Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Discernment, God, Oneness with God

The Soul Knows – Finding Our Way in Life

If there isn’t a “God out there” to guide us (Read Parts I and Parts II of this week’s series “God Does Not Save”), then where do we find the guidance we need to navigate this thing called life? (cue Prince…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD4F2n9pKiw   )

When leaving behind the idea of the “old man in the sky God” who is out there, puppet mastering our lives, or mostly leaving us on our own to suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” there is no longer someone “out there” to turn to for guidance, support, direction, comfort and healing. The most frightening thing about leaving behind the “old man in the sky God” is the fear that we really are alone as atheists or nihilists might suggest. This is absolutely not true. Instead of looking to the “God out there,” we turn within and look toward ourselves.  Specifically, we look to our SOUL…..the Divine within us that is seeking to be known in the world through us….the part of us that is guided by FREEDOM and by LOVE. The Soul is the Divine within showing us our path and helping us to see and to know what is showing up in support of the path the Soul has chosen for itself in this life – the life it chose to live and experience through us.

compass-pixabay

I think of the Soul as our “truth barometer” or as our inner compass. This is the voice that speaks to us of love, of freedom, of joy, peace, harmony, and expansiveness.  But more than speaking, the Soul recognizes. As St. Ignatius of Loyola observed, the Soul’s recognition is known through physical and emotional sensations that like a magnet of sorts, help us to know what is and is not in support of our Soul’s purpose or desire.  That which is not in our Soul’s purpose feels “bad.”  That which is in our Soul’s purpose feels “good.”  But this is not the same kind of good and bad we normally think of…but is more accurately known through subtle sensations that St. Ignatius identified as consolation or desolation. Consolation is the feeling of expansiveness, helping us to feel peaceful, content, whole, joyful and which leads us toward love.  Desolation is known by feelings of limitation, confusion, doubt, worry and fear.  Discernment is the process we use to identify which voice is speaking….desolation (not consistent with our Soul’s purpose) or consolation (consistent with our Soul’s purpose), and then to choose which voice we will listen to.

The Soul is the Divine living in us and trying to be itself through us and the Soul is guiding us toward its own purpose if we would only listen to it. In every moment of every day, the Soul is speaking and it is telling us through subtle and sometime obvious cues if we are following its true path or not.  Everything that happens in our daily life is there to serve the purpose of the Soul and in every encounter the Soul tells us where we are on the path by how we are feeling in the encounter and by how we choose to respond.  If the encounter is challenging, the Soul will guide us toward a response that is life-giving, compassionate, loving, non-violent.  The ego/false-self will guide us to respond from a place of fear, anxiety, worry, the need to control.  The Soul helps us to recognize those who will be a source of support in our Soul’s path and those who will be a hindrance.  The Soul tells us which opportunities to pursue, which jobs will suit its purpose, what environments will support it and where we are called to live and how we are called to spend our time.  Again, we need simply listen to this inner compass, this truth barometer to know where we are going and how to get there.  The challenge is that for most of us, we have been taught to listen to everything else BUT our Soul.

 

We have been taught to listen to the outside perceived (and often self-appointed) authorities for guidance and it is their voices who often become the voice of our false-self. These are the voices that govern through fear and who use guilt to manipulate.  These are the voices that become our inner critic and who speak to us in “shoulds.”

For Jesus, these voices were those of the religious authorities who questioned his methods, his motivation and his “God.” These were the voices of “Satan” who tempted him in the desert and in the Garden of Gethsemane.  These were the voices of Peter and the other disciples who wanted him to be their Warrior King, instead of their teacher of love.  These were the voices of his family who demanded him to stop embarrassing them through his teachings.  These were the voices of all those who tried to tempt him from his path of knowing the LOVE that he was and in knowing the God that dwelled within him, and the voices of all those who wanted to stop him from sharing this “secret” with others.  Instead of listening to these outside (and inner) voices of fear, doubt, critique, condemnation, etc., he chose to listen to the voice of his Soul – the voice of the Divine that lived in him and found its purpose through him.

The same will be true for us when we listen to the voice of the Soul. No one said it would be easy (and Jesus demonstrated), but it is the voice that leads us toward our truth and to a life of freedom where our life has meaning and purpose and where we are fulfilled in living this life for our own sake and in support of the betterment of the world.

For support in listening to the voice of your Soul, Lauri Ann Lumby is available for one-on-one mentoring.  Call or email today  (920) 230-1313 or lauri@authenticfreedom.love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, creativity, Divine Revelation, Freedom, God, Grace, Oneness with God

The Seed of Remembrance – Finding Our Way Home

Today – a parable.  When we made the choice to experience the human condition, the consequence was the perception of separation from our Divine origins, which then resulted in fear, suffering and pain.  Fortunately, our loving Divine parents planted within us the seed of remembrance so that one day, we would find our way home.

HeldinLove

Once upon a time, there were Divine loving parents, Father and Mother. They created a universe filled with their children, made in their own likeness. In the Presence of the Father and the Mother, these children knew nothing but love, happiness and bliss. Then one day, some of the children realized that in order to grow and mature, they would need to know what life would be like without the Presence of the Father and the Mother. So, these children asked their Divine parents for permission to move away from them – to go off by themselves and experience life without the Presence of their Divine Parents. Mother and Father knew exploration would cause their children great anguish, pain and suffering, but also knew that in order to grow, they needed this time of separation, so the Parents agreed. The children then went off on their own to explore the world separated from the Presence of their Divine and loving Parents. Father and Mother, however, did not send the children off completely alone. Instead, they planted within the heart of each of their children the seed of remembrance. Contained within this seed was the memory of their original home as one in love with their Divine Parents, sisters and brothers. Father and Mother hoped that one day, this seed of remembrance would awaken and lead their children home.

The children, then, went off to experience life as separate from their Divine origins. As was anticipated, this experience caused the Divine children much pain and suffering. The children felt as if they were lost, abandoned and alone. For the first time, they experience fear which then led to anger, resentment, jealousy, covetousness, lust for power, insecurity, loneliness and despair. The children of God, out of their fear, began to create separation from each other, making war, destroying the world Father and Mother had given them, condemning others as different and unacceptable. The world they created apart from their Father and Mother became a world of great darkness. As the years went by, the children grew more and more restless and more and more afraid.

All this while, the seed of remembrance rested within the hearts of the Divine children. In all of the Divine children, this seed felt to them like a thorn or a sliver trying to find its way out. This seed created within each of the Divine children, a deep longing – a longing that could not be named, but a longing nonetheless. Many ignored this longing or tried to silence its efforts through self-numbing behaviors – excessive food, drink, accumulation of possessions, power and control over others, etc. Others, heard this longing and punished themselves, falling deeper and deeper in despair. Others, felt this longing and instead of resisting it or succumbing to its darkness, decided to LISTEN. In this listening, the Divine children heard the voice of Father and Mother calling them home.

 

Find your way home through a provocative retelling of the Jesus story – Song of the Beloved.  Buy it now on Amazon.

 

 

Posted in Being Human

The Fruitless Search for Ego-lessness

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

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

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

Being Human

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

No Congratulations Necessary

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

Lauri Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Spiritual Practices

Turning Enlightenment On Its Head

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

Amen Brother Amen!

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

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

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

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

What It Means to Be Human

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

Fear    Craving    Envy   Resentment   Lust   Want   Greed   Ignorance   Longing

In these experiences, we indulge

Blindness    Deafness    Muteness    Apathy    Sloth    Prejudice    Hatred   

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

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

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

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

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

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

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

To love is to suffer

In suffering we learn love

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

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

Judge Not lest ye not be Human

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

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Empowerment, Spiritual Practices

Resolutions, Intentions and Vows

As a rule, I do not make New Year’s resolutions.  Resolutions can be broken and are too easily bargained away.  I do, however set intentions and goals for the coming year and this year, in addition to my intentions and goals, I felt called to make a Spiritual Vow.  A vow, is a promise that we make to ourselves and to that which is beyond us, what I call “God.”  A vow is like an intention, but in my mind, is more binding, more permanent, has more bang for the buck.  Through our Spiritual Vow, we enter into a covenant relationship in regards to our life’s vocation which is related to the unique way we are called to reveal Love in the world, to be a source of healing and comfort for others and to be of service to the world for the betterment of humankind.  This is my vow for 2012 (and beyond):

Under the blessing and guidance of my teachers,

Jesus, called Christ and Miriam, called Magdalene,

I, Lauri Ann Lumby, allow myself through my own

unique giftedness to freely, humbly and generously

be a vessel through which Divine Love (Agape’)

is known in this world.  

