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.


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, Education Reform, mental illness, self-actualization

Self-Actualization: Where education, psychology and religion have failed

We stand at an important crossroads in our evolution as a species where everything we formerly looked to as keeping us safe; and supporting our health, development, and wellbeing; has failed.  Education.  Government.  Medicine (here including psychology). Capitalism.  Religion.  All have failed.  As it relates to Authentic Freedom Academy, I will focus on the three related to our mission of providing transformational education and empowerment:  education, religion and psychology.

Education, religion and psychology have failed.  Perhaps not from the perspective of some inside these institutions, but from the perspective of human development, they have failed.  Psychology is treating pathology only, and everything is pathology (anxiety, depression, panic attack for example which are just as often signals of our Soul’s desire to awaken!).  Religion teaches doctrine while ignoring the deepest need of the human heart which is to know ourselves and to know that we are loved.  Education remains primarily within the 19th century paradigm of creating obedient factory workers. While religion, education and psychology all insist their desire is to support human development, none in fact, are doing so.  Instead, they are, more often than not, working to keep people small, contained, frustrated and unhealthy.

Authentic Freedom Academy hopes to change this fact by being a resource through which people of all ages can be supported in their human development, the ultimate goal being self-actualization.

Self-Actualization is the term that Abraham Maslow used to describe the ultimate goal of the human journey – to become the fullest expression of our greatest self while harnessing our individual and unique giftedness, not only for our own fulfillment but for the sake of the betterment of the world.  Other pioneers in the field of psychology have used such terms as individuation, self-fulfillment, whole self, etc. to describe the deepest desire of the human animal to find inner fulfillment and satisfaction.  All agree that this satisfaction comes not from what is outside of us (money, power, wealth, material possessions), but is an inner quality experienced when our Soul comes to its own realization.  The Soul’s realization is called self-actualization.  The inner state of contentment and fulfillment I call authentic freedom.


Self-Actualization/Authentic Freedom is the mission of Authentic Freedom Academy.  Toward this end, we provide you with the tools and support you need to achieve your own self-actualization. We provide these tools (one-on-one mentoring, classes and publishing) because we believe that self-actualization is the answer to what ails our world.  Self-actualized individuals are more peaceful and content, problem-centered instead of ego-centered, live more simply, have a deep sympathy for the human race and a desire to serve their fellow human beings, are naturally democratic, collaborative and cooperative, enjoy an inner state of harmony and seek to create that in their world.  Self-actualized people are content within themselves and are no longer looking for something outside of them to make them happy so they are less likely to take from others and are more likely to give.  Self-actualized individuals know themselves and have come in contact with their own unique gifts and have taken time to cultivate these gifts.  After doing so, they are motivated to share these gifts not only for their own fulfillment but for the sake of the betterment of the world.  While detached and self-contained, self-actualized individuals can’t help but support the betterment of our world – sometimes just by being present.

Authentic Freedom Academy has made it our goal to support people of all ages in their journey of self-actualization, empowering them to experience authentic freedom in their lives.

If you are interested in enjoying the benefits of becoming self-actualized, consider scheduling a one-on-one session with Lauri Lumby (920) 230-1313 or email 

Posted in Uncategorized

Book Review: The Hero’s Journey

As a lifelong student of religion, spirituality and psychology, I have long been a fan of Joseph Campbell.  Passionate about the process through which human beings become self-actualized, I have found enormous value in “The Hero’s Journey,” the archetypal roadmap that emerged out of Campbell’s lifelong fascination with and study of myth.  In acquiring this roadmap, Campbell demonstrated to the world the universal longing to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment, what to expect when attempting to satisfy this longing, and the way in which every culture has communicated this process through their respective stories.  In providing the map for individuation, Campbell brings us together through the revelation of our common story.

Click on image to order
Click on image to order


In The Hero’s Journey – Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work, (New World Library, 2014) I had an opportunity, for the first time, to see beyond Joseph Campbell, the mythologist and the legend, to Joseph Campbell, the man.  In this delightful collection of archival interviews, Joseph Campbell’s life is presented within the framework of his own creation – “The Hero’s Journey.”  In his own words, Campbell reveals the story of his life and demonstrates his own journey toward self-actualization, proving that self-actualization is possible and what, indeed, it looks like.  In this collection, the reader will find in Campbell, an inquiring youth, a passionate student, a competitive athlete, a “man’s man,” a consummate scholar and researcher, a voracious reader, an enthusiastic teacher, a loving and adoring husband, a wise observer of humanity, a man driven by his curiosity, and an endearing and generous self-fulfilled human being.   Campbell’s life proves that the journey toward self-actualization unfolds on its own and is facilitated by our ability to observe and accept the subtle “call to adventure” and that self-actualization is defined by the gift that you bring to humanity, not how much money, power or status you have acquired along the way.


