Posted in Spiritual Practices

Sacred Sound – a book review

Twenty-some years ago, I embraced a daily spiritual practice.  Having an active and creative brain, I often found sitting in silence to be difficult, as such, I found myself gravitating toward practices, from the Christian tradition in which I was raised, which first engaged my mind while leading me to peace.  Lectio-Divina and Imagination/contemplation became the foundations of my daily meditation.  That was until I discovered Kirtan.  Kirtan is a chanting practice that comes out of the Bhakti branch of yoga.  Bhakti is also known as the yoga of devotion.  In the practice of Kirtan, one uses mantra and chant to facilitate inner peace and relaxation.  While I have retained the sacred reading of scripture as part of my daily practice, I have found nothing more effective than chant to bring me into the place where I am remembering my Oneness with God and experiencing the depths of Divine love.

sacredsound

In Sacred Sound – discovering the myth and meaning of mantra and kirtan, by Alanna Kaivalya, I have found a fabulous supplement to my kirtan practice.  In this book, Alanna fleshes out the transliterations, translations and spiritual meanings of many of the most honored sacred mantras.  Alanna then provides the Hindu and Buddhist myths that provide the sacred stories out of which the power of these mantras first emerged.  If you have found yourself drawn to chant or have already incorporated mantra into your daily spiritual practice, you will find Sacred Sound to be a great supplement to your practice and a fantastic resource for your spiritual library.

Buy it HERE.

Posted in Being Human, guilt, Inspiration, Spiritual Practices

Questioning the “Law of Attraction”

Questions about the pop-culture phenomenon known as “The Law of Attraction” aka “The Secret.”  Sometimes, I think “success” and “failure” have nothing to do with our beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and are simply a matter of dumb luck!  What matters is what we do with the life that we have been given.

Being Faced with a Challenge

This weekend, I had the great opportunity to attend a yoga workshop and Kirtan event with teacher, musician and Kirtan facilitator, Wade Imre Morissette.  Before we began the Kirtan, Wade invited us to choose an intention for our prayer.  The first word that popped into my mind was abundance.  But as I sat with that word, it was quickly replaced with worthiness.  Worthiness….the one word I have perhaps wanted most to really embrace and believe in my life.  I really want to believe I am worthy of all the things I want in my life:  Worthy of a fulfilling and prosperous career.  Worthy of a deep and abiding love.  Worthy of loving friendships, good health, happiness, etc. etc. etc.  And I wondered, is this why I have not achieved the financial success that I desire in my business (it is already overwhelmingly fulfilling!)?  Do I not believe I am worthy of financial success?  This is what the “Law of Attraction” would tell me.  “If you are not prosperous, in the job you want and love, in a relationship that is loving, fulfilling, uplifting, mutually supportive, etc. etc. etc.  it is because YOUR THOUGHTS ARE WRONG.  Well, if the “Law of Attraction says so….”   So, I offered up my prayer, “Please God, help me to feel worthy so that I may receive the financial abundance that I need to fulfill my dreams of helping others through my abundance.”  Then……I heard someone slam their foot upon the heavenly brakes and the squealing of tires that could only mean 30 pounds of tread just got left behind on Heaven’s highway.

What if The Law of Attraction is NOT?

Wait a minute…….I heard the thoughts gathering in my head.  I know all kinds of people who have a boatload of money.  Some who worked very hard for it.  Some whose spouse worked very hard for it.  Some who seemed to accumulate it by accident.  Do all these people believe that they are worthy?  HECK NO!!!!  In fact many of these people are plagued by self-doubt, self-loathing, self-deprecation.  So, if these people who are so much better off financially than I am and struggle even more with worthiness than I do….WHAT GIVES?????  According to “The Law of Attraction,” belief and thought equals attainment.  If you believe you deserve it, if you believe you are worthy, then you will get it.  AND…..if you don’t have it, it is because you believed or thought wrongly. YOU are the creator and the source of your manifestation (or lack thereof).  At the end of the day, good or bad…..IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!  To put it bluntly….I think that’s CRAP!

