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 Authentic Freedom, manifestation, Raised Catholic

The Spiritual Law of Manifesting

As we believe, so shall it be.

 In the popular book The Secret, and all the related pop-culture myths on manifestation, it is said that our thought governs our ability to get what we want.  In other words, “If we want something, all we need to do is think the right thoughts.”  In this mythology, the opposite is also true, “If you are not getting what you want, it is because you have thought the wrong thoughts.”

While there may be some truth to these myths in causal (3D/duality) consciousness, in the world of Unity Consciousness none of this is true. If you are already living in Unity consciousness (or at the least, holding the intention to live from a place of Oneness), if we even try to think our way into manifesting, it will fail and likely blow up in our face.

In Unity consciousness, manifesting what we want isn’t even the question and thought has nothing to do with it.  Instead, manifesting in Unity consciousness is about a process of emptying, being guided, believing, allowing, taking action where needed,  and receiving.

First we have to be emptied of all perceptions and belief systems rooted in the false perception of separation. Most importantly, we have to be healed of all the inner wounds and fears that keep us from remembering our original nature as One with that which some might call “God,” One with ourselves, one with each other and one with all creation.

Then, from this place of intimate connection with Source/our Higher self, we free ourselves of our own plans, ideas, strategies, agendas, itineraries, need to know and to control and be open instead to Higher Guidance – the place where truth resides. We have to receive this truth and believe it no matter how startling, counter-cultural, life-altering it might be.

And then, we have to believe. Belief, I have learned is the key to manifesting the guidance we receive from that place of intimate connection with Source.  As we believe it, so shall it be.  This belief starts with perception.  How do we judge the circumstances of our life and the world around us?  If we believe that what we are seeing is negative and will lead to our destruction, then it will.  If we believe that what we are seeing from a higher perspective, from the Divine perspective colored by love, then we will trust that it will unfold in our highest good (even if what is happening includes a loss, a failure or a disappointment.)  Once we learn to guide our perception to the highest good, then we have faith and trust that all roads are leading to the fulfillment of the guidance we first received.  As we believe it to be, it shall be so.  Then, we allow the natural unfolding of this manifestation and we are open and willing to receive all we need for this dream to be made manifest. And if there is action to be taken on our part, the revelation and guidance of this comes, again, from this place of Oneness.

Emptying. Accepting Guidance.  Believing.  Allowing.  Taking Action when guided.  Receiving.

Let me offer a concrete example of this as I have witnessed it in the Catholic Church of my youth. Every day, while presiding over the mass, the priest takes a simple glass of wine and a plate of unleavened bread (or communion wafers), says a few words and prayers over them and viola, they are suddenly transformed into the body and blood of Christ.  Yes, the appearance of the bread and wine remain, but the substance has been transformed (transubstantiation) into the body and blood of Christ.  This transformation doesn’t not happen because the priest performed the “Jesus magic,” (though that is likely what some Catholics believe); it is because he and the people BELIEVE that the bread and wine have now been transformed so that they may receive the Presence of Christ in consuming the bread and the wine.

  • Emptying so the will of the Divine can be fulfilled.
  • Believing in the guidance and the manifestation of that guidance.
  • Allowing it to be done through us.
  • Taking action where guided.
  • Receiving the manifestation of the Divine guidance.

And the bottom line: As we believe, so shall it be.

The Authentic Freedom Mastery Program and the Magdalene Priestess Training both offer you the tools you need to embody the powers of spiritual manifestation.  Learn more by clicking on the images below:


 

 

 

Posted in 6D, Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Freedom, Lessons, Magic, manifestation

Beyond “The Secret” and the “Law of Attraction”

The Law of Attraction is OUT!

Since the release of The Secret, and other books and videos of a similar vein, the magic formula for manifesting has been credited to the Law of Attraction – giving our thoughts credit for manifesting what we want:  “Think the right thoughts and you will get what you want.”  Even though I will ruffle the feathers of many, especially those who are attached to the law of attraction as the proven method for getting what they want, (or who have made their millions selling books, videos and products predicated on this belief) I must boldly go where no woman has gone before me.  As we evolve to the next stage of our spiritual evolution, THE LAW OF ATTRACTION IS OUT – if it ever was in at all. Here’s why:

thinking-272677_1280

3D Duality-based perceptions

The Law of Attraction arose out of a 3D (duality based) construct – emerging out of the separation between faith and belief.  Faith is a natural and effortless outpouring of the Soul’s knowing of what we need in our life while effortlessly leading us toward it and drawing it toward us.  The voice of the Soul, which arises out of faith, provides the inspiration we need and the energy and motivation required when action is called for.  Faith is effortless…it is a deep inner knowing of our truest nature and the path of our Soul.  Faith is constant, persistent, grounded, sure and unwavering.  Belief, on the other hand, is of the mind and requires effort.  Belief is inconsistent, ungrounded, unsure and wavering as it is driven by the fearful nature of the human condition.  We might think of the distinction between belief and faith, as the difference between knowing in the mind and knowing in the heart.

