacuum—fill it; express life!

Go dig a ditch!

A few years ago I asked a trusted mentor and health professional what to do about depression and he simply told me to go dig a ditch! In other words, get the capacities of body and mind moving, release something, give something. Don’t withdraw or withhold. Don’t sit around and sulk. Nothing is more devastating. Blast through the void with a solid surge of spirit, thereby declaring that no feeling, however painful, can prevent you from smiling, laughing and otherwise revealing the strong and radiant being that in truth you are.

And nothing is gained by heaping guilt upon your head for feeling depressed. There has been a tendency to think that depression is God’s way of punishing a person for wrongdoing. Nonsense. Everyone, even the nicest people, experience at least mild forms of depression. Indeed there are downward pulsations or lows in the creative cycle of life itself! So there is nothing sinful, immoral or personal about feeling a low. It is what is expressed during these periods that counts. And if this expression springs from the serene and positive center of being, then depression may become just another of the interesting circumstances that can be used to advantage in sounding the true tone of life on earth.

Jerry K. - 2013Jerry Kvasnicka, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, has had a varied career as a youth minister, a radio news reporter, a writer and editor for several magazines and journals and a custodian with the Loveland, Colorado school district. Jerry currently edits and writes for the mind-spirit section of the online magazine The Mindful Word. He has lived at the Sunrise Ranch spiritual community in Loveland for twenty-six years. He can be reached at jerry@themindfulword.org.

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Wisdom From the Back of a Car

submitted by Jerry Kvasnicka

bumper sticker #2As I stated in the initial installment of this series I find a lot of wisdom in bumper stickers and keep a list of them handy for illustrating and driving home points I’m seeking to make in casual conversation or more public statements. Bumper stickers seem to have a marvelous ability to reduce a fact or principle to essence and convey the result in a form that, though possibly provocative, is generally palatable and often quite amusing. As I’ve had a life-long interest in metaphysics and spirituality, I find these pithy little messages particularly suitable for challenging fundamentalist extremism and separating genuine spirituality from religious facades and pretensions. So here are some more of my favorites:


Religious nuts are hard to crack. They’re so embedded in shells of beliefs, doctrines, rites, rituals, rules and relics that even the most effective nut crackers generally fail to open them, and even if the shell is cracked the nut inside will often crumble in the process. Obviously God (or what I prefer to call the creative process of life) finds it almost impossible to penetrate and work with this material.
Religious beliefs and behavior, even though socially acceptable and seemingly innocuous, are actually evidence of spiritual derangement, of disconnection with the creative process, and are threatening to the life of the individuals embedded in these structures and the life of the planet. An illusory world has been created on this basis. This world and the human condition that pervades it are comparable to an insane asylum, and religions provide the primary impulse that spawns and perpetuates this insanity.

The root of the insanity may be found in the idea that meaning and fulfillment in life come from something external, i.e. beliefs, rituals, holy books, saviors, saints, temples, sacred sites, etc. The truth is that meaning and fulfillment come from within, from the pure and inexhaustible fountain of life at the source of every person’s being. When this fountain is allowed to flow into an individual’s thinking, speaking and behavior the surrounding environment is watered and begins to participate in the flow. Delicious spiritual fruits result from this flow, fruits that are soft and pliable, unlike the hard nuts of religion that only serve to block the flow.


This is pretty much the story of human beings on earth since their fall from grace. In the book of Job in the Old Testament, when the Lord asked Satan from whence he came, Satan said “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” Human beings have been going to and fro in the earth and up and down in it for thousands of years and, especially in these days of advanced technology, making record time But except for a smattering of individuals who have discovered something of the truth of love and how life operates, the human race has been lost and has been making excellent time toward oblivion.

I have frequent dreams of being lost in a large city and struggling mightily to find my way back to some familiar landmark. The harder I try, the more lost I become. Panic sets in and I begin to make record time running or driving from street to street, around this corner and that corner, up this alley, through this backyard, across this field. It is exhausting and I finally collapse in a heap of frustration. Once again we have a metaphor for what is being experienced by the whole body of humanity.

Here is a closely related bumper sticker to the one we’re considering: DON’T FOLLOW ME, I’M LOST TOO. At least the person is honest enough to admit being lost. Some religious, political and educational leaders give the impression that they have found the answers or even the answer and have attracted many followers on this basis, when the fact is that they are just as lost as everyone else. Oh and by the way another bumper sticker that goes with this syndrome is WHERE ARE WE GOING? AND WHY AM I IN THIS HANDBASKET?

These games of lost and found can only be played by human beings who are enmeshed in the human drama and are looking for the answer in something external to themselves. It is this very involvement with externals that has created a world of illusion in which people perceive themselves as being lost. Disconnected from their own Inner Reality, directions and answers are sought in something from the environment, often some form of religious faith. Obviously what is required is reconnection with the Reality, the I AM core of every person’s being.

