Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Discernment

Seeing through a Lens Clearly

As I ready for an enormous expansion of my work in the world, I find myself tempted by the ghosts of my past. Insecurities I thought I had healed.  Unfounded worries and fears.  Afraid it will not produce the fruits I am hoping for (by fruits I mean gathering and forming a community while supporting members of that community in coming to their own wholeness).  While sitting in meditation this morning I was confronted with an unexpected ghost….one I definitely thought I was done with:

PROFESSIONAL JEALOUSY!

(Ugh!  Lauri Lumby being excruciatingly human again!) At first, I was tempted to condemn myself for still hanging on to this old demon. The demon that makes me cringe every time I am compared to someone doing “similar” work.  Or when I see someone I judge as undeserving getting ANOTHER publishing contract.  These thoughts have made me feel so petty, jealous, and like such a baby.  “Lauri get over it!  Who cares that ___________ keeps publishing books which all say the same old crap!?   Who cares that _____________ is Oprah’s flavor of the week!  Who cares that _________________ has absolutely no education or experience in this field and yet keeps getting publishing deals and speaking engagements on the topic?!”

But then, in my meditation it hit me! There are many authors with whom I do not have these kinds of reactions or feelings.  Instead, I celebrate every time they publish a new work or book another speaking engagement or public interview.  Bill Plotkin, JK Rowling,  Cynthia Bourgeault, Jean Yves-LeLoup, Barbara Marx Hubbard (who sadly recently passed), Rabbi Michael Munk, Tau Malachi, Mary Sharrat, Maggie Stiefvater, Dennis William Hauck, are all authors whose work I cannot get enough of and I hold a party every time they publish a new work.  My demon of “professional jealousy” does not show up at all for a single one of these authors.  This realization made me pause.  Why do I have (what I have interpreted as) professional jealousy over some authors but not for all?

If I had to identify ONE THING that all of the authors above have in common…..it would be INTEGRITY. They write within their own field of expertise.  They ARE experts in their field.  They are writing from their heart and their soul.  They are not writing with the intention of appealing to the masses (though for some their work does).  Instead, they are writing what THEY want to read.  Their works are intelligent and wise.  They are impeccable with their word and they are staying in their own lane.  And most of all, they are not trying to blow smoke up anyone’s ass!

Then it hit me. What I have been judging as professional jealousy isn’t jealousy at all!  Instead, it is ME seeing through a lens clearly.  What I have called jealousy is actually my superpower of discernment seeing what is truth and what is falsehood.  What I have called jealousy is simply my ability to read people and their truer intentions.  I’m seeing the person behind the persona.  The truth behind the lies.  The reality behind the illusion.  The capitalistic drive that tempts people to leave their integrity behind in favor of a big fat check and the possibility of fame.

Now, before you call me an asshole with a capital A (which sometimes I am which is why Denis Leary and I are friends!), I am also aware that what I am seeing in my discernment is ONLY FOR ME! What is true for me is not necessarily true for others.  We are all on our own path and if the words of _______________ speak to you, then cool!  Their work just doesn’t speak to me.  I want grit.  I want depth.  I want to be challenged in my growth.  I want to grow.  I want to learn.  I want to expand my knowledge in the areas of my passion – human development and spirituality.  And I want to be entertained (Thank you Maggie Stiefvater!.).  I also recognize that as human beings we are all at different stages in our journey and that we all need resources that reflect our current stage of development.  I mean, let’s be real…..I had a book of Tau Malachi’s on my shelf for 10 years before I could read it!!!!  The same is true of my copy of the Sefir Yetzirah.

I’m just glad that as I ready for this next stage of expansion, I can now set aside my own self-judgment over what I’ve been calling professional jealousy and OWN my ability to see through a lens clearly.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, God

Reclaiming My Right to Be Excruciatingly Human!

DAMN IT. All these years I’ve been serving (internally anyway) the wrong kind of GOD!!!!!  In my head I know better….and my work reflects that.  But internally, I’ve been serving the GOD of someone else’s making.  ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!

Hi. My name is Lauri.  I’m a recovering perfectionist.

Trying to be perfect

Maybe that’s all you need to know…..but maybe not. For as long as I can remember, I have tried to be perfect.  The perfect daughter.  Perfect student.  Perfect pianist.  Perfect dancer.  Perfect friend.  Perfect wife.  Perfect mother.  I’m not sure if I was born this way or if it is a product of my conditioning or a little of both.  The Enneagram suggests we are born with our “Type.”  There is no doubt that I am a Type 1 on the Enneagram and that I undoubtedly look at myself, the world and my life experiences through the lens of this question: “How could this be better?”  So there’s that.