Lauri Ann Lumby


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? 


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 Authentic Freedom

Authentic Freedom – a new psychology

Today’s blog answers the question, “What is Authentic Freedom” and acknowledges it as a helpful tool in the fields of psychology, spirituality, religion, human development and human evolution.  In fact, I might be so bold as to hail it as a new psychology, inspired by the work of those who have gone before, but going about it in a whole new way. 

lauriprofilebwwebshot2013Authentic Freedom and Psychology:  If we agree with the American Psychological Association’s definitions: Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience — from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged. In every conceivable setting from scientific research centers to mental health care services, “the understanding of behavior” is the enterprise of psychologists, then I am a psychologist.  While I don’t yet have the alphabet soup behind my name to authenticate this title within the Western hierarchical and dualistic paradigm (I’m working on it), I have spent the last 48 years of my life observing, exploring and investigating human behavior and the motivations behind it.

My path:  In the tradition of the ancients (Moses, The Buddha, Patanjali, Jesus, Ignatius or Loyola, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Yogananda, etc.) my path  began in my religious (Catholic) upbringing and expanded into contemplative practices and mystical experiences which provided insights into the human experience and our response to it.  Combining my own personal experiences with both ancient and modern knowledge of human consciousness and the material world, led to the development of my own approach to helping people to understand their behaviors and motivations, especially those thought patterns and behaviors that have become an obstacle to finding meaning, purpose and healthy connections in their lives.  I call this approach Authentic Freedom.

Authentic Freedom is an interdisciplinary approach to the psychological and spiritual wellbeing and formation of adults.  Authentic Freedom provides tools through which you are able to identify and move through the inner obstacles to the peace, joy and fulfillment you long for and are driven to obtain. In addition to providing symptomatic relief,  Authentic Freedom provides a framework upon which you are empowered to cultivate a deep and abiding peace and a fulfilling life.  The Authentic Freedom tool kit includes:

  • Accessible meditation and contemplation practices
  • Cognitive learning
  • Creative expression
  • Confidential engagement
  • Movement practices
  • Guided imagery
  • Archetypal tools including:  The Myers-Briggs personality profile, The Enneagram
  • Dreamwork
  • Soundwork (mantra, chant, music)
  • Energy work
  • Ritual

Authentic Freedom is accomplished one-on-one through Spiritual Direction/Mentoring and in group settings through classes, retreats and workshops.

Become an Authentic Freedom Facilitator

If you are a therapist, counselor, medical doctor, massage therapist, Reiki practitioner, holistic wellness practitioner, yoga instructor, minister, life-coach, or just plain passionate about human evolution and our longing for transformation, Authentic Freedom would be a powerful tool to have at your disposal.  As an Authentic Freedom facilitator, you have the flexibility of sharing this resource with clients and students one-on-one, in a classroom setting, through workshops and retreats and even through online forums.  To learn more about becoming an Authentic Freedom Facilitator, click HERE.

Posted in Christ Consciousness, church, Jesus, Raised Catholic

Jesus the Psychologist..Keeping Jesus Relevant

Today’s blog explores Jesus and his teachings as a mode of psychological and spiritual development through which we are empowered to become self-actualized and through which we are able to be freed of the obstacles which prevent us from reaching our full potential as human beings. (isn’t this the goal of psychology afterall?)


We’ve killed Jesus a second time.

It saddens me that in our quest for intellectualism and individuation, Christianity has somehow become irrelevant and Jesus seems to have been thrown out with the bath water.  Because, when we look past the sins of the Institutions (sexual abuse, sexism, discrimination, power and control) and pierce through the veil of dogma, what lies behind it all is an example, as well as a model for psychological and spiritual development that can be beneficial to every man, woman and child.  Instead, Jesus lays dead at our feet while Buddhism, Yoga, Kabbalah and Paganism become the fashionable and intelligent paths to enlightenment.  While I acknowledge all these paths as holy and sacred and as valid means through which we can develop and grow as human beings, I contend that we are missing a HUGE opportunity by ignoring or worse yet, demonizing, Jesus and the gifts that he brings.

