Posted in church, Inspiration

A Temple Not Built by Human Hands

For thousands of years, human beings have been building temples to their gods. From the humble beginnings of forest shrines, to the temples of the East, to the gargantuan medieval cathedrals and in more modern time, the mega-church complexes, human beings have designed and built external structures to house, to reflect, and to give worship to their gods.  In many belief systems the believers were required to offer sacrifice and worship within the walls of these temples so as to earn the favor of their god.  For some, neglect of these obligations is met with threats of eternal damnation.

These temples were built to represent an external god. God was either thought to be in the temple – either contained within its walls, within its tabernacle; or at the very least, it was only in the temple where god could be met.  The walls of the temple were meant to keep gods in and non-believers out.  Some belief systems have even created rules where those who don’t believe, or those within the faith who aren’t considered worthy because they have not completed the prescribed atonement rituals or sacrifice are not truly welcome.  Keeping gods in and the undeserving out.  All of this rooted in the belief that as human beings, we are separate from God.

Jesus taught otherwise. Raised Jewish, Jesus learned and followed the prescriptions of his faith.  He listened to the stories of his ancestors.  He studied the words of the prophets.  He memorized and followed the law.  He was a good Jewish boy doing what good Jewish boys do.  But, as the stories seem to imply, Jesus heard and experienced something beyond the surface layers of his Jewish faith.  He did not simply attend synagogue on Saturday to fulfill his Sabbath obligation.  It is likely that somewhere in his journey with his Jewish faith, he came upon the more mystical studies of his tradition.  Here he discovered a God that was not only in the temple.  He found a God that was not in a heaven light years away.  Likely through contemplation, meditation and prayer, and through the guidance of others who had come this way before him, he found a God who was not “out there” but dwelt deep within Jesus’ own being in a state he called “Oneness.”  Jesus discovered that the kingdom of God was not out there, but was within him in this state of Union where he experienced peace, contentment and bliss. John the Evangelist later called this experience Love.

For Jesus, the temple became something not outside of himself. Rather, he came to understand that he was the temple – that we are all the temple.  God is in us and we are the temple of that Divine Spirit.  The mystical traditions of Judaism (the Kabbalah) affirm this.  We know and understand this when we do the work Jesus did of healing ourselves of all that which seems to separate us from God – fears, false perceptions, ego attachments, old wounds, etc.  This is the work Jesus (likely) learned through his own Jewish faith, which he accomplished for himself and when he then went on to (try to) teach his disciples.  Some got it.  Some did not…..

 

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Learn the Kabbalistic principles practiced by Jesus through the Order of Melchizedek Training:

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom Academy, church, Jesus, Raised Catholic

Beyond Church Part 1

For twenty-some years, I have been hounded by the vision of a different (original) way of doing church.  I was inspired by my personal experiences with small faith communities, contemplative prayer and authentic spiritual formation (not to be confused with religious formation).  All of these experiences proved to me that for many people, (42.7 million non-practicing Catholics for example) “pay, pray and obey” is simply not enough.  Many people are not content to simply show up on Sunday morning so as to fulfill their Sunday obligation and receive their “get out of hell free card.”   In short, people are simply too smart to buy into this reward/punishment model of church, especially when what they often see are grotesque examples of hypocrisy in those bludgeoning them with threats of eternal damnation – most especially when these threats of hell are coming out of the same mouth that just preached on the unconditional love of God.

Instead, what I have envisioned and held in my heart for the past twenty years is something more akin to what Jesus seemed to have done.

jesus

First – He prayed.  He meditated.  He spent time in contemplation with that which he called Abwoon (sometimes translated as Father but is really beyond gender or image).  HERE was his source of peace, clarity, guidance, healing, comfort, transformation and love.

Second – He uncompromisingly obeyed the guidance he discovered in his time in contemplation, even when it meant disobeying the perceived authorities (religious and civil) of his time and/or going against societal norms.

Third – He shared with others what he discovered in his time of contemplation and prayer. Mostly what he shared was LOVE.  In his time with Abwoon, Jesus discovered an expansive, unconditional, uplifting, empowering Source of love – a love that conquered fear, that healed wounds, that pierced the veil of judgment and false perceptions.

Fourth– He taught others to do what he learned to do and in the learning, they too found healing, transformation, contentment, joy, peace and a sense of fulfillment.

