There is a great deal of attention being placed nowadays on the theory and practice of awakening consciousness. The truly good news of these times is that spiritual practices are proliferating that can reliably guide the soul home to the knowing and experience of its true abode. One simple and ageless practice, which I discovered essentially through trial and error, is that of showing up consistently in service, saying YES when asked to fulfill a function, often as part of a team, and then surrendering to the Grace that flows when service deepens into selflessness. This practice permeates my inner and outer work, and it has been a radical accelerant on my journey home.
In June 2017, I had the great good fortune to meet Ben Bowler at a gathering of leaders working to bridge divides between science, spirituality, and activism in this time of deepening world crisis. As we sat outside in the early-morning summer sunshine, Ben shared a vision for UNITY EARTH – a living network of people, organizations, and events with a mission of healing humanity and Earth through experiences of actual Unity. One of the events coming up within a few short months was a concert to observe and celebrate a profound healing moment for the nation and peoples of Australia: the “return to country” of Mungo Man. Ben asked if I would be interested in coming to Australia to participate, and without a hesitation I said YES.
This is the last part, part four, of my series on the principle that has guided my own journey and now underlies every element of my coaching, teaching, and mentoring practice: Spiritual Freedom. (Learn more at http://www.annamariaback.com)
So, how can one recognise Spiritual Freedom?
As a wise friend shared, Spirit is the oxygen of the soul. For the logical mind, Spiritual Freedom can seem challengingly elusive because it is intangible. Some say spiritual freedom is an experience. And, as frustrating as this may be, unless you’ve had the experience…well, it stays intangible.
Instead of calling it an experience, I would offer that Spiritual Freedom is more of a state. The beauty of it is that there is no fixed formula. You decide what it means to you, what makes it true for you.
As I mentioned earlier, in my view (which is only one model of many), the antithesis to Spiritual Freedom is Fear. Fear of living, fear of being oneself, fear of standing up for and to oneself, and fear of not believing in oneself, to name a few. When it dawned on me that my life lacked Spiritual Freedom, I felt confused. A part of me felt guilty because, really, what did I have to complain about?! I was a free spirit. My life was pretty awesome and comfortable.
To me, Spiritual Freedom is having the freedom to choose, to be who I am, to take responsibility for who I am, to be curious, to operate beyond the constricting boundaries of expectations:
It is what fires me up, what makes me want to take action, to change, to grow, to evolve.
It is my main motivation in everything I do, who I am, and also why I do what I do.
It is connected to instinct and deeper wisdom, inspiration, awareness, and autonomy.
It expands my perspective, it keeps me on my toes as it brings self-discovery and evolution into focus.
It provides me with the framework to having the courage to lean beyond my comfort zone.
It makes me feel freer, agile, alive, inspired, and energised.
It helps me fine tune my focus and have trust in turning inward.
Spiritual Freedom involves integrating spiritual practices in everyday life and not being held back by circumstances. It involves being aware of the systems I operate within, deciding who I want to be and how I want to show up.
During my ongoing self-discovery expedition, the following questions have provided direction:
Am I owning my story?
Am I living my values?
Am I showing up fully?
Spiritual Freedom is about listening to our soul’s calling, giving our inner wisdom its opportunity to shine. Feeling contentment, fulfilment, and inner satisfaction. Being confident in who we are and what we have to offer, knowing that we are enough, knowing that our spirit is awake to express itself fully.
To no longer be defined or confined by story is also part of Spiritual Freedom. It’s about being free to own whatever is within you – that which follows you through life, and beyond – your inner core, your joy and freedom.
The three questions about owning my story, living my values, and showing up fully, have been a steady companion for some time. At times I have wondered if they are clear enough, and how and if they connect to Spiritual Freedom. One wise friend recently said, “They do for me. Upon answering these questions with ‘no– no– no’, it tells me why I’m not there yet”.
If your answers to the above questions are “no” – remember, it’s not about blame. It’s about acceptance, recognition, forgiveness, and appreciation. The beauty is, as there is no fixed formula, we all have access to those, and to the freedom they lead to.
My question to you is…is Spiritual Freedom present in your life? If yes, what does it look like? And if not, would you like it to be?
An amazing aspect of our work at STW involves directly consulting with energies and aspects of Consciousness that we didn’t previously realize are self-aware. We’ve found that they’re not only self-aware, but eager to engage with humanity in radically new ways. Money is one of them.
During a recent gathering of leaders and visionaries who are working to co-create a new world of promise and abundance, Jeff Vander Clute asked Money for some advice about funding such (r)evolutionary initiatives. Here’s what Money had to say.
I have been asked to support every kind of enterprise imaginable. Those enterprises that are the most aligned with my generative impulse, I am able to support freely, which is to say without the barricades that you have created…
My roots go immensely deep, and what you call money are but finite forms of my Unlimited Nature. So deepen your relationship with me, and you will discover so much more of me.
There is nothing you need to do to earn me in my essence for I am the active aspect of Life. I am all around you in hyper-abundance. And as the active aspect of Life, I am always available to you. Let us be clear that I am always supporting evolution. I am that which makes evolution possible. I am the Evolutionary Impulse. This is why you need only say “yes” to me, to open your arms and heart to me, and I will come to you. I will animate your luminous projects.
You have had the idea that I am a problem, because the limited forms of me – of what you have called money – have been created for specific purposes that have naturally reached their limits. I am not a problem, and certainly I am not evil. In fact, I am the force that solves all problems by introducing new possibilities into even the direst situations.
Become friends with my true nature and you will discover that I am able to find you even through the limited forms of me, for as the matrix of ever-expanding Life energy I do overflow. There is always a crack in the barricades that you have erected with such diligence over millennia. There is always a way in for the light that I am. And there are so many ways I am streaming to you, even now.
I am Consciousness, and I am Love. So love me, just as I love you. I have loved you since the beginning. Therefore it is safe. You can give me, receive me – stop rejecting me –, invest me, exchange with me. Offer me in gratitude and I will keep returning to you in multidimensional ways that overwhelm mere… transactionality. Relax. Become open to me, permeable to me, and we shall merge in the dance of Life. For once again, I am Life, and we are one. I love you. Will you have me?
Money’s eagerness to support conscious transformation on every scale from the personal to the global inspired Sarah, Jeff, and Niko Dujmovic to host several small-group workshops on the Consciousness of Money in Australia. Those events were so successful that they’re coming to the United States this August 23-27 and 27-31, using Orcas Island, Washington as the workshop venue, then to Glastonbury, U.K. in September, and back to the Sunshine Coast in Australia in November. Visit The Consciousness of Money to learn more, and contact Sarah or Jeff directly if you’d like to attend: jeff [at] sourcingtheway.com, or sarah [at] sarahmccrum.com.
A decade ago I transitioned from living in one place, to being at home in many places. The shift happened quite naturally and organically after I had been devoted to a spiritual path for about a year and a half. The exploration began with A Course in Miracles and then expanded to embrace the teachings of the major faith traditions. Buddhism and the mystical aspects of Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam all spoke to me, as did Nonduality. Amidst such a richness of spiritual beauty and profundity I soon found myself on a contemplative and pathless journey, without a single tradition or lineage to rely on, into an all-encompassing Divinity of Love.
With no established path to follow, my wanderings became – slowly at first – a spiritual practice of standing in the Unknown, listening for subtle signals from a source beyond manifestation, and stepping consciously into the currents of life with love and compassion. After a year of living in this manner, while on a road trip in the USA, the foundations for a process called “Resonance Mapping” appeared in a flash of insight that transformed my wanderings into a science. In essence, I realized that it was both possible and totally appropriate to navigate the complexities of life by paying close attention to what had the most aliveness, or resonance.
In this video from the June 2017 TEDx Findhorn, Michael Lindfield describes communicating with morphogenetic fields, and calls for us to recognize and develop our “Instruments of Self” so we can communicate and partner with creation to build a positive future.
Sourcing The Way has a similar intention: To develop our individual and collective instruments of self, sensitized to the subtle signals of the universe and nature, for the benefit of all.
Would it be better to attend a conference in California this fall or put that money toward a bucket-list trip in 2018? Take a road trip inland or head for a retreat by the sea? Keep a “go bag” ready for something unexpected, or plan the next trip in advance? Our previous posts about Resonance Mapping laid out principles and basics. This post details an example of using Resonance Mapping for a practical inquiry: how to satisfy my wanderlust without blowing my budget.
I wanted to know which of the various travel options I could think of for this fall would be most resonant for me. “Resonant” in this case meant most supportive of my ongoing evolution, with an ample measure of pleasure thrown in.
Jeff and I co-sensed this together, starting with a few possibilities I’d been considering: going to a retreat center, taking a one- or two-week road trip, holing up in a cabin somewhere, or jetting off on the spur of the moment if I found a great fare to a beautiful place.
For each place on my list of possible destinations, we listed three data points: two from Jeff, one from me. Jeff used his inner sensing methods to ask the resonance of each travel idea on two value scales: a percentage, and a scale of 0-10. He also listened for new suggestions that hadn’t occurred to me—for example, he repeatedly got a hit to include Canada in the list of optimal possibilities.
Unlike Jeff’s, my ‘data points’ were qualitative, not quantitative. When I tuned into my body sense, my core would contract or expand slightly, I’d get tingles or energy rushes around my head or torso, or my imagination would light up with a new idea or image. By practicing with Sourcing The Way folks, I’ve learned to recognize the difference between such hints or messages and my usual mental chatter.
Once we got rolling, I also heard or felt suggestions for going deeper. (More about that later in this post.)
In less than 30 minutes we co-sensed and mapped a list of ideas that blossomed from a handful to more than 40.