Three grave falsehoods

In 3D where duality exists and fear reigns, the Law of Attraction may have proven to be effective for some (though maybe they simply mistook the voice of the Soul for thought).  It is important to acknowledge, however, that the Law of Attraction – the idea that “thinking the right thoughts will get us what we want”, is founded on three grave falsehoods:

  1. That what we want is in our highest good.
  2. That thoughts guide manifestation.
  3. That we have control over our thoughts.

 

Beginning with number three:

Thoughts, in and of themselves, are a function of our lower self – and are mostly based on past experiences and future fantasies, never arising out of a state of pure being.  Thoughts are rooted in fears that arise out of our false perception of separation (from ourselves, God, the universe), and are therefore illusory.  Thoughts arise of their own volition and while we can still them and quiet them through mindfulness based, creativity and movement practices, mostly the movement of our thoughts is beyond our control.  We can, however, distinguish thought from faith.  Faith is the voice of the Soul which speaks to us through insight, inspiration, true knowledge, deep knowing, and understanding.  All of these arise out of a state of pure being – those states of consciousness where thought has ceased – where we are one within ourselves,  one with God, one with all of creation.  The mind is still and here the Soul can speak.

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#2 Contrary to what is believed, taught, and sold by many, thoughts do not guide manifestation.  Instead, it is the guidance of the Soul that empowers manifestation – when we allow it to speak – when we accept its guidance, when we still the thoughts (usually fearful or anxiety-ridden) that tell us all the reasons we should not follow the Soul’s guidance, and then take action where appropriate (if action is needed).

#1 What we want is not always in our highest good.   Want arises out of the ego and out of our false perception of separation.  Want arises out of fear, especially out of our egoic perception of lack.  The mind (the origin of want) does not know what is in our highest good…it only knows what it wants.  The voice of the Soul, in contrast. does not speak in the language of want. The Soul knows what is in our highest good and what we need to fulfill our life’s purpose.  What we need arises effortlessly out of an unconditionally loving Source of support who has only our highest good in mind.  When we operate out of the place of faith (Soul), we want for nothing because we understand that wherever we are at this place in our lives is exactly where we need to be for the sake of our Soul’s unfolding. When we function out of a duality based set of perceptions, no matter what we have, it is never enough.

As we evolve and grow as a species and work together to usher in a new world rooted in love instead of fear, the Law of Attraction is one idea that we are being invited to set aside.  In its place is the pure knowledge of Faith – Faith that is the effortless and unbidden guidance of the Soul – if we would only take the time to quiet the mind (and its thoughts) so that we might hear it speak.

In short:

The Law of Attraction requires that we DO something (think the right thoughts).

In the world of Faith – we need only BE.  Our Soul will “do” the rest.

Authentic Freedom Academy provides programs, products (books) and services to assist you in distinguishing the voice of the Soul from fear-based thoughts. Contact Lauri Ann Lumby at (920) 230-1313 or lauri@authenticfreedom.love, to learn more.  

Posted in Spiritual Practices, Superheroes

Why “Thinking and Doing” Don’t Work

In this week’s Superhero report, we explore the Superpower of Manifestation.  Here we learn that Superheroes can ONLY create from a knowing in our heart and why thinking and doing do not work for us.

Superhero Report Monday, August 25, 2014

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The Superpower of Manifesting – how we are super-powered to make things happen.  This has been an especially touchy area for many Superheroes as we have tried and failed to manifest using the tools presented through popular culture, and even through supposed “spiritual” books and training seminars, and God-inspired teachers, on how to “get what you want.”  Last week, I found out why these tools (“The Secret,” “Ask and it is Given,” “Thinking your way to abundance,” “Affirmations,” “Write it down and make it happen,” “Work hard and be rewarded…””God loves you so much….”) don’t work for us.