Jesus as the model

When we read scripture without the threads of dogma obscuring our view, what we see in Jesus is a man who came to understand the fullness of his human potential and who lived that out as freely as was possible.  In fact, he lived his actualized self so well that he got killed for it.  Examining Jesus’ life through the lens of psychological and spiritual development, what we see is:

  • a man committed to his spiritual practice.
  • who came to develop a deeply intimate and personal relationship with that which he called “Abwoon” (God).
  • who found healing, comfort, restoration, inspiration and guidance through this connection with his higher self.
  • who, through a process of formation and discernment came to understand his unique giftedness and how he was called to live that out.
  • who overcame the inner obstacles, temptations and fears which might either prevent him from living this path with humility
  • who learned and practiced the gift of spiritual obedience.
  • who learned to surrender to and trust the Source that was guiding him.
  • who was able to stand freely and without compromise in his truth, even to the point of death.
  • who was a force for change and a voice for justice – ministering to and speaking out on behalf of those who had been ostracized by society.
  • who challenged the laws that provided priviledge to some while infringing on the rights of others.

From the psychological model, Jesus was a man who became self-actualized, who reached the fullness of his human potential and who left behind a collection of example, stories and teachings which show us how to do the same.

Jesus as the teacher

Jesus did not go up on a mountain, become fully actualized, then stay there in silence communing with God and playing with invisibility and levitation. Instead, Jesus lived his potential in the midst of the human race and taught others how to reach the fullness of their own potential.  Jesus accomplished this through his example, and also through his teachings. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to those writers who attempted to capture Jesus’ model and message in the scriptures that have been handed down to us, as well as those that did not quite make the cut (many for obvious political reasons!).  Again, looking past the Insitutitons’ attempt to doctrinize Jesus’ model of psychological and spiritual formation, these are some of the tools Jesus left behind to help us in our own journey toward self-actualization:

  • practices of meditation and prayer which help us to quiet our minds so that we can be open to the higher intelligence that speaks to us in the silence, that guides us, moves us, inspires us, comforts us, heals us.
  • stories which teach us about the call to justice, that speak to us of the importance of compassion and forgiveness, that heal us from our own fears and woundedness, that remind us of our own unique giftedness and the call to share those gifts in the world.
  • The beatitudes – pithy statements that demonstrate for us the natural results of our potential – as we grow toward our human potential, we are naturally poor in spirit, merciful, working for justice, etc.
  • stories that remind us that first and foremost….we are loved….more than that….we ARE love and that the purpose of the human journey is to remember that love.

Raising Jesus from the dead.

In honor of Holy Week, I am extending a challenge.  I am inviting us to set aside the wounds we may have experienced at the hands of religious institutions (special emphasis for my Recovering Catholic brothers and sisters.), to look beyond the veil of dogma and to restore Jesus to his rightful place as psychologist, spiritual director, healer, teacher and guru.  As we celebrate the miracle of Easter, the day that Jesus was first raised form the dead, let us allow for ourselves the Second Coming of Christ and give ourselves permission to know Jesus anew and to look at his example and teachings through new eyes.  And my prayer is that through the light of  Christ, we might see the truth beyond the words.

Lauri Lumby

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Spiritual Formation

Psychological and Spiritual Development

Through my ministries as a Spiritual Director in the Ignatian tradition, a Lay Minister and a Reiki Master Practitioner,  I have developed Authentic Freedom, a formal curriculum for the Psychological and Spiritual Formation of adults.  Rooted in the Western Contemplative tradition, Authentic Freedom has a universal application that speaks to people across a broad spectrum of religious beliefs and practices.


Transcending dogma, Authentic Freedom  reveals the powerful and life-changing message at the heart of Jesus’ teachings and the universal truths at the core of every religion, making this curriculum relevant to a modern audience.  Authentic Freedom provides effective tools through which participants are able to grow in their relationship with God (the God of their understanding) and with themselves, begin the process of gifts discernment, identify and transcend the inner obstacles to naming and sharing those gifts so that they can freely and openly sharing their gifts in the world for the betterment of all.

Authentic Freedom is comprised of four courses:

  • Called to Freedom
  • Authentic Freedom
  • Deepening Freedom
  • Living in Freedom

With applications for spirituality, religion, psychology, counseling, recovery, movement therapies, meditation and mindfulness, holistic wellness and ecumenism, Authentic Freedom appeals to a wide audience with a diversity of interests.

