Posted in New World, Surrender

When Sh*t Gets Real

Hi.  I’m Lauri Ann Lumby, and I am “Everyperson.”  For 15 years I’ve been living in the trenches with the “working poor.”  This is what my reality looks like:

 

I am self-employed as a Spiritual Counselor, providing mental health support through spiritual counseling (I have an MA in Transpersonal Psychology and completed a 3 year training program as a Spiritual Director), and human development training through online education.  I am also a published author.

Sounds fancy, right?  Sure, but the above has not produced enough income to pay the bills. So, in the fall of 2017, I started a side-gig.  The side-gig has provided just enough supplemental income to pay my monthly rent.

 

Enter Covid-19.

 

No, wait, things started breaking apart long before Covid 19.  Awhile back, I received a DIRECT command:

Let it go.  Let it all go.

 

Because I’ve been down this path many-a-time.  I knew exactly why all the letting go.  When we let things go, we are creating room for something new (and better) to enter.  For the past several months, I’ve been watching my income stream slow almost to a halt……then ENTER COVID-19.  My side gig closed two weeks ago and while I’ve had enough to keep me busy up until the end of this week.  There’s not much coming after that. The “new office” I recently opened sits empty because no one is interested in receiving hands-on healing at this time.

 

Time to start freaking out?

 

For a moment maybe.  But I know better than to stay there and I have the tools for finding peace in the midst of the complete unknown.

 

I have no idea how I will pay my bills. (I KNOW I’m not alone in this!)

 

But, what I do know is that I WAS BORN FOR THIS.  I was born for this time and I have known it was coming.  I’ve been training and preparing for this my whole life.  I absolutely 100% know that there is something NEW and HUGE coming out of this for our world AND FOR ME!

 

For me, this is where the rubber meets the road and where shit gets real.  Instead of chasing after shiny objects, or hustling to find a way to fill the gap,

 

I GET QUIET.

 

I turn inward.  I go into the silence.  I enter the VOID.

I use the practices I have been teaching others to use for the past 15+ years.

I resist the temptation to “thinking it through,” or throwing noodles against the wall hoping something will stick.  Instead, I look for what emerges out of the silence.  Not the rambling of my “let’s do something” mind, but the pure silence of THE VOID out of which everything true and real comes into form.

 

I have known that the dwindling cash flow was the herald of something new trying to be born in and through me, and now I take a deep breath as another HUGE chuck falls away.  This is it.  This is Lauri Ann Lumby’s day of reckoning.  Do I run away in panic or find meaningless activities to fill the void so I can avoid the TERROR of facing into the VOID?  No, I dive deeply into the VOID and see what She has to show me.

 

As Mother Mary said to the Angel Gabriel,

“Let it be done according to your word.”

 

Or as Jesus said as he was hanging from the cross,

“Into your hands I commend my Spirit.”

 

 

Posted in shadow work, Spiritual Formation

Breaking Down to Break Through

The closer we draw to our true nature (which is God/Source/Love), the more inessential parts of our life, nature and personality fall away.  Apparently just saying “yes” to a more monastic life is not enough.  (As if I didn’t already know this!).  As I live into the answer of what it means to be monastic as a 54 year old single mother of two I’m simultaneously finding answers, along with many more questions. At this moment, everything is up for grabs.  Every….single…..thing……I have been offering as my gifts to the world; every….single…..title/role/name I have given to myself; every…..single…..way……I have attempted to describe who I am and what I do is up for debate.  Actually, it is much more than that, every…..single…..thing……is asking to be SET ASIDE.  Maybe not forever, but in this moment, in this snapshot of time, I am no longer teacher, counselor, author, priest, prophet, artist, or writer.  I’m feeling a little like Arya Stark in her stay with at the House of Black and White.

“The Girl is No one.  The Girl has no name.”

As Arya discovered in the end, I will never be without my name.  I will always be Lauri.  But as Arya also learned, some of the roles and responsibilities may need to change.  In the past this would have terrified me, but I’ve been here before.  It’s simply another one of those COMPLETE REWRITES over which I have no control.  It is being done through me, for me, and on my behalf.  So all I can do is SURRENDER to what is and as is appropriate during this Scorpio season, take the deep dive.

The Deep Dive for me has shown up in the form of a profound emptiness.  I find myself with literally nothing to do, and no inspiration for doing.  Yeah, there are tons of things I could be doing, but I have learned not to force things or to push against the energy of the Universe which is clearly telling me to get out of my own way.  (Thank you for your patience Torrie as Lesson 6 is taking its own damn time in being born!)

With nothing to do, I have nothing left but to be.  To be WITH that which is presenting.  1) a book on monasticism by a recovering Catholic divorced mother of two like me. 2) Friends showing up out of nowhere wanting to meet for coffee.  3) My regular meditation and yoga practices. 4) Caring for my children. 5) Being with the breaking down.

Breaking down is proving to be a mash up of life review, revisiting old wounds, witnessing those things that are still in need of transformation.  It is like someone stirred the pond and the muck that had settled on the bottom has come up to the surface to be seen.  The most important part of this stage in the process is to OWN MY OWN SHIT!  No finger pointing.  No blame.  No shame.  No projections.  Instead, it is simply seeing, witnessing and evaluating.  In taking the stance of objective observer, I can simply assess what is coming forth and evaluate its place in my life.  What is working?  What is not.  What is life-giving?  What is not?  What can stay?  What may need to go?  As I am still human, this process is less than perfect, but once I get through the initial emotional reaction, I see more clearly how EVERYTHING is mine.

In this stage, the temptation is to then think I have to do something about it.  NO NO NO.  Now is not the time for action.  Now is simply the time of observation and evaluation.  As human beings we are so damned impatient and think we have to be in charge.  When we think we have things all figured out and then hurry to get ‘er done, it usually blows up in our face.  Instead, we are invited to MOVE BEYOND our human nature and WAIT.  What we eventually find is that the Universe has the perfect timing in mind and is orchestrating all necessary change in the perfect way and in the perfect time.  We also find that when we “Let go and let God” the result is usually (mostly) pain free.  The only “pain” that is present is related to how much we are clinging to what has been and what needs to pass away.

Sigh!  Being human is hard.  Being spiritual in a human world is even harder.  But as I am continually reminded, it’s not like I have a choice.  I came here to do one thing and that is LOVE.  Apparently love isn’t done with me yet.

Posted in self-actualization

Emptying Some More

There are many times throughout our journey home to ourselves (self-actualization) where our lives are completely re-aligned.  This re-alignment begins on the day we are born in the moment we are expelled from the comfort of our mother’s womb into the cold, often cruel, world.  No longer are all our needs continually met unbidden, we have to make people aware of our needs with no words to express them.  As we find our way through infancy and childhood, every moment is a re-alignment – a constant exploration and learning of how to be and who to be in this world.  The re-alignments continue as we graduate childhood and become students, when we move from the routine of grade school into the hormone infested chaos of middle school, and from there into the segmented atmosphere of high school – defined by social groups and activities.  From there we move to the job world or college, to love and marriage, parenthood, etc. etc. etc.  At certain steps along the journey a complete overhaul is required.

Finding our way home to ourselves is no different. The past several years for me has been one letting go and emptying after another.  Just as I think I have emptied enough, the Universe presents another opportunity/invitation/command.  (It’s really more of a command.  I have discovered in this journey toward Self that we really don’t have a choice.  If we are serious about our commitment to Self/Soul, freewill isn’t really an option.  It’s more of a do or die.)  I find that I am facing another one of these commands.

When I proclaimed to the world my commitment to my monastic self, I thought (how silly of me) “Ok we’re good.”  I figured it was simply a matter of living into the monastic-ish lifestyle that has been beckoning me.  Hah!  Just as we think we have things figured out, God/Goddess laughs.  Instead, I find that not only am I living into the question of what a monastic life looks like to me, I am also witnessing the further falling away of everything I thought myself to be and every role/offering I thought I had to share with the world.   For the past several months, my students have been falling away left and right. I have few clients to speak of.  The membership options I launched on my site are not thriving in the way I hoped they would.  Etc. etc. etc.

To add insult to injury, as a normally prolific writer and creator, my creative inspiration seems to be dried up.  I have four creative projects staring me in the face – one with somewhat of a deadline.  They are all standing there looking at me waiting for some movement but I got nothin.  Zilch.  Nadda.  Nothin.  Not one spark of inspiration to get these things done and bring them into fruition.  Nothin.

Old Lauri would have worried and fretted about the “looming deadlines” and the (seemingly) ever-decreasing income stream.  Even more, I would have worried about having nothing “to do.”  Instead, I know this is simply more of the movement toward Self.  As Jesus modeled for us and the ancient mystics further demonstrated, the intent and purpose of the spiritual journey is to be made empty so that we might be filled by God.  The journey home to ourselves, is ultimately about returning to Source – God, Love, Truth, Ain-Sof (No-thing), the Void, Allah, Brahma, Sophia, Shekinah, Abba, Amma,  – whatever name/image/form/formlessness you want to give it.  The human journey is all about Source calling us home to our true nature which can only be accomplished in an emptying of ourselves.

At this point in my journey I know better than to resist the call of the Soul.  Those things that are falling away are doing so to create space for something even more amazing, life-giving and fulfilling.  I have absolutely no idea what that might be, but I am open to receive and getting out of my own way so the Divine can make its home in me.

 

 

Posted in Surrender

Complete and Total Surrender

Surrendering is a topic I have written about before as it is the invitation that shows up over and over and over and over in our journey toward the Soul. Whether we are asked to surrender, let go, or we find ourselves in a free-fall, SURRENDER is a persistent theme.  This is natural considering that we have been conditioned to believe (and many new age and new thought circles enforce these beliefs) that the circumstances of our lives are somehow in our control.  You know the routine – think the right thoughts and you will get what you want, working hard leads to reward, no pain no gain, it is by your efforts that you will be rewarded, your value is dependent upon how hard you work and what you accomplish, yada yada yada.  The stream of conditioned thoughts are endless.  Throw in our religious conditioning including the misperception of “faith” (believe you will be healed and you will); and the immigrant work ethic and we have a one mell of a hess!

The truth is, very little of what happens in our lives is within our realm of control. (GASP!).  We are told that we have free will, but do we really?  This is a question I have explored with many of my clients, students and colleagues.  It seems that the closer we get to our Soul, the less we are allowed free will.  In short, no matter how hard we work, no matter how strongly we believe (or think we believe) no matter how much we strive toward what we think is our Soul’s calling, our Soul’s purpose, our Soul’s mission…..if it is not our Soul’s calling, it will fail.  (and sometimes when it is our Soul’s calling it still fails because it is what the Soul intended). And we can know that it is not our Soul’s calling when in spite of all our efforting, belief, “faith,” wishing hoping and dreaming, all we come up with is a bloody forehead from beating our head against the wall.

The Divine path is easy. The effort comes when we are allowing the ego to drive instead of our Soul.  The Soul says, “Let Go!  I got this.”  The ego pleads, “BUT I NEED TO BE IN CONTROL.  I need to know what is happening, why it is happening and how.  I need to be able to decide, to choose, to see the road ahead and what will happen as the path unfolds so I can make plans.”  The Soul says, “Um….no, you don’t.  If you saw where I am leading you, you would freak the f-out and say NO!  You don’t need to know and you don’t get to know and while you are busy making plans, I am unraveling them for you.” God is kind of an asshole that way – but only because the Divine plan is better than what we could ever imagine, hope or dream of – but NOT from the limited perception of the ego – only from the infinite and expansive wisdom of the Soul. In this the Soul can see the good in suffering, sorrow, betrayal, loss and pain. Even death – especially death – serves the greatest and highest purpose….but to all of this the ego says NO!

Surrender is such a frequent theme because of the ministrations of the ego. The ego wants to be in control and believes that being in control, it is keeping us safe.  But at the end of the day, are we ever really safe?  Death, as we know, can come at any minute.  We can be taking our favorite route to the yoga studio and get hit by a semi.  We can be eating all the right foods and thinking all the right thoughts and still get struck down by cancer.  We can be enjoying a friendly game of soccer one day and find ourselves in the ICU hooked up to life support the very next day.  Life (shit) happens and we have NO CONTROL over it.  If it is the intended path of our Soul it will happen no matter what we do to try to “make it happen” or avoid it.