One of my teachers, Lauren Gorgo, specifically addressed this topic in her 5D  Report last week:  http://thinkwithyourheart.com/16319/brainpower-to-heartpower-enter-5d-creation/ )

In short: Superheroes can’t use their thoughts or minds to manifest.  For Superheroes, the power of manifesting lies within our hearts….more specifically, within our heart’s knowing.  It is our heart that carries the knowledge of our Soul’s imprint – the ways in which we are uniquely gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives and how we are called to serve the betterment of the world.  Within that knowledge is also the knowledge of what we need to accomplish these tasks while having all of our needs met.  The challenge is that all the ways that this knowledge and the fulfillment of needs have been traditionally accomplished in this world (through thinking and doing) DO NOT WORK FOR US!  Thinking and Doing might work for others….but not for the Superheroes.  In fact, the harder we try to “think and do” our way to happiness and abundance, the more we get our ASSES KICKED!

While other people might be content in a life without meaning or purpose, and can therefore manifest through thinking and doing, Superheroes are not and cannot.  When we try to live this way, either we fail, or we are miserable in the trying. We have no choice (it seems) but to live our purpose, as such, in order to manifest, we need to know our heart and allow it to guide us.  Superheroes, therefore, can only manifest through KNOWING and ALLOWING.

KNOWING – is not about thinking, neither is it about the brain.  KNOWING is related to the heart and the imprint of our soul carried there.  KNOWING is about being quiet enough for listening, open enough for hearing and having faith enough to BELIEVE what our heart wants us to know.

ALLOWING is not about doing, but sometimes doing is involved.  More than doing, allowing is about getting the hell out of the way so that heaven can work through us in the way and in the time that is perfect for the Soul’s unfolding.  Allowing requires PATIENCE and TRUST and the ability to SEE the God-given, soul-driven, and heart-guided instructions for DOING when they do arrive, and then DOING them without question – in spite of how crazy it might appear to ourselves, and especially to others.  ALLOWING often requires a LEAP OF FAITH….and a bullet-proof heart for all the dispersions that might be hurled our way as we allow the path of our hearts to manifest.

Let me offer the clearest example of how I have seen this work in my own life.  This example is related to the home in which I am currently living.  Many years ago, as divorce became more and more imminent, a vision of my new home began to materialize.  This was a home I knew in my mind, but more clearly, I knew this home in my heart.  It wasn’t the house itself, but a feeling of what the home would feel like and a few of the key features (office on the first floor, formal dining room, minimum of three bedrooms and two baths).  As divorce proceedings began, so did the house search.  I had a specific budget in mind, and looked and looked and looked at homes within that budget.  NONE of them had the FEELING of the home in my heart.  I continued to look until a home became available.  It was a “fixer-upper” but a handyman became available that would make this house a possibility.  I made an offer, which was countered, I accepted the counter….so the house should have been mine.  But….the house was suddenly, suspiciously and potentially illegally sold to someone else.  I was devastated.  THIS was supposed to be my house….or so I thought.  (What I didn’t know at the time is that the Universe/God intervenes when something is out of alignment with our hearts…..yes, we can force the issue, but in the end we pay for deviating from the path of our Soul.)

So, I continued to look, sad to have lost this house, but undaunted in the vision and feeling of the house that was supposed to be mine.  I looked for another 6 months, never finding the home I knew in my heart.  Everyone said I was crazy and should just pick one that fit my budget.  My realtor said I would never find the home I was looking for in my budget.  I couldn’t explain it….I just KNEW this house in my heart would show up and it would happen in a very magical and miraculous way…..and that it might just fall into my lap.  9 months after beginning the search for the home in my heart, a miracle happened…the house in my heart literally fell into my lap.  A dear friend announced her engagement and that she would be moving into her future husband’s home.  Her home was now available.  HERE was the home in my heart – not at all within my budget, but I KNEW in the deepest part of my Soul that this was the LEAP OF FAITH I had to take.  The home perfectly aligned with the home in my heart…and then some….and the timing and process were miraculous, just as I KNEW they would be.  I immediately called her and asked if she would be interested in renting with the future possibility of selling.  Of course she said yes, and her former home has been my home ever since.  AND…..this home is even better than what my mind could imagine for myself and meets my needs in ways I never thought possible, and somehow, the means have always been there to pay rent, utilities, etc.