It is my hope to create a network of teaching centers where the Authentic Freedom curriculum is being offered.  As such, I have created a diverse spectrum of offerings through which Authentic Freedom can be shared in the world:

1) Local courses

2) On-line courses (Click HERE for upcoming online offerings)

3) Authentic Freedom facilitator training (Click HERE for information)

4) And finally, I am in the process of contacting retreat and wellness centers who might be potential centers through which Authentic Freedom can be made available.  My goal is to find people within those centers who could be trained as Authentic Freedom facilitators and share this curriculum with their unique audiencee.

If you think you may be interested in taking an Authentic Freedom class, becoming a facilitator or if you know of retreat or wellness centers who may be potential centers for learning, please contact me at (920) 230-1313  or

Thank you.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

Posted in Body/Mind/Spirit connection, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Ignoring the Spiritual Hampers Recovery

Today’s blog explores how the spiritual is often overlooked, even shunned by some of the helping professions and why this hampers our road to healing and recovery.


Faith-based vs. Spiritual

I was recently contacted by an organization looking for a presenter for a support group of individuals in various stages of recovery from trauma.  The concern was raised that my work is “faith based” and the organization is not allowed to discuss or implement any “faith based” materials.  Sadly, many in the helping professions are still operating with the misconception that faith and spirituality are the same.  As such, many people are prevented from receiving the healing and support they need when facing recovery from trauma, addictions, co-dependency, abuse, rape, incest, chronic illness, etc. etc. etc.  because the spiritual is never addressed.  While the physical might be addressed through medical treatment, lifestyle changes or medication and the emotional and mental might be dealt with through therapy or recovery programs, the spiritual often gets left on the shelf because using the “God” word might offend…or because the person receiving treatment has been so harmed by someone else’s use of the “God” word, that they cannot be open to anything that might resemble “God.”  The end result is that healing is hampered and full recovery thwarted.

God is Bigger than the Boogieman

In my world, God is way bigger than any lame human attempt to define.  As such, I do not have a problem with the “God” word.  Unfortunately, this is not true for all.  While in MY world, our spiritual self cannot be divorced from God (because I truly believe them to be one and the same)…..that does NOT mean that “God” (by someone else’s definition) HAS to be part of the spiritual approach to healing!  In fact, we would do well to come up with a new definition of SPIRITUAL that doesn’t use the GOD-word so that the spiritual no longer offends and so that people can get the help they really need to heal.

Toward a New Defintion of Spiritual

With the help of my self-appointed board of directors, I have come up with a new definition of the SPIRITUAL that speaks to the universal search….but doesn’t include the “God” word:

The spiritual is that which compels us to search for and obtain:

  • meaning
  • purpose
  • connection

And when accomplished, we are contented and fulfilled.

Spiritual Wounding

We are wounded spiritually by anything that threatens, hampers, harms, thwarts or causes us to doubt or question this search for meaning, purpose and connection and by anything that hinders our feelings of contentment or fulfillment.  Anytime we are made to feel unsafe, insecure, afraid or threatened, our spiritual self is wounded and retreats.  Anytime we are made to feel “less than”, a part of our spiritual self shrivels up.  When we feel betrayed or experience a disappointment or loss, the hope that is inherent in our spiritual self deflates.  When we are ill and unable to function at our normal capacity, our spiritual self grows restless and impatient and if not tended to, eventually grows tired and despairing. Anytime we experience a loss, a trauma, a diagnosis, a disappointment or a tragedy, it is perhaps our spiritual self which suffers the most….and yet, it is the part that is either last to get addressed or altogether forgotten.

The Greatest Irony

The greatest irony in our quest to ignore the spiritual is that if we could address the spiritual FIRST….we might not even need to address the emotional, mental or physical, because the deepest wounding lies at the spiritual. If we can do the work of allowing the spiritual to find healing, the emotional, mental and physical often take care of themselves.  What would happen, for example,  if instead of having surgery for back pain we acknowledged all the places in our life where we were punished for asking for our needs to be met and all the places we were told that our needs did not matter? And what would happen if we allowed ourselves to feel the frustration in the face of these obstacles to getting our needs met and then released these wounds through tears?   What would happen if instead of numbing our anxiety through anti-depressants, we recognized all the places in our lives where we were told we were unimportant or not of value or that someone else’s wants were more important than ours, and then grieved the pain we carry in our hearts over all these nonloving messages?  What would happen if instead of having knee surgery, we started to name and claim our own needs or became more open to movement and change in our lives?  What if instead of medicating our “fretful mind” we searched our lives for all the places we felt unsafe and began to recognize how we had turned to anticipatory thoughts to try to create a “safe” and “predicatable” world, then wrote a letter releasing all of the anger, fear, frustration, sorrow, we experienced in those places of danger, and then burned the letter in a ritual of release?