What spiritual vow are you feeling called to make for the coming year?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in God

The Big Scary God Question

A friend recently asked me the “big scary God question” and it forced me to pause and really give this thought.  What is God…..to me?  How do we communicate our intimate, personal experience of “God” to another?  Can we believe in a God that is not just “the old man in the sky?”  Of course, I don’t have any of the answers….but here are a few thoughts taken from what I shared with my friend:

What Happens When Someone Asks About God?

A friend recently asked me the big scary God question.  As the words left their lips, I felt my heart stop, my breathing ceased and the movement of my life seemed to come to a screeching halt.  Of course I was tongue-tied and couldn’t come up with a intelligible response while my brain was running around wondering, “What happens if I answer the question incorrectly or what I tell them is not what they want to hear?”  After a night of being able to “sleep on it,” a better answer showed up.  I penned the best response I could come up with that felt authentic to my own personal experience and beliefs.  Knowing this friend was a regular yoga practitioner, I crafted the response in language that would be relevant to their own personal experience.  Here is what I wrote:

Answering the Question:

“You know how you are feeling at the end of a great yoga class, while lying in Shivasana, that blissed-out, totally peaceful feeling?  That is God to me.  God is that place beyond the constructs of the mind that allows us to access our truest self – pure, clear, peaceful, content, joyful and full of love and accessing knowledge of our highest truth and the path of our highest good.  While I might image “God” as something outside of us that gives guidance, support, healing, love, inspiration, etc. I also know that which I call God is WAY more than that.  I can’t explain it, define it or describe it, I can only experience it and it is in those times of deep meditation, high creativity, blissful reality, intimate connection, natural wonder where I experience and KNOW this “God.” Taking time to access this “experience” is the grounding point of my life and the pivot upon which the rest of my life is directed.  And I have found limitless ways to access this experience – whether it be through meditation, prayer, yoga, going to mass, reading scripture, enjoying poetry, a good movie, reading something inspirational or educational, cooking, gardening, cultivating healthy, intimate relationships, being in nature, just having fun, being with my kids etc.   It has all become an access point for that place of peaceful contentment, joy and love that resides within each of us….and that is just WAY COOL!”

God and Religion

Then came the religion part of the question.  If I believe in God, does that mean I am religious?  How does my Catholic upbringing fit into the whole God question?  Again, these were the best words I could come up with in response to the question, but I think they are pretty fitting:

“So….am I religious?  Probably not.  Spiritual?  Definitely. And….apparently once a Catholic, always a Catholic, so a lot of my
language is of that vein and my journey will always look a little Catholic….but at the end of the day, my spirituality is WAY bigger than anything the Catholic Church could ever attempt to contain.  That being said, I have been known to get on
my soapbox over things the Catholic Church is doing because on many levels, I still care.  I grew up there.  It has been my home.  And it was through the rituals and practices of Catholicism that I did find that deep and true place of peace…..in spite
of the Institutions attempts otherwise.”

 

Honoring Our Differences

And finally the question, “What happens if we have differing beliefs?”  Ultimately, I don’t think any of us can claim to believe the same thing because each and every one of our experiences of the “the Divine” is personal, intimate and unique.  So in response to that question, here were my thoughts:  “Honor.  Respect. Support.  Are the words that surface when I ask this question.  I recognize that the spiritual journey is unique to each individual.  I honor, respect and offer support for
wherever people are in that process….and I expect the same.”

‘Nuf said!

What have been your experiences of “the Divine?”

How would you describe your beliefs in “God” “Higher Power” “the Divine” to another person?

How do your personal experiences inform your spiritual and/or religious choices, beliefs, etc.?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Freedom

Insane in the Membrane

The journey of spiritual growth and development is about making the decision to continue to live behind the veil of illusion and falsehood or to pierce through the membrane into the experience of truth.  What do you choose?


To this day, a veil lies over our hearts…

but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed.

Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same

image… as from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3: 15-18

 

I love this reading from Paul and it is upon this reading that I have based much of the work that I do in Authentic Freedom Ministries.  The freedom of which Paul speaks is the inner freedom that we know when we pierce through the veil of illusion, rooted in fear and falsehoods and remember our true nature as men and women of contentment and joy residing within the Love of the Divine.  This is the freedom that is our original nature and the freedom to which we are compelled to return. 

In the reading above, Paul also gives us the only tool we need to burst through the membrane that holds us imprisoned in our fears and false perceptions and that only necessary tool is God (“the Lord”).  When we are diligent in maintaining the Divine as the center and focus of our lives, the journey to spiritual freedom unfolds before us.  The good news is that while meditation, contemplation and prayer are all valid and supportive tools through which we can maintain this Divine attention – there are an infinite number of ways to enter into this process.  So, for those who are not called to direct contemplation – here are a list of other activities that we can use as a means of focusing on the God of our understanding….the key is the intention that we bring to these activities:

painting, running, movement activities, dancing, singing, cooking, knitting, needlework, sculpting, drawing, coloring, playing, raking leaves, cleaning, visiting with friends, snuggling, making love, listening to music, drumming, napping, climbing trees, hiking, clearing brush, activism, serving others, writing, etc. etc. etc.

How are you piercing through the membrane of illusion to reach your higher truth?

How do you connect with the Divine of your understanding?

What is your understanding of Spiritual Freedom?

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com


Posted in Spiritual Practices

Please Press Pause

Today, I will discuss the necessity of taking time out in our personal and spiritual journey’s to allow the learning, growth, healing and transformation to take root and become fully integrated within us.  It is in this place of rest that the Holy Spirit does her magic! 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.  Looking at houses, getting contractor bids, trying to figure out how to finance a home on a stay-at-home mom, Spiritual Director’s salary, etc. etc. etc.  In the midst of all this there seems to be deep spiritual work going on as I am forced to face my own inner demons of fear, impatience, control, compulsive planning, lack of trust, and, did I say fear?  My monkey mind cannot find peace as it restlessly plans our new life and decorates the house I do not yet have and adds up all the costs in my head and tries to look for creative financing options.  Oh yea….and I still have a business to run, a family to tend to and the regular duties of a mother – grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, yardwork, tending to basement floods, etc.  I know where this kind of frenetic activity usually leads me and I tried my darnedest to maintain some semblance of balance.  Alas, I found that the monkey won as I fell under a pile of commitments and collapsed in a pool of overwhelm.  Unable to handle one more piece of information or one more commitment, I did the only think I knew to do in that kind of overwhelm – I took a nap. 

Now, I have to tell you, I am not usually a person who naps.  In fact, I really suck at napping.  I don’t sleep well during a nap and I rarely come out refreshed.  Instead, I’m usually more crabby and feeling more like crap than before the nap.  Not to mention, the perfectionistic worker bee in me tends to feel guilty for napping because if I nap, how will the work get done?  While I still haven’t quite made peace with the nap thing, I have come to recognize that there are times in the day and in our lives when we have to PRESS PAUSE! 

In our work-oriented world, we have forgotten the necessity of doing nothing.  While we are oriented toward doing, it is important to know that we are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS.  In this, we are reminded that it is a crucial part of our human and spiritual development to take time to simply BE.  It is important to take time daily and sometimes for extended periods of time to DO NOTHING.  While we are busy measuring our life by the things we do, what we tend to forget is that the deepest and most profound healing, growth and transformation takes place in the silence.  Whether we are sleeping, meditating, or simply taking a break from our usual busy-ness, it is in this time of PAUSE that the deepest and most profound work takes place in the dark, silent places within.  It is in these places of PAUSE that the Divine works its invisible magic.  It is through this invisible magic that all the things we have observed, thought about, read, prayed about, contemplated, learned, become fully integrated within us.  It is also in these places of PAUSE that the Divine works its miracles.  It is in the PAUSE where the answers to our questions resolve themselves, where the things we need come forth and where direction is given and answers received.  It is also in the place of PAUSE where we are open to hearing and seeing through the eyes of the Divine, rather than through the eyes of our ego or false selves. 

So for myself, I am embracing the Divine reminder to press PAUSE and take a break from all the activities of the monkey mind (ok, at least to the best of my ability).  I’m taking a break from the house questions and starting Wednesday of next week, I am officially ON VACATION!!!!  And, I welcome the Spirit-led naps that provide me with the much needed rest to allow the integration of all the learning, transformation and healing to take place.  I embrace this new spiritual practice that I now call “Slintegration” (sleeping-integration). 

My invitation to you this week is to look at your own life and ask the question, Where do you need to PRESS PAUSE?

 

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://www.authenticfreedom.net