I am also acutely aware of how my early life experiences along with my Catholic upbringing fostered the critical nature of this lens. Little messages along the way which have said I’m not good enough, there is something wrong with me, the way I’m doing things is wrong, what my Soul needs and wants is not in line with what society expects from me….and worst of all…..the ongoing message of a jealous God examining my every move and like Santa Claus, keeping a record of all the bad I’ve done in my life – bad for which there will be some sort of punishment – if not in this life, then certainly in the next.

But I’m not bad!

But here’s the thing. I’m not bad.  I’ve never done anything bad.  Yes, in the normal stages of childhood development I fought with my siblings and was likely mean to them at times.  Yes, I became angry at my parents and sometimes grumbled against their guidance.  Yes, in college and early adulthood I made the usual “mistakes.”  But ultimately, I’ve never done anything to intentionally harm another or to do damage in this world.

So if I’m not bad and I’ve never done anything bad, then why have I spent a lifetime feeling so bad? Feeling as if there is something wrong with me?  In response to this deep inner feeling of wrongness, I have done a WHOLE LOT OF WORK.  Healing the pain from past abuse.  Healing trauma.  Undoing negative conditioning.  Reclaiming all the parts of myself that I locked away deep in my subconscious because it might not be “acceptable” in this world.  I have opened Pandora’s Box and have welcomed every single demon therein – meeting it, listening to its fears and concerns and supporting the healing and transformation of all my old wounds so that I might not only feel better about myself, but so I might also feel better about this world and my place in it.

This week while reading the comments of the women and men in my Magdalene Priestess Training I realized there was one final demon to tackle.

My favorite Moses scene is when he throws the tablets to the ground in disgust, rage and disappointment over his people.  This is me everyday!  And yet, I’m just as guilty of confusion, doubt, and running after distractions and shiny objects (hello Facebook).  UGH!  We are excruciatingly human – and isn’t that the point!?  God loves us no matter how dense we can be at times….and this is THE GOOD NEWS.  We are utterly ok exactly as we are in this and every other moment. God doesn’t care.  This is a lesson about Unconditional Love I am still trying to learn.  God doesn’t care if I enjoy a glass of wine.  God doesn’t care if I’m depressed and unmotivated.  God doesn’t care if some days I just don’t give a fuck.  God doesn’t care that on some days I despise the human race.  Because God knows WHO I AM and in the center of all my human frailty there is Love.  Just plain Love.  And Love is who I am even when (maybe especially when) I am excruciatingly human!  

That demon’s name is “GOD”

Now, before you get your undies in a twist, let me explain.  The GOD who I am calling a demon, is not God – but is instead, the god of someone else’s making.  This is not the God who Jesus spoke of who loves without condition.  This is the GOD made up by a hierarchical and patriarchal system who rules by fear, power and control.  This is the GOD who was created to make us feel bad about ourselves, to plant seeds of doubt, confusion and pain in us …. all so that this hierarchical system might control us.  Because here’s the thing – if we believe in a GOD who is always judging us, who is measuring our humanness against us and who is waiting to punish us for that evil, then we will always be afraid.  We will feel badly about ourselves and can therefore be easily manipulated.  You see, when GOD’s love can be taken away, if we have to earn that love, if we will be punished for angering this GOD, then we will do anything to gain the approval of this GOD – a GOD that ultimately has nothing to do with God, and everything to do with humans that want us to look toward them as the ultimate authority so we will do what they tell us; and humans who wants our money.  Notice- the Church is not the only creator of this GOD.  Oh no….they are co-conspirators with every other hierarchical institution which has arisen out of a desire to have power and control over the masses.

