Posted in Lessons, the bible

Unraveling Biblical Wrath

God’s Infamous Wrath

For two-hundred centuries, Christianity has spoken about the wrathful nature of God. God is jealous, fickle and when “His” people sin against “Him” He punishes them with His wrath – doing all manner of terrible things against humanity in retribution for their sin.  We hear of God’s judgment and how those who disobey, who anger or disappoint God, who do not live up to God’s standards will be cast into hell where they will burn for an eternity for their sins.  We read stories of God’s punishment of humanity – barring us from paradise, devastating the world through a flood, destroying Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins, condemning the Hebrews to wandering in the wilderness for 40 years in their search of the elusive “promised land.”  We hear of how God tested humanity by His wrath – asking Abraham to sacrifice his long=awaited son, creating an environment where jealousy would emerge between Cain and Abel and Esau and Jacob, Jacob’s sons and Joseph.  In the Christian interpretation of Hebrew scripture, God’s wrath has become infamous and for 2000 years has been used as a means of threatening Christians into obedience – even though Jesus spoke only of a loving and compassionate God.  What happened?

Lost in Translation

As I was doing some research in preparation for my Order of Melchizedek Level Four class on the Hebrew Alphabet and the Major Arcana of the Tarot, I came upon an obscure reference on the biblical term wrath:

Wrath is the quality associated with (the Hebrew letter) Samech, but this is a blind. The literal meaning of the original Hebrew noun is “quivering” or “vibration.”  A similar blind is found in the use of the Greek noun thumos, also translated “wrath” in the New Testament. (The Tarot – a Key to the Wisdom of the Ages;  Paul Foster Case. Pg 153).

This reference blew me away! If it were true, it completely changes what Christians have been taught about the wrathful nature of God.  Not satisfied by a singular reference, I got to researching and discovered that what Paul Foster Case is suggesting is undoubtedly true.  While there are many Hebrew words that have been translated “wrath“they all have one thing in common – a sense of movement and vibration, somewhat akin to breath.

The Hebrew word chemah provides the perfect example of the deeper meaning of wrath:

Chemah is commonly translated as wrath. When we break this word down into the Hebrew letters which make up this word so that we can more fully grasp its meaning. we get the following:

Ches/Chet: Means an enclosure – that which supports, protects and carries us. On a spiritual level, Ches/Chet implies Divine Grace.

Mem: Means water. On a spiritual level, Mem represents the revealed and the concealed – inviting us to look beyond the surface of things to what lies beneath/within.

Hei:  Hei means window/door – that which allows light and air to enter our home. On a spiritual level, Hei is the breath through which God creates and represents God’s limitless mercy. (The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Rabbi Michael Monk)

Putting this all together, we have chemah – the breath of God which supports, protects and carries us – no matter what that breath looks like from our limited human perspective.  In other words, that which feels like punishment is in fact God’s infinite mercy carrying us to and through our growth.

Let me give you an example – the most basic example – the example upon which every fear of God’s eternal punishment has been predicated – the story of “The Fall.” We all know the story – Adam and Eve lived in Paradise. The serpent came and tempted them to eat of the tree from which God forbade them – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They ate.  God was angry over their disobedience and as punishment, cast them forever out of the Garden of Eden.  The problem is, however, that this is not really how scripture describes it:

Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—  therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life. GN 3: 22- 24

First of all, it only says that the man was driven out.  (things that make you go hmmmmm). Beyond an interesting feminist exploration, a bigger question emerges!  Was God’s action a punishment or an act of mercy?  If the human condition is the consequence of humanity’s decision to “eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil” do we want to live forever?  Do we want to be condemned to remaining in the Garden where we will have to experience the suffering that is inherent in the human condition – FOREVER?  I don’t think so!  In God’s great mercy, God removed humanity from the Garden where we could eat of the Tree of Life so that we WOULD NOT have to live forever.  In barring us from the Tree of Life, God opened the door/window (Hei) to our return by ensuring that the human experience is only temporary and after we have completed our journey here, we can return to our original state of Oneness with God.  The other mercy in humanity’s exile from the Garden is the longing for home that has been planted within every human being (Ches/Chet) that compels us to seek after the satisfaction of that longing that can only be fulfilled in God.  This longing is the foundation and source of our spiritual development and growth and ultimately what makes us human.

Throughout scripture we can apply this perspective to every story that speaks of God’s wrath. Was it wrath and punishment or God’s infinite mercy?  Is it condemnation or an opportunity for growth?  When we look beyond the surface of things (Mem), we can see the loving hand of God in everything that unfolds in our human experience – even those things we would rather avoid (pain, suffering, loss, death, betrayal, etc.).  When we look at life through the lens of love, we see that EVERYTHING is an opportunity to know love (aka God) more.

Wrath from a Human Perspective

Now that we have a better understanding of wrath as it pertains to God, let’s take a look at it from the human perspective as it relates to the very real human experience of anger. (Putting on my spiritual psychology hat)….

 

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Posted in Empowerment, Lessons

It’s Not Enough to Be Saved

As I was reflecting on this week’s scripture passage from Mark’s gospel, the following words hit me between the eyes:

As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

In the spirit of Imagination/Contemplation, I immediately thought of how these words might apply to me and to my own Divine calling. Not to say that I am Jesus, but to say that I/we are called to be like him in love.  The reason the Jesus story matters is because it invites us beyond the smallness of our human egos to the great love that dwells within and then seeks to be known through us.  Jesus came to save us from ourselves – from the too small self that is ruled by our fears, unhealed wounds and unhealthy societal conditioning – so that the God-self within us can shine.  Like Jesus, we are both fully human and fully Divine and we are here to unleash the inner Divinity that is imprisoned by all those things formerly mentioned.  This is what Jesus did for himself and then tried to teach others, and which we are now called to do.

In the words above that bore a hole into my brain, I heard the calling of my own Soul – looking out over the horizon of humanity I felt deep compassion for all of humanity’s pain. I felt the struggle.  I saw humanity’s pain and woe.  I heard the cries and moans of complaint over all the difficulties and challenges of the human condition.  And I felt their/our longing – the deep, empty, vacant longing for that which we cannot name – the longing that some have called “for God” and what others have described as “home.”  The longing to be reunited with what we have lost – not even knowing what it is we have lost.  It is the common pain of the human condition and I felt in every fiber of my being.  We are all lost sheep just trying to find our way home.

And in the midst of the pain that I saw in the ocean of humanity, I felt my own pain. I remembered discovering that pain and finding the fleeting relief of this pain in my intimate relationship with (that which I call) God.  I remembered finding enduring relief of that pain in coming to know myself – all of me.  My personal pains, losses, struggles, traumas, betrayals, places of brokenness and imperfection.  I found it in every rejection I had suffered and in finding my way beyond that suffering.  I remembered and in the remembering – I re-membered myself.  I put myself back together piece by piece by piece by re-locating every lost part of myself and welcoming myself home.

And then I saw myself helping those sheep find their way home because now I knew the way. This is what Jesus modeled and what he calls us to do – each through our own unique gifts. Some will be healers.  Other teachers.  Still others civil leaders, artists, craftsman, advocates, workers for justice, etc. etc. etc.  We are each uniquely gifted to be a vessel of Divine Love in the world and in Re-membering ourselves we are then called to lead others home.

This is who we are. This is what we are called to do.  It is not enough to simply call Jesus our “Savior” and “Our Lord.”  In fact, we don’t even need to consider Jesus either of these things to find the kind of salvation that Jesus brings.  Jesus saves by showing us the way to our true nature as One within ourselves, with the Divine and with all of creation, and then he asks us to do the same.  Just like he did with the disciples.  Jesus didn’t offer to feed the 5000 hungry people…..he empowered the disciples to do it.  He asks us to do the same.

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Posted in Inspiration, Lessons, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

Behold I Make All Things New

Happy Solstice! Happy Yule!  Happy Hanukkah!  Merry Christmas!  Joyous Kwanza….and happy whatever else you are celebrating this time of year!  Here is my holiday gift to you!  The (dot)Love weekly newsletter FREE FOR ALL (usually available for (dot)Love Plus members only).  Please enjoy!  If you find it meaningful, pass it on.  If you loved it, consider signing up for a Plus membership.  Now….without further ado:

Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

IS 43: 18-19

There could not be more joyous words to hear than these words from Isaiah, which are then repeated throughout scripture and then brought into fruition in the Book of Revelation. As we approach the end of 2018, these could not be better words for the many I know for whom 2018 has not been the greatest of years.  Many I know have experienced 2018 as a year of suffering, struggle, great challenges and most of all – death.  Physically and metaphorically, 2018 has been a year of letting go = letting go of loved ones, letting go of things we have known, letting go of things we thought we knew about ourselves and our mission and purpose on this plane.  2018 has also been a year of financial difficulty for many I know – whether it be due to staggering medical bills, funeral costs, job loss, or just plain old struggle.  It seems that no matter where we turn, 2018 has been a year of having to face physical, material, tangible struggle and hardship and learning to find ways through it – or not.  Regarding the “not” I know that for many, 2018 has brought with it the desire to QUIT – for some out of despair, desperation, frustration or just plain exhaustion – and for those who have been paying attention – the desire to quit because what used to be is quite simply no longer life giving and needs to be set aside to make way for something new.

