Posted in Faith

The Practice of Faith

Faith is a certitude of the soul (which knows the truth of its own destiny and mission) which does not depend on reasoning…calling the lower nature out of its petty present to a great self-becoming…

(Dalal,A.S., Ed., 2001, A Greater Psychology, pp. 199-203)

 

“Faith is not something that happens by our effort, but is an inherent knowing and natural outpouring of the Soul. The Soul knows who we are and what we were made to be and do in this life. The Soul then communicates to us, through faith, what we need to support this purpose, all for our highest good. The Soul is the origin of faith. Faith is the communication that resides within us as a deep, deep knowing of something as being true. As such, there is a vast difference between the deep knowing of something as being true and in our highest good and something we want.” (Lauri Ann Lumby from her online course What’s Your Magic.)

faith, self-actualization, testing our faith, practicing our faith, discernment, spiritual gifts,

Defining Faith

Faith is the natural outpouring of our Soul’s knowledge of who we are – our unique giftedness and how we are called to find meaning and purpose in our lives, both for the sake of our own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of our world. Faith is both a state of being and a conversation – a conversation between ourselves and our Soul (that which some might call God). It is by faith that we are able to discern our path and those things along our path that will either hinder or support our Soul’s unfolding. While faith is not something that happens by effort, it does require practice.

Practicing Faith through Discernment

The first practice of faith is discernment – the process of distinguishing the voice of the ego/false-self and the voice of the Soul (God). Discernment in itself is a practice that takes time, attention and presence to be able to distinguish the various ways in which our Truth speaks to us. With practice, we learn that our Soul’s truth is that which leads us toward expansion, a sense of contentment, fulfilment, joy and ease. The voice of the adversary/ego/false self, whispers to us in doubts, fear, confusion; and leads us toward that which makes us smaller (constriction). The practice of discernment never ends as our Soul’s mission is ever-expanding.

No One said it would be Easy

While the Soul’s truth leads us toward ease, this is not to say that the journey is easy. In fact, it is everything but. The path of our Soul is a process of initiation and as Tau Malachi says, “the path of initiation is not the path of least resistance, but is, in fact, the path of most resistance. (Gnosis of the Cosmic Christ – a Gnostic Christian Kabbalah, pg. 177)” If there is anything that will be tested in our journey toward self-actualization (the psychological term for our Soul’s fulfillment), it is faith.

Faith, again, is the voice of our Soul speaking truth. In order to hear and heed that voice, however, we have to overcome a multitude of obstacles to living that truth:

Societal Conditioning: We live in a culture that tells us to listen to everything BUT the voice of our Soul. Instead, we are taught to listen to the voice of the outside perceived authority (parents, pastor, teachers, peers, advertising, TV stars, etc. etc. etc.) for guidance and direction in our lives. When we dare to veer from that path toward the path of our Soul, we are punished.

Tribal Rules: These are the “shoulds” that are laid out for us by the collective outside perceived authority. Don’t speak unless you are spoken to. Don’t rock the boat. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t tell the family secret. Don’t break the rules. Be seen and not heard. Your needs are unimportant. It is your job to meet everyone else’s needs. These rules are enforced with the threat of punishment, or worse, banishment.

Unacknowledged Fears: Beyond our healthy and appropriate survival fears, fear is the result of conditioning. These are addressed in my book and online course Authentic Freedom and I will share them with you here: there is not enough, I have nothing to contribute to the world, I can’t be my most authentic self, I am not loved (or love is conditional and has to be earned or taken away), I am not free to express my truth, I do not know my truth, I am alone. Moving these fears is a necessary and on-going step in our Soul’s unfolding.

Unhealed Wounds: There is no such thing as a “functional family.” All parents are operating out of their own unhealed wounds – the times they have felt rejected, unheard, unseen, unacknowledged, betrayed, lied to, cheated on, etc. etc. etc. Until these wounds are acknowledged and healed, they come out sideways in behaviors that are either self-harming, or doing harm to another. As children of wounded parents, we experience our own set of woundedness, and then pass this on to our own children (again, until we do the work of healing these fears). Healing these wounds frees us to live the life of our Soul intends for us.

