It Just Doesn’t Get Any Easier!

This week’s Agape Meditation Newsletter, in preparation for this Sunday’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church, provides us with THE solution to the struggles of the human condition.  If we want peace, love, joy, and harmony in the human experience, there is only one thing we need to do.  It can’t get any easier than this! To find out what that is, read on….

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service for Sunday, October 26, 2014.

 

Scripture Reading:

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a scholar of the law tested him by asking, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

Mt 22: 34-40

Additional Readings:

Ex 22: 20-26

Ps 18: 2-4, 47, 51

1 Thes 1: 5c-10

 

It Doesn’t Get Any Easier!

If you ever only read one passage from scripture, this is the one to read. It doesn’t get any easier than this. LOVE. Period! Love God. Love your neighbor. Period! This is all we are asked to do. This is all that is expected of us. To love God and to love each other. Everything else in scripture, every other commandment boils down to this. When we successfully accomplish both of these tasks, we will experience – actually create – heaven on earth. What are we waiting for?

How are you giving time to loving God?

How are you being loving toward your neighbor?

How are you NOT being loving toward your neighbor (hint….EVERYONE is your neighbor)?

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Spiritual Practices – Knowing God’s Love

There is a critical key to Jesus’ commandment to love your neighbor. This critical piece is as yourself. In order to love our neighbor, we have to first love ourselves. More specifically, we need to know the love that we already are in our intimate connection with God. The path to knowing this love is FIRST to know the love of God. Cultivating an intimate and personal relationship with God is where it all begins. The rest flows from there. The more we know God, the more we know ourselves and the more we are able to know and love another. This week’s simple spiritual practice will help facilitate knowledge of God’s love:

  • Sit in silence.
  • Bring your attention to your breath. Be conscious of each breath as you draw it in and release it.
  • Recognize that the very breath you are breathing is GOD breathing love into you.
  • Breathe in God’s breath and feel it filling you with love.
  • As you breathe out, imagine the breath taking with it your fears, anxieties, any inner obstacles to knowing and believing in God’s love.
  • Continue to breathe in God’s love and breathe out fears, old wounds, etc.
  • Stay with this breathing practice, feeling it drawing you into a place of peacefulness, recognizing that this peacefulness is also God.
  • When you find your mind wandering, return your attention to your breathing.
  • Continue this practice for 15-30 minutes.

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, Compassion/mercy is the spiritual virtue that is attained when we allow ourselves to remember that God is love and we too are Love in our intimate connection with God. When we know God’s love and realize the love that we are, we have no choice but to be compassionate toward other human beings. When we remember this love, Jesus’ second commandment arises without effort, we are just generous, kind, loving, forgiving, tolerant, understanding and accepting of our neighbor and we soon discover that EVERYONE is our neighbor.

How are you growing in compassion as you grow in your love of God?

 

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My Journey with the Magdalene – Part 2

Originally posted on Lauri Ann Lumby:

I can’t presume to write a novel about the life and love of Mary Magdalene (learn more about the book HERE.)  without first giving credit to the 35 year journey that led me to this place. Here is part 2 of my journey with the Magdalene.  (Read Part 1 HERE.) 

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Fast forward fifteen years, past high school, college, work in the corporate world, and to where I was standing in the choir at the Newman Center at UW Oshkosh. The homily that particular Sunday was about “call.”  I heard the priest say, “If there is something you have always wanted to do, but haven’t done it yet….get off your butt and do it now.”  I will swear to this day that at the utterance of these words, a brick flew through the air and hit be square between the eyes.  I called a meeting with the priest, “I…

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Current World Changes – Preparing for the BIG BANG

Today’s blog arrives with a sense of urgency.  The world is changing….and we are feeling it in every part of our being.  We are being SQUEEZED in preparation for the BIG BANG…..catapulting…..rocketing us into a whole new world….a world that we get to choose – the current world rooted in fear or a more loving world rooted in unity consciousness.  What will you choose!?

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It’s Getting Crowded in Here – the sensation of current world changes

I don’t know about you, but things are feeling tighter and tighter and tighter every day. On one hand are the forces of the outside, 3D world growing in fear, chaos and disorder.  On the other hand are the very real inner 5D forces SQUEEZING, COMPRESSING, PULLING everything we are and everything we have INWARD.  Since we are being invited to detach from the 3D world as it struggles with its death throes (by all means, continue to hold the 3D world in love and prayer), the focus of today’s blog will be on what is going on within us as we transition from the 3D(duality) to 5D (unity consciousness) world.

In short….we are being made ready for the BIG BANG! In a very real physical (as in physics) sense, we are being COMPRESSED.  All of the parts of ourself – our body, our mind, our spirit, are being pulled together, squeezed tight, sucked closer and closer and in this process of compression, much is falling away.  All that has not served us in the world of dualism (deprivation, anxiety, feeling unsupported, unacknowledged, misunderstood, lack, and the resulting compulsions that arise out of fear – gluttony, power and control, wrath, the need for revenge, hatred, envy, greed, sloth and pride) is being sloughed away.  Jobs that have not supported us (or cultural paradigm that haven’t supported our work), relationships that have been unfulfilling, tasks that have been life-sucking….are all being expunged.

Currently, this experience is leaving many of us feeling a little on edge. Really…how many old wounds, past hurts, unhealthy attachments, old scripts, unhealed fears do we have to encounter to finally be free of them?  It feels like they are reappearing and reappearing with a vengeance….ultimately so that we can finally BE DONE with them!  Be gone!  Out damn spot, out I say!  We are being made clean and in the cleansing being compressed…..squeezed inward toward the very center of our being so that only a tiny spark of ourselves and the life we have known remains.  The good news….is that what remains is THE GOOD STUFF – our highest truth….filled with our soul’s purpose and the life we were meant to live.  And in the center of the good stuff is the promise of love, contentment and peace and a life filled with meaning, and fulfilling in its purpose.

As Newtonian physics explains, with every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This compression that we are currently experiencing WILL NOT go on forever.  Eventually, critical mass will be reached and what is being compressed will EXPLODE.  This explosion, however, is not for the purpose of our annihilation, but for the purpose of propelling us……powerfully and quickly into the new world.  We are being compressed so as to fit through the proverbial wormhole that will catapult us into the new world and it is the equal and opposite reaction of this compression that will provide the fuel for the journey.  Quite literally, we will rocket forth from the world of duality into the world of non-duality….or more inclusively, into the world of unity consciousness.

Until critical mass occurs and we are rocketed forth into the new world, the invitation is to SIT TIGHT. Cease from judging what is showing up in your life and in your consciousness.  Allow yourself to simply observe, without judgment, and participate where necessary.  Take responsibility for what is yours and LET GO of the rest.  Cultivate equanimity in the ups and downs of the compression and let yourself get small.  Be ready and willing to LET GO of what is no longer life giving and of what no longer supports your true self.  Release that which is not supportive of your true power and be freed of the old patterns that have not served.  Most importantly, let go of any feelings or false-perceptions based in lack, undeservedness, scarcity or poverty of body, mind or spirit, because in the world of unity consciousness, the fullness of your power will be made known and you will experience freedom beyond measure!  Hang on tight and get ready for a … ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two one……BLAST OFF!

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Virtual Church – Right Relationship with Money

This week’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service is LIVE.  The theme this week is MONEY……while rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, are we remembering to render unto God what is God’s?  This week’s service features a guided meditation to assist us in finding balance in that relationship between our material and spiritual needs.

You can attend this week’s service HERE. 

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My Journey with Mary Magdalene – Part 1 of 4

I can’t presume to write a novel about the life and love of Mary Magdalene without first giving credit to the 35 year journey that led me to this place. (This is Part One of a Four Part Series.  Song of the Beloved – the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene coming SOON!)  This is my journey with the Magdalene!

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I first “met” Mary Magdalene in seventh grade music class when Miss Klosterman played for us the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack.  This was the soundtrack of the original London cast featuring Ian Gillan as Jesus (later played by Ted Neely in the movie version) and Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene.  To say this soundtrack changed my life would be an understatement!  Up to this point, Jesus was sitting up on a pedestal, the “Son of God” who we could pray to and whose grace we sought, but who in truth felt very far away and unapproachable.  Having been raised Catholic and attending Catholic schools, Jesus was presented as the image of perfection.  How could we, lowly humans, even presume to approach him except by gazing up to “heaven” where he sat on a throne, the image of perfection and holding up the standard of perfect human behavior? Well, Jesus Christ Superstar changed all of that.  For the first time in my life, Jesus was HUMAN.  He was vulnerable, afraid, got frustrated and angry, grew impatient and tired – just like the rest of us.  Now this was a Jesus I could relate to!  What I didn’t know at the time is that this Jesus – the human, approachable Jesus was the very Jesus that every Christian mystic had come to know in very personal and intimate ways for upwards of 2000 years.  The awareness of Jesus as a living, breathing, flawed human being opened the door for the development of a deeply personal and intimate relationship with Jesus that continues to this day.

The second thing that Jesus Christ Superstar did for me was to introduce me to an example of female discipleship.  Mary Magdalene stood beside Jesus, equal to, or perhaps even more equal, than his male disciples.  She stood so close to Jesus, in fact, that it was to Mary that he turned when tired and worn out from preaching, healing and ministering to a stiff-necked people.  Mary presented a model of presence, nurturing, support and comfort that seemed to be lacking in the male disciples.  Although Andrew Lloyd Webber didn’t go there, the tenderness and intimacy portrayed in both the theatrical and movie versions of this “rock opera” seemed to hint at the possibility that Jesus and Mary had more going on than just being teacher and student.  Again, while neither the play nor the movie portrayed it, whispering under the dialog, the interactions, the tenderness and tension, one had to wonder if there was in fact a romantic love between Mary and Jesus.  This question remained in my consciousness as a very real possibility in spite of the Catholic insistence that Jesus was single and chaste, like the priestly celibacy they were trying to uphold.

Jesus Christ Superstar continued as the model of a Jesus I wanted to know and the female disciple that stood at least equal if not more intimate than his male disciples. I turned to the soundtrack over and over and over again in search of the connection with Jesus that Mary seemed to enjoy and to come to know Mary Magdalene more fully. To this day, I can sing the entire soundtrack from beginning to end without pause….”What’s the buzz, tell me what’s a happenin….what’s the buzz….tell me what’s happenin….tell me what’s happenin…” 

Stay tuned for parts 2-4! 

Song of the Beloved – the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene, the novel, is coming soon!  Watch this blog, or subscribe to my email newsletter HERE for updates!

 

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The Power of Resistance

Superhero Academy: We are here to heal and change the world!

In this week’s Superhero Academy gatherings, the topic was RESISTANCE – all the inner forces that work toward keeping us from knowing and living our most authentic truth, from identifying and harnessing our Superpowers and from experiencing the life of meaning and purpose that was intended. Superman had kryptonite, we have resistance.

RESISTANCE

Resistance is a powerful force which comes up more and more strongly the closer we get to our life’s purpose. In recent weeks, the Superheroes accomplished a great deal of work around the quest for their Superpowers and the uniquely creative way in which they are gifted to find meaning and purpose in their lives and to contribute to the betterment of the world.  Not surprisingly, moving closer to the awareness and harnessing of these gifts has unleashed the (not so) ugly face of RESISTANCE.

Coyote Trickster

Coyote Trickster

Recognizing Resistance

As we discovered in this week’s Superhero Academy gatherings, resistance can be both direct and subtle in nature. An easy and direct one – you are printing off a story that has to go out in today’s mail for a writing contest and your printer runs out of ink.  RESISTANCE.  A subtle one- you do a meditation to access awareness of a dream you are being invited to pursue.  An image shows up and you push it away as “it can’t be that.”  RESISTANCE!  Or you are attempting to access guidance for your life and you hear the word beloved and you take it to mean God instead of the flesh and blood love that is trying to come into your life.  RESISTANCE!

