Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Spiritual Practices

Turning Enlightenment On Its Head

Today’s blog examines our culture’s current obsession with enlightenment.  In our quest to become “perfect” have we forgotten that we are here to be human? 

Amen Brother Amen!

As I was contemplating this morning’s blog, the following quote showed up in my daily inspirational email from Darren Main:

Only two things can reveal life’s great secrets: suffering and love.
—Paulo Coelho

All I can say to this quote is Amen brother, Amen!  In our culture’s current obsession with enlightenment, I think that we have forgotten the reason we came here,  into this human experience, in the first place.  We are already fully Divine.  This part we know – that we are already fully Divine – One with Source/God/Goddess/Higher Self/Essence/Presence.  We know our origin is in love.   What we don’t know and came here to learn is how to be human.

For effective tools for moving through suffering to love, see Lauri’s book, Authentic Freedom

What It Means to Be Human

What does it mean to be human and what are we here to learn?  I think Paulo Coelho said it perfectly.  We are here to experience suffering AND love, and this is ultimately what it means to be human.  As human beings, temporarily living in the false perception of separation from our Source, we experience the following:

Fear    Craving    Envy   Resentment   Lust   Want   Greed   Ignorance   Longing

In these experiences, we indulge

Blindness    Deafness    Muteness    Apathy    Sloth    Prejudice    Hatred   

The end result of all of the above is what Paulo Coelho observed:  SUFFERING.  And in this suffering, we often wonder, like Hamlet if any of this is even worth it:

To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to.

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

The end result of much of the human experience IS suffering and this is what we are here to learn.  Unfortunately, many of us (me included) in our quest for enlightenment/perfection falsely believe that the journey toward enlightenment will rid us of the suffering of the human condition and that if we do suffer in the face of life’s challenges and losses that we aren’t there yet or that somehow we have failed in our enlightened path.  Or worse, we judge another’s suffering as evidence of their unenlightened nature.  Ah……grasshopper, we have much yet to learn!  🙂

For effective tools in moving through suffering to love, see Lauri’s book, Authentic Freedom!

We are here to suffer, but we are also here to love.

Yes, in the very human experiences of fear, craving, envy, etc. etc. etc.  we suffer; but the Divine nature within us knows that suffering is not our only choice and that there is a remedy to our suffering.  Deep within us is the seed of recollection that longs for LOVE instead of fear and while our quest for enlightened perfection may be driven by our ego, the tools of the trade do provide us with effective means for surviving the human experience.   When we fear, crave, long, desire, lust, want, withhold, close our eyes and ears to truth; we have forgotten our original nature in LOVE.  The spiritual tools (meditation, prayer, mindfulness, movement, creative endeavors, etc.) that accompany the enlightenment package give us the means of surviving the suffering, moving through our fears, and remembering love.  And Love, as Paulo Coelho reminds us, is the other purpose of the human journey and perhaps the ultimate destination of the suffering we experience in being human.  To put it another way:

To love is to suffer

In suffering we learn love

So we are here to be human.  In being human we suffer.  In suffering, we have the opportunity to remember love.  And none of this is possible without the opportunity to be human.

For effective tools for moving through suffering to love, read Lauri’s book,  Authentic Freedom!

Judge Not lest ye not be Human

Speaking of being human, a little note on judgment.  I have a confession to make, I sometimes joke about having taken “the red pill” and observe in judgement those who I deem to have taken “the blue pill.”  (This is a reference from the Matrix movies about the choice of truth over illusion.)  In this, I am judging the journey of another.  And…..I know I’m not the only one “on the spiritual path” (ahem…another judgment) that is tempted to hold oneself up as better than another.  Another trap on this path of “enlightenment.”  What I suddenly became aware of as I pondered today’s blog is that every single person on this planet is doing what we came here to do:  BEING HUMAN.  If we are already fully Divine and we are here to be human, then every single human being gets an A+ simply for showing up.  And then I had to wonder if God is just laughing God’s butt off at us as we strive to be “Divine” when really all we are here to do is be human.  Ok, my brain just exploded!

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Agape Project, Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Practices

Welcome the Ides of March

TODAY IS THE DAY!!!!!!  (Please share today’s blog with your social networks and your email mailing lists…..I’m asking for everyone’s help.  And….thank you in advance!!!!)   The official launch of The Agape’ Project.  If you haven’t done so already, go to the Agape’ tab on this website….or read below for details.  The Agape’ Project is a great way for you to begin or deepen your existing spiritual practice using the tools for meditation and contemplation that have been part of the Judeo-Christian tradition for 2000 some years.  Just a little personal testimony, I have been using these tools personally and in my lay ministry role with clients and students and have experienced the following results:

  • Release from fears
  • Healing of past hurts, betrayals, losses
  • Increased happiness, peace and joy
  • A greater capacity to be and to receive love
  • Increased patience, acceptance, the ability to surrender
  • Assistance in moving through life’s challenges
  • The courage to face life’s challenges and to make difficult decisions
  • A greater ability to name and claim my needs
  • Identification of my own unique giftedness and how I am being called to live it in the world.
  • A greater sense of fulfillment
  • Tools for discerning what is in my highest good vs. what might just be the wants of my ego
  • A deepening of my trust in God and in myself

If you are seeking any of the above listed items in your own live, The Agape’ Project might be for you.  AND…..we have made subscriptions to this service accessible to EVERYONE with three payment options.  (See below).   So….without further ado:

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Agape’ – The Greek word used in Christian scripture to describe the unconditional, unmerited, infinite, abundantly flowing Love of God.  Even more than that, Agape’ reminds us that God is LOVE and that we too are that Love in our connection with God, with one another and with all of Creation.  By embracing Agape’, we REMEMBER THE LOVE THAT WE ARE

The Agape’ Project seeks to get effective tools for Spiritual Formation into the hands of adults by providing a weekly resource that is available on a subscription basis.  As a subscriber, you will receive the weekly Agape’ Project newsletter which will consist of resources for your personal spiritual practice and that could eventually be shared in a small group setting.  Resources included in the weekly Agape Project newsletter:

  • A scripture reading (or two)
  • Some background on the scripture (historical and sociological context, literary genre, author, audience, etc.)
  • A brief reflection on the scripture
  • Suggested meditation/contemplation/prayer activity using the scripture
  • Questions for personal reflection or to be shared within a small group

Click to view a sample:  AgapeProjectSamplePage1   AgapeProjectSamplePage2

Benefits to you for subscribing:

  • Provides answers to some of your questions about scripture, Hebrew culture, Jesus’ teachings
  • Makes scripture accessible and applicable to your everyday life
  • Helps you connect with the voice of truth (God) within
  • Helps you find the spiritual practice(s) that work for you
  • Helps you find accessible, approachable methods for meditation and contemplation
  • Helps you to know peace, love and joy more fully
  • Helps you to identify the spiritual fears that might be in the way of you knowing peace
  • Helps you to find healing and release from those fears
  • Helps you to KNOW God, not just know ABOUT God
  • Helps you to find the path to fulfillment and happiness
  • Helps you to find tools to help you make it through life’s challenges

Truly, the list is endless…but that’s a start.

Flexible Payment Options:

To meet the broad range of financial accessibility, you are invited to choose from the following payment options:

$20.00 per month (for those with the financial means or who intend to share these resources within a group of up to 10 participants)

$10.00 per month (for individuals or couples who are on a tighter budget – not intended for group use)

Note:  If even the $10.00 per month is out of your reach, please contact Lauri Lumby at lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com to discuss other arrangements. 

To subscribe, click on one of the links below:

$20.00 per month option:

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$10.00 per month option:

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Teachings for Children

Years ago I was looking for a spiritual story for children that I could use to teach my own children about the chakras, and about the spiritual truths I had come to embrace.  After a fruitless search and sharing my frustration with a colleague and friend, she responded, “Why don’t you write it yourself?”  So, I did.  Below is that story, currently titled, Sons and Daughters of Freedom.  PS….it is a great story for grown ups too!  🙂

Sons and Daughters of Freedom

I’m made of God’s Spirit inside and out,

this is the truth that life is about.

Energy flowing from my head to my toes

Keeping me healthy and helping me grow.

Nurturing this Spirit will help me to be

my most true self, loving and free.

The power center at the base of my spine,

reminds me the earth is ours, yours and mine.

The gifts of creation promised to me,

blessings received most abundantly.

Food, clothing, shelter, this place feels safe.

There’s always enough, fear can’t show its face.

The center in my belly is where new life is made.

Here, nurtured dreams and visions won’t fade

When secure in the truth that support will be mine

As I create life with our Source that’s Divine.

Courage is centered where ribs separate.

Believing the truth, “I AM GREAT!”

I can be and do and live what is true.

Fear cannot stop me or make me feel blue.

At the center of my chest lies a heart filled with joy.

Love is what made me and each girl and boy.

I breathe deep of the love and the joy that is mine,

as I share it with others, their hearts too will shine.

Hearing my truth and speaking it well,

Allowing the life in me its story to tell.

Freedom is mine, not bars, ropes or chains.

My throat sings out its happy refrain.

I see with my eyes and know in my mind,

That truth is really easy to find.

A dream, a vision, a feeling a thought –

is how I know what is good and what’s not.

