Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words by Brian D. McLaren (Author) [updated Oct 17, 2017]

Christianity is in crisis. Many sincere Christians feel their traditional Christian practices are in danger of becoming irrelevant, empty rituals. In his previous book A New Kind of Christianity, Brian D. McLaren offered new biblical models for how we understand the central ideas of a faith that provides hope for restoring and reinvigorating the power of the gospels to transform us and our communities.

In Naked Spirituality, McLaren takes his prophetic work a step further by confronting how the lack of a simple, doable, durable spirituality undermines the very transformation God is calling us to undergo. As a result, our religious structures become tools to maintain the status quo and not catalysts for personal and social change. McLaren presents a four-stage framework for understanding the spiritual life, and he unfolds spiritual practices appropriate to each stage. Each practice is rooted in a simple word: here, thanks, O, sorry, help, please, when, no, why, behold, yes, and silence.

 Naked Spirituality offers accessible, practical wisdom for living a truly spiritual life. Staying true to Jesus’s core message while engaging faithfully with our postmodern world, McLaren presents a proven spiritual program for engaging in and sustaining a meaningful relationship with God.


Brian D. McLaren, hailed as one of America’s 25 most influential evangelicals by Time magazine, is a speaker, social justice activist, pastor, and the author of A John Lockley is a traditionally trained African Shaman known as a Sangoma from Nelson Mandela’s tribe, the Xhosa nation. He also has a background in Zen Buddhism and was a student of the late Zen Master Su Bong from South Korea. He holds an honors degree in Clinical Psychology and specialised in health psychology with an interest in trauma and how people recover from life threatening illnesses like cancer. For the last 10 years, he has been running ‘Ubuntu’ (humanity) retreats worldwide helping people to reconnect to their essential humanity; their bones (ancestors), dreams, and ultimately, life purpose. His mission in the Western world could be summed up in the Xhosa word ‘Masiyembo’ – involving a profound remembering of the human spirit. As John says, “when people can remember their dreams and connect to their life purpose, then their true vocation surfaces; namely being in service and acting as guardians to our planet”. Book: Leopard Warrior – A Journey into the African Teachings of Ancestry, Instinct, and Dreams Audio: The Way of the Leopard – Meditations and Shamanic Practices from the Heart of Africa New Kind of Christianity, A Generous Orthodoxy, A New Kind of Christian, and The Secret Message of Jesus. McLaren has appeared on Nightline and Larry King Live, and his work has been covered in The Washington Post, the New York Times, Christianity Today, and many other publications. McLaren and his wife, Grace, live in Florida and have four adult children.

Are You Ready to be Spiritually Naked? Naked Spirituality by Brian McLaren

Church leader Brian McLaren reinvigorates our approach to spiritual fulfillment in Naked Spirituality—by tearing down the old dogmatic practices that hamper our spiritual sensitivity, and leading us toward the meaningful spiritual practices that can help transform our lives.

Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words
http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Na…
By Brian D. McLaren

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Global Oneness Day Preview with Barbara Marx Hubbard & Duane Elgin


Barbara Marx Hubbard & Duane Elgin will both be speakers on Global Oneness Day 2017: Oneness – Living into the Unity of all Life. The Oneness Movement is growing; more and more people are waking up to the Ultimate Reality of the Oneness of all Life. It takes more however than waking up to bring an end to all the devastation that we are witnessing in the world around us. Life revolves around a continuing process of opening up, cleaning up, growing up and showing up. All of this governed by the eternal universal principles of functionality, adaptability and sustainability of life; of living into the Unity of all Life, that are hidden by our mental constructions that are expressed through our social conventions, customs and practices as they are created through our views around morality, justice, and ownership.

Go to https://globalonenesssummit.org for more information.

John Lockley – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

John Lockley is a traditionally trained African Shaman known as a Sangoma from Nelson Mandela’s tribe, the Xhosa nation. He also has a background in Zen Buddhism and was a student of the late Zen Master Su Bong from South Korea. 

He holds an honors degree in Clinical Psychology and specialised in health psychology with an interest in trauma and how people recover from life threatening illnesses like cancer. For the last 10 years, he has been running ‘Ubuntu’ (humanity) retreats worldwide helping people to reconnect to their essential humanity; their bones (ancestors), dreams, and ultimately, life purpose.