Defining Resistance

Ultimately, resistance is anything that makes us question, doubt, deny, avoid, ignore, suppress, repress, our gifts and our call. Resistance is the ego/false-self trying to keep us from the path of freedom, expansiveness, joy, fulfillment, meaning, love, that we were meant to enjoy.  Inwardly, resistance shows up in anxiety, confusion, despair, depression, fear, worry, THE NEED TO KNOW.  Outwardly, it shows up in procrastination, avoidance, denial, bargaining (I will get to my gift AFTER I clean the house, pay the bills, feed the family, finish school, rake the yard, make enough money for retirement, feel safe and secure, retire from my paying job, qualify for social security, etc. etc. etc..)  Outwardly, resistance also shows up in external situations that really do block our path – equipment going down, running out of ink, losing our journal, a computer virus, etc. etc. etc.  All of these are subconscious ways in which we resist our gifts and our path.

Support during Resistance

This week the Superheroes focused on identifying resistance. Next week we will work on specific strategies for moving through resistance.  In the meantime, it is important to know that RESISTANCE IS NORMAL…..in fact, it is a GOOD thing because it means we are getting closer to the life of our dreams!  When resistance shows up, we have the opportunity to say:

“Hello resistance, the fact that you are here means

that something MAGNIFICENT is about to happen!”

 

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Right Relationship with Money

In this week’s Agape’ Newsletter – supplement for the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service for Sunday, October 19, 2014 – we are invited to examine our relationship with money.  Are we rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and still making room for God?  Find out more below: 

Scripture Reading:

The Pharisees went off and plotted how they might entrap Jesus in speech. They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” They replied, “Caesar’s.” At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”

Mt 22: 15-21

Additional Readings:

 Is 45: 1, 4-6

Ps 96: 1, 3, 4-5, 7 -10

1 Thes 1: 1-5b

 

Paying Unto Caesar

This week’s gospel provides an important message for the modern world – the importance of having a “right relationship” with money. As was the case in Jesus’ time, we are human beings living in a material world. As such, it is important to tend to our material needs. In this gospel specifically, the material need being addressed is that of societal support which is provided for through taxation. Such is the case in our culture as well. We have a government structure whose job is to provide for our wellbeing as laid out in the Constitution. In exchange for this support, we pay taxes. As such, whenever we pay taxes, we are “rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” and this is our responsibility as a US Citizen in exchange for the measures provided for by our government.

What this gospel also reminds us is that we are more than just material beings. As such, our sole focus cannot be on the material. Instead, we are invited to give equal weight to the spiritual support that we need as well. Spiritual support is always provided for us, whether we are paying attention to it or not, but we actually FEEL that support when we “render undo God what is God’s.” In other words, when we set time aside to be PRESENT to our Divine Source of loving support and we do this through our spiritual practice. Prayer, meditation, creative activities, being in nature, etc. are all ways in which we “render unto God what is God’s.”

What proportion of your time are you giving to your material concerns?

What proportion of your time are you giving to your spiritual needs?

How might you bring these into a more equal relationship?

 

Spiritual Practices – Taking Inventory

This week’s spiritual practice will be very practical.   Please attend this week’s virtual church service for a more prayerful practice.

  1. Make a list of all the things you do in the day that are targeted toward meeting your material needs and how much time is dedicated to each of these things.
  2. Make another list of all the things you do in the day that are targeted toward your spiritual needs and how much time is dedicated to these activities.
  3. Compare the two. Where is there balance? Where is there a lack of balance?
  4. Write your thoughts and reflections on this.

 

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, Temperance is the spiritual virtue that is attained when we find a way to balance our spiritual with our material needs. When we are firmly rooted in our spiritual nature, we are able to give to our spiritual needs and are able to do so without entering into a state of imbalance. We are able to enjoy the fruits of our labors while not distracted by temptations to waste or hoard while being able to share from our excess. Regarding “Caesar,” we feel no resentment about contributing financially to the programs that are there to support the common good.

 

How are you finding peace in a state of temperance – maintaining a balance between tending to your material as well as your spiritual needs and finding contentment in that?

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