(From the service at Sunrise Ranch on September 15, 2013, which began with Rachel Morrison’s singing of “The Dance,” by Anthony Arata.)
Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared ’neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you’d ever say goodbye
And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance
Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn’t I the queen
But if I’d only known how this queen would fall
Hey who’s to say, you know I might have changed it all
Yes my life, it’s better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I’d have had to miss the dance
Wow! I don’t know if you applaud after that or what. What a profound message in that song. “Our lives are better left to chance”—or to put it in more elevated language, our lives are better left in the hands of the Creator. And our own attempts to make our lives turn out the way we think they should, fall so far short of what the Creator has in mind for us. And I do think it’s a rare person who has the wisdom to see that their life is better in the hands of the Creator than in the hands of their own manipulation. A beautiful message.
I love what we’re sharing here this morning, something about creation and the creative process, and the unified nature of creation. It’s all part of one process, both the very physical parts of it—the guys who were up late last night, diverting a flood down at the farm, and all that we do around here at a very physical level—along with all the interior aspects of our experience. So that’s very much what I want to talk about this morning. I want to talk about it in terms of Sunrise Ranch.
One of the benefits of having this wonderful project that we’re a part of, that we speak of as Sunrise Ranch, is it gives us a living laboratory to see things and experiment with things, and then to demonstrate something, and then to share the demonstration of that with the world. So I’ll be talking about Sunrise Ranch, but I hope that you not only make the connection to things around the Ranch and relative to the Ranch but things that are relative to your own life, wherever they are. Because what I want to address is what I believe is the human opportunity as well as the human dilemma.
So thinking of Sunrise Ranch, I recently, along with others, was taking a look at the fact that there’s so much that we do here. There’s so much that we do, and it looks in the eyes of many to be many separate and different things. Sunrise Ranch is a ranch, after all. No, it’s a spiritual center. No, it’s a conference and retreat center. No, it’s a spiritual community. It’s headquarters of Emissaries of Divine Light. It’s a home for the people who live here. Obviously, Sunrise Ranch is all those things, but we have so many ways of thinking about what we’re doing. And the people who come come for so many different reasons. They come here for a concert or a conference, for a farm internship program, or to be a student in the Culinary Academy. So there are so many ways we think about what’s being done here, and then there are so many approaches to what we do.
So this seemed to me to be a problem to be solved, if you will. It seems to me that it’s needful that we have a way of thinking about Sunrise Ranch and about expressing to other people what Sunrise Ranch is. I think, of all the people here, I feel most responsible to clearly articulate what we’re doing here, and then to invite others who want to lead with me to share that articulation, that understanding, that knowing.
So I wrote something, which I’d like to read. My intent is to put this on our website. I have dear friends who are good editors, so no doubt there’ll be some editing suggestions as we go along here, but I think this expresses the heart of what I want to say. So, as I say, I think this ought to be on our website; it ought to be on the applications for all the programs that we offer here, so that everybody who comes knows that this is the way we’re thinking about it. And for everybody who comes to give a concert or put on a workshop, I think it ought to be right on the contract, right on the back. It should say, “See the back.” So here it is:
Honoring Universal Being
The Philosophy of Sunrise Ranch
Sunrise Ranch honors Universal Being in all its forms—through people, through nature and through all creation. We see this attitude of honor for Universal Being as the pivotal factor for the future of humanity.
Most of all, we honor and welcome the expression of Universal Being through ourselves. We believe that this orientation in living is what opens the door for a full knowing of the wisdom and love that is within everyone. It is what lets the individual give their greatest gift to the world and know the greatest fulfillment that is possible for a human being.
All of Sunrise Ranch is dedicated as a teaching and demonstration site for this essential wisdom—both the inner knowing of Universal Being and the practical application of that knowing. This is why we practice and teach sustainable agriculture and farm-to-table food preparation. This is what is behind all the workshops, conferences, concerts and courses that we offer. This is what we teach in our internship programs and in all our courses for spiritual awakening and personal development. Sunrise Ranch exists to embody this truth and to bring it to the world.
We believe that Universal Being is doing its best to incarnate and express fully through each person, not as a separate reality but as the core reality of who they are. And when it does, that person becomes whole and creates wholeness in their world. They bring healing to the land, to other people and to the planet. Whole people—whole world.
This is what allows our individual worlds to thrive. This is why Sunrise Ranch is flourishing. And it is the experience of this simple, profound truth that will let Planet Earth become the garden home that it is destined to become.
To us, this is not just a nice idea but a guiding principle to be embodied in everything we do. If you agree, we welcome you to join with us in bringing this experience to the world.
(Everyone applauded.) I am so eager to talk to everyone at Sunrise Ranch about this—everyone who comes here, every farm intern, every Culinary Academy student, anyone who’ll listen. Some may say that this is a spiritual approach, and I guess I would say it is. But then I would ask, “And what other approach would you take?” And I would say it’s no more a spiritual approach than it is a worldly and practical approach. I believe it’s the one approach, the one approach to living a creative and fulfilled life, the one approach to having a whole world, a healed world. What other approach would you take?
It seems to me that this approach brings with it, as is said in this piece, a wisdom from within that unfolds in the awareness of the person and in the awareness of a group of people, and ultimately in a culture, in a nation, and in the world at large. We will come into the understanding that we need to have of how to live in this world, if behind that is the openness to receive that understanding as it’s unfolding in our own awareness, as the basis for that understanding is set and we’re not fighting against it. And that basis is an openness to the very nature of love that is at the heart of creation, that is at the heart of Universal Being. We don’t reject that universal nature of love, which is the nature of universal being, and then go on to be wise and prudent about how we are in the world; because in so doing we’ve just ignored the nature of being in the world. And it is honor and respect for the nature of being in ourselves and in other people, and indeed in all creation, that is the beginning of wisdom. And if we haven’t begun with that wisdom, we’re beginning in ignorance, and we will end in ignorance. This is the beginning of all knowledge—the honor and respect for who we are as human beings, and for Universal Being that’s being embodied in all of creation, and the fact that we have the supreme privilege of allowing the consciousness of Universal Being to be our consciousness.
I’d like to read something that I came across as I was pondering these things. It came to me how, in our world in the last century, the scientific community has been looking for a unified field theory, a unified way of understanding how the universe works. According to some, that search has been to no avail. I think there are probably others who would claim they’ve found the answer. But it struck me how there’s this parallel between what the scientific world has been looking for and what I’ve been looking for here at Sunrise Ranch. I’ve been looking for a unified field theory for this world, and what I came to was: To have a unified way of understanding the world, there has to be a unified experience of what it means to be a human being. Unified human beings—unified world.
And it caused me to wonder if our ability to have not only a unified field theory but a unified field experience doesn’t depend on our honoring of Universal Being in and through ourselves and then in and through everything. And as long as, to us, all people and all creation are just things, that it’s impossible to understand what unifies all those things. And that is the awareness for most people and for our culture at large. People are objectified, and the creation is objectified—and by the way, we couldn’t pollute it like we do unless we thought of it that way. We couldn’t act with the kind of relationship we have to the creation without objectifying it, and we couldn’t act toward other people without objectifying other people. And yes, it’s men relative to women, but it’s not just men relative to women. In the culture at large it tends to be rampant, all over the place.
When there’s a reawakening of the presence of Universal Being, we realize that Universal Being is within and through each person, and within all of creation, all of nature, that it’s all alive. It all has a soul, it all has being, it all is an expression of selfhood. And what a glorious and majestic self it must be, to express in all this glory.
I came across this quotation from Nicola Tesla relative to the unified field theories. He said:
“Long ago he [referring to Man] recognized that all perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the Akasha or luminiferous ether, acted upon by the life giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never ending cycles all things and phenomena. The primary substance, thrown into infinitesimal whirls of prodigious velocity, becomes gross matter; the force subsiding, the motion ceases and matter disappears, reverting to the primary substance.” (www.mountainman.com.au/aether_1.html)
Do you get that picture? It is a picture of what the ancients taught us: that there is this field of unformed substance, what the Greeks called chaos, and in the ancient story of Creation in our own Bible it tells of exactly this: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) Is that anything different from what Tesla was seeing? I suppose, with the clear additional significance, that what is portrayed in this second verse of the Bible is that Universal Being, Universal Self, Universal Consciousness is behind what’s being created in the ether, in the primal substance. And as the story of Creation goes on to say, that consciousness itself was going to be present in what was being created, in and as you and me. What a glorious picture of reality!
This is the philosophy of Sunrise Ranch. It is the philosophy that says that through you and through me there is selfhood that is doing everything it can to come through and be fully embodied in expression. And apparently that selfhood cares little about anything else and will use every circumstance as an opportunity to come through. Some of those circumstances are glorious and wonderful to us as human beings—we like them—and some of them are hard and challenging. And as it’s said, man’s adversity is God’s opportunity. The Self within us says, “Good, I can use this. Maybe this relentless grasp that this human being has on their own life, trying to control it and make it what they think they want it to be and what they think would make them happy, will finally be released; and the largeness of who I am, the largeness of who they are in reality, will finally have an opportunity to come out. And this thing that they’ve been so deathly afraid of, they will find out, is no reason to be afraid, no reason to stop them, and is only part of something that is keeping them boxed in, in prison.”
The practical world that we live in gives the spirit within us, the reality of being within us, an opportunity to become free. It gives human consciousness a chance to bump up against its own limitations and have a reflection of its own prison put right out in front of itself. It’s a little hard to do something with the prisons that are inside, with the limitations that are purely internal. If we could waltz around in the Garden of Eden, we might never notice those internal limitations. But the fact that our limitations are reflected to us in our practical world—which, by the way, we’ve created for the most part—gives us an opportunity to deal with them, to rise above them, to find that we’re larger than them, that we’re not defined by them.
And so at Sunrise Ranch we have work, and work-study programs. There’s one of those programs that we name according to this philosophy. It was a strange name to some when we first came up with it: Full Self Emergence. But actually all of the internship programs at Sunrise Ranch are full self emergence programs. And in fact this whole Ranch is a full self emergence program. It is for me—this is my personal full self emergence program. How about for you? Is this your personal full self emergence program? Good! You might say our lives are that.
I said I was using Sunrise Ranch as an example, so I don’t want anyone who doesn’t live here or doesn’t consider themselves part of this community to feel left out, because I believe every human life is a full self emergence program. And in fact, that’s the program we signed up for as humanity, and that’s the program we’re in the midst of right now. And all the things that humanity is facing are for that.
We teach and practice sustainable agriculture. So what kind of a program is that? Is that a program to somehow find a way to continue to eke out an existence on the planet and extract more resources from it, so that we can maintain the limitations that we’re experiencing internally, without changing? Maybe we’ll find a technology, maybe even free energy. We’ll find some free energy, and then we’ll be able to continue without changing internally. “Sustainable agriculture”—I suppose the name raises the question, exactly what is it that we’re sustaining? I think perhaps we should call it our thriving agriculture program, for the thriving of the being that’s within us and within all creation—not the sustaining of something that’s broken, that doesn’t work, but the thriving of what’s already alive and looking to come out and thrive in all the practical things that are in our life.
So this is our philosophy at Sunrise Ranch. It is the philosophy of Emissaries of Divine Light. I could have said that on this piece. Right then and there, many people would have said—“Oh, that’s their spiritual practice, their spiritual organization, their spiritual path, not mine.” So immediately we’re into the language of separation for people.
There’s actually one thing that’s happening at Sunrise Ranch, in all the aspects of it, and indeed there’s one thing that’s happening on Planet Earth. The soul of humanity is looking to be free. Universal Being is looking to be free, in and through humanity and in this planet as a whole. That’s the program. And it’s true that ultimately anything that’s not with that program is in a program of human choosing. That’s the program of the person who, when faced with the opportunities of life, when faced with the dance of life, looked at it and said, “Well, this might not go badly, so I think I’ll just shelter myself and live a circumscribed life according to my own manipulation.” When a person makes that choice, they have that experience. And, in many ways, we as humanity have made that choice.
But we’re making a different choice today, making the choice to be here for the dance. And the dance is all about full self emergence. It’s all about the glory of being that’s coming forth. That’s the meaning of the dance. That’s the meaning of creation. And we get to be, and hold within us, that primordial water that still is being activated by Universal Being, by Universal Vibration. That is our experience of being so deeply in love as human beings. We’re deeply in love because we’re being so deeply activated by Universal Being.
And yes, the process of creation has its risings and fallings, and its bringing together and its undoings, integration and disintegration, its building up and falling down of the substance. And there’s so much in us as human beings that has survival instincts about all that and lives out of a desire for the survival of what’s getting built, and dreads the falling away of what we don’t want to fall away.
No, we are Universal Being, and we’re here for creation. We’re here for the dance, and the dance contains it all. The dance contains it all, and it’s all beautiful—and may be terrible at times, but even the terrible is glorious if we’re present in the middle of it. It’s all for the revelation of who and what we are. And we are that reality that’s being revealed in the dance. We’re not what’s happening to the substance, even though we can feel it and we have an experience of it. We are the glory of Being that’s being revealed by the dance. And when that is our attitude, we come into the wisdom of what it means to be in that dance with joy, and how to create in this world in which we live that brings something glorious in our human experience and on Planet Earth. That’s the practical part.