This God center never has been and never will be lost, so there is certainly no need to search for it. No need to search for meaning and fulfillment or for enlightenment; I am already filled full of everything I need for fulfillment; I am already enlightened, which I discover as I shine the light that I am. When I am coming from this place in creative self-expression I find my spiritual home, and my world transforms in record time.


This is unfortunately true, because the way 90% of human beings think is not really thinking at all; it is just reaction to factors in the environment. This reactive “thinking” produces all kinds of destructive effects. In fact it has produced all of the violence, corruption, disease and all the other forms of human suffering peculiar to the human condition on this planet. We live in a mind-made world, and the deplorable nature of this world is the result of the mind being used in the wrong way. From the moment of birth human beings are conditioned to “think” reactively, using analysis, deduction and so-called logic. The entire educational system is based on this. We are taught that the only way to achieve success in life is to analyze and manipulate external circumstances to so-called advantage.

It has been said that the human mind is like a parachute; to work it must be open. The question is, open to what? To external circumstances in an attempt to solve problems and arrange things in a way that seems to satisfy my wants and desires? No, whatever created the mind never intended it to be used in this reactive way. The mind works the way it should when it is open to what I refer to as Source or Spirit, to the Fountain of Life bubbling up from within. When the pure water from this Fountain flows over the waterwheel of the human mind, fresh and enlightened thoughts emerge to enrich the environment. But when the mind is used reactively, stagnant water from the cistern of the subconscious is lifted up to the waterwheel and the result is the human condition with all of its corruption and conflict.

In other words, the human mind is properly a servant rather than the master, an instrument of control rather than the control itself. The expression “I think, therefore I am” is attributed to the philosopher Descartes. This elevates the mind to a position it should not occupy. The truth is “I am, therefore I think,” i.e. Being first, then thinking. And when human beings come together utilizing this kind of creative thinking magic happens as the possibilities inherent in Source are allowed to manifest. In the spiritual community of Sunrise Ranch where I live creative thinking and magic thrives in the Creative Field Groups and Transformation Groups that meet regularly, quite a contrast to what comes out of the think tanks and study groups operative in human government and academia.


This bumper sticker allows me to sum up pretty much everything I’ve said in this series. The way human beings have behaved on this magnificent planet has unfortunately put it in great jeopardy. There is a very real possibility that this Earth project could be thrown on the cosmic scrap heap. In fact I’m rather amazed that the greater Universe has for so long tolerated the “den of iniquity” that human beings have created and sustained on the planet. I can only explain it to myself by referring to what has been called “the grace of God.” Whatever it is that created this project evidently still believes that we can finally get it together.

And the only way, as I see it, that we can get it together and avoid blowing this uniquely beautiful creative experiment is to fully embody the love that fueled and formed the basis of its creation. However, what the world needs now is not love, sweet love, but the truth of love. It is the interpretations of love by the reactive human mind that have brought the Earth to the brink of disaster. It is impossible for the reactive and self-serving human mind to know the truth of love. It has to get out of the way; indeed it has to dissolve. And the only way that can happen is when primal spirituality is recovered, i.e. when our innate, intuitive knowing of the truth of love and of Being is actually expressed in living. Otherwise it lies buried in the subconscious mind and the reactive mind is in control.

So here is the formula for saving the Earth: let us be the creator beings that we are by fully embodying the qualities of divine character in our living. It begins with the individual and works out from there to transform the Earth. The answer is not in religion; the answer is not in politics and government; the answer is not in science. The answer is in me and you and the spiritual body that emerges on the basis of our expression of the truth of love. Yes I know that astronomers have discovered some other earth-like planets in the galaxy, but frankly I can’t imagine how another planet could be more beautiful and offer more scope for creative expression than the one we have right here. So please let’s not blow this unmatched creative opportunity!

Jerry K. - 2013 Jerry Kvasnicka, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, has had a varied career as a youth minister, a radio news reporter, a writer and editor for several magazines and journals and a custodian with the Loveland, Colorado school district. Jerry currently edits and writes for the mind-spirit section of the online magazine The Mindful Word. He has lived at the Sunrise Ranch spiritual community in Loveland for twenty-six years. He can be reached at jerry@themindfulword.org

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The Spirit Nation

Rhyming communication, enhancing realization


Be active in the preparation of your station

For the ongoing calibration of your vibration

To a higher elevation in this material nation


In a sincere affirmation of divination and holy individuation,

Follow the gentle condensation of sensation through meditation

And receive vital information for your present incarnation


As a body manifestation, you are a living presentation

Of unlimited transformation

Through the faithful application of divine inspiration


With your concentration of creative imagination,

A light-filled pulsation moves throughout creation

Sparking the formulation of a new generation

Of conscious consideration and collaboration


Enjoy the revelation and infinite celebration

Of pure joy and elation through the transmutation

Of the illusion of separation from the spirit nation

– Gary Goodhue  – “Rajazuhl”

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Lead Them – Live Them

We have an opportunity here, you and I

To change the world, standing side by side

With love in our hearts and kindness in our eyes

We have strength and we shall not compromise


We don’t need a preacher, what we need is a teacher

So do not speak at me; see with me, do with me, be with me

The words that you say, they have wisdom and strength

But you choose not to implement and that is the shame


The teacher in me, sees the teacher in you

And I ask, that you see that teacher too

We’re all on a journey, each one our own

But together we can learn, and we can explore


New things can be scary, they take patience and time

Share with me your talents and I will share with you mine

Adventure, discovery, vision, and rhyme

Each a tiny little part, on this journey through time


Don’t seek the answers, please seek the truths

And together we shall create the fountain of youth

Our numbers grow larger and our tribe grows stronger

And when we come together, the world will suffer no longer


You speak wisdom and truth and your words are full of juice

So I ask of you,

To lead them, to live them, don’t just speak them

Lead them, live them, don’t just speak them

– Courtney Bohlman

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Bluebird Wisdom

I took a walk in the forest to speak with the trees,

in search of that something that everyone seeks.

So many wonders and questions that fill up my mind,

to help me understand my purpose this time.

Suddenly she came, as perfect as could be.

A blue bird singing this song from a tree.

You are the beauty you seek and the beauty you see,

please continue to shine do not dim due to me.

We both have our own light, our own creation to share,

give into yourself and i will see you there.

Then I asked her with the deepest sincere,

who are you and what are you doing here?

I am nobody and everyone, all at once,

merely a reflection in a mirror that you can touch.

Just trust me and be, then over time you will see.

I then looked at her, confused with disbelieve.

But you look so peaceful so happy so free.

A natural state born to both you and to me.

You are the beauty You seek and the beauty You see,

please continue to shine do not dim due to me.

We both have our own light, our own creation to share,

give into yourself and i will see you there.

Call it a gift, or a blessing if you must,

but please understand that in this we must trust.

Then the wind blew in and danced with the trees,

that is our Mother Earth and she is speaking to me.

Do what you must to be able to see

the beauty in all, the divine within me.

You are the beauty you seek and the beauty you see,

please continue to shine do not dim due to me.

We both have our own light, our own creation to share,

give into yourself and I will see you there.

Then with the blink of an eye I could no longer see

but suddenly felt her presence deep within me.

My heart was full, my mind had slowed,

my questions now answered but I never needed the words

– Courtney Bohlman

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Opportunity in Extremity

by Jerry Kvasnicka


If human beings have demonstrated anything in their somewhat less than glorious history on this planet, it is a reluctance to alter their thinking and behavior as long as they are essentially comfortable. It often requires a state of depression or even desperation brought on by the loss of health, of a loved one or a job before a person will consider abandoning self-determined goals and habitual ways of doing things in favor of something new. The total failure of a personal agenda can, if there is a willingness to acknowledge it and assume responsibility, bring about a breakthrough of understanding, a positive change in life direction. In other words, to borrow an expression from conventional religion, “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.”

This is why I’ve never been terribly concerned to “comfort the afflicted” in the sense of providing assurance that things are just fine the way they are and former ways can be returned to with impunity. Things are not just fine insofar as the afflicted person is concerned, and continuing in former ways only ensures further downward movement to the grave. It is sad but true that, given the aversion to change, a period of emotional and physical suffering may be necessary before there is an admission that “I can’t go on this way” and that personal plans and purposes must be subordinated to something higher – call it God, the Creative Process or the Universal Whole.

Religious conversion is not the opportunity God seeks

However, this change is frequently interpreted as a religious conversion experience resulting in a “born again” Christian or its equivalent in other religions. While this may be a step away from blatant forms of self-centered and materialistic living, belief in God in this context shortly becomes a convenient way of rationalizing and excusing continuance in the former self-centered and isolated state. The individual may be programmed with the notion that he or she is a “sinner,” that it is in fact natural to sin, but that this is okay as long as there is periodic confession and the reception of forgiveness.

Fundamentally in such case there has been no change. Identity remains at the level of the self-serving ambitions and desires that created the crisis in the first place, only now a whole vocabulary and socially acceptable belief system is available to explain and justify the false state and, in effect, conceal what is really happening, even from the person in whom it is happening. It may be said that the God of religion is really no God at all, just a concept invented by human beings to sustain the illusory state of self-centeredness.

There is, in other words, a need to keep moving. If, after the rebirth brought on by a shattering experience, a person gets stuck at the level of religion or in any system of concepts—political, scientific or metaphysical—then further “extreme” experiences may be necessary to jolt the person out of separate, conditioned identity into a realization of unconditional oneness with Universal Being.

God seeks access to the earth through human beings

Unfortunately only the ultimate experience of death is able to shatter the veil of separation for most human beings. But this veil can dissolve while a person is still alive, and this is the opportunity God seeks: to unite with human beings and to be represented by them at this level of creation. God’s opportunity then becomes our opportunity, and in the resulting union, the word “God,” which has served to maintain the state of separation, can take on an entirely new meaning.

It would be nice, I suppose, if the maturing process didn’t require any pain as a stimulus (and in rare cases it doesn’t), but given the general state of immaturity on earth, the rigidities in individual and collective consciousness, this may be the only way life has of getting our attention. It may take experiences of enormous destruction and loss of life to impress upon the body of humanity the need for massive and drastic change.

The threat of nuclear annihilation, regional wars, earthquakes, floods, climate change, diminishing oxygen due to deforestation, holes in the ozone layer, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, Islamic terrorism and the continuing potential for a world debt crisis…all of these are useful signals that something is way out of whack on earth, that humanity is no longer in step with the process established to operate the planet.

Doomsday Clock moved closer to midnight

This extreme state on earth recently prompted scientists in charge of the Doomsday Clock to move it up. Quoting from a news release by CNN: “The world is closer to doomsday. That’s the message from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, which moved its iconic Doomsday Clock up two minutes. The clock now stands at three minutes to midnight, the ‘latest’ it’s been since 1984, when the Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union was a major issue. ’Today, unchecked climate change and a nuclear arms race resulting from modernization of huge arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity. And world leaders have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe. These failures of leadership endanger every person on Earth,’ said Kenneth Benedict, executive director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in a news release.”

Observing this, there may be some whose minds crack under the strain. Wonderful! They may crack open enough to admit a new way of seeing things, preparing the way for change. Change, not in the world out there, but in oneself. Since the state of the world merely mirrors the internal states of human beings, unless changes are made in individual consciousness, God has no opportunity and nothing is achieved.

Solving human problems pointless and futile

Only a few have seen this. For the vast majority humanity’s worsening extremity means efforts must be redoubled to solve problems, to come up with alternative food and energy sources, pollution control devices, strategic defense systems, drug prevention and rehabilitation programs, currency exchange interventions, mind development and creative visualization techniques, all of this for the purpose of holding together the fundamentally flawed state a little longer.

Finally a few people, often after years of frustrating effort, are conceding that no matter how hard human beings try to bail water out of the sinking ship with their buckets of “new” ideas and techniques, the vessel is doomed. Doomed, unless there emerge a sufficient number for whom man’s extremity becomes God’s opportunity, for whom the world crisis becomes my crisis, and who awaken to personal responsibility for a change in consciousness.

The fundamental crisis on earth is an identity crisis, and man’s extremity will only become God’s opportunity when human beings finally begin to identify with the Creator rather than the creation. Science is not the answer. Nor is technology, education, legislation or the God of religion. There is no answer to the escalating state of turbulence on earth but to come out of it and participate in the process of discovering what it means to say, “I am the answer.” Where are those who will prove this out in their day-to-day living?

Jerry K. - 2013Jerry Kvasnicka, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, has had a varied career as a youth minister, a radio news reporter, a writer and editor for several magazines and journals and a custodian with the Loveland, Colorado school district. Jerry currently edits and writes for the mind-spirit section of the online magazine The Mindful Word. He has lived at the Sunrise Ranch spiritual community in Loveland for twenty-six years. He can be reached at jerry@themindfulword.org


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A lifetime spent since days of childhood and school

Getting by… just trying to fit in, look good and be cool

I find I’m governed by expectations of an exterior world

So I allowed myself a box into which I crimpled and curled

The largeness of myself, being bordered and confined

I fell asleep and forgot that this box is all in my mind

Now I awaken aright and scream without making a sound

As I suddenly open my eyes and take a good look around

Misperceptions and projections; the blame and the pain

Showing me my world disconnected with a victim gone insane

“Out of the box and off with the filters”, I shall boldly say

“The freedom of life unlimited is alive in my world today”

So I must self-respect and replace the misplaced blame

With the eternal burning truth of the three-fold flame

Here – Power, Wisdom and Love come together as one

And now my soul is purified by the wind, rain and sun

Viewing life afresh, for the first time through new eyes

I look within, once again, to find great Truth on the rise

And with the peace of gods, a white dove descends from above

Reminding of my cosmic place – as a Creator Being of Love


-Gary Goodhue – “Rajazuhl”

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