Talk Series: Inner Freedom
By Sharon Grussendorff
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There is a part of us that knows how to be free, effortless and unselfconsciously generous and life-giving. But for many of us this isn't our experience of our lives. We may have had tastes of this in the rapture of a beautiful sunset, the gentle soaking contentment of falling rain or the quiet immensity of the Drakensberg mountains. These experiences don't last long, and before we know it the familiar clouds of despair and inner conflict roll in and we are back in the constricting humdrum of our mundane and stressful lives. We long for a lasting freedom, imagining that we will find it one day when we can change what we don't like about our lives, when certain key conditions are met. But true freedom is unconditional, and is possible within the shape of our lives as they are. This is the theme that we will be exploring in this series of talks.

The outline of talks for this series is:

  • Introduction: Introductory video to the series (The introduction is about 24 minutes in length and includes a guided practice).

  • Talk 1: “Freedom with our minds" (This talk will be posted when it becomes available).

  • Talk 2: “Freedom within the shape of our lives” (This talk will be posted when it becomes available).

  • Talk 3: "Freedom within our emotional terrain" (This talk will be posted when it becomes available).

  • Talk 4: "Contemplative freedom in action" (This talk will be posted when it becomes available).

INTRODUCTION

 

Length: 24 min

At the end of this introduction, spend some time reflecting on the following paraphrased extract from Isaiah 65.

Isaiah 65:17-‬25 paraphrase

Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,

and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. 

But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create;

for behold, I create my dwelling place to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.

I will rejoice in my dwelling place and be glad in my people; 

no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.

Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days,

or an old person who does not live out their years.... 

They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 

No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat.

For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people;

my beloved ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. 

They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;

for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. 

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. 

The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox....

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.

This passage may sound hopelessly idealistic, but there is a profound sense of invitation to us in this - not only to awaken to this kingdom of heaven that is already among us, within us, but to become living embodiments of this new creation, to become co-creators of the new heaven and the new earth, as we open to the work of God's grace within us, and the renewal of the Spirit's blaze in our hearts. 

A New HeavenLibera
00:00 / 04:09

Lyrics:

And I saw a new heaven
For the first heaven and the first earth
Are passed away
Illumina perpetua
Illumina perpetua

And there shall be no more death
Neither sorrow nor crying
For these are passed away
Illumina perpetua

For further reflection:

Below are some of the quotes from the introductory talk for you to reflect on further:

St. Theresa of Avila:

"This magnificent refuge is inside you.

Enter. Shatter the darkness that

shrouds the doorway...

Be bold. Be humble.

Put away the incense and forget

the incantations they taught you.

Ask no permission from the authorities.

Close your eyes and follow your breath

to the still place that leads to the

invisible path that takes you home."

John O’Donohue:

There is a place in the soul that neither time nor space nor any created thing can touch. What that means is that your identity is not equivalent to your biography, and that there is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there is still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquillity in you. And I think the intention of prayer and spirituality and love is, now and again, to visit that inner kind of sanctuary.”

Matthew 13:44

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a person found it, they hid it again, and then in their joy went and sold all they had and bought that field”

The YouTube video below is a brief video inspired by Richard Rohr's recent daily meditations on the Dance of Freedom

Ending prayer:

Beloved our God,

This Pentecost Sunday, we pray that your Ruah Spirit will breathe fresh life into the hidden embers in our hearts, bringing a new blaze of freedom and vitality into our lives, that we may live into the possibility of this  new heaven and new earth, awakening to the love that longs to pour through our hearts into this world of suffering and brokenness.

Amen. 

 

Talk 1: “Freedom with our minds"

(This talk will be posted when it becomes available)

 

Talk 2: “Freedom within the shape of our lives"

(This talk will be posted when it becomes available)

 

Talk 3: “Freedom within our emotional terrain"

(This talk will be posted when it becomes available)

 

Talk 4: “Contemplative freedom in action"

(This talk will be posted when it becomes available)

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