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Pulse of Spirit

The Holy Shrine

David Karchere

Sunrise Ranch is a shrine.
Sunrise Ranch is a holy shrine.
Sunrise Ranch is a holy shrine.

That’s why I came here. I believe it’s why you came here. We who live here are keepers of that holy shrine.

It’s a shrine of pastures and greenhouses, cows and sheep and chickens. It’s a shrine of residences and hillsides and rocks and pine trees. It’s a shrine of people living their lives. It’s a shrine of buildings such as this (the Dome Chapel), deliberately devoted to being a home for the holy—to being a home for the holy in people, to be a home for the holiness of the world, a home for the holiness of all faiths, all religions, all spiritual practices, all human hearts. This is a Home of homes. It is a shrine of holiness. And we who live here are keepers of that shrine.

It’s a shrine that holds the Attunement Sanctuary, where people enter and feel the sacredness of what is there and the sacredness of what goes on in that building. It is a shrine that is embodied in the Little Chapel, the plaque of which says that it is a place devoted to the Most High in people, where people chant to connect with the Divine.

Ultimately, this place is a shrine, not just of physicality. It’s a shrine that’s not limited to this physical space. It is a shrine of worshipful human hearts in living, a shrine of people who keep and hold sacred what is sacred, and who don’t make sacred the elements of life that aren’t sacred of themselves, except as they are an instrument of the sacred—money, fame, status or power.

It is a shrine that lives in the hearts and minds of the people who live here and the people who touch it, and the people who are part of it who don’t live here. It lives in our thoughts and it lives in our hearts. It lives in the sanctity with which we live our lives. It lives in the integrity with which we greet each other. It lives in our honesty, and our straightforwardness. It lives in the way that we take responsibility as the creator of our lives, and thus align ourselves with the Creator of all and become instruments of His love and of His truth.

It is a shrine of spiritual energy—a shrine of prana, a shrine of auric substance, held by each of us who live here and held by us all in common. That auric substance is the shrine. That shrine is, first of all, before it is anything else, a cup. It is a cup of reception. And here is the heart of our human work: to be that cup with integrity that can receive the creative spirit that pours into it without leaking. It is our integrity as a receptive cup that allows us to be a shrine. Our ability to look each other in the eye with truth and honesty and love and forgiveness before it’s asked. It’s a cup, not sitting upside down, collecting all of the distresses of the world around us and of the culture of that world. It is a cup turned right side up to receive from on high and from within what is readily available but which doesn’t enter the human experience unless that cup is there and turned upward.

The creative spirit available for that cup only comes in intermittent flashes when the cup does not have integrity. Something comes in but leaks out when the cup does not have integrity. So for this to truly be a shrine, for all the physical dimensions of this place to be filled with the spirit of a shrine, we who live here must be people of integrity. If we are people of integrity, then we can be that cup. And we will not only be people of some kind of human integrity but we will be spirit-filled people. We are spirit-filled people because the cup has integrity.

So often it is thought that the need is to be spiritual, and the attempt is to somehow do something spiritual, something loving, something good in the world, but without first of all paying attention to being the cup. That approach is so bankrupt in our world because we didn’t create, as human beings, what fills the cup. None of us here created the essence of the shrine that is Sunrise Ranch, even though we get to play a part in it. We didn’t create what fills this cup. We didn’t create our own life. It was given to us. And if we have love to give to the world, it isn’t because it was self-generated. It’s because we are loved, and we receive that love, and then we have that love to give. The self-generated kind of love has little staying power, little power to do good in the world or for another person. It’s not the self-generated love that does good. It’s the love with which we are already loved that does good. As the shrine, we are here to receive that love, cup held upward.

We live in a world where there are all kinds of attempts to substitute for what would fill the cup, or to try to be what would fill the cup, without letting the cup be filled. It doesn’t work very well when a person has never received what would fill their cup, but they are busy telling the world how they should be, trying to direct the world without receiving the wisdom that would fill their cup. So they have some kind of self-generated wisdom to share. I’m very suspicious of my own self-generated wisdom. How about you? And I am at least guarded about what seems to be the self-generated wisdom of another person.