Reclaiming the Spiritual

I’m not saying that addressing the spiritual will cure all disease or unrest in our lives, but it goes a long way toward healing us where we really need to be healed – in our hearts.  As such, my challenge to those of us in the helping professions is to reclaim the spiritual and open the door through which profound and enduring healing can take place.  While we can separate the religious, we are never separate from the spiritual…it is an integral part of our journey toward wholeness and like our body, mind and emotions, it is part of our very nature and not something to be ignored.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom

Posted in Midlife Journey, Spiritual Direction, Spiritual Formation

Spirituality and Religion

Religion and spirituality are not the same.  While religion is inseparable from spirituality, spirituality can stand alone.  Today’s blog points out some of the things about spirituality that allow it to stand on its own.

Returning - A Woman's Midlife Journey to Herself
Returning – A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself

Spirituality is UNIVERSAL

Each and everyone of us is on a spiritual journey.  The spiritual journey is that which leads us to finding

  • Meaning
  • Purpose
  • Connection

While we are all on this journey, each of us finds our own unique path.  While we may begin the journey for the sake of our own longing for meaning and purpose, we soon realize that everyone is on this search.

The Spiritual Journey has LIMITLESS paths

Anyway that we find meaning, purpose or connection becomes part of the spiritual journey:  changing diapers, snuggling babies, parenting, partnering, meditation, prayer, sex, music, art, literature, nature, exercise, movement, community gatherings, advocacy, healing, teaching, learning, being healed, gardening, cooking, writing, drawing, coloring, sculpting, etc. etc. etc.  In short….EVERYTHING we do and experience becomes part of our spiritual journey.  We become more proactive in this journey when we bring this intention to WHATEVER we are doing.

Spirituality leads us to TOLERANCE, COMPASSION, HARMONY

The spiritual journey by its very nature is about CONNECTION.  While our spiritual journey may begin from a place of perceived separation, the more we tend to this process, the more we recognize the need to tear down the walls and make friends with eachother.  We learn that love is the guiding and harmonizing Source of the universe and that as we grow in love, we are able to be more loving toward ourselves, toward others and we seek to cultivate this love in our interpersonal relationships.

Spirituality encourages and provokes CHANGE

When conscious about our spiritual journey, we have no choice but to change.  Yes, we might initially resist the change that is provoked through spiritual growth, but eventually, the Spirit wins out.  The spiritual journey forces us to step out of the shell of our acorn and grow into the magnificent oak we were intended to be.  Like the acorn that has no choice but to become the oak, we have no choice but to become who were are intended to be….and this means growth and change.  When we resist this growth, we suffer. Imagine how the tender shoot of the acorn feels if someone places a brick over it, preventing it from reaching toward the sun….it eventually withers up and dies…..the same will happen to us if we resist the force of growth wanting to be known through us.

Spirituality causes us to EXPAND

Tending to our spiritual journey makes ourselves and our lives BIGGER!  We begin to experience the inner freedom that is our original nature and we are driven to cultivate this freedom in our everyday lives.  Our passion becomes our work and our work becomes our joy.  We discover that the purpose of our gifts is to serve others….to help others to be nourished, to grow, to expand, to heal, to become empowered and transformed.  The fire of passion that we bear within ourselves sparks the fire of passion in those we love and those we serve and they too are able to know the freedom of expansion.

Spirituality is able to STAND on its own

As a universal experience, spirituality is self-sustaining.  Spirituality is able to stand on its own. As a deeply personal experience, the spiritual journey can be accomplished on our own, without the support of a community…..but as those conscious about their spiritual journey can attest, the journey is richer, deeper and more meaningful when shared with others.

Spirituality may or may not include a “god”

Personally, my definition of “God” is so big that I cannot see the spiritual journey absent the Presence and Action of God…..but we do not need to believe in a personal image of God to be spiritual.  Spirituality is a universal journey and happens regardless of our beliefs.

In Short: 

The spiritual journey is the way in which we find Meaning, Purpose and Connection and the process through which our TRUEST SELF is born!

