Paula Sunray, like most of us, has been both in touch with God and out of touch with the divine throughout her life. Now, having just released her fourth book, Life Skills for the New Millennium, this spiritual teacher and guide is committed to helping others break free from the illusion that separates humankind from God’s love.
Sunray, of St. Paul, Minn., published three smaller books with limited distribution: Metaphysics Made Easy, The Enchanted Garden: Seven Stepping Stones for Recovery, and The Power of Self Love: How to Build Your Self-Esteem. The new book, Life Skills for the New Millennium, which will see more national readership, is both inspiring and threatening to those who prefer to live within their comfort zones and stay happy the way they are. Sunray says adverse reactions to what she writes mean she is doing something right.
“I feel most complimented when people object or resist something in my book,” she says. “I think, ‘Oh, good. That means I’m close to truth because their ego is really reacting.’ As a teacher, one has to get used to attacks, and anything but validation, because you won’t get validation from anybody. They may want to throw tomatoes at you, and they might literally do that. But you have to be able to remember who you are so it doesn’t divert you from delivering the truth. In the past when you delivered truth, you got burned at the stake. There were 6 to 9 million people, mostly women, who were burned at the stake for being wise and telling their truth.”
Her latest book of truth is not her “big” book, but a bridge toward the book she is preparing to begin, “the book I’ve been waiting to write my whole life”: The Book No One Will Want to Read: Leaving the Illusion.
She will begin teaching “The Course: Leaving the Illusion” in September, and the new book will coincide with her preparation for that six-month class. She has never taught the same class twice, because she is learning while she is teaching. She offers a wealth of home study courses through her National Interfaith Seminary. Courses are offered for spiritual counselors and programs also are offered for Minister of Spiritual Studies, Minister of Healing, Honorary Doctor of Divinity, Doctor of Metaphysics, Mastery Level Classes, Personal Cosmology and Master Practitioner of Advanced Energy Medicine courses.
The Edge spoke with Paula Sunray on her latest publication, which is now being released nationwide.
I think there may be some things in Life Skills for the New Millennium that people may not want to read.
Paula Sunray: Absolutely. That’s a definite given. Some of the concepts are challenging, and there will be a natural resistance to some of the material.
What led you to the information contained within it?
Sunray: It was the composite of many experiences, including the result of my study with Sabe, a non-physical being, for three years who taught me how to leave the illusion. Sabe took us through 33 initiations of leaving the illusion. They were taxing, difficult and overwhelmingly challenging, because each step of leaving the illusion means you have to understand that we live in a reflective, hologram here and that every truth is just the opposite of what we’ve learned here.
For example, what we believe is that here on Earth we don’t know enough and have to learn enough to evolve toward something we are not, which is just the opposite of truth. We’re already a perfected being who fell asleep and doesn’t remember. The truth of the matter is, thereâ€™s nothing to learn, just something to unlearn: the untruths that we have perceived through the ego personality. The ego wants us to worship it as God, and it will put up a big fuss if we begin to recover our truth, because it will lose its godhood. It will find anything to distract us or find a deep resistance to truth.
Any time we feel a huge resistance to something, then we know we’re close to truth, because it’s the ego saying, “No, no, no, if you go there, then it’s all over for me. You’ll get empowered and remember who you are and be in touch with the true godhood of your self again — and I’m out of the picture.” So the ego finds things to whisper to us to pull us off the path. Some of its most favorite ones are: “I’m not good enough. I’m not there yet. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have enough time. I have a little more to learn. I don’t feel I’m ready to do that.” These are all things that keep you from your transformation.
In my work, I see this all the time in classes and with private clients. They’re just about ready to take that big step into their own awakening, and then I never see them again. They feel very inspired by the voice that says they’re about there, that this is it — and they can feel it coming. And then all of a sudden, this other voice comes in and says, “You can’t do that. Your kids aren’t grown up yet. You’d have to mortgage your house,” and after about 30 of those defeating statements, they say, “Oh, yeah, I can’t do it,” and then they drop the whole plan.
I’ve had people flee out of my workshops, just as they’re about to hear the moment of truth. I did a six-hour workshop in which I spent three hours working up and out of the ego and resistance. So I delivered a sentence to prepare them for this. I said, “OK, now here’s the big moment. I’m going to tell you this and you’re going to know it as truth and you’re going to feel it in your own being.” Whereupon, this man got up and raced out of the room, slammed the door and left the building. So I called him the next day and said, “What happened?”
“I heard a voice inside of me, telling me to get out of here fast,” he said. “I knew it was my guidance, so I have to follow my guidance.”
