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Layers are Falling

The clothes are falling off as summer is in full swing here at Sunrise Ranch.

Layers are falling

Hi, this is Roshana, a Full Self Emergence intern at Sunrise Ranch, bringing you another look at life in this unique community as I enter my third month in the FSE program.

I should make clear that nobody’s running around naked in the village, but with the hot weather, almost everyone is wearing sandals or flip-flops, shorts or miniskirts, and tank tops or spaghetti straps. The shedding of multiple layers prompted Sunrise Ranch’s Spiritual Director, David Karchere, to put out a memo regarding proper attire for those of us who work with the public.

“Sunrise Ranch is not a convent or a Zen monastery. So we won’t be asking you to wear a nun’s habit or a saffron robe,” he wrote, asking us to contemplate what is appropriate for our particular job and our level of contact with the public. The idea is that we don’t draw attention to ourselves but rather focus on the service we bring to those in our world. I haven’t seen much change in attire since the email went out; perhaps everyone thought the memo applied to someone else’s minimized garb.

I’m becoming more enamored with this little bit of heaven in this seemingly magical valley in the foothills of Colorado. I’m enjoying the work I’m doing—editing text and audio and video; creating memes for the Creative Field Facebook page; going through Sunrise Ranch’s soon-to-be-launched website, and working on an events kiosk for residents and guests here. Busy, busy, busy.

In addition to my duties, of course, I’m attending classes and doing homework for the FSE program. So, what are we learning? Many of the readings in class were written by Lloyd Arthur Meeker (also known as Uranda), the founder of Sunrise Ranch and Emissaries of Divine Light; and Martin Cecil, who assumed leadership of EDL and the Ranch after Meeker died in a plane crash in 1954.

Here are some of the readings we’ve looked at:

  • The Liberating Truth (The “One Law,” cause and effect, or, in terms of magnets or electrical wiring, positive and negative poles.)
  • Sowing and Reaping (An interesting concept about not reusing seed for sowing, but rather using fresh, “divine” seed.)
  • Meditation and Thinking (“We see a world frantically trying to distract itself from its state of emptiness,” Cecil wrote in 1963. He talks about our minds being filled with “fears of parents for their children, fear of losing one’s job, fear of going broke, fear of losing what the individual thinks to possess. However,” he writes, “coming under the control of the dominion of God, the vision changes, we begin to see things in a different light, and tentatively, at least, it may be recognized that thinking could be a rather pleasurable process.”)
  • Welcome Pressure (“Human beings very often think of themselves as rather weak characters,” Cecil wrote in 1964. “They don’t want too much pressure because they know they are going to fail. Well, as long as there is identity with that sort of a character, as long as one maintains such an attitude … there isn’t much hope.” He goes on to explain that pressure actually pushes us toward service, and if we try to dissipate that pressure through escapism (maybe drinking wine and binge-watching “Downton Abbey”) that pressure can’t build to a useful prodding. “Without this attitude toward pressure patterns, we can’t serve, because the service comes through the pressure.”)
  • Letting Truth Make You Free (Uranda, in 1953, wrote about current circumstances that might trigger you because of something that happened in the past: “The point is,” he writes, “when you find yourself being subject to some immaturity pattern from out of the past with respect to a circumstance in the present, instead of letting yourself take an immature attitude toward the present, re-evaluate the present circumstance. … We have to let childish things pass away.”)

In a recent Monday morning class, we considered the idea of a “fire in the belly,” based on a reading by David Karchere. “Fire” relates to “the cosmic force that burns in the spiritual aspect of your human capacity,” he wrote. “The belly is synonymous with the physical aspect of your human capacity that embodies the cosmic force symbolized by the earth.”

“Fire in the belly comes when the clouds clear in consciousness, and thought and feeling fill with our highest love, and our love is so overwhelming to us that we cannot help but live our lives in service to it. For real. On earth. Through our words and deeds.”

Also on Mondays, we meet for women’s (or men’s) group; have some kind of body-centered practice (yoga, dance, Attunement, chant or what’s called “The Form”); and participate in our Transformation circle, during which we FSE interns take time to talk about what’s on our spiritual “edge.”

We may be shedding apparel on these hot summer days, but our hearts and minds are being clothed with a wealth of material. Next time, I’ll tell you more about daily life here at Sunrise Ranch. Until then, I send you warm wishes.

 

Roshana Ariel portrait

ROSHANA ARIEL is a former longtime editor at a daily newspaper in Kansas, now editing materials for Sunrise Ranch and going through the Ranch’s Full Self Emergence internship. She has one son, Kris, who lives in China, and she lives with her dog, Booda, at the Ranch. She welcomes your comments at rariel@emnet.org.

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BEING THANKFUL FOR HOW YOU FEEL

I have spent a number of hours of my life being upset with myself for the way I was feeling. If I were to add it up it would equal days, weeks, even months of time. I used to pray for the ability to stop feeling. That may sound ridiculous, but I have had such deep feelings of love and grief and anger that I thought they could destroy me. I also feared that someone would find out what I was feeling and judge me as being a bad person. After all “good” people don’t feel that way!

I have questioned the design of my being wondering what this emotional capacity was designed for. It seemed it was causing me a lot of distress and I thought my life would be simpler, more logical, more under control if this capacity didn’t exist.

Now the logical part of me knows this is silly. I am a chiropractor who knows the design of a human being is magnificent. The systems, the abilities, the control factors are beyond amazing. I became a chiropractor partly because I have deep respect for this reality. When something is not working right in the body, I am all about finding what is interfering and assisting in removing that interference so that homeostasis and vibrant health can return. So my premise that life would be better without this annoying emotional capacity promotes the same premise that we have body parts we don’t need. I had my tonsils taken out at age three because my older sister was having hers out and it was convenient to do two girls at once! Somehow someone decided I didn’t need them. I don’t know if this law still exists but in some states, it was a requirement to remove the patient’s appendix if the abdomen was opened for a surgical procedure as it was deemed a useless appendage that may cause trouble later. I don’t buy that kind of logic so why would I believe there was any part of me that isn’t part of that magnificent design?

But then my emotions are not logical are they, and neither are yours, so therein lies a dilemma. It is difficult to see the magnificence in something that seems out of control. What I have come to realize is my emotional state is not out of control but at times my feelings about it and my judgment of it can be. Why would I have such judgment about a beautiful part of my design?

My thoughts on this day are that this capacity, this gift has not been acknowledged for its beautiful powerful contribution to my magnificent life. It has not been loved and honored or even thanked. I have experienced deep thankfulness for my body’s abilities to heal, to digest, to breathe, to stay warm and to keep my heart beating. Can I honestly say I am thankful for the fact that in this moment I am angry? Even saying I am angry makes me feel vulnerable to potential judgement. Do I need to make up a story about why I am angry or can I just be angry? Can I be angry and not have the anger determine what I say and do? Noticing I am hungry is not this complicated!

Feelings can show up and surprise us. Sometimes it is not a surprise, it is obvious and logical. I just won the jackpot. Yay, I am filled with joy! I just heard someone I love is ill. I am sad—that’s also a logical and linear response. I am feeling agitated, restless, frustrated or depressed. Where did that come from? I’m not ill, nothing dramatic just happened—not so logical or obvious.

It is a habit to search for a reason, a story, a person or something to name as the source. Then you can be in the feeling in a “justified” way. I say we can approach this differently. “I don’t know why I am feeling this way, but it is very real. Perhaps I can take a moment to be sure what it is I am feeling.” Sometimes we think we are angry but really we are sad. Sometimes we think we are sad or afraid when really we are angry. Here is an opportunity for ownership and thankfulness. “I am feeling…(fill in the blank). This is my feeling and it is powerful. I am thankful for this powerful energy. I am powerful and will use that power to create beauty and blessing.”

In this moment you are not only acknowledging this magnificent part of yourself, you are also thankful for it. Let your heart open to the wonder of your magnificent design.  Take a moment to realize all of you is a blessing, not just the logical, dissectible parts. You can study and discover how your organs and systems work and give thanks that you are so wondrously made. Your emotional realm is not logical or dissectible. In fact, how your emotional capacity works is connected to how you were made to feel about the feelings you shared. Sounds complicated doesn’t it!  Did you ever express anger as a child and told to stop it?  Did you ever feel sad and cry and told, “I’ll give you something to really to cry about”?  You can’t do that with your emotional realm. Your emotional realm is a magical, powerful capacity longing to be loved and used for creation. I believe your emotional capacity needs to be loved and appreciated so that it might find its place and play its part. Let us begin the healing process of this powerful capacity and welcome it as a beloved friend.

-Jane Anetrini

 

Jane AnetriniJANE ANETRINI is a coach and teacher of Primal Spirituality. She assists people to find their own inner wisdom, strength and vitality. Jane is a Doctor of Chiropractic who has been practicing for 36 years.

 

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Keys to Emotional Intelligence

by Jerry Kvasnicka

heart-1301898_960_720“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” This statement made by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount may very well describe the work of the emerging spiritual body on earth. We are interested in seeing God in ourselves and in others, but as long as the heart (which refers to the emotions or feeling realm) is clogged with accusation, blame, criticism and judgment of all kinds, we cannot see clearly or live creatively.

Purification of the heart brings “emotional intelligence,” a term that has emerged in recent years to describe a condition of clarity and power in emotional expression that contributes to success in business, education, government or any area of living. It is also a vital element of any authentic spirituality and the release of our creative potential as human beings.

David Karchere, spiritual director of Emissaries of Divine Light, wrote this in a piece entitled “Emotional Intelligence”: A truly pure heart is an emotionally fluent heart. It’s a heart that’s emotionally intelligent. And what is emotional intelligence? Is it not being connected deeply to the power of Creation and to the Creator Himself and Herself? Isn’t it knowing that power within oneself in one’s own creatorship?”

While we require emotional intelligence for effective spiritual function, the emotions don’t become intelligent all by themselves. Left to their own devices the emotions may go in all kinds of directions, some of which may be destructive and produce what David calls “emotional disfluency.”

I am governed by who I am, not what I feel

To operate properly and become intelligent the emotions need the guidance of the conscious mind. If the conscious mind is one-pointedly centered in what Jesus called “the Father within,” then the emotions will come under control and gain intelligence. Control is obviously the key factor in generating emotional intelligence. My emotions will come under the control of the truth of who I am (“the power of Creation”) if I make the conscious choice to be under that control.

So choice is another key factor in generating emotional intelligence. I can choose to be controlled by my emotions and potentially express something destructive or I can choose to be faithful to the truth of who I am and express the qualities of divine character regardless of what I am feeling. I have the power of choice.

Just because I feel deeply and passionately about something or someone doesn’t mean I am obliged to express that emotion. If I am governed by the Father within, I can choose to express it, not to express it or to express some modification of it depending on the nature of the circumstance. Because I am centered in the truth of who I am in reality my emotions serve me, they do not rule me.

“Getting it out” just gets it in

Assume I am feeling tremendous anger toward someone I’m with as a result of something they’ve done. Do I have to express that anger? No, I can choose not to, with no harm to my mental state. I’m aware that there is a widely-accepted psychological theory that advises venting the anger in order to supposedly “get it out of your system.” I strongly disagree with this approach. It doesn’t get it out of my system, it just more firmly entrenches it in my system.

There is a creative principle that comes into play here: “You know what you express.” If you express anger in some kind of uncontrollable rage, that is what you know. In other words, it becomes embedded in your system and can become a habit. Also of what possible value is it to in effect vomit this destructive emotion all over people and things in your environment? It destroys them and yourself.

Even anger can be transmuted

Am I suggesting that negative emotions such as anger be suppressed? Not at all. I agree that suppressing emotions can damage the personality. But I am suggesting that the emotional energy represented by anger or any other negative emotion can be transmuted. Being securely centered in the truth of myself and availing myself of the power of Creation, I can consciously choose to transmute any emotion no matter how repugnant. Even vigorous anger can be transmuted and released as a blessing. The same with fear. As Jesus said, “Perfect love casts out fear.”

There was a somewhat amusing incident in an elementary school classroom. The teacher addressed young Johnny: “Now, Johnny, we know that when George Washington was just a little boy he cut down his father’s cherry tree and even admitted it to his father. Why didn’t his father punish him?” And Johnny replies: “Because George still had the ax in his hand.” We know of course that the real reason is that George’s father in effect transmuted that anger in the moment that he heard George’s honest admission and changed his anger into love.

There may be instances when a controlled expression of anger may be just what is needed to constructively handle a given situation. The classic example of this of course is Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple. The temple was a sacred space and the violation of that space occasioned a wave of anger in Jesus. But while he forcibly confronted the money changers he was by no means controlled by anger. He simply used it as a tactic while remaining fully under the control of the Father within.

I have to behave this way; I’m in a bad mood

Emotional intelligence could allow us to reduce or even eliminate another feeling malady that many seem to suffer from. I’m referring to moods. Being in a “bad mood” seems to provide a handy excuse for all kinds of unpleasant behavior. I run the post office at the Sunrise Ranch community. If someone comes to the counter of the mail room needing service, it doesn’t matter how bad I’m feeling physically or emotionally, I will always greet them warmly with a smile. Once again this has to do with control by the truth of who I am rather than by how I feel.

The emotions are a faculty of perception. Just as I see with my eyes and hear with my ears, I feel what is present in myself and in my world with my emotions. Though I may see some awful things and hear some awful things, I am not controlled by what I see and hear. Neither am I controlled by the world and the state of consciousness that I feel. I am answerable only to the truth of who I am and behave accordingly, no matter what my emotions tell me. And by the way, their accuracy as a faculty of perception, their emotional intelligence, depends on my fidelity to this inner control.

But the emotions are not merely a sensory faculty, they are also an energizer. They invest my thoughts and actions with the power of creation. They can be used to enliven my expression and fill it with passion. As indicated above, this can be an outburst of anger or an exalted expression of love. Once again whether the result of this energy is creative or destructive depends on whether I am controlled by an emotional state of reaction to something external or by my steadfast loyalty to the Father within.

The essential role of character

The final key to emotional intelligence that I would mention has to do with character. Identified with the Father within I channel my emotional energy into the expression of the qualities of true character: integrity, nobility, dignity, generosity, serenity, stability, to name a few. The consistent expression of these qualities of character in living clears the emotional realm of negative qualities and brings the emotions under the control of the truth of who I am, the Father within. There is no better way to build emotional intelligence.

The keys to emotional intelligence are C –words: my Choice to Connect with the Father within and express true Character that in turn creates Clarity in the emotional realm and brings it under Control, releasing the power of Creation in my living. It is a very simple process actually, but how vital emotional intelligence is for generating the spiritual intelligence that is capable of transforming human consciousness.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Blessed are the emotionally intelligent, for they shall see God and give God access to the earth through the power and clarity of emotional realm, steadily accomplishing the spiritual regeneration of humanity.

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-seven years. He can be reached at jerry@themindfulword.org

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Have I fully emerged?

Nope, not even close.

Hi, I’m Roshana, a Full Self Emergence intern at Sunrise Ranch. I’m beginning my third month here at the Ranch, having arrived in mid-April.

The days are getting hot, the grass is growing high, the birds are singing and the flowers blooming. The pool and hot tub are open, the food is always incredibly delicious, and life is good here at Sunrise.

P 15 - PHOTO - SR - spring at Sunrise

Last month I promised to tell you about what I’m learning in the Full Self Emergence (FSE) program with my other classmates. (The class has dwindled a little, a natural occurrence. We started with 17 and are down to 14 now, if my fingers are calculating correctly.) We range in age from 19 to about … ahem … 61 (that would be me).

Each week, we have a full morning of classes on Mondays and an hour-long class on Fridays. We have weekly assignments—nothing too onerous. We attend Wednesday night and Sunday morning services and Expansion, a time when we’re free to offer our thoughts on the topics expressed during the service. We also go to Attunements twice a week and meet with a coach to discuss any challenges.

And there have been challenges.

In late May, we attended an eight-day intensive called The Art of Living. It included many lectures and a few trust exercises and other group-bonding activities. We had times of silence, did a lot of journaling and managed a few public speaking assignments.

Our first task as part of the FSE class was to write about our experiences related to this beautiful poem, called “She Let Go,” by the Rev. Safire Rose. Here’s an excerpt from that poem.

She Let Go

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of the judgments.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

She let go of all the “right” reasons.

 

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go. …

 

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked her or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore …

 

So, what about those challenges? Well, letting go hasn’t been easy. Unlike the poem above, I can’t say, “There was no effort. There was no struggle.” And I certainly did ask friends and family for advice about this move to Sunrise Ranch. But every week, I’m finding things to let go of while I grapple with the attitudes and long-held beliefs accumulated over my life.

But this isn’t about acquiring new beliefs and principles willy-nilly. Over and over again, we’ve been invited to take what makes sense to us, what serves us well, and leave the rest.

If you read my last column in this space, you’ll remember that I’ve had a rocky relationship with religion and spirituality, so I’m easily triggered by new spiritual ideas that I can’t immediately research or confirm.

And I’m not the first, nor will I be the last, to think that some of the ideas presented here sound strange. But I’ve been encouraged by many here to keep an open mind and an open heart—that was certainly my intention before I arrived—and avail myself of new ideas that might benefit me.

As it turns out, I’ve got a fair amount of work to do in my own inner realm. And this seems to be a fine place to do it. After all, I’m totally on board with the idea that a creative spark resides in me by virtue of the fact that I’m alive—my heart beats, my lungs breathe, my food turns into energy, all without me doing a thing. That’s what I want to learn more about, what I want to nurture and experience regularly in my life. And that’s what this community supports in a lovely, safe container.

Next time, I’ll get more into the nitty-gritty of our FSE classes. Until then, I wish you well.

-Roshana Ariel

 

Roshana Ariel portraitROSHANA ARIEL is a former longtime editor at a daily newspaper in Kansas, now editing materials for Sunrise Ranch and going through the Ranch’s Full Self Emergence program. She has one son, Kris, who lives in China, and misses her dog, Booda, who is staying in Kansas for the time being. She welcomes your comments at rariel@emnet.org.

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The Voice of Being

by David Karchere

 

I am the voice of Being,

Speaking in human hearts and minds.

 

I am the living Word,

Creative vibration born in the highest heaven.

 

I am the sacred presence

Which lives at the heart of all creation.

 

I have more faces than there are rocks in the desert,

Or stones on the ocean beach.

 

I have been here many lifetimes

Through all history and before.

 

I am born again with each baby who comes into the world,

With each inspired thought,

Every longing for home.

And I am present with each one as they leave.

 

I am the voice of Being,

The sacred presence of the One Who Dwells.

 

I call all people,

All lands,

All kingdoms,

To my spirit.

 

I invite all hearts to melt,

All consciousness to turn

To face me and know me as I am.

 

I am heard by the innocent,

By the open hearted,

By the one who is not too proud,

Nor too humble to see my face.

 

I am heard by those who know

That human effort,

Human belief,

Human feeling

Alone is futile.

 

And that all understanding,

All compassion,

All power,

And life itself

Abide in me.

 

I am your voice,

And the true voice of every man,

Every woman,

Of all human being.

 

Hear me,

Know me,

Embrace my spirit,

Your spirit, now.

Be me in human flesh.

 

I am the voice of Being,

The sacred presence of the Living God.

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Prayer: Directed vs Non-Directed

by Jerry Kvasnicka

prayer-401401_960_720During a lively dinner table conversation I once participated in the subject of prayer was broached. A young woman described an experiment involving garden vegetables. One group of plants was given “directed prayer,” i.e. experimenters prayed specifically for a large yield from each plant. Another was offered “non-directed prayer,” i.e. the whole group was just generally enfolded and blessed. A third group was given no prayer at all. Other factors—sunlight, water, soil conditions—were the same for each group. Results: the biggest plants and the largest and most plentiful vegetables were in the group given non-directed prayer.

The woman and others at the table agreed that this throws into question the conventional religious approach to prayer, where God is entreated to confer specific benefits upon individuals and groups, and vindicates meditation and spiritual radiation groups where the primary concern is simply to bless the earth and its inhabitants. Whatever one’s religious or non-religious persuasion, the experiment confirms the power of human consciousness to influence events. It should be noted that the plants offered directed prayer outperformed those given no prayer at all.

Prayer not intended to process a human wish list

But the experiment also suggests that prayer, in its finest and most natural sense, has little to do with directing God to process a human wish list and everything to do with opening individual and group consciousness to the healing and renewing current of life. Life, God, whatever you want to call the spiritual energy running this whole show, certainly has no need for the human mind to direct it.

In genuine prayer and focused meditation my notions of what would be good for the world, the nation, my city, my family, me, are set aside in favor of simply clearing a space for the transformative energy of life to flow into and through me. In true prayer I in effect declare, “I hereby take full responsibility for the state of my world and open myself as a channel for the blessing of life to pour into it.” In this sense my prayer is the way I conduct my life.

Regarding the wars that are currently raging in the Middle East, I’m sure combatants on different sides are praying to their version of God to lead them to victory and American families who have sons or daughters in the combat zone are praying for their safety. Also churchgoers, mosque attendees, antiwar demonstrators and almost everyone is praying for peace. Even if God has the least interest in any of these requests, there is no way they can be answered to the satisfaction of everyone. Life simply doesn’t respond in this way to human petitions, no matter how noble and humanitarian they may be.

My prayer for peace only answered as I am peace

I wonder how many who pray for peace allow their prayers to be answered in the only way such prayers can be answered—by being peace in their living. World peace springs from inner peace. Maintaining calm in myself and the world of activity I center is the only way to calm the planet. And peace is not antiwar or nonviolence. Peace never opposes anything. It is a positive state of alignment with the larger celestial order.

Politics has long been and continues to be an exercise in directed prayer. For example, chaplains to the U.S. House and Senate direct God to uphold and strengthen the nation by assisting its leaders to solve the great problems of the day, and the leaders themselves direct their personal prayers and energies to this task. I suspect that God is frequently asked—sometimes in public, more often in private—to help get a specific bill out of committee or passed by the full chamber on final reading.

This whole direction process—directing solutions to problems and marshalling the life force necessary to implement these solutions—contradicts natural law and the working of life’s creative process. Because it represents an attempt to manipulate rather than cooperate with life, the long-term results are invariably destructive. Yet human beings have become so habituated to this politics of manipulation that they no longer can even conceive of anything else.

Results not the point of non-directed prayer

There is another way. Instead of activating the mind to brainstorm solutions the emphasis in non-directed prayer is on quieting the mind and clearing it of clutter. This makes space available in consciousness so that the course of action most in keeping with the natural rhythms and pulsations of life can reveal itself. In directed prayer and function everything is geared toward the achievement of a specific result, a result satisfying the mind’s notion of what is good. But in non-directed prayer and action results are incidental. All that really matters is opening mind and heart as fully as possible to the flow of life in the moment so that its re-creative power may have maximum effect on earth.

This flow is the prayer and whatever changes it produces are celebrated, not judged. Those who consistently let themselves be this living prayer in service to the larger celestial order acquire wisdom and the capacity to accommodate an ever greater range of the creative process. They can be trusted to competently interpret and administer the creative process in relation to any circumstance that comes to them in life. Here is genuine leadership and the basis for spiritual government on earth.

No more political campaigns!

As the current campaign for President of the United States graphically demonstrates, few things are so ugly and debasing as men and women grasping for office in an election campaign. But if the approach I’ve outlined here was fully implemented, it would abolish them! Instead of a candidate seeking political office, directing multitudinous energies and prayers to this end, the office would, in effect, seek out the candidate! There would be no need for a vicious dehumanizing struggle.

The very notion of seeking office is contrary to life. Quite often it tends to spring from the arrogance of attempting to impose the will of the conditioned human mind on the creative process. The appalling mess now on earth is the product of centuries of attempts to govern on this basis.

Native American wisdom

Long before they heard of voting and the need to assert their “political rights,” Native Americans let their leaders emerge in a sacred rite of natural selection. Tribal elders took counsel together and in the stillness of meditation a chief was raised up by the Great Spirit. What a blessedly simple event compared to the clamor, mudslinging, exhaustive schedules and financial corruption typical of a modern campaign.

The true political process is one of non-directed prayer as I have described it. In fact this is the natural process of leadership selection in any area of human activity. Nothing is demanded, nothing is sought. In an atmosphere of stillness and letting go to the wisdom of spirit an unconditional blessing of life is released and the result, though not sought after, is as healthy and abundant as a thriving garden full of vegetables given non-directed prayer.

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 west of Loveland for twenty-seven years. He can be reached at jerry@themindfulword.org

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Welcome Home

 

There it is,

Pushing,

Pushing,

Pushing against what does not serve,

Forms that have no life,

That restrain love’s flow.

 

There it is. Alive, happening…

Being born in spite of the frowning grayness of it all,

In spite of all that is ready to say it is not true.

 

Feel it, accept it,

Recognize it

And know it is infused with glory.

There are times to address what has no life

To acknowledge how it got there,

And that it does not serve.

To name it—

“This is a mirage

Not worthy of the love I freely gave to keep it alive.”

 

I feel it

The swelling, pregnant,

And ready for the bursting heaven

that hovers,

waiting for the time,

the perfect season to be born.

I know it because it is my spirit.

 

My heart stirs in remembrance,

And joins in the singing of a familiar song

“This is true!”

“This is life!”

“This is spring!”

Here is My spirit,

Always bringing life,

Bringing heaven

Always saying,

Welcome.

Welcome home.

Welcome Home.

 

-Jane Anetrini

 

Jane Anetrini

JANE ANETRINI is a coach and teacher of Primal Spirituality. She assists people to find their own inner wisdom, strength and vitality. Jane is a Doctor of Chiropractic who has been practicing for 36 years.

 

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Sorry, No Opinion

by Jerry Kvasnicka

EPSON DSC PictureWe live in the age of the public opinion poll. No issue can arise without a polling organization or media team immediately taking to the phones to solicit “for” or “against” responses on alternative courses of action. Presidential performance polls are taken almost daily, as are polls evaluating local officials and their decisions. And of course during Presidential election campaigns polls are rampant.

When I became a news reporter for a Cheyenne, WY radio station my first job was to poll residents on how to finance a new criminal justice center (i.e. jail). After two days on the phone I not only had lost my voice but my interest in polls, a disinterest that has endured to this day. Should a poll taker call to ask what I consider Colorado’s number one problem, my quick reply would be “Polls.”

Americans put so much store in polls because in our democratic tradition it is considered so important to have opinions on virtually every subject under the sun. Everyone is encouraged to “take a stand” on abortion, gun control, capital punishment and Middle East diplomacy, and those who won’t face social ostracism. A person who attends a dinner party without opinions might as well come naked.

Opinion bazaars such as radio talk shows and newspaper “letters to the editor” columns abound, and the “sacred” rite of voting is itself just a glorified opinion poll. The plain fact is that a person without opinions is considered to be…well, as Gelett Burgess put it in Reader’s Digest: “If in the last few years you haven’t discarded a major opinion or acquired new one, check your pulse. You may be dead.”

The universe is not governed by opinion polls

And yet I would contend exactly the opposite: a person of strong opinions is effectively dead. Opinions clog and stifle the mind, cutting it off from the opinionless energy of creation. Life is no respecter of human opinions. God doesn’t take polls to decide what to do. Universal government is from the top down, not the bottom up.

What kind of solar system would we have if planetary positions and orbits were determined by poll? How would our physical bodies function if the brain were under the constant necessity of polling the individual cells of the body? Such notions are clearly absurd. But this hasn’t stopped human beings from trying to do the impossible: govern themselves from below on the basis of opinion rather than opening their minds and hearts to what is higher, the imperatives of universal design and control.

Of course the time-honored rationale for forming opinions is that they are necessary for us to plan out our lives, make decisions, know what to do from moment to moment. Oh really. In their original state human beings acted on the basis of direct observation of events, not on the basis of interpretations of events made by the conditioned human mind. The chemistry of the situation combined with life’s unfiltered impulse determined the course of action. In a sense decisions were unnecessary. Everything flowed effortlessly.

But this rich and beautiful state came to a screeching halt when, out of a colossally misguided effort to improve the process, the “independent” opinion-forming human ego was born. “Original sin” is no deep, dark mystery. It occurred with the formation of the first opinion.

Our minds were not designed to form opinions

Is life without opinions possible? I would submit that life is not really possible as long as opinions are held! Opinions block life. They interpose the human mind between the flow of spirit and human action. The mind was not designed for this kind of use. Opinion formation, though it now seems second nature, is in reality quite unnatural to the mind. It knocks the mind out of alignment with the larger celestial order.

Spirit, the essence and energy of creation, the unconditioned self, call it what you will…this is the “command and control” center, not the mind. The latter is useful as an instrument of perception, but goes out of its depth when it tries to devise actions and govern life based on the information it gathers. Responsive to spirit, the mind is useful and effective. But when it attempts to seize control and rule by opinion, individual and collective disintegration ensues.

Elections are nothing but glorified opinion polls

The election for President of the U.S. has occasioned a firestorm of opinion, sending pollsters and talk show hosts on a roll. But would it be possible simply to observe the fact of an election, neither supporting nor opposing any particular candidate or political platform, recognizing that at bottom all elections may be reduced to differences of opinion and can be anticipated as long as human beings continue to indulge their fatal fascination with opinions?

“But elections put people in positions of power and these people can make decisions that impact your life and the whole body of humanity. How could you not have strong opinions about this?” Okay, but if I let the liberal and conservative arguments and all of the passion associated with an election determine my own thought processes and motivations for action, if, in other words, I develop opinions, I would simply be compounding the discord that elections inevitably generate. There is absolutely no reason whatever for turning feelings or thoughts into opinions; it can only interfere with the healing and restorative cycle at work on earth.

“Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” Wise counsel from the Psalms. Observe what is happening, but don’t rush in and try to figure out what is wrong and what can be done to put things right. Don’t succumb to “opinionitis.” Maintain your transcendent positioning.

The key to planetary healing

Is this an argument for aloofness and complacency? Am I suggesting that we retreat to a spiritual ivory tower to live in private bliss while the world goes to hell? Absolutely not! Few are more concerned that our troubled planet be healed than I and few more religiously follow current news events. But I would be totally useless if I left the only place from which healing comes. Plunging into the earth with the hope of sorting things out there we betray what is truly sacred. An eagle bound to the ground is less than an eagle.

Radio talk shows are particularly notorious for trumpeting opinions. Hosts and callers see them as opportunities to showcase their reasoned and deeply felt positions on government waste and corruption, defense spending, civil rights, campaign reform and the like. I listen to a lot of these shows, certainly not for the purpose of forming opinions or even of acquiring useful information that I can use to impress my friends with how much I know. I listen for one purpose only: to vibrationally invite all callers, hosts and listeners to come out of involvement with opinions.

No more talk shows: what a relief!

What would happen to talk shows if all opinion ceased? I for one wouldn’t mourn their demise. News analysts, commentators, talk show hosts and assorted talking heads would be out of a job. How sad! But maybe there would be enough space on the air for the truth to be heard. Silence, even recorded silence, would be a blessed relief!

Someone suggested that “the trick is to hold opinions without letting opinions hold you.” To which I’m tempted to reply, “Get real!” Not even a master equivocator or clever schizophrenic could pull this off. It’s impossible. A person who holds opinions is held and controlled by opinions. The course of wisdom is to avoid them altogether.

Yes, I am aware of Gil Stern’s sobering words in The Wall Street Journal: “Pity the people who have no opinion, for they shall go through life without a bumper sticker.” It is a sacrifice I’m prepared to make. Life without opinions is possible; indeed without opinions life can thrive again.

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-seven years. He can be reached at jerry@themindfulword.org

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RADIANCE:

Living things have a natural radiance.  You can see it everywhere in nature.  The sparkle of a flowing river, the mountain bluebird come springtime in the Rockies, the crocuses and daffodils bright and full of color. Life moves naturally through every living thing. Life and love can move naturally through every human being.  And human beings have the capacity to withhold that current. They can divert it internally or choose not to express it.  A person who is allowing the current of love and life to move through them has a radiance around them.

People notice that radiance even if they don’t know what is happening.  Some people are drawn and some push themselves away.  There is always some resonance within a person to that radiance and a choice is available to allow oneself to be drawn as life is to life, love is to love, or to judge this experience as foreign and something to be feared.

It might seem unusual that a person would fear this current of life. But think about it, if you allowed more of this current to move through you, what would happen?  Your life would change!  Does that hit a chord of fear in your heart?  Many people prefer the mundane, the familiar…no surprises, nothing expected from me, no discomfort brought by the new.  What is interesting is that the discomfort of the familiar and the mundane has become so expected that a person doesn’t realize they have little or no joy in their life.  There is a whole, holy, alive world to know and share. The choice is often made to keep this current unto oneself to serve one’s own purposes and the opportunity for creation and communion is missed.

To me, this is the experience of a slow death.  Most everyone knows the saying “you are what you eat.” People who eat whole alive foods have a different vitality than those who eat processed packaged foods. This expression is similar to another one I know, “you know what you express.”  If you express love and life you know that reality and the radiance of it surrounds you.  This radiance is inviting and also protective.  Radiant people are not looking to their environment for happiness, they are creating their world by expressing life. They are protected from the world around them because it is not the source of their identity or purpose. They do not rely on the external world for an experience of joy.

At Sunrise Ranch we invite people to know this experience. You can change your life and create a radiant world by expressing the qualities of life. Your countenance can have the quality of a shimmering star or a blooming flower. Radiance is a natural consequence of life current. It is available to you now as you read these words. When you allow your radiant expression out you begin to see it everywhere.  What a wise and exciting choice.  I invite you to choose it now.

 

-Jane Anetrini

 

 

Jane Anetrini JANE ANETRINI is a coach and teacher of Primal Spirituality. She assists people to find their own inner wisdom, strength and vitality. Jane is a Doctor of Chiropractic who has been practicing for 36 years.

 

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Transcending Culture

by Jerry Kvasnicka

A juvenile white-bellied sea eagle soaring above the shore of East Wallabi Island, off the coast of Geraldton in Western Australia In the 1988 Presidential election year I found myself employed as the campaign manager of a friend of mine who was running for President of the U.S. under the banner of the Human Party, an alternative party he founded that was designed to embrace people of all political viewpoints and parties. The two of us were touring the country giving public talks and doing radio, television and newspaper interviews. A lot of people around the country were responding positively to our idealistic vision of an all-encompassing party, but we ran into resistance at a university in southern Florida.

The students were from various Latin American and European countries. While they were quite willing to question and even abandon their political loyalties, they stubbornly clung to their respective cultures, even seeing our campaign as an attack on their cultural backgrounds. After a long and exhausting question-and-answer session it became clear to us that these students were so entrenched in their cultures that there was simply no way of opening them up to a more expansive perspective.

Does my culture determine who I am?

Our experience certainly convinced me that culture and its corresponding mindsets can be quite limiting, at times even prohibiting movement into more integrative patterns of thought and action. Cultural conditioning can foster a kind of addiction; it becomes the equivalent of a drug that one must have to preserve a sense of personal identity and stability. It seems that many people are not able to define who they are without reference to culture.

I believe my great grandfather, Vaclav Kvasnicka, came over from Czechoslovakia sometime in the 1800s. I understand that my ancestors were brewers of kvas, a fermented bread beverage, quite alcoholic, still popular in Russia. My grandfather, Albert Kvasnicka, didn’t attempt to carry on this trade in the U.S. Instead he became a wheat farmer. He also learned English and adopted American ways, pretty well abandoning the culture of his forebears. Nor do I know anything about making kvas and I don’t speak any Czech. So I guess I’m culturally free to this extent.

American political culture

Yet there are many other forms of cultural conditioning to which I and all of us have been exposed. American culture, eclectic as it is, is still a culture. Particularly during an election year many people become involved and even embedded in U.S. political culture, vigorously promoting liberal or conservative candidates and ideologies. The ferocity with which they hold to these positions is equivalent to religious fervor, strikingly evident at political debates and campaign rallies.

Religion is another form of culture. Believers cling to their beliefs, traditions, holy books, rites, rituals and holy places with almost unimagined zealotry. Apparently they cannot conceive of life without these cultural supports. Christian and Islamic fundamentalism are examples of how all-consuming this kind of fanaticism can be.

Facebook culture

Another kind of culture has emerged with the rise of the Internet. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter provide what amount to second lives for many people. And, by the way, there is a computer program actually called Second Life that allows a person to live in a “3D virtual world where users can socialize, connect and create using free voice and text chat.” It is intended to be more engaging than real life. A couple years ago I became a Facebook member and soon realized I could spend entire days responding to all the traffic coming to me and could be totally swallowed up by Facebook culture. So in what seemed to be a desperate move to preserve my sense of reality and sanity I clicked on the unsubscribe link.

Finally I would mention a culture that stirs the emotions and engages the devotion of human beings almost more than any other. I refer to sports and athletics, also the “fitness craze.” In Colorado we have “Bronco mania.” For decades the lives of my parents were dominated by the fortunes of the Denver Broncos football team. My father painted a pickup truck bright orange and blue, plastered it with Broncos paraphernalia and led Broncos parades around the state. They also had lunch at the home of Broncos coach Red Miller and his wife. I seem to have inherited something of this mania, finding it challenging to watch a Broncos game without getting swept up in the emotional frenzy.

The cult of fitness

Football culture is just one of the sports cultures. There is also baseball culture, basketball culture, hockey culture, golf culture, tennis culture, skiing culture, surfing culture, bowling culture, track and field culture, gymnastics culture and, as noted above, physical fitness culture. The latter has spawned a whole industry of fitness equipment, diets and exercise programs. I think it would be difficult to find anyone in the industrial countries of the world who is not at least partially immersed in this pervasive health culture.

As the symbol of the Human Party, my friend who was running for President selected the golden eagle. I wrote a poem called “The Golden Eagle” for our campaign newsletter. Here are the last three verses:

The red tape, the petty bickering,
All the stuff of earth-bound politics,
Are but meat for this bird,
Symbol of love’s consuming fire.

Symbol also of being that transcends
The rise and fall of human affairs,
And acts less to please the part
Than benefit and bless the whole.

Look up! Behold, the golden eagle,
In whom all may find identity and union,
And together birth a new America,
A new world.

Can a similar stance be taken with respect to human culture? Can we somehow soar above it all, breaking out of cultural compartments into the freedom and vast perspective of the Whole? It is possible to one whose self-definition is no longer enclosed in these compartments but has risen into what I would call the truth of Universal Being, the power of creation at the very core of every human being. Recognizing that this is our very nature, our essence, is it really so difficult to allow our consciousness to enlarge enough to accommodate this transcendent stance?

God culture

Whatever the word “God” means to you, could you conceive of God being stuck in some human culture? I trust not. God’s vision is all-encompassing and His presence ubiquitous. God culture embraces and transcends all cultures. Well then, we who are made in the very image and likeness of God and appointed as God’s representatives on earth were made for God culture. In true identity this transcendent culture is the culture most natural to us.

As such we are what I would call “cultural creatives,” as opposed to a “cultural compulsives.” The latter can easily become addicted to one or more human cultures. The former, being fundamentally identified with God culture, see with transcendent vision and encompass the whole of heaven and earth.

In human culture but not of it

As we maintain this comprehensive positioning we are culturally free, free to move in and out of all human cultures at will, without danger of slipping into identity with any of them. We may relish the uniqueness and beauty of human diversity, even deeply engaging in it, while always retaining our essential unity with the culture of the Creator. In other words, we may be in any human culture but are always of God culture.

Here on Sunrise Ranch where I live we offer a week-long class called “From a High Place.” In fact the class is currently in session as I write this. This is a high place in consciousness that is attained as we recover our true identity as agents of creation. From this exalted space the landscapes of human cultures are seen to spread out below, cultures that we enter at will and use in sacred service, yet always in our core soaring above it all in the exhilarating air and culture of Universal Being. And, by the way, it is only from here that world transformation may unfold.

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 west of Loveland for twenty-seven years. He can be reached at jerry@themindfulword.org

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