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This is just one example, but I can think of several others where miraculous things happened in alignment with my heart along with the opposite – where things were literally torn from my grasp because they were not in alignment with my heart (relationships, jobs, etc.).   The moral of the story, for Superheroes anyway, is to take the time to KNOW our hearts….to know what it wants for us…..to trust it is in alignment with our Soul and our highest good and that the Universe conspires to keep us on the path of our Soul….even if our response is kicking and screaming.  🙂

Reflection Exercise:

In order to facilitate the above practice, it is helpful to remember a past experience where we received something completely in alignment with our hearts, using that as a touchstone for future exercises in manifesting:

  • Bring to mind an experience you have had in your life where you received something in a miraculous or wonderous way that proved to be in alignment with your heart’s greatest knowing – and proved to be something life-giving, reflective of your gifts and which gave you a sense of meaning and purpose. Perhaps it was a job, a group you became a part of, a particular course of study, a relationship.
  • Recall how that experience came to occur in your life.
  • Remember the FEELING of knowing this was RIGHT for you. Rest in that feeling of knowing.
  • Use this FEELING as the gauge with which you measure future opportunities. Be willing to be uncompromising in only allowing things into your life which reflect this feeling…especially the important things – jobs, relationships, schooling, housing, etc.
  • Trust that as you turn to your heart for guidance, it will never steer your wrongly. Believe that what is in alignment with your Soul will SHOW UP at the perfect time in the perfect way. KNOW that you do not need to push or force any of this to happen…..and in fact, when you do, manifesting your heart’s desire will only be thwarted.

 

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Posted in Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Practices, Truth

The Meaning and Purpose of Life

Yesterday, while working with a client, I heard the following words fly out of my mouth:

The goal of our spiritual journey is to believe what we’ve known all along.

Who knew?  While I had not previously thought this thought, as I heard these words come out of my mouth, I knew them to be true. And my client concurred.  The truth of who we are and who we are called to be already lives within us and is just waiting for us to be quiet enough to listen for it, hear it, and most importantly, believe it.  It is only in believing the truth that speaks softly (and sometimes loudly) that we can allow our truth to come into reality and to be fully realized in our life.  Each of us is uniquely gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in our lives and the truth of this gift lives within us waiting to be known.

As a spiritual director, my job is to help my clients:

1) Learn how to take time to listen for the voice of their truth.

2) Learn effective tools for hearing that truth.

3) Help them believe in that truth.

4) Provide them with the tools and support needed to be empowered in that truth.

What is the truth that you have known all along?

Lauri Ann LumbyLauri Ann Lumby is a professional spiritual director trained in the Ignatian tradition.  For support in listening, hearing, believing and living the truths that you have known all along, call (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com .

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Oneness with God, Raised Catholic, The Seven Deadly Compulsions

God or No-God? And Does it Really Matter?

Today’s blog explores belief, specifically our need to cling to the certitude around our beliefs, thereby making everyone else wrong.  Whether we are Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Pagan, Hindu, Jewish, Catholic, atheist or anything in between, how are we called to set aside our perceived separations and find a place of mutual honor and respect? 

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The Core Wound of Separation

In my book, Authentic Freedom – claiming a life of contentment and joy, I reveal the core wound of the human condition – the wound which is the cause of all suffering.  The core wound is our false perception of separation.  The beneficial purpose of this false perception of separation is that it allows us to have an individual and unique experience in this human experiment.  However, this false perception of separation is also the cause of fear along with the compulsive behaviors that arise out of this fear.  When we indulge the fears which arise out of our perception of separation and engage in the resulting compulsive behaviors, we do harm to ourselves, to others and to the world.  In these situations, the perception of separation is no longer supportive of our human experience, but detrimental to it.  The perception of separation has gone awry when it causes us to forget our Oneness within ourselves, with each other and with all of creation.   I call the less than loving actions that come out of this false perception of separation the work of the ego. For our purposes here, ego is the part of us that has forgotten our Oneness and forgotten our original nature as love.  Ego seeks to separate and divide.  There is perhaps no other place that this function of the ego is more obvious than in regards to religious belief.

Ego and Belief

One of the ways we, as human beings, have lived out the divisive function of ego is by creating belief systems and then fortifying these religious beliefs by deciding that we are right and everyone else is wrong.  Separate belief systems, in and of themselves, are not a bad thing.  In fact, creating separate belief systems helps us to find meaning within the context of our geographical, sociological, anthropological and environmental cultures.  As a species,  we thrive when we gather in small, interdependent communities, working toward a common goal with similar motivations.  Our separate belief systems are reflective of and supportive of this need.  Our separate belief systems, however, have gone awry, when instead of supporting our interdependence, they seek to divide.  When I am right and everyone else is wrong, the ego is working hard at sowing the seeds of discord, instead of supporting our original nature as loving, compassionate, harmonious beings.

