Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Book, Forgiveness, Relationships, Spiritual Development

Spiritual Growth and Our Changing Understanding of the Divine

Below is an excerpt from my book, Authentic Freedom- Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy.  Authentic Freedom provides a comprehensive path and protocol for supporting our inner spiritual development, integrating the contemplative practices of the Judeo-Christian tradition with knowledge of the chakras.  Learn more HERE.

Buy it now on Amazon

 

In the beginning and middle stages of spiritual growth, it is helpful to perceive God as intimately personal and human-like and as something distinct from us.  At the same time, these personal images of God do not begin to touch the vast nature of our Divine Source.   Eventually, to truly embrace the fullness of the truth of Oneness, and of love as our true nature, we have to look beyond these personal images to something more infinite.  Looking to the deeper translation of the term Abwoon that Jesus so frequently used to address God, we begin to get a glimpse of the vastness of the Divine.

O Though from whom the breath of life flows and is present in all forms of vibration and light.           (Prayers of the Cosmos, Neil Douglas-Klotz)

It is difficult to grasp the transcendent, indwelling and infinite nature of God with our human mind, and so we have to reach beyond our minds to the lived experience in order to grasp this truth.  The writings attributed to John best express the fullness of this lived experience.  It is clear through these writings that the author had a deeply personal and experiential relationship with the I Am.  It is through this experience that the concept of God as love itself is most clearly articulated.

God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.  In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.  We love because God loved us first.       1 John 4: 16b – 19

As the author of John experienced, God is love.  Applying this expanded understanding to our existing relationship with God, it stands to reason that if God is love, it is in fact, love that created us.  As such, the love that is God lives in and through us.  In this way, not only are we loved, we are love itself.  Love is, in fact, our rightful inheritance, our true nature, our identity.  We are able to live out of this true nature when we remember that we are One with God and hence, one in love.

HOLY VIRTUE – Compassion

As we accept the truth that we are One in love with God we become content in the love that we are and we no longer feel compelled to seek that love outside of us.  This love-filled contentment invites us to explore the rewriting of our fairytales.  As we (the protagonist) come to know the love that is deep within ourselves, we exponentially increase our ability to live in the truth of this love.  Knowing that we are comprised of love, we no longer need to build defenses around ourselves, and the fortresses around our hearts begin to disintegrate and we find that we can trust ourselves and others.  Understanding that conditional love can never be a source of fulfillment, we no longer find ourselves compelled to seek the handsome prince or beautiful princess that will be able to give us our happily ever after.  Love, we remember, is who we are. As we grow in this confidence, we are able to go out into the world reflecting the love that we now know within ourselves.  It is here that we shall experience the truest expression of the virtue of compassion.  It is here that we shall find our happily ever after.

Authentic Freedom is also available as an online course, facilitated by Lauri Ann Lumby.  Learn more HERE. 

 

Posted in Death, Initiation, self-actualization, shadow work, Spiritual Development

The Danger of Stopping at Ascension

Hint:  Ascension is NOT the path to our Wholeness! 

For the past number of years, we have been experiencing the great awakening of human consciousness.  This awakening has been given many names and equally as many faces.  Some call it the “New Age Movement” (for the record, there is nothing “New” about New Age. It is simply a rediscovery and reclaiming of what Mystics and Prophets have known all along).  Others call it Ascension.  Still others call it enlightenment. I’m sure there are other names, but we’ll leave it at that.  While there have been many positive aspects to this awakening, there is one ENORMOUS DANGER and pitfall which very few acknowledge and even more fall into:

The Danger of getting stuck at Ascension.

Below is an excerpt from my Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson.  To subscribe and receive the full lesson click HERE. 

Ascension is NOT the path to our wholeness.  Ascension is not the goal.  Ascension is not the final outcome.  In fact, our human journey toward wholeness – where we are one with our Divine and Human selves – is not complete until we have moved past ascension and are willing to descend into the depths of our own, as well as the world’s darkness.  Descending is the profoundly challenging (and yet deeply liberating and rewarding) part of our journey toward wholeness where we come face to face with:

After we ascend and discover the ecstasy of our Union with the Divine (our higher and truest self), we have to bring that Union into embodiment.  The only way to embody our true and Divine Self is to let it come through us, bringing us face to face with all of who and what we are that is not in alignment with Love.  This is the work of the Shadow Worker and where our true gifts come to light.

For support with your shadow work, read my book, Authentic Freedom.  Available HERE. 

The truth about Descending is that we cannot “LaLa” the darkness away.  Neither can we avoid it by escaping into reverie.  We don’t change things by thinking the right thoughts, raising our vibration, eating “more highly vibrational foods,” or through thoughts and prayers. We have to do the messy, dirty, sometimes terrifying work of turning away from the light and toward the darkness.  This is the DEEP DIVE that has nothing to do with “Dark Night of the Soul” and everything to do with the BIRTH of our Soul.  Here, the fragmented and broken parts of our humanness are acknowledged, transformed, and then released so that only Love remains.  I will make no bones about this part:  the LOVE that we are is not some glittery, flowy, rainbow filled unicorn of light.  This is the LOVE that can withstand all that we are, all the world is, and everything life will hand us, without turning tail and running away.  This is the Love made up of fierce courage.  It is the Love of Mother Kali who cuts away all that is not supportive of our mission and purpose on this plane.  On a collective level, it is the Love of the Destroyer that burns down whatever stands in the way of our human evolution – even the Brazilian Rainforest if that is what it takes to

WAKE US UP

But again, here is the trick:  We do not arrive at our wholeness through “love and light.”  We get there by burning the f’cker down.  And the work starts and ends with ourselves!

If we are not willing to do the challenging work of facing and being with our darkness and our greatest fears, then we cannot be a source of Love and support for our dying world.  If we do not do this critically important work, choosing instead to escape into Ascension, then we will suffer the consequences.

While Ascending past the illusion of separation and finding our Union with Self is an important first step, avoiding the Descent will paralyze us with this one critical truth:

What we resist will persist!

As a friend of mine once observed, “God is a nag!”  I would translate that by saying that our True Self, our Soul is a heartless bitch!  She will hound us until our work is done.  The harder we work against Her, the more vicious She becomes. Choosing only Ascension, imprisons us in our darkness which then comes out sideways in:

  • Blaming.
  • Shaming.
  • Manipulating.
  • Passive Aggressive and .Bullying Behaviors.
  • And the king of all demons:  DENIAL.

When we are stuck in ascension, we are blind to our darkness (oh, we might see it, but we will do everything we can to “La La” it away).  We pretend it isn’t there.  We avoid anything that might have to do with death, disappointment, failure or inner conflict.  We pretend we know ourselves, when we really do not.  Our unhealed wounds come out sideways as we spin round and round in the drain of our inability to be completely and wholly accountable to and  responsible for ourselves.

The journey if descent is excruciating, but staying in ascension is even worse!  How would you like to spend an eternity in the game of pretend?  Pretty soon you can no longer remember the lies you have told yourself to stay in the light as your darkness overtakes you.

Sigh.

Here’s the really funny thing about this truth……Jesus knew it, and so did the Kabbalists who were likely his teachers.

Above is an excerpt from my Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson.  To subscribe and receive the full lesson click HERE. 

 To learn more about the Kabbalistic roots of the Jesus movement, check out our Order of Melchizedek Alchemist Training.  

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Choose Love Revolution, Lessons, non-violence, Spiritual Development

Acknowledging My Own Racism

Racism is a hot topic these days.  As it shows up in our media and our politics, we are reminded of the prevalence of racism in our country and those who suffer as a result.  As the topic of racism emerges front and center, I hear many white people arguing, “I’m not racist.”  I would suggest that if we need to defend our racism, we may, in fact, be racist.  As an awakened human being, I would like to say I am not racist.  However, when I am completely honest with myself, I am aware of the subtle ways in which I am, in fact, racist – not because I want to be, but because it was how I was conditioned.  The good news is that I can acknowledge the subtle ways in which conditioned racism comes out sideways and begin to do something about it.  I would invite you to also reflect on how racism may be present in your life, and what you might be able to do about changing that.

Acknowledging my Racism

As a white person of European descent,

If I don’t acknowledge my own racism,

It cannot be healed.

Ashamed am I to admit the subtle presence of racism within me –

The things I don’t mean to do, but come out anyway

because of my white, middle-class conditioning:

Making judgments based on what I think I am seeing

with nothing but conditioning forming that judgment:

 

What I’ve seen on TV.

Heard from family or friends.

What’s been portrayed in the media

 

The ease with which I’m tempted to judge a race

based on the singular action of a morning hold-up;

One man’s desperate action

unfairly coloring my view of an entire population….

 

Not really, but sometimes.

 

Ashamed am I of the vestiges of racism

that somehow took root in me by no fault of my own.

Knowing better, yet still aware of when the racism slips through.

 

I don’t mean it – but there it is:

The averted gaze

The skip of a heart beat

The racing mind

Anxiety

Clutching my purse more tightly toward me

Looking for an exit plan

 

For no reason other than the lies I’ve been told

And a few negative experiences…

 

But it was a white man who raped me;

and white men who have betrayed and abused me.

So why the unfair judgment of men of color

when life has shown me it’s white men I should fear?

 

Ahhhhhh – the power of conditioning.

 

But I now understand I can choose otherwise.

As a self-aware human, I can move past my conditioning by:

Acknowledging it.

Seeing it when it arises in me.

Choosing otherwise.

And in the process, healing.

 

In my heart of hearts, I wish I could be completely free

of the subtleties of racism – because I know better.

But I humbly acknowledge I may never be completely free.

Even so, I am committed to doing what I can

for my own sake and for the sake of all those

who have been unfairly judged simply because of the color of their skin…

 

I know as human beings we are ONE,

and it is only fear that divides…

and when we heal that fear,

we find that only love remains…

And I choose love!

 

Copyright 2019  Lauri Ann Lumby

 

Become part of the Choose Love movement.  Learn more HERE. 

Posted in Inspiration, Lessons, Spiritual Development

Shhhhhh

Do you hear it? Me neither.  It is the deafening silence that occurs after the old has imploded upon itself, after that which is no longer life-giving has passed away in the fire of transformation, after all that remained of our old lives has turned to dust, and after we have been emptied of anything and everything that has been tested and shown to no longer support the life we were born to live.  This is the silence that happens after the old life has passed away and before the new is ready to be born.

Shhhhhhh. Remain still.  Refrain from trying to make things happen.  Cease from doing and tasking.  Resist the temptation to return to the old and familiar activities simply for the sake of creating movement.  The movement that once served is the movement now that will destroy.

Shhhhh. Be still.  Enter into the silence.  Be with the stillness.  Dive deeply into the discomfort of the unknown. Make friends with impatience, restlessness, longing, and boredom.  Surrender to the pain of death and the excruciating darkness of the unknown.

Shhhhh. Be still.  Be still.  Be still.  And listen.  It is in the silence you will hear the whispering of the new life as it is preparing to be born.

Shhhhhh.

 

Posted in priestess training, self-actualization, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

A New/Original Vision of Priesthood

For the past 2000-5000 years, priesthood (across religions) has meant one thing: a position of power and authority held by men acting as an intermediary between the undeserving flock and their god. These men have been given themselves the power to interpret the word of their god and to dictate doctrine around their interpretation of that word.  They have appointed themselves determiners of who is saved and who is not and have created rituals and practices to be practiced by the undeserving so that they might earn the “love” of a jealous and fickle god and therefore their heavenly reward after death.  These men have used the threat of eternal damnation to manipulate those they “serve” and have benefitted from a culture based in fear. These men have been held as separate, more important and more powerful than the people they “serve” and have benefitted from this separation, given places of honor and becoming rich on the backs of those who are expected to pay, pray and obey.

Whereas not every man who has followed the call to be “priest” (or woman who has taken on this kind of priesthood) has lived their priesthood in this way, all are complicit in a culture and a structure that places one in a position of power over those they are meant to serve. The current structure of the priesthood – especially as it is expressed in the Catholic Church in which I was raised, is a culture of (often white) privilege rooted in separation lived out through power and control.  I can’t help but believe that this is not what Jesus had in mind.  In fact, it seemed that Jesus spoke openly against those who placed themselves in positions of authority and who lauded their power over others.  Instead, Jesus provided a completely different model of what priesthood might be which seems to have gotten lost somewhere along the way.

In order to understand the kind of priesthood that Jesus lived and then modeled for those who spent time in his company, we don’t have to look very far. Scripture is quite clear about the priesthood that Jesus embodied – one of healing, comforting, teaching and empowering with Jesus hanging out, not at the top of the pyramid, but at the bottom of an inverted triangle upholding and uplifting those he sought to serve.  In this, Jesus created a container in which those to whom he ministered might be supported in doing what Jesus did – coming to know themselves as One with God in love, and in this oneness coming to know their own unique giftedness and then supported and empowered in the development of and then sharing of these gifts – for the sake of their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.

This is the priesthood that Jesus embodied and the priesthood that Mary Magdalene was empowered to embrace. When we turn to those scriptures that didn’t make the cut of the emerging hierarchical/patriarchal institution that became Christianity, we clearly see Mary in this role:  comforting, healing, teaching and empowering the other disciples to go forth and continue the work that Jesus empowered them to do.  In this, Mary was living not as a priest within an institutional church, but as High Priest in the spirit of the ancient tradition of mystery schools which served to support women and men in achieving the fullness of their personal, psychological, emotional and spiritual development.  In short, Mary, like Jesus, did the work to support what modern-day psychologists call self-actualization.

What would our world look like if we lived priesthood in this way – coming to know our own self-actualization and then empowering others to do the same?

 

Full content reserved for Plus, Premium and Premium-Plus Members. Click here to learn more on how you can become a member and enjoy the tools that have helped me in my own journey.  Find an example of what is available in the full content HERE.

Posted in self-actualization, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

#ChoosingLove Online Courses for Your Self-Care

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS, founder and director of Authentic Freedom Academy, offers stand alone, online and e-courses along with complete online training programs.

You can find a full listing of Lauri’s courses by clicking the image below:

Authentic Freedom Academy

Or see individual course listings below:

 

Meditation and Prayer

meditation, creative mind, active mind, meditation practices

 

 

 

 

Life Stages

mother wound, mothers and daughters, healing the mother wound, healing, inner child, childhood woundsmidlife, menopause, perimenopause, midlife crisis

 

 

 

 

Healing Religious Wounds

Healing Our Religious WoundsDiscovering the Goddess through Biblical Women

 

 

 

 

Guided Meditations

 

 

 

 

Shadow Work

gwyn ap nudd, celtic god, Lord of the Underworld, Welsh god, shadow work, shadow, initiationSpiritual Healing - Healing Demons

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 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 Death, self-actualization, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation, spiritual healing, Spiritual Practices

Entering into the Darkness to Bring Forth the Light

Last Friday I hit the wall. I found myself overcome with the darkness of our world, despairing over that which causes me pain, confusion, frustration and deep sorrow.  As I shared my experience, I was surprised (not really) by the deafening silence when speaking of the darkness.  The only thing interrupting the silence was a post by one arguing for the light. “Keep your chin up……” they said.  At the time, I DID NOT want to keep my chin up, or look for the silver lining in the cloud.  I needed to wallow in the darkness – embracing the depth of sorrow, frustration and pain.  Not for the sake of self-flagellation, but for the purpose of transformation.

As a shadow worker, I have come to understand that the only way to transform the darkness, both within ourselves and in our world is to enter FULLY into the darkness.  It is only by entering into the darkness that we are able to bring forth the light.  While optimism has its place, there is a fine line between “the bright side of life” and repression.  As the Buddhists say, “what we resist will persist,” so why not embrace the darkness so we can hasten our journey toward the light?  Why wait around looking for the silver lining when the only way to the light is through the darkness?

darkness, dark into light, embracing the darkness, transformation, shadow worker, darkness and light are but one

Before I go on, I do want to thank one dear friend who shared her genuine concern that I had come to the edge of the cliff. For indeed I had…..just not the cliff she thought.  Instead, it was the cliff that my Soul Brother, Jared, invited me to jump off from, “Lauri, what would happen if you just allowed yourself to freefall?”  I thought I had been doing this, but apparently not enough.  So (after a two hour soul purging/transformation/healing chat with my Soul Brother) I let go AGAIN allowing myself to fall into the darkness and in falling into it, I fell through it.  I woke up this morning with a whole different attitude, and saw what had been in front of me the whole time.  Then while in yoga this morning, I was given the outline and kick in the pants I have needed for two years to finally get my Order of Melchizedek online training program off the ground.  (Official announcement coming soon!!!!)

The moral of the story is this: If you find yourself in the darkness, don’t run from it.  Embrace it.  As every shadow worker knows, on the other side of the dark (or within the darkness) is the light that has been there all along!

Or as the Psalmist said, “In you, darkness and light are but one.” (GO, there are so many ways to interpret that phrase!!!!)

PS Dear friends:  I promise if I have truly come to the end of my rope….I will definitely let you know!

Posted in Initiation, self-actualization, spiritual awakening, Spiritual Development, Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Initiation: Standing at the Crossroads

The journey toward self-actualization is in fact, one spiritual initiation after another. Spiritual initiation takes place every time we are faced with an opportunity to remain in the perceived safety and security of what we have known or take another step toward the fulfillment of our life purpose.  The spiritual initiation is successful when we move through the fears and ego attachments that seek to keep us imprisoned within our small selves and away from the expansion we are driven toward by our Soul.  Some of these initiations are small and some are so significantly huge that we soon become aware that we are facing a major crossroad in our life.  It is at these crossroad moments that our spiritual practice becomes even more critical, as does our diligent attention to these practices.

spiritual initiation, crossroads, discernment, soul's purpose, journey of the soul, spiritual practice

Stephanie Azaria in Monday’s post in her column “Cosmic Consciousness” had the following to say about the crossroads:

“…a crossroad is a series of four very specific paths that are all equally available to us when we approach them from the observer’s perspective. We can send our conscious awareness down all four roads at the same time until the heart begins to resonate fully with one (or more) of these paths.  At that time we can take action to follow that road knowing it may or may not be permanent…..such is the way of the new world.  Nothing is permanent.”

A crossroads occurs when the life we have known has come to an end and the new life has not yet revealed itself. It is a time of spiritual initiation ripe with opportunity and danger.  At the crossroads, possibilities seem endless and many opportunities (or twinklings of opportunities) may present themselves.  At this stage, none of these possibilities are yet fully formed, so a decision (or even a discernment) cannot yet be made.  Some of these possibilities will die on the vine.  Some are not in our highest good or reflective of our soul’s purpose and therefore should not be pursued.  And some are just beginning to grow roots so are not yet strong enough to support our unfolding.  For these reasons, pursuing or chasing after possible opportunities prematurely will only end badly.  We will know that the opportunity is not yet ripe if in its pursuit we find it either drawing away, or find ourselves coming up against a brick wall. Instead of requiring effort, opportunities that are ripe and good for the soul will fall into our laps in a miraculous and effortless kind of way.

While the crossroads is ripe with possibility, it is also rife with danger. This is true for it is at the crossroads where we make our deals with the devil.  At the end of what has been, we are vulnerable and afraid. We have left behind (or are being asked to leave behind) what has been so as to replace it with something that is not yet known.  It is in our human nature to crave surety and to long for “the same.”  When we have neither of these creature comforts, we grow anxious, worried, and fretful.  Often, our first response is to bargain for the old life to be returned.  “Please let me go back to…….(insert relationship, job, home, etc. here)….at least I knew what to expect there.”  But our Soul desires nothing if not growth.  As such, as much as we might want to, we cannot return to that which has already died…or which no longer supports our growth.  (Well….actually we can…..we just end up with a zombie like life along with the constant shame of knowing we are living an unlived life…mind numbing substances and behaviors come in handy here as we try to escape our true feelings about the unlived life we have chosen).

After bargaining, we must now face the possibilities that lay before us. Some will be known.  Some will only be twinkles.  And MANY will be the paths which lead us only into the “devil’s trap.”  These are the paths which are ruled by fear and/or which tempt us through our ego attachments.  Those paths ruled by fear are the possibilities that are based in our unhealed and unresolved fears:  fears over money, time, acceptance by others, belonging, etc. etc. etc.  When we choose a path that is ruled by fear (I’m afraid that the path of my Soul won’t make me any money, so I’m going to find a path that insures at least a regular paycheck…..whether or not it has anything to do with my gifts, my mission or my purpose in this life…..), this is the devil’s trap.  The result of choosing this path will only be more fear and a deepening sense of imprisonment.  Those paths ruled by the ego are those which tempt us through our desire for fame, power, control and material wealth…..in other words, “the lifestyles of the rich and famous” – another of the devil’s games.  While fame may be an outcome of pursuing our Soul’s path, this will not be true for all, and the path of our Soul is never driven by our desire for fame. In the quest for the Soul, we must always check our ego at the door.

When we find ourselves at the crossroads or spiritual initiation we are vulnerable. We feel insecure and afraid.  The possibilities might seem overwhelming and our fears are running rampant.  The crossroads is the devil’s playground, but it is also the domain of our Soul.  At the crossroads, the Soul is seeking after and longing for its natural movement toward growth and it will not rest until the appropriate path for its growth reveals itself.  Until that happens, the Soul is restless….making us even more vulnerable to the “devil’s trap.”  At the crossroads, our spiritual practices become even more critical, along with our resilience in the face of temptation and our diligence in tending to these practices.  While at the crossroads we must not act, pursue, chase after or be tempted to make something happen.  Neither should we make any decision based in fear or arising out of the ego.  Instead, there is only ONE THING we can do when standing at the crossroads….and that is WAIT. Wait and watch.  Observe and discern.  And when the waiting and inaction become excruciating (which they will)….we wait some more.  For it is at the crossroad where we endure the greatest of all tests in our spiritual initiation …the test of whether we can wait long enough for the path of our Soul to arrive and the next stage of our life to begin.

Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS is a trained spiritual director and spiritual counselor, transformational educator, ordained interfaith minister and published author. Lauri supports the spiritual awakening and self-actualization of humanity and does so through one-on-one mentoring, writing, online classes and workshops.  Contact Lauri at lauri@authenticfreedom.love to learn more.