Posted in Authentic Freedom, Authentic Freedom Book, Being Human, Christ Consciousness, Freedom, Gifts of Contemplation, Grace, guilt, Jesus, Lessons, Oneness with God, sin, Spiritual Practices, teachers, Virtual Church

Show Me the Way to Go Home

Through the metaphorical Adam, the human conditional was born, providing for us the (false) perception of separation and the sensation of having fallen from Grace. In birthing the human condition, we now know fear and suffering in contrast to the love and peace we knew “at home.”  Jesus (among other prophets) discovered the remedy to the human condition and through his teaching and example, shows us the way to go home. 

 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter for Sunday, November 23, 2014

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

 But first:  a little humor!  🙂 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWQ-rnXi_n4

 

Scripture Reading:

Brothers and sisters: Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through man, the resurrection of the dead came also through man. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has destroyed every sovereignty and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.

1 Cor 15: 20-26, 28

 

Additional Readings:

Ez 34: 11-12, 15-17

Psalm 23

Mt: 25: 31-46

 

Jesus Shows Us the Way

“Since death came through man,

The resurrection of the dead came also through man.”

When the metaphorical Adam chose power over obedience to God, the human condition was born. Instead of the peace, love and joy experienced in our original state of Oneness with God, humans now knew fear – fear that then led to a whole host of fears and their resulting compulsions. Inside of our beings, in this place of perceived separation from God, we felt as if we had fallen from Grace. As a loving parent, understanding our need to explore and to learn, God allowed us this choice, knowing that in this choice, we would suffer and experience the burden of guilt for turning away from God. God, however, did not leave us abandoned, neither did God leave us to our own devices, instead, God sent prophet after prophet after prophet to help remind us of our original nature and to help us find our way home. The greatest of these prophets (in the Christian tradition), was Jesus. Jesus, in his own longing and search for God, found the remedy to the suffering of the human condition (the remedy didn’t alleviate the suffering, but provided a means to transcend it), and generously shared what he learned with others. Thankfully, some of his disciples remembered bits and pieces of what Jesus taught and others wrote it down. Through scripture, specifically a prayerful reading and reflection on scripture, we find glimpses of what Jesus taught and sparks of what he remembered. What is even more remarkable is that like the gurus before him and since, Jesus’ very spirit is accessible as a teacher and a guide to those who seek out and cultivate a deeply intimate and personal relationship with Jesus as the Christ. In this way, Jesus, himself, becomes our teacher – helping us to see the deeper truths beyond the words of scripture, leading us to other resources including human teachers who can guide us. We even find that Jesus can come to us himself to teach and guide us.

The “sin” of Adam allowed us to experience the human condition. Jesus helps us to find our way home.

How have you cultivated a personal relationship with Jesus?

 

 

Spiritual Practices – Inviting Jesus to be our Teacher

jesus

 

Look at the created image of Jesus above. Let it sink into your consciousness.

Close your eyes.

Imagine Jesus, as you saw him in the picture above, standing before you.

Rest with that image of Jesus standing before you. Remain in this visualization for 15 – 20 minutes.

Know that as Jesus stands before you, he is gazing back at you with unconditional love and acceptance.

Allow yourself to receive that love.

Be attentive to any thoughts, feelings, emotions that may arise as you imagine Jesus standing before you.

Record any thoughts, feelings, insights received, etc. in your journal or notebook.

 

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, we acknowledge Jesus as our teacher and as the example of one who learned authentic freedom and taught it to others. Every story, parable, lesson, example that Jesus taught, can somehow be brought back to the core wound and the resulting fears explored through Authentic Freedom. Jesus, while experiencing the fullness of the human condition, found his way to freedom – a freedom, he discovered, was found only in God. This is the freedom we are called to discover, cultivate and embrace through Authentic Freedom. God is the remedy to the suffering of the human condition. Jesus showed/shows us the way.

 

What is the suffering you currently want to transcend or have healed?

 

How might Jesus invite you to turn toward God as a source of healing and support?

Authentic Freedom is available for purchase on Amazon.  Learn more HERE. 

 

Posted in Agape Project, Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Spiritual Practices, The Seven Deadly Compulsions, Virtual Church

Weeds and Wheat – Virtual Church Meditation Supplement

Please find below the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church meditation supplement for Sunday, July 20, 2014.  The theme this week is embracing the weeds in our garden – how to see our perceived weakness, imperfections, humanness as vehicles for healing and growth.  Only in being human can we truly be a source of support for others in their own journey toward love.

 Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

Fleur_de_Lis_Tattoo_by_ladyserenity2002

Scripture Reading:

Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

Matthew 13: 24-30

 

Additional Readings: 

Wis 12: 13, 16-19

Ps 86: 5-6, 9-10, 15-16

Rom 8: 26-27

 

Weeds and Wheat

We are the seeds of wheat that God has planted on the earth. The weeds are the fears that arise out of us as a natural consequence of choosing the human condition. In choosing the human condition, we chose to temporarily experience ourselves as separate from God and it is this perceived separation that that causes us fear. Fear, then, causes us to act in non-loving ways towards ourselves and others, resulting in the compulsions and “sins” of humanity.

We are often tempted to judge our fears and condemn ourselves for these perceived imperfections. Today’s gospel reminds us the value of allowing the imperfections to remain. Like wildflowers that are planted with seeds of rye, we need the weeds to help us to grow. Spiritually, we are strengthened by coming to know our fears and by turning toward God as a source of support for transcending and moving through our fears. As is true of all things that grow, we need the resistance of the weeds to help us move toward our spiritual maturity where we remember our Oneness with God, within ourselves, with each other and with all of creation.

Where are you tempted to judge or condemn yourself for your humanness?

 

How can you become the witness of your fears instead of the judge? How does this allow you to move through your fears instead of staying in them through resistance?

 

Spiritual Practices – Examen

Examen is traditionally the practice of reflecting on all the ways in which we have “sinned” or turned away from God. In this adaptation of an Ignatian (St. Ignatius of Loyola) practice, we explore the ways in which our imperfections and perceived failures have helped us to grow.

  1. Set aside 15-20 minutes for this practice.
  2. Sit quietly for a few moments in preparation.
  3. As you sit quietly, allow your mind to turn toward all the things about yourself you are tempted to judge as imperfect, compulsive or even sinful.
  4. In the fashion of brainstorming, make a list of the things about yourself you judge as negative or imperfect. Write them on a sheet of paper, allowing the writing to help other ideas come forth.
  5. Stop writing when nothing else comes forth from your mind.
  6. Go back and read the list you just wrote.
  7. Choose one item on the list and reflect on how this perceived imperfection has helped you to grow spiritually:
  • How has this imperfection caused you to turn toward God for help/healing?
  • How have you grown through your attempts to heal/resolve this imperfection?
  • How have your learned humility through this imperfection?

 

Authentic Freedom

As a recovering perfectionist, I have grown from condemning my perfectionist to seeing it as a vehicle through which God has invited me to heal and grow. I am now more aware of my temptation to judge myself and others too harshly, I am able to embrace the high standards I have set for myself and others while allowing myself to be more relaxed and less critical of my own humanness as well as the humanness of others. Learning to be accepting of my own humanness has allowed me to be a better source of love and support for others.

Authentic Freedom reminds us that each of us are uniquely gifted in the way we are called to reveal God’s love in the world and that often, the most important way in which we are called to be God’s love is through our fears, our compulsions and our perceived imperfections. Being a “wounded healer” allows us to have empathy and compassion for others in the face of the human condition. Accepting the “weeds” in our own garden, help us to grow so that we can be a support for others as they are trying to grow.

What are the weeds in your garden and how are you called to see the gift in what you are otherwise tempted to judge as negative?

Posted in church, Death, guilt, Jesus, Oneness with God, Raised Catholic, sin, Truth

Re-Framing Jesus’ Death

Jesus died for our sins?

Today marks the beginning of Holy Week.  On this day, Passion Sunday, we reflect on Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, juxtaposed against the heightened tension around his teachings, his eventual trial and death by crucifixion. Having been raised Catholic, this was the time of year when we were vigorously reminded that, “Jesus died for our sins,” as we stood with heads bowed, striking our breasts in self-flagellation while chanting mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Jesus was portrayed as the sacrificial lamb that was sent here to be slaughtered in reparation for our sins.  While I have found personal comfort in praying with Jesus through his trial, crucifixion and death (allowing myself to experience the reality of Jesus’ suffering, thereby finding in him a companion in my humanness) I cannot reconcile the God of love that I have come to know with a god who would send his own son to die.

Was it really necessary?

While I acknowledge that the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection and eventual ascension ushered in a dramatic shift in the spiritual evolution of our planet, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if humanity hadn’t gotten in the way of the amazing message Jesus came to reveal.  It seems to me that Jesus could have been raised from the dead and ascended into heaven without the violence of the crucifixion.  Jesus crucifixion seems wrong, untimely and unnecessary.  While God revealed a higher good in Jesus’ untimely death, I have a hard time believing it was really part of God’s plan. I often wonder if God thought, “Darn it, they missed the point again!  I send them prophet after prophet after prophet to help them understand how much they are loved and instead of receiving my love, they turn against my prophets in fear! When will they learn?” As a result of these quandaries, I have a really hard time upholding the idea that Jesus died for our sins – at least not in the way it was presented to me growing up.   Instead, I have come to approach Jesus’ cruel death by crucifixion from another perspective.

ted-neeley-001

Another Perspective.