The Demon isn’t only in the Church

Oh, and for the record…..a whole lot of “New Age,” “Ascension” and “Prosperity Gospel” people also preach this kind of GOD. You know…the GOD who will only reward us if we “think the right thoughts.”  The GOD who isn’t actually a GOD but is in fact ourselves – because WE are GOD and our life is created by what and how we think.  If we think the right thoughts we will get what we want because WE are GOD.  And if we think the wrong thoughts, then we can expect the consequences of these thoughts because we are GOD and we made it happen.  And if what we have in our lives is not what we want (if we are poor, struggling with illness, experiencing difficulty in our lives) it is because this GOD who is US is punishing us for thinking the wrong thoughts and the solution to changing what we do not want in our lives is to simply think better thoughts.  Or perform magic spells.  Or do the right ritual.  Or light a candle.  Oh wait….there’s more.  We also need to be PERFECT.  If our life isn’t what we want it to be it is because there is some wound in the way and if we clear that wound (fear, compulsion, etc.) then our external life will magically change. Ourselves disguised as a demon disguised as GOD.

(For the record, I’m all in favor of healing our wounds….it is what I do best……but healing our inner wounds is NO GUARANTEE of a change in our external lives.  Jesus never promised EXTERNAL abundance – only the abundance we know within when we are free.  #authenticfreedom). 

THIS is the demon GOD that remains at the bottom of my Pandora’s Box. The GOD that says I’m not good enough.  That I will never be good enough.  That no matter how hard I work to heal my past wounds, fears, etc. I will never be free because this GOD is looking over my shoulder waiting to hand out reward and punishment.  The GOD that has me believing that my life experience will change if I can just figure out what about me is soooooo wrong and heal that one thing so that everything will be good again. DAMN IT.  All these years I’ve been serving (internally anyway) the wrong kind of GOD!!!!!  In my head I know better….and my work reflects that.  But internally, I’ve been serving the GOD of someone else’s making.  ARRRRRGGGGHHHHH!

NO MORE! Today, I reclaim my RIGHT TO BE HUMAN. Excruciatingly human! Jesus spoke of a God who loves without condition.  A God who made me exactly as I am – for a reason and a purpose – and THIS creation is PERFECT.  I am already loved by God.  I don’t have to earn God’s love and it cannot be taken away.  I was LOVED into being and I am LOVE itself – and this version of love swears like a sailor, enjoys a glass of wine at the end of the day, on some days despises the human race, becomes impatient with ignorance and intolerance, grows enraged in the face of injustice, is at times judgmental and self-righteous and is sure that my way is right – or at least better; who loves deeply, burns passionately, gives generously – even if sometimes out of a “need to help or to feel loved,” who hates certain individuals and harbors resentment like Gollum harbors the ring.  Sometimes I’m depressed and unmotivated.  Other days I’m a workaholic.  I have anxiety, suffer with migraines and sometimes have panic attacks.  Like Denis Leary sings, sometimes I’m an Asshole but I can also be one of the kindest people you will ever know.  This is me in all my excruciating humanness exactly like God made me and there is nothing wrong with me and nothing wrong with how I am living my life.  And the parts of my external life which I wish would change (Gawd I’m tired of always having to worry about money and how my next bill will be paid) have absolutely nothing to do with something I have yet to heal, or some thought I need to correct.  SHIT JUST HAPPENS.  This is life.  And God has nothing to do with it and neither do we.  We are here to be human – excruciatingly human and maybe somewhere in that humanness we have the opportunity to discover that in addition to being human we are also LOVE.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Jesus, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

So, Jesus Was Human Afterall

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

For Sunday, August 17, 2014

Twentieth Sunday Ordinary Time

 

 

Scripture Reading:

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her. Jesus’ disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

MT 15: 21-18

 

Additional Readings: 

Is 56: 1, 6-7

Ps 67: 2-3, 5, 6, 8

Rom 11: 13-15, 29-32

 

 

And Jesus Was Human Too!

It took the persistence and faith of a woman to shake Jesus out of his own state of pride and ignorance. Believing he was only called to minister to “the house of Israel,” he initially did not see the fullness of his call. The Canaanite woman (or the Syro-Phoenecian woman depending on which Gospel you read), helped Jesus to see that he was not only called to minister to Israel, but that God’s word of love was for the whole world. The Canaanite woman understood this and, helped to facilitate Jesus’ own awakening, and in doing so, demonstrated to us that Jesus was human after all.

How does a glimpse into Jesus’ humanness change your understanding of and relationship to Jesus?

How does understanding Jesus’ humanness allow you to more fully embrace your own perceived shortcomings and imperfections?

 

Spiritual Practices – Embracing our own humanness

We are spiritual beings here to have a human experience. As such, it is not our task to escape our humanness, neither is it our job to condemn it. Instead, we are invited to accept our humanness, including our perceived imperfections and be open to how our humanness allows us to more fully serve God and the world. To help facilitate this awareness, you are invited to do a kind of Exam of Consciousness….but in reverse.

