What are the real spiritual needs of the people we meet in the world in which we live? Those needs begin with a spiritual hunger. There’s a deep desire to be fed from within, because without that kind of nourishment, all the rest of the nourishment of our world is unsatisfying. The nourishment from within is freely available.
When we are truly being nourished from within and passing it on, we have something to offer to other people to assist them to find their own real spiritual nourishment. For most people, there is a problem involved—addiction. There are addictions of all kinds. The most renowned are the addictions to drugs and alcohol. Whatever the addiction is, the deeper problem is that the person is feeling a hunger inside and doesn’t know how to satisfy it. They haven’t learned to feed the hunger from within, and so they’re attempting to feed the hunger from without.
If you want to assist somebody who has addictive tendencies—and who doesn’t?—it is not as simple as saying that you have something that would be nourishing to that person, because the person is in a pattern of attempting to feed their hunger in a habitual way. And after all, you are probably not willing to sign up for keeping them spiritually fed for the rest of their life. So there is a challenge if we are to assist a person to find the real source of nourishment, because while you can be very helpful in assisting a person to find their spiritual source, they have to draw water from that well themselves.
Someone made the comment recently to me that what we need at Sunrise Ranch is a pastor. My response was we need a community of pastors at Sunrise Ranch. We don’t need one pastor; we need a community of pastors. But what is a pastor, in the truest sense of the word?
In the world the way it is, there are pastors by many names—spiritual leaders and teachers, who offer help and assistance of one kind or another. In many cases, what is being sold is that the pastor can satisfy the hunger of the person. It’s not true—they can’t. We can’t actually satisfy the hunger of another person, and we cannot heal another person.
The real spiritual needs of all people are satisfied primarily from within. Once a person learns to satisfy their spiritual needs from within, there is the possibility that all the external factors of the person’s life can be part of that meeting of their needs. We are not meant to live in this world alone. We are not meant to go without food of the physical kind. So myriad people and the material things of our life play a part in our nourishment. But our greatest need is spiritual in nature, and that spiritual need can only be satisfied from within, flowing out. Jesus put it this way to the woman at the well:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14)
When a person comes to terms with the deep desire that is already present deep within them, their desire brings them to the source that satisfies that desire.
We live in a just universe. The nourishment from within continues when we understand that it is not just for ourselves. The spiritual current moving through us is meant to flow into our world and be a blessing to others. And if you try to keep it to yourself, you will run out. Doesn’t it make you happy that the universe is a just place? That the real goods aren’t available to us on a self-centered basis? Real spiritual sustenance satisfies when we are ready to serve another person, to be a pastor in the truest sense. A true pastor offers forgiveness, reconciliation, friendship, love and opportunity. When we give those things from within, we find there is more to give. It just keeps on coming. We have more and more to flow through us to be of service to other people. But ultimately, that service will not be received by another person if they do not allow the same flow to take place.
When we begin to act on our desire to serve other people, we come face to face with the fact that we are living in a world of addicts of one kind or another. And because we are living in a world of addicts, we are living in a world of people who believe that they know how to satisfy their needs from the outside. Of course, it hasn’t quite happened yet—isn’t that how it goes? Perhaps there was one shining moment in the past when it seemed to work pretty well but, for the most part, it’s not happening right now. Whatever is being pursued from the outside that was supposed to make a person happy hasn’t quite worked yet. But it’s just a little bit over the horizon. It’s coming soon, and if only the people around me would cooperate it would make me happy. Wait just a minute; I have it almost all set up. But there is the perennial problem that every time I’ve almost had it together, something changes and my plans are foiled.
That is how it goes in the addictive state. Of course, I’m not just talking about drugs and alcohol. I’m talking about any attempt to satisfy the spiritual need from the outside. They wrote a book about that, related to the job economy—Who Moved My Cheese? In the addictive state, just when a person has everything lined up for happiness, it seems as though someone has changed things.
Life experience transforms when a person understands about themselves that their deepest desires relate to living a life of service. Recently, at Sunrise Ranch, our life has changed out of a desire to be of greater service. At our last Community Session, we agreed to move in the direction of a major restructuring of how we are organized. The changes we are in the process of making are designed to bring us together more closely as a community here at Sunrise Ranch, so that we play our role as the headquarters community and the Home of homes for Emissaries of Divine Light, and so that what is shared here among people serves the larger global community of Emissaries of Divine Light. That community itself is present so that all together we offer true service to the larger world, and so that we fulfill our calling to be a beacon of understanding as to how the real spiritual needs of our world are fulfilled.
In our Community Session, we took a step to join together what had been broken into two corporate entities known as Emissaries of Divine Light and International Emissaries—the former organization having to do more with the operation of Sunrise Ranch itself, and the latter having to do with leadership of this global Emissary program. But when it comes right down to it, what meaning does Sunrise Ranch have if it’s not to be of service on that global scene?
So at one level, this was the beginning of an anticipated change in our corporate structure. If that was all it was, it would be of little consequence. But there was something spiritually that happened through our process. For a number of years, it has seemed to some that there was the possibility that Sunrise Ranch could be swallowed up by the larger Emissary program, or by International Emissaries. So there was probably a sense of impending doom for some. As we were considering the anticipated changes I am reporting here, one of the most brilliant things that was said was by a young man who’s been here less than a year, Adam. He observed that not only was something global being grounded and embodied at Sunrise Ranch, but Sunrise Ranch was being taken up into something global—that there was ascension going on in this whole process.
This is symbolic of what happens for us as individuals. It can seem like we’ll get eaten up by life, so that life as we’ve known it will be no more. It can seem that the life as we have lived it is coming to an end, and that somehow we’ll just get swallowed up into some larger reality.
Many years ago there was a Native American story told in a collection of stories called Seven Arrows. It is the story of Jumping Mouse, and it is relevant to the process we are involved in today. Martin Exeter gave a talk speaking of this story of Jumping Mouse, which he included in his book On Eagle’s Wings.
The mouse in the story jumped high to catch glimpses of the tall mountains off in the distance. There was an eagle circling overhead, and Jumping Mouse was afraid. Finally the eagle swooped down, and Jumping Mouse was swallowed by the eagle. The next part of the story has Jumping Mouse looking out on the horizon through the eyes of the eagle and seeing the far mountains.
May this be an apt metaphor for what happens to all of us. May we get taken up into a higher reality and find that the petty concerns that have seemed so important and so large in our everyday human world are left far below, perhaps needing our care but seen with the proportionate relative significance that they deserve. We can then truly see with the eyes of the eagle, with real perspective. We are taken up into a larger identity than that of the addict who constantly believes that the next fix of whatever kind—whether it’s money or friends or love or things or ideas—will make him happy. There is a right feeding of our lives, right nourishment by all those things. But we still will not be nourished if we are in the Jumping-Mouse experience, firmly rooted in our self-centeredness and hoping for something spiritual to happen in our life. We certainly can’t be of service to other people that way. For each of us, our earthboundexperience has to be left behind if we are to enter a new experience.
Let us agree that we will let the affairs that are present in our life individually and together sort themselves out under our care, but that those affairs will be under us and not us under them; that we do not belong chained to the small things in our life, and it is natural for us to have the perspective of the eagle.
Let us come together and find that when we release self-centeredness, we are very naturally in right association with other people. We don’t have to try to be. The state of love for one another is the most natural thing in the world—we actually have to try to stop doing it. Of course, the addictive state breaks up love and harmony. But letting that go, we find it is very natural to have clear relationships with one another and to come together to do what is ours to do with other people. It becomes very natural to be a pastor in the truest sense of the word.