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 Discernment, Lessons

Truth Tantrums

As we move along the path of spiritual growth toward awakening and enlightenment, we grow in our ability to perceive, but more importantly, believe our truth.  Today’s blog reveals some of the dramatic ways in which truth will try to get our attention if we attempt to ignore or deny it. (PS for more on discerning truth, read chapters 7-9 of my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy.) 

 

 

I Can See Clearly Now

Recently, a slew of truths have been revealed (or should I say confirmed?) to me.   These are the kinds of truths that would have a dramatic affect in anyone’s life should they also be faced with these truths.  Confirmation of these truths brought forth grief and I am grateful for the gifts of a benevolent universe that provided the space and the perfect companion with whom I could process through this grief, while providing a shoulder on which she too could process her own grief.  I know that the processing of these truths will continue to unfold, but as I stand either in the middle or on the other side of these truths, I can clearly see how my own inner self had been trying to get me to recognize and acknowledge these truths all along.  

 

Sneaking Suspicions

As I look back over the past several years, glimpses of these “newly revealed” truths have been present for a VERY LONG time.  A feeling in my gut, a sense that something was not right, questions answered with veiled responses, challenges met with protest or harsh condemnation…..all these were signposts to truths wanting to be known, but either denied, repressed or ignored.  Some point along this path came the doubt and the question of “Am I just crazy, irrational, untrusting?”  “Maybe I’m just bored and picking a fight.”  “It must be my fault, and my insanity…because that’s what they are saying.”  But then the sneaking sensation in my gut never went away and the feeling of unease simply increased.  Then came the tantrum….the truth stomping its feet and waving its hands…PAY ATTENTION…SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT IN DENMARK!!!!!

 

Truth Tantrums

This is probably not the case with all situations of depression and panic attack disorder, but when I look back with the 20/20 vision of hindsight, I now understand the TRUTH that was trying to get my attention.  Since I wasn’t paying attention to the more subtle clues of truth (or I wasn’t emotionally ready to handle the consequences of knowing these truths), my truth had to get louder, more forceful, it had to have a tantrum…and it sure did.  First was the FULL BLOWN panic attack…heart pounding, body trembling, sweat dripping, floor pacing, “I must be crazy” or “I’m having a heart attack and I’m going to die.”  If you’ve ever had a panic attack….you know what I mean.  If you haven’t, trust me when I say you DON’T want to know! Follow that up with a week-long, bed ridden migraine (migraines always follow panic attack for me).  Apparently that wasn’t enough…so here comes the DEPRESSION.  Blech.  Fast forward a few years after successful attempts to “control” the panic through alternative medicine, talk therapy, Spiritual Direction and a WHOLE LOT of inner work….but I still wasn’t listening (or emotionally ready).  After a life-changing, international, spiritual pilgrimage, my truth decided to redouble her efforts.  I SAW… KNEW… BELIEVED the truth that was trying to reveal itself to me while on this pilgrimage…but instead of acting (apparently still not emotionally ready) I went right back to my “normal” life.  To this I was awakened EVERY MORNING at 2am to the joyful  (I say this with sarcasm) experience of a full blown panic attack.  WAKE UP LAURI…..TIME TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTH.     Panic attack.  Migraines.  Depression….all vehicles through which the truth was trying to get my attention.  OK OK….I’m paying attention. 

 

What if we believed?

Prior to recent revelations, these truths have only been suspicions.  I had no validation, verification or affirmation of these truths.  All I could go on was a hunch and a prayer.  But now that all has been confirmed….I can look back in wonder at the dramatic ways in which our truth will try to get our attention….what would happen if we paid attention from the beginning?   What would happen if we trusted and believed in our truth instead of denying, questioning and doubting it?  I think from now on I will pay closer attention to my truth…it sure proved to be right!

Where have you had suspicions, a gut feeling, a sense of a truth or untruth trying to be revealed?

How have you responded to these intuitive clues?

How might you begin to listen more attentively to the subtle cues of truth?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Lessons, Surrender

Saying Yes to What God Gives Me II

As we move through our journey of spiritual growth toward self-awakening and enlightentment, one of the lessons we are invited to embrace along the path is the lesson of surrender.  Today’s blog explores the invitation to surrender to what the universe puts in our path, or as I say, “Saying Yes to What God Gives Me.”

 

PUSH

Here I am, back from a week in Lumbyland.  Dad’s surgery has been postponed until September, so the kids (my two, plus one) and I embraced a week of Minneapolis and Lake Lumby activities.  We returned on Thursday EXHAUSTED and a little sick of eachother. We retreated to our respective corners and now it is Monday….I should be bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to get back to work….RIGHT?????   WRONG!  Apparently the Universe has other plans.  In the past, I would have pushed through this energy of “something other than what I had planned in my pragmatic, goal-orientted mind” and forged ahead with what I WANT.  One of my teachers refers to this tendency as “PUSH.”  The good news is that I have learned (mostly the hard way), that pushing against the Universe does nothing but give you a headache and a big pile of failed attempts.  When we push against the flow of the Universe, the flow of our highest path, our highest good, we get nothing but YUCK.  So, this morning, I throw my hands up in surrender and accept what the Universe has planned for this week.

 

Trusting in Highest Good

This invitation to surrender is one of the hardest things for us to do, especially in our Western, capitalistic, hierarchical, patriarchical, pragmatic, goal-oriented society.  We are taught to set a goal and work our tails off until it happens…OR we won’t get the money we need to live, to buy the stuff that society says we should have, or the investments necessary to rest from all this work when we finally get to the finish line – retirement.  Ha!  This mindset is founded upon two primary fears – There is not enough, and I am alone (in other words, I have to do it!).  In my book, Authentic Freedom, I explore these fears in depth and present the remedies to healing these fears.  For today, suffice it to say that these fears are both LIES and that there is another mindset that we are invited to embrace if we want to have peace and joy in our lives.  Embracing this other mindset is founded upon a basic truth that our Western society doesn’t want us to know:  There is a higher order that is always at work for our highest good.  Gulp!  Breathe!  Breathe again.  I know, pretty radical stuff……the question is, can we believe it?  Can we actually take the risk in believing that there is a benevolent something that is always working for our highest good and seeks to reveal that highest good to us and lead us toward it?  Can we?

 

A Rose by Any Other Name

Now, what do we call that something?  I call it “God.”  Some might call it “Higher Self.”  Others might call it “The Universe.”  And others, “So-Hum.”  And know that when I say “God” I’m not talking about the old man in the sky God…I’m talking about that something that transcends all human descriptions, definitions or attempts to describe.  It is that something that continues to reveal itself through all of creation, including ourselves.  It is the energy that informs, moves, animates all of reality and is the Source of all that is and ever will be.  What it is exactly, I do not know….but I know it is really cool, filled with love and light and darkness and draws us, leads us, empowers us, compels us to seek, to know and to become the most magnificent vision of ourselves that we could ever imagine…rooted in love, joy, compassion, bliss and peace.  Cool, right? 

 

Saying Yes

So, if we can really take that risk and attempt to embrace the belief that there is a benevolent something that is always at work for our highest good, then we can surrender.  We can resist our temptation to cling to the fears that tend to put us into PUSH mode and believe that we can simply relax into the flow of the universe and allow that flow to carry us to exactly where we need to be.  AHHHHHH!  It seems that for me, instead of a heavy push toward money making projects and activities, I’m being invited to something else.  All the work is done that can be done (for now) on my creative projects and these are now in the hands of other support people.  Instead, it seems I am being invited to surrender to a week of re-entry.  And to this I reply, “Universe (Calgon), take me away.” 

 

Where are you tempted to engage PUSH energy?

Do you believe in a benevolent “something” always at work for your higher good?

Where are you being invited to surrender?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Initiation, teachers

Who is “The Man?”

In today’s blog, I share with you a strange phenomenon that I am hearing about from clients and have admittedly experienced myself….this phenomenon has been described by all as “the man.”  Who is “the man” and is this experience limited to women?  Please share with me your experiences of “the man” if you have had them.

