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