The turning point for me was diligent prayer and meditation on John’s gospel, and at least a million viewings or listenings of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEzEROSj11Q

In Jesus Christ Superstar, in the scene of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, we hear the following exchange:

Pilate:  Then you are a king?

Jesus:  It’s you that say I am.  I look for truth and find that I get damned.

Pilate: But what is truth?  Is truth unchanging law?  We both have truths.  Are mine the same as yours?

In John’s gospel, Jesus reveals the truth that he proclaims will set us free (John 8: 32) – the truth that he came to know within himself and the truth he lived by and tried to share with others.   Jesus came to know the truth of his Oneness with God in love (John 17: 17-23). Through this Oneness, Jesus found the remedy to the fears that are the cause of our sinful behaviors and the path toward our spiritual freedom.  This is the “I Am” truth that Jesus discovered.  This was the truth he tried to help others understand. Knowing, cultivating and embracing this truth is what saves us from the fears that are the ultimate cause of our sins.  So, yes, we can say that Jesus died for our sins, but not as a consequence of our sins, but for the sake of the truth that will heal us from our sin.

The Truth that kills

This truth that Jesus believed, the truth in his Oneness with God, is a dangerous truth.  It is because of this truth that Jesus was killed because it is a truth that seriously threatened the religious and political authorities of his time. If people find the God within and find peace in their Oneness with God and are no longer controlled by their fears, how will the outside perceived political and religious authorities be able to control and manipulate them? If people have found their Oneness with God, then what need do they have for an institution to intervene with a fickle god on their behalf?  If we are truly One with God in love, then what need do we have of the sacrifices and observances that have been put in place to appease an angry God or earn our way back into God’s good graces?  Jesus came to know and taught of a God that loves without condition – who loves us without merit and whose love does not have to be earned, neither can it be denied.  And to the religious and political authorities, a people who believed in their inherent goodness, who knew they were loved beyond measure and who could reason, discern and exercise truth for themselves, was a dangerous lot. It was ultimately his insistence in this truth that got Jesus killed, the truth that frees us from our sin.  As such, I prefer not to say that Jesus died for our sins. Instead, I prefer to acknowledge that Jesus died for the truth.

How would your life change if you believed that you were One with God in love?

How would your life be altered if you believed in your inherent goodness and that you are not only loved without condition, but that you are love itself?

How might your Holy Week observance change if you saw Jesus’ death as a consequence of standing in the truth of love instead of in reparation for sin?

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Lessons, Oneness with God, sin, The Seven Deadly Compulsions

The Need to Be Right

Today’s blog explores one of our basic human compulsions that comes directly out of our perceived separation from God and from each other.  This is the need to be right and to make other people wrong. 

Don’t You Get Tired of Being Wrong?

Somewhere around 1976, my father and I were shopping at Zayer Shopper’s City (the Minneapolis pre-curser to WalMart) and found matching    t-shirts that perfectly stated our shared life mantra (at that time).  My dad’s red t-shirt and my blue one boldly stated:

Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Being Wrong?

 I can’t speak for my dad, but for me, being a Capricorn, first-born, type-A, over-achiever and perfectionist had secured my path of righteousness.  I was right and everyone else was wrong….unless of course, they agreed with me.  🙂  Sadly, I was recently shown that these traits did not soften as I grew and “matured,” instead, they have become even more firmly entrenched.  As a grown up, this need to be RIGHT manifested in the following:

  • Contemplation is right, dogma is wrong
  • Bleeding heart liberal democrat is right, everyone else is wrong
  • I’m right, the Institutional Catholic Church is wrong
  • Poverty is right, wealth is wrong
  • I’m right, the law of attraction is wrong
  • Choosing the path of your passion is right, a real job is wrong  etc. etc. etc.

Sadly, I was not entirely aware of how deeply entrenched was my own need to be right until my amazing editor pointed this out in a character in the novel I’m currently working on.  Since that character is ME my editor’s comments were like a bullet RIGHT BETWEEN MY EYES.  OUCH!!!! Yes, the character is firmly entrenched in her own need to be right and sadly, so am I.  Did I say, OUCH!?  I guess I have some work to do!