 

 

My Experience with “the Man”

As I put finger to keyboard, I feel every fiber of my being contracting in resistance, afraid to share this story for fear of being recognized as COMPLETELY INSANE!  I have since had many female clients share with me stories similar to my own, so either we are all nuts…or this is some sort of universal experience…or at least a significant part of some women’s spiritual journeys (apologies ahead of time to the men, for I have only heard of this experience from women…if you are having similar experiences, please let me know and I will add an addendum to this blog!)  For me it started in an experience of guided meditation.  The gist of it is that somewhere in the midst of the meditation, I suddenly found myself standing before a man.  The man was strikingly handsome (according to my own personal criteria anyway), but what was most significant was the way he looked at me….he gazed at me with the look of pure, adoring, passionate, unconditional love.  I was held spellbound and something broke open in me under that gaze that compelled me on a spiritual journey that has completely altered the course of my life. Ironically, or coincidently for me, “the Man” looked a lot like the 1970’s portrait of Jesus that I call “Hot Jesus” or alternatively, like Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn in Lord of the Rings.  (hubba hubba)

The Temptation

The crazy part of the appearance of “the man”, (and this part seems to be universal), is the temptation to think…..”Oh, here is the guy that is going to love me beyond reason, he is my soulmate, my twinflame, my spiritual equal, my partner, etc. etc. etc.   This is the guy that will finally make me happy.”  Now, the appearance of “the man” may alert us to things in our personal, intimate relationships that are not fulfilling, life-giving, supportive of who we are and who we are called to be, but the temptation is in believing that there is some “one guy” out there that will provide all these things.  (and maybe there is…who am I to proclaim the ultimate outcome of “the man’s” appearance.) I’m just saying the temptation is to fall into that compulsive search for someone “out there” who is going to make us whole, complete us, give us emotional, spiritual and physical fulfillment.  And…apparently everyone who meets “the man” spends at least some time languishing in this search.

The Teacher

Another part of the journey with “the man” seems to be about “the teacher”.  In Jana Dixon’s story, “the teacher” was an actually living, breathing, walking human that she met after her initial dreams of “the man” and who bore a striking resemblance to “the man”.  For me, it was about Jesus.  For Jana, she found resources of growth, spiritual tools for transformation and healing through the work of her “teacher”.  For me, it was through Jesus that these tools were revealed.  I spent time in prayer with him, read and prayed with scripture, read books on Jesus and his life from sources outside of scripture.  In my mind, Jesus was my beloved (and in truth, still is), and I was his.  This journey with the teacher, however, is ultimately not about the teacher, but about the inner spiritual growth that you experience through the teacher’s experience, wisdom, insight, guidance.  The goal here is not co-dependency with the teacher, but empowerment through them. 

The Higher Invitation

According to Jana Dixon (Biology of Kundalini), “The Man” show us to wake us up and to initiate us on our spiritual journey toward awakened enlightenment and inner fulfillment.  “The Man” appears to show us the parts of ourselves that are unrealized and unintegrated, then invites us on to the path of searching, discovering, embracing all the parts of ourselves so that we can remember that the truest source of fulfillment is within.  “The Man” is not about the call to find our outside soulmate, but to rediscover the soulmate within, to find Oneness within ourselves and to know the harmony and fulfillment of self-knowledge and integration that is our truest and most original nature. 

Where have you met “the man” in your own journey?

How are you being invited to be open to your own inner fulfillment through the process of self-discovery and integration?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Inspiration, Lessons, Ponderings

Only the Shadow Knows

In Jungian psychology, the shadow or “shadow aspect” is a part of the unconscious mind consisting of repressed weaknesses, shortcomings, and instincts.  Identifying, getting to know and integrating the shadow is an important part on the path of spiritual growth and enlightenment.  Do you know your shadow?

The Mask

I have another confession to make.  I am not the person I appear to be.  Aha….but then again, neither are you!  Each and every one of us has a face, an appearance, an image that we are comfortable sharing with the outside world.  In reality, this face is simply one aspect of a greater whole.  For some, this face is intentionally created and defined based on what they think is considered favorable to the outside world and in no way shape or form reflects their true nature.  For others, this face very closely reflects their true nature and arises naturally, effortlessly and authentically.  The vast majority of us fall somewhere between these two ends of the personality spectrum.  I sense that the person the outside world sees in me is a pretty close reflection of my true nature, but I am also acutely aware of the “other Lauri” that still lies hidden beneath the Lauri that is known to the outside world. 