Lauri Lumby is available as a source of support for you on your own spiritual journey through Spiritual Direction/Companioning, through classes and workshops and through her writing.  You can contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or

Posted in Authentic Freedom, church, Oneness with God

Church without Separation

Today’s blog invites us to explore what “church” might look like if we were to set aside our perceived separations and judgments of each other. 

Dreaming a Big Dream

Today’s blog continues the discussion of Jesus’ teachings about love and the invitation to Oneness.  If we really believe that we are One with God as Jesus came to understand and live in that love as Jesus commanded, then even our religious affiliations become suspect.  Does this mean we have to throw our religious upbringing, beliefs and practices out with the bathwater?  I don’t think so.   I have been accused of being a dreamer and of living in a pie in the sky world….but indulge me as I dream a big dream of what church might look like if we set aside our separations and decided to live from a place of love:

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

First, we would stop judging.  We would stop judging our beliefs as right and everyone else’s as wrong.  Instead, we would seek the love and truth that is inherent in EVERY religious tradition and honor this as sacred.  We would seek to know more about each other, seek to understand the beliefs behind our practices and recognize that we are really not different from each other, we are merely learning how to love in the best way that we know how through the beliefs and practices we were taught.

Before pointing out the speck in your brother’s eye…

When we are tempted to point out the non-loving actions of another person’s faith, we will instead look within our own traditions for all of the ways we are non-loving.  We will accept responsibility for our own temptation to judge, criticize, condemn, hold ourselves up as better or more saved and work toward fixing our own problems.  We will examine our own practices and doctrines for the gaps between love and fear and work toward mending those gaps.  We will examine the places in our own traditions where we create separation and work toward bringing that into Oneness.

For Those with Eyes to See

We will recognize that each person’s journey toward love is unique and that we all get there eventually and in our own time.  We will open our eyes to the truth inherent in every religion and the love that resides in the hearts of every person.  We will attune our vision to seeing this love and this truth and honor it as sacred thereby allowing ourselves to see past the perceived separations.

Keep Holy The Sabbath Day

If we set aside the perceived separations between our religious practices and traditions, we would honor every religion’s chosen practices as sacrament – a vehicle through which we give honor to God and are open to God’s grace.  We would baptize, receive communion, confess our sins, lay teffilin, recite our mantras, whirl our dervishes, attend sweat lodge, call in the four directions, etc.  recognizing that all are valid and honored ways of connecting more deeply with love.

Heal the Sick, Clothe the Naked, Feed the Hungry, Set Captives Free

We will recognize that in every religious tradition is the call to serve.  We will work together for the common good and do so from a place of respect, honor, acceptance and love.

5) I believe in One God

By whatever name you call it!  If we really believe in ONE GOD, then when are we ever NOT worshipping this God….no matter what the individual religious traditions choose to call that God?  Whether we call this God: Abba, YHWH, Elohim, Allah, Allaha, Brahma, Rama, Krishna, Christ, Shekinah, Asherah, Radha, Durga, Mata, Pele, Kali, Adonai, Apollo, Ganesha, Lakshmi, Innana, etc. etc. etc.  we will honor every name as sacred and a reflection of that which NONE OF US can ever really name or experience fully.

Teachers and Sons of God

Here’s the tricky one.  Every religion has its teacher and every religion wants to say their teacher is the best, the only one, the chosen one, the anointed one, the Son/Daughter of God.  What would happen if for just a moment, we set aside our temptation to separate – to believe that we are right and everyone else is wrong and gave honor to every teacher as bearing a seed of truth?  What if we were open to the possibility that God sends us many teachers….teachers for every ethnic group, religion, culture and condition? And…what if we can say that Jesus is the Messiah and that the Buddha, Mohammad, Moses, Krishna, etc. etc. etc. are also Messiah’s in their own right?  What if everyone is right and no one is wrong?  I know, the earth might come to an end…..but it is a question worth asking.

In the Words of a Great Prophet

The challenge is: What if we could love so much that we no longer had to accept our way as the only way and that there might be truth in all of it? I believe that this kind of mutual honor and respect is possible when we set aside our perceived separations and live in the Oneness that all great teachers have invited us into.   As one modern prophet once said:

“You may say that I’m a dreamer….but I’m not the only one.

I hope some day you’ll join me and the world will live as one.”

Help support the creation of church without separation by becoming an Authentic Freedom Facilitator.  Click Here for more information. 

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries