Sunrise Ranch

By Roshana Ariel

I’ve graduated! After seven months of classes, services, body-centered practices, journaling, coaching, chanting and attuning, my classmates and I have been deemed fully emerged from the Full Self Emergence program.

Hi, I’m Roshana, now a regular member of the Sunrise Ranch intentional community, bringing you my monthly look at life here on the Ranch.

So what happens after you finish the FSE program? Well, if you haven’t created any mischief during your internship and you’ve proven yourself useful, you can submit a proposal for how you’d like to stay here, and that’s approved (or not) by our Spiritual Director, David Karchere, and the head of Human Resources, Uma Faith. Presumably, you’ll continue in the “work pattern” already established during your internship. In my case, I’ll still be doing the text, video and audio editing and graphic design work I’ve been doing since I got here. I really enjoy my job because it allows me to be creative and learn new skills to add to my repertoire.

Just before the internship ended, I had a meeting with David Karchere and Jane Anetrini, the Assistant Spiritual Director, for a debriefing. They asked about how I felt about the FSE program and what I had learned. Odd as it may seem, I wasn’t ready for those questions.

What did I learn, anyway?

I could easily say that what I liked most about the program was getting to know my delightful classmates, who range in age from 19 to 61 (I was the oldest, but there are a few of us voyaging through the second half of our lives). Part of the program included a weekly Transformation Circle, during which time we shared what was on our “spiritual edge.” You get to know people fairly intimately when they share their most personal spiritual challenges.

But what did I learn during the internship? I had to really think about that over the past week.

Every week in classes, we would focus on an ever-evolving drawing of reality as seen through the lens of the teachings of Emissaries of Divine Light, the organization for which Sunrise Ranch is the global headquarters. Every week, that drawing was added to and the concepts were expounded upon. The drawing included a horizontal and a vertical line, enclosed by a circle. At the top of the vertical line was the word Spiritual, at the bottom, Physical. On the right side was Emotional, and on the left, Mental. Over the course of the seven months, those ideas were further fleshed out: To the concepts Spiritual, Physical, Emotional and Mental, the archetypes Sovereign, Warrior, Lover and Magician were added. Later, as the lessons progressed, Fire, Earth, Water and Air were added, representing cycles of life patterns; then the attributes of Generosity, Strength, Flow and Intelligence. And finally, the time elements Future, Present, Past, and Past/Present/Future.

The illustrations represented dimensions, capacities and realms in which we live, lenses through which we can see our lives and how we’re functioning (or dysfunctioning, as the case may be). The main thrust of this teaching is that we function best when we’re aligned with the Spiritual, or Sovereign, realm, letting the power of Universal Being flow through us with creativity, wisdom and love.

While at first I had great reservations about the teachings of the Emissaries of Divine Light because of the strangeness of its history (and the unhappy craziness of my own spiritual journey), I came to wholeheartedly embrace the main piece of this community’s mission: Honor Universal Being—in myself, in my fellow human beings, in all sentient beings and in our home, Planet Earth. The other piece of the EDL mission, bringing about the spiritual regeneration of humanity, is certainly a lofty and noble goal, and I’m happy to participate in it, at least as far as I understand it: help others understand the idea that Universal Life Energy flows through us all and that we can facilitate and nurture that flow by being conscious of it. That’s a beginning anyway.

I’ve also learned that living in this community helps us to continually be aware of this dimension of life and living; we’re in the crucible of putting our convictions to the test. As we honor Universal Being, we must learn to see that Higher Self in our fellow community members, even if they seem to be acting in rather “lower self” ways. And we learn patience, as the wheels of improvement in everyday life here sometimes turn very slowly.

Over time, we realize a growing sense of gratitude for the privilege of serving our fellow communitarians and our wider human and nonhuman family; and little by little, we gain understanding about our personal mission in life.

Those are a few of my thoughts as I consider what I’ve learned over the past seven months. I’m not sure I’ve fully emerged, but I do believe I’m on a good, sturdy path, and I look forward to many months or years here in this lovely creative valley.

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