Posted in Raised Catholic

Is Lauri Lumby Still Catholic?

Google Analytics cracks me up. Apparently two different people found my website this morning by typing in the very same question, “Is Lauri Lumby Still Catholic?”  My daughter and I shared a laugh over this.  Really? Who are the two people that felt the need to seek Google for an answer to this question?  I also want to know, is there someone besides me who has an answer to this question?

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The answer to this question is of course, multi-layered.

According to official Catholic teaching, of course I am still Catholic. I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church, and according to the Church, once a Catholic, always a Catholic.  You can’t be un-Catholicized. (I believe there are exceptions to this rule, such as being accused of the sin of apostasy.  I have been accused of many things, but apostasy is not one – that I’m aware of anyway!)

My blood and my bones tell me I’m Catholic. As much as I have tried, I can’t get the imprint of Catholicism out of my soul.  There is a kind of sensibility that becomes part of your soul when raised Catholic – especially when you have loved the Church in the way that I have.  My life cycles follow the Church calendar.  My favorite architecture is gothic cathedrals.  Stained Glass Windows make my heart sing.  Incense feels like a hug.  And I am ritualistic by nature.  Step into my house and you might even feel like you are in a church….little altars everywhere.

More important than either of the above – Jesus is my teacher. But he is more than my teacher, he is my Beloved.  He is my Beloved in the way he was the Beloved of St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila.  As a mystic who follows the Spiritual Exercises and Rules of Discernment of St. Ignatius of Loyola, I am Catholic in every sense of the word….except the two that the Institution of the Catholic Church probably counts as valid.

In my eyes I am still Catholic. In the eyes of the Institutional Church, perhaps not.  Of course I cannot speak for the Church, but I do know about a HUGE file with my name on it in the office of a Catholic Bishop who shall not be named, likely reporting every perceived way in which I have broken with Catholic teaching and committed heresy, as reported by the self-appointed local inquisition.  Included in these reports would be:

  • My continued work with Reiki.
  • My mention of the possibility of Jesus having been married.
  • My insistence that Mary Magdalene had a WAY bigger role in Jesus’ life and ministry and in the continuation of his work than we have been led to believe.
  • My call to the priesthood and the ways in which I have found to live out that call, in spite of the Church’s insistence otherwise.
  • My insistence that the Church be held accountable for its sins, especially the long history of discrimination and violence against women, and most especially, the long history of sexual abuse of children, and that it remove the plank from its own eye before pointing out the splinter in our eyes.
  • My prayer, hopes and dreams that the Church return to its original mission of being a force of love, peace, justice and harmony in the world and that it begin by becoming this to its own people. (Thank you Pope Francis for leading this charge!!!!!)
  • My continued decision to fast from the Eucharist. (Read about this decision HERE).

So, while I still consider myself Catholic, perhaps the Church does not. But since inquiring minds want to know…..here is why I have never jumped ship even when there are a million other ways I could be living out my belief in Jesus and there are a million other denominations who would probably be happy to be the recipients of my gifts:

BECAUSE GOD WOULDN’T LET ME!

And not because I haven’t tried.  Three separate times with three separate denominations, I have discerned ordained priesthood, because I was invited to by leaders of said denominations to do so.  Every single time, saying yes to the call of the priesthood ( a call I authentically have), meant denying my Catholicism and officially breaking from the Church so I could become an official member of said denomination.  Every single time, God barred the way.  No matter how hard I tried to NOT be Catholic, through my discernment, I realized I could not.  I could not forsake the faith of my bones.  So while the Catholic Church is not a place in which I can share the fullness of the gifts and the call God has given me, there is no other church to which I can belong.

So, yes, I’m still Catholic – at least in my own eyes and apparently in the eyes of God.

This is good enough for me.

 

 

Posted in Beloved Partnership, Relationships

Visions of the Beloved

Dodili

“The Beloved” has been interpreted in several different ways across a diversity of fields. In the Hindu, Jewish, and Christian traditions, “The Beloved” is the Divine calling us into a deeper more intimate relationship, often appearing in the respective traditions’ images of Divine embodiment – Krishna, Radha, Sita, Ram, Jesus, and in the Hebrew tradition – the Lover and Beloved in the book Song of Songs.  In the world of psychology, “The Beloved” is the unintegrated parts of ourselves calling to be integrated within us.  In the material world, “The Beloved” represents our desire for a healthy, interdependent, loving partnership. 

In my own life, The Beloved has made himself known in a multitude of ways. While the Beloved had visited me prior to the vision I share here, this is the vision that propelled me in a search that has ultimately been about all of the above mentioned – a more intimate relationships with the Divine, a deeper relationship with Jesus, the unintegrated parts of myself (including my shadow), and the search for beloved partnership.  This is a search that continues to unfold, revealing a multitude of challenges as well as a multitude of fruits. In this vision, I saw and knew for the first time, what it means to be adored and to be enthusiastically loved without condition, but also what it means to lose such a love.

Druids Circle, Penmaenmawr, Wales. credit: Ian Honeywood,
Druids Circle, Penmaenmawr, Wales. credit: Ian Honeywood,

It is a warm, sunny day. I am sitting on the crest of a grassy hill overlooking a small, medieval village.  I am sitting in the center of a low stone circle and am aware of the smell of the grass beneath me, along with the faint smell of the sea as it is carried along the breeze.  I can see the sea in the distance to the right of and behind me.  The village is nestled in front of me at the bottom of the hill.

Dusk comes and I am aware of the sun setting behind me and to my right. I am dressed in a medieval peasant gown.  As the sun sets, I watch as the town fires and torches are lit and as candlelight begins to glow from within the buildings and homes of the village.

The old druid, the keeper of the henge comes toward me. He joins me in the stone circle and beckons me to depart the circle and to take the stone-lined pathway down to the village.  He says, “There, you will find what you are looking for.”

I descend the hill, guided by the totems of stones which line the path. I approach the village and am aware of the horses and carts, businesses closing, people walking and talking.  The energy is peaceful and pleasant and I am aware that it is a time of peace.  My thinking mind believes that it is in the church that I will find what I am looking for, but instead, I find I am led to a modest dwelling.  I approach the dwelling and know that I do not need to knock – that I am welcome here.

I enter and see in the middle of the room a man stopped over a chair he is repairing. He looks up and smiles broadly at me.  I feel my heart leap in my chest for the look he gives me is one of complete adoration and the deepest, most intimate and knowing love.  He is filled with joy to see me.  I feel completely loved and adored and held in the gaze of the complete safety of being fully known and fully loved.

He begins to rise to embrace me as our children burst past him, beating him to the hug. He stands back smiling proudly, lovingly and adoringly.  We exchange a look of pure love, joy and contentment.  As I gaze upon him, I see he is tall and dark with dark shoulder-length hair, messy from working and on his face is a closely cut beard with flecks of gray. He reminds of a combination of Jesus and Aragorn from Lord of the Rings.

Aragornjesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this vision of pure joy, I am aware of all the previous visions I had had of this man – of the life we had together, the joys, the gifts, how our respective gifts were expressed in this life, the great passion we had with each other….and of how it all came to an end when war come to our land and how he was killed in the war. I feel the overwhelming and excruciating pain of that loss and am brought to my knees with grief.  My soul is torn in two and this is where the vision comes to an end.

 

 

Posted in Inspiration

Our Divine Mother Speaks

The Mother says:

“I got it from here. There is nothing more for you to do or to heal or clear.  Simply step into my embrace and let me carry you.”

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5000 years ago when the warring hoards stormed into the fertile lands with their vengeful and jealous god, I have been barred from the human race. Supplanted in favor of a god who is only male and mostly angry, I was forced into the shadows, along with my Beloved partner – the God of love.

Rejected by the human race in favor of a god who manipulates through fear, power and control, We withdrew to a place behind the veil until the day we knew would one day come, when humanity would grow tired of the violence that comes in worshipping only fear.

While remaining in the shadows, We have never forgotten Our love for the world that We created or of the beings we made to walk upon her verdant soil. Neither have we ever stopped loving our children – even though they rejected Our image and Our love.

We are the love that existed before time.

We are the love that brought all things into being.

We are the love that resides in your hearts waiting to be catch fire in you so that you can become the magnificent creatures We made you to be.

 

The Psalmist knew us. She called us Darkness and Light; Wisdom and Truth.

Solomon’s lover knew us. She called us Lover and Beloved.

Jesus knew us as Mother and Father.

John the Beloved, knew us as Word and Wisdom, Alpha and Omega, The Queen of Heaven and her King.

To those who were opened, We whispered Our Presence, revealing Ourselves in magnificent visions of love and light. Throughout history our Presence has been made known through the saints, the prophets and the mystics, and to those with ears to hear and eyes to see.  In spite of the voice of these who see and heard and knew, humanity continued to choose fear over the Presence and Action of love.

