Since 1964 David Spangler has been an author and teacher of spirituality. He began his career at nineteen as the keynote speaker at a national conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on "Youth and the New Age." The success of that talk led to other invitations, and a year later he left college, where he was studying molecular biology, and under guidance from inner sources, moved to Los Angeles where he became a featured speaker at the Fellowship of Universal Guidance.
This led to further invitations from other groups, and in 1966 he moved to Redwood City on the San Francisco peninsula where he taught classes and lectured on spirituality, the Western Esoteric Tradition, and practical mysticism.
In 1970 he visited the Findhorn Foundation community in Northern Scotland where he was invited to become its co-director and to be a teacher-in-residence. He lived and worked in the community until 1973, becoming the founder of its educational program.
Along with several friends and colleagues from Findhorn, he returned to the United States in 1973, and in 1974 he joined with them to create the Lorian Association, a non-profit spiritual educational foundation, which remains to this day the organization for which he works. In 1984, the Lorian Association moved to Issaquah, Washington where it is today.
In the years following his return from Scotland, David has developed and taught classes at a number of institutions, including the University of Wisconsin, Seattle University, Bastyr University, and the California Institute of Integral Studies. Also, since 1974 he has been a Fellow of the Lindisfarne Association—an association of scientists, artists, philosophers, economists, and spiritual leaders working at the cutting edge of scientific and cultural transformation.
His current work involves developing and teaching a spiritual practice called Incarnational Spirituality. His books include Emergence; The Call; Everyday Miracles; Parent as Mystic, Mystic as Parent; Blessing: The Art and the Practice; The Story Tree; Manifestation: Creating the Life You Love; and The Incarnation Card Deck.
David is happily married to Julia Manchester whom he met at Findhorn in 1971. They have four children ranging in age from twenty-five to fourteen. He considers being a parent his primary spiritual practice.
David's Desk is my opportunity to share thoughts and tools for the spiritual journey. These letters are my personal insights and opinions and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you wish to share this letter with others, please feel free to do so; however the material is ©2011 by David Spangler. If you no longer wish to receive these letters please let us know at info@Lorian.org.
David's Desk is my opportunity to share thoughts and tools for the spiritual journey. These letters are my personal insights and opinions and do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you wish to share this letter with others, please feel free to do so; however the material is ©2013 by David Spangler. If you no longer wish to receive these letters please let us know at info@Lorian.org. Previous issues of "David's Desk" are posted on www.lorian.org.
One of the fundamental mystical insights is that the Sacred touches and interacts with everything in creation, thereby bringing all things into being. In 1964 a team of physicists led by Dr. Peter Higgs came up with a similar idea in the physical realm to explain one of the fundamental mysteries of the universe: how do subatomic particles gain mass and why do they have the mass they have? This was a fundamental question concerning how the universe as we know it came into being. To answer it, they postulated that there existed an unknown field that touched and interacted with all the particles in the universe, giving them their mass. This field would manifest through its own special particle which was named the Higgs particle after the team leader. Because of the similarity of this idea to how mystics described the action of the Sacred in giving substance to creation, this Higgs particle was dubbed the “God Particle” by the popular press, much to the discomfort of most physicists.
If this particle could be found, thereby proving the existence of this universal field, it would be monumental in furthering our understanding of how the universe comes into being at a physical level. So for fifty years, physicists set up experiments to attempt to observe the Higgs particle in action without success. Then two months ago, scientists at the Large Hadron Collider in Cern, Switzerland, announced that they finally had found and confirmed the existence of the Higgs particle, thereby proving that the Higgs Field truly exists.
This is the kind of news that excites sciences geeks like me, but as I thought about it, it began to excite the mystic in me as well. From my inner perspective we each generate a spiritual field of interaction and co-creativity with the world around us; I call this our “Self-Light.” It is a field of presence that each of us possesses that can bless the world around us. How strong or weak, bright or dim, effective or ineffective this field is depends on the quality and intensity of our inner life. Metaphorically speaking, it is a product of our “metaphysical mass,” which is a way of talking about how coherent, integrated, and mindful our spiritual presence is and how openly and intentionally we allow this presence to act in our lives.
Developing this “metaphysical mass” is something I discuss frequently in my classes. Using the notion of “mass” here is a metaphor of course, but one that I’ve found helpful in giving insights into the spiritual life. Thinking about the Higgs field that gives mass to the physical universe led me to thinking about what in us can give rise to this metaphysical or inner mass that supports our spiritual presence and enhances our Self-Light. This train of thought led me into word-play around the idea of the Higgs field itself. This is what I came up with:
The more I thought about it, the more I realized just how powerful our own inner “HIGGS” field could be. Let’s look into this more fully.
Hospitality: Every being seeks conditions in which it feels safe, valued, affirmed, upheld, empowered, and loved. I call this condition “Home.” It can take many forms; it can be an actual place, it can be a relationship, it can be a state of mind. When I think of the Sacred, I think of that Presence within which any being can feel Home. All of us seek this condition in one way or another, and we are blessed indeed when we find it. Hospitality is the ability to give or share the quality of Home with another. It can be actual hospitality in which we open our physical home to another; it can be an inner hospitality in which we open our loving and compassionate heart and mind to another. Whatever form it takes, hospitality happens when we draw on who we are to create the spirit of Home for another, thereby expanding the presence and experience of Home as a blessing in our world.
Innocence: Innocence is a state of openness to the world. It can be a wise and discerning openness; innocence and naiveté are not at all the same thing. Innocence approaches the world with wonderment, allowing things to be what they are without immediately imposing a definition or set of conditions. Innocence is a capacity to see with fresh eyes, a loving heart, and beginner’s mind without rushing to define who or what the other is. It creates an open space for the world to reveal itself; it is a state of perception without preconception, without fear, and without accusation or judgment. Innocence opens the door to allow hospitality to emerge.
Generosity: Generosity is a largeness of spirit that in turn enlarges whatever it touches. It is a fearless spaciousness in action. When it sets boundaries, it is out of a sense of appropriateness and balance rather than one of lack. It is a spirit of replenishment. Juliet captures this when she says to Romeo,
Generosity is the inner knowledge that the “more I give, the more I have” for we are truly infinite beings. It is the knowledge that we possess a spaciousness of self that can in a profound innocence of acceptance and openness to another fearlessly offer hospitality and the spirit of Home.
Grace: Grace began life as a Latin word meaning pleasing, which later evolved into meaning a kindness or a favor, which in turn came to mean elegance in form and motion. I think of it as the spirit within creation that creates wholeness, for what better way to think about wholeness than as a state of connection and interaction that is pleasing, elegant and graceful? It is a state that reveals a beauty and fullness transcending its parts while at the same time uplifting and honoring them. Surely when we think of the Grace of God, we are thinking of a favor, an act, a connection that restores us to wholeness with the Sacred? Likewise, when we are forgiving, generous, and hospitable with an innocence of spirit that bears no ill will, we are instruments of grace. To practice grace is to find in all that we do and all the relationships in which we engage an inner connection that reveals and enhances wholeness.
Sovereignty: Sovereignty is the inner spine around which our identity develops. It’s our power to express ourselves as unique persons and gives what we do a specificity that grounds our actions in accountability and authority. It’s what enables the qualities of hospitality, innocence, generosity and grace to become “metaphysical mass” in the specificity of our own lives and beings. Sovereignty turns abstraction into particularity. Thus when I stand in my sovereign self, I am expressing hospitality and innocence, generosity and grace in my unique way, and I’m tailoring these qualities to the sovereignty and uniqueness of others. It’s one thing to be generous, for instance, in a way that appeals to me and makes me feel good; it’s something else to be generous or hospitable in ways that may be unfamiliar or difficult to me but appropriate to the sovereignty and uniqueness of someone else. The practice of sovereignty is one of mindfulness of and respect for the differences between us. It’s what grounds our spiritual energies in the blood and bone, muscle and sweat, structures and forms of everyday incarnate life. It is the honoring of individuality.
If we practice these five qualities, we cannot help but generate a field that manifests love and wholeness, adding the blessing of spiritual “mass” to our world. It is our own personal HIGGS field. But unlike the physical Higgs field, let’s not take fifty years to prove it exists!
Beginning each June, Lorian offers an annual subscription program for the quarterly, Views from the Borderlands.
Views from the Borderlands quarterly includes the following benefits:
Click here for further information from David Spangler about the Views from the Borderlands along with samples of the kind of material it contains.
The cost for the subscription is $100.00 annually.
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This presentation of The Christ by David Spangler, was recorded via Skype in December, 2011 by David to an audience at Findhorm in Scotland. In it he describes his understanding of the Christ, as it has evolved over the years. David first wrote about the Christ in his book, Reflections on the Christ, in 1977. Although the essential concepts around David's understandings as described in the book have not changed, there have been refinements and deepening into that body of work.