 His mission in the Western world could be summed up in the Xhosa word ‘Masiyembo’ – involving a profound remembering of the human spirit. As John says, “when people can remember their dreams and connect to their life purpose, then their true vocation surfaces; namely being in service and acting as guardians to our planet”. 

Book: Leopard Warrior – A Journey into the African Teachings of Ancestry, Instinct, and Dreams 

Audio: The Way of the Leopard – Meditations and Shamanic Practices from the Heart of Africa

Awaken Interviews Leonard Jacobson Part II – Opening Into God Consciousness


Donna Quesada:
Leonard, is it necessary to have a spiritual teacher?

Some people are naturally like that, but what about those who want to wake up? Is it possible to self direct?

Leonard Jacobson: Well, I had my first awakening without any spiritual teacher. Of course, without any preparation for what happened to me. And what was interesting for me was, after I had this very powerful awakening that lasted for weeks in a completely altered state…I wasn’t prepared for it and I didn’t know what it really was, so in a way, my journey began after my first awakening.

DONNA: Could you share something of your journey with us? Would you be willing to?

LEONARD: I will briefly, but I just want to complete what I’m saying right now, which is in a way…I wanted to know what happened to me because it was so amazing. It was so wonderful. But I didn’t know what it was. So, then I began reading books by spiritual teachers. I visited a few different teachers…a few different masters to try and discover what had happened. And slowly, slowly it became clear. I was able to open up to that level again in a more gentle way. If you want to know about my first awakening…just very,very briefly…it’s just my story. It’s just another story. But back in 1989, I was attending a retreat. I didn’t know the teacher. I didn’t know any one there. I thought I’d just have a nice vacation. Something to do. And during this experience, I went through some very powerful emotional healings and I noticed I was becoming more and more present throughout these seven days of the retreat. But I didn’t know what it was. But I could see auras around trees, I could see auras around people. There were all sorts of mysterious things that happened. And then at the end of this retreat I had a significant opening which I won’t go into details about. But I was completely and utterly intoxicated with love. Very much like I imagine Francis of Asissi must have been. I was in the company of saints and saviors. I was being taken through a healing of my own childhood, my own past. All sorts of revelations were coming through about what had happened to me and how I’d gone astray. And then, it sort of generalized into what has happened to all of us. How the world had gone astray. And then all of a sudden the whole thing morphed and changed into…suddenly, I was in the presence of God. Don’t ask me how I knew that. But before this moment I was somewhere between atheist and agnostic. And then suddenly, in an instant, I was in the presence of God and all sorts of amazing things happened.

And that awakening lasted for maybe three or four weeks. I couldn’t function normally and had to be taken care of. I was in this completely altered state. And then it slowly settled down and I actually began teaching at that point and sharing what had happened with me. Three years later, I had a second awakening. More powerful than the first and then three years after that I had another awakening, more powerful than the first three. The first two…if I was to describe them…upon reflection because I didn’t know what they were at the time…I would say the first one was a massive opening into enlightenment…an opening of the heart. Because it was so characterized by intense, overwhelming love and oneness and God.

The second was an opening into Christ consciousness…because I experienced all these revelations about Christ and Christ on the cross and what really happened on the cross. And the third awakening, again, was totally over the top. I didn’t invite them. I didn’t want them. And I didn’t hold on to them. But they did last quite a while.

The third one was an extraordinary opening into God Consciousness. There is no way I can describe that to you. It was like a journey in one instant, from the beginning to the end and the end to the beginning. Everything just opening up. All these ascended masters somehow in my presence. I don’t know how that all works but it was life altering. I’ve never been the same since. It’s a little difficult for me to remember who I used to be.

DONNA: Thank you for sharing that. And you know…it’s interesting. You mentioned that you felt a kinship or a closeness to Jesus and his experience during one of your own experiences. And there is an expression I like, that “all rivers lead to the sea.” And as a seeker and someone who loves all of these wisdom traditions, I love it because it reminds us that all these traditions or religious paths are not antagonistic to one another. But rather, behind them there is a similarity…there is a pearl…there is a jewel that is the same. And truth that stands regardless of the facade. Would you speak to that?

LEONARD: First of all, I agree with you. And at the very core of all spiritual traditions…the very core of all religions is a very deep truth that is being revealed by the founders of that religion. Whether it’s Buddha, whether it’s Jesus, whether it’s Krishna, whatever. Or Mohammed. There is a core of essential truth there. But the founders of those paths, traditions or religions, experienced directly and tried to share as best they could. And these truths were emerging from the center of their beings. So, it wasn’t coming from the mind. Expressions from the truth, from presence, from God, from oneness, from mystery. The problem is when you take those truths that are expressed from presence, from God, from the mystery and you’re not in that state of consciousness yourself…but you take those truths and try to practice those truths.

DONNA: Or preach, themselves…

LEONARD: Or preach them. Now you have religion. Religion is attempt by those who are not aware to practice the truth of those that were aware. And it cannot work and it just creates more separation and more division and then you have the Jews wanting to kill these ones. And the Muslims wanting to kill these ones. It’s all insane. The Truth is, there is only one God. And if these three religions could recognize that…realize they are complementary to each other. Then we’d have a different world we live in. But because they are separate where they are, it’s creating a tremendous energy of separation and it’s thrown duality out of balance. And now we are all rust…in that state of imbalance and duality. And our politics are reflecting that. How out of balance we are, in the world. The whole of humanity is out of balance.

DONNA: If I can jump into the process now…if you’ll allow me. You spoke of a two step process of Awakening. I’m interested to know more about that and also the ego’s role as an obstructer. Why does the ego dislike presence so much? And how does that fit into your two step process, if you would?

LEONARD: First, I’ll talk about the process and then I’ll talk about the ego, as well. And I’ll make it very, very brief. The briefer it is, the more simple it is. When you’re in the mind or in the story or in the dream, you’re somewhere in the past or future. That’s a simple statement of truth. All thought takes you into that world of the past or future…because all thought is past or future. And if you believe in those thoughts, or opinions, beliefs… then you get locked in prison within the world of the mind. There is really no way out. So that’s the situation the whole of humanity finds itself in—in prison…of the world of the mind not knowing the way out. In order for you and any of your viewers to come out of the world of the mind…out of the past and future…it’s so simple: You just bring yourself present with something that is already here in the moment with you. It’s of the present moment, which you can see. It’s of the present moment. If you can hear it, feel it, taste it, touch it, smell it…it’s of the present moment. It’s really here. You’re not imagining it. You’re not remembering it. It’s really here.

DONNA: So that is the first step? To get into something here that the senses can perceive?

LEONARD: Exactly. The moment you adjust your focus and tune them into something that is here, rather than going wherever the mind is taking you…in a way, you correct that and bring yourself back without any struggle. No practice. No trying. It’s very gentle. You just bring yourself present with something that is here in the moment. Now, you could close your eyes. And because your body is breathing…because your body can only breathe in the present moment…you could be present with something you hear. This moment. I could say, “who is hearing a sound in this moment?” I am. “Who is present…aware of the body breathing in this moment?” I am. “Who is looking out through the eyes…looking with me in this moment?” I am.

It is the I am that is the awakened you. It’s the true master. Now here is the irony. Everyone on the planet is already a fully awakened being. Always has been. Always will be. It’s already here. Always has been. But to the extent that you become absorbed into the world of the mind…which we all have…then you disconnect from the truth that is ever present within you. So, awakening is not about creating something that is not here—it’s about finding your way out of the world of illusion, into the simplicity and truth revealed through this moment. You are the revealer of truth. You are the redeemer of oneness. You are the revealer of heaven on Earth. That’s who you really are. And I can say that to everyone on the planet. That’s who you really are. Have you forgotten who you are? And the truth is, yes, we’ve all forgotten. We’ve all become disconnected as we’ve become more and more absorbed into this story, this dream…this world of the mind. And then we stay there, not realizing that we are further and further from the truth.

DONNA: So are there degrees of unplugging from the center of I am? Are some people further lost than others?

LEONARD: Oh, absolutely. The further you are lost in the mind, the more insane you are. And I think that’s been demonstrated over and over again in our world. I won’t mention any names.

DONNA: So presence would be the first step then?

LEONARD The first step in the two parts to the path of Awakening. Mastering the art of being present. And it’s as simple as…you notice when you are thinking. That’s okay. You’re not going to hell. Because you are already there. So you just notice you are thinking, without any resistance to the thought. You just bring yourself back and bring yourself present with the moment. Even if it only lasts three seconds. The thoughts come back again. That’s okay. “Thinking”… and then back you come to presence. It could be something you see in the moment. It could be movement. There are so many ways to be present. We can be present washing the dishes. What I say to people is, when there is no need to be thinking, be present. When it’s appropriate to be thinking, then think clearly and well. But don’t get lost in that world of thought.