Life Itself: Life itself gets in the way of exercising our faith and our ability to listen to and adhere to the voice of our Soul. As is often said of the human condition, “Life sucks and then you die.” In the human journey we experience loss, suffering, illness, death, hurt, betrayal, tragedy, ongoing challenges and difficulties. In those times when everything around us seems to be turning to sh.t, we might wonder if, like the biblical character Job, God has given our life over to Satan’s command. This could not be farther from the truth, but on some days it sure feels that way. As the prophet Isaiah reported on God’s behalf:

For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
so that I may not cut you off.
See, I have refined you, but not like silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of adversity.
For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for why should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another

Isaiah 48: 9-11

This does not mean that God plans and orchestrates the adversity, but that the adversity that is inherent within the human condition is an opportunity for us to hone our resolve and recommit ourselves to the path of our Soul. It is like the small-self saying, “Are you sure about that?” As we move through these adversities, we are strengthened in our faith and empowered in our ability to live the life we were meant to live – one that is meaningful and with purpose, through which we are finding fulfillment in the use of our unique giftedness, both for our own enjoyment and for the sake of the betterment of the world.

What practices are you finding helpful in cultivating faith and heeding the voice of your Soul?

 

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS provides support for your spiritual awakening and journey of self-actualization through her writing, online courses, and one on one mentoring. To schedule a one-on-one session, email lauri@authenticfreedom.love.

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Christ Consciousness, church, Faith, Freedom

Fool for Christ

As part of my daily morning ritual, I pull one card from my Gnostic Tarot of the Saints (Robert M. Place).  This morning, I pulled The Fool card, here represented by St. Francis of Assisi – known in some circles as “the fool for Christ.”  I must humbly admit, this appellation fits me to a T!  For all of my life, the past 22 years especially, I have dedicated my every waking (and sleeping) moment to studying, learning, listening to and obeying the guidance of the Divine within me – a connection I found through the example, teachings and guidance of Jesus the man and the Christ that he became, along with the examples set by all the other teachers that I was led to study.  In the eyes of many, my single-minded dedication to this journey and to the mission of the Love that is the Christ, makes me a fool. I have taken many risks to adhere to this journey.  I have made many sacrifices. I have made choices considered “crazy” by some.  With blind faith I leaped from the cliff and have been free-falling every since, ever deeper into the arms of love.

Image credit:  Robert M. Place
Image credit: Robert M. Place

In this love I, like Francis, have been called to “rebuild my church,” and like Francis, my understanding of this call proved to be way too small! Initially, I thought I was being called to reform Catholicism – to bring it back to Jesus’ universal (catholic means universal) message of Love. What I have since learned, is that the call to “rebuild my church” has nothing to do with Catholicism, Christianity or anything that has nothing to do with church in the way we have traditionally thought of church.  Instead, it is simply about being LOVE in a very universal sense:

  • Discovering the Love that is the very nature of who we are.
  • Knowing, believing in and living from that place of Love.
  • Being, expressing and sharing that love.
  • Seeing and engaging with that love that dwells within every single human being and is the very fiber and form of the universe.
  • Understanding that no matter what we believe we are seeing “out there” it is really, only love.

This is the love that Francis and Clare came to know within themselves through their relationship with Christ. This is the love that we all have an opportunity to know, if we only have the eyes to see.  This is a love we can see only through the eyes of innocence, wonder and awe, the eyes of a fool, or as Jesus said, the eyes of a child.

Like just the other day, I beheld the face of love where others may have forgotten to look. I stepped into the local coffee shop for my daily “hug” and as I stepped inside, a baby sitting in a high chair caught my glance. She looked at me.  I looked back at her.  Our eyes locked….and we knew.  Then, she smiled and blew me a kiss.  If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.  And if I have to be a fool in order to see that love….then let it be so.

If you are interested in being or are already a “fool,” please join us Monday evening for the

Authentic Freedom Weekly Service:

6:30 – 8:00 pm

1103 School Ave. Oshkosh

all ages welcome!

 

If you live remotely, consider subscribing to the Authentic Freedom weekly inspirational newsletter:

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, detachment, Faith, Freedom, Healing, Lessons

Authentic Freedom – Help for When the Bottom Falls Out

About a month ago, I received news that is a COMPLETE game changer. This news changes everything AND puts everything into question.  This news impacts literally EVERY aspect of my life and to say it has caused a mild state of shock would be an understatement.  It is during times like these that Authentic Freedom – the process I created which supports human transformation – comes most in handy and proves its effectiveness.

Each and every one of us has had these kinds of experiences – when the rug is pulled out from beneath us, when the ceiling caves in and when the universe, in one fell swoop, tosses us out of the nest of what we have known into what we cannot yet imagine.

The greatest temptation during these times of freefall is to make plans. Our mind, in search of something to hang on to, out of fear of the unknown, tries to make plans, or tries to become attached to potential and possible outcomes.  As many have learned, when we make plans (or try to make plans), God laughs.  I have witnessed the truth of this many times over in the past month as I have tried to plan my way out of and through this change.  A possibility shows up, a potential, a promise, and I get excited about it, imagining all the possible ways in which this will support myself and my family and then POW, the Universe throws a wrench in the deal and the whole things falls apart.  This is EXACTLY what happened this past Wednesday.  Two universes collided and everything that I had planned and waged my future on completely collapsed.

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Understanding the importance of grieving our losses, I have allowed myself time to grieve – to cry the ugliest cry, to tantrum, to rant and rave and wail. I reached out to my most trusted advisors for support and perspective and allowed myself to move through and to feel deep support.  In this, I found my way through the debris to the place where I can be open to what truly needs to manifest, knowing that in every death is the promise of new life.  I just don’t yet know what that new life might be.

I then created time and space away from all that might distract me from what I truly need to be doing at this time: SURRENDER. And in this surrendering, turning to what I know will guide me and support me in ALLOWING what it is that the Universe has in store for me – not a plan of my making, but one that comes directly from God and which is sure to be in my highest good, using my gifts in a way that is both fulfilling for me and in service to the betterment of the world.  And what I know will guide and support me is the very process that I created for others, Authentic Freedom.

In this process, I maintain diligent attention to my spiritual practice and apply the principles of Authentic Freedom for identifying and moving through the fears that might otherwise prevent me from seeing and knowing God’s plan when it shows up. I will then use the process of Authentic Freedom to move me through any fears or inner resistance to God’s plan so that I can step into the freedom that God has in store for me (and for all of us when we are paying attention).

The irony is not lost on me that all of this has occurred in proximity to the Fourth of July – the time we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the journey that secured our liberty. As we celebrate the Fourth of July, let us be grateful for this external freedom while taking steps to secure the only freedom we will ever truly need – freedom from the inner fears, resistance and unhealed wounds that might otherwise stand in the way of a life of contentment and joy.

Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy available now on Amazon.  Buy it HERE.

AuthenticFreedomcover

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Faith, God, Initiation, Jesus, Lessons

When I Stopped Believing in God – God’s Response!

Well, as my dear friend Gretchen Herrmann predicted, God did respond to my complete meltdown in yesterday’s blog.  I must preface this response by making it clear that my ultimate frustration is about MONEY.  Doing the work of my Soul and continuing to find the financial piece only by the skin of my teeth….or sometimes even less than this, and having to be really creative about money.  The situation has become increasingly hairy the closer I get to launching my Sunday Service and my fall academy.  I often want to get all Cuba Gooding Jr. on God and shout, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”  Alas, what is (or isn’t) being shown often tests my faith. 

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Yesterday morning, immediately after reading Gretchen’s prediction, as I was getting ready to write my weekly meditation newsletter based on this coming Sunday’s scripture, what I’m guessing to be God’s answer showed up.  Then, in case I didn’t get it the first time, while attending my monthly gathering with the local CSJ (Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet) community the VERY SAME readings were given as our reflection.  The following are the readings that I’m taking as God’s answer to my meltdown…YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS SHIT UP!!!!!

Reading 1 2 Kgs 4:42-44

A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God,
twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits,
and fresh grain in the ear.
Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.”
But his servant objected,
“How can I set this before a hundred people?”
Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.”
“For thus says the LORD,
‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’”
And when they had eaten, there was some left over,
as the LORD had said.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18

R. (cf. 16) The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
feeding-5000-2

GospelJn 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes
and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip,
“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves
that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

Ok God.  I get it.  The truth of Abundance.  Chapter Three in my Authentic Freedom book.  And, the closer I get to the fullness of my Soul’s purpose, the harder the ego will work to keep me from that path.  Employ the practices I know for cultivating contentment, surrender and peace.  Resist the temptation to fall into fear and doubt.  And trust I’m on the right path, doing the right thing(s) and that in this, all my needs will be provided for. 
And….could we make it a little less than just by the skin of my teeth please! 

 

Posted in Being Human, Faith, God

When I Stopped Believing in God

Last night, while facilitating a class on spiritual gifts, I realized that somewhere in the past several years, I had stopped believing in God. This realization struck me like a two-ton brick to my head (perhaps the same brick that started me on this journey in the first place) while meditating on the following words of Jesus from John’s gospel, chapter fourteen:

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”

In meditating and praying with this phrase, I realized that I absolutely believe in Jesus. I believe in what he did. I believe in what he stood for. I believe in the path of self-actualization he modeled and showed us how to live. Most importantly, I believe in the love that he embodied and in the love he calls us to embrace within ourselves and the love we too are called to be in the world.

What I also discovered in meditating with these words is that while I believe in Jesus, I do not believe in myself. I’m human. I’m flawed. I’ve failed myself. I’ve betrayed myself. I’ve made mistakes. I’m imperfect. Why would I believe in myself when I have failed myself in so many ways?

This I could deal with. So what if I don’t believe in myself, I did believe in Jesus. And I believe in Jesus more powerfully than I do not believe in myself. So, we’re good.
But then it hit me….I do believe in Jesus, but somewhere along the way, I had stopped believing in God.

As I came to this realization, I felt the wheels fall off the truck and the life-vehicle I’m riding in crashing head-long into the mountain wall.

I had stopped believing in God!!!

What in the world am I supposed to do with that? At first, I was tempted to shame myself for my non-belief, but then I realized my unbelief was totally justified. For you see, God had betrayed me.

god-monty-python-holy-grail

God betrayed me when he called me along the path of ministry. Showed me my gifts. Gave me my passions. Tempted me with a call that gave me at first affirmation and validation for my gifts and all the resources I needed to nurture and cultivate this call. God showered me with love for what I was doing in my unique giftedness and provided me with an opportunity to freely share this gift with those who needed and wanted it. Once, I was joyously happy and content working within the Catholic faith in which I had been raised. Guarded and protected by the Church and uplifted and honored for my gifts and my call.

Then one day, God took it all away.

The person(s) who supported my gifts and who empowered me to use my gifts to the fullest resigned, and I was left at the mercy of the fearful and vocal few (and let me tell you….these people can be MEAN!) – those who did not understand my gifts and who, because of their own unhealed wounds, feared what they could not understand. Instead of being empowered to share my gifts with the world, I came under the scrutiny of those who believed it was only truth if “explicitly handed down by the magisterium.” Where I sought Oneness, they preached separation. Where I supported Unity, they basked in the glory of their specialness as members of “the one true faith.” Where I sought Love, they preached intolerance and fear. It became increasingly clear that the place that had at one time been my home was no longer mine to enjoy. My ONE place of undying and unconditional safety and support had suddenly been torn from my hands and I was forced out into the wilderness – naked and alone. And my heart was broken.