We didn’t create this world. We didn’t create the essence of possibility that is present for our lives and for this planet. But it is available. The spiritual DNA of this world and for us is available, but we didn’t make it as human beings, and we can’t make it. We have the opportunity to receive it. And when we do truly receive it—when the cup is open, and when heart and mind are turned upward to let it in—we can receive that wisdom and we become wise. And then we become instruments of wisdom in the world. But it’s not a self-created wisdom. We are simply harmonizing with the wisdom of all Creation, the wisdom that is within the world. It is the wisdom of the Creator of all things, the wisdom of the Elohim. And as human beings, we have the opportunity to receive that wisdom and be it and express it. What a high privilege! But let us never forget it’s not ours, it’s not self-generated. It comes from on high if it is wisdom.

There is no way to be that wisdom and love in the world without all the assurance and confidence that comes from being a living shrine. That is the essence of what Sunrise Ranch is. It is the legacy of Sunrise Ranch. And if you do not know that, you do not know Sunrise Ranch. This place was founded by people who had a radically uncommon openness. It was developed over the years by people who had that same kind of openness upward, that same kind of radical humility. At the same time, they were people who knew and kept the holiness of this shrine absolutely, in themselves and in this place.

I am of that lineage. How about you? I am so proud of that lineage, I couldn’t even begin to tell you. And yes, there are people who come and go, and some who have railed against the shrine that they couldn’t even see. There have been people who lacked integrity who have come to this place and, for themselves, defiled the shrine. But the true shrine is never defiled. It’s not a person; it’s not a place. It’s a state of heart and mind, and it’s a body of auric substance generated and kept by people whose hearts and minds are open as a cup to the Divine. For those who hold the shrine sacred and who sanctify daily the shrine in their own hearts and minds, it persists and it prevails. It never goes away, and it’s never forgotten. It’s always with them. For those who allow for their own shrine to be corrupted in whatever way, so that their cup is turned down or so that they leak—so that there is dishonesty, so they are living in some kind of heart-generated reality, which is more like unreality—the shrine is not known.

The shrine was created not just for the people who live here, and not just for the people who come, although it is for them. The shrine of Sunrise Ranch was created as a shrine for the world that knows no borders or boundaries, that transcends all religions, all faiths, all lack of religion or faith, all spiritual practices or lack thereof. This shrine is for the people, all the people.

You could call those of us who live here, who are keepers of the shrine, priests or priestesses of the shrine. Our daily lives are for the purpose of keeping the shrine of our own bodies and hearts and minds, and the auric substance that we individually are responsible for keeping, with a vivid awareness that we are not alone on this planet and we are not alone on this Ranch; that because our lives are committed as keepers of the shrine, our lives are committed to each other. If you are a keeper of this shrine, you have my humble service to you. I am committed to you. That is the integrity of the shrine.

Perhaps there are people on the planet who weren’t born to be keepers of this shrine. Not just that they weren’t born to move to Sunrise Ranch, but for whatever reason they haven’t felt the calling to keep the substance of the shrine wherever they are—or, if they’ve felt the calling, they haven’t answered it. They are busy keeping other things sacred. I’m not here to quarrel with wherever a person’s values and life path take them. But I am here at Sunrise Ranch to be with those who are devoted to being keepers of the shrine. Maybe you take the same attitude. We each express it in our own ways, we each have our own individual life paths wherever we are; our unique gifts and our unique fields of service. But for those of us who are keepers of the shrine, whatever we are doing, whoever we are with, whatever our unique and specific field of service, this is what we are doing.

I call upon the Spirit of the Single Eye, that I may find my way, that I may see the path before me, my path; that I may walk with head held high, greeting the sun; that I may walk into my destiny and therefore walk with others into our destiny.

May I see and understand those around me, and be open enough to allow others to see and know me.

 May I find and know my north star, that guiding wisdom, that guiding focus, that guiding spirit that is so reliable, so trustworthy, so lovable, that I may trust in it totally and follow it wherever it leads me, knowing that I am being kept in the paths of wisdom, in the paths of love, in the paths of life.

 And so may I bring life to my friends, and life to my community. May I walk in the paths of victory, not of vanquishing enemies but the victory of Spirit, the victory of life—life and life more abundantly, thriving life, born out of the truest love and the highest love. So may it be, for me. Whatever I think I see around me, let it be so for me, now and now and now… Aum-en.