This is perhaps the toughest pill to swallow in our human journey. We are not in control.  The Soul will do what the Soul came here to do.  Period.  Jesus proved this.  Jesus came here to be and show love.  He came here to show us all how to find peace (the kingdom of God) within.  He healed the sick.  He gave sight to the blind.  He counseled the hurting.  He nourished and fed the spiritually hungry.  And then he got killed for it.  Jesus did everything right.  He listened to the calling of his Soul.  He did what his Soul asked of him.  He was “obedient unto death.”  And then he died – a slow and painful death on a cross.  And there was NOTHING he could do to stop it – because it was the path his Soul intended.  And at the end of it all, Jesus did what we are all invited to do.  He surrendered it all unto his Soul, “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”  The very same path his mother traveled before him, “Let it be done to me according to your word.”

Complete and total surrender is what the Soul asks of us. To meet each moment of every day with the understanding that what is showing up to meet us is EXACTLY what our Soul has intended for us to experience in this life.  We are not to know the whys or the hows, but to simply surrender.  This is especially true when we don’t really like what is coming for us – illness, poverty, suffering, pain, disappointment, (perceived) failure, etc.  We need to LET IT GO.  And when we are human (which we will always be), and we find ourselves struggling and all our efforts seem to be in vain, the invitation is there again – complete and total surrender as the Soul reminds us, “Let go.  I got this!”  And then, we let Her!

 

Posted in detachment, Inspiration, Surrender

Wiping the Slate Clean

I have spent the past two weekends in DEEP CLEARING mode. Doing my year-end bookkeeping, deep cleaning my home, and yesterday I spent all day gathering and completing paperwork for a process that will free me from something that has held me prisoner for the past 7 (or s0) years.  It is time to be FREED from the past to make way for the new.  Beyond the material, this has also been a time of deep inner clearing – facing, identifying and healing wounds from the past, letting go of attachments to certain ideas, plans, fixations, etc. and listening deeply for what might still be cluttering my ego and which is yearning to be freed.  All of this has been for the purpose of making room for the new to step in.  As I have been diligently tending to the process of wiping the slate clean, I am finding the new peeking out from around the corner waiting to be seen.  I see you and I welcome you!

Wiping the slate clean is a process we are all invited into from time to time. When what has been is proving to be no longer life-giving, it is time to let it go.  When things from our past have become a burden or an obstacle to our forward movement, it is time to let them go!  When we are clinging to old hurts, betrayals, wounds, etc. we cannot move forward until we let them go.  The same is true of our ego attachments – attachments to fame, money, power, etc.  In order to fulfill the Divine plan for ourselves (our Soul’s plan), we first have to be cleared of anything and everything that is not in harmony with that plan.  It is time to wipe the slate clean.

But wiping the slate clean isn’t always easy. We have become comfortable and familiar with what has been.  Comfort, however, does not equal freedom.  And our Soul demands freedom!  Sometimes what our culture tells we “must do to be successful” is not in harmony with our Soul’s path so we must let that go, while facing the sure judgment of those who cling to the culture’s definition of success and how to get there.  Going against the flock is never easy – and yet in the path of the Soul it is almost always necessary!

Let me give you an example of this from my own journey. For years I’ve been told that I need to “be famous,” “be on Oprah,” or at the very least on Ellen.  In order to be successful, I need to take my show on the road – get out there and do all those big workshops famous people do (you know the ones you pay thousands of dollars to attend and then the only one getting paid is the promoter?).  I’ve had people promise to “make me famous” and that the key to my success will be travel.  Well, here’s the deal folks……after a bizarre virus in 2015, I cannot travel.  I cannot drive for more than an hour (sometimes 90 minutes) without becoming very ill.  It then takes several hours – sometimes days for my inner equilibrium to return. It isn’t car sickness.  It isn’t panic attacks.  No one seems to know what it is and even after 18 months of physical therapy for “vertigo” the symptoms are still the same.  There is no long distance driving travel in Lauri Lumby’s future.  But beyond this limitation that can certainly be worked around (hire a driver, fly, etc.) what my Soul has said to me VERY LOUDLY and quite succinctly is “BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED,” while showing me all the people right here in good ole Oshkosh, Wisconsin who are in need of my gifts.  And it’s time. It’s time to stop hiding in my home and get out into the community sharing my magic.  (something I am already doing on a daily basis informally….but now it’s time to do it more formally).

Wiping the slate clean requires that we diligently tend to all those things that are currently in the way of us pursuing and fulfilling the path of our Soul. As we recently explored in my Order of Melchizedek course, the plan our Soul has for us is far beyond what we could ever imagine for ourselves:

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Posted in Surrender

When All Else Fails…..Ask for Help!

In our quest to be rational, independent, self-sufficient human beings, there is one thing we continue to forget:

WE ARE NOT ALONE!

We are not alone. And, we cannot do it alone.  When we believe otherwise, we are suffering from the compulsion of pride.  Forgetting the central truth of the human experience – we allow ourselves to suffer alone.  Most specifically, we forget that we have a Divine Parent we can turn to for help; and for those of us who call Jesus our teacher and our guide, we can always turn to Christ; and if we are of a Catholic disposition, Mother Mary and the Saints provide additional support.

We are not alone. And yet we continually struggle in remembering this truth. We think we can do it ourselves.  We believe we have to do it ourselves….and our culture supports this false believe.  We are conditioned to believe we are responsible for our lives and our livelihood.  If we are suffering it is our fault.  If we are poor it is because we haven’t worked hard enough.  If we are ill, it is a punishment from God or karma.  Everywhere we turn we are told to do it ourselves, don’t ask for help, be self-sufficient, “you are the creator of your life.”

To that final comment: No, we are not!  Contrary to all “New Age” beliefs, we are not the creator of our lives.  God is.  More specifically, our life is an unfolding of God expressing God’s self in and through us.  It is a co-creation….NOT a “ME” creation. Our life is a partnership with the Divine and when we remember this truth, life simply unfolds and all that is happening is Grace…even if what is happening is difficult. The “difficult” is there for the purpose of our learning and inner growth and through this learning we come to know more about ourselves and in coming to know ourselves we come to know God.

But there are those days….those days when we feel as if we have handled all we can handle, done all that we can do, faced all the demons we could face, fought all the battles we could fight. There are those days we have done everything we can think of to make it through the challenge before us (these days never happen when things are flowing in a positive direction).  We have named our demons and worked on healing them.  We have identified our triggers and worked on releasing their source.  We have chanted, prayed, meditated on scripture, and spoken in tongues, and still the challenge remains…or rather, our unrest related to the challenge.

This is when we are invited to remember….

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Posted in Authentic Freedom, Death, grief, Inspiration, Lessons, Spiritual Practices, Surrender

Big Endings Lead to Big Beginnings

 

Every day as part of my morning ritual, I pull one card from my Gnostic Tarot of the Saints deck (Robert M. Place 2001). For the past three mornings, I have pulled the Death card.  While the appearance of this card might strike fear in the hearts of many, I find the Death card to be a huge source of comfort.  Maybe it is due to my gifts as a shadow worker – a master in confronting and dealing with the parts of the human experience from which most would run.  More likely, it is because I understand that death is not death at all…it is simply the boundary between that which has (and likely needs to) come to an end and that which is waiting to be born.  As resurrection after death is the promise of Christian belief, so is it the promise of the tarot – in every death is the promise of new life – we need simply be open to receiving it.  Pulling the death card on three consecutive days suggests that the death one has just faced, or is currently facing is a HUGE one.  It also suggests that the new that is coming into being is equally as huge.

This must certainly be the case for me. As I have mentioned many times over, the past three years have been a DOOZIE!  Letting go.  Releasing.  Surrendering.  Letting go some more.  Complete surrender and supplication.  Many times in the past three years I have uttered the prayer, “WTF????!!!!”  My recent move has invited a HUGE release including many aspects of my work about which I had become comfortable.  Our new place is AMAZING and feels so much more like home and perfectly reflective of my vibe….and yet I find myself in the time between what has ended and what has not yet begun.  It is an insecure and uncertain time.  If the BIG MOVE and the BIG LETTING GO wasn’t enough, I recently went through an experience of something that seemed to be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, only to have it turn to dust in my hands.  This brought forth an ending I had never anticipated along with a grief proportionate to that ending.

With all of this, it is no surprise that the Death card should appear. Again, while the appearance of this card might strike fear in the hearts of many, I am finding profound comfort in the presence of Death.  Death is saying to me, “Lauri, what no longer serves has come to an end.  You have surrendered these unto Me and now you are free of them.  Completely free.  You will no longer be burdened by those things that no longer serve your highest good and which no longer support the mission you are called to fulfill.”  As Death so lovingly stated, I feel completely free of these things and utterly at peace.

This is not all that Death has to say, however. “Lauri, now is the time for rest. As Jesus rested in the tomb for three days and three nights, so too are you invited to rest.  Be with what has been and allow yourself to be healed and transformed from what in the past may have harmed you.  As a caterpillar in the chrysalis, allow yourself to be made new.  As it was true for Christ, as is true for the caterpillar, the new can only be made in the depths of the darkness.  The new is not of your making and requires no effort on your part as like the caterpillar, it is a work that arises out of the depths of your Soul, coming forth from your own Divine blueprint.  In this you need do nothing.  Simply be.  Wait.  Be patient.  Trust.  When it is time to come forth out of your tomb, you will know it and you will come forth into a whole new world, the likes of which you cannot even imagine.”

To this I say, “Thank you Death. I welcome you with open arms and surrender into promise of new life.”

Big endings lead to even bigger beginnings…and to this I say, “Bring it!”

 

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, detachment, grief, Inspiration, Surrender

Saying Goodbye

A week ago Tuesday, I awoke to the voice of (I’m not sure who – Spirit, The Mother, God, My Higher Self) speaking these words to me:

Say Goodbye.

How appropriate these words are as I face the end of an era. The life as I have known it has drawn to a close and all that defined that life has come to an end.  Or rather, the purpose of that era has drawn to a close.  I am tempted to point to church stuff, changing the world, Mary Magdalene, etc. as being the purpose of the past nearly 20 years, but in truth, the deeper purpose seems to have been for one thing and one thing only –

My own healing.

While the externals that gave expression to the past 20 years has been about God, Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Church stuff, wanting to heal and change the world, creating a space in which people can find support in their own spiritual exploration and journey toward self-actualization……at the core of all of it has been my own healing. Every book I have written, every course that I have created came first out of my own personal experience of being open to the Universe giving me what I needed to find healing and in receiving this healing, discovering MYSELF. I then took what I found to be supportive and formed it into a structure that could be shared with others for the sake of their own journey of healing from their past so as to discover themselves. Looking at the lives of those I’ve supported, I have to say I think I’ve done a pretty good job (PS I’m pretty sure this piece is NOT coming to an end).

As this era comes to a close and is ritualized by a literal physical move (from the home we have enjoyed for the past 6 ½ years), I’m letting it all go. I’ve grieved through this transition.  I’ve said goodbye to cherished objects, personal labels, dreams of riches and fame, attachments to outcomes and even the hope of a specific kind of love and the dream of a regular life with a regular job.  I’ve grieved the loss of the home we have loved and in which not only myself, but my children have found healing.  I’ve grieved the loss of a routine that I’ve known.  And most importantly, I’ve grieved the loss of the familiar life in which I’ve lived which has been defined mostly by isolation, illness, depression, poverty and loss (bahbye!).

I do not know what is waiting for me on the other side of this transition, but I am grateful for what has been and open to the opportunities that will present themselves in this letting go. I figure if the Universe is inviting me into this depth of emptying, something ENORMOUS must be coming to fill its place.

To whatever that is I say “Hello.”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in detachment, Surrender

God Doesn’t Care – So Why Do We?

