Posted in Weekly Lesson

Following Jesus’ Example is Hard

Anyone can call themselves a Christian.  In fact, 2.3 billion people do (Pew Research 2015). Calling oneself a Christian, or proclaiming “Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior,” however, has absolutely nothing to do with our ability to follow Jesus’ example.  Following Jesus is easy.  Followi...

Posted in building the new world, Christ Consciousness, Jesus, Lessons

Lovers and Liars: You Say You’re a Christian?

If we say that we are Christian but are selective about who and how we love, we are liars. Rather, we are wounded and broken people who have not yet come to know the fullness of God’s unmerited and unconditional love. In order to love in the way Jesus calls us to love, we first have to heal those places within where we do not yet know love.  Authentic Freedom provides the tools and resources to help us learn this love.

My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep
his commandments.
Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him

1 JN 2: 1-5a

 

Lovers and Liars

In this week’s letter from John, the author makes no apologies for their opinion of those who say they “know Jesus” but who are not living according to the commandments that Jesus laid out for them. The author calls them liars. Jesus called the same kind of people hypocrites. These are people who say they “know Jesus” or who have “proclaimed Jesus to be my personal Lord and Savior,” who attend mass every Sunday, show up for coffee and donuts, maybe even serve on the parish council, and who feel justified in their faith because they are doing what they are told to do in being a “good Christian.”

But are they – “being a good Christian?”

Being a good Christian is not about accepting Jesus as our savior. Neither is it about whether or not we attend mass on Sundays. Being a good Christian is about doing what Jesus did and doing what he commanded us to do:

“Love God. Love your neighbor. Everyone is your neighbor.”

Period!

If we say we believe in Jesus and think of him as our savior and teacher, but choose to be selective about this love piece, then we are liars. If we think we are loving our neighbor, but refuse to take the next steps which Jesus called us to do:

Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Heal the sick. Set captives free. Provide a home to the homeless. Etc. etc. etc. etc………ETC.

Then we are liars.

  • When we turn a blind eye to those in need….we are liars.
  • When we allow our privilege to blind us to the deep needs of others, we are liars.
  • When we believe that fulfilling the “American Dream” is simply a matter of hard work and effort and have no compassion for those who are struggling just to get their basic needs met and then judge them as worthless and lazy…we are liars.
  • When we believe the illusion of “equal opportunity” we are liars.
  • When we blindly throw money at organizations who serve the needs of those in need but do not take action to change a system that places these people in need in the first place…we are liars.
  • When we judge others without first walking a mile in their shoes…we are liars.
  • When we refuse to advocate for those who have not because of some judgement we have of them (usually based in grave misinformation) we are liars.

Every single time we say we “know Jesus” but turn away from those in desperate need – the poor, the outcast, the disenfranchised, etc. we are liars. The author of John, it seems, has no patience for liars. According to scripture, neither did Jesus.

Or did they?

What if the final verses of John’s letter are not judgement or condemnation, but a simple observation of fact:

Those who say, “I know him,” but do not keep his commandments
are liars, and the truth is not in them.

 

Those who John is calling liars, are simply those who think they know Jesus and the truth Jesus came to reveal, but who in fact do not. They do not (or have not yet come to know) the LOVE of God that Jesus came to know and then sought to teach to the world. Not having come to know the unmerited, unconditional love of God, they are unable to live the love that God is and which God seeks to be through them. As such, they have no choice but to live in non-loving ways (or in ways that are limited). This doesn’t make them a bad person, simply one who does not yet know the breadth and depth of God’s love and who has much yet to learn.

Coming to know the fullness of God’s love is a journey of healing – healing the fears, false perceptions and ego attachments that otherwise stand in the way of fully knowing God’s love. In being open to and doing the difficult work of identifying and then allowing these fears to be healed, the experience of knowing God’s love deepens and widens and we are more and more able to live the fullness of Jesus’ commandments. Or as John so astutely observed:

But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.