And the something new is coming. Or rather, it is already here! Do you not perceive it? We are at the place in our planet’s movement around the sun where the new is being born!  No matter your beliefs, the Winter (for the north) and Summer (for the south) Solstice is a time of great celebration.  Whether we are celebrating the sun at its highest point (Summer solstice) or the birth of the sun which ushers in the end of the dark days, the world over has something to celebrate!  Spiritually, we are at the threshold of a new year and our entrance into a new world – for those who have eyes to see and a heart to believe.  But, in order to truly receive the new that is promised, we have to let go of the old.  This we have done over and over and over in 2018, but now, we are invited to REALLY LET IT GO and to BELIEVE that IT IS DONE!

It is done! Whatever suffering or difficulties you experienced in 2018, LET THEM GO!  But more than this, we are invited into an even deeper letting go.  This is a letting go that requires an intellectual understanding, a willingness to change, and belief that change is possible.  It goes something like this:

Intellectual Understanding: There is a little thing that psychologists take for granted and quantum physicists consider as doctrine: We are conditioned by what we have known. Whatever experiences our life has held for us forms who we are while also forming our expectations about what life has in store for us.  If we have experienced poverty, we expect poverty.  If we have felt rejection, we expect rejection.  If we have felt abandoned, we expect abandonment.  If we have been betrayed, we expect betrayal.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  We are conditioned to expect what life has handed us, and most often, we expect nothing more.  Not only do we expect what has been, we become emotionally addicted to the chemicals that are produced in our brain that come forth out of these experiences – the anxiety, worry, frustration and victimhood of poverty, the self-loathing or rejection or abandonment, the shame of betrayal, etc.  We become addicted to these “negative” emotional states, and until we know better, we unconsciously seek out life situations where we are certain to have experiences that will give us our emotional drug.  Gross, right!?  But, it doesn’t have to be or remain this way….because today I am going to offer you something better:

Willingness to Change: Scripture is going to help us here – Remember not the things of the past! God meant this when S/he spoke these words through the prophet Isaiah and again through all who echoed his words.  In these words, our Divine Parent is reminding us of one of the only two things that are certain in the human experience: death and CHANGE.  What has been is not always what will be.  In fact, it is quite certain that what has been WILL NOT BE what will be.  In the immortal words of the Byrds while quoting the book of Ecclesiastes:

To everything turn, turn, turn,

There is a season turn turn turn

And a time to every purpose under heaven…..

We are here to fulfill God’s purpose. We are here to fulfill God’s will.  We are here to bring forth the kingdom of God which Jesus knew as Oneness and which John the Evangelist spoke of as LOVE.  We are here for the single purpose of knowing the love that we are and then being that love in the world.  #chooselove!  BUT…in order to be that love, we first have to be freed of the things of the past – our old wounds, our past conditioning, our unacknowledged fears, ego attachments and anxieties.  We are not free to be the vessel and vehicle of God’s unbounded love as long as we are holding ourselves prisoner to our past.

We need to stop re-membering (putting these experiences back into our body) all the suffering we have experienced. We need to make a conscious choice to CHANGE and let go of the patterns of what we have known (a process we might call forgiveness) – along with our emotional addictions to it – so that something new might come in taking its place.  This change moves beyond the intellectual, and invites us to literally take on a new body – replacing the body conditioned by fear, abandonment, rejection, betrayal, shame, etc. and allowing LOVE to take its place.  It is that simple…..and yet it is also that profound.  Just like love!

Belief: As many are aware, I am not a fan of either “The Secret” or “the Law of Attraction.” I cannot believe in a universe that punishes us for our thoughts – many of which we have no control over.  As one who has experienced anxiety, depression and panic attacks, I can attest that we are not in control of our thoughts.  Our mind is simply our mind, casting out thoughts in an attempt to help us feel safe.  Our thoughts do not have the power to dictate our life circumstances.  I can also attest that I can think great thoughts about that million dollar house on the lake I think I want, but if it is not in my highest good to possess that house no thoughts in the world will make that house mine.  Thoughts (alone) do not dictate our world.

Beliefs, however, do. As it relates to the invitation to change, when we believe that we can change the impact that past unpleasant experiences have had and continue to have on us…..then we can most certainly experience that change.  It doesn’t mean we will get that million dollar house on the lake, but it will mean that we are no longer prisoners of our past experiences.  We are now free to be the love we are meant to be in this life and in being that love, reminding others of the unbounded love that they are as well.  And if we struggle with belief (as many of us often do) or are plagued by doubt about the possibility of healing and change, scripture helps us here too:  When a man approached Jesus seeking healing for his son, Jesus said:

“If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”  To which the father responded:   “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9: 23-25)

Our loving Divine parent understands the fragile nature of the human condition and is always there to help – especially when the help we most need is with our struggle to believe.

Receiving the New

As we allow ourselves to identify the past patterns and beliefs through which we have been conditioned and consciously work on releasing/healing/transforming them, we are now free to receive the new. As a friend just recently reminded me, when we empty ourselves of that which is not made of love, LOVE (another name for God) rushes toward us, excitedly filling those spaces made empty by our healing efforts and intentions.  When we are filled with Love/God instead of our past suffering and pain, AMAZING things begin to happen.  Instead of feeling like prisoners of our past, we are carried toward the path/mission and purpose that God/Love intended for us and which is in our highest good.  Not the life that our limited minds can imagine – but a life far beyond what we could ever imagine for ourselves – a life born out of, made from and living only from a place of love.  Who wouldn’t want that!?

 

Suggested Spiritual Practice – Emptying to be Filled

The suggested spiritual practice for this week is an adaptation of the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tonglen. In and through this practice, you will allow yourself to heal/transform and be freed of “the old” so that you can be ready to receive “the new.”

Set aside 20-30 minutes to complete this practice, knowing that you can return to this practice again and again and again as the need arises. You will also need a notebook or journal and a writing utensil for this practice.

Begin by creating a quiet space where you can be free from interruption. Turn off your cellphone; make sure that all other devises are silenced.

Begin by reflecting on your past. What are some of the negative or painful experiences that you have had in your life that have caused you to feel:  abandoned, afraid, rejected, ashamed, jealous, guilty, anxious, despairing, betrayed, etc.?  As these memories arise, list them in your notebook or journal.  Record the experience and the feeling associated with it.

After your mind runs out of memories, go back through each one reflecting on how these experiences are coloring your current expectations. How have you been conditioned by your past experiences to expect these negative experiences to continue?  Where are you expecting to be betrayed, rejected, abandoned, etc.?  Record your thoughts and reflections in your notebook or journal.

Now, with your journal in hand, you are invited to enter into a powerful healing process through which you will consciously release the experiences of the past while creating space for new and better things to take root in you.

Begin with any of the experiences you listed. Drawing the experience to mind, allow yourself to FEEL the feeling that lodged in your body as a result of that experience. FEEL the feeling, and then take a moment to identify where in your body you might be feeling this emotion.  You might find it is in your neck or shoulders, in your lower back, in the center of your abdomen  – or any other place in your body.  Once you have identified where you are feeling the feeling, breathe into the feeling  – directing your thoughts and intentions for healing into the place in your body where this feeling is held.  Breathe into the yuk, and then breathe out LOVE – believing and intending that as you breath into the yuk, the pain is being broken up and as you breathe out LOVE you are giving it release.  Continue with this practice until you feel freed of that past experience and the conditioning that happened because of it, knowing that as you are clearing your body of the yuk, you are making room for love or peace or hope to take its place.  Once you have completed work on that single experience, move on to the next one of your list.  Continue this practice until your allotted time is up.

After completing the practice, observe how you might feel differently in your body. Do you feel more free?  Do you feel lighter, more peaceful?  Do you feel more optimistic or energized by a new-found hopefulness?  Observe these new feelings and BELIEVE that they are here to stay.  And WHEN (not if) you feel your own conditioning trying to sneak back in, return to the practice you just completed above, remembering that this is a practice you can return to whenever the need for healing arises.

Remember not the things of old….

behold YOU (have the power) to make all things new!

Please share your thoughts, feelings, questions, experiences with this week’s lesson in the comment section below.

 

Wishing you a very happy holiday season and blessings for a joyful new year!

 

Love,

Lauri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Inspiration, Lessons

Getting Out of Our Own Way!

Scripture has all kinds of great things to say about the Divine’s plan for us:

Jeremiah 29: 11 – For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare (often translated as “prosperity”) and not for harm (also translated as “woe”), to give you a future with hope.

Romans 8:28 – We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

John 15:7 – If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

And on….and on….and on…. Scripture is filled with passages that tell us the good God has in mind for us, along with the prosperity and abundance we will enjoy because of how much God loves us.

These scripture passages have been used by many to paint a rosy picture of what it looks like to receive God’s blessings – that all we have to do is “think the right thoughts,” hold the proper beliefs, belong to the right Church. Then there are those who instead of painting a rosy picture, describe something threatening instead – how we will only receive God’s blessings if we follow a certain set of rules, follow the prescribed doctrine, and do what we are told (without asking questions).

While these approaches work for some, this is not what scripture truly says…

Yes – scripture says that God’s plan for us is far greater than what we could ever imagine for ourselves. BUT…..scripture also says that in order to participate in God’s plan for us, we have to GET OUT OF THE WAY.  In order to participate in the Divine plan for our life and to fulfill our Soul’s mission and purpose in this life, we have to set aside what we think we know, let go of our own plans, and pry our cold and dead fingers from the life that has become familiar but likely no longer serves.  We have to do what every 12-stepper knows, “Let Go and let God.” For the fragile ego, who thinks it is in charge and that it needs to be in charge, this is perhaps the most difficult of all things to do.  In this, we are invited to embrace the words of scripture that are often forgotten in our haste to enjoy the abundance of God:

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Posted in Divine Masculine, divine mother, Jesus, Lessons

My Love Child

For the past several years, I have been operating two distinct and separate businesses: Authentic Freedom Academy and Temple of the Magdalene. While there has been much overlap between these two aspects of my offering to the world, they individually represent two aspects of my own being.  Authentic Freedom Academy represents the more linear, pragmatic, academic and therefore masculine aspects of whom I am.  Temple of the Magdalene has become the platform through which I have channeled the more interior, inner, shadowy, esoteric, and therefore feminine parts of whom I am.  I have bounced back and forth between these two poles depending on where I am in my personal journey and what aspect of myself needed attention.  I have always felt a little  divided as I have nurtured both of these offerings and confused as I have tried to navigate how best to share these offerings in the world.  The question has always been, “Who am I and where do I want to focus my attention?”

Not anymore. As will always be the case when we enter fully into the dance of the masculine (active) and feminine (receptive) within us, the Holy Child will be born.  Authentic Freedom (dot) Love is that child – born out of the full integration of the masculine and feminine within me, a new life has come forth – one that reflects all that I am and all I wish to offer in the world – the kind, the fierce, the courageous, the vulnerable, the self-righteous, the compassionate, the empathic, the steel-clad boundaries, etc. etc. etc.

This integration of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine and the Love Child produced out of that union is the highest/deepest/most profound/ lesson and truth of every spiritual tradition that exists – whether it be Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Pagan, Indigenous, etc. etc. etc. As it relates to my own Catholic-Christian tradition, this is the most hidden of all of Jesus’ teachings…

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Authentic Freedom (dot) Love is my Holy Child.  What is yours?

Posted in codependency, Jesus, Lessons

We Can Only Save Ourselves!

The deeper we move into our inner spiritual work, the more we become aware of the subtle temptations of the ego – especially those we would never have thought of as ego-attachments because our cultural conditioning tells us these are good and benevolent traits. For me, this has come more and more fully to light over the past 10 days – a time that has been deeply transformational albeit painful. The ego-attachment that presented itself to me (which admittedly has been presenting itself over the past many years in all its many guises) is that of SAVIOR.

What has hit me upside the head in the most painful and glorious way is the long-standing pattern within me of wanting to and believing I was capable of changing the world (or for that matter, changing anything or anyone around me.). I falsely believed that partially by my efforts, the world would/could become a kinder, gentler place. You know, kinda like Jesus. But the trick is that even Jesus was unable to change the world. By Jesus’ efforts, the world did not become kinder or gentler. Some might even argue that because of the acts done in Jesus’ name, the world became more violent. If the so-called savior of the Christian religion was unable to change a broken world, how could I believe my efforts would prove any more fruitful? As it turns out, they have not.

The threads of this savior-complex in me are long and deep. They reach back across time and generations and are tangled and intertwined with centuries of societal conditioning – the deception that says, “humanity can be saved and it’s your job to do it.” For 53 year I have believed this lie and given my heart and my soul to trying to “save” the people around me while also trying to save the world. I wholly admit that part of (maybe all of) my need to “save” is a projection of constantly feeling unsafe in this violent and fearful world. Instead of finding a way to make myself feel safe, I have turned my efforts outward. Ignoring my own safety needs, I have tried to save (help) others. Time and time and time again this has ended in failure.

As it turns out, it is not my job to save others. It is my job to save myself. I think of this in terms of The Titanic: “If the ship is sinking, the only one you can save is yourself.” (Unless you’re a mother with children, then you definitely risk your own life to save theirs.)

Coming to this awareness, confronting it and letting this attachment go has been excruciating. I’ve raged. I’ve wept. I’ve felt paralyzed by grief. At the same time, a profound liberation is taking place. IT IS NOT MY JOB TO SAVE THE WORLD! And I cannot help those who are unwilling to help themselves. All I can do is uncover what I need to feel safe, fulfilled, joyful, supported and loved in an otherwise broken and violent world, and bring these things into my life (including all the resources and tools I share here). In making and allowing this choice this is what I’ve discovered:

Freed of the burden of savior, space is made available for pure enjoyment, true freedom, and abundant and fulfilling love. Here, I AM enough!

Posted in Lessons, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

The Dangers of Spiritual Bypass

Spiritual bypass can best be described as: “the tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep or avoid facing unresolved emotional issues, psychological wounds, and unfinished developmental tasks”(Welwood, J. (2000) [1984]. “Between heaven and earth: principles of inner work”. Toward a psychology of awakening: Buddhism, psychotherapy, and the path of personal and spiritual transformation. Boston: Shambhala Publications. pp. 11–21.).

