When Eve appeared to me in the early hours of Saturday morning, she arrived with her companion. This companion, I was told, represented the tools of her trade.
If Eve’s true nature is that of Awakener,
then the tools of her trade are all the ways in which the Soul seeks to be known.
In scriptural literature, this companion was given the form of the serpent and has been cast into the role of demon for luring the original humans into disobedience, thereby causing the “original sin” which forever cast human beings into a life of suffering.
The story of humanity’s “fall” is a myth. Plain and simple, it is a story which attempts to explain the nature of the human condition, while also acknowledging a deep, ancient memory of something more. It is unfortunate that when forming its doctrine, the Christian church chose to use this story as a weapon against humanity – shaming us into believing there is something inherently disordered about us and that life was about seeking approval and forgiveness for “sins” that are not even our own. Even Jesus, it seemed, could not undo the cause of this “original sin.” Sigh!
Let’s return to the serpent. In yesterday’s lesson, I spoke of the true nature of Eve as a metaphor for the human calling to awaken – to awaken out of our fearful nature and into the truth of our Soul. This is what Eve metaphorically did when she chose to eat of the tree of knowledge – her eyes were open and now she could see as the “gods” and was given the ability to reason, discern and exercise her truth. But before she could awaken, Eve had to hear the voice of her Soul. The serpent represents that voice.
As I have described in many lessons in both my local and online courses:
Soul is the uniquely creative way in which you have been gifted to find meaning and purpose in your life and the way in which you are called to find fulfillment in service to the betterment of the world. Soul is our true self – the part of us that knows our gift and our call, and is that which compels us to seek out, discover, cultivate and nurture these gifts and this call, empowering us to share our gifts in service to the world.
-Lauri Ann Lumby
It is the voice of the Soul that we are here to hear and abide. It is only in listening to the voice of our Soul that we are able to fulfill our purpose for being on this human plane. It is through the Soul that we are able to discover our unique giftedness, nurture and cultivate these gifts and then find out how we are called to share these gifts – first for the sake of our own fulfillment and second in service to the betterment of the world. This is why we are here and it is the gentle (and sometimes forceful) whisperings of the Soul that set us forth on that journey.
The Serpent is that voice. The ancients knew this and honored the serpent as the image of the human journey toward self-actualization. The serpent was representative of knowledge and wisdom and called humanity into its fullness. It was only the patriarchy who stripped the serpent of its rightful place as teacher and guide – because in order to rule, authority had to be placed outside of us and in the hands of the hierarchy. With the serpent, authority resides within – as is attested by all the ancient traditions that use the serpent as the symbol of humanity’s journey of awakening to Soul and bringing that Soul into form – the Kabbalah, the Chakra system, the Kundalini of the Yoga traditions, the ancient alchemical symbol of the caduceus – and even Moses’ staff.
The serpent has long been a symbol for human awakening and a representation of the voice and force of the Soul. Isn’t it time we reclaim it as such?
I know what Hell is like.
Hell is not hellfire and brimstone.
Hell is not the devil, Satan, Beelzebub or Lucifer.
Hell is not an army of possessing or torturing demons.
Hell is not the afterlife, the underworld, or a place somewhere “down there” where we spend an eternity suffering for the sins of our human existence.
Oh no….Hell is not “over there,” it is RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!
Hell is life on earth when we know fear instead of love, hate instead of compassion, judgment instead of mercy, war instead of peace, separation instead of union.
Hell is the excruciating pain of separation that defines the human experience –
The separation we first felt when we were expelled from our mother’s wombs, suddenly dependent on an outside source for our survival. Where we were no longer safe, secure, protected….cast out from the place where all our needs were met without us having to do a thing about it…and without our even having to ask.
The separation we feel when we suddenly learn the imperfection of human beings. When they might not understand or hear our cries of need. When our needs go unheeded. When we are told “you don’t need that,” that there is something wrong with our needs or that our needs do not matter. When we are crying, screaming, begging for our needs to be met, but no one seems to hear….or care.
The separation we feel when we learn that love is conditional. When we are cast forth from our Source in whose image we were created and where we are seen as “precious and glorious” into a world where love has to be earned and can be taken away.
The separation we feel when who we are doesn’t matter. Where our gifts have not been acknowledged, supported, or honored as sacred. When we struggle to find our gifts in a world that says, “Success is defined by money, fame and by how hard you work.” And if we are fortunate enough to find our gifts, Hell is a world that says, “your gifts have no value.”