 How are you being called to allow the Love of God to be perfected in you? How are you called to support others in doing the same?

Please join Lauri Ann Lumby on Monday, April 16th on Blogtalk Radio where she will be the guest of Cindy Bentley with Healing Fountain.  Learn more and join HERE. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation

Authentic Freedom Academy – Our History

The seeds of Authentic Freedom Academy took root when its founder, Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, MATS, was invited to facilitate a program in Christian initiation.  Through this opportunity, Lauri realized that the true hunger of every human being is not for intellectual (or in that case, religious) knowledge or belonging, but to know themselves.  At the same time, she discovered the universal process through which self-knowledge is obtained – mindfulness-based practices and creative expression.  This process, Lumby learned, is then further enhanced under the guidance of a trained and experienced guide – what some might call a Spiritual Director, Teacher, Rabbi, Guru, Life-Coach, Counselor or Mentor.

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For twenty years, Lauri has put these tools to the test through curriculum development, teaching and facilitating classes, workshops and retreats.  Additionally, she has served as a Spiritual Director for hundreds of men and women, supporting them in their journey of self-discovery toward its ultimate goal of self-actualization.

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During the course of these twenty-years, Lumby has had the privilege of meeting and working with a host of men and women who have learned similar truths and who have put their own gifts to work in similar ways.  Authentic Freedom Academy is the collective effort of these women and men that Lauri has come to know and love and for whom she has great respect in their vocational calling to provide transformational education and empowerment to a waking and hungry world.

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You can learn more about Authentic Freedom Academy by contacting our Director, Lauri Ann Lumby at (920) 230-1313 or emailing lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

Posted in God, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices

Yoga and Faith – Sophia Rising Book Review

I just finished reading Sophia Rising – awakening your sacred wisdom through yoga by Monette Chilson and I have to say that taking in her words has been nothing short of receiving a Divine Embrace.  Monette skillfully describes the potential depth that can be achieved through diligent yoga practice drawing us deeply into unity with the Divine of our understanding –  thereby finding oneness within ourselves.  Regardless of your religious beliefs, you will love this book.  For those coming from a Christian tradition specifically, Monette artfully presents the way in which yoga complements and even deepens Christian belief and practice and how in truth, the practice of yoga transcends the perceived separation of religiosity.  I love this book and highly recommend it to anyone practicing or contemplating the practice of yoga. 

How can yoga become a practical application of your faith?

Author and yogini MONETTE CHILSON uses yoga to attune herself to her inner wisdom—referred to by the Greek name Sophia—and through that iconic face of the feminine divine she has bridged the gaps in her faith that religion could not.  Chilson invites readers to listen to that inner voice and meld their own spiritual beliefs with a yoga practice that can enrich their lives both on and off the mat.

Sophia-Rising-Book-Cover-Image

BUY IT HERE!

SOPHIA RISING: AWAKENING YOUR SACRED WISDOM THROUGH YOGA

(Bright Sky Press Spring 2013) examines yoga’s philosophical underpinnings and reveals how yoga practitioners from any faith can use their yoga practice to create a sacred space inside themselves.  Sophia Rising awakens within us that voice of transformation that can meld with our faith, rather than exclude it.  It allows us to access the feminine divine within, the aspect of God that represents wisdom and can speak to us in the moments of calm that come through practicing yoga.  Chilson empowers her readers to deepen their connection with their faith, strips away the mysticism that the word yoga conjures, and offers historical context for the idea that the contemplative nature of yoga shares roots with many faith practices.  Through the voice of Sophia, yoga becomes a non-dualistic experience where the practitioner reaps the benefits of the physical, mental, and spiritual.