  1. On a blank sheet of paper, write down everything you think is wrong with you. Everything about yourself that you judge as negative or that you condemn as unacceptable.
  2. Go back over the list you have written and reflect on how these “imperfections” have helped you to grow – perhaps these imperfections have helped you to grow in humility, perhaps they have allowed you to be empathetic and compassionate toward others who share the same “imperfection.” Maybe you have found yourself helping others as they struggle with similar “imperfections.” If you struggle with this piece, offer a prayer to God, asking for God to help you see these “imperfections” through God’s eyes.
  3. Write a prayer or poem of thanksgiving for these imperfections, acknowledging them as a gift instead of as a curse.
  4. Close your prayer period by reading 1 Corinthians 12: 1-17. (You can find it in your bible or simply look it up in Google)

 

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom we recognize that each of us is uniquely gifted to reveal God’s love in the world. It is easy to see the ways in which we are gifted through our positive character traits, skills and talents. It is more difficult to see the unique way in which we have been gifted in those things within us that we are tempted to condemn. If we suffer from depression or have struggled with addiction, for example, we might not acknowledge these as ways in which we have an opportunity to reveal God’s love in the world. It is often through our weaknesses and imperfections, however, that we are best able to reveal God’s love, and sometimes, we serve God more through our weaknesses than through what we perceive as our gifts. The invitation is to acknowledge that ALL that we are – the good and the bad, the darkness and the light, the perfect and the imperfect seeks to serve God and to be vehicles through which God’s love is known in the world.

How are you being called to reveal God’s love through your perceived imperfections?

How are you being invited to more fully embrace your entire self – dark and light, perfect and imperfect, loving and fearful?

Posted in Virtual Church

Virtual Church Service – Holy Week Retreat

This coming Sunday, April 13, 2014, marks the beginning of Holy Week with Passion Sunday.  During this week, we recall the final days of Jesus’ life, leading up to the observance of his death by crucifixion on Good Friday.  In preparation for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday, we pause to remember the very human Jesus who faced the pain of betrayal, the temptation of doubt and the very real human fear of suffering and death. We also have an opportunity to witness the tools that Jesus used to help him continue through the worst of human experiences, and to learn through his example. Holy Week is a terrific time to remember Jesus as an example of what it means to be fully human so that we can grow in our ability and comfort with our own humanness. 

Maryanointsjesus

In the spirit of Holy Week, instead of offering a traditional service, I have created a Holy Week Retreat experience.  I am inviting you to set aside 1-2 hours this week to enter into your own Holy Week Retreat using the resources provided on the Weekly Service page. Please go to the “Weekly Service” page HERE for your video instructions and appropriate links in support of your retreat.  You may wish to divide the experience into two or three parts:

1) scripture reading

2) music meditation activity

3) processing the above meditation through journaling, etc.

I hope you find this retreat experience rewarding and an appropriate way to prepare for the celebration of Easter.

Remember, if you find these services helpful and supportive of your spiritual journey and inner growth, consider supporting Authentic Freedom Ministries through a financial donation. 

Posted in Being Human, Lessons, shame

Hate Hangover – getting to know our shadow

Today’s blog explores the relationship between our soul’s purpose and its direct opposite, our soul shadow.  In the human journey, the goal is to bring both into the light so that they may be fully integrated, bringing us into the realization of our greatest potential.

Soul’s Purpose

One day I asked God what my soul’s purpose was and this was God’s immediate answer:

Love

My job is to know the love that I am and to be this love in the world.  Additionally, my job is to be open to knowing the love that others are and to receive that love openly and humbly.  Since receiving this revelation, I have directed my work and my life toward being love and toward helping others remember the love that they are.  This “work” takes many forms from the professional work that I get “paid” to do, to simply being love in every encounter where love is possible.

Soul’s shadow

hatred

Now before you get all excited about “Oh yeah…..another story of some la-la lightworker who flits and floats around being love to everyone she meets…smiling and floating around on gossamer wings sprinkling love dust all over the world, perfect in every way, never experiencing the reality of humanness, never thinking bad thoughts or doing bad things, some holier-than thou airy-fairy-new age hippie leftover”  WRONG!  Wrong!  Wrong!  Because on the opposite side of all this love…..the love I’m trying to remember within myself and trying to help others remember is a HUGE BALL OF HATE!  This HATE is so huge that it startles me when it shows up and I am frightened by its power and the way it consumes me in spite of my efforts to love and to be the “perfect” loving and forgiving angel I want to be.  (ok, I admit, maybe I don’t really want to be so perfect….in fact since perfectionism is one of my demons, I’m pretty sure that striving for perfection is self-destructive rather than supportive of personal growth.)  I digress…..

