In a word: YES, but not in the way many religious institutions would have us believe. While some (many) have used the Bible to manipulate the masses and to put forth their own hidden (or sometimes not so hidden) agendas, this is not how scripture proves relevant to us today. I should probably qualify that statement….if our desire is for separation, then using the Bible to put forth dogma, justify separative actions, or to sell the story of a God who wants you to be wealthy, then that is how one will use the Bible. If, however, our desire is for unity and for humanity to come together in harmony with one another, then we are required to approach scripture in a different way.
While the Bible is the inspired word of God (Truth, Love, The Divine, by whatever name you call the Source and Revelation of all that is), so too is every example of the written word. As we become increasingly aware of the wisdom traditions and sacred writings of other cultures, we discover an abundantly flowing wellspring of wisdom. As the Western world grows increasingly disenchanted with institutional Christianity and discovers the compassionate teachings of our friends in the East or from the Native people who were here before the European invasion, the temptation is to exchange the traditions in which we were raised for these “new age ideas.” The problem is that there is nothing “new” about New Age, neither is there something unique in Buddhism, Hinduism, Zen, Paganism, or Native traditions that we cannot find in our own traditions.
This is where the rich tradition of Christian contemplative practices proves helpful. (Note: there is also nothing unique to the tradition of Christian contemplative practices, expressions of all the practices we call “Christian” can be found in the Jewish faith out of which Christianity emerged, and also within the spiritual practices of the cultures in which Judaism was immersed.) With these practices, we can approach scripture through the lens of inquiry and as a tool through which we can discover and discern our own truth. In this way, scripture acts like a mirror, reflecting the guidance, insights, learning, comfort and healing we need in the present moment. Whether we think of God as the Divine Source of all that is, or as a reflection of our highest self, when applying contemplative practices to scripture, “God” is providing us with what we need. It is through these contemplative practices that we come to know the God of our own understanding while at the same time coming to know ourselves. In this way, scripture is can be our teacher, our source of guidance and direction, our healer, our counselor and our comforter.
This post is an excerpt from our Authentic Freedom Weekly Lesson. Become a member today and enjoy this, another other offerings:
For the past nearly 20 years, I’ve been terrorized by Oshkosh’s own (self-appointed) Inquisition. They have bullied me, hounded me, harassed me, made horrible claims against me and more. Even after I left the Church, they continued their harassment. Watching my every move and reporting everything I do to the local bishop. A local priest and a former monseigneur (who has since been promoted to bishop.) have also been involved. A ban has been placed on me and my work. 20 years of harassment and my subsequent decision to leave the Church has contributed to my PTSD and its related symptoms.
Today I took my power back (actually I’ve been actively taking my power back while healing the wounds of these attacks since they first began). This is how I did it! (PS it works on ex’s too!) :
There are three things that are certain in this life:
There is nothing in our lives that remains the same. Everything is moving and in constant flux – even the tiny atoms that are moving within the solid steel frames that make up our buildings and our roads.
Everything changes and our lives are in constant motion. Our life is a continual movement from birth to growth to death and back to birth again. There is not one moment in our life where we are not birthing, growing, and dying. The amazing thing is that all of these – birthing, growing and dying are all happening at the same time. We are always in the process of birthing something new. We are always nurturing and growing that new life. And we are always tending to the death of that which no longer serves.
These are sobering thoughts; and they really put into perspective the conditioning that teaches us to cling to what we have known and to seek after security and surety.
Question: is this conditioning or a function of our drive to survive? We have been told it is the latter, but I’m beginning to think it is more of the former. The ancients seem to have had a much better grip on the reality of change and seemed to tap into and surrender to the movement of this change. They also seemed to have found a way to survive and thrive without being attached to “the same.” Hmmmmmm perhaps another thing we can learn from those who have gone before us……
Change. Change. Change. Everything is changing. The ancients knew this and found a way to harness the gifts of that knowledge. The sages and teachers of old wrote about it. Modern day people sing about it. (Cue: David Bowie!) Everything is changing and nothing remains the same.
But, we are conditioned to want things to remain the same. We cling to what we have known. We writhe and scream and cry when that which we cling to is being pried from our cold, dead fingers. And we are terrified of the new because we don’t know what it is; we cannot control it; we cannot make it happen and we cannot force it.
Kind of like birthing a baby! I have birthed two and I can attest that the baby comes in its own damn time and only in the way that it wants to come into the world. Yes, modern medicine (and ancient medicine for that matter) have tools to help bring the baby into the world (especially if something is happening in the birthing process that would put the mother or child’s life at risk); but as any mother will attest – there is a cost to applying these interventions.
The same is true in life. New life comes in its own damn time and only in the way that the Soul intends. We cannot force it. We cannot make it happen. We cannot hasten its arrival. All we can do is create the space in which this new life can take root (like preparing the nursery for the arrival of your new child). We can prepare the soil. We can plant the seeds. We can tend and water those seeds. But no amount of efforting will make those seeds grow until they are darn ready to sprout and grow.
The same is true of death. That which needs to pass from our lives – outmoded ways of being, non-serving beliefs, behaviors that no longer serve, jobs that have outlived their usefulness, etc. – will pass from our lives no matter what we do to cling to them. Oh yes, we can cling, we can hang on, we can grasp and bargain and plead, and that which needs to die might indeed remain (because of our clinging); but it will no longer be life-giving. Instead, it will be like the shriveled up, half-dead, immobile and worthless part of Voldemort that remained after he and Harry killed each other.
We can cling to what we have known, or we can surrender to the natural movement of our lives toward change. Forever moving from that which one day served to the new life that beckons on the other side of surrender and death.
It is our spiritual practice that helps us in navigating the ever-churning waters of life’s journey. Developing, cultivating and nurturing our spiritual practice supports us in learning how to be with whatever stage of life’s movement we currently find ourselves in. Our practice helps us to be ok with “what is.” It also supports us in discerning this movement – when is it time to stay and when is it time to go (Cue: The Clash). Our practice guides us to the voice of truth within along with our inner compass which helps us to recognize the signs of death along with the beckoning call of new life. And our practice helps us to move gently and (somewhat) effortlessly through the constant movement and changes of life. Through our practice we are able to surrender to the flow and find peace within us.
But….sometimes our practice fails us. Try as we might, we cannot find peace or contentment within that flow. In spite of our efforts to tend to our spiritual practice and to harness its gifts for helping us surrender and find contentment within the movement of our life journey, we cannot find the fruits. Sometimes we can’t even “do” our spiritual practice because even these efforts seem to be failing.
But they are not! Even though it feels like we might have Spiritual A.D.D., we are not failing. Instead, we are in the stage of our Soul’s journey that is akin to the transition stage of labor. There is this place when the babe is trying to be born that is called transition and I can attest that IT IS INSANE! Transition feels as if someone has plugged you into a 220 outlet and you are ON FIRE. Every cell of the body feels charged with electricity. You feel restless, anxious and (for me anyway) like you will kill anyone that gets in your way. You can’t sit still. The mind is anxious. You feel like you want to run. Nothing provides comfort. What seems comfortable in one moment is not the next. It is like an energy has entered the body and is doing everything it can to bring forth this new life and you are possessed by this energy.
The same thing happens in death. Those who have tended to the dying call this the “death throes.” Similar to transition in labor, the person who is dying is overcome with restlessness, frustration, discomfort, anxiousness. Nothing will make them comfortable. They writhe and thrash and (if they are able) pace as the energy that seeks to usher them into death prepares them for the transition from life into death.
When we are at this stage in our personal journey – when the old is trying to pass away to make way for the new while the new is simultaneously trying to come into being, it is ok to be restless, frustrated, anxious and uncomfortable. This is natural and expected. When this stage shows up all we can do is surrender. As it relates to spiritual practices, when it feels like we are suffering from Spiritual A.D.D., all we can do is surrender. Walk away from the practice if you need to. Or do what I do, return to the oldie moldie practices which at the very least give my mind a break. When even this fails I “go with it.” Instead of resisting the energies of transition, I engage in them. I dance. I take a walk in nature. I cook. I clean. I find something to do with the restless energies in my body (kind of like all the pacing I did when I labor). And then I let it be.
That which is passing out of our lives will leave in its own damn time. The same is true of the life that is trying to be born. We can surrender to this truth or suffer the sure consequence of resisting. The choice is ours. What would you choose?
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.
I am currently bathing in the deeps of Danielle’s latest book, and it could not be more perfectly timed! As we are standing at the edge of History watching in gleeful terror as the patriarchy implodes upon itself, Danielle’s words provide a balm of hope. Through her sumptuous words, she provides inspiration and practical tools through which all of humankind can find, embrace and live the path of their own TRUTH. Not a truth imposed upon us, but one that comes from the depths of our very being. Danielle has done what few have been able to do in giving us tools through which we can craft our own spiritual practice free of the imprisoning forces of external control. Here there are no rules, only that which speaks to your heart and your soul – the Wild You that keeps on trying to be born. Thank you Danielle for giving all of humankind permission to live as our passionate, wild selves so that we can be empowered to create our own worlds anew. I love you sister!