Once again it seems humanity is at a crossroads, which is why We have chosen, once again, one from among you (one among many) to be our voice. Speaking through our daughter Lauri, The Mother now speaks:

My dear and beloved children, there are no human words to express the great and abiding love I have for you – a love greater than any human love you have ever known. A love greater than the love you have for your own children.  A love greater than your parents’ love for you.

As your Divine Mother, the One who loved you into being, I love you simply because I made you. In this, you are a part of Me. You don’t have to earn my love and my love cannot be taken away. You are never, ever, ever, separate from my love, you only think that you are.  You think that you are separate because you believe love is in the mind and you seek to find it there, instead of turning to Me in your heart where I have always been.

In this love I have for you, because you are a part of me and I am the Divine embodiment of love itself, I want so much for you – so much more than you will ever allow or create for yourselves, as long as you continue to believe yourself to be separate from my love. There is nothing you can do and nothing you need to heal or clear to be One with my love.  You need simply step into my embrace and let me carry you to where my love wants you to be.  Knowing the love that you are and living that love freely and unencumbered in your own unique way through the gifts I have given you so that you may be my love in the world and so that the world might remember:

Once upon a time, the world was only love.

Remember me and the world will be this love again.

 

Posted in Gifts of Contemplation, Inspiration, Mystics

Seeking the Beloved – Guest Blogger Bob Russo

Today’s blog comes from reader, Bob Russo.  Raised Catholic and bothered with a soul that is discontent, Bob has found peace in the contemplative journey and the life of a mystic.  Thank you Bob for your inspiring words and humble witness.  (See Bob’s personal bio below)

BobRusso

Where does one begin to discuss a spiritual journey that from the “outside” has no particular appearance or definition?   I lead an ordinary life – going to work – doing stuff around the house – calling friends – viewing old Westerns with my wife – and watching an occasional football or baseball game.   As a youth, I played a lot of baseball.  Sports saved me, especially as a young boy with a lot of nervous energy.

But, behind the outer appearance has always been a soul discontent with “ordinary” reality – or a life experienced only within the confines of the ego or condition self.  From an early age, I sought quiet time alone – often sitting in church after school (I attended 12 years of Catholic School), not so much to pray, but to be still and listen to my surroundings.  I could hear the sparrows chirping in the distance and the peace they brought to my heart.

But, the real “kicker” began on a high school camping trip in the Sierra Nevada in 1970.  One evening, I slipped away from camp alone to view the vast expanse of the starry universe.  This was my first experience seeing space with such clarity – having been raised in the city.  While viewing, I felt a sense of “nothingness” – that all the so-called problems of life were just insignificant compared to the vastness of life that we really are!  I felt a kinship and oneness with this great universe of ours.  And, I felt an immense sense of relief of having to be “somebody” to be “something”.  The experience was short-lived but had a lasting impression on me.  I was 16 years old at the time.

All through these early years, I was a practicing Catholic – attending Mass regularly, going to confession, etc.  The Church was instrumental in laying a foundation for my spiritual life.  It gave roots to this tree that would spring forth into uncharted territory.

While living in Montana in 1974, and after having read the Gospel of John, I began to develop an interest in contemplative spirituality.   I felt this longing to experience God directly instead of just talking about the Divine.  At the time, there was no mystical tradition available to lay Catholics.  So, like many others from my generation, I sought the experience of God through Eastern mysticism, which was gaining much popularity in the West by the late 60s and early 70s.

In the winter of 1975, I decided to experiment with peyote as a means of reaching a state of altered conscious awareness.  With my good friend, Carl, on a sunny Saturday winter morning in Missoula, we decided to do our peyote experiment.  We took a small dose and then went for a walk through town in the fresh snow to enjoy the adventure.

Around 3 hours later, something happened to me.  It was as though my internal dialogue and “ego” consciousness were placed on hold.   I felt completely in the present moment with an open heart.  I felt a kinship with people I would see and the mountains around me.   I felt immense love for life – all was love!

After that experience, I had faith that this experience of love, brotherhood, and oneness could be found through the inner path to God – through deep prayer and meditation.  And, consequently, this has been my path to this day – although it has taken various forms and stages.

It has been a path of joy and equally so a path of tears, dryness, and longing.   I have had periods of deep questioning asking myself, “does God even exist and is this spiritual stuff just another big joke?”  “And, what do I know about any of this spiritual stuff anyway?”  The answer that came to me brought with it a sigh of relief – absolutely nothing – there is nothing to try and figure out!!