When my Church betrayed me, so too had God for it was God who had brought me there in the first place and who had planted within my heart love for his son and love for the Church in which I had been raised and where I had, at one time, found my refuge.

But it didn’t end there.

For all the years since being forced out into the wilderness, I have tried to live according to God’s guidance. I believed in God’s promise of freedom. I left the land of slavery (many times over and in many leavings) in search of the promised land – “flowing with milk and honey.” I followed the model set forth by his son. I sought first the kingdom of God. I prayed as Jesus prayed. I healed the sick. I counseled the broken-hearted. I gave sight to the blind. I supported people in the discovery, cultivation, nurturing and empowerment of their own gifts. I did what Jesus did and am still doing what Jesus did – all along, trying to find a foothold somewhere….ANYWHERE in this world. I trusted, and I trusted, and I trusted, that in doing what God was guiding me to do, all my needs would be met and my soul’s purpose fulfilled.

But, in this writing, I find that I am still standing alone in the wilderness – starving, thirsty, wondering “what the hell am I doing out here?” While there was energy once in trusting, I find I have no more trusting to give and I am forced to wonder if God has simply left me out here to die.

So, I am confident in saying that it is God’s fault that I no longer believe in him and I have no shame in admitting my unbelief. God did this. God tempted me with these gifts, led me on the path of my call and then God took it all away. And then, when I sought God’s guidance and followed the path of my Soul, I find that still, I am left with nothing – alone and afraid. Yes, I have my friends and my family and for their support I am grateful. Yes, I have my clients and students and for them I am grateful too. But, I no longer have the one Source of support I always thought I could rely on – and that support is God.

So God, if you are out there listening, and if you want me to believe in you…..then it is your turn to show up. I’ve done all that I can do. I’ve tried to hear your voice. I’ve tried to follow your guidance. I’ve been obedient to what you have shown me. And still, there is nothing. So, in this moment, I’m kind of done with you. If you want me to believe – truly believe – then it is YOUR TURN to show up. And you’d better MAKE IT BIG and you’d better do it quick because….YOU OWE ME for what you have put me through and for what I have put up with all “in your name.”

(and for those who have also stopped believing in God, know that you are not alone!)

Posted in End of the World Prophecies, Faith, Freedom, Lessons, Spiritual Practices, Superheroes, world changes

Surrendering to the Void – Superhero Report

Superhero Report – Week of March 15, 2015

Entering into the Void

During this week’s gatherings of the Superhero Academy, we explored the fruitful time we are now entering into….the time of the VOID.  Void time arrives after all the work has been done and the seeds planted and all we can do is WAIT.  The void is a time of both reward for work well done and preparation for the new life that is waiting to BURST FORTH…..interestingly….sometime around Easter this year (April 4-5).  While the Superhero Report is usually only available by subscription (SUBSCRIBE HERE subscribe botton

and also receive the weekly Authentic Freedom Virtual Church video service and meditation newsletter), I thought this so critical to where we are moving as a species, that I chose to make it available to all!  In celebration of the VOID time….I share with you two poems about entering into the VOID.  Enjoy!

 

Sitting in the Void

Copyright 2015 Lauri Ann Lumby 

Sitting in the void.

Quiet and Still.

Waiting for what has been to take root within…

Or quietly pass away.

 

Breathing.  Sighing.  Resting.

A seed in the soil

Where there is nothing else to do but

Wait…and allow.

Listening in the silence

For a trickle of rain,

The rush of the wind,

The warmth of the sun penetrating the earth.

Here in the darkness, there is nothing to see –

Only a wall of dirt  –  as in a grave.

 

In a grave that is not a grave,

Something unimaginable –

Wholely and completely new and unknown

Is waiting to be born.

 

As all at once a seed becomes a tree – so shall it be for me.

tree_of_life

 

 Time Standing Still

Copyright 2015  Lauri Ann Lumby 

 

What does one write when there are no poems to be written,

No words to be said,

No songs to be sung?