The separation we feel when we once knew only oneness, contentment, harmony and peace; finding that replaced with conflict, war, jealousy, bitterness, cruelty, hatred, prejudice, ignorance and revenge. Where we once felt safe, now we feel only worry and fear.
The separation we feel when our truth and our path were once easy to grasp, and now it is hard to find. Cast forth from a world where there was only one TRUTH and that truth was LOVE into a world where everyone claims to have a monopoly on truth – where their truth is right and everyone else’s is wrong. Where the inner authority we once knew as LOVE gets covered over by a chorus of external voices screaming at us to listen to their truth….or be condemned to hell!
The separation we feel when we are no longer One with the LOVE that made us and are instead cast out into a world made of fear.
It is in Hell where we are already living and we spend a lifetime trying to find our way out of it.
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Lessons on confronting the adversary…
Saturday morning I was reminded that Satan is real. “He” showed up on my doorstep in the person condemning me to hell for, in so many words, being a witch. I’m not talking about the anthropomorphic white guy in the red morph suit sporting horns on his head and wielding a pitch fork while threatening the unbaptized with an eternity in hell, or worse – demonic possession. I’m talking about the REAL Satan…..the one that dwells within each of us and which often gets projected outside of us in persons and experiences that remind us of where we have forgotten we are love.
Since I can no longer believe in a place called hell and I suspect what the ancients called possession was nothing more than medical conditions they did not yet understand and could not control…the only Satan I can believe in is the one who dwells within. Our Jewish ancestors would agree. Satan is a Hebrew word after all and it means adversary – specifically, the adversary within – that which tempts us away from our original nature which is love. The adversary shows up as we are drawing closer to the path of our Soul, to “God’s will” for us, and every time we take a step toward our Divine calling. The adversary shows up to challenge us: “Are you sure about this? Are you really committed to following your Divine calling and the path of meaning and fulfillment that you were born to accomplish? Are you truly committed to being the Love that God is calling you to be?”
So when Satan showed up on my doorstep via email Saturday morning, I was not surprised. In fact, I should have been expecting him and had some coffee and cookies out waiting for him. For you see…..I have recently taken ENORMOUS steps closer to my Soul’s calling. I said yes to the Divine invitation to simplify my life and recently completed a physical move which required the letting go, not only of physical possessions, but the letting go of my home office and classroom, the life I had been living for the past 6 (or maybe 20) years and all the titles, associations, plans, contrivances, etc. etc. etc. I had created around that life. I had to be done making plans and simply enter into the void allowing the Universe to carry me…..which it has. I had to let it all go so I could be open to SOMETHING AMAZING I GUESS…..that I don’t yet know and hasn’t yet been manifest. Though there have been glimpses:
Our new home. To say I love it would be an understatement. A home that I came by in a magical way (as I always do) and which even more perfectly fits my vibe, my energy, my wants, needs and desires than the place we had been living. It is a place that reflects my heart and I could not be more thrilled. (and my kids like it too).
A side gig. In the midst of this transition and literally in the middle of the move, an opportunity for a side-gig showed up. As a “friend of the millennials” it makes perfect sense that I have an opportunity to live as they live……one job among many so they/we can do their/our passion. Enter…..side gig….one with the potential for further involvement using my truest gifts.
A new book. What would a crisis be in the life of Lauri Lumby without a book coming out of it? I was as surprised as my readers to see another book coming forth ready for publishing. Available NOW on Amazon!!!!!
A secret. Another development which I will keep close to my heart. I’ll just say that if this is what I think it might be, it would be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and something I have worked very hard toward accomplishing/receiving. (cue Disney)
With all of this, of course Satan showed up at my front door. As always, his timing is impeccable. He showed up to challenge me. He showed up triggering unhealed wounds. He showed up to test my resolve. He showed up hoping to make me afraid so that I might quit “the evil” work I am doing in the world. And I did what the REAL Satan calls us to do….I met him toe to toe, eye to eye, heart to heart. Yes Satan, I see you. And YES I am sure about the LOVE I am doing in the world. And your fear will not stop me. Thank you for showing up and telling me how truly magnificent the things that are unfolding in my life. The fact that you are here tells me that something amazing is already happening. Thank you.
Depriving the Devil of His Power
Today’s teaching is about how to handle the “Devil” when he comes to call. Here I will use a recent personal experience to illustrate how to confront the adversary, thereby depriving him of his power while restoring ourselves to our natural state of peace.
When I mention the devil, I’m not referring to the dude in the red tights with horns and a pitchfork. Here I’m speaking about Satan, the name used in scripture to represent the inner adversary – the energy within us that comes forth in our lives to tempt us away from the path of our truth and who does so through our ego attachments, unhealed wounds and unacknowledged fears. Satan most often shows up within us in our fears, self-doubts and insecurities, but because we are One, Satan sometimes shows up through the actions of another who plays the role of the Adversary so as to show us what is in need of healing within us.
The Adversary can show up at any time in our lives, but “he” shows up more forcefully as we are preparing to or are in the midst of stepping more fully into our truth. The closer we get to our truth and to fulfilling the Divine purpose for our lives, the harder the Adversary works against us. In this regard, the Adversary is something to be welcomed as he is in fact signaling that we are on the right path and he is giving us the opportunity to strengthen our resolve and grow in resiliency. In this sense, the Adversary is our friend because he gives us an opportunity to see him for who he is, identify the inner fear that he is triggering within us and then move through and heal those fears so that we are even more free to live out our Divine purpose. In the personal experience of the Adversary that I am about to share, I have decided to receive him as a friend, as a sign that I am on the right path and in this I can thank him for reflecting back to me the fears that are still in need of healing as I move forward in my path.
Here’s how my experience of the Adversary showed up to me this morning:
As I mentioned earlier this week, I have entered into a professional collaboration with Kayla Burger of DesignLife. She recently featured some of my work in her video blog on anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Kayla and I have arrived at a similar approach to dealing with these conditions in our own lives and have generously shared this approach with others as a complement to traditional methods of treatment.
In response to this video blog and my sharing of it, the following comment was posted:
Kayla was kind enough to delete the post, recognizing it as evidence of spite. She then shared the information with me and I immediately knew from whom the comment originated. My first reaction was to feel hurt. Then I felt angry. I chose not to reach out to the individual who wrote the comment as I knew it wouldn’t do any good. While I know I did nothing wrong, they have formed their opinion. I have hundreds of satisfied students and clients, and the opinion of one has no bearing on the experience of hundreds. Furthermore, I strongly believe that the truth stands on its own and wins out in the end.
In spite of deciding all of this, I still felt disturbed so I put my own tools into practice, recognizing this comment as the work of the Adversary. The timing of the Adversary’s arrival is quite interesting as Confronting the Adversary was the very topic of my Order of Melchizedek training course yesterday. Also interesting is that the past week has been a huge time of expansion for me with the collaboration with DesignLife, the Feast of the Magdalene Summit and the upcoming Wild Woman Renaissance Summit that I will participate in on August 1st. Expansion. Expansion. Expansion. No wonder the Devil came a callin’!
In choosing to post these comments on Kayla’s site, this person played the role of the Adversary – triggering and reflecting back to me the fears that are not yet healed in me – the fear of rejection, or being seen as a fraud – both reflective of my own personal need to be seen as good, helpful and loveable. In spewing their wrath, this person has unwittingly helped me to see my unhealed fears and has provided me with an opportunity to do the work I know how to do to bring healing and release to these fears. They also helped me to see that I am indeed on the right path or the Adversary wouldn’t have shown up so forcefully. Applying all I know about the Adversary I am now restored to peace and in this, I actually find myself grateful for the person who posted these comments on Kayla’s site.
Thank you dear friend for accepting the calling of the Adversary and in doing so, helping me to recognize and heal some fears. Know that I am grateful and as I am accepting the task of healing that you have set before me, I am holding you in love. I wish you peace.
Eve Speaks Part 2
Hello my dear children, I have spoken to you once before about my (our) Divine origins and how I (we) were created in the image and likeness of Divine Love and freely chose to engage in God’s play at being human, how we chose the perceived separation from our Divine Source in Love and Oneness so that we could experience ourselves as individual and unique so that God could experience Godself in all if Her infinite number of expressions. Now you all know the story that has been told of this separation, how the human experience in all its pain and suffering is actually punishment for disobeying God by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. While some may find comfort in this interpretation of the ancient tale, there is another perspective and an even deeper truth that lies hidden within this story for those who have eyes to see.
As I mentioned in the first telling, the story of “the fall of man” is not even original to the Hebrew people who in the latter days approaching the Common Era, placed this story in their scriptures. Instead, this is a Babylonian story borrowed by the Hebrews from the popular Gilgamesh Epic as it helped to explain their plight as conquered and indentured slaves of the Babylonians. Once a thriving and powerful nation, Israel had been conquered, their temple destroyed, and all people of value deported to Babylon to live as slaves to their conquerors. They had lost their home. They had lost their God. Believing in a punitive and jealous god, it made sense to them that they were being punished for something terrible they had done. They then chose women, and all that had been associated with feminine power – the serpent, the fruit, knowledge and wisdom – as scapegoats for their suffering and pain. This battle between the warring patriarchal god and the peace of the divine feminine had been going on for ages, but the Babylonian captivity cemented this divide.
This is the historical perspective on my tale. But, for those who have eyes to see, there is an even deeper truth – one that resonates beyond history and speaks to the Soul of the human race – a people that long to be freed from the pain and suffering of the human condition and returned to their original state in Oneness with LOVE in God. This is the story of EVE as awakener. But even more than this, this is the story of WOMEN as the Awakeners – those sent to become awakened themselves and then through their own awakening, to become awakeners for others – most especially the men. Here is how it goes in the book of Genesis:
Now the snake was the most wise (usually translated “cunning”) of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden’?” 2 The woman answered the snake: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3 it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, or else you will die.’” 4 But the snake said to the woman: “You certainly will not die! 5 God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil.” 6 The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.
8 When they heard the sound of the Lord God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 The Lord God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you? 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.” 11 Then God asked: Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat? 12 The man replied, “The woman whom you put here with me—she gave me fruit from the tree, so I ate it.” 13 The Lord God then asked the woman: What is this you have done? The woman answered, “The snake tricked me, so I ate it.”
21 The Lord God made for the man and his wife garments of skin, with which he clothed them. 22 Then the Lord God said: See! The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil! Now, what if he also reaches out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life, and eats of it and lives forever? 23 The Lord God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken. 24 He expelled the man, stationing the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword east of the garden of Eden, to guard the way to the tree of life.
20 The man gave his wife the name “Eve,” because she was the mother of all the living.
Genesis 3: 1-13, 21-24, 20
This is the largest, widest, deepest truth of the Genesis tale – WOMEN are the AWAKENERS of the human experience. To state this in more universal terms, apart from the human temptation to divide by gender, the DIVINE FEMININE is the awakener of the human condition as it is embodied in women or in men. THIS is the task of the Divine Feminine as it is embodied in human form – to WAKE US UP. Specifically, to wake us up out of the illusion of separation – the illusion that is the cause of our fear, the cause of our “sin” and the cause of the suffering and pain in the human experience. The Divine Feminine within us is that which REMEMBERS our ONENESS with Love, with God and with all of Creation. The Divine Feminine within us is that which awakens us to this remembrance and then calls us to return to our origin in Unity and Wholeness. As it plays out in our masculine/feminine roles, (I use these terms as they relate to energy, not gender. Masculine being the active, protective, provider energy and Feminine being the energy of receptivity, allowing, and receiving) it is the feminine which is called to awaken and in its awakening, to guide and support the awakening of the masculine. As such, if you are in a traditional male/female relationship, it is the woman who first awakens, and then it is her task to help her male partner awaken. It is also the task of the female to awaken the children. There is a complicated way in which all these energies play out their roles, but for now, I trust you get the gist.
EVE was not a disobedient sinner who through her “sin” brought punishment to the whole human race. EVE is the AWAKENER who calls us all to awaken out of the sleep of ignorance into the knowledge of THE TRUTH – that LOVE is our original nature. She then shows us how to return to that LOVE – right here in the human experience, thus returning us all to the Garden where we will experience heaven on earth.
The closer we move toward our Soul’s purpose, the harder the “devil” works against us. I don’t mean the dude in the red tights with horns carrying a pitchfork who is really the Christian appropriation and demonizing of the pagan fertility god. I mean the “devil” that resides within all of us. Another name for this devil is the ego or false self. Or as identified by our Hebrew ancestors – satan, meaning inner adversary, or from the Latin Lucifer, meaning light-bearer.
There is great wisdom in acknowledging this inner adversary as a light-bearer, as it is most often in our darkness where we discover our light. That is, when we have the courage to face the darkness and be present with and in it so that the light can be revealed. For the devil isn’t here to tempt us, though tempted we will be, the devil is here to help us grow.
Growth doesn’t come without challenge or pain. Ask the sunflower or the oak tree what obstacles they had to move through becoming their most fulfilled and fruitful self. The same is true for us. When we awaken from our human slumber and realize that the things “out there” are not providing us with fulfillment, peace or joy, we turn our gaze inward. As we turn that gaze within, we discover all kinds of unhealed wounds from our past, unacknowledged fears, unrealized dreams. If we are courageous, (or if life leaves us with no other option) we then embark upon the deep soul work of bringing all these areas of inner darkness to the light so that they can be healed and transformed, finding within this transformation the treasure in the darkness. This is what brings us toward our soul’s purpose and the life of meaning and fulfillment that we all long for and that our Soul intends for us to experience in this human experiment. It is ultimately the Soul’s longing to be fulfilled that brings us to this task.
The “devil” in this journey is the inner vehicle that brings all of our fears and unhealed wounds to light. It is our job to recognize these fears as they arise and take responsibility for these fears. Most often, these fears arise in us due to outside triggers. Something or someone shows up in our path reflecting our fears. Maybe it is the stack of unpaid bills on your desk. Maybe it is someone seemingly accomplishing something you wish you could do. Perhaps it shows up in an infringement of boundaries, or in the form of rejection. However it shows up, we can know an unhealed wound or unacknowledged fear has been triggered by the reaction we experience in our bodies. Perhaps the hair stands up on the back of your neck, or your belly constricts, or you feel the hot pain of rage boiling up in you.
Whatever that inner reaction might be….DO NOT ACT. Instead, recognize it for what it is – the devil, Lucifer – showing up to reveal to you your unhealed fears.
Then….NAME the fear for what it is – fear of lack, fear of your own insignificance, fear of powerlessness, fear of not being loved, fear of not being able to express your truth, fear of not knowing your truth, fear of being alone. NAME the demon, and it no longer has power over you.
LOVE that fear. Sit in the discomfort of the fear. Hold it in love. In being with it and holding it, the fear gets what it has always needed, to be acknowledged and loved. And then the fear is transformed and we are now free of that face of our fear.
THANK the fear. Thank Lucifer, the devil, satan, the ego, the false-self, whatever you want to call it, for helping you to grow and helping you to take one step closer to the life you came here to enjoy – one of contentment, joy, fulfillment and love.
It may interest you to learn that Satan is not a personal name. Neither is Satan an external or personal, embodied force whose job it is to tempt us away from the good and into a life of “sin.” Instead, satan (shatan) is a Hebrew word that means “inner obstacle or adversary.” Satan arises out of our unhealed wounds and unresolved fears strictly for the purpose of healing and in support of our human journey toward wholeness and self-actualization. While the opportunities for growth may manifest outside of us, their source is ultimately within. From this perspective, satan is something to be welcomed as its arrival heralds an opportunity for profound personal growth.
As satan is the adversary and opportunity for growth that arises for each of us individually, the anti-Christ is that which arises out of the collective consciousness. The arrival of the anti-Christ gives us an opportunity to acknowledge and support the healing of our collective unhealed wounds and unresolved fears.
There have been many times throughout history where an individual has surfaced who embodied the voice of the collective fear and then became that voice, stirring their respective audiences into actions that initially caused great destruction, but ultimately served to bring about profound transformational healing and change. Jim Jones, Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte and Osama Bin Laden are four historical examples of the embodiment of this collective fear, which was then acknowledged and supported in its healing after they were deposed (but sadly, only after much suffering).
In the current political race, there have been many comparisons between some of the presidential candidates and historical anti-Christs. Whether Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or some other candidate is your personal version of the anti-Christ, I would suggest that it is ultimately NOT about the individual candidate, but is instead about our collective fears and unhealed wounds. Instead of projecting our collective unhealed wounds onto a particular candidate and allowing their embodiment of this fear to govern our culture and our society, the invitation is to do the even more difficult work of healing these fears and wounds within ourselves. When we do this, collective healing begins to manifest, making the role of the anti-christ unnecessary, or at the very least, making them powerless over us.
The fears that are being played out in the presidential race are those that have produced a culture governed by power and control (lust), motivated by fears that have manifested through patterns of conspicuous consumption, gluttony and greed. These long-standing patterns have left the majority of the culture (and the world because of our gluttonous actions – there is a reason the rest of the world hates us!) hungry, poor, sick, unemployed and underemployed, leaving us feeling powerless over those who seem to be making the decision about how we live and rule our lives.