But, even during the “dark night” periods, I have felt this inner calling to continue with spiritual practice.  I have learned to forget about any “goals” and just show up –whether in meditation or present to outer life!  And, certainly, don’t take it all too seriously!

If I were to draw a conclusion on the contemplative life it would be that the journey is the path and destination all rolled into one.   Often times, the wounds in my life have been the gateway to further insights or what Father Richard Rohr refers to as “falling upward”.   It’s in those moments that the opportunity is given to let-go of the control switch and surrender to the unknown and to God.  This requires tremendous courage, which I have failed to embark upon on so many occasions.  But, rest assured, there is always another opportunity waiting in the “on-deck circle”!

And so, the longing continues and yet it is a welcomed sign today as opposed to something to attempt to get rid of.   In the past, I often wanted a teacher, technique or practice that would make that pain subside.  But perhaps the Sufis have it right in this regard – that longing is a gift that fuels us to our Beloved in the heart.  And, in this longing is an unexpected gift or signature from God reminding us of an agreement we made with him or her a long time ago?

And so the journey continues ….

Bob Russo has been a student of Eastern and Western contemplative practice since 1974.  He enjoys quiet time in Nature along with hiking, gardening, and an occasion day in the surf.  He has been happily married to his wife, Valerie, for 31 years.  Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he currently resides in Murrieta California.  He has recently been influenced by the writings and Men’s Rite of Passage program of Fr. Richard Rohr and the Sufi teachings as presented by Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.

Posted in Being Human, Midlife Journey, Relationships, Returning book

Soulmate, Twin Flame, Unrequited Longing

Today’s post speaks to the longing that we all experience for connection – a longing that manifests in unique ways for each individual.  Sometimes this longing reaches out to us through our dreams, our imaginings, a restlessness that cannot be contained or a heart-ache that cannot be quenched.  The connection that we long for it at once outside of us and within us as we seek to be reunited with the lost and forsaken parts of ourselves and as we seek to live out that wholeness in partnership with another.  Some might call this outside search as the journey toward our soulmate or twin flame, others might simply experience it as unrequited longing.  I call it the search for The Beloved.

LadyofShallot

In Search for the Beloved

My Beloved,

When I go to the deepest places in my heart, you are there….gazing back at me with adoring eyes, holding out your hand to me, pulling me toward yourself, stroking my hair, holding me, kissing my lips, drying my tears.  I know that I have known your presence and I ache for you.  I miss you with a missing that feels like a sword piercing my heart, tearing me in two.  You have wandered in and out of my sleeping and waking dreams, beckoning me to you in a way that sometimes seems cruel.  How long will you hide your presence from me?  How much more patience must I bear?  I sought you.  I waited for you.  I made great sacrifices for you.  Yet, still I find you are not here and I am forced to grieve the disappointment.

So, what is there left for me to do?  Should I give you up?  Decide you are merely a figment of my overactive imagination and forsake the idea, the hope of an enduring love?  Am I to give you up and live my life knowing you will not come and forever be unsatisfied?  Do I look elsewhere and settle for less?  I ask for you to speak, yet you do not answer.  I work to keep my heart open, to sustain the hope, to keep the light burning that will lead  you home, but I find I do grow tired.  My heart grows heavy and tears fall like rain from my eyes.  I’m tempted to let the light grow dim, to close my heart to you and to continue on in the way that I came – alone.  If you have an answer for me, I’m listening, but I don’t know for how much longer.

Look for more on the midlife experience of longing in my upcoming book, Returning – a woman’s midlife journey to herself, coming in May.

 

Posted in Divine Revelation, Inspiration, Spiritual Practices

You Are Loved

In today’s blog I share with you the words that came to me during my yoga practice yesterday morning.  I believe these are words for all of us!

Worthiness and Love

Of late, I have been reflecting on worthiness – specifically worthiness of being loved.  This love is of course about our intimate human relationships, AND I know at the deepest core of my being, that this worthiness is ultimately about Divine Love and our ability to believe we are loved unconditionally, infinitely and beyond measure.  As in worthiness of human love, we might hear that God loves us, but do we actually believe it?  Most of the time and for most human beings, I would say the answer is “NO.”  And what I have learned is that until we not only hear this love, but believe in it….with our whole hearts and souls, we are without peace, joy, compassion, mercy and fulfillment.  In other words, it is in REMEMBERING the LOVE that WE ARE…..that we find peace, contentment and joy.

God Speaks

So I showed up for yoga class yesterday morning with these thoughts wrapped around my aura.  Before beginning class, our instructor usually invites us to state within ourselves an intention for our practice.  I didn’t have a specific intention for the morning, so I simply sat in silence, waiting.  Then, clear as a bell, I hear God speak.  And this is what God said to me, “You are my beloved daughter, and with you I am well pleased.”  Yeah, Yeah….I know this is scriptural….and that it comes from the scriptural narratives about Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by John.  And…..I also believe these are not only God’s words for Jesus….but are God’s words for us as well.  And…..hearing these words yesterday made me wonder, “Is this the truth Jesus had to hear, know, embrace and embody before he could embark upon his own healing ministry?”  I think perhaps it is!  So I used these words as a mantra during my yoga practice and allowed myself to not only hear these words, but begin to believe them.   And in being present to these words, I felt peaceful, joyful, grounded and secure.

My Prayer for You

So, here is my prayer/invitation for you today – that you take these words, You Are my Beloved Daughter/Son, and with You I am Well Pleased – imagine that God is saying these words directly to and about you……and believe that God is addressing you in this way.  Then, let your heart be open to hearing, believing, embracing and embodying this truth…..BECAUSE…….YOU ARE LOVE…..YOU ARE LOVED…..YOU ARE WORTHY….And the quicker you know this….the quicker you will know peace, contentment, fulfillment and joy!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Jesus, Lessons, Spiritual Practices

Finding the Fulfillment of Love

Today’s blog explores one spiritual practice that helps us to integrate the principles described in yesterday’s guest blog, and chapter six in my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming Contentment and Joy

 

Seeking Love

As we were reminded in yesterday’s blog by guest blogger, Swami Nithyananda, if we are seeking love in our lives, the first thing we need to acknowledge is that love is NOT something we can get from another person.  Love is not a commodity to be bought, sold, earned or denied.  Love is our very nature and therefore can only be found within ourselves.  If we seek to have loving relationships with others, we have to start by knowing the love within ourselves…only then can we be unconditionally loving toward ourselves and toward another.  When we know the love that we are, we resonate with the energy of that love and reflect it out into the world.   In doing so, others are reminded of their own loving nature and may also decide to seek to know the love with themselves.

 

Coming to Know this Love

The journey to knowing the love that we are has many possible paths.  For me, I have found knowing God through scripture, meditation, prayer, ritual, worship, service, contemplation, writing, being in nature and working with amazing teachers (including my therapist, spiritual director, family, friends, etc. ) have all been helpful and supportive vehicles for coming to know this love.  There is one tool, however, that I have found to be most helpful (for me anyway) and that is the practice of Bhakti Yoga.

 

Devotion to the Beloved

Bhakti yoga is the spiritual practice of intense devotion to “The Beloved.”  While this practice has been officially named as such by the Hindu and Yogic traditions of India, the practice of devotion has also been a big part of the Hebrew and Christian traditions.  In this practice, meditation, prayer, chant, and worship are focused and directed toward the Divine imagined as our lover and beloved.  In the Yogic tradition, the Divine might be imagined as Krishna, Radha, Shiva, Shakti, etc.  In the Hebrew tradition, we may direct our attention toward Adonai, Elohim, the Shekinah, YHWH.  In the Christian tradition, devotion is directed toward Jesus.  The specific tool that I have found to be most helpful in this practice of devotion is sacred chant or Kirtan.

Hare Krishna/Hare Christos/Hare Adonai

In Bhakti yoga, one of the primary tools of devotion to the beloved is chant or Kirtan (chant done in a call and response format).  Chanting the names of the beloved is said to change our own vibration to more closely reflect the love of the Divine and to bring us into resonance with the love that is our truest nature.  In chanting the sacred names, we are healed, transformed, brought into harmony with the Divine in love, peace and joy.  The Hare Krishna chants, those to Rama, Radha, Sita, etc. all work toward this end.  The exciting thing is that in the Hindu and Yogic traditions, these names are universal…meaning that they all reflect aspects of THE ONE GOD and therefore transcend belief, dogma, doctrine or denomination.  I have embraced this practice, holding my personal guru (Jesus) in my mind while chanting these sacred names and have experienced great benefit from this practice.  I find that chanting the sacred names helps me to calm my monkey mind and to find the peaceful calm within that I had previously found to be elusive and nearly impossible to attain.  Additionally, I have found that I have come to know more deeply the love within that is more reflective of my truest nature.  I have found that life flows more freely and effortlessly.  I know more freedom and joy and my external relationships more closely reflect a deep and abiding love.