 

About the Author

Monette0149_pp (2)Monette Chilson has practiced yoga for almost two decades and is dedicated to making the spiritual benefits of yoga accessible to people of all faiths. She is a feature writer for the Texas Yoga Association and her writing has appeared in Yoga Journal, Om Times, and Christian Yoga Magazine; Chilson also speaks at yoga conferences and women’s events. Though yoga is her way of life, she is also passionate about writing and photography. A graduate of the University of Houston, with a Master’s in Communications, she lives in Houston with her husband and two children. Learn more about Monette through her website.

 

Posted in Divine Revelation, Empowerment, Initiation, Inspiration, Jesus, Midlife Journey, Mystics, Raised Catholic, world changes

Catholic Woman Shamanic Priest?

Why Are We Here?

If you are reading this blog, chances are that you found yourself here because you are searching for meaning, purpose, fulfillment and connection in your life. Additionally, you most likely find yourself haunted with a desire to do something to contribute to the betterment of our world.  In short, you were born a Changemaker and the Divine in you is urging you to do something about it.  I’m here because I’m a lot like you and because the Divine in me continues to urge me to speak to the process that brings us into the fullness of our Divine mission, quite often through my own journey of realization and self-actualization.

What Does This Have to Do with Lent?

As I write this, we are smack dab in the middle of Holy Week – the time on the Christian calendar when we journey with Jesus through the final days and hours of his life.  I know it’s no longer fashionable to call ourselves Christian, and this is especially true for those that were raised Catholic (or any other Christian denomination) and who currently find themselves either on the fringe our outside the Church all together.  It’s way cooler to be Buddhist or some sort of Western version of neo-Hinduism, or even better, agnostic or atheist. But, in my journey of being raised Catholic, becoming disillusioned with Institutional religion and eventually realizing I no longer felt welcome in the Church where I had been worshipping, Jesus NEVER came into question.  In fact, my relationship with Jesus only deepened and my faith in God became stronger.  Why?  Because the Jesus I have come to know is one of the greatest men to ever walk the earth, and from a Western, rational, pragmatic, logical and reasonable perspective, he is the perfect model for the rest of us on how to become fully human and to realize the fullness of our Divine call.  I look to Jesus during Lent, not as the sacrificial lamb, but as the perfect example of how to transcend the fears that prevent us from realizing our greatest potential.

Women and Shamans and Priests?  Oh My!

Here’s the my journey helping you with your journey part.  🙂  I have already written much about my journey toward embracing my call to be priest and have accepted that call (in part) through the launch of the Virtual Church.  I naively thought that with this revelation, I was done….in my truth….living the fullness of my call.  HA! HA!  God,  apparently has something else up her sleeve!  I’m still in midst of allowing all the pieces to come together but suffice it to say that apparently it isn’t weird enough to be a woman, raised Catholic, with a call to the priesthood.  Just to make things even more strange, God has included some sort of shamanistic call into the mix.  Thanks to my PhD studies at the university I have come to affectionately refer to as “Hogwarts,” I have learned that for YEARS I have been undertaking shamanic journeys and I didn’t even know it!  Specific experiences I have had, usually accompanied by certain types of music, are apparently shamanistic in nature and not simply a product of my imagination or the fruits of contemplative prayer.   Instead, as I learn the traditional hallmarks of a shamanistic call, I find that I fit every one:

  • Able to achieve alternate states of consciousness at will.
  • Called to make a lifetime commitment of service to the community.
  • A mediator between the sacred and the secular.
  • Emerge where and when there is a need and called forth by the community.

Then there is the final proof of a shamanistic call, that when someone looks into the eyes of a shaman, they either choose to stay and grow, or they run away in fear.  I can tell you, this particular quality makes for some really interesting human encounters.

Bipolar Disorder-Windows to the Soul

 

What Does it Mean Jelly Bean?

In truth, I don’t really know what it all means.  As a species, we are in the midst of a significant period of evolution and change (which some might call ascension), and I think that all Changemakers are experiencing an enormous amount of flux – being hurled into the unknown, clutching a trail of clues in our hands, but having no idea what they mean or how we are being called to use them.  For myself personally, I am aware of the clues – pieces that have to do with Jesus, being raised Catholic, priesthood, some sort of shamanistic call, something that has to do with my Irish ancestry, gifts of counsel, discernment, writing, teaching, healing and leadership, all rooted in my unique reformer/recovering perfectionist/introverted/thriving on order and routine/intuitive/empathic temperament, but I have no idea what it will all look like.  So, again, in the spirit of Lent and Jesus’ journey toward the cross, I take up my own cross of HAVING NO FLIPPING IDEA, facing the fears of all the unknowns, and turning it all over to God.  My mantra for the past 6 months has been,”Let it be done to me according to your word.”  In the spirit of Lent, I change that to:

“Into your hands I commend my Spirit!”

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What is the unknown you currently find yourself facing?

What are the clues that might be part of your Divine call?

What are the fears that surface in connection with that call?

How can Jesus be a model for you of how to move through your fears and enjoy the fullness of you Divine call?

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Book, Inspiration, Mystics, Spiritual Practices, Uncategorized, world changes

How to Change Ourselves so WE Can Change the World!

Yesterday, I responded to the current political debacle (the government shutdown) and complete failure of our government to do what WE hired them to do, by issuing an invitation, “If we want the world to change, WE need to change ourselves.”  In today’s blog, I remind us of how we can change ourselves so that we can see real and enduring change in the world.

changing ourselves/changing the world
changing ourselves/changing the world

Not Just Some Pie in the Sky Idealism!

The tools for personal change that I will share with you today are NOT just some pie in the sky idealism preached by vagrant prophets from far-off lands.  While the following tools have been tried, tested and proven to be effective by thousands of years of yoga practitioners, mystics and ascetics, we NOW have the proof of science to verify what contemplative men and women have known all along, mindfulness based practices:

  • decrease anxiety, fear and stress
  • increase physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing
  • decrease violent behaviors
  • help us to cultivate empathy and compassion – the building blocks of healthy communication and harmonious interpersonal relationships, and communities.

(If you need the science to convince you, simply Google Richie Davidson, Andrew Newberg, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Thich Nat Hahn.)

STEP ONE – Seek out a mindfulness practice that works for you! 

There are as many forms of mindfulness based practices as there are fish in the sea!  A Zen-inspired sit works for some, but not for all.  Mantra or Kirtan brings some to a state of inner quiet…but it isn’t for everyone.  A rosary or string of meditation beads may help some to focus, but others will need something more engaging.  Take comfort in knowing that if you haven’t yet found your meditation style, keep looking, there is sure to be one out there perfect for you.  Maybe it is something as simple as gardening, cooking or being in nature.  Some find running and aerobic exercise mindful.  And please disregard the ridiculous Western notion that mindfulness has a goal and that if you don’t experience a complete state of bliss any or every time you failed.  Your job is to simply SHOW UP.  And, the key to cultivating and maintaining a mindfulness practice is to find one that WORKS FOR YOU!  (For a wide variety of mindfulness based exercises, check out my book, Authentic Freedom – claiming a life of contentment and joyWhile the context is Christian Contemplative Prayer, the exercises are universal.)

STEP TWO-Identify and root out your fears

In conjunction with cultivating peace and love within us through mindfulness practices, the greatest gift we can give to ourselves in our journey toward change is to OVERCOME OUR FEARS!  FEAR is the number one obstacle to peace, contentment, love and joy!  Fear creates all the perceived separations favored by our wounded world:  prejudice, discrimination, racism, sexism, nationalism, etc.  Fear is also the root of all of our non-loving and self-centered behaviors – gluttony, lust, wrath, envy, greed, sloth and pride.  Fear causes us to seek outside of us for its remedy and makes us believe that happiness will be found in things, money, power, fame, status, power, control, other people, etc. etc. etc.  Fear also keeps us silent and ignorant of the truth that seeks to be known within us and that seeks to be expressed in the world.

STEP 2.5

In my book, Authentic Freedom, I reveal what I have come to know as the seven core fears that plague humanity, along with their resulting compulsions:

FEAR:  “There is not enough”

Compulsion:  Gluttony

FEAR:  “I have nothing to contribute to the betterment of the world”

Compulsion:  Lust

FEAR:  “I can’t” (be my most authentic self)

Compulsion:  Wrath

FEAR:  “I am not loved”

Compulsion:  Envy

FEAR: “I am not able to express my truth”

Compulsion:  Greed

FEAR:  “I do not know” (my truth, my path)

Compulsion:  Sloth

FEAR:  “I am alone/have to do it alone”

Compulsion:  Pride

You can start your journey of overcoming fear by NAMING the fears that are currently at work in your mind.  I have found that naming the fear is 99% of the journey…..like they say in classic horror books and movies, “Once you name the demon, it no longer has power over you.”  😉  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog where I will explore in more detail how we might move through the fears once they are named.

Lauri Ann Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Authentic Freedom

NALT Christian Project

Dear Readers,

I am coming out in support of the NALT Christian Project – an internet-based video project in support of LGTB rights.  As a heterosexual woman, raised Catholic, with 12 years of Catholic school and another 7 years of post-undergrad studies in Catholic theology, spirituality and spiritual formation, who worked in the Catholic church for 12 years……not to mention with over 20 years of contemplative prayer under my belt……I can see nothing but LOVE in the message of Jesus.  And when Christians twist Jesus’ words into something that is hateful or prejudiced, or as a justification for violence or discrimination, a disservice is done to us all.  I believe we are all one with God in love – and that means EVERYONE…..male, female, child, adult, heterosexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, bi-sexual, African American, Indian, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan, Atheist, American, Mexican, Iraqi, Syrian, Russian, Sudanese, etc. etc. etc.  It is for this reason, that I have posted the following video and submitted it to the NALT Christian Project.   If you are inspired by the work that Dan Savage is doing on behalf of the LGTB community, and called to share your voice on their behalf, then I encourage you to do so.  To learn more about the NALT Christian Project, go to their website:  http://notalllikethat.org

Without further ado….here is my video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CAw7EaCyWQ&feature=youtu.be

And….thank you for sharing!

All love,

Lauri Ann Lumby

Authentic Freedom

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com

(920) 230-1313

HookJesus

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 Gifts of Contemplation, Inspiration, Jesus, Mystics, Spiritual Practices

Just Sit! Guest Blogger Steve Makar

When gathering contributors for this series on mysticism and the contemplative life, I couldn’t NOT ask one of my dearest friends and trusted companions on the spiritual path.  Steve and I have journeyed together through the twists and turns of life including marriage, divorce, children (I am honored to be the godmother of his son), ministry and just plain stuff.  I am grateful for all the ways Steve has been a source of support for me in my life and ministry and he, along with the woman he loves, hold a very special place in my heart.  Thank you Steve for your characteristically Zen conciseness.  I admire how you can say in only a few words what it has taken me a lifetime to express!  I love you brother!

Just Sit: Reflections on the Contemplative Life, from a Male Perspective

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Christian Zen integrates Zen Meditation with Christian Contemplation. In this practice, men and women are invited to “be still and listen” (Psalm 46). One form of stillness in Christian Zen is sitting meditation (zazen). For me, the diligent practice of zazen offers insight into why it is important for me to practice sitting meditation. It helps me to remember my true nature, and live accordingly.

What is this true nature or “Big Self?” Are there male and female dimensions of Big Self? My short answer: I do not know. I can, however, offer some reflections on the contemplative life from a male perspective.