In spiritual bypass, we avoid, ignore, deny, suppress and repress the challenges, difficulties, disappointments, and suffering that are inherent within the human condition. Spiritual bypass also includes avoidance and denial of the shadow.  The shadow is made up of our unhealed wounds, unacknowledged fears and includes all the aspects of ourselves that we have rejected because we have deemed them unacceptable.

spiritual bypass, shadow work, denying the shadow, lightworkers, denial, darkness,

Spiritual bypass takes many forms, but in essence the action is the same – hoping, believing, acting as if we can simply meditate, pray, chant, or positively affirmation our struggles away. The universal outcome of spiritual bypass is always the same and is best articulated in the Buddhist saying, “What we resist will persist.”  Through spiritual bypass, we are not dealing with, confronting, healing or transforming anything; we are simply sweeping it under the rug. As is true of everything we avoid, deny, ignore, the rug can only hold so much.  The rug will eventually explode and everything we have shoved under it will come out to haunt us.  Even if we are successful in keeping it all under the rug, what we have resisted and ignored will find its way out sideways – usually in non-loving behaviors toward ourselves or others. Often these behaviors become compulsive (ie: addictions), are disproportionate or uncharacteristic of our true nature.

Some very clear examples of spiritual bypass and the negative consequence of this pattern of behavior includes: the clergy sex abuse crisis, narcissistic behaviors, abuse, co-dependency, homophobia, racism, sexism, violence against children, school shootings and other forms of terrorism. What we resist will persist and what we suppress will find its way out whether we want it to or not.  I would further suggest that we are currently living in a world seriously caught up in its own bypass – ignoring, denying, projecting away the darkness and pretending that it is all ok when in fact it is not!  Societal bypass is exhibited in our divisive culture where many refuse to see the truth that is staring them in the face because it makes them feel uncomfortable (triggering their own unacknowledged anxiety or unhealed fears), or who instead of acknowledging their role in the darkness that exists in our society, either ignore it or project the blame onto someone else.  The bottom line is that we cannot meditate, mantra, pray,“beam love,” think good thoughts, repeat positive affirmations, “La La Lightworker” the darkness away. Until we learn to face our darkness (individually and collectively) we are guilty of bypass and the darkness will not only persist, it will become worse.

I will wholeheartedly admit that I am not innocent as it relates to spiritual bypass.   I too have ventured down its path.  I will admit that it felt good there – for awhile – but eventually it kicked my ass! I have since learned that the only way out is through. If we want to be free of our inner fears, unhealed wounds, and perceived imperfections, we have to go deep into them, feel them, wallow in them, and THEN through our spiritual practices, find our way through them.  In this, we are not covering the darkness with the light; neither are we turning the darkness into the light.  Instead, we are finding the light that is already present within the darkness – if only we have the courage to go there.

The work of dealing with our shadow and confronting all that is broken within us is hard! It requires personal accountability, self-knowledge, courageous honesty, humility, vulnerability, and discipline.  It also requires the understanding and belief that in the overall scheme of things, what we are tempted to call “darkness” is in fact our light.  Within the struggle, suffering, struggles, challenges and all the things we want to deny or reject about our human experience is there to serve the light.  It is within these perceived challenges where we find our greatest gifts.

Authentic Freedom is a powerful transformational tool for identifying and moving through our unacknowledged fears and unhealed wounds. Learn more HERE.

Posted in building the new world, Christ Consciousness, Jesus, Lessons

Lovers and Liars: You Say You’re a Christian?

If we say that we are Christian but are selective about who and how we love, we are liars. Rather, we are wounded and broken people who have not yet come to know the fullness of God’s unmerited and unconditional love. In order to love in the way Jesus calls us to love, we first have to heal those places within where we do not yet know love.  Authentic Freedom provides the tools and resources to help us learn this love.

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
his commandments.
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him

1 JN 2: 1-5a

 

Lovers and Liars

In this week’s letter from John, the author makes no apologies for their opinion of those who say they “know Jesus” but who are not living according to the commandments that Jesus laid out for them. The author calls them liars. Jesus called the same kind of people hypocrites. These are people who say they “know Jesus” or who have “proclaimed Jesus to be my personal Lord and Savior,” who attend mass every Sunday, show up for coffee and donuts, maybe even serve on the parish council, and who feel justified in their faith because they are doing what they are told to do in being a “good Christian.”

But are they – “being a good Christian?”

Being a good Christian is not about accepting Jesus as our savior. Neither is it about whether or not we attend mass on Sundays. Being a good Christian is about doing what Jesus did and doing what he commanded us to do:

“Love God. Love your neighbor. Everyone is your neighbor.”

Period!

If we say we believe in Jesus and think of him as our savior and teacher, but choose to be selective about this love piece, then we are liars. If we think we are loving our neighbor, but refuse to take the next steps which Jesus called us to do:

Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Heal the sick. Set captives free. Provide a home to the homeless. Etc. etc. etc. etc………ETC.

Then we are liars.

  • When we turn a blind eye to those in need….we are liars.
  • When we allow our privilege to blind us to the deep needs of others, we are liars.
  • When we believe that fulfilling the “American Dream” is simply a matter of hard work and effort and have no compassion for those who are struggling just to get their basic needs met and then judge them as worthless and lazy…we are liars.
  • When we believe the illusion of “equal opportunity” we are liars.
  • When we blindly throw money at organizations who serve the needs of those in need but do not take action to change a system that places these people in need in the first place…we are liars.
  • When we judge others without first walking a mile in their shoes…we are liars.
  • When we refuse to advocate for those who have not because of some judgement we have of them (usually based in grave misinformation) we are liars.

Every single time we say we “know Jesus” but turn away from those in desperate need – the poor, the outcast, the disenfranchised, etc. we are liars. The author of John, it seems, has no patience for liars. According to scripture, neither did Jesus.

Or did they?

What if the final verses of John’s letter are not judgement or condemnation, but a simple observation of fact:

Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.

 

Those who John is calling liars, are simply those who think they know Jesus and the truth Jesus came to reveal, but who in fact do not. They do not (or have not yet come to know) the LOVE of God that Jesus came to know and then sought to teach to the world. Not having come to know the unmerited, unconditional love of God, they are unable to live the love that God is and which God seeks to be through them. As such, they have no choice but to live in non-loving ways (or in ways that are limited). This doesn’t make them a bad person, simply one who does not yet know the breadth and depth of God’s love and who has much yet to learn.

Coming to know the fullness of God’s love is a journey of healing – healing the fears, false perceptions and ego attachments that otherwise stand in the way of fully knowing God’s love. In being open to and doing the difficult work of identifying and then allowing these fears to be healed, the experience of knowing God’s love deepens and widens and we are more and more able to live the fullness of Jesus’ commandments. Or as John so astutely observed:

But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.

 How are you being called to allow the Love of God to be perfected in you? How are you called to support others in doing the same?

Please join Lauri Ann Lumby on Monday, April 16th on Blogtalk Radio where she will be the guest of Cindy Bentley with Healing Fountain.  Learn more and join HERE. 

Posted in Lessons, women, world changes

The Complicit Feminine – Owning Our Own Unholiness

As the veils continue to fall, unmasking the unholy masculine as it has been present within our world (especially as it has been expressed through sexual violence against women and children), we would be remiss if we did not also acknowledge the unholy feminine and the damage it has done to all of us – male and female alike.

As I said in my blog on Thursday, women are not innocent. Yes, as it is true for men, the vast majority of women are kind, thoughtful, generous, and compassionate; and couldn’t think of doing harm to another human being – especially the men in their lives.  But then, there are those women.  We all know them, and perhaps we have (wittingly or unwittingly) been them ourselves:

  • Women who use their sensuality, charm, sexuality to manipulate and control men.
  • Women who marry men for money or because of the position of power he is in.
  • Women who brow-beat, nag, whine, and abuse their male partners, projecting their own unhealed wounds onto the men in their lives, blaming them for all that ails them instead of taking responsibility for their own sh.t!
  • Women who trap men into unplanned pregnancies and then extort money, support, etc. from these men.
  • Women who lie, cheat, are unfaithful and steal from the men in their lives.
  • Women who destroy men financially, emotionally, even sexually.
  • Women who use others for their own gain and then cast them away when they are finished with them.

Like the symptoms of the unholy masculine, the symptoms of the complicit feminine go on and on and on.  As much as our culture has been harmed by the unholy masculine, so too has it been harmed by the unholy feminine. This is further complicated by the unfortunate ways that we as women have done harm to each other.  We are our own worst enemies when we criticize, condemn and demean each other for being too fat, too flat, too tall, too smart, too independent, too successful, or the opposite – too pretty, too skinny, too short, too dumb, too needy, too lazy, etc.   Have you seen the movie Mean Girls?  It pretty much sums up the collateral damage we have done to each other.  Why?  Because we are insecure in who we are and in order to feel better about ourselves we have to make each other feel like crap.  UGH!

As the saying goes, before we point out the splinter in our brother’s eye, we first have to remove the plank from our own.  As women we need to recognize where we have engaged in the unholy aspects of womanhood and do the difficult work of healing the inner wounds and unacknowledged fears that have caused us to act in non-loving ways – toward ourselves and then toward others.  Only then can we begin to bridge the gap between ourselves and the men out there who are truly ready and worthy of our greatness.