The president, no matter how good he or she is at their job, is not going to change these patterns; neither are our senators or congressmen (non-inclusive language intentional) because at the end of the day, the hierarchical, patriarchal system out of which our government was created, is itself, part of the problem. (Fear begets fear. Power begets power. White male privilege, begets white male privilege.) The only way in which these unhealed wounds and unresolved fears are going to be healed is by our own actions. It is only by our personal commitment to our individual healing process that the collective fears, and therefore our culture (and the earth), will be healed. And it is only by our own actions that he or she who might otherwise embody the energy of the anti-christ will be supported in being otherwise, because the embodiment of the anti-christ will no longer be needed.
Authentic Freedom Academy provides tools through which you are empowered in healing your fears and unhealed wounds. Check out our classes, workshops and one-on-one mentoring services to learn more.
In anticipation of Ash Wednesday and the upcoming journey of Lent, I am sharing a copy of this week’s Authentic Freedom Empowerment Newsletter. If you find this to be a supportive and inspiring resource for your own journey of self-development, consider subscribing. For only $20.00 per month, you receive a weekly resource for supporting your journey toward wholeness. If you are interested, subscribe HERE.
Authentic Freedom Academy
Weekly Empowerment Newsletter
February 14, 2016. First Sunday in Lent
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.
Luke 4: 1-13
Dt 26: 4-10
Ps 91: 1-2, 10-15
Rom 10: 8-13
First Sunday of Lent – Temptation
This Sunday’s gospel is the familiar story of Jesus’ temptation in the desert. What is often forgotten in the telling of this story is that the temptation in the desert takes place immediately following Jesus’ baptism through which Jesus was fully awakened to his Diving calling and the gifts that he had been given to live out that call:
“You are my beloved son, and with you I am well pleased.”
How did Jesus respond to these words? The translation from Luke’s gospel says that Jesus was led to the desert. In Mark’s gospel, “he fled.” I tend to believe it was more the latter than the former. How would you feel if a voice came out of the sky and announced your magnificence and the Divine calling (responsibility) that went along with that magnificence?
The truth is that like Jesus, we more frequently run from our gifts and our Divine calling than toward them. If we are wise, as Jesus was, we acknowledge the fear that arises in the face of our calling, and then we take the time to figure out what the Divine calling means for us and how we are being called to use our gifts.
And like Jesus, we will be tempted. Specifically, we will be tempted to abuse the powers that we have been given for the sake of our own pride and vanity, than how they are meant to be used which is in service to the Divine and for the benefit of others.
Our job is to hear the call as it arises within us from God, to take time out to discern how we are being invited to live that out and to then face the inner voices that will tempt us to ignore or deny our gifts, or alternatively, to use our gifts for our own vainglory instead of for the honor of the Divine and for the benefit of others.
How have you been tempted to either ignore/deny your Divine calling and the use of your gifts?
When have you been tempted to use your gifts for the sake of your own pride, fame, wealth, power, etc. instead of for the sake of others?
You are invited to spend time with this week’s scripture using the practice of Imagination/Contemplation, or as I like to call it, “Daydreaming as Prayer.”
- Read through the scripture passage slowly and prayerfully, looking for a character that stands out to you. Perhaps it is Jesus, Satan, an unnamed observer or even an inanimate object.
- After you have chosen your character (or object), re-read the story from their perspective.
- Then, using your imagination, place yourself within the narrative as the character of your choosing. Imagine the story unfolding in your mind as if you are that character. Imagine every detail – what you are wearing, what the weather is like, the scene around you, the time of day. Envision the landscape and the other characters in the story in detail. Do not censor anything that comes up for you in the imagining of the story. Allow it to go where it needs to go.
- As the story is unfolding in your imagination, pay attention to the thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. that are arising in you as the story is unfolding.
- After the story has come to its natural conclusion in your mind, write it down. Record all that took place, being open to additional details which may emerge in your writing. Again, do not censor anything that comes up for you.
- After you have written your story, read it. As you are reading, reflect on how the story, as it unfolded in your imagination, is reflective of something going on in your own journey? As what your higher self might be communicating to you in the way this story unfolded in your imagination.
In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus was tempted by three of the deadly compulsions of the Authentic Freedom protocol:
Lust (for power)
As the inner adversary (Satan) tempted Jesus with these worldly measurements of power and success, Jesus was able to turn away from them because he recognized the inner fears that might cause him to use his powers for his own sake instead of in honor of God and for the benefit of the world, he then found a way to move through those fears.
How and where have you been tempted by worldly measures of power and success? How might you employ Authentic Freedom to help you overcome these temptations when they arise in the future?
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