Me and My Shadow

Regardless of how closely our outside appearance reflects our true nature, there is still the shadow aspect of our true self that lies hidden in the deeper recesses of our consciousness, waiting to be discovered, explored and somehow integrated into our outward self.  The shadow consists of the parts of ourselves that we have suppressed, repressed and kept separate from our conscious and lived self.  Jung speaks about the shadow exclusively in terms of weaknesses and shortcomings and as part of our instinctive nature.  I would expand on this by suggesting that the shadow also consists of all those parts of ourselves that we didn’t feel free to explore – the inner creative drive and passions that were not supported (or we didn’t think were supported) by our foundational environment – the repressed, suppressed, ignored parts of our inner nature…and we don’t really know if they are part of our truest nature until we try them on.  (This is part of the process of integration – seeking, exploring, trying it on, taking what is life-giving and getting rid of the rest.)

Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself

In exploring the shadow, at first, I thought there was only one.  Instead, I find there are several alternative Lauris camping out in here.  First there is the Lauri that makes up who I am today  – mother, lay minister, meditator, peacekeeper, healer, student of theology and all things spiritual, GOOD GIRL, NICE GIRL, POLITE, ACCOMODATING, KIND, THOUGHTFUL – you know, all those things we are supposed to be.  I think this Lauri pretty closely reflects who I am and who I want to be, AND  I am acutely aware that there is a whole lot more to me than the world generally sees.  Let’s meet the other Lauris:

Linda – Linda was identified by my friends in college.  She was my evil twin.  She parties like a rockstar, throws drinks at people (sorry John!)  and then remembers NOTHING the next morning.  Fortunately, Linda has NOT made an appearance in a VERY LONG while!  She is scary!

Stevie – This is my Stevie Nicks wanna be rockstar, singer.  She wears long flowing lacy things, looks like a gypsy and wants to be the star.  We have 8mm film of Stevie dancing on the fireplace hearth at the ripe young age of 2 1/2…singing, dancing and bowing to the audience.  She made and early appearance and spent her youth and teen years organizing LP sing-alongs.  Of course, she ALWAYS had to sing lead. 

Marian – Madame Librarian – This is my tied up tight good girl, National Honor Society, scholar, geek.  She wears coke-bottle glasses, has buck teeth and braces and spends all day at the library.  Marian is pretty well integrated within me and I’m not afraid to admit it.  In truth, I’m just a grown up geek who somehow blossomed late, but doesn’t yet know it.  I’m especially grateful for Marian when watching Scot Pilgrim, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars and any Kevin Smith movie.

Maudlin – I wanted to call her Mordred, but that is a boy’s name.  Maudlin in my inner MARTYR!  BLECH!!!!   She is a simpering, whiny brat, the whole world is out to get her and she likes to cry, “O woe is me.”  She is co-dependent, a cling-on, obsessive and easily rejected…in fact….that is all she is….rejected.  I don’t really care for Maudlin all that much.  But she is great to be around when I want to throw a pity party.

Maleficent – Ok, she might just be my FAVORITE!  This is the person the good-girl, Catholic school girl, responsible Lauri never got to be.  I love Maleficent!  Unlike the me seen by the outside world who tends to be kind of conservative…Maleficent is everything but!  Maleficent dresses in all black, preferably leather.  She has her whole body tattooed and sports several piercings.  She carries a riding crop or bullwhip and wear black platform boots…even in the summer.  She rides a Harley in the summer and a ’63 split window Corvette in the winter (I know, not at all practical in Wisconsin – on snowy days she drives a black Jeep Wrangler).  She is part Kat Von-D and part Angelina Jolie. She listens exclusively to heavy metal music, smokes clove cigarettes (because is ticks other people off and because they are cool), drinks Absolut vodka straight up and she goes out to heavy metal clubs and dances all night.  I’m not sure if she has a job…but if she does, it is really unconventional…..heck, she might be a writer ;).  And she is very comfortable with her sexuality.  Maleficent is cool and I want to be her when I grow up. 