The Source of This Compulsion

This need to be right flows directly out of our core spiritual wound – the false perception of separation from ourselves, from each other and from God.  Arising out of this wound of separation is the “deadly compulsion” of pride and it is pride that drives our need to be right and to make everyone else wrong.  When we are right, we get to feel superior, better than others, more intelligent, wiser, maybe even more compassionate and humble.  Ha!  All of this needing to be right is ultimately about securing our separation and creating even bigger trenches between ourselves and those in the world that we have the potential to love.

The Remedy to Being Right

The remedy to our need to be right is to embrace humility…..to admit that at the end of the day, WE KNOW NOTHING!  And….to set aside the lens of judgment through which we often view the world.  What is right for me does not have to be right for another and what is right for me does not make the other person wrong.  To put it in the context of beliefs for example:  Contemplation, freedom from constrictions, non-doctrine are absolutely right for me……AND they would be absolutely WRONG for another.  Where the choices that I have made in my spiritual path give me a sense of security and freedom, it would strike terror and insecurity in another.  The invitation for me is to embrace what is right for me while honoring as sacred and holy that which is right for another….even….or maybe even especially….when it is decidedly different than my own personal choices.  The same goes for politics, medicine, education, parenting, relationship choices, etc. etc. etc. If we wish to be free from the “sin” of pride and to heal the perceived separations between us, we are invited to cease this need to be right.   Now…does this mean that murder, war, abuse, bullying, physical violence, stealing are right because someone believes they are right for themselves?  I don’t think so….and I believe that is why we have some basic and mostly universally accepted guidelines for human behavior.  The Ten Commandments and Jesus’ commandment to:  “Love one another as I have loved you,” are two such examples.

Embracing a New Mantra

Now, if I could go back to Zayer Shopper’s City and choose a new t-shirt for myself, I would rather it read something like:

I’m Sorry for All The Times I Had to Be Right

Lauri Lumby

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

 

Posted in Inspiration, Oneness with God

The Pain of Perceived Separation

In today’s blog, I explore the pain that we feel when we perceive that we are separate from the Divine (God), ourselves and from one another.  Along with this pain, I explore the remedy to that pain. 

During the Babylonian captivity, the exiles prayed,

“Justice is with the Lord, our God;” and we today

are flushed with shame, we men of Judah and citizens

of Jerusalem, that we, with our kings and rulers and priests

and prophets, and with our ancestors, have sinned in the Lord’s sight

and disobeyed him. 

Baruch 1: 15-18

The Pain of Perceived Separation 

In the scripture passage above, from the Hebrew prophet, Baruch, we get a glimpse into the hearts and soul of the Hebrew people as they suffered the shame of a kingdom overtaken and destroyed by the Babylonians and their resulting exile as political prisoners of their captors.  It was their perception that this time of conquest and exile was a punishment from their “sins” against God.  No longer believing in a vengeful, punitive God, I propose that there is another way to view this reading.  In a nutshell, the story of the Babylonian captivity represents for all of us a metaphor for the consequences of the human condition (stuff happens – including war, loss and captivity) and the pain that we feel when we have forgotten that there is an infinite source of comfort and peace and that is what some would call “God.”

What Happens When We Forget

Our natural state (which is described in metaphor as “the Garden of Eden”) is peaceful contentment and joy.  We know this state when we remember our Oneness with God, with ourselves, with eachother and with all of creation.  When we forget this Oneness (which is a natural result of chosing the human experience), we feel pain, longing, separation, guilt, remorse, sorrow, fear.  It is this pain of separation that the prophet Baruch describes in the shame of the Hebrew people.  Our personal experiences of this separation are no-less painful, fearful, seemingly threatening.

How to Remember

The good news is that remembering our Oneness and its natural state of peaceful contentment is easier than one might think.  Remembering this Oneness…as Eckhart Tolle so eloquently reminded us in his book, The Power of Now, is as simple as having an experience of peace, joy or love.  In Eckhart’s words, “When we know peace, when we know love, when we know joy….we are in the presence of God.”  I would take this one step further and say that “When we know peace, when we know love, when we know joy, we are remembering our ONENESS with God.”  I take it one step further because I believe that we are NEVER NOT in the presence of God….we just sometimes forget that we are.  In other words, THERE IS NOTHING that can separate us from God.  We just sometimes forget to see, know, experience, acknowledge, recognize the presence of God that is ALWAYS in our midst, in fact, it is within our very being…..ALWAYS!