Danielle Dulsky is the author of The Holy Wild and Woman Most Wild. She is an artist, yoga teacher, energy worker, and founder of Living Mandala Yoga teacher training programs. She leads women’s circles, witchcraft workshops, and energy healing trainings and lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Find out more about her online at LivingMandalaYoga.com
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?
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!
10 meditation practices for engaging the creative and active mind while experiencing the benefits of an ongoing meditation practice.
Click in image to learn more and register. Only $12..99
Meditation has proved to be the single-most valuable commitment I have made in my life. For over 20 years, I have rarely missed my daily meditation practice because of all the benefits it has brought me. That being said, meditation is not easy….especially for those like myself who have creative and active minds. The way Western culture has embraced meditation practices – especially those from the East, has not helped. In the West, meditation has been misinterpreted to mean “silence,” with “success in attaining silence” as being the goal. This is a distortion of what meditation really is and serves as an obstacle to many who wish to enjoy the benefits of meditation but who are not able to because they cannot obtain silence.
The purpose of this course is to support you in finding a meditation practice that works WITH your creative and active mind rather than against. For as the Buddhist saying goes, “What we resist will persist.” Meditation is not meant to work against our natural inclinations toward creativity and thought, but to work with our minds so that we can connect with the peace and creative inspiration that dwells within.
Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS is an author, teacher, priestess, healer and prophet. She is the author of the highly-anticipated, Song of the Beloved – the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene and Authentic Freedom, both of which reveal the hidden teachings of Jesus as revealed through his most devoted student, co-equal minister and beloved partner, Mary Magdalene. For over twenty years, Lauri has researched, studied and put into practice these hidden teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition and discovered within them rich and effective tools for facilitating self-awareness and self-actualization. These teachings and practices prove that beyond the doctrine resides the truth that unites all people – the truth of Oneness in Love. As a priestess of the Magdalene/Christ, Lauri shares these teachings through her on-line and local courses, one-on-one mentoring, writing and publishing.
Staying sane in an insane world is about tools, practice and support. Below are my thoughts on staying sane along with resources and support for doing so:
It’s getting pretty crazy out there! Just yesterday I posted two comments on Facebook, one about not knowing what to believe, or if there is anything to believe in the media and an outright call to the universe: “Mothership take me away!” No matter where you lie within the spectrum of the perceived separation dividing our nation and the world, you must be feeling it. Anxiety. Fear. Depression. Despair. Frustration. Impatience. Anger. Powerlessness. Perhaps even a sense of hatred. It seems that no matter where we turn, there is another news article, news show, advertisement, etc. that is attempting to trigger our fears, anxieties, insecurities, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. interfering with our desire for staying sane.
The good news is that while we might feel pretty powerless in a world that seems to be imploding upon itself, we are not! We have the resources within us for staying sane in an otherwise insane world – we just need someone to help us discover, cultivate and then activate these resources. THIS is what I have spent the past 25 years mastering and what I would like to share with you now:
REMEMBER your original nature is contentment and peace. If you don’t know or remember this:
Develop or deepen a daily spiritual/meditation/contemplative/prayer practice. If you don’t currently have a practice or need getting started, take my FREE online course Starting a Spiritual Practice. Learn more and register HERE.
The Greatest Obstacle to remaining in a state of peace is our unhealed wounds and unacknowledged anxiety and fears. To learn how to identify and then heal and transform these wounds and fears:
REMEMBER you are not alone. There are people out there who have learned how to stay sane in an otherwise insane world. Reach out to them for guidance and support:
As a trained Spiritual Director, I have spent the past 20 years supporting people in finding their way through the tangled web of life….supporting them in identifying and healing unhealed wounds and unacknowledged fears and freeing them from the inner obstacles to enjoying a peaceful and fulfilling life. Learn more about my Spiritual Direction/Counseling services HERE.
Take Action! If there is something you don’t like about our world, DO something about it. If you want more peace, then work for peace. If you see injustices being done, speak or act out against these injustices.
Join the LOVE WARRIOR movement. Become an agent of non-violent social change in a community of people trying to do the same. Learn more and join HERE.
On September 11, 2001, the United States suffered it greatest trauma, 2996 people were killed and another 6000 wounded. As the first act of such magnitude to be committed within the continental U.S., America lost its innocence along with any sense of domestic security. As the deadliest terrorist act in world history, the world, but most especially the United States, has not yet recovered. I’m not sure we ever will. Since the moment the planes flew into the Twin Towers, the U.S. has been at war – first against people of color in countries made of sand and now against each other. For the past 17 years the United States has known nothing but war, and our current cultural climate suggests that as a nation we are collectively suffering the effects of trauma.
The Effects of Trauma
In the simplest of terms, when we have an experience that our mind interprets as traumatic, we are instinctually driven toward one of three survival tactics: fight, flight or freeze. If the trauma is not resolved or if the traumatic response is not released from our emotional/physical bodies, the trauma remains. When this occurs, we might find ourselves in a permanent state of fight, flight or freeze. In this state, we respond to anything that (even subconsciously) reminds us of the initial trauma as if it is happening again. This is known as a triggering episode. Unless the trauma is effectively treated, we will find ourselves in an endless loop of reactionary behaviors. Until someone points out to us that our behaviors might be the after effects of trauma, we think nothing of them, often to the point where they become normalized. I contend that our current cultural climate – defined by fear and division – is in fact, trauma coming out sideways.
United States of Trauma
Whereas September 11th initially had a unifying effect, since the decision to go to war, we, as a nation, have become increasingly polarized. Our increasing access to information (both true and untrue) has hastened this polarization, and it seems there are those who might actually be feeding this division because it benefits them in some way, or perhaps this is their own reaction to unresolved trauma. Unresolved trauma comes out sideway in behaviors that are uncharacteristic, often irrational and fear-driven. We obsess. We worry. We fret. We become angry. We want to fight. We become immobile. We ignore what is right in front of us. Instead of identifying the fear that is unhealed within us, we want to make someone or something outside of us the enemy – the cause of our concern. In the current state of our culture, many “enemies” have been named: Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, Conservatives, Blacks, Whites, The Police, Muslims, Christians, Millennials, Baby Boomers, Screen time, (remember when TV and Rock Music were the “enemies?”) Men, Women, The Media, The NRA, those seeking gun control, Pro-Lifers, those who are Pro-choice, The Rich, The Poor, Corporate Greed, those taking advantage of the system, The Economy, Banks, Illegal Immigrants, those seeking refuge, the mentally ill, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. The bottom line is that the fear and division that currently control our culture have absolutely NOTHING to do with all those things we want to point our fingers toward as being “the enemy.” Instead, it has EVERYTHING to do with unacknowledged and unresolved TRAUMA.
Healing from Trauma
We are a nation in trauma. We have been for a very long time (I’m still not sure we’ve recovered from the Civil War!), but even more so since 9/11. In order to heal from the effects of this trauma (increasing fear and division), we have to name it as such, and then do the difficult work of healing from that trauma. Healing from trauma happens when we are able to:
Name the trauma. What is actually at the heart of our fearful thoughts, reactions, and behaviors? What is the true cause of the fear? Maybe it is 9/11, or maybe it stems from something even older – an experience of childhood abuse, bullying or rejection, a devastating loss or disappointment, a past failure or betrayal?
Acknowledge that the fear has NOTHING to do with what you are currently perceiving outside of you (events in the news, the disagreement with your spouse, what you read on social media), but is instead related to something within you asking to be healed. Once you are able to identify the fear comes the hard part.
Instead of following our instinct which is to “make the fear go away,” (by pointing the finger of blame at someone else, ignoring or denying it, numbing it, etc.) we SIT with the fear. Allow yourself to actually FEEL the fear. Identify where in your body you might be feeling it, breathe into that fear, and then breathe out love. Remain with this practice (which the Buddhists call Tonglen), until you feel the fear change. Maybe it moves. Maybe it is resolved and you find yourself coming to peace. Maybe it changes to anger or sorrow. Whatever you do, don’t respond or react to the fear, instead, allow it to be healed.
Shampoo, Rinse, Repeat. Each and every one of us is a bundle of unacknowledged and unresolved woundedness and fear. Until we are able to heal the trauma that dwells within us, we will never be able to heal the fears that have placed fear and division as the rulers of our country.
Healing from trauma is difficult and challenging work, but enormously rewarding. Freeing ourselves from the effects of trauma empowers us to see our world through a different lens, allowing us to come to the discussion table where we are able to effectively work together for justice, peace and reconciliation. Until we can heal what is broken within us, we will never be able to heal what is broken in our nation or our world.
NOTE: The practices shared here are for the purpose of addressing normal, everyday fear. If you find your symptoms persisting, please seek additional support through spiritual counseling, traditional counseling, self-development courses, or through any of the methods of intervention which have proven helpful in healing trauma: EMDR and Brainspotting to name a few.
If you are looking for a way to join with others in the efforts of healing our broken world, please check out the Love Warriors project. Learn more HERE.
Healthy human development includes the process of spiritual healing, specifically from the fears and unhealed wounds that might otherwise keep us from the path of our truth. Healing and releasing these “demons” sets us on the path of true and enduring happiness and supports the ultimate goal of our journey which is self-actualization. I created the Demon Binding and Banishing Ritual to support us in this spiritual healing.
A Seven Step Process for the healing, transformation and release of negative energetic influences.
Magdalene Priestess, Shadow Worker and Spiritual Counselor
Whether we believe in the literal truth of demonic entities, or think of “demon” as a metaphor for either our own or collective fear, a critical part of the journey of spiritual development and growth is confronting those energies that might otherwise dissuade us from our path. We might recognize the presence of these fear-forms in:
Challenging or harmful relationships
Past or current life trauma
Situations where our financial support is not flowing in a positive direction
Unexplainable health issues
Negative individuals or groups who seem to be attacking or interfering with our work
Feeling as if awareness of our gifts or contribution in the world is being blocked
Inability to make our soul’s purpose a success
Experiences we might interpret as bad luck
Worry, fretfulness, unrest
Physical or emotional fatigue
The further we move along the path of our spiritual growth, the more persistent and persuasive these fears become, to the point where they sometimes feel as if they really are a disembodied demonic entity trying to harm us.
Hence the value of having a diligent spiritual practice through which we might identify, confront, heal, release and transform these fears (See my course Authentic Freedom for more on this) so that we might continue along the path of our truth. When even our most effective spiritual practices aren’t working however, it is helpful to have an even powerful weapon at our disposal. It is for this purpose that I created and now share the Demon Binding and Banishing Ritual.
Every day as part of my morning ritual, I pull one card from my Gnostic Tarot of the Saintsdeck (Robert M. Place 2001). For the past three mornings, I have pulled the Death card. While the appearance of this card might strike fear in the hearts of many, I find the Death card to be a huge source of comfort. Maybe it is due to my gifts as a shadow worker – a master in confronting and dealing with the parts of the human experience from which most would run. More likely, it is because I understand that death is not death at all…it is simply the boundary between that which has (and likely needs to) come to an end and that which is waiting to be born. As resurrection after death is the promise of Christian belief, so is it the promise of the tarot – in every death is the promise of new life – we need simply be open to receiving it. Pulling the death card on three consecutive days suggests that the death one has just faced, or is currently facing is a HUGE one. It also suggests that the new that is coming into being is equally as huge.
This must certainly be the case for me. As I have mentioned many times over, the past three years have been a DOOZIE! Letting go. Releasing. Surrendering. Letting go some more. Complete surrender and supplication. Many times in the past three years I have uttered the prayer, “WTF????!!!!” My recent move has invited a HUGE release including many aspects of my work about which I had become comfortable. Our new place is AMAZING and feels so much more like home and perfectly reflective of my vibe….and yet I find myself in the time between what has ended and what has not yet begun. It is an insecure and uncertain time. If the BIG MOVE and the BIG LETTING GO wasn’t enough, I recently went through an experience of something that seemed to be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, only to have it turn to dust in my hands. This brought forth an ending I had never anticipated along with a grief proportionate to that ending.
With all of this, it is no surprise that the Death card should appear. Again, while the appearance of this card might strike fear in the hearts of many, I am finding profound comfort in the presence of Death. Death is saying to me, “Lauri, what no longer serves has come to an end. You have surrendered these unto Me and now you are free of them. Completely free. You will no longer be burdened by those things that no longer serve your highest good and which no longer support the mission you are called to fulfill.” As Death so lovingly stated, I feel completely free of these things and utterly at peace.
This is not all that Death has to say, however. “Lauri, now is the time for rest. As Jesus rested in the tomb for three days and three nights, so too are you invited to rest. Be with what has been and allow yourself to be healed and transformed from what in the past may have harmed you. As a caterpillar in the chrysalis, allow yourself to be made new. As it was true for Christ, as is true for the caterpillar, the new can only be made in the depths of the darkness. The new is not of your making and requires no effort on your part as like the caterpillar, it is a work that arises out of the depths of your Soul, coming forth from your own Divine blueprint. In this you need do nothing. Simply be. Wait. Be patient. Trust. When it is time to come forth out of your tomb, you will know it and you will come forth into a whole new world, the likes of which you cannot even imagine.”
To this I say, “Thank you Death. I welcome you with open arms and surrender into promise of new life.”
Big endings lead to even bigger beginnings…and to this I say, “Bring it!”