God or No God?

As a woman raised Catholic in a Western culture, I believe in God.  What this means for me is ever changing as I allow the “old man in the sky” God that was preached at the pulpit transform into a God that is bigger than anything I could every have possibly imagined.  And just when I think I have a handle on God, I find out more.  But what is funny about this is that even in the Catholic Church, there is no agreement on what or who God is or what God looks like…if anything.  In fact, God is spoken of in the Catechism of the Catholic Church as breath, spirit, love, father, mother, lover, healer and it is clearly stated that God is without gender.  For me, these personal as well as nebulous images and descriptions of God works.  It helps me in my journey to sometimes think of a God that exists outside of me as helper, guide, companion, and at other times as a God that dwells within me and maybe even as me.  I can also think of God as none of these things.  I can even go so far as to think of No God.

God vs. No God

As a woman raised Catholic, I also find that I can see beyond my Catholicism and have enjoyed exploring and learning about other faith traditions as well as traditions that are not grounded in a specific system of belief.  I can read and reflect on just about any discussion of philosophy, theology, religion, etc. and be open to hearing and understanding something from another person’s perspective and experience.  I can find that resonates for me as truth and I feel free enough to set aside those things that don’t resonate with me.  In my professional work, I can honor the beliefs and backgrounds of my clients and I can hold these beliefs as sacred, even when they might significantly differ from my own.  I find that I can do this for two reasons: 1) because ultimately, NONE of us knows for certain if God exists or not and I doubt we ever will and 2) because it just doesn’t matter!

It Just Doesn’t Matter

It doesn’t matter because I realize that our belief systems, specifically our attachment to being right, are merely functions of our ego.  We craft our beliefs and cling to our certitude around them because we have forgotten our original nature as ONE with each other and with all that is.  When we remember this Oneness, we live in love, compassion, peace and joy, and we have no need to make ourselves right or better than anyone else.  When we remember our Oneness, we are able to hold each other in mutual acceptance, respect and support and can honor the individual and unique ways in which we choose to live out this human experiment.  In this way, it just doesn’t matter if what works for us is belief in a God or no God at all and we can honor and respect each other for our unique choices and can find the truth in each other’s beliefs regardless of the language or images we use to describe them.

Where do you find yourself clinging to your need to be right?

Where are you tempted to label another’s beliefs as wrong?

How are you being called to remember Oneness so that you can be more tolerant and accepting of another’s beliefs and to find the truth within their beliefs that resonate with you?

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Empowerment, Faith

Effortless Generosity

In today’s blog, we explore faith and good works and the effortless nature of giving when we know and trust in God.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?

Can that faith save him?

If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them,

“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?

So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2: 14-16

The Fear that Keeps us from Giving

In my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, I address the very topic explored in James’ epistle above.  I do not directly relate giving to faith, but in essence that is what we are talking about.  We begin by exploring the first of the seven spiritual fears, there is not enough and how this fear causes us to gather to ourselves more than what we need through the compulsion of gluttony and how we fail to share our resources with others because of this fear.  As we allow this fear to be healed within us, we find that we naturally and effortlessly share our resources with others through the virtue of generosity.  At the end of the day, it is FAITH that allows us to be healed of this wound so that we can freely and generously share what we have with those who have not.  Generosity is our faith in action – and demonstrates how much we really believe in the truth of an abundant God.  When we know that our needs are being abundantly met, then we are free to give to others.  But here is the really cool thing….when we have faith and trust in God, we give to others even when it doesn’t seem as if we have enough to give….in other words, we don’t just give from our surplus, we give from what we might need to survive.  This is true generosity.

Fake it til you Make it

Faith,  however, is not always an easy thing to accomplish.  Whether it is due to our upbringing, our education or religious indoctrinization or just our personal temperment, sometimes we just simply struggle to BELIEVE.  When we don’t believe, generous giving might be a challenge.  But, there is something really magical that happens when we are generous with our resources – regardless of our faith.  There is a universal law of nature that when we give, we get back 100 fold.  I know, it is a leap of faith to believe in this “law” but sometimes faking it (the belief part) and giving anyway has the miraculous effect of establishing within us the foundations of faith.  We might call this, “Fake it til you make it.”  In other words…..give to others when you see they are in need and see what happens in your own life.  Take that $10.00 bill out of your pocket and give it to the homeless guy…just because….and regardless of whether he really needs it or not and whether or not he might use it to buy alcohol or drugs.  Just give it…without condition, without expectation, without judgment……and see what happens.  See if you don’t find something you have needed suddenly showing up in an amazing, wonderful and unexpected way.  Give and see what comes back to you….and let this be the seeds of faith.

The Generosity Challenge

There are  two fabulous resources I have found to help us in this journey toward being an effortlessly generous human beings.  The first, of course, is my book, Authentic Freedom.  🙂  The second is a project called The 29 Day Giving Challenge.   This project is based on the founder’s (Cami Walker) experience of giving and how it freed her from the symptoms of an MS flareup.   Check out her website for details on the project and to get involved if you feel so called.

How Authentic Freedom Ministries is meeting this challenge

In the spirit of faith and generosity, I am pleased to share with you that Authentic Freedom Ministries is putting its resources (not just money), where its mouth is.  What good is all the work we do at Authentic Freedom Ministries if we are not giving back?  Believing in the abundance of God and wanting to freely and generously share our resources, we have recently entered into a community partnership arrangement with one of the local high schools.  Thanks to this partnership, we will be one source of support for the needs of the student and teaching populations of Oshkosh North High School.  With 47% of the student population qualifying for free and reduced lunches and with the continually decreasing resources available to teachers, Oshkosh North High School is in a state of great need.  We will be providing financial, material, networking as well as volunteer support as needed and as we are able.  We hope that this partnership becomes a model and a source of inspiration for other local businesses to follow.

How are you being called to share your gifts and resources in service to humankind?

Where does the fear there is not enough prevent you from giving?

How are you being invited to fake it til you make it?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Book, Faith, Inspiration, Spiritual Practices

Magic, Miracles and the Truth of Abundance

Today’s blog explores the truth of an abundant Universe and the magic and miracles that happen when we believe this to be true.

The First Spiritual Fear

In my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, I reveal the Seven Spiritual Fears that prevent us from living a life of contentment and joy.  The first fear that I reveal is the fear that there is not enough. This fear arises out of our survival needs for food, clothing and shelter, but becomes distorted and irrational, causing us to constantly live in a state of anxiety over money, food, clothing, time, material possessions, money, money, money.  The truth that is the remedy to this fear and also revealed in my book is that the Divine meets all of our needs in abundance.  For most of us, it is a significant leap of faith to even consider the possibility that there is a Divine Source, let alone one who cares enough about us to make sure our needs are being met.  Then when faced with the reality of unemployment, a declining economy, world hunger and poverty, we really doubt this truth.  What we learn, however, is at the highest and deepest levels, this truth ultimately has nothing to do with our material world and has everything to do with our inner terrain.  Our original nature is peaceful and content and that inner state of peacefulness is independent of our external life circumstances.  In other words, even if we are dying of starvation and exposure in a Nazi prison camp, we can still know peace.  A tough pill to swallow to be sure, but this is the peace that God invites us into, invites us to remember and cultivate.  And, it is this deep well of inner peace that will give us comfort no matter what life throws at us.

Practicing What I Preach

Two years ago when it became obvious that divorce was inevitable, one of my teachers prophetically stated, “Well, now you will have an opportunity to practice what you preach.  You will be living the words written in your book.”  As the past 24 months unfolded, I can tell you there were many times I wish I had never written this dang book as I found myself choking on my own words.  Every fear that I teach about in Authentic Freedom came to bite me in the butt and I had to return again and again and again to what I had written.  The fear there is not enough was most certainly the most frequent visitor….and I still struggle with that fear from time to time and sometimes on a daily basis.  I guess the adage is true that we teach what we need to learn!

Proof in the Pudding

I do have to say, however, that everything I wrote in my book proved to be true.  In the face of all of my fears, through adherence to the principles of Authentic Freedom and engagement of the spiritual practices outlined in my book, I have found abundance, my own unique giftedness, empowerment, love, the freedom to generously share my gifts, insight and direction and most importantly the peace of remembering my Oneness with God and with all the Universe.  Specific to the fear there is not enough, the past week has been a glorious reminder of how truly abundant our God is and how our needs are abundantly met when we have faith and believe.  I want to share with you a few examples:

