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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:

GOD WANTS SPIRITUAL FRUITS, NOT RELIGIOUS NUTS

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.

I’M LOST, BUT I’M MAKING RECORD TIME

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.

I THINK, THEREFORE I’M DANGEROUS

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.

DON’T BLOW IT, GOOD PLANETS ARE HARD TO FIND

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 with 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

Phoenix_Rises_by_c_t_elder

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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FREEDOM

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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Life Resurrected

Spring does bring regeneration as nature calls forth for birth and growth and new life cycles begin

And I’m reminded of a life once lived as Love incarnate, that transcended death around to life again

I honor and celebrate that life example greatly given and embodied some few short millennia ago

Preserved and anchored into the grid so as to know what the spirit of humanity would one day show

Regeneration, resurrection, re-creation and unlimited, beautiful and creative forms of life being born

Happens in the empty, receptive space following death, dissolution and all attachments being shorn

Cracking the shell and melting the hardness, breaking through and opening space to let and to allow

The most heavenly and finest frequencies of love and life, existing eternally in the moment- here now

They can begin once again to move right in, set up shop, get comfortable and make a home in the mind

Gently infiltrating dissonant patterns and perceptions until the spirit of creation is all the mind can find

As nature very gracefully shows… to release, dissolve and surrender clears the path and calls into play

The spirit of resurrection-fueled by Creator Love- for life’s abundance to come forth and re-pave the way

Rich, full and vibrant; Love surrounds and soaks into the self, and life is seen again, yet with new eyes

As separated senses of Self fall away revealing the Wonderful One Within as powerful, loving and wise

Potently present, perfectly aware, peacefully perceiving being and existing in the patterns of perfection

A journey of ever ascending heights of inter-connective perspective, repainting the canvas of perception

Kinetic, colorful, coordinated molecules of light dancing ecstatic concerts of harmony and shared elation

Undulating waves of joyful reveling in the matrix of the mystery and knowing I Am in the shared creation

Another blessed soul awakens and the divine intelligence of nature surges forward in following her plan

Infinitely resourceful, wholly committed and ceaselessly working toward the conscious evolution of man

– Gary Goodhue – “Rajazuhl”

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4 Reasons to Apply for Full Self Emergence

2014 community at Arise

What sets Sunrise Ranch apart from other retreat and conference centers?

Although it’s one of the oldest intentional communities in the country, Sunrise Ranch is more than a neighborly surround. It’s a spiritual body, a teaching and demonstration site, and an eco-minded farm and garden. Many residents joined the community by participating in Full Self Emergence, a residential spiritual internship.

Full Self Emergence includes discussion and study groups, individual coaching, and participation in job roles. Participants also learn about attunement, an energy medicine practice that allows access to internal self-healing using the endocrine system. They take seminars and trainings held on-site, such as The Art of Living and The Deepening.

So why apply for Full Self Emergence? Here are the top reasons:

1. Immerse in community living. This is arguably one of the main reasons a person might decide to become a resident. There’s a comfort in knowing neighbors and coworkers by name, as trustworthy individuals wouldn’t hesitate to help someone in need. My parents’ and grandparents’ descriptions of their childhood neighborhoods come to mind: kids atop bikes, adults stopped on the sidewalk to chat, snow that remains pristine white from lack of driving pollution.

2. Experience personal transformation. Discussion groups and personal coaching are integral parts of Full Self Emergence. Community living also implies support for goals and aspirations. People come here to find their voice. Their calling. Their talents and potential. Armed with that self-knowledge, they create what they want to see in their world.

3. Develop life skills. Interns assist with essential roles in the community on a daily basis, in areas such as maintenance, publications and administration. Kahlil Gibran once wrote, “Work is love made visible.” This adage could be Sunrise Ranch’s mantra. Work contributions increase personal responsibility and become a way for people to show love. The residential nature of the internship develops teamwork skills and allows participants to rely on their innate strengths and talents to perform job functions.

Community members

4. Use powerful spiritual principles. This is perhaps the program’s biggest advantage. Spirituality becomes interwoven with work, study, relaxation, and every other facet of daily life. Full Self Emergence facilitates spiritual growth by allowing each person the freedom to explore their purpose as a human being on earth.

Full Self Emergence teaches enlightened living within the context of a supportive intentional community. For more information, or to apply, visit our Full Self Emergence page.

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Life Experience, Not Just Job Experience

Full Self Emergence internship

You may not find spiritual internships listed on a university brochure, but such opportunities do exist around the world. The Ananda Center in Portland, for example, offers internships in yoga and community service. The Toronto School of Theology and Hamilton College provide more traditionally structured internships for college credit. And the Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth (SPIC MACAY) selects 23 people each year to volunteer for a Tibetan Buddhism awareness program.

A spiritual internship? What’s that?

Whereas traditional interns receive college credit in exchange for work at a company (with many hoping to land full-time jobs after the internship), spiritual interns look for benefits beyond the resume. Concepts such as personal growth, leadership and service to others take priority. Interns often live with a balanced schedule of work and class time for learning spiritual principles.

These programs aren’t necessarily religious. In an article in Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association’s publication, Visitors, former intern Laura Siders describes her experience in grief counseling as a “healing and spiritual internship.”

Who participates?

Spiritual internships aren’t just for individuals in their early twenties. People of all ages are welcomed and encouraged to participate, especially those committed to meaningful work and making a difference in the world.

What does a typical day look like for a spiritual intern?

The schedule can vary as much as the teachings. Some programs hold spiritual activities like karma yoga a few days a week for an hour or more at a time, while others make meditation part of the daily practice. Work and service assignments cultivate mindfulness, gratitude and generosity.

Of course, personal time is often factored into the internship structure. Besides homework like journaling and reading, spending time in nature can be a major component of the curriculum. Many programs are hosted in idyllic natural locations, making hiking and outdoor activities easy to access and an integral part of the educational experience.

Yoga at FSE

Where can I find a program to join?

Unfortunately, there are few online directories listing different spiritual internships; however, you can use retreat directories like Find The Divine and All About Retreats to find organizations of interest to you and inquire about internships directly. You might also consider browsing the Fellowship for Intentional Community or Conscious Tribe websites for opportunities.

Does Sunrise Ranch offer spiritual internships?

Yes! Sunrise Ranch’s spiritual internship is called Full Self Emergence. The program begins April 6 and lasts 7 months. Interns live on the property and learn principles of Primal Spirituality (the innate spirituality with which everyone is born). They then practice those principles in everyday living, surrounded by the support of a conscious community.

Want more information? Visit the Full Self Emergence page for more details or to fill out an application.

When is the best time to apply for an internship?

The sooner the better. If you’ve been looking for a way to learn more about yourself, a spiritual internship is for you—and this can be the year you make it happen.

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