That’s all for now…now it’s your turn!

Who are your shadows?

How can you begin to get to know them?

How can you make them part of who you are inside AND outside?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Lessons, Surrender

Saying Yes to What God Gives Me

On the path of spiritual growth and enlightenment, we are called to move away from resistance and toward a receptive posture of surrender.  How can we look at the things we would otherwise consider challenging, or something we would choose to reject and instead offer a heart-felt YES!?  We might be surprised at how this simple word can change our lives. 

Words from Nowhere

Last Thursday I had a session with my Spiritual Director who just so happens to also be a Healing Touch Therapy practitioner.  The beauty of this is that not only do I get the gift of Spiritual Direction, but I get to follow it up with a nurturing and healing session of Healing Touch.  YUMMY!  Before starting the Healing Touch session, my Spiritual Director always asks, “What is your intention for this healing?”  Usually my answer is “Openness” or “Surrender” – something that has some sort of action to it.  She asked me the question and before I even had a chance to think I heard the answer coming out of my mouth, “YES.”  My Spiritual Director and I looked at each other with startled looks on our faces,  “Yes?”  What the heck does that mean?  But who are we to question words that come out of nowhere, so we decided to go with it.

A Basket of Fortune Cookie Wisdom

After a relaxing and rejuvenating hour of Healing Touch, my Spiritual Director always closes the session with the Basket of Fortune Cookie Wisdom.  Inside the basket are hundreds of little pieces of paper folded up with inspirational messages inside.  I reached my hand into the basket….and this is what I drew:

Let me have new energy.  Let me have a new sense of purpose.  Let me know that I am on this earth to serve.  Let me not feel guilty about the expression of my power.  Let me no longer play small, regardless of other people’s reactions to me when I play big.

– Marianne Williamson

After reading this words, a big spark of celebration rose up within me and I did a little “YES” dance….YES YES YES YES YES….I say YES to all of this.  So perhaps this is what the “Yes” that preceded the Healing Touch meant.  Ha….I should know better than to think that would be all.  Too easy.  Too simple.  Too direct.

The Words that Haunt Me

This all started on a Thursday and while I thought it might just be a simply yes to Marianne Williamson’s words, God had the last word.  The invitation to “YES” would not leave me alone.  It haunted my waking and sleeping hours.  I accompanied me to my daughter’s choir performance, it joined me at the grocery store.  “ALRIGHT ALREADY….WHAT DO YOU WANT?”  I asked that darn yes.  The reply?

Say YES to what God gives you.

Then I fell to my knees.  As allowed myself to HEAR these words, I felt their energy pierce the crown of my head and shoot all the way through my body, bringing me (figuratively) to my knees.  I felt humbled, awestruck and overwhelmed by the enormity of this invitation.  Say yes to what God gives me.  AND THAT MEANS EVERYTHING!!!!!!

What a difference a shift makes

Everything!  Say yes to EVERYTHING God gives me.  Say yes to a failed marriage.  Say yes to grieving children.  Say yes to kids fighting their heads off.  Say yes to my bitchy moods when my kids are at each others’ throats.  Say yes to loss.  Say yes to death.  Say yes to disease.  Say yes to depression, anxiety, panic attacks.  Say yes to not having a regular paycheck.  Say yes to having to trust in God to provide.  Say yes to the failure of capitalism, the Church, government, corporate power and greed, (ok, these are kinda easy to say yes to.)  Say yes to co-dependency (ARGH!).  Etc. etc. etc.   It is easy to say yes to the “good” things in life, but is God really asking me to say “Yes” to the things I want to reject, purge from my body, work toward healing and ridding myself of.  It seems the answer is “YES.”  SIGH!

