Superheroes and our Relationship with Mood-Altering Substances

Superhero Report – July 28, 2014

Our Relationship with Mood-Altering Substances

DSCF3163

 

It is not something we like to admit, but the New Superheroes have often had trouble with mood-altering substances.  Whether it is caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, a whole host of illegal substances or ones that have been prescribed by our doctors for ADD, anxiety, stress, depression, or panic attack, certain ascetic meditation practices, television, video games, the internet – the New Superheroes are likely to have (or had) some sort of habitual relationship with one or several of the above.  There is a sound explanation for the attractiveness of these substances and to the way in which we are almost irresistibly drawn toward them and why they can so easily become addictive.  There are also some simple practices we can engage in which can render these substances unnecessary.  (Note: if you have an addiction, please seek out the support of your local 12-Step recovery program.)

 

The question of why we are drawn to mood-altering substances has a many-layered response:

 

1) We remember our true nature and our original home and we want to go home!

On an unconscious and often conscious level, Superheroes remember what “heaven” feels like. We also know our “true self” is not of this earth, but that we are pure, spiritual beings. Mood-altering substances stimulate the brow and crown chakras and give us an experience of being “home.”

2) We were given a vision of what the earth is supposed to be like, and this is not it.

Until we know how, we often resist this human form and are looking for ways to ESCAPE. The earth we are currently residing in is the not the vision of earth that was planted into our hearts and that we are here to make real. Again, mood-altering substances give us an experience similar to being home, thereby allowing us, at least temporarily, to escape the painful human condition.

3) The false belief that spiritual is better than human.

This is a biggie – especially among certain members of the New Age, Ascension, and Lightworker communities. We are NOT here to be spiritual, we are not here to ascend the limitations of our humanness, we are not here to sprinkle fairies and stardust upon the world singing songs of light and love and perfection, believing that if we think good thoughts all will be well and we will have everything we want. No, we are not here to do these things – not at the expense of being HUMAN anyway. WE ARE HERE TO BE HUMAN. PERIOD. We are ALREADY fully Divine. We came here to experience being human AND to bring our already perfect Divine nature fully into this experience. Rather than Ascension, the journey of the New Superhero (and the rest of the world with us), is actually INCARNATION – transcending the illusions of duality and becoming BOTH fully Divine AND fully Human. We already know the Divine part….let’s figure out how to be human! (ahem….I know a pretty cool dude who lived about 2000 years ago in and around Palestine/Israel who came here to do the same.)

4) Shame

As strangers in a strange land, we often have the experience of not fitting in, of being judged for being weird or strange. People don’t understand us, or the vision we carry in our hearts and the drive to make it real. When we feel rejected by those around us, and sometimes even by those we love, we take it personally. This rejection becomes internalized as shame. Mood-altering substances are a great way to numb the pain of this shame.

5) Loneliness

Just ask Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, being a Superhero is lonely business. Until they discovered each other and formed the Justice League, these Superheroes were out there on their own trying to make the world a better place and feeling very alone. The same is true of us. We often feel alone in the world with few who understand our unique temperaments, gifts and call. Mood altering substances help us to numb the pain of feeling alone and misunderstood.

Again, if our relationship with mood-altering substances has reached the level of addiction, then it is time to seek help.  12-Step recovery programs are a great way to get support in stopping the use of the substance and Authentic Freedom helps to identify and heal the inner fears/wounds which led us to the compulsive behavior in the first place.  If our relationship to mood-altering substances is less problematic but we still find ourselves drawn to them, the following practices may prove helpful.

 

1)Tonglen 

Tonglen is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice which incorporates visualization and breathwork for the intention of transforming painful emotions. For the Superheroes, applying Tonglen to feelings of loneliness and shame can prove effective. Here is the practice in short:

  • Identify the feeling you want to work with (shame, loneliness)
  • Call that feeling up in your body.
  • Identify where in your body you feel it.
  • Breathe INTO that place in your body, while feeling the emotion (shame, loneliness).
  • While breathing into that place, follow your breath with your mind.
  • Now breathe out love, following the love with your breath as you imagine it flowing out of you from the place of the painful emotion.
  • Continue with this practice until you feel something change – perhaps the emotion shifts to something else, maybe you begin to weep.

2) Embodiment

Embodiment is a practice that I discovered while struggling with an overactive and fretful mind.  The intention of this practice is to REMEMBER that we are here to have a HUMAN experience – no matter what we remember about our “heaven home” or our true nature as spiritual beings.  Embodiment allows us to set aside the false belief that spiritual is better than human and gives us the tools for bringing our, already perfect, Divine selves FULLY into the human experience.  When our spirit is fully incarnate in our bodies, we feel safe and secure and are less likely to be tempted to FLEE.  It is not, however, until we INCARNATE that we feel safe in our human selves, so let’s get to incarnating, shall we???

 

  • Close your eyes and draw your awareness deep into your body.
  • See if you can identify the distinction between your spiritual and human self. (Note, the spiritual self, until we are incarnate, tends to hang out in the upper chakras, especially our head, or even somewhere outside and above us.)
  • Conscious of the distinction between your spiritual and human self, bring your consciousness deep into your body.
  • Imagine the Earth beneath you as hands reaching up to hold, support, protect, and nourish you.
  • Feel the sense of safety in resting in this supportive space.
  • Imagine your HUMAN self as supported by the Earth and receiving its nourishment from the Earth.
  • As you begin to feel the safety of humanness, imagine that your human self is like a chalice – an empty vessel waiting for your Spirit to be poured into it.
  • From this place of security, observe as your Spirit willingly pours itself into the safe home of your human chalice. You are not pushing, forcing or pulling it in, it willingly enters in the knowledge that the Human form is safe.
  • Returning to the awareness of your human form, FEEL the sensation of being fully human and safe in this experience, while completely filled by your Divine Spiritual nature. Feel the wholeness and completeness of this experience. As you sit in this feeling of safety, you become aware of all illusions of separation melting away. Your Spirit and your Human natures are now one – no longer separate or distinct from each other, but ONE.

 

Embodiment eliminates the temptation to FLEE because when we INCARNATE, we find that WE ARE HOME and that there is a home for us in the human condition and that with our embodiment, it looks a whole lot like the heaven we remember and the heaven we were sent to make real upon this earth. :)  In this experience, we know that HEAVEN IS REAL and it is right here, within and among us.

 

Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come,

Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed,

And no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘ look, there it is.’

For behold, the kingdom of God is within (and among) you.”

 

Luke 17: 20-21

 

Is Comic-Con the New Jerusalem?

Please NOTE: The following is in no way meant to be disrespectful of those who consider Jerusalem to be a holy and sacred city worthy of honor and respect. Neither It is meant to be disrespectful toward Jews, Muslims or Christians!

While Israel and Palestine are busy warring over the Gaza Strip, and Christians join the battle (do not fool yourself into believing our so-called Christian nation does not have a vested interest in this war – if not the government itself, then certainly the corporate lobbyists who control our government), in deciding who ultimately gets the land and the oil, along with the right to call Jerusalem home, there is a new Jerusalem being born right underneath our noses. And that Jerusalem is happening as we speak in San Diego, California at the annual Comic-Con, International.  

Neji, by Heather Addis

Neji, by Chloe Hirshberg

 

This past weekend, 130,000 + men, women and children made their annual pilgrimage to the sacred temple of all comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, technology aficionados (aka geeks and nerds).  Comic-Con is an opportunity to gather in community in celebration of what gives life meaning, and for many, what gives life purpose.  Through Comic-Con, fans have an opportunity to meet and spend time with those who inspire them and to share their passion for the stories that reflect the universal human story of good vs. evil, most of which ultimately end in some sort of redemption (unless, your favorite stories are in the genre of dystopia, then like Shakespeare, we understand the value of a good old-fashioned tragedy).  If the experience one enjoys at Comic-Con is not religious, I don’t know what is.  Comic-Con, just might be the New Jerusalem for a post-modern generation.

One of the characteristics of the post-modern generation (Gen X, Gen Y and Millenials), is an ambivalence toward traditional religious structures.  Their rational minds cannot make sense of institutions that say, “do what I say but not as I do,” and these are the last folks to do what they are told, simply because they are told.  Post-moderns need their faith to be grounded in reason.  Additionally, post-moderns (esp. X’s, Y’s and Millenials) crave a “religion” that is universal – one that is not caught up in the trappings of us vs. them or truth that is the sole possession of one system of beliefs.  Instead, these folks are looking for an experience without borders, pluralistic in nature and one that brings people together instead of forcing them apart.  As such, most do not go to church, and if they do, they are “cafeteria” attendees – picking and choosing what works for them while disregarding the rest.

This is not to say, however, that the post-moderns are not driven by the same search for meaning and purpose, along with the desire for the inspiring story of salvation commonly found in most religious traditions.  Enter Comic-Con.  Comic-Con is the gathering place of all the sacred stories that have been created since the publication of the first comic book in 1933.  And Comic-Con does not limit itself to comic books, but includes all sci-fi, fantasy, horror (and then some) that has inspired the Western (and Eastern) audience.  Comic-Con provides a place for people to gather, to commune, to learn and to grow in their continual search for meaning and purpose in a way that is pluralistic  – bringing people together instead of forcing them apart.

Whether you are a Game of Thrones fan, if True Blood trips your trigger, or if you are married to DC or Marvel, it doesn’t matter, all are honored as sacred at Comic-Con.  Naruto, Sailor Moon, Cardcaptors, Kim Possible, Death Note, Black Butler, No. 6, The Walking Dead, Teen Wolf, are all represented.  Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Flash, X-Men, Agents of Shield – Comic-Con is big enough for it all.  Sure, there is an occasional argument over whether Star Wars or Star Trek is better, or whether The Hobbit can hold a candle to LOTR, all is argued in the spirit of playfulness and respect.  Whereas some might accuse Comic-Con and all it represents of simply providing a means of escape (who wouldn’t want to escape the current world we live in?????), I contend that instead, it satisfies the spiritual and religious needs of a population whose needs are not, and will never, be met by traditional religion. Again, Comic-Con just might be the New Jerusalem for a post-modern generation, and I for one, am glad for it!

If you live in the Oshkosh area, please join us for our weekly Superhero Gatherings – a place where the REAL Superheroes meet!

To learn more go HERE. 

 

 

Virtual Church Service – July 27, 2014

The Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service for Sunday, July 27, 2014 is LIVE. 

The theme this week is discernment, and learning to ask God for what we need instead of what we think we want. View this week’s service HERE. 

Requesting Your Prayers of Support

 

Dear Readers,

As I continue to surrender myself in service to God in fulfilling my call to be of service to the betterment of our world through programs and services that support the human journey toward self-actualization, including taking on the roles of counselor, healer, teacher, priest, companion and coach (not to mention mother and student!), I ask for your prayers of support.

Please pray that I may have:

HUMILITY to surrender my will to God’s.

EYES to see in the way that God sees, and clarity in knowing and believing God’s vision and direction for my life.

FREEDOM to know and to speak God’s truth.

A HEART open to God’s love and the ability to love as God loves.

COURAGE to move through my fears.

FORTITUDE to be a willing co-creator with God in bringing forth God’s vision of love for the world.

FAITH and TRUST in Divine providence, knowing that all my needs are being met as I surrender my life to God.

I thank you in advance for these prayers and as you offer these prayers for me that I may serve the mission of Authentic Freedom with integrity and humility, so too do I offer these prayers for you!

 

In gratitude and love,

Lauri A. Lumby

 

Yin/Yang, by Lauri Ann Lumby

Yin/Yang, by Lauri Ann Lumby

 

Discernment – Virtual Church Meditation Supplement

Agape Meditation Newsletter – Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church for Sunday, July 27, 2014

Seventeenth Sunday Ordinary Time

 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service

 

Scripture Reading:

The LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night. God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon answered: “O LORD, my God, you have made me, your servant, king to succeed my father David; but I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act. I serve you in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a people so vast that it cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?” The LORD was pleased that Solomon made this request. So God said to him: “Because you have asked for this— not for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies, but for understanding so that you may know what is right— I do as you requested. I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.”Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying:

1 Kings 3: 5, 7-12

 

Additional Readings:

 

Ps 119: 57, 72, 76-77, 127-128, 129-130

Rom 8: 28-30

Mt 13: 44-52

 

 

Discernment

Discernment is the process through which we distinguish the voice of God from the voice of our false self/ego. In order to enter into discernment, however, like Solomon, we have to acknowledge our humanness and the limitations we have in knowing the path of our highest good. Embracing the position of humility, we acknowledge that we cannot know what is best for ourselves, or in Solomon’s case, what is best for others. When we set aside our own ego, God can step in to guide us. Our job then is to listen, believe and then act. When we act according to Divine guidance, our path unfolds towards our highest good and does so effortlessly. Everything that we need falls into our laps and when it is time to act, we know this beyond the shadow of a doubt. Careful discernment gives us clarity and always leads us along the path of love.

How are you invited to recognize the limitations of your own decision-making and turn instead toward God in discernment?

 

Spiritual Practices – Discernment of Spirits

St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote exhaustively on the topic of discernment. He spoke of discernment as distinguishing good spirits from evil spirits, and described the difference in very physical terms. Ignatius observed a physical and emotional movement or feeling that arose in connection with these spirits. He also used the terms desolation and consolation as the accompanying experience in the face of these contrasting spirits – desolation accompanying evil spirits and consolation accompanying good spirits. The path of our highest good, the path ordained by God provides us with consolation. The path of the ego/false self leaves us in desolation.

This week’s spiritual practice will be an exercise in active contemplation. Throughout the coming week, pay attention to your experiences. As you are moving through your day and making decisions about what to do and where to go, pay attention to your feelings. Also look back on the experiences of the week and observe what you are feeling. Are there situations which leave you with a feeling of desolation – as if you are drained, lifeless, depressed, anxious, feeling constricted or limited? What experiences in contrast leave you feeling fulfilled, energized, peaceful, serene, joyful? Simply pay attention and at the end of the week, make an inventory. What felt life-giving, what felt life-sucking? Simply by paying attention, you have begun the process of discernment.

 

Authentic Freedom

Authentic Freedom is defined as an inner experience of expansiveness, peacefulness, joy, contentment, which leads you toward fulfillment and love. Authentic Freedom is God’s desire for us and the exact life situation which will leave us with this experience is unique to each and every one of us. While there is no pre-destination, God does know the path that is in our highest good and wants to help lead us there. It is through the process of discernment that we come to know what the path is that God knows is in our highest good and which will lead us toward Authentic Freedom. And even when the human experience steps in and interrupts our path, God works it for the good and helps us to find healing and comfort, and when we ask, sets us back on the path.

Where are you experiencing Authentic Freedom in your life? If you are not, how can you begin that process?

 

Superheroes and Our Relationship with Authority – July 21, 2014 Report

Superheroes and Our Relationship with Authority

Superheroes Report:  Monday, July 21, 2014

Kim-Possible-Episode-84--Chasing-Rufus

 

Those who possess the Superhero call (for more on the Superhero call, click HERE) are often accused of having trouble with authority.  I have found that this could not be farther from the truth. In our gathering of Superheroes this week, we discovered that Superheroes have no problem with people who are in positions of authority and that Superheroes will treat those in positions of authority with tremendous honor and respect and will even look to them for guidance and support and as an example of how one might want to live one’s life.  That is only true, however, under one very important condition – when the Superhero has identified the person in authority as one of honesty and integrity.

 

The reason that Superheroes are accused of having trouble with authority is that sadly, many in positions of authority do not meet these critical criteria and believe that honor and respect is due them simply by nature of their position. Unfortunately for those in positions of authority – if they are NOT a person of honesty and integrity, a Superhero will intuitively and immediately know this to be the case. One of the roles of a Superhero is to reveal and work for truth. The person in authority will know (mostly unconsciously) that they have been seen for who they really are. This triggers a series of reactions that usually lead to conflict (which I will speak about later in this post).

 

The Superhero’s “problem with authority,” ultimately points to one of their Superpowers, specifically, the ability to hear the truth beyond the words and see the truth beyond the illusion. As mentioned above, one of the critical tasks of today’s Superheroes is to reveal and work for truth.  In support of this task, Superheroes have been given the gift of an extremely powerful, TRUTH BAROMETER.  It is this truth barometer that allows them to detect the honesty and integrity of another or the lack thereof.  Once this barometer is read, the Superhero knows how to proceed…if, that is, they believe their truth barometer.  One of the primary learning tasks for a Superhero is to learn how to read their truth barometer (which requires discernment) and then, to BELIEVE IT!

 

Once the truth barometer is read and then believed, how is the Superhero to proceed?  Well, that depends on the situation.  If the person in authority is learned to be of integrity, obviously the Superhero can confidently enter into a harmonious working relationship with that person.  If the person in authority is not of integrity, then the Superhero has a decision to make.  One obvious decision is to rebel – but that never goes well (ask any Superhero how that has worked for them).  Another decision is to stay in the relationship – and that is a decision that will require a lot of work.  This is where discernment (distinguishing the voice of our inner truth vs. the voice of our ego) is critical.  So too is the awareness that as a Superhero, all we are, is a mirror.  As we stand in awareness of truth, the person who is not of truth standing before us feels their truth (rather, lack thereof) being reflected back to them along with the unconscious shame they carry for not being a person of truth.  Typically, their unconscious response is to project this shame and untruth back on us, thereby making us the enemy.  If we are not clear in our truth, our own unhealed fears will be triggered which typically results in an avalanche of conflict.  The remedy to this (if we decide to stay in the relationship – or if we have not choice in the matter), is instead of reacting in fear, to surround the other in LOVE.  As we hold the other person in love, they can’t help but be healed of the inner fears that cause them to be one lacking in integrity and we, along with them, are healed of our woundedness.  Of course, holding them in love might in turn piss them off….but it is ultimately for the purpose of LOVE that Superheroes are here in the first place.  So when all else fails…..SEND LOVE.

 

 

If you are in the Oshkosh area, please join us for our weekly Superhero gathering

 

Mondays 4:30 – 6:00 pm

(please note: starting August 11th, Superhero time will be moved to 6:30 – 8:30pm!)

To learn more, go HERE. 

 

 

 

 

Marriage of the Magdalene

Today, in honor of the Feast of Mary Magdalene, I am sharing with you an excerpt from my upcoming novel, Song of the Beloved – a Memoir of Mary Magdalene.  While the role of Mary Magdalene has been critically redacted in canonical scripture, non-canonical texts point toward a more prominent role of Mary, the Magdalene, in Jesus’ ministry. Many even suggest a more intimate relationship,something akin to marriage.  After vigorous studies of the ancient texts, Jean Yves LeLoup, Tau Malachi and Cynthia Bourgeault concur on this point supporting their thesis by quoting the early church fathers, “that which is not lived, is not redeemed.”  If Jesus came to redeem the whole human experience, then is it too much to believe that this may have included human sexuality and intimate human relationship and that in order to do so, he had to have lived these experiences?  For some, it will be too much to hear of a Jesus who differs from the celibate, single male that has been presented to us by the Church, others will breathe a sigh of relief to hear of a Jesus who may have been married and who may have enjoyed sexual intimacy with his wife. Since none of the texts are completely clear on the subject (and why would they be on a topic of such intimacy, or one so culturally obvious?), this is ultimately something we must decide for ourselves.  Without further ado…..the Marriage of the Magdalene:

Maryanointsjesus

Upon Martha’s insistence, I remained in my room so that I could prepare my heart and mind for what lay ahead.  Around three in the afternoon, I heard a gentle knock on my door.  Salome peeked her head in, “The Galilean brothers are soon to arrive.  May I help you dress?”  She gave me a quick and knowing smile which I returned with gratitude.  Salome entered and proceeded to dress me in my bridal attire. From deep within her own robes she pulled out a carefully wrapped package.  She offered me the package and invited me to open it.  Within were a pair of golden earrings, jeweled hair wraps and ribbons; golden bangles and an ankle bracelet.  “I want you to have these,” she looked at me lovingly.  “Lady Chuza presented these to me as a gift at the awakening of my womanhood.  I now know I shall never again need these adornments and I’d love for you to wear them on your sacred day.”  Speechless, I gratefully accepted her gifts.  After she wove the ribbons and hair wraps into my hair and attached the veil upon my head, I was ready.

 

Just as we were finishing, I heard the clamor of arriving guests.  Salome gestured for me to wait here while she went to greet them.  I turned my ears to listen to the voices and conversations in the other room.  I heard Lazarus greeting our guests and introductions being made.  I heard the group settling at table to await the ceremonial washing.  I dared to peek out the door and could glimpse Lazarus preparing to wash our visitors’ feet.  Just as he was about to proceed, Jesus approached him, took the basin and towel and moved toward the tables.  They were now outside my line of vision, but I could hear the stunned silence as Jesus approached to offer the ceremonial washing.  A few moments passed while Jesus moved around the table.  Interrupting this solemn ritual Simon’s gruff voice burst forth, “You shall not wash my feet Lord, it is I who should wash your feet!”

 

“Simon, I will say it again, if you are unable to allow me to wash your feet, you have not yet been purified of your false self and will receive no inheritance through me.”

 

“Then Lord, wash my hands and head as well,” was Simon’s reply.

 

“Simon, you ask me to provide the ritual washing of one fully purged of the illusion of separation.  By your request, yet again you have shown me that you remain in the world of illusion and imprisoned by your pride.  Your feet alone shall I wash.”

 

“As you wish it Lord,” Simon replied in humbled tones.

 

After washing Simon’s feet, Jesus continued with the other guests.  Just as I heard the sound of Jesus reclining at table, Martha gently knocked and peeked in at me. “Mary, it is time.”  Martha opened the door and along with Salome and Jesus’ mother, Mary, began to sing the bridal hymn.  I felt strangely self-conscious – all this ceremony for a “marriage” that I knew would most likely never truly come to pass.  I entered the center room as the women – the others now joining in, offered the hymn.  With the veil covering my face, I looked around at our guests and saw a mixture of surprise, disgust and enthusiastic welcome.  I was tempted to give into my own fears of unworthiness and sinfulness, but heard Jesus’ voice in my mind, “Mary look not to those who would judge.  Look to me, who loves you beyond all measure.”  I lifted my eyes to meet Jesus’ gaze and was comforted by his passionate smile and the twinkle of joyful regard in his eyes.  I approached my beloved, now seated at table, bowed to him, and kneeling before him, removed the lid from the jar of blessed nard, poured a generous amount into my hands and anointed his head, his face, his hands and his feet.  I gently kissed the feet of my beloved.  I rose my head to face him and just as he was about to raise my veil to offer the marriage kiss, there was a pounding on the table.  Jesus and I looked up, startled, toward the explosion and beheld Simon, red-faced and standing.  “What is the meaning of this!?” he shouted.  “Why has there been this waste of expensive oil.  It could have sold for more than a hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.”

 

Jesus responded, “Simon.  Leave her alone.  Why do you feel compelled to constantly make trouble with Mary?  She has done a good thing for me.  First she has become my wife, now she has anointed my body for burial.  Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”  Jesus gently lifted my veil and kissed me on the mouth.  With the exception of Simon, who sulked in the corner, all offered the marriage blessing.