The heart is of primary interest in my Christian Zen practice. It is the “hearts of men” that Jesus emphasized. Similarly, the “Heart Sutra” is a central teaching in Mahayana Buddhism. In the stillness of sitting meditation is a spaciousness that allows gratitude and compassion for my male experience.

As a son, my heart aches when I sit with the joys of spontaneous play; the adventurous exploration of the deep woods, and the carefree flow of an aimless day.

As a father, my heart aches when I sit with the love of my son, and reflect on the teaching that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only son” (John 3:16).

As a partner, my heart aches when I sit with the great souled desire for intimacy, and the mystery of solitude greeting solitude.

And when the ache within the aches becomes too great to bear, I let go and just sit. I let go of my need to win, and to be right, and to have more, and even to understand. As I let go, I return to the moment.

May you listen with loving attentiveness to the present moment. May you remain at peace, free from unnecessary suffering.

May you practice steady beginner’s mind, and see things as they are. May you awake to your true nature, and live accordingly.

Meta.

Steve Makar has been a student and teacher of the integrative practice of Christian Zen for more than 10 years. With a PhD in accounting and international economics, he also integrates the solitude of research with the ministry of teaching. Steve is a father of a teenage son, and partner with the woman he loves.

Posted in church, Discernment, Inspiration, Mary Magdalene, Oneness with God, Raised Catholic

The Magdalene’s Response to the New Pope

Sometimes blog posts seem to come out of nowhere and simply fly out of my pen or from my fingers onto the keyboard in a way that seems as if it is coming from somewhere beyond me.  I care not whether this experience would qualify as “channeling” or simply a function of my creative imagination.  What matters to me is if it speaks a truth that resonates for those who are in need of these words.  So…..these words, “from the Magdalene”  are for my Christian (including Catholic)  brothers and sisters who are called to the mystical/contemplative path in response to our wonderings about the new pope. 

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Lauri,  I call you now to bring a message to your Christian brothers and sisters during this time of radical transition….

With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Francis, Christians of the world have many questions.  My message is specifically for those who are drawn along the mystical path….and this message is a reminder of the value of DETACHMENT.  In particular, I am inviting you to detach from assigning any meaning, interpretation and/or judgment to this new pope, because, in the end, his reign has no bearing on the path to which mystics and contemplatives have been called.

Christianity was inspired by and has its source and direction in the Oneness modeled and lived out in my Beloved, Jesus.  Yet even before the time of his death, this message was received in multiple ways and disseminated as such.  What was ONE in Christ became separate in man.  In the Christian faith, this separation has been lived out in what might be referred to as the Institutional Church and the Mystical church – two very different ways of experiencing Jesus’ message – one directed toward containment, the other toward expansion.  Where the Institutional Church seeks to define God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit intellectually and express it in definite and static terms through doctrine; the Mystical church seeks to know God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit through direct and personal experience – experience that proves to be dynamic, infinite and ever-changing.  The tension between these seemingly opposite perspectives has existed since the beginning of time and will cease to exist only when all perceived separation has been transcended within and between all of humanity.  While this task may be possible for some, in this lifetime, it is not likely to happen for all.  As such, we are required to live within that tension.

The newly elected Pope Francis,  may or may not succeed in healing the wounds brought about by the Institution’s attachment to fear, power and control, though I am quite certain that particular hot-button doctrinal changes will not be part of his agenda.  This is not, however, to dissuade you from continuing to exercise sound discernment in your own personal beliefs and choices.  The ultimate authority, after all, exists beyond any political or religious distinction and instead, resides within your own heart.   It is within the quiet and peaceful places in your heart where God will guide you and it is to this inner authority that mystics give their allegiance.

So, in this time of change, I invite you to embrace detachment and to become the observer.  Watch and wait and remember that for the Mystical church, what this pope may or may not do in his reign has no bearing on your call to seek Oneness with Christ, within yourself and with all of creation; or on your ability to be and live as LOVE in the world.

Yours in Love, Light and Oneness,

Mary, called Magdalene.