Yes as a posture of surrender and trust

“Yes” doesn’t mean we lay here like a victim and allow the world to trample us.  It is really more about accepting a posture of radical surrender and trust.  Can I greet the things in life that I would normally resist with an attitude and posture of welcome?  Can I look at my depression and anxiety when they show up and say, “Welcome, I know you are here as something that will ultimately prove to work toward my highest good.  I will not reject you, but hold you in a space of quiet acceptance and trust.  Also knowing, this too shall pass.”  What a difference this tiny shift in perception can make.  Can we greet a diagnosis, a loss and betrayal with the same kind of acceptance?   While we don’t have to like the diagnosis, can we hold it in a place of silent trusting….that something larger is at work….something that will ultimately serve as a vehicle of growth and transformation?  While we instinctively want to say, “HELL NO,” it seems that we are being invited to explore the possibility of “YES” and see how it might transform our lives.  I’m going to try it on for awhile and see what happens.

What are the things in your life that are easy to say yes to?

What are the things you like to reject, resist, would like to say “no” to?

How are you being invited to try on “Yes” for awhile?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Divine Revelation

Where Does God Live?

As we move through our journey of spiritual growth, toward awakening and enlightenment, our answer to the question, “Where does God live” expands and becomes very personal.  How do you answer the question,  “Where does God live?”


To think as a child

When we were children, our understanding of God is, for the most part, determined by our outside sources of perceived authority – our parents, teachers, religious authorities.  We do what we are told and believe what they tell us.  At this stage in our journey, God frequently feels very far off, unapproachable, perhaps even cold and aloof.  God is often portrayed (for those coming from a Christian background anyway) as a kind of father or as “the old man in the sky.”  For me, God was the old man in the sky who lived on a cloud somewhere in heaven which was unseen, but somewhere “up there.”  I have a sense that this is the case for many children growing up in a Christian home.

Those searching years

At sometime in our journey, however, the beliefs that were given to us by our parents, teachers, etc. has to be put to the test – questioned, explored, challenged.  If we are ever to grow up spiritually, to become mature in our spiritual beliefs and practice, we need to be like a rebellious teenager and try on other beliefs, ask the difficult questions, sometimes throw it all away in search of something that resonates with ME!  This is a very healthy and necessary stage in our development into healthy, well-adjusted adults.  While our friends, parents, siblings, teachers and pastors might not appreciate this stage too much, the best thing they can do is allow this stage…in fact, it would be even better if they were to support this stage…give us the tools to search, help us explore the answers to our questions, teach us the skill of authentic discernment.

What happens when we grow spiritually?

It is only in asking the questions, exploring and discerning that we can come into a faith that we can call our own.  It is only in entering fully into the searching stage that we can develop a healthy, intimate relationship with the Divine through which the Divine can reveal itself to us in a very personal and intimate way.  In this exploration, we aren’t coming to know God through someone else’s experience or belief, but through our own personal experience.  In this way, God reveals God’s self to us in exactly the way we resonate with this universal truth.  And the ways in which God reveals God’s self to us is INFINITE.  No longer is God simply the old man in the sky….God becomes all that we need God to be for us.  God might reveal God’s self to us as:  friend, companion, guide, counselor, healing, parent, muse, teacher, lover, guardian, protector.  God might also reveal God’s self to us as creation (as a noun) or creation (as an action).  As we enter into this searching phase, what we discover is that God is limitless and may be experienced in limitless ways including: transcendent (seemingly outside of us) immanent (living within creation) and as creative action itself.  As we grow, we realize God is all things and in all things and as our experiences of God expands, they also become more intimate, more personal, more closely held.  In the end, we come to understand the words God addressed to the psalmist:

“My home is within you.”

Psalm 87:7

And isn’t that a nice place for God to be?

How have your images and experiences of God grown and expanded?

How to you experience God as living within you?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Lessons, Surrender

If it Comes from God…

In the spiritual journey toward awakening and enlightenment, we are invited to surrender our own will to that of God, AND…..to let Go and Let God do the work…..AND TRUST! 

“If this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself;

But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them,

you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”

Acts 5: 34-42

Gamaliel’s Wisdom

The above words are attributed to Gamaliel, a Pharisee of the Sanhedrin, as the Sanhedrin entertained thoughts of silencing Jesus’ disciples for preaching in Jesus’ name.  In his wisdom, he recognized that things motivated through a purely human origin will pass away on their own, while those things that come from God cannot be destroyed.   In fact, he suggests it would be folly to attempt to challenge something that comes from God.

