Posted in Authentic Freedom Book, Spiritual Practices

Christian Enlightenment Unleashed

In today’s blog I reveal the topic of my upcoming book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy which is being released this April through St. Johann Press!  The theme?  Spiritual Growth.  Spiritual Guidance.  Christian Mystical and Contemplative Practices.  In a word:  Enlightenment!

As most of my readers know, I was blessed (I know, some might call this a curse) with twelve years of Catholic school education.  I was one of those weird kids that actually liked going to mass and learning about God, Jesus, etc.  I continued to enjoy my Catholic faith into my adulthood and even pursued advanced education in Catholic theology, etc.  What I did not know was the part of my post-undergrad education that would dramatically alter my life.

Hiding in Plain Sight

In my first year of formation as a Lay Pastoral Minister, I had the great opportunity to take a class called Integrative Spirituality with Sr. Marie Schwan, CSJ.  In this class, I learned of the mystical tradition of my Catholic (btw, Catholics don’t own this tradition!!!!) faith.  We had the opportunity to learn and put into practice specific techniques of contemplative prayer and meditation that empowered us to discover and cultivate a deeply intimate and personal relationship with the Divine.  These tools, I discovered, were the tools of the Christian tradition that provided for those who adhered to these tools the path to enlightenment.  What I further discovered was that these tools were not readily accessible to lay people (like myself), and that the majority of men in the ordained diocesan priesthood had ABSOLUTELY NO TRAINING OR EXPERIENCE in using these tools.  These tools had been guarded and preserved primarily by the men and women in religious orders (ie;  Benedictines, Norbertines, Dominicans, Franciscans, Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters of Mercy, etc.)  and were rarely if ever known by anyone else.

Christian Enlightenment

So here is what I found when I put these tools into practice:

  • I experienced more peace and less stress in my life
  • I discovered answers to questions, life decisions, the struggles in my life
  • I came to experience more joy
  • I discovered I could forgive more freely and love more deeply
  • I discovered my own unique gifts and was led to ways in which I could use them to help others

It was totally awesome!  As I put these tools into practice I could not wait to share them with others…. so I did.  First I shared them through small groups of friends who were interested in sharing these tools together, then I shared them in my ministry at the Newman Center Catholic Campus Ministry where I was employed, then I went out to share them in the world.

Enlightenment for Everybody

This is how the Authentic Freedom series of classes came about and Authentic Freedom Ministries and now the book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy. I have shared this curriculum now for nearly ten years not to mention the 10 years prior of working toward the development of this curriculum while still employed in the Catholic Church.  This is what I hope people will find when reading and engaging in this book:

  • An increase in peace and contentment in their lives
  • The ability to forgive more freely and love more deeply
  • MORE JOY!!!!!
  • An invitation to recognize their own magnificence and that they have been uniquely gifted and called to reveal love, compassion, joy and mercy in the world
  • The inner freedom to openly and generously share their unique truths in the world
  • Healing from the fears and false perceptions that keep them from experiencing authentic spiritual freedom
  • That scripture is a fantastic source of wisdom literature and speaks deep and profound truths when we rescue it from dogmatic and doctrinal interpretation. 😉
  • That Jesus was really a cool dude after all
  • That God is loving and compassionate, not wrathful or vengeful
  • A new perspective on what institutions have called sin, original sin, temptation, Satan, hell – a new perspective that frees us from the fear and attempts to manipulate inherent in these institutional terms.

Shameless Self-Promotion

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Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in Ponderings

Soulmates – Is it Live or is it Memorex?

Today, I pose a question to my readers:  Is the idea of a soulmate real or simply a figment of our over-romanticized imaginations?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Dreams of a Soulmate

Several years ago during a guided visualization exercise I had an encounter with a male figure that in the visualization could only be described as “the love of my life.”  Since that visualization exercise, this “man” has haunted my dreams, shown up in my prayer and meditation.  Of course, the first impulse is to become attached to this phantom as some sort of soulmate that has not yet appeared in my life and to go out looking for this handsome prince who will be the answer to all my unmet needs.  Fortunately, I think I know better.  But what is the meaning behind this portent? What is a soulmate anyway and do soulmates even exist?  In this I admit complete and total ignorance and turn to you, the reader for your thoughts on this topic.  Just to get the discussion rolling….here are a few of my own thoughts:

Points to Ponder

Looking back on the years of dreams and the visualization that got this all started in the first place, a few thoughts come to mind.

  • Modern day psychology would invite me to look at the visualization/dream as a representation of the unhealed wounds within myself seeking to be healed, specifically, the parts of myself that need to be passionately and adoringly loved without condition.
  • Christian mysticism would suggest that the “man” in the dream is Christ calling me to be his “beloved.”  I am actually somewhat inclined to at least partially accept this idea, especially since the dude in the dream bore an uncanny resemblance to “Hot Jesus”  (see below!)
  • New-agists would tell me the vision was of my soulmate and to keep on looking.

Enlightenment Philosophies

Now, here is where I get hung up…and bear with me as I might ramble a bit.  Enlightenment Philosophies (to which I tend to subscribe, and a category under which Authentic Freedom falls) tell us that the only source of fulfillment is within.  As such, there would be no such thing as a relationship that provides the kind of fulfillment that we ascribe to the idea of a soulmate.  However, there is also something to the idea of our outer world reflecting our inner world.  AND we ARE relational beings.  I have observed that as I grow spiritually and emotionally and find a deeper place of inner contentment that my exterior relationships tend to more closely reflect the “new me” (actually, the original me!).  So, why wouldn’t our intentional, one-on-one intimate relationships afford us the same possibility?

Soulmate Hypothesis?

The invitation seems to be to start within – to do the work of healing our inner wounds, to work toward a deeper sense of inner contentment and fulfillment.  Then, I wonder, when we do this work, are we then creating the ground upon which mutually supportive and fulfilling external relationships may take root and grow and is it possible that we might connect with a uniquely intimate relationship that reflects the contentment we feel within?  I’m just wondering……

The Goal is No Goal and No Attachment to Outcome

Here is the rub……we cannot enter into the journey of enlightenment with the goal of meeting a soulmate or with an attachment that if we do the right work the soulmate will be our reward.  We enter into the journey simply for the purpose of the journey…..  I guess if the soulmate shows up, it is simply another thing for which we can be grateful!

Tell me your ideas about soulmate!  Lets get the discussion ball rolling!!!!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries/yourspiritualtruth