Taking Time to Remember

The good news is that we DO have within our power, the capability of choosing to remember, recognize, acknowledge, experience this loving, peaceful, joyful presence of God.  And it is as simple as SEEING and BELIEVING.  And, when we take time out of our busy lives to be open to seeing where God might be present in our lives and within us, our ability to see and believe in the peaceful contentment that we are becomes EASIER and EASIER.  The invitation is:

  • To watch for the presence of God around us (in nature, life experiences, joyful happenings, excitement, joy, fun)
  • To set time aside to experience the presence of God within (through prayer, meditation, contemplation, spiritual practices)
  • To seek the presence of God in the people we meet, family members, friends, co-workers
  • To look for peace, joy, love, bliss, ecstasy, mercy in the human experience

This is where we find God……literally EVERYWHERE…..if we have eyes to see and a heart that can believe.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Forgiveness, guilt, Inspiration, Oneness with God

Woe is me, a sinner…..or NOT!

In today’s blog, we explore the topic of “sin” and offer a new perspective which opens the door to profound and lasting healing, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and perhaps even physically.



Sin

I invite you to pause for just a moment and think of the word “sin”.  What images, feeling, thoughts, memories, etc. arise for you when you ponder “sin?”

  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Images of an angry, wrathful, disappointed God
  • Fear
  • Recollections of Saturday afternoon confession
  • Hell
  • Frustration with being unable to stop some of your “sinful” behavior
  • More shame and more guilt

If you were raised in the Christian tradition, the above are most likely some of the things you associate with the word “sin.”  And if you were raised Catholic, the most prominent memory might be the requirement of attending confession and any memories associated with that ritual.  For me, sin was something that we were told we would be punished for – primarily by an angry God and if we did not confess our sins, we would go to hell after we died.  Then my thoughts go to the Saturday afternoon ritual of my Irish ancestors – 4:00 confession so they could receive communion at 6:00 mass, followed by a visit to the local tavern where the sinning would begin again.

Sin and Separation

Sin, I was taught is what separates us from God.  The image I get is of me facing God and every time I would sin, the ground beneath me would move backwards like those walking sidewalks at the airport and pull me further and further away from God.  This image of being pulled away from God left me feeling sad, ashamed and hesitant to look God in the eyes.  This definition of sin is founded upon the idea that we are separate from God and that God is judgmental and punitive and the chosen form of punishment is withdrawal…withdrawal of God and God’s love.

Sin and Perspective

Here’s the part I don’t understand……if Jesus really taught us that God’s love is unconditional, then how could anything we do cause God to push us away or to withdraw from us?  Is God really withdrawing?  Is God really pushing us away?  OR…..is this just how it feels and is it in fact, we who are withdrawing?  I have a sense that it might be the latter.  If we are really One with God as Jesus taught us and if there is nothing that can separate us from God or from God’s love…..then might we be invited to embrace a new perspective on the idea of sin?

Nothing to Punish

Here is my proposal on a new perspective on sin.  What if sin is simply a symptom of the unhealed perspective of separation within us?  If we are still living within the perception of separation from God (which Jesus would tell us is false), then we feel icky – primarily we feel fear.  This fear then drives our outward behaviors.   These behaviors might manifest themselves in various forms of:  gluttony, lust (power-over), wrath (resentment and revenge), envy, greed, sloth and pride.  It is these behaviors that we call sin. Sin, when viewed from this perspective, is nothing more than a symptom of something deeper that is calling out for healing.  Would God punish us for needing healing?  From this perspective on sin, the only one doing the punishing is ourselves as we continue to live in the false perception of separation from God.

Healing the fear that causes our “sin”

So, if we truly want to change our “sinful” behavior, then we need to be open to allowing our false perception of separation from God to be healed.  The good news is that this is really not such a daunting task.  Remembering our Oneness with God is available to us each and every moment of every day….if we just take the time to pay attention.  Here are some ways that we can remember our Oneness with God and thus heal our fears and our “sinful” behavior:

  • Take a walk in nature and observe BEAUTY and WONDER
  • Meditate, pray, contemplate
  • Sing, dance, let your body, your voice and your spirit soar
  • Practice mindfulness – pay attention to every moment, every action, every interaction
  • Be creative – cook, decorate, paint, sculpt, draw, make music, dance, knit, sew, etc.
  • Pay attention to where God might be present and active in your life
  • Observe synchronicity
  • Journal, write
  • Indulge in healthy, intimate relationships
  • Care for another person, mindfully…..how is God present in you, in the other, between the two of you?
  • Watch a movie and look for the higher, spiritual message.

God is everywhere….in everything….. we are NEVER separate from God.  Do we have the courage to know this and live the life God intended, a life of contentment, compassion and joy? HHHMMMMM  Sounds good to me!

What are your compulsive behaviors?

How are you being invited to explore these behaviors for the deeper fears causing them?

How are you being invited to be healed of these fears so that you can live in peace?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com