The Soul’s Integration

The goal of the human journey, is NOT to be perfect.  As much as the strive toward perfect is my demon, it is yours and the rest of humanity with us.  In fact, the more we try to be “perfect” (ie:  always loving in every thing and every way), the more our shadow will try to get our attention.  And the harder we push our shadow away (in my case, hatred), the harder it will work to be known, and if we continue to ignore it, it will start coming out sideways in really unhealthy and self-destructive behaviors, or it will come out sideways in equally self-destructive self-numbing and self-medicating behaviors which might mask the shadow, but at the same time, it is masking the light aspects of our soul.

Darkness and Light are But One

Psalm 139 reminds us that “darkness and light are but one.”  What this saying is that in what we are tempted to judge as darkness or light are neither- instead, they are simply what is and that from the Divine perspective, there is no judgment.  In other words, even those things which we might judge as negative (hatred), can serve a benevolent purpose.  I know for myself, hatred has sometimes served to motivate me to set boundaries, to speak in situations where I might have been tempted to remain silent, to act where I might have chose to not act.  I also know that hatred has sometimes shown up as a way to affirm or validate something that I believed about another person or to remind me to uphold appropriate boundaries where I might have been tempted to relax the boundaries I set in a particular relationship.  I also know that hatred has often shown up in situations that are completely outside of my control which then gives me an opportunity to invite a deeper level of letting go and surrender.  Hatred, in a nutshell, keeps me humble and reminds me of how truly human I am and not to get tempted into believing I am all-love and all- that because in truth- I’m not.

Getting to know the shadow

We all know who our shadow is…..it is the part of ourselves we try to deny, try to hide from the world.  You know your shadow…..now create some space to let it speak to you.  What is it trying to communicate?  How are you trying to hide it?  How do you reject it?  How might it serve a benevolent rather than malevolent purpose?  How might your shadow actually be serving your highest good?

And just for fun…..here are a few videos to help you connect with your shadow (WARNING:  strong language and content!!!!!)

NIN  – The Hand that Feeds

Marilyn Manson – mObscene

Marilyn Manson – Fight Song

Disturbed – Voices

Lauri Lumby offers one-on-one mentoring, couples’ mentoring, courses and workshops which help you to identify and integrate your gifts as well as your shadow so that you can live more fully as your most authentic self, experiencing joy, contentment and fulfillment in a life which has meaning and purpose.  Call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth to learn more.

Posted in Being Human, Midlife Journey

Midlife and Another Existential Crisis

For many adults, midlife, perimenopause and menopause put everything into question.  We question our vocations, our place in the world, our relationships, our family of origin, our past, our present and our future.  It is also during midlife that many question their beliefs – who or what do we believe in and why?  Today, I share with you an essay I wrote during one of those times of questioning. This essay came out of a period of study in which I was deep in the midst of Indian and Buddhist philosophy, and quite frankly, tired of being told that the path to enlightenment was to sit down, shut up, quiet the mind and silence my passions. 

redsonja

Another Existential Crisis

I don’t know about you, but trying to attain enlightenment or striving for some sort of spiritual perfection only leaves me feeling anxious and assured of failure.   After beating my head bloody against the enlightenment door, I threw my hands up in surrender, sat down hard on my ass, with the cold steel door of enlightenment against my back, and quit.  In surrendering, in quitting, in ceasing to strive after enlightenment, I finally found peace.  Liberation came to me on that day when I realized that I am already Divine and that the reason I am here, the whole point of the human experience is just this – TO BE HUMAN!

So, if I’m here to be human (and maybe you are also here for this reason), why should I deny my passions, set aside my desires, sit down, shut up, quiet my mind?  Why do I have to be perfect, sinless, emotionless, bulletproof, impervious to pain? Instead, why not harness the creative energy God gave me?  Why not give voice to the words God wants the world to hear through me?  Why not dance, scream, shout out my anger, rage, wrath, sorrow, pain, despair, worry, depression, anxiety, panic and fear?  Why not poke the sleeping giant and set fire to a sleeping world?

God is the only God there is….why do we think we have to be him/her/it?  Can’t we just be the human beings God/dess made us to be and be happy with that?????  And where is the theology that allows us to be human?  Frankly, all I see in the world religions is a whole lot of teachers telling us we have to learn to be like God. I’m all for practices that help us to find inner peace, to cultivate empathy and compassion and which empower us to work for the betterment of the world.  And, if we came from God and are going back to God, aren’t we here to be something other than God?  And if we are here to be something other than God, then perhaps there is a place for our anger, impatience, passion, desire, lust, restlessness, etc. etc. etc.  So that being said…….

Where is the theology that doesn’t reject the way God/dess made us – unique expressions of the ever-living and ever-creating God, seeking to be known in the world?  Where is the theology that doesn’t ask us to deny, repress, suppress or transcend all of what makes us human?  Where is the theology that acknowledges that creation and growth come out of chaos, tension and pain?  Where is the theology that gives honor to the pains of birth instead of condemning them as a curse or as punishment for some mythological ancestor’s sin?  Where is the theology that honors as sacred the fecund, fetid, putrid, bloody, oozing condition of the human experience?  Where is the theology that sees passion and desire as God’s longing to be known and to be made known?  Where is the theology that allows us to be human in all the ways God wishes to experience the gift of being human? Where is the theology that doesn’t expect us to be God or that doesn’t set the drive for enlightenment as the supreme and ultimate task of our existence?  Where is the theology that acknowledges all that is good and holy and sacred in the human condition?   Where is the theology that recognizes that our origin is divinity and that we are here to simply be human?

Lauri Lumby mentors men and women in their journey of living as their true and most human self.  To schedule a one-on-one, phone or Skype session, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in Being Human

The Fruitless Search for Ego-lessness

Yesterday, I was reminded, yet again, that it is not for the sake of egolessness that we are here…..but to be human.

The Relentless Pursuit of Ego-lessness….and pop-culture’s addiction to perfectionism

Yep.  I’ve been there.  With both feet, body, mind and spirit I jumped on board the pop-culture Ego-eradication craze, reading every book, embracing every practice, watching every movie in the hopes of being freed of my ego.  Hmmmm I might have even written a book reflective of this desire.   😉  And….I am the perfect victim.  My Perfectionist LOVES the idea that with the right kind and right amount of spiritual practice, learning, etc. I might indeed become perfect….free of ego….an enlightened being, spiritual teacher and master.  All of this has been the perfect fuel for the inner critic and judge that wags her finger of shame and blame at me pointing out all the places where I am still imperfect….all those places where I still judge, where I become angry, harbor resentment, feel pain, grieve losses, hurt those I love, lose my temper, etc. etc. etc.  “But if I just pray and meditate enough all of this will be forgiven, I will finally be free and I will have the life I dream of filled with happiness, joy, opportunities for creative expression and I will be fulfilled, safe, secure and rich.”  This is what all these teachings promise, right?  But there is one thing missing in many of these pop-culture ego-eradication teachings: the fact that we are not here to be EGOLESS……  We are here to BE HUMAN!

Being Human

So…what DOES it mean to be human?  As much as we might like to deny it….being human means we get to experience ALL OF IT.  As a Divine Spirit being Human…..we get all of it:  Suffering.  Pain.  Worry.  Loss.  Deception.  Betrayal.  Our hearts get broken.  We fall apart.  Really bad things happen to really good people.  And really bad people get really good things.  We lose our minds.  We hunger.  We experience poverty.  We know injustice.  We might have to agree to things we don’t really believe we want to do.  We give our power away.  People rob our power from us.  We get sick.  And we die.  While we might want all of this to go away and to be freed from the reality of the human condition….this is NOT why we are here.  No matter how hard we pray or how much we engage our spiritual practice…all of these things will continue to happen.  I’m guessing even the Dalai Lama struggles with anger and resentment at times.  I know Jesus did.  So if even our greatest teachers struggle with being human….why do we think we should be any different?

No Congratulations Necessary

Yesterday, after setting my foot along a path that I have been avoiding, dreading, and not at all wanting to accept, I was congratulated for being a “great ego-less leader and teacher.”  BAH!  Egoless my ass!  I was mad as hell.  Frustrated.  Angry.  Ashamed.   Disappointed.  Grieving.  I was anything BUT egoless.  Instead I wrapped my arms around my ego as she was biting, kicking and screaming and set my foot along the path.  “You can rant and rave all you want,” I said to her, “we are going anyway.  I don’t know why this is where we are going or for what purpose, but we are going.  And….we’ll make the best of it.”  So, I forged on, in spite of my ego; and perhaps this is the best that we can do.