Applying Gamaliel’s Wisdom

Gamaliel’s words are a profound source of wisdom for each of us as we attempt to navigate our daily lives.  No, we are not standing before the Sanhedrin hoping they will hear our words, but we are very good at worrying about the outcome of the work we do and frenetically “making things happen.”  I had the opportunity this morning to apply these words to my own life.

To do lists and book promotion

As you probably already know, my book, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, has finally been released.  Since I received word of its availability, I have been crazy-busy promoting, organizing book signings, coordinating events.  As I sat in meditation this morning, I found myself overcome with a dreadful anxiety laced with fear.  My fear, “What happens if nobody buys my book?  What if I’m not doing enough or the right publicity?  What if I am missing advertising, speaking, teaching, networking opportunities?”  I found myself wrapped up in the tightly bound cords of obsessive planning thoughts and fear of failure.  BLECH!  Then I read the words of Gamaliel above and went, “DUH!”

Who is really in charge?

The source of the duh?   WHO IS REALLY IN CHARGE OF THIS BOOK?????   Again, DUH!  I am in no way, shape or form in charge of this book…..I never have been so why should I be today?  GOD IS IN CHARGE!!!!!   If this book and its message are of God, then the people that need it will be led to it and will find it.  If this book is of God, it will have the exact success its needs….regardless of my human attempts to “make it big.”  DUH!  Yes, I am called to cultivate the soil and plant the seeds, but the actual germination, growth and harvest is God’s not mine.

The Peaceful Approach

So, the invitation?  I know I’m not supposed to hide in a cave and hope that people find my book…..AND….I need to turn the driving over to God.  The invitation is to follow the path that has worked for me in the past….to focus on my spiritual practices (meditation, chant, writing) and be attentive to the God-nuggets that will fall into my lap, to be watchful for God’s direction – NOT MINE.  In short….my invitation is to be present, watchful, obedient and to surrender the life of my book into God’s hands trusting that if it is of God, it will find its home in the hands of those who will come to know God, to know peace and to know joy through those words.

Where do you find yourself trying to manipulate or control the outcome of your own life?

What are you being called to surrender to God?

Where else might you apply the wisdom of Gamaliel to your own life or to the world?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com


Posted in Divine Revelation, Holy Spirit, Spiritual Practices

That Darn Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit will hound and hound and hound us until we FINALLY take the time to listen…and obey!  Guidance along the path of spiritual growth and enlightenment!

3 am – REALLY?????

Much to my frustration, every morning for the past week I have awakened at 3 am and not been able to fall back to sleep.  I lay there tossing and turning and pounding the pillow in frustration, shaking my fist at whatever it is that keeps waking me at 3 and refuses to let me go back to sleep.  This morning….same darn thing!  I tossed and turned and shook my fist for about an hour, when it suddenly struck me, maybe I need to ask what is wanted of me.  DUH!

Ask and the Holy Spirit will Answer

So, I asked the ethers:  “Ok, what is up with the 3am wake up?  Is there something you want from me?”  As soon as I bothered to ask the question, an image appeared in my mind of the earth and all her inhabitants.  “Pray,” was the silent, but REALLY LOUD command.  So that is what I did.  I held the earth and all her inhabitants in prayer.

The Subtleties of Prayer

I held the earth and all her inhabitants in prayer and I noticed that my prayer changed its quality.  Typically, when I am entering into intercessory prayer (praying on behalf of someone or something), my prayer feels like energy moving out from myself toward and into that person or thing.  I began in that posture, and found that the prayer suddenly changed and this change felt more appropriate to the current needs of the earth and all of us gathered on this ball of mud!  I held the earth in an image in my mind and felt my body relax into a state of peaceful contentment.  I realized that it was this new posture that is in fact most needed by the earth itself and all of us on this planet.  So, I continued to hold the earth in prayer and rest into that place of peace as I held her.  Then I heard the next command, “Tell the rest of the world to do the same.”

Sharing the Command

So, here is my invitation to you and to anyone with whom you would be so kind to share it.  (Oh yea, it’s not really my invitation….it is the Holy Spirit’s invitation.  I’m just the messenger.)   Pray for the earth and all her inhabitants!

And here is how we are being invited to pray:

  • Hold an image of the earth and all of her inhabitants in your mind
  • Allow your mind, your spirit and your body to relax into a state of peaceful calm

That’s it.  Imagine.  Hold a space for peace. And invite others to do the same.

PS:  Medical Haitus

Just an FYI to my blog readers.  I will be taking another haitus from blogging to help with my father who is having kidney surgery.  And if you would be so kind, I would appreciate if you could hold him and my family in your prayers.

How is the Holy Spirit trying to talk to you?

How are you being invited to be a messenger of the Holy Spirit?

How are you being invited to assist in the healing of our planet and all of the inhabitants of the earth?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com





Posted in Inspiration, Surrender

Radical Trust

As we move along the path of spiritual growth, awakening and enlightenment, we are invited into a posture of radical trust – setting aside all we think we know about how things happen and how dreams are made manifest.  YIKES!


O Lord, hear my prayer and let my cry come to you.

Hide not your face from me in the day of my distress.

Incline your ear to me;

in the day that I call, answer me speedily.

Psalm 102

 

The invitation

Working with one of my spiritual teachers yesterday, I was extended an invitation to embrace radical trust. This is not a new invitation, but apparently one about which I needed a gentle reminder.  Radical trust is this: believing that the universe is benevolent and is at work guiding and leading us toward and actually manifesting what is in our highest good each and every day!  In embracing radical trust there is nothing we have to do but wait, observe and be open to seeing, receiving and believing.  In a world that is all about to-do lists, goals, actions and reactions, radical trust presents  a scary alternative.  Our to-do lists, 5-year and 10-year goals, action plans, strategies, etc. give us a sense of surety and security so the idea of leaving these behind and surrendering to “wait, observe, see, receive,” might feel like a threat to our very existence.

 

What hasn’t worked

So, let’s take a look at how well our Western, pragmatic, goal-oriented approach has worked.  Our government is on the verge of collapse, corporate America is in a state of ready decline, our economy is in the pits, the institutions that have defined our culture – church, education, medicine, are all on the verge of imploding from within. The rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.  The US dollar continues to decline.   Global warming.  Melting of the polar caps.  Earthquakes.  Devastating weather patterns.  HHHMMMMM   Seems like the “to do” model isn’t working so well. 

 

Daring something different

So, what would happen if we tried something else?  What would happen if we dropped our to-do lists, quit strategizing, planning, manipulating, manifesting and took the time to SIMPLY BE!  What would happen if we took the time to BE QUIET….to LISTEN….to WAIT….to OBSERVE……most importantly…..TO TRUST????   What would happen if we believed the universe/God, had our highest good in mind and is doing the work of leading us toward it?  What if we set aside our own plans and let the universe plan it for us, lead us to it and helped us to receive it?  We might just find that what the universe draws us to and actually brings forth in our lives might be more magnificent than what we ever could have imagined for ourselves.  Cool!

 

The Resistance Dance

I know, I know….even as I put forth this proposal, every ounce of our beings are doing a little, “No, no, no” dance…a spiritual temper tantrum if you will.  We don’t want to give up our plans, our to-do lists, our own ideas of what is best for us.  We want to drive the boat and control the outcome.  But…..if we really want a life of peace, joy and compassion, we have to step out of our drive to control and let the benevolent universe/God be in charge.  AND….in order to do this what do we need?    TRUST  Radical Trust!

 

An experiment

So, I’m not asking you to give up all control immediately.  I acknowledge that this might put you (ahem…me!) into shock.  But, what if you just tried it on for a bit?  Just for today, set aside your plans, your to-do list, your strategies, your list of goals and take a day to simply Be.  Spend time in quiet.  Observe the movement of your life.  Watch for surprises, the unexpected, coincidences and synchronicities.  See what shows up and follow its thread.  You might be surprised at where you are being led.

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com