Through the top of my head flows the Spirit of peace –

The Divine Source within me that never will cease.

When I’m quiet and still, I know me to be

One with this Spirit and all that I see.

I’m made of God’s Spirit inside and out.

This is the truth that life is about.

Energy flowing from my head to my toes,

Keeping me healthy and helping me grow.

Nurturing this Spirit will help me to be

my most true self, Loving and Free.

copyright 2009  Lauri Ann Lumby

Posted in Discernment, Spiritual Practices

Writing as a Tool for Discernment

Today’s blog explores writing as a viable tool in the process of discernment – opening us up to our truth and showing us the way.

 

 

Defining Discernment

Discernment, in the context of the spiritual journey, is a formal process through which we allow ourselves to be open to determining the Divine call in our life.  In other words, it is through discernment that we test if something is “of God” (life-giving, freeing, leading us toward peace, contentment and joy) or of the “false-self” or “ego” (constricting, rooted in fear, leading us toward struggle, futility, sorrow, etc.).  Discernment is a tricky process because the ego likes to give us ideas, opportunities, etc. that seem shiny, glittering and appealing to our vanity.  God, however, only gives us that which is in our highest good, that which will help us to identify and make use of our spiritual gifts and that which will lead us toward a sense of fulfillment and peace.  My preference is the God-path, which is why I try to enter into careful discernment before making any major life decisions.

Tools for the Journey

When entering into a process of discernment, I have found several tools to be helpful:

  • The company and help of my Spiritual Director and other close spiritual friends who I know can be objective and honest with me
  • My spiritual practices:  meditation (which often includes scripture), prayer, contemplation, yoga
  • Writing

These are the tools I employ on a regular basis anyway, but most importantly when discerning major life decisions.  Today I want to speak specifically about writing as a tool for discernment.

Divine Revealing Truth

As I discuss in chapter eight of Authentic Freedom, the Divine knows what is in our highest good and desires for us to know this as well…AND….there are an infinite number of ways in which the Divine reveals our truth and our path to us:  intuition, dreams, knowledge, learning, life circumstances, nature, relationships, coincidences, creative imagination, physical and spiritual sight, etc. etc. etc.  Spiritual Writing/Journaling is one of the ways that the Divine can reveal truth to us and one of the tools that I have found helpful and supportive in my own journey.  (I’m sure it helps that I am a writer by nature).  There are many ways to approach writing as a tool that can be used in the process of discernment.  (Spiritual Journaling by Julie Tallard Johnson is a great resource to get you started on the path of utilizing writing as a spiritual tool.)   Below are a few examples of how you might use writing as a tool for discernment in your own journey:

  • Imagination Contemplation:  Read a scripture narrative, a work of mythology or a fairytale, looking for a character that jumps out at you.  Re-read the story from the perspective of that character, then spend 15-20 minutes imagining the story as it unfolds from the perspective of your chosen character.  Let your imagination run wild, allowing all the details to flow into the story.  Now write what surfaced in your imagination.  Read what you wrote, asking yourself how that showed up might be reflective of things going on in your own journey.  What might God be revealing to you in the story that showed up in your imagination.
  • Automatic writing:  At the top of your page, write a question or direction you are pondering.  Take a few moments in silence to allow yourself to come to a place of peaceful calm, then putting pen to paper, allow the Divine to reveal the answer to your question through your writing.  Just let your pen go, not censoring, second-guessing, etc.  Then go back and read the answer.
  • Choose a Word: Choose a word that is part of your life at the moment:  loss, pain, love, joy, green, landscape, stones, sand, water, sunshine, broken glass, then write TO that word.  (not about it….TO it).  See what shows up.  You might be surprised.

You Never Know What Might Show Up

Writing as a tool for discernment has become part of my everyday life….but sometimes it shows up in amazing, strange and enlightening ways.  I have recently been working with creative writing teacher, Prudence Tippins, to help me move through some blocks that have surfaced related to the current book I am writing (more about that later!).  The assignments she has been giving me have been mostly related to things going on in my life that have been part of our weekly consultations…relationships, work, new life, etc.  But last week she threw me a prompt that seemingly  came out of nowhere: “Write about the Duties of the High Priestess.”  WHAT?  Where did that come from?  But here’s what showed up:

The High Priestess

Hearing truth beyond words

Seeing truth beyond illusion

Speaking truth beyond falsehood

Being truth beyond fear

Reaching beyond the veil

Grasping what seeks to be born

Bringing it forth into the world

Midwife to new life

Channel of the Divine

Showing others the way

And now I have to wonder, what might God be trying to tell me?

How might writing be a tool that you can begin to explore in your own spiritual journey?

How has God revealed truth to you through your writing?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com