Posted in Lessons, men, shame

ZERO Tolerance – what is wrong now WAS wrong then!

As the news began to pour in over the allegations of sexual misconduct by Matt Lauer and then Garrison Keillor, social media just as quickly filled with questions of disbelief.  I agree that we should all be innocent until proven guilty….but what I found to be most disturbing were the statements defending two “great men” who could not possibly have done what they were accused of.  Comments like, “well, if this is something that happened 10 years ago and is just surfacing now….maybe it isn’t so bad…or “so what if it was just a little tap on the ass….boys will be boys…”  I found myself dumbfounded by the comments seeming to defend or question the allegations brought forth against these men because 1) they seemed so nice, 2) everybody loves them, and 3) what we think of as wrong now wasn’t wrong then…..

Or was it?

What we think of as wrong now (sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, inappropriate touch, sexual assault, rape) was wrong then…..we were simply too afraid or too ashamed to say or do anything about it.

Like when I suffered sexual assault in college.  I never told anyone because 1) I was sure it was my fault in some way (isn’t that what we’ve been taught), 2) I was afraid, 3) I was ashamed. 4) I knew that with the rape culture at the University of Iowa being what it was in 1983, no one would do anything about it anyway and 5) Because I certainly didn’t want to go on trial.

I suspect the reasons I chose not to speak are the same for every single woman, child and man who has been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped and chose not to tell. Or maybe they did and were told, “Shhhhh….that’s just how Uncle Larry is. Forget about it and move on.”  Or “Boys will be boys.”  Or, “We don’t tell the family secret.” Or “But Father Henry is such a nice man.” Or “It must have been something you were wearing.” Or “Maybe you shouldn’t have drunk so much death punch…..”  Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.  Followed closely by….NOTHING BEING DONE… except more shame heaped upon the victim.

I will say it again:  what we consider to be wrong now was wrong then and has been wrong throughout history.  Unless we are a sociopath, our deep inner sense of right and wrong tells us this is true.  It has never been right or appropriate for ANYONE to treat another human being as a sex object to be used for their own pleasure, most especially when the user is in a position of power or authority – no matter how much your parents, drill sergeant, football coach, boss or friends told you it was alright!  NEVER! Yes, we can deny the truth away all we want, or try to justify it because of the culture we are/were living in, but abusing another human being has never, ever, ever been right. PERIOD!

And it certainly doesn’t’ matter how many years have passed since the incident happened.  The victim is still suffering. It doesn’t matter how many years has passed since Father Henry made an altar boy perform fellatio on him, or when Matt Lauer acted in sexually inappropriate ways with female colleagues, assistants, fans; or when Donald Trump spoke in demeaning, sexual ways toward women……it was still wrong and it is appropriate that it should come to light and they be held accountable for what they have done. This is called justice. (Yes, there is a place for healing and forgiveness in all this….but for that to take place, the perpetrator needs to acknowledge their wrongdoing, make amends and do the hard work of healing whatever is unhealed within them that would cause them to inflict harm upon another in the first place.)

I also don’t buy the “but he seemed so nice” defense.  What the hell do we know about media-made, so-called celebrities?  THEY ARE ACTING!  Not only that but as is true for all of us, we tend to put our best face forward.  Just think of Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy…..men in the spotlight who everyone thought was “so nice” when in fact they were men in positions of power who used their power to manipulate and use women for their sexual pleasure.  I don’t care how nice they are in every other circle of their life…if they have used women in this way, it is wrong.  PERIOD.

Before we move toward defending those accused of sexual misconduct….think for a moment of what it is like for the women (men, children) who are the recipients of these unwanted sexual advances…..as one who has been there, this is what it is like…..

Every time a man (or it could just as likely be a woman) makes an inappropriate gesture, touches us without our consent in a sexual or sexually suggestive way, uses sexual or demeaning words to describe us or speak to us, pats our butt, grabs our breast, thrusts their pelvis toward us, grinds up on our leg, grabs our hand and places it on his sexual area, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. a tiny little part of us shrivels up and dies.  A part of our soul recoils in disgust and then shame.  Because of the way in which our culture has normalized these behaviors we think we can’t say or do anything about it….and if we do say or do something about it, it is likely someone will roll their eyes at us or accuse us of “being too sensitive” or “not taking a joke.”  But every time we remain silent, we lose a little more of our power until eventually there is nothing left.

This is why we can no longer remain silent and why we must call for zero tolerance in matters of sexual misconduct or violence….and this goes as much for the women as it goes for the men.  Sadly women are not innocent in this.  For every man who uses a woman as a sex object there is a woman who uses her sexuality to manipulate and control men.  This also is wrong.  And that my friends, is a topic for another blog….