DONNA: Is that the same as being mindful? That’s become a buzzword these days. Is that mindfulness?

LEONARD: I’ve never really gone into that. For me, it’s not the same. But I can’t speak with great authority. Mindfulness experts talk about that. But my sense of it is, presence is deeper than mindfulness because if you’re being mindful than I have to ask, “who is being mindful?” Who is aware of what is arising within the mind? So the question you ask, “who is mindful?” Brings us back to, “I am.” So really, the I am presence is the awakened you. Now, I’m not sure that mindfulness will take you to the I am presence that you are. That’s for others to determine. But in this teaching, the goal is not to be mindful, the goal is to awaken into the truth of who you are. And then, of course, you are mindful which means, I’m present…when a thought arises, I am witness to that. I’m not for it, not against it. So, who is present? “I am.” It’s becoming grounded in the I am presence. Now, if you were to ask me, “who is present?” “I am.” There is nothing beyond that. Or, shall I say, there is nothing or nothingness beyond that. This point here…I am trying to show you with my hands. At the very deepest level, who you are is pure consciousness…beyond form and beyond contact. You can’t think about that. But that is who you are at the very deepest level. For me, the non-dualists take it too far and dismiss what I call Heaven on Earth, and say it’s not real.

DONNA: I see how it takes you deeper than what is usually referred to as mindfulness. It reminds me of something I heard once…let’s see if I get it right…that mindfulness is not concentration; it’s the awareness of when you’ve lost concentration. So, it’s almost like a lighter level of watching and awareness. But you want to bring us deeper than that.

LEONARD: Who is watching? This is all still the first step. It’s all about what it feels like to be present and what it’s like to be present. You see, most people who are seeking enlightenment…they are looking for bliss or ecstasy. Or some kind of liberation from the pain that’s in their story. As far as I’m concerned, that’s me, me, me…the ego involved. What’s in it for me? I want bliss. That is still what’s in it for me.

DONNA: What is your idea of bliss?

LEONARD: It’s very likely bliss will arise when you are present, but that is not what it’s about. If you are feeling bliss, I say “who’s feeling bliss?” “I am.” What is beyond the bliss? Perfect, infinite, eternal, silence. Perfect, infinite, eternal, peace. Acceptance…compassion. Now…I’m describing God. Now…I’m describing when you come into oneness with God. That very, very deep level of Awakened Presence. You see, what I say is, “God is real…God is here, now.” But we are not. We are lost in the past and future world of the mind. If you want to experience the living presence of God and all things present, you have to come to where God is…which is in the present moment. God is the Present moment, revealed. Do you have to call it “God?” No. But, I don’t know what else to call it. Whenever I call it “God,” it seems to open it up even more.

DONNA: I like the word.

LEONARD: Most people have to go through the process of decontaminating that word before they can experience the word God in it’s pure form. Contamination is put upon us by all kinds of religions.

DONNA: I like that! “Decontaminating it.”

LEONARD: What I say is that, believing in God is for those who don’t know God.

DONNA: That’s beautiful. I read that in your book.

LEONARD: And you can know God directly if you become present enough. Then you come into God’s world. I call it God’s world…the world of here and now…compared with the world of the mind.

DONNA: And so…Step Two.

Leonard: Step Two is all about coming out of the present and the future. Out of the mind and into presence. Because we are so habituated to living within the mind. We’re so addicted to thinking. It’s usually a very short time before they pull back into the story…into the dream…into the mind…back to that limited level of consciousness. Step Two involves bringing awareness into how that happens—witnessing how you are pulled out of presence and taking responsibility for that. How does it happen that you are pulled out of presence involuntarily? What is still unhealed within you that keeps you in the story? For example, judgment. Are you still caught up in judgment?…because that will keep you in the separation. So, Step Two really leads to mastery of the mind and ego. It’s not enough to be present. That’s enough for the cow or the donkey. But we humans have to master another fundamental step, which is…Yes, I’m present, but I’m also a master of my mind and ego.

So, I can no longer be involuntarily pulled out. So, that is Step Two. I’ve made Step Two very, very easy and simple…just four things to watch out for.

Continued in Part III

Source: AWAKEN

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