Sh…t   Happens

Sometimes, I just think that sh….t happens.  Some people are rich.  Some are poor.  Some have fulfilling careers.  Some do not.  Some find loving partnership easily.  Some search and search and never find it.  And, I find it really hard to believe that all those that DO NOT have what they want professionally, financially and personally do not have it because their thoughts or beliefs are wrong.  If that were the case, then none of us would really have what we want because  no one thinks all good things all day every day and most of us grew up in some sort of dysfunction that colors our beliefs and perceptions – sometimes negatively.  Not to mention, we are all born into the world with a unique lens through which we see, perceive and experience our human experience.  Not to get all Trent Reznor (one of my favorite nihilists) on you….but at the end of the day, perhaps a lot of it is just DUMB LUCK.

The Real Secret

So, if life is just a matter of chaotic, unordered, unpredictable events and bad things happen to good people, regardless of how they think or believe, now what?  WELCOME TO THE HUMAN CONDITION!  And……it doesn’t have to be “Life sucks and then you die.”  Are bad things going to happen to us?  Are the things we think we want sometimes elusive?  Will there be suffering and loss.  YOU BET.  AND…..we don’t have to allow it to destroy us!  This is the real secret that all the greatest spiritual teachers came to remind us.  Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, The Buddha, Yogananda, Babaji, Amma, the Dalia Lama, all come with the same message.  “The Human condition is the human condition.  And….suffering is optional.”  And……they have all left us tools with which we can SURVIVE, endure, transcend, make it through the stuff that life sometimes hands us:  sacred writings, words of wisdom, spiritual practices and rituals, etc. etc. etc.  Thanks to those who have gone before us, we have EVERYTHING we need to survive and maybe even ENJOY the human experience.  (Imagine that!)  Thanks to these teachers, we can stop worrying so much about how our thoughts or beliefs are dictating the condition of our lives, let go of the guilt over how it must somehow be our fault and focus on the tools that lead us to the peace and love of God.  And this peace and love of God is there for EVERYONE regardless of what we have, believe or think.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Faith

The Gods Must Be Crazy!

Taking a journey based solely on faith makes us wonder if we have lost our minds or if the gods must be crazy!   

Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.

Hebrews 11

 

Today, I am taking another step on a journey that can only be described as  based solely on faith and faith alone.  This weekend, I am attending Kirtan camp, led by internationally renowned Kirtan artist and musician, Ragani.  http://www.raganiworld.com/  Kirtan is the practice of sacred chant from the Hindu and Yogic traditions, specifically Bhakti yoga.  I first discovered Kirtan through the yoga classes I attend at Inner Sun Yoga in Oshkosh http://www.innersunyogastudio.com/  and then had the opportunity to attend professional Kirtan events led by such names as Krishna Das, Durga Das, Wah! and Ragani.  The practice of Kirtan spoke to something deep in my soul and when I found myself at each and every event moved to tears, I knew that there was something in Kirtan for me.  I cannot explain why singing words I do not understand and can barely pronounce has had such a profound impact on me, I just know that it has.  Then at some point in my experience of Kirtan, I found myself desiring to learn more and in that desire, the idea of possibly leading and hosting Kirtan events locally.  Have I lost my mind or am I simply pursuing the unmet childhood dream to grow up and be Stevie Nicks? 

 

 

Here is where the journey of faith comes in.  I am not a professional musician, nor do I have any qualifications to call myself anything other than a hack musician.  I studied piano for 10+ years and sang in school and church choirs, but my piano talents are only fair and my singing pretty average.  Add to this two past traumas with performance anxiety and I am the last person who should even be thinking about leading or facilitating Kirtan.  But there it is…..something is compelling me to attend Kirtan camp with the idea of holding local Kirtan events sometime in the future.  I don’t think I have lost my mind,  but the Gods must be crazy! 

 

 

In each of our journeys, there are times when ideas, inspirations, visions, invitations show up that seem to make no sense at all, and yet we are compelled to follow those dreams.  Perhaps we are compelled to quit our job, end a relationship, pursue education, embark upon a new stage of learning.  Sometimes these visions show up with nothing to back it up, but faith.  Faith is what compels us to follow these ideas even in the absence of logic, evidence or proof.  This is when all we can do is step into the journey and trust that the gods know what they are doing – even risking ridicule, rejection or even failure.  This is where I step as I enter into this weekend of Kirtan camp and all I can do is follow the trail to where – I do not yet know….but follow it I will.

 

 

This weekend, I invite you to reflect on your own journey of faith.  What are the inspirations, dreams, visions you feel compelled to follow based solely on faith and faith alone?  Enjoy the ride! 

 To see a clip of Ragani’s Kirtan:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GkVsyIay-g

 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://www.authenticfreedom.net