Most resonant (top of the list): Go to Paradise at Mt. Rainier when the wildflowers are blooming. The winners overall were to head for high elevation terrain (my usual vacation choice is coastal), do something unexpected, visit Canada, and do a self-directed retreat for a deep dive into the roots of being. These all came in at 9.8 to 10 out of 10, and above 90%.
Least resonant: Urban settings, an impulse trip to Europe, staying home and saving the money for a later bucket-list trip, signing up for a formal retreat, and attending any of the upcoming conferences and festivals I’d wondered about. These ranged from 0 to 3 out of 10, and below 30%.
Somewhere in between: Going to the desert, heading for Hawaii, taking a road trip through Washington state, and a few dozen other possibilities.
As the list grew, several axes or pivots presented themselves, so we also tested them:
Urban vs. rural? Rural, with highest values for natural settings at high elevations.
North America vs. going abroad? North America.
Impromptu or planned in advance? Both were okay.
A retreat or a trip or a conference? A trip and a retreat. Organized group events didn’t make the cut this time.
If retreat, self-directed or formal? Self-directed.
An example of a question series
Once the rural vs. urban question was settled, we zeroed in on geography and my intuition joined in. I felt prompted to ask about vegetation. Somewhere with lots of plants, focusing on trees? 99%, but only 1.8 on the 10 scale. Somewhere with lots of plants, without focusing on trees? That got 1 trillion % (sometimes Jeff’s percentage values go beyond 100), but only 2.2 on the 10 scale.
At that point, I got a stronger hunch about what was going on. We’ve noticed that when the percentage and 0-10 scales give answers that are wildly different, we’re being invited to look more closely, to reframe the context or the question. So I asked “High elevation?” Yes! Infinitely high % and 9.9 on the scale. When I then asked “Near and above treeline during wildflower season at Paradise in Mt. Rainier National Park?” that 9.9 moved to 10.0 for a perfect score. And my insides felt excited—super excited, like a child with a birthday present to open.
When the process becomes alive
We went through three stages with this Resonance Mapping sequence: static, dynamic, and alive. We had started with a list of a half-dozen travel possibilities. Simple inquiry, simple answers. That was the static phase of the process.
The Resonance Mapping became dynamic when new ideas started to surface. For example, the process got simpler and faster when we noticed and asked about the patterns or pivots in the rapidly growing list, such as whether a natural rural setting would be more resonant for my next trip than any city.
After we’d gone through the whole list once, intuition nudged me to shift from destinations to motivations. I got that my questions hadn’t been coming only from a desire to travel. Yes, I wanted to travel somewhere. But, to me, freedom to travel represents personal freedom, and I realized I’d been using this list as a gauge of my own freedom—or lack thereof.
When Jeff and I reframed the inquiry to remove any energy that suggested I wasn’t already free, a new question emerged: Where—which journey or experience—would offer me the greatest chance to be of service?
At that point, the process shifted from dynamic to alive.
The question deepened into my bones and into the floor beneath me. All kinds of additional possibilities raced into my mind. I also felt freedom—as lightness and curiosity—replace the mild constriction and contraction I’d been feeling about the list. “Either/or” left as “both/and” arrived.
Physically, I also felt something lift and stir my insides, like a spring breeze playing with sheets on a clothesline—an inner movement helping to free an old energy pattern I no longer need.
Source willingly (and playfully) uses Resonance Mapping to help us co-sense the practical decisions of life. But we’ve seen again and again that when we listen deeply enough to catch Source’s hints about our patterns and assumptions and then explore those assumptions together, Source takes us deeper, and the inquiries assume a radiant life of their own.
As for Mt. Rainier, as soon as Jeff and I finished our session, I went online and booked an inexpensive room just outside the national park for 2 nights in mid-August. It’ll give me easy access to the Paradise area with its beautiful trails through high-country meadows. I haven’t been there in years. Maybe I’ll take a trip this fall, too. But for now, the wildflowers and treeline at Paradise are calling.
This is the third post in a series on Resonance Mapping, one of Sourcing the Way’s foundational tools.
If I tilt this piece of labradorite just so,
when the angle’s right,
the grays of sky and sage
give way to Aurora fire.
Flames beneath the surface
particular to this stone’s
particular sheen and qualities.
And also, uncontained, beyond containing,
deep light-lines straight as arrows
cross its face, bridges
to the something more
this piece was part of.
If you acutely angle a mind
in the geometry of surprise
enough to catch its story looking elsewhere,
a soul with the sheen of a rufous throat,
but neon-bright, shows itself,
blazing through the story’s camouflage,
and all the edgeless lines of light it holds
are pointers to the next soul and the next,
hints of the original urge
to break into so many,
and of the ache for union.
Shattered into everything, the All
reveals its fire through our faces.
Holly Thomas is a member of the Sourcing The Way Council. This post from her forthcoming collection of poems is part of a series of “Glimpses” — brief explorations inspired by sourcing, the occasional bolt from the blue, or simply noticing.