  • When I began this journey 24 months ago, a vision of a house appeared in my prayers – the house that would meet all the needs of myself and my children and my fledgling business.  I found what I thought was “the house” and lost it in a bidding war.  Later, I had a dream of a friend “giving” me a house.  This served as a reminder that the house that was in our highest good would come in some magical and miraculous way.  A month or so later, this is exactly what happened.  My children and I now live in a magical, amazing home that also houses my business and I am head over heels in love with this house!
  • When struggling with the fear there is not enough  last week, I brought it to prayer and in my prayer, I saw a vision of two fish and five loaves of bread.  Duh…..loaves and fishes.  God was giving me a message.  I was smart enough to hear the message and believe it.  I then paid my bills and found I had more than enough money to cover the bills and may have even discovered a $300 error, in my favor, in my bank account.  (still waiting for verification of that error)
  • I have a suggested fee that is in the reach of many of my clients, but out of the reach for some.  My commitment to God has been to offer my gifts without regard to people’s ability (or lack thereof) to pay.  As a result, I have worked out discounts, trades and barters with several clients.  One of my standing “jokes” around my trade and bartering is “Now I just need to find a farmer who will give me food in exchange for Reiki.”  Yesterday it showed up in an even bigger package than what I had asked for.  One client brought produce from her own garden and venison that her husband had hunted.  Another client brought a bag of organic groceries from my favorite Co-op in Madison.  When it rains it pours!
  • In an effort to meet my client goal for the week, I posted a message on Facebook, inviting past and current clients and friends to send people my way.  That very day, I got three new clients….completely unrelated to the Facebook request.

So, I guess the moral of the story is that God really does meet our needs when we have faith and believe.  And in those moments when I find I am unable to believe or trust in an abundant God, this is the prayer that gives me comfort:

Lord, Help me in my unbelief.

Because I have also found that all the praying in the world sometimes doesn’t calm our fears….and in those moments I know that only God can help me to believe.

Where do you struggle with the fear “there is not enough?”

What tools do you have for moving through that fear into belief in abundance?

Where do you turn to God for help when you are afraid?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Faith, God

What if God isn’t?

Today’s post explores the unexplorable, the unanswerable, the unponderable….in the mind of some people – the unforgivable. What if God isn’t?

Facebook Dangers 🙂

The image above was found floating around Facebook this weekend.  I read it and LOVED it! I immediately shared it on my wall, thereby inviting a firestorm of comments.  None of the comments were negative, in fact, most were either a “like” or something like, “YAY.”  One comment, however, struck me right between the eyes.  The comment was, What if god isn’t?  HMMMMM   I had never even considered that possibility.  This comment made me think, it made me reflect and  it made me sad.

The Unanswerable Question

Of course, there is NO answer to that question, “What if god isn’t” because, there is also no answer to the question,  “What if God is?”  At the end of the day, we do not know, we have no proof, we have no evidence.  And, unfortunately, unless God steps out of “the sky” and plants his or her feet on this earth (and THAT is a topic for a whole other blog!), or is spotted playing Skeeball at Coney Island (let me know if you get that reference 🙂 ), or unless we die and go to “heaven” and meet God face-to-face….we will never know.   So until any of those events transpire, we have nothing to go on but FAITH in a God that may or may not exist.  I for one, choose faith.

Being a Fool for God

So, to the enlightened, the educated, the scholarly, I may appear the fool because I CHOOSE to believe in a benevolent God.  I choose to believe that there is a Higher Power, a Creative Source that is beyond me, that made me, that can be a source of guidance, support, nourishment, mercy, healing, love, insight, understanding, wisdom and empowerment.  I choose this belief because I have found that when I believe in God, my life is better.  And when it is not, I know that there is a loving God carrying me through the struggles, the pain, the loneliness, the loss, the betrayal and the tragedies…and when I surrender to this God, believe in this God, the doors open where I before thought they were closed, a light shines in the darkness and I am able to find HOPE where perhaps there had only been despair.  Believing in God keeps me going through the ups and downs of the human condition and allows me to seek beauty in ugliness, peace in the face of fear, clarity in the midst of confusion and strength in times of struggle.  And when I think about this really hard, I guess it doesn’t really matter if there is a God or not because it might just be the belief that gets us through and it might just be belief that helps us find meaning in a life that would otherwise seem meaningless.  But even if God doesn’t exist, and this is all there is, I still choose to BELIEVE because after what I have experienced, why would I choose otherwise?  And if I chose to not believe in God, then it would clearly be a matter of “Life sucks and then you die,” and that would just be sad.  So instead of sadness or despair, I choose God, and if that makes me the fool…..then so be it!

And here are a few God songs ….just for fun!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USR3bX_PtU4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7Qpp1QJpxc

How has belief in a benevolent God helped you in your life?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Inspiration, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Belief vs. Direct Experience – Why I do what I do.

Do we believe what we believe because we are told to believe it, or do we believe because we have had a direct experience that shows us that it is true?  As we grow spiritually, we become more insistent on the latter rather than the former and this is a sign of healthy spiritual growth.

George Harrison

Yesterday I had the great opportunity to watch Part I of the Martin Scorsese  documentary on George Harrison.  While insight into his life as a Beatle was interesting, I was most struck by his spiritual journey.  George was raised Catholic and in adulthood discovered Eastern (specifically Indian) meditation, became a student of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and pursued a path of spiritual practice and discipline that radically altered his interior life.  I can’t give you the exact quote, but he says something in the documentary about belief and how we can’t believe something until we have had a direct experience of it…and I could not agree more.  It was this direct correlation between experience and true belief that drove George to want to share meditation and other spiritual practices in the world so that we could all know the peace he had found in direct experience.  I deeply resonated with his passionate commitment to this task as it is for this very reason that I do the work that I do.

Believe it Because I Told You

Having been raised Catholic, there were many things I was taught to believe because the priest, the women religious and my parents told me to believe it.  I was told to believe this because these were the things that Catholics believed.  Fortunately, my heart told me other things in regards to many of these teachings and I later found out that some of these things weren’t even Catholic teachings (or had been reformed through the Vatican II Council).  But the attitude remained – “believe it because we tell you to and do what we tell you because we tell you to.”  Nowhere in this “telling” were there any opportunities to come to understand, know or come to believe these teachings on my own.  Blind obedience was the expectation.  And since God had planted some sort of rebellious, questioning, spirit within me, I could not just simply believe because I was told and lived my life knowing that at best, I was a Catholic in questionable standing.

Spontaneous Direct Experience

One of the things that fueled my resistance to blind belief was that as far back as I can remember, I had what I now understand to be “direct experiences” of God.  Mostly these experiences came while I was praying at mass or saying my bedtime prayers.  I can’t really explain these experiences except to say that when they happened, it felt like some sort of energy within me was being uplifted, raised up and elevated and it felt like it was joining with God on some unseen plane.  If I were to give the energy a name, I would call it wonder, reverence and awe.  In that place, I felt peaceful, calm, safe and alone with God.  It was in this space that I came to KNOW (not just because someone told me) that God was loving, kind, tender, compassionate, joyful, silly and passionate.  I KNEW that God loved without condition and that in the end, WE ALL return to this Source that I called God.  I KNEW there to be no judgment in this God, neither was there separation….only ONENESS.

Creating the Space for Direct Experience

All of these Direct Experiences of the Divine that I was having were coming about spontaneously and were not due to any specific spiritual practice other than simply showing up.  Then, in my adulthood, I had the great opportunity to learn the rich tradition of Western/Christian spiritual practice.  This tradition includes, Lectio-Divina, Imagination/Contemplation, Mantra Prayer, Chant, Centering Prayer, Meditation and Contemplation.  Learning these practices gave me the tools through which I could not only increase, but expand my experiences of the Divine.  I immediately took to these practices and embraced them with my whole heart.  By engaging in these practices, scripture suddenly became relevant, the mass took on a whole new meaning and purpose, eucharist became an opportunity to receive Christ, I came to know Jesus more deeply, intimately and ecstatically, I came to find and embrace the Catholic teachings that were rooted in compassion and justice and could now believe them in my heart, not just in my mind because I was told to do so.  Everything came alive after embarking on this path of spiritual discipline.  Additionally, I found greater peace, I found direction in my life, guidance, support….and most importantly….I FOUND LOVE.  I came to know the love of God in my heart, saw it living in the world and came to know myself as a reflection of God’s love….and all of humanity with me.

Why I Do What I Do

So, this is why I do what I do.  I have found tools through which I came to KNOW God, to KNOW myself and to find purpose and direction in my life.  I found tools that help me find peace, joy and love and the motivation to live a life of generosity and compassion.  I found tools that make me want to work for peace and harmony, justice and freedom in our world.  And….I think that these are the things that in our heart of hearts we are all looking for.  So……I share these tools.  I share what I have come to know about God.  I share peace, compassion and love.  And I hope that in the sharing, others will experience the peace and joy that I have found and are then motivated to share that with others.  And maybe just then we will ALL know the truth of heaven here on earth.

How have you come to know God in your heart?

What tools have helped you to find peace, compassion and joy?

How are you being invited to make a commitment to your own spiritual practice?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com