And I said, “Yes, that is guidance and it’s the one most people are used to following. They think it’s their high Self but it’s the ego.” So anytime someone has to run, know that the ego is scared to death and about to lose ground.
My entire work is based on slipping in truths while training people about how the ego mechanism works, because it is very subtle and insidious. I also take people places where they don’t want to go. Lazaris is a non-physical teacher with a great following of several million people now. I truly believe, as he says, that there are only two imperatives on the spiritual path that will take you back to truth. One is understanding the negative ego, because it is the thing that sabotages our spiritual journey, and understanding that the shadow is the secret to the light.
Can you imagine me going to the mega mall and announcing: “I’m teaching this class for everyone interested in learning about the darkness, sign up!” Can you imagine how many would respond? There has to be a way to approach these subjects, because there is such an inherent resistance to them in the gut. It’s the ego getting panicked and anxious. A real spiritual journey involves many times the anxiety, panic and anguish of the ego as it goes through the dying process. That’s why people don’t want to endure that. That’s what the 40 days in the desert was for Jesus, and that’s why the disciples were not there with him. It’s the death of the ego. It’s the ultimate dark night of the soul, because the ego goes into this depression. It’s over. It’s giving up the ghost. It’s done and it’s dying. We feel this because the ego is so identified with the physical body. So people go on Prozac, not realizing that you need a spiritual guide to get you through this dark night of the soul. You might call it the dark night of the ego.
When I was going through something similar, I was going through terrible anguish. I prayed to the Holy Spirit: “You’re the comforter. You’re going to have to get me through this. This is anguish beyond all belief.” But I understood what was happening and that I had to go through it. It’s like a crucifixion. It’s the death of the ego. And you always get comfort when you pray for comfort, because you don’t go through this alone.
I was almost doubled up in pain during this dark night of the soul, and I just didn’t know where to turn. So I walked to the front porch to see if I had any mail. The mail hadn’t come yet, but there, in the bottom of my mailbox, was a little, square box. I picked it up and it had a note rubberbanded around it. It was from a couple from Lake Harriet Community Church. The note said, “We don’t know why we’re driving to St. Paul to bring this to you, but we just felt compelled to bring you a copy of this tape that we’ve been listening to.” It was a Carolyn Myss tape, Spiritual Madness, and when I put on the tape, the words were that when you leave the illusion, you go through a dark night of the soul that is tremendous anguish. And you need to hear a voice come out of nowhere and say to you, in a comforting soothing way: “I am here to tell you that you are exactly where you need to be. I’m here to say, right on. You’ll get through this.”
This voice was telling me exactly what I needed to hear in that moment. That’s how spirit works. But most people want to avoid that ultimate 40 days in the desert where you undo the ego. It makes people feel very uncomfortable even talking about it. So my whole specialty in life is a paradigm shifter, to shift out of the old consciousness and into the newâ€”and wake up to the truth, which is just the opposite of what we know here. The ego will always take the opposite view of what is real so it will keep us from the real. That way, it can be God.
The undoing process takes great discipline and great understanding, and it takes someone guiding you through it so you can walk through it — not just a healing hand, but a spiritual hand.
There isn’t just one system to help you do that. One system is A Course in Miracles, a brilliant way to do it. It turns some people off because of the Christian language and it makes the ego very uncomfortable. It will find a way to have you not go through it. It’s a disciplined course that gives you something to do each day. A Course in Miracles says that five minutes a day with the Holy Spirit save you a thousand lifetimes. It will undo enough of the ego so grains of truth will start coming through.
The ego knows exactly how to act like a higher power, and it misleads us. But once one breaks through into to the light, turning down the channel of the ego and turning up the channel of true spirit, it’s a very enlightening process. The truth of the matter is, there are very few people who have the discipline to do the work that is required. They like the glamour part of it, the healing power of it — as Carolyn Myss says, people like metaphysics to be like a pleasure cruise. You think of all of the nice, fluffy things and think of the light, and it all feels good, but it’s not the work of undoing the real crux of the problem, the ego.
The true spiritual adept is very much focused elsewhere, other than the world of illusion. Everything we do here is more or less a fantasy or a version of the illusion to keep us distracted. The movie, The Matrix, really brings that across quite well. I don’t know if people really know what it is saying, but it shows illusion for what it is. And the truth of the matter is, there is only a small group of people who are trying to get out of the illusion. The whole thing is that if one person breaks through, like Jesus did, then it goes into the group mind. We don’t have to teach an individual anything. Now, there’s that understanding in the group mind. Every time we make a stride, it goes into the group mind. It’s a gift we give everybody.
The ego likes to distract us and keep us so busy with extraneous activities, even healing other people so we won’t do it ourselves.
And reading books.
Sunray: Reading more, because I don’t know enough. Reading can be a distraction unless you are always praying, “Show me only the truth,” and it will lead you to the truth. It will lead you to A Course in Miracles. It will lead you to someone who knows about the ego and the shadow. My only prayer is, “Use me for the truth. I only want the truth, no matter what that entails or what it looks like.” And somehow or other, that’s how you get there.
The truth has such a different look to it compared to what the illusion thinks it is. The ego wants to keep us eluded. Carolyn Myss says it is very difficult to leave the tribe. We feel the need to be validated by the tribe. But we must walk the bridge over to the real world by ourselves. We have to empower ourselves. And that lonely walk on the bridge is something we have to do by ourselves. People get halfway across and then they feel like there’s nothing to hang onto. They feel this loneliness and they cross back to the tribe again for validation. “Now I need the perfect partner, that’ll help me.” Or this or that. We find distractions to keep us from the path of undoing the ego.
A Course in Miracles says there are two types of relationships: the special relationship, which is supposed to save us and complete us, the idea that we can find that something we need outside of ourselves, in a perfect partner; and the holy relationship, in which relationship is based on truth together.
Define the illusion.
Sunray: The illusion is that we are not perfected, and we think that because we are asleep. The illusion is that we have more to learn, that we have to evolve. It’s this sense of hierarchy that we’re only going into the fourth dimension now and that we’re not at the seventh dimension yet, because we’re not good enough or evolved enough. In truth, we’re already this perfected being that is All That Is. But we’ve fallen asleep and focus only on one aspect of ourselves, here on planet Earth, living the life of illusion. Illusion is always about the body.
I always wonder why we are not given the keys to the truth as young people.
Sunray: First of all, we live in an ego that is really empowered by the tribe. If we try to pull our energy and power separate from the tribe, it’s almost impossible, because we’re indoctrinated everywhere we turn: by movies and parents and friends and churches and governments and whatever. That’s why, in past times, that there was one teacher and one student and they spent a lifetime together. That’s always the way the real teaching has been. And it tends to still be that way more in the East. It takes a lifetime to undo the ego. It takes focus and concentration.
In our world, where we’re involved in a million illusionary distractions, we get a tiny sliver of truth here and a tiny sliver there. And suddenly, our life is over and all we have is teeny pieces. My teacher, Sabe, explained that we have energy here on Earth, we don’t have life. Energy is unactified life. Energy will get us mechanically from here to there, but it’s not something that brings us fully online and helps us to become fully awake and fully in life, which is passion. So people are not impassioned here. But when you’re engaged in the present moment, when you are truly feeling it, it means you are participating in the feeling of life. You are taking it into that feeling experience.
By the end of a lifetime of 80 to 85 years, Sabe said, the average person, even one who is the most well-intended spiritually, will not have accumulated more than up to 20 minutes total of true life experience. Sabe calls the illusion or the diversionary things here a circus. Consider the Ferris wheel. The hub is the perfect now moment. You’re at peace. You’re centered and you remember who you are. You’re vertically aligned with the real truth. If you’re on the spokes, you’re horizontally aligned and you’re being spun around the wheel. You’re in stress and you’re going nowhere. Everything is out here. It’s another guru. It’s another teacher. It’s another book. It’s outside of myself. If you’re in the hub and vertically aligned and awake, it’s inside yourself and always has been.
We’ve always been all that is, because we’re a holographic piece of the whole. So we just sit there in peace and remember it. That’s the secret to abundance, to joy and to everything. When we’re not apart from everything, and remember that we have it all, then there’s no block between abundance and us. We know how much we’re blocked by the ego by how we are restricting things from being in our lives. All we can do is look at our lives, at what we have, and then we can see how much we let things in.
It’s like the fish swimming, swimming, swimming in the ocean, trying to find truth. If it swims far enough or long enough, it’ll find the truth. In actuality, the truth was the water it was swimming in, but as a fish, it was born in water so it didn’t even know it was swimming in water. It’s the same for us. The truth is all here, with us and within us. And it has always been here. When the illusion blanks out, even for a minute, and you see the real world, you cannot do anything but go for the real world. When that light of truth stays on all the time, we know who we are by what we see outside of ourselves. As I see the magnificence of you, then I remember who I am.
And the ego tells us that when the screen of illusion goes dark, then we’re going to die.
Sunray: That’s the point. And the ego will die. It will do everything in its power to avoid going there. It will try to kill us off before going there. That’s what’s scary about it to people. People don’t understand the lengths that the ego will go. We’ve got a lot of anxiety and panic and people are on Prozac like mad, because there’s a lot of light coming in here. So the ego is trying to come up with new, quick ways to divert us from the light, and it’s just going crazy. People don’t understand that taking a pill to make the anxiety go away takes them back into the illusion. Now I’m calmed down so I can go back into the illusion and the circus again.
Each step is unlearning the old, which is just the willingness to drop it. We don’t have to look at it or understand what we’re dropping, just know it is illusion and of the ego and let it go. It’s an unlearning process of surrender. Letting go is a frightening thing to the ego. It has to control and manipulate all over the place to feel safe.
The true spiritual experience is one of listening to the still, small voice inside, which is our guide out of illusion. That’s the only voice we have. I understand that Mother Mary, through the apparitions around the world, is saying to people, “If each person could just meditate one hour a day, you would undo this whole illusion of having to have the Earth shift on its axis. And you can save yourself from all this stuff you are now projecting onto your future.”
But the ego is going to resist. Meditate an hour a day? I beg your pardon. How could I give one hour out of 24 to spirit? I have too much to do. I have to get to work and I have children, and so on. I can’t possibly do that.
It shows how insane we have gone. We live in a total sea of insanity here that has no rhyme or reason to it. It’s nice to show up at church on Sunday, when you hold hands and sing, “Let there be peace on Earth,” but true peace is a real experience of working 24 hours a day on your own being. It’s a life of overcoming resistance to truth. It’s a life of true dedication.
There are two forces in the world. One is called love and one is called will. One force without the other is very impotent. One pulls and one pushes. In order to get out of the illusion, you have to have both. You have to have the love of God pulling you toward it, plus the will of our own body to leave the illusion and push ourselves out of it like a rocket. So the pushing out that we will, plus the pulling from God, is what gets us out. But to the ego, will is a negative thing — my will over you or I will control you. In actuality, true will is absolute dedication and devotion that I will accomplish the truth, no matter what. It’s an energy that propels you into the truth. And once you’ve shown that willingness of using your free will for that, you’re automatically pulled by truth, because you’ve given your permission with your free will.
It is said that there is increased light coming onto the planet, and that people are being forced to reckon with the decision of staying in illusion or going toward Truth.
Sunray: I might say we could also interpret this with more than one view. If we go with the idea that everything has always been the real world of light, the way I think of it is that there is not more light coming onto the planet, but we are waking up and seeing the light more than we ever have. It’s always been there. We’re coming out of the slumbering dream where it was more dark, where we forgot who we were, and we’re waking up, because of our own evolution and our own desire. Our own implanted seed of God within itself has only one incentive: to join back with where it came, like the prodigal son going home.
As we join with each other and do more of that — through the Harmonic Convergence, through widespread meditations on the internet — we’re waking up more together, because that group wakes us all up. When one wakes up, we all wake up, because it’s a group mind. That light’s always been there, but we’re opening our eyes and saying, “the light, the light,” and we’re feeling more of the real world within ourselves and outside of ourselves.
And yes, as you say, this is scary to the ego and it gets panicky right away. That’s why many people, especially New Agers, are starting to feel a lot of exhaustion, tiredness and depression. They’re making progress toward the light, and they’re feeling it. And the ego is getting depressed, because it’s losing ground. That’s when you need somebody, like the voice on that tape delivered to me, which says, “You need to hear my voice: Don’t go backwards. Don’t go back into the illusion. You’re right where you need to be. It’s very uncomfortable, but this is the dark night of the soul where you leave the ego.” It’s hard and it’s challenging, so you need the love and support of somebody to help you through it, somebody who’s trained and has been through it themselves, and you also need the help and comfort of what is called the Holy Spirit, whatever you believe that to be. And between the spirit world that’s within you, that’s been implanted in you…just feel it…it’ll activate…plus the helping hand for the physical part, because you still believe you’re a physical, ego person, you need both of those to get you through this.
The darker it is, the closer you are to the light, just a wisp away from the most brilliant light you’ve ever seen. And to get there, you have to go through the shadow self, that little tunnel that takes you to the real world. Going there is when we want to turn back. One of the hardest parts is that you really do travel that distance alone. And there aren’t many people who are willing to go to that darkest part.
That’s why occasionally a soul, like Jesus, will come here to try to do it to break open the light for everybody, so the light streams through the dark. That way, it’s not so dark and more people will be willing to walk through it. Every couple thousand years, we have a brave soul try to do that, knowing they have to go through the veil of total forgetfulness and forget who they are. That’s why Jesus was always apart from the crowds. He would come to the crowds and speak, but he would leave and go to the garden and pray and always remember who He was.
I was in Indiana recently. I was raised there, in Amish country. I was with a friend, looking around at antiques at an Amish country. And we had a brochure talking about the Amish. And I never knew that they keep unto themselves, in a restricted way, so they would never go into the illusion. I was amazed! Everyday there’s a prayer group of remembering who they are and to bring that memory to this planet, so people can wake up. So they use each other to remember who they are, and they know that if they go into the material world of machines and distractions, they will lose it. So they use each other and their animals to create power. So now I understood, whereas before I didn’t quite get it.
That’s the hardest thing to get, that the world of perfection is right here, right now, and that our perfected being is right here, right now. In the true mind of the real world, there is no separation of anything. We’re all one mind together. That’s what true oneness is. In the New Age, we think we have to become one again by putting all these egos together and becoming united. That’s not the point. It is to take the ego and the separation away, to drop the idea that we’re even physical bodies separate from each other. Drop the body and you’ll always be close to truth.
A friend’s mother died the other day and I was in with the body, alone. And I realized how much of an illusion it really is, because the being who was standing right next to me had just left the body. And she was wondering why she was looking at the dead body instead of at her. It’s just like a diving suit you put on to go into the ocean. A spirit doesn’t belong in this place, so it has to put on some kind of diving suit, called the body, to come into lower density. To believe that we’re this diving suit, instead of this being inside of it, is just crazy. But that’s exactly what we do.
It’s an amazingly delusional experience we live.
What led you to the place where you are now? What spurred you to teach others?
Sunray: I went into treatment for alcoholism at the age of 40, about 18 years ago. Because I got so involved in the illusion, spirit said, “You’re going in the wrong direction. You came in with another goal in mind and you lost sight of it totally. Something has to be done to bring you back. Let’s create a problem that will stop your life a little so you can look at things.”
I grew up very much in touch with God, with a mother and grandmother. My mother was opposed to me loving God, because she thought I wasn’t loving her. Anything I started to love other than her, she would take away. I made a little altar in the basement, where I would go to play, and she took that down. It was forbidden. Eventually, I gave up in my quest because my mother’s power was bigger than I was. I gave it up and repressed the whole thing and went into the illusion.
When I went into treatment, I couldn’t find the light anymore at all. When they said we had to have a higher power, I said I couldn’t be part of the program. I said, “I don’t have a higher power.” They said, “Well, use anything, the power of the group or whatever.” Well, I saw this world as an unhappy place, and I didn’t want to use this group of unhappy people as my higher power. So I was in a real dilemma. I was in treatment, in a hospital, staying in this little bed, and said I couldn’t do the program. I said, “There’s no hope for me. I’m drinking myself delirious trying to numb the pain of whatever this place is, and I don’t have a higher power. And it’s hopeless. I might as well kill myself.”
So I said, “If anything is here, anything, anything, you’ve got to come and show me right now, because I can’t find you.”
Whereupon, I had a vision. It was an unusual vision, the only one that could appear and bring me back. It was a huge vision and was very real. And it changed my life. Through the AA program, which was a real gift of Spirit, I had to find a real, living higher power. So somebody said there was a real uplifting church that was on the positive side, and it was Unity. I went there and discovered their bookstore. Being an avid reader since childhood, I went through Unity’s whole store, and then I went through another one and I became passionate. The lights began to come back on.
I had been a professional musician with the Minnesota Orchestra for 25 years, and I had learned that if you teach music, which I taught at the university, I became a better musician as a result. So I wondered if I would learn this stuff better if I taught it. So I began teaching classes, like Huna, from Hawaii, and people showed up. I started recovering myself, and felt some inner power inside, some confidence and self-esteem returning, and I noticed that people who were taking my classes were feeling the same way. They were transforming in front of my eyes. So I kept at it and kept adding more and more classes.
I later got back deep into the illusion while in a relationship, and although I didn’t lose my path, I went through a time of despair, which was letting go of special relationships. I had a difficult time with that, and went through such a bleak time that I ended up with cancer, and that brought me back to the light again in a really big, holistic way. I became truly passionate about the true healing of mind, body and spirit — all the elements of who we are, not just one of them. Then, I got into the whole picture, which was the biggest gift I got.