A quick heads up: This blog may trigger you in the area of your attachments.  Please be patient and read through to the end….I promise there’s a happy ending! 

Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing

there is a field…

I’ll meet you there.

– Rumi

Detachment is perhaps one of the greatest skills we can develop in our journey toward wholeness and peace. As Jesus is quoted as saying in Paul Ferrini’s book, I am the Door, “judgment is the original sin.” It is our judgment of things that is the cause of our suffering.  Jesus says the same about judgment in scripture, “Judge not lest ye be judged.”  When we judge experiences, situations, things, ourselves or other people as good or bad, we create separation which then causes suffering.  Instead, we are invited to gaze upon our human experiences from the position of objective observer, trading our judgment for curiosity and wonder, and our tendency to separate for union. When we judge we separate.  When we cease from judging we join.

Jesus taught us that Oneness is our Source and our origin. After coming to understand and then embody this Oneness within himself, Jesus then set out to teach this to others.  Oneness within himself.  Oneness with others.  Oneness with all of creation.  Oneness with that which he called God.  Oneness, as Jesus explained, can only be known when we pierce through the veil of perceived separation – setting down our tendency to judge, setting down our tendency to separate, even setting down our desire to care.

Caring can only arise out of judgment, which then leads us down the path of suffering. Caring arises when we judge something as good or bad (usually bad).  Caring then causes us to take up our sword in response to that which we have decided we have to fix, heal, change, or defend ourselves against.  (I am especially guilty of this in my former attempts to reform or change the Catholic Church or in my many attempts at keeping myself safe from a broken heart).  Profound freedom arises when we are able to cease from caring and simply let things be.

This is what God does. God does not care.  In “His/Her” great love, God gave us the radically liberating gift of free will.  In this, we are free to be and act and think and believe anything we want – and God doesn’t care.  God doesn’t judge our thoughts, our actions, or our beliefs as good or bad.  God simply watches in curious wonder – joining (loving) us through whatever choices we make.  By natural law, we experience the consequences of our choices, but these consequences do not come from God.  Instead, in the mind and heart of God, we are loved without condition.  No matter what we do or how we act, we are loved.  God might find it interesting that we would choose fear over love, judgment over acceptance, suffering over peace, but God doesn’t care.  God does not seek to change or alter who we are or what we choose.  Instead, God allows us the freedom to learn it for ourselves.  The same is true of the actions of our world.  God doesn’t care.  God stands back in curious wonder over the choices human beings make and the consequences we create for ourselves out of these choices.  But still, God doesn’t care.  God does not seek to change or alter our choices; allowing us the radical freedom of learning (or not learning) for ourselves.

Jesus told a story which reveals God’s unconditional love and the powerful gift of free will that arose out of this love. This story has come to be known as the Story of the Prodigal Son. In this story, a father (playing the role of God) has two sons.  The youngest son asks for his share of his inheritance early so that he can leave the perceived safety and security of his father’s home to go out into the world and find his own way.  Loving the son freely and without condition, the father agrees, knowing that the son’s choices may lead him down an uncomfortable path, but allowing him the freedom to risk failure so that he might learn and grow (or not).  The son chooses all sorts of experiences that might be thought of as opposite what his father might wish for him and he suffers the consequences of his choices.  He eventually learns that it is in separating from his father (God) that his choices caused him suffering, so he (humbled and exhausted) chooses to go home, hoping his father might forgive him and allow him back into union with him.  Not only does the father welcome him back, not once does he inflict judgment, reproach, criticism or condemnation on his son.  He accepts him with nothing but love.  When the son asks for forgiveness, it is the son who needs to forgive himself from choosing separation over union.  In the father’s eyes, there is nothing to forgive.  Even if the son had continued to choose separation, it seems the father would still love him, waiting for the day that life would beat him down enough that he might, just might, risk the peace of union over the suffering of separation.

Jesus told this story to explain to his disciples what God is like. God does not care.  If God doesn’t care, than why do we?  (Stay tuned next week for an invitation to caring that is free from judgment, perceived separation and suffering.)