When all one can do is wait…

and watch

and wonder?

In this place where time is void.

When all that can be done has been done

And there’s nothing left to plan…

or strategize,

or figure out.

After the Universe exhales

And before She takes her next breath

Pressing pause –

Holding our breath

Almost afraid to breathe –

Not wanting to interrupt Universe’s creation

Knowing if a butterfly is removed too soon from its shell it will die –

Not desiring a similar fate for ourselves.

Joining with time where time is void and simply standing still.

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, Divine Revelation, Faith, Spiritual Practices, Truth, Virtual Church

Follow that Star – the Journey of Faith

Dear readers, please note that this is the last FREE issue of the Agape Meditation Newsletter, supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church.  Starting next week, the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service and accompanying meditation newsletter will be available by subscription only for a very nominal fee.  For the price of one large cappuccino a week, you will receive the service, newsletter and the bi-weekly Superhero Academy Report.  To secure your subscription, subscribe HERE:

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Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter – Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service – Feast of Epiphany

 

Scripture Readings:

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Mt 2: 1-12

 

Additional Readings:

Is 60: 1-6

Ps 72: 1-2, 7-8, 10-13

Eph 3: 2-3a, 5-6

 star-of-bethlehem-large

Following a Star

“ A prophet is not someone who first had an idea.

A prophet is the one to first believe in it – and take it to its conclusion.”

– Taleb

The story of the three magi is ultimately a story about faith. Legend suggests that the magi were astronomers – learned men who were taught how to read and interpret the movement of the stars. In watching and observing the stars, they saw something that suggested to them that something magnificent was happening. There was no way of explaining how, why or what the “something magnificent” might be, but whatever it was the magi saw, compelled them to follow the star. They had no idea where the star might lead them or what the outcome of their journey might be, but what they discovered at the end of their journey was far beyond what they could have imagined themselves – the birth of LOVE in the world.

The magi provide for us a model and an example of faith. Each and every one of us are gifted at least once (but for most it is MANY) in our lifetimes with a STAR – something that shows up seemingly out of nowhere – twinkling and sparkling and urging us on in search of something. Often, we don’t know what that something is – only that we have to follow our urging. Following that urging brings us through many life experiences – easy pathways and some that seem treacherous. But like the magi, we are compelled to continue on. Faith is what compels us and what allows us to continue searching in spite of the many obstacles to the search that may arise. We may take a detour from our path because the path feels fearful, or we are not yet ready to let go of the things we cling to that would allow us to receive the gift at the end of the star. But Faith, eventually draws us back on course and toward the destination – ultimately of our Soul. Faith is not something that happens by our effort, but is instead the imprint of our Soul’s Purpose leading us home. Yes, we can deny the calling of our Soul – but there are consequences to this choice – desolation, despair, loneliness and even physical illness and pain. Faith will win in the end and we have a choice as to whether we experience the gift of the star in this life or if we have to wait until the moment of our death.

What is the star that has shown up in your life?

How are you following the star that is leading to the birth of love in your own life?

What role is faith playing in your journey with the star?

 

Spiritual Practices – Time Line

Chances are that you have already experienced one, if not many, stars in your lifetime which have shown up to lead you to greater and greater experiences of love, meaning, purpose and fulfillment. As hindsight is 20/20, it is often helpful to look back in order that we may look forward to the current stars which are calling to us and leading us toward even greater joy.

On a blank sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line. Place a zero at the beginning of the line and your current age on the end of the line. Reflect back on your life and take note of where “stars” showed up in your life. What were the situations, experiences, conversations that awakened you to a new sense of calling, that provoked you to explore making a change in your life, urged you to begin a new search. Mark those situations, etc. on the line and the age you were when they appeared. Choose one of the stars and go back and imagine in detail all the circumstances that surrounded the appearance of the star and the journey it took you on. Take the story all the way to its conclusion and all the details surrounding the process of getting there (if it has been concluded). If the story has not yet come to its conclusion, bring it into the current time and imagine for yourself what the outcome might be – or better yet, invite God to show you what the outcome might look like.

