Posted in Divine Revelation

Where Does God Live?

As we move through our journey of spiritual growth, toward awakening and enlightenment, our answer to the question, “Where does God live” expands and becomes very personal.  How do you answer the question,  “Where does God live?”


To think as a child

When we were children, our understanding of God is, for the most part, determined by our outside sources of perceived authority – our parents, teachers, religious authorities.  We do what we are told and believe what they tell us.  At this stage in our journey, God frequently feels very far off, unapproachable, perhaps even cold and aloof.  God is often portrayed (for those coming from a Christian background anyway) as a kind of father or as “the old man in the sky.”  For me, God was the old man in the sky who lived on a cloud somewhere in heaven which was unseen, but somewhere “up there.”  I have a sense that this is the case for many children growing up in a Christian home.

Those searching years

At sometime in our journey, however, the beliefs that were given to us by our parents, teachers, etc. has to be put to the test – questioned, explored, challenged.  If we are ever to grow up spiritually, to become mature in our spiritual beliefs and practice, we need to be like a rebellious teenager and try on other beliefs, ask the difficult questions, sometimes throw it all away in search of something that resonates with ME!  This is a very healthy and necessary stage in our development into healthy, well-adjusted adults.  While our friends, parents, siblings, teachers and pastors might not appreciate this stage too much, the best thing they can do is allow this stage…in fact, it would be even better if they were to support this stage…give us the tools to search, help us explore the answers to our questions, teach us the skill of authentic discernment.

What happens when we grow spiritually?

It is only in asking the questions, exploring and discerning that we can come into a faith that we can call our own.  It is only in entering fully into the searching stage that we can develop a healthy, intimate relationship with the Divine through which the Divine can reveal itself to us in a very personal and intimate way.  In this exploration, we aren’t coming to know God through someone else’s experience or belief, but through our own personal experience.  In this way, God reveals God’s self to us in exactly the way we resonate with this universal truth.  And the ways in which God reveals God’s self to us is INFINITE.  No longer is God simply the old man in the sky….God becomes all that we need God to be for us.  God might reveal God’s self to us as:  friend, companion, guide, counselor, healing, parent, muse, teacher, lover, guardian, protector.  God might also reveal God’s self to us as creation (as a noun) or creation (as an action).  As we enter into this searching phase, what we discover is that God is limitless and may be experienced in limitless ways including: transcendent (seemingly outside of us) immanent (living within creation) and as creative action itself.  As we grow, we realize God is all things and in all things and as our experiences of God expands, they also become more intimate, more personal, more closely held.  In the end, we come to understand the words God addressed to the psalmist:

“My home is within you.”

Psalm 87:7

And isn’t that a nice place for God to be?

How have your images and experiences of God grown and expanded?

How to you experience God as living within you?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Lessons, Surrender

If it Comes from God…

In the spiritual journey toward awakening and enlightenment, we are invited to surrender our own will to that of God, AND…..to let Go and Let God do the work…..AND TRUST! 

“If this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself;

But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them,

you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”

Acts 5: 34-42

Gamaliel’s Wisdom

The above words are attributed to Gamaliel, a Pharisee of the Sanhedrin, as the Sanhedrin entertained thoughts of silencing Jesus’ disciples for preaching in Jesus’ name.  In his wisdom, he recognized that things motivated through a purely human origin will pass away on their own, while those things that come from God cannot be destroyed.   In fact, he suggests it would be folly to attempt to challenge something that comes from God.

Applying Gamaliel’s Wisdom

Gamaliel’s words are a profound source of wisdom for each of us as we attempt to navigate our daily lives.  No, we are not standing before the Sanhedrin hoping they will hear our words, but we are very good at worrying about the outcome of the work we do and frenetically “making things happen.”  I had the opportunity this morning to apply these words to my own life.

To do lists and book promotion

As you probably already know, my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, has finally been released.  Since I received word of its availability, I have been crazy-busy promoting, organizing book signings, coordinating events.  As I sat in meditation this morning, I found myself overcome with a dreadful anxiety laced with fear.  My fear, “What happens if nobody buys my book?  What if I’m not doing enough or the right publicity?  What if I am missing advertising, speaking, teaching, networking opportunities?”  I found myself wrapped up in the tightly bound cords of obsessive planning thoughts and fear of failure.  BLECH!  Then I read the words of Gamaliel above and went, “DUH!”

Who is really in charge?

The source of the duh?   WHO IS REALLY IN CHARGE OF THIS BOOK?????   Again, DUH!  I am in no way, shape or form in charge of this book…..I never have been so why should I be today?  GOD IS IN CHARGE!!!!!   If this book and its message are of God, then the people that need it will be led to it and will find it.  If this book is of God, it will have the exact success its needs….regardless of my human attempts to “make it big.”  DUH!  Yes, I am called to cultivate the soil and plant the seeds, but the actual germination, growth and harvest is God’s not mine.

The Peaceful Approach

So, the invitation?  I know I’m not supposed to hide in a cave and hope that people find my book…..AND….I need to turn the driving over to God.  The invitation is to follow the path that has worked for me in the past….to focus on my spiritual practices (meditation, chant, writing) and be attentive to the God-nuggets that will fall into my lap, to be watchful for God’s direction – NOT MINE.  In short….my invitation is to be present, watchful, obedient and to surrender the life of my book into God’s hands trusting that if it is of God, it will find its home in the hands of those who will come to know God, to know peace and to know joy through those words.

Where do you find yourself trying to manipulate or control the outcome of your own life?

What are you being called to surrender to God?

Where else might you apply the wisdom of Gamaliel to your own life or to the world?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com


Posted in Inspiration, Surrender

Radical Trust

As we move along the path of spiritual growth, awakening and enlightenment, we are invited into a posture of radical trust – setting aside all we think we know about how things happen and how dreams are made manifest.  YIKES!


O Lord, hear my prayer and let my cry come to you.

Hide not your face from me in the day of my distress.

Incline your ear to me;

in the day that I call, answer me speedily.

Psalm 102

 

The invitation

Working with one of my spiritual teachers yesterday, I was extended an invitation to embrace radical trust. This is not a new invitation, but apparently one about which I needed a gentle reminder.  Radical trust is this: believing that the universe is benevolent and is at work guiding and leading us toward and actually manifesting what is in our highest good each and every day!  In embracing radical trust there is nothing we have to do but wait, observe and be open to seeing, receiving and believing.  In a world that is all about to-do lists, goals, actions and reactions, radical trust presents  a scary alternative.  Our to-do lists, 5-year and 10-year goals, action plans, strategies, etc. give us a sense of surety and security so the idea of leaving these behind and surrendering to “wait, observe, see, receive,” might feel like a threat to our very existence.

 

What hasn’t worked

So, let’s take a look at how well our Western, pragmatic, goal-oriented approach has worked.  Our government is on the verge of collapse, corporate America is in a state of ready decline, our economy is in the pits, the institutions that have defined our culture – church, education, medicine, are all on the verge of imploding from within. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.  The US dollar continues to decline.   Global warming.  Melting of the polar caps.  Earthquakes.  Devastating weather patterns.  HHHMMMMM   Seems like the “to do” model isn’t working so well. 

 

Daring something different

So, what would happen if we tried something else?  What would happen if we dropped our to-do lists, quit strategizing, planning, manipulating, manifesting and took the time to SIMPLY BE!  What would happen if we took the time to BE QUIET….to LISTEN….to WAIT….to OBSERVE……most importantly…..TO TRUST????   What would happen if we believed the universe/God, had our highest good in mind and is doing the work of leading us toward it?  What if we set aside our own plans and let the universe plan it for us, lead us to it and helped us to receive it?  We might just find that what the universe draws us to and actually brings forth in our lives might be more magnificent than what we ever could have imagined for ourselves.  Cool!

 

The Resistance Dance

I know, I know….even as I put forth this proposal, every ounce of our beings are doing a little, “No, no, no” dance…a spiritual temper tantrum if you will.  We don’t want to give up our plans, our to-do lists, our own ideas of what is best for us.  We want to drive the boat and control the outcome.  But…..if we really want a life of peace, joy and compassion, we have to step out of our drive to control and let the benevolent universe/God be in charge.  AND….in order to do this what do we need?    TRUST  Radical Trust!

 

An experiment

So, I’m not asking you to give up all control immediately.  I acknowledge that this might put you (ahem…me!) into shock.  But, what if you just tried it on for a bit?  Just for today, set aside your plans, your to-do list, your strategies, your list of goals and take a day to simply Be.  Spend time in quiet.  Observe the movement of your life.  Watch for surprises, the unexpected, coincidences and synchronicities.  See what shows up and follow its thread.  You might be surprised at where you are being led.

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com


Posted in Lessons, Spiritual Practices

It is None of Your Business

In today’s blog, I will explore worry, compulsive planning and the need to fix other people’s stuff as obstacles to our own journey of awakening, spiritual growth and enlightenment.


It is none of your business!

There seems to be a theme emerging as I move through this stage of my own personal growth and transformation.  As I have been moving through this process of divorce and its accompanying professional and spiritual transformations, the words that keep showing up for me are:

It is none of your business!

What is peculiar is that these words keep showing up and they are showing up in seemingly unrelated areas.  If you read yesterday’s blog, you know that these words showed up on Sunday as God and my God Squad offered their response to my spiritual temper tantrum that effectively put them all on notice.  When I wonder how everything will work out, their unanimous response was, “Lauri, it is none of your business.” This was also the answer nearly one year ago when it was revealed to me in a very clear and obvious way that my husband of nearly 15 years and I needed to divorce.  I asked the powers that be, “How am I going to make a living and support my family?”  The loud and clear response (in a little more colorful language), “It is none of your damn business.”

 

The Inner Planner

My friend, Karen accuses me of having a freak brain.  I remember really weird things and can seemingly pull trivial data out of thin air.  Accompanying this “gift” is the ability to think of more than one thing at a time.  I know science suggests that this is impossible, but I can attest to the fact that I can indeed think of at least two if not three things at once.  While this may be a gift in some ways, it also proves to be a curse because my brain is rarely quiet.  The curse is that a fair share of the busy activity of my brain is planning.  On some level, my brain is constantly planning, what I’m going to do, how I’m going to do it and while it is at it, it seeks to find the answers and solutions to all of my life challenges.  Another word for this constant inner planning might be worry. I suspect that this constant inner planning and figuring is some sort of attempt to feel safe and secure in an otherwise insecure world.  The Divine is reminding me in the words, “It is none of your business,” to be content in the unknowing and trust that the universe has a higher plan….one far better than what I could ever create for myself.

The Inner Fixer

The other area where “It is none of your business” was recently revealed to me through my work with Julie Tallard Johnson and her Wheel of Initiation. One of things we are invited to let go of in the Wheel is our compulsion to carry another person’s shadow.  What this means is that instead of tending to our own junk, we spend time judging others and in some cases, trying to “fix” the things within them that we deem broken.  I am raising my hand in admittance of my guilt in this area!  I have spent a large portion of my life observing the brokenness of others (especially family members) and planning how they can fix their brokenness and then offering my “expertise” and assistance in helping them fix their problems.  Julie would remind me that all this energy spent in trying to fix another is energy taken away from my ability to embrace my highest truth and my greatest joy.  It is also energy taken away from the only person I can truly fix….and that is ME!  The more time I spend trying to fix others, the less time I have to enjoy my gifts and my passions….my purpose in this world.  The mantra Julie offers when we come face to face with this temptation to carry and try to fix the shadow of another is “It is none of my business.” Yep, there is definitely a theme going on!  So, here’s a great song to remind us:   “It’s none of your business!”

Where do you find yourself tempted to plan, fix things, figure it out?

How much time do you spend in worry?

Where are you guilty of carrying the shadow of another or trying to fix another?

How might, “It is none of your business” be a helpful reminder for you?

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

 

Posted in Holy Spirit

Kundalini and the Holy Spirit

In the Western Spiritual Tradition one of the names give to the Divine is Holy Spirit.  How do we understand this concept and come to embody it more fully?



Growing up Catholic, one of the first things I learned as part of worship and prayer was to make the sign of the cross: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”  The concept of God as loving, Divine parent (as in Father) and the concept of Jesus as an expression of the Divine (Son) was pretty easy to grasp.  But understanding of the Holy Spirit tended to elude me.  Apparently this is true for the Church as well since there is very little written on the theology of the Holy Spirit.  The best I could gather was taken from the Pentecost story when the disciples experienced the Holy Spirit like a flame coming out of the heavens and coming to rest at the top of their heads.  (Acts 2: 1-4)  In my own lived experience, I was taught to believe that the I would receive the Holy Spirit through my confirmation when the Bishop layed his hands on the top of my head.  Sadly, I did not have any sort of life altering experience when the Bishop layed his hands on the top of my head, as such, the Holy Spirit remained a mystery.

As I have embarked upon and fully embraced the path of spiritual growth, however, the concept of the Holy Spirit has begun to make sense.  I am grateful for my exploration of the Eastern Spiritual traditions and my own contemplation of Hebrew and Christian scriptures that have helped to illuminate the Holy Spirit and how we can better comprehend, experience and embody the fullness of this expression of the Divine.   Here is my current working theory on the Holy Spirit and how we can come to experience this aspect of the Divine more fully:

The Holy Spirit is the Kundalini energy referred to in the Eastern Spiritual traditions.  The Holy Spirit is the in-dwelling presence of the Divine and the seed of our human potential.  In Eastern Energy medicine the Holy Spirit/Kundalini is imagined as a seed, a lotus, a flame or a serpent that lies dormant in the deepest center of our being – most frequently depicted as lying dormant at the base of our spine/root chakra.  This in-dwelling presence of the Divine is God seeking to be expressed uniquely through us through our God-given gifts and call.  As we grow spiritually, this Divine potential is unleashed within us, freeing us, liberating us, healing us to embody and live the fullness of our human potential. As we allow the Holy Spirit within us to be unleashed, we are freed to live more and more fully as the uniquely magnificent beings God created us to be.  We come to know our gifts.  We nurture and cultivate these gift, and we freely and openly share these gifts in the world.  It is through the sharing of our gifts that the love of God that seeks to be made manifest in the world is expressed through us and in sharing our gifts, others are inspired to come to know their own unique magnificence as well.

This understanding of the Holy Spirit is present within the Christian scriptures if we take the time to seek the truth beyond the words.  The Pentecost experience depicted in the Christian scriptures described this moment of awakening as it was felt by Jesus’ disciples.  Through the Pentecost experience, the disciples who had previously been hiding in the Upper Room for fear of persecution, suddenly became empowered to freely and openly share God’s truth in the world (as revealed to them by Jesus, the Christ).  Scripture describes this Pentecost experience as flames coming down from heaven.  I think it was more like that which is described in the Eastern texts, the Kundalini is awakened at the base of the spine and moves up through the body, exploding out of the top of the head as a flame reaching towards the heavens.  Looking at the Pentacost experience from this perspective allows us to let go of our perceptions of God as outside of us, and invites us to seek the Divine that dwells within.  Setting aside these perceptions of separation opens us to a deeper and more intimate understanding of the Holy Spirit as the aspect of the Divine that dwells within and that seeks to be made known in the world through our own unique magnificence.   Think of it this way, the Holy Spirit is the acorn that holds within it the fullness of our potential, and when we allow this acorn to be open and grow within us, only then can we become the magnificent oak that we were intended to become.

What has been your understanding of the Holy Spirit?

How can you connect more fully with the Divine Potential that seeks to be made manifest through you?

How can you embody your own Divine Potential?


Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/YourSpiritualTruth

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

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