The United States of America is like a wondrous play. What we see of it on stage is compelling, dramatic, inspiring, and powerful: its vast landscapes, its abundant farmlands, its towering cities, its network of roads and town and villages, and its millions of people. This is the outer America, the visible America. But there is a part we don’t ordinarily see as well, an invisible part behind the scenes. If it were a play, this would be all that takes place back stage, including the writing, the directing, the financing, the organization, and the stagecraft that makes the play possible. This is the inner America.
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We usually associate citizenship with the civic and political part of our lives. It may consist for most of us of such activities as voting, paying our taxes, fulfilling civic duties that may come our way such as serving on a jury, and obeying the laws of the land. With a bit more effort, it can include running for public office and serving as a public servant. It may for some of us include protesting what we see as injustice and faulty laws, campaigning for those who have been disenfranchised in some manner, fighting for causes, and championing issues in a public forum.
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Outer citizenship is usually conceived as operating primarily within our civic and political life. Inner citizenship is not so restricted to any particular domain. Whatever enhances the quality of life (both inner and outer) in our country is an act of inner citizenship. Being a nourishing and empowering father or mother is inner citizenship at work. Creating a garden that brings beauty to your neighborhood and good energies to the invisible lives that are part of the land and part of the inner realm of plants is inner citizenship at work. In a holistic spiritual vision, the land and the creatures who live upon it are also citizens with us, all contributing to the greater holism that is America.
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In this final part of this series, I want to explore one way out of many that we might work with the Soul of America as described in Part 3.
It begins with a question: Can I embody the Soul of America in myself?
A second, related question is, can I be a means, an ally, through which the spirit and energy of the Soul of America enters the psyche, the personality, and the active life of the United States without distortion?
It is followed by another question: Can I hold to my sovereignty, think for myself (and think holistically), and choose a mindful course of action in the midst of collective pressure to do otherwise?
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I have always found the teaching or technique of the eternal Now problematic. Like many such ideas, I find it can have unintended consequences. It sounds so sensible and intuitive, the "spiritual" thing to do. Yet, when I practice this state, drawing my attention away form anything having to do with yesterday or tomorrow and being fully focused upon what is happening in the present, I find a diminishing of my creative and spiritual powers. I feel narrowed, not expanded. My soul seems further away to me, less rather than more accessible. The "Eternal Now" disempowers me.
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What is a pilgrimage? Usually it is thought of as a journey involving time and distance to a holy place or a place of some special significance. Such a journey may require an effort that can be transformative, making the pilgrimage life-changing. This gives a pilgrimage a dimension that makes it more than simply a tourist excursion or a sightseeing trip
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These are a few of the individuals with whom I’ve worked over the years and whose teachings or writings I recommend. Some have also collaborated with Lorian as a whole, but others primarily have a relationship with me. For other recommended and important colleagues, please see Friends of Lorian under Boundaries.
John Michael Greer: John is the Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA). He has been active in the alternative spirituality movement for more than 25 years, and is the author of some eighteen books, including The Druidry Handbook (Weiser, 2006) and The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age (New Society, 2008). He is a scholar of the Western Hermetic Tradition. His blog, The Archdruid Report, offers “Druid perspectives on nature, culture, and the future of industrial civilization. I highly recommend it. http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/.
Dr. Brugh Joy: Brugh is an old friend and one of the finest spiritual teachers around, a unique individual who offers classes and training unlike any other I’ve seen. He and I co-sponsored a New Year’s Conference for twenty years at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California. His book Joy’s Way is a classic. You can find his website at http://www.brughjoy.com/.
Catherine MacCoun: Catherine is one of the clearest thinkers and finest writers I know in the area of inner growth, alchemy, and the hermetic tradition. With a background in both Tibetan Buddhist training and Christian Hermeticism, in addition to her own inner contacts and training in the arts of Focusing, she brings a unique sensibility and awareness to spiritual work of all kinds and particularly that of healing.
Her website is at http://www.catherinemaccoun.com/hermeticist/index.html.
Robert Moss: Robert Moss is one of the world’s leading authorities on dreams and dream work. His books are classics in the field. Dreams are one of the ways we access the Second Ecology of the non-physical worlds, and I know no better guide to this process than Robert. We have been friends for a number of years. For further information, see his website at http://www.mossdreams.com/.
Janet Piedilato: Janet is a transpersonal psychologist with an eclectic background that is grounded with a doctorate in biology, tempered with a doctorate in transpersonal psychology