Write down the story of this star and its conclusion or imagined conclusion.

Reflect on what you have written and experienced. What role did faith play in this journey?

 

Authentic Freedom

This week, instead of expounding upon how the story of the magi fits into Authentic Freedom, I am offering you an opportunity to experience a two living examples of Authentic Freedom as experienced through modern-day individuals – Mahatma Gandhi and The Fourteenth Dalai Lama. Two spectacular movies have been made which represent the way in which both of these men lived Authentic Freedom – Gandhi and Kundun. This weekend, go to your local library or video store and watch one of these movies, or watch them on Amazon Prime or YouTube (links below).

 

Gandhi – http://www.amazon.com/Gandhi-Ben-Kingsley/dp/B00190N4E4/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1420032966&sr=1-2&keywords=gandhi+movie

 

Kundun – Part 1 of 7 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8auIjicuK-U

 

 

 

Posted in Agape Project, Authentic Freedom, Discernment, Divine Revelation, Faith, Jesus, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

Let it Be Done to Me According to Your Word

Perhaps the most challenging thing we will ever do in our lives is to be open and obedient to Divine guidance.  When we open ourselves to God’s direction in our lives, we are led to the path of our highest good and the outcome far exceeds anything we could ever have imagined for ourselves.  In order to do so, however, we first have to give up our pride – our desire for perceived security and perceived surety, and the need to be in control and in charge.  Surrendering our pride and accepting God’s will takes great courage and often requires great risk, but in the end, it is always worth it.  Just ask Mother Mary who agreed to birth God’s love into the world through her son Jesus.

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service for Sunday, December 21, 2014. Fourth Sunday of Advent.

 

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Scripture Reading:

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Lk 1: 26-38

 

Additional Readings:

2 Sam 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14A, 16

Ps 89: 2-5, 27-29

ROM 16: 25-27

 mary-mother-jesus

Honoring the Divine Mother

It is appropriate in this Sunday before we commemorate the birth of Jesus, to give honor to Mary, the woman who agreed to birth God’s love into the world through Christ. In honoring Mary, it is important to understand the great risk she took in accepting her call. Scholars surmise that Mary was somewhere between the ages of 13 and 16 when God’s herald, Gabriel appeared to her. In saying yes to God’s call, Mary placed herself in grave danger. Agreeing to become pregnant when she was unwed made her a “sinner” in the eyes of the Hebraic law. Also by law, her betrothed, Joseph, and her father Joachim, had the right to stone her to death for committing adultery. Through God’s intervention, neither her husband nor her father chose this path. Instead, Joseph agreed to take Mary into his home and fulfill their original betrothal contract by making her his wife.

Mary’s journey invites us all to take a look at the way in which we respond to God’s call. God’s call is rarely easy, and often comes with great risk – if nothing else than to risk the change that comes in obeying God’s will. Let Mary’s response be our prayer as we ponder the way in which God is calling us to birth God’s love into the world:

May it be done to me according to your word.

 

Spiritual Practices – Mantra Meditation

Mantra is a spiritual practice in which we repeat a word or a phrase over and over and over – either silently or aloud. In repeating the phrase and reflecting on its meaning, we are drawn into a deeper state of relaxation. Also in repeating the phrase, we are allowing its meaning to sink deeply into us where it can facilitate great healing and transformation. In the simple repetition and reflection on the phrase, we are transformed.

Set aside 15-30 minutes. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and in that silence, repeat the following phrase over and over in your mind (or say it aloud):

May it be done to me according to your word.

After the meditation period, record your thoughts and feelings in a notebook or journal.