This is what Jesus did…..PERIOD.  He never formed a church.  He did not set out to create a new religion.  He established no doctrine.  And the rituals he enacted were all traditional aspects of his Jewish faith.  One might say that what truly set Jesus apart was that he lived his Jewish faith to the fullest extent possible based on what he saw as the pillars of his faith – the simple commandments to love God and love neighbor –  and in doing so….he changed the world.

I must admit that my vision of something beyond church is for nothing less than this – to do what Jesus did and in doing so, to help change the world.

To learn more about upcoming “beyond church” offerings at Authentic Freedom Academy click on the links below:

Sunday Service

Authentic Freedom Mastery Course

Superhero Gatherings

 

 

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 Freedom, God, Inspiration

God/dess Talking

Today’s blog explores God.  What would God say to us today if we had the ears to hear?  Yes, I am writing this, but read it as if it is God/dess speaking to you.  🙂 

Who I AM

My dearest children: 

My blessings of love, joy and peace on you this day….and on every other day.  Lauri asked me to speak to you on behalf of MYSELF and for your benefit.  You are living in a time where there is much conflict and so much of that conflict seems to be centered around ME.  Am I man or woman, spirit or light, presence or essence, up or down, inside or outside, on a mountain or in a temple, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Pagan, Hindu, Buddhist, Black, White, Asian, Gay, Straight, Republican or Democrat, etc. etc. etc.  In this moment,  I invite you to imagine ME as a beautiful, gentle, compassionate and wise woman, and in this imagined vision of ME, you may call ME, Sophia, but know that this is only one possibility among an infinite number of possibilities about how you can imagine and experience ME.  So, over this arguement about what I AM and what I AM not….you can stop all your fighting.  Because……I AM all of it…..and even more than that.  You cannot begin to imagine or even experience all that I AM, because I AM infinite.  But, if it helps you to know ME in a particular form: Black or White, male or female, Spirit or Light….then go for it.  It makes no difference to me, except when you fight about it.

PS:  If you need help finding your way home……call Lauri (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com or Buy her book: Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy!

Enough with the fighting

While I AM a tolerant, compassionate and unconditional loving God/dess and in you there is never really anything to forgive, I AM getting a little tired of all this fighting.  But then again, I only have MYSELF to blame since I did create you and in your decision to become human, separation is the lens through which WE will have this experience.  This might be a good time in your history, however, to recognize that separation is a choice and it is a choice that you can undo at any moment.  When you turn away from the separation you have chosen and remember your ONENESS in ME……then all this fighting will end.  Why….because all these things you perceive as different – race, religion, political party, nation, gender, sexual orientation, are really all the same.  In ME, there is no separation….we are all ONE….in a constant state of love, harmony, unity, bliss, peace, joy, awe and wonder.  You make things so difficult with all this separation and like Dorothy and her red shoes, you have always had the power to change this.  And you know, her little mantra, “There’s no place like home….there’s no place like home….” could have the same magical effect on you….to bring you home to ME!  So if you are tired of all this fighting, struggle, challenge, separation, then click your little red heels and COME HOME!

PS:  If you need help finding your way home……call Lauri (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com or Buy her book: Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy!

All I Want to Do and BE

Come home!  I am sitting here waiting for you to come home to remembering your true nature which is LOVE.  And, I want nothing more than to hold you in that love, comfort you from your fears, enfold you in peace and stroke your hair as your highest truth gently rises to the surface.  I made you for joy.  I made you to create.  I envisioned you having fun, playing in fields of daisies and making bubbles through bubble wands.  I created this amazing, beautiful, magical, full of wonder, world for your pleasure.  I want you to skip through the woods in search of magical mushrooms, to dance with the fairies and play hide and seek with the gnomes.  Your world is supposed to be magic.  Instead, you have made it your own personal hell.  STOP Right now!  Click your ruby red heels and COME HOME.  You have the power.  You know how to get here.  And if you forgot, read some more of Lauri’s blogs, she has given you a MILLION tools to help you remember and maps to help you find your way.  I am here….waiting…….and all you have to do is CHOOSE: love instead of fear, harmony instead of separation, peace instead of anxiety, joy instead of sorrow, hope instead of dread, compassion instead of hatred, forgiveness instead of anger.  CHOOSE ME.  CHOOSE ME.  CHOOSE ME……and you will have peace.

Love,

Sophia (or whatever name by which you want to call me!)

PS:  If you need help finding your way home……call Lauri (920) 230-1313 or email lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com or Buy her book: Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy!