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Living a whole life includes being free to make conscious, intentional decisions to do good. It is having a full sense of ownership of one’s life, while perceiving that life flows in from its divine origin. It is that wondrous state of being an empty vessel filled with love and wisdom. While perhaps rare, such a life I surely available to all humans.

I have come to believe that it is a way of being, realized along the journey of life. It is not achieved at some point, or acquired through achievement, like a token in a video game that gives the player a special ability.

The human journey of spiritual development is a complex, up and down, around and around, winding experience. The trials, tribulations and struggles that we all experience are the human predicament. Yet there are rules that govern our advance, which, when known, allow us to make the journey successfully. The journey, fraught with pitfalls, dead ends and injury, includes the realization of spiritual freedom. God equips us for this life, and gives us a sense of accomplishment as we rely upon the spiritual and psychological laws the creator established. It is our task, then, to discover and use those laws.

There are hundreds of allegories describing this journey from slavery to freedom, including the ancient Egyptian passage to the next life, the Grecian river Odyssey and the Buddhist Nirvana. Christ sent his Apostles out two by two on journeys through the land. These trips were the original wilderness survival trainings! They could not take any extra clothing, food or money, and experienced rejection daily. They learned that the journey is arduous, and includes failure, but will bring the participant into the deepest acknowledgment of God while engendering a sense of being the most alive and in control of one’s attitude and reaction to circumstances.

A powerful expression of this journey to freedom is the Old Testament story of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. On one level, this is a recounting of a hero’s journey. On a deeper level it describes our spiritual development, advancing from slavery to freedom. An eight week workshop, “The Journey: Realizing Spiritual Freedom,” based on this story will be offered by the Glendale New Church. This spiritual interpretation of this ancient text educates and encourages participants to break free from bad habits, to have healthier relationships, find greater personal fulfillment, and ultimately lead happier lives. If you have ever struggled in your marriage, personal or professional relationships, this program will provide you with the tools you need to find new success and peace in these relationships, through a series of large group gatherings, small group interaction, and personal, inspirational daily devotional readings. The promise is that, at the end of the eight weeks, the participant will realize greater freedom in their life, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Rev. Clark Echols, pastor of the Glendale New Church, a Swedenborgian community loves to teach and lead experiential groups.


Whole Living Journal  August 2007