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, pride is the compulsion we indulge when we have forgotten our Oneness with God in love. Pride keeps us from being open to God’s guidance and direction in our lives and makes us believe we are alone and that we have to do it on our own. When we set aside our pride and connect with God, we are once again able to receive God’s guidance and direction for our lives, along with the ability to surrender to this call and accept it through spiritual obedience. Humility is the virtue that arises when we are able to set aside our pride, our fears, our need to be in control and in charge. Exercising humility and spiritual obedience we find a place of contentment and ease in our lives as we allow God to lead while we obediently follow, trusting that while God’s ways may not be our own, the outcome is always far greater than what we could ever have imagined for ourselves.

Where are you aware of the compulsion of pride as active in your life – in your need to control, to have the answers, to know the answers, thinking you are alone and have to do it yourself?

How are you being invited to more fully surrender your life to God as Mother Mary so boldly did?

Posted in Being Human, Faith, God

Virtual Church – “Why all the Grumbling?”

This week’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service is LIVE!  Click here:  http://yourspiritualtruth.com/virtual-church/weekly-service/  to find the 18 minute service.  The theme this week is “grumbling” – all the ways we are tempted to lose our faith in God.  We explore this theme through the experience of the Israelite’s journey through the desert in their search for the promised land.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Faith, God, Spiritual Practices, the bible, Virtual Church

Virtual Church – Spiritual Practices

Below is a copy of the Agape’ Meditation Newsletter which is a supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church worship service.  If you would like to subscribe and receive this newsletter in your email every week, please click on the Constant Contact icon below. 

 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

Scripture Reading:

MoseswaterrockIn those days, in their thirst for water, the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “Why did you ever make us leave Egypt?
Was it just to have us die here of thirst with our children and our livestock?” So Moses cried out to the LORD, “What shall I do with this people? a little more and they will stone me!” The LORD answered Moses, “Go over there in front of the people,  along with some of the elders of Israel, holding in your hand, as you go, the staff with which you struck the river. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock in Horeb. Strike the rock, and the water will flow from it for the people to drink.” This Moses did, in the presence of the elders of Israel. The place was called Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled there and tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD in our midst or not?”

Exodus 17: 3-7

 

Additional Readings:

Ps 95: 1-2, 6-9

Rom 5: 1-2, 5-819, 20, 22

Jn 4: 5-42

Hindsight is 20/20

As Paul said in his letter to the Hebrews: “Faith is the realization of things hoped for and evidence of things unseen.” (Heb 11:1)

Sometimes in order to have belief, or to strengthen a weakened belief, it is helpful to look back over our life experiences for evidence of the Presence and Action of God.  Taking the time to recall all the places in our life where we can see the loving action of God helps to strengthen us in times of struggle and gives us appreciation for all the ways in which God has been present to us throughout our lives.

 

Spiritual Practices:

On a blank sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line.  At one end of the line, put the number zero.  At the other end of the line, write your current age.  Between zero and your current age, mark along the line, significant events of your life.  Choose one of those events and place yourself back into the experience, using your imagination to recollect the details of the event.  Allow yourself to once again experience the emotions and feelings associated with the event.  Allow the story to unfold in your mind until it comes to its natural conclusion. Then reflect on the following questions:

1)       How are you now aware of the Presence and Action of God in the course of that event?  Some examples might be – significant people who accompanied you in the experience, or showed up as examples of love and support.  Other examples might be related to solutions to problems, guidance and support that seemed to come in a miraculous or startling way.

2)      How has that event continued to influence your life?  How has God continued to be present to you as you life unfolded from that event?

Authentic Freedom

In this week’s reading, the Hebrews were confronted with the very real fear that they would die of thirst in the desert.  From the perspective of Authentic Freedom, the fear that arose in them was the fear that there is not enough. This fear caused them to doubt the decision they had made to leave behind the life of slavery they had known in Egypt and follow Moses to the “promised land.”  Their grumbling and the remedy to their grumbling is a reminder for us as well – when we are afraid that there is not enough, to turn toward God.

How are you aware of the fear “there is not enough” as operating in your life?

Where are you tempted to doubt that God will provide for all of your needs?

How are you being invited to turn toward God when you are afraid?