Lauri Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Spiritual Practices

Turning Enlightenment On Its Head

Today’s blog examines our culture’s current obsession with enlightenment.  In our quest to become “perfect” have we forgotten that we are here to be human? 

Amen Brother Amen!

As I was contemplating this morning’s blog, the following quote showed up in my daily inspirational email from Darren Main:

Only two things can reveal life’s great secrets: suffering and love.
—Paulo Coelho

All I can say to this quote is Amen brother, Amen!  In our culture’s current obsession with enlightenment, I think that we have forgotten the reason we came here,  into this human experience, in the first place.  We are already fully Divine.  This part we know – that we are already fully Divine – One with Source/God/Goddess/Higher Self/Essence/Presence.  We know our origin is in love.   What we don’t know and came here to learn is how to be human.

For effective tools for moving through suffering to love, see Lauri’s book, Authentic Freedom

What It Means to Be Human

What does it mean to be human and what are we here to learn?  I think Paulo Coelho said it perfectly.  We are here to experience suffering AND love, and this is ultimately what it means to be human.  As human beings, temporarily living in the false perception of separation from our Source, we experience the following:

Fear    Craving    Envy   Resentment   Lust   Want   Greed   Ignorance   Longing

In these experiences, we indulge

Blindness    Deafness    Muteness    Apathy    Sloth    Prejudice    Hatred   

The end result of all of the above is what Paulo Coelho observed:  SUFFERING.  And in this suffering, we often wonder, like Hamlet if any of this is even worth it:

To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to.

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

The end result of much of the human experience IS suffering and this is what we are here to learn.  Unfortunately, many of us (me included) in our quest for enlightenment/perfection falsely believe that the journey toward enlightenment will rid us of the suffering of the human condition and that if we do suffer in the face of life’s challenges and losses that we aren’t there yet or that somehow we have failed in our enlightened path.  Or worse, we judge another’s suffering as evidence of their unenlightened nature.  Ah……grasshopper, we have much yet to learn!  🙂

For effective tools in moving through suffering to love, see Lauri’s book, Authentic Freedom!

We are here to suffer, but we are also here to love.

Yes, in the very human experiences of fear, craving, envy, etc. etc. etc.  we suffer; but the Divine nature within us knows that suffering is not our only choice and that there is a remedy to our suffering.  Deep within us is the seed of recollection that longs for LOVE instead of fear and while our quest for enlightened perfection may be driven by our ego, the tools of the trade do provide us with effective means for surviving the human experience.   When we fear, crave, long, desire, lust, want, withhold, close our eyes and ears to truth; we have forgotten our original nature in LOVE.  The spiritual tools (meditation, prayer, mindfulness, movement, creative endeavors, etc.) that accompany the enlightenment package give us the means of surviving the suffering, moving through our fears, and remembering love.  And Love, as Paulo Coelho reminds us, is the other purpose of the human journey and perhaps the ultimate destination of the suffering we experience in being human.  To put it another way:

To love is to suffer

In suffering we learn love

So we are here to be human.  In being human we suffer.  In suffering, we have the opportunity to remember love.  And none of this is possible without the opportunity to be human.

For effective tools for moving through suffering to love, read Lauri’s book,  Authentic Freedom!

Judge Not lest ye not be Human

Speaking of being human, a little note on judgment.  I have a confession to make, I sometimes joke about having taken “the red pill” and observe in judgement those who I deem to have taken “the blue pill.”  (This is a reference from the Matrix movies about the choice of truth over illusion.)  In this, I am judging the journey of another.  And…..I know I’m not the only one “on the spiritual path” (ahem…another judgment) that is tempted to hold oneself up as better than another.  Another trap on this path of “enlightenment.”  What I suddenly became aware of as I pondered today’s blog is that every single person on this planet is doing what we came here to do:  BEING HUMAN.  If we are already fully Divine and we are here to be human, then every single human being gets an A+ simply for showing up.  And then I had to wonder if God is just laughing God’s butt off at us as we strive to be “Divine” when really all we are here to do is be human.  Ok, my brain just exploded!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com