The Clutch of Death (Epilogue)

Today, we conclude our lesson on "The Clutch of Death" with these remarks on how the beliefs, sensibilities, and expectations of our families-of-origin can act as the greatest block to our soul's freedom. In Luke 14, several paragraphs after Jesus introduced the idea of the death clutch, he talked about how the love of "our people," often wraps us in a set of belief and behaviors that condemn us to keep chasing the attachments and agendas that suffocate true life. Few things inform our unconscious instincts as deeply as the primal relationships from which we come. "The Way Things Are,"

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The Clutch of Death (part 6)

One of the ancient spiritual paths goes by an old name... "mortification." It means to put to death.  Once we see that our false narratives, our faulty Life-Stories are strangling the life out of us, we want to turn the tables and put that clutching instinct to death itself. Historically, spiritual people have done that by killing off the passions they associate with those attachments. The traditional use of the practice is always voluntary.  But what about those times when we are involuntarily forced into being without this thing, that person, or the other circumstance that we have come to

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The Clutch of Death (part 5)

Look at the ravens, Jesus said.  They're free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description. They're care-free in the care of God...   And you!  You count far more. As we're considering how to experience the freedom and connection to Divine Life Jesus taught was ours to have, we are considering how to dismantle the faulty narratives that run our lives.  Jesus teaches us to be present to each moment, not borrowing troubles from tomorrow, nor borrowing regrets from yesterday. In this lesson I'll continue to encourage you to keep asking questions.  When negative emotions surface, ask yourself

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The Clutch of Death (part 4)

As we continue our lesson on the Clutch of Death, we come to where we've been heading from the beginning...  one of Jesus' lessons from Luke 12.  It's a section in which Jesus teaches how easily our interior narratives derail us into chasing after things which in the end don't satisfy, don't fulfill us. We said last week that we are made of star-dust and God-dust.  The star-dust part lends itself to empirical study.  The God-dust part is just another way of talking about being made in the Divine image. Other ways of saying the same thing are "the indwelling

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The Clutch of Death (part 3)

Today we continue our lesson "The Clutch of Death."  We've seen how we tend to clutch at people, things, and circumstances at the expense of our freedom and connecting to our truest, Divine selves. We do this because our "Life-Stories," the narratives that drive our instincts, actions and reactions are faulty.  They drive us, compel us, but don't purchase us freedom. At the core of the "ultimacy" stories, is what we believe about God.  Even if we don't believe there is a God, God (or the absence of God) figures heavily in our framing narratives about "The Way Things Are."

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The Clutch of Death (part 2)

How does one begin the journey from a Life-Story that breeds stress, anxiety, pressure, and "the clutch of death," to a Life-Story that breeds peace, freedom, Life and Light? The ancients designed a practice just for that.  It's called "detachment."  It's the practice of willingly laying down some attachment, some pleasure, some desire that has taken up an inordinate ranking in our values.  We lay it down for the purpose of having our spiritual sight reconditioned to be able to see what we would otherwise miss...  to find the Truth that affords us freedom. Lent is traditionally a time when

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The Clutch of Death (part 1)

  The deep quest of the human heart is for freedom and Divine Life.  The problem is that we get so easily distracted from this quest by impulses and instincts that bubble up from inside us.  We all carry around Life-Stories, or framing narratives that dictate our actions, reactions, instincts, and values.  When those framing […]

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