 

Getting Started

So, here is a little You Tube clip of George Harrison engaged in his own practice of Bhakti- devotion to the beloved….and a great way to get started on your own path to finding the fulfillment of love:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7eFQMakhDE

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in codependency, Lessons, Spiritual Practices

Into the Arms of the Beloved

Love, relationships, desire, passion….all things that drive the human experience.  How do we stay grounded in wholeness and not get thrown out into the ethers as we try to cultivate healthy, intimate, loving relationships?  I certainly don’t have the answers….but I do know of a spiritual practice that does help us in our quest for love.

 

 

Teaching what I need to Learn

I’m just saying this from the get-go……I know nothing about love.  I used to think I knew everything….then I got married, had joy, suffered loss, struggled, got divorced.  Apparently I didn’t know everything….and there are a billion lessons I have learned being in relationship with one individual for nearly 20 years.  Much of what I learned were all the things I did wrong and all the illusions I brought into the relationship that later proved to be false, along with all my unhealed childhood wounds that probably made an enduring relationship impossible from the start.  And while it is easy to be jaded or disillusioned about partnership, I find I still want healthy intimacy and still long for an enduring partnership.  HHHMMMM   Maybe I’m human.

Human Longing

While it would be really easy to say, “I will just be alone.  I know how to do that and I do it well,” I also recognize that as human beings, we are programmed to be in relationship.  We are a relational species and function best when in partnership and living in community.  So, while there is a profound temptation to escape into the woods into a hermitage all my own, I also recognize that we are all called to partnership and to seek out healthy intimacy.  The problem is that sometimes this longing comes out sideways and compels us into compulsive, co-dependent, addictive, unhealthy behaviors.  This is where spiritual practice becomes all the more necessary and beneficial toward our goal of healthy partnership.

Coming out Sideways

There is one primary fear and its resulting compulsion that drives the “coming out sideways” behaviors of our inborn drive for partnership.  In chapter six of my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, we explore the fear and its compulsion in detail.  In summary….the fear is, I am not loved and the compulsion is Envy.  When we have forgotten that love is our very nature, is who we are and who we are called to be, we seek for love outside ourselves, falsely believing that “that perfect someone” will make us feel whole, complete, loved.  WRONG!  There is nothing outside of us that can do any of these things.  Love, fulfillment, completion, wholeness are inner qualities and can only be found by seeking and journeying inward.  The good news, however, is that as we come to know the love that we are within ourselves, our external, intimate and personal relationships begin to reflect this love.  So in our search for healthy intimacy, the journey starts within!

Seeking and Finding the Beloved – the Practice of Bhakti Yoga

There is a beautiful spiritual practice that comes from the Hindu/Yogic tradition called Bhakti Yoga.  Bhakti yoga is the yoga of devotion, specifically, devotion to the “Beloved” within.  What is amazing to me is that this kind of practice is also present within both the Hebrew and Christian traditions, perhaps less obviously so, but it is there.  In Bhakti yoga, our spiritual practice is given over to rapt attention upon the Divine Beloved that resides within.  One might image the Divine Beloved as any of the Hindu expressions of the Divine – Krishna, Ganesh, Kali, Radha, etc.  In the Christian tradition, Jesus. Mary Magdalene or Mother Mary would be the image, in the Hebrew Tradition – YHWH or his forgotten feminine consort – Asherah.  And what is great about Bhakti practice is that it can take many forms, the focus being attention to the image of the Divine Beloved while engaging in whatever spiritual practice you might feel called to in the moment- Chant, Meditation, Yoga, Creative endeavors, etc.  The goal is to keep your mind fixed upon the image and the idea of the Beloved, allowing one’s self to connect more and more fully with the abundant outpouring of Love embodied by the Beloved and to sink more and more fully into remembering the Love that we are as reflected by the Beloved.  As Bhakti practice unfolds, we eventually find that there is no longer the illusion of separation between ourselves and the Divine Beloved, but that we have become one.  In this space, we remember fully the love that we are and freely and generously live that out in the world and our outward relationships begin to reflect the knowledge of this love.

Shameless Self-Promotion

If you live in the Fox Valley area and are interested in exploring this topic more deeply, I am offering a program, Conquering Co-Dependency and Opening to the Fulfillment of Love on Monday evenings starting on Monday, September 26th.  Just know….this is the teacher teaching what she needs to learn….and we will all be students in this process!

Where are you seeking outside yourself for “the person who will complete me?”

What kind of healthy intimacy do you long for?

How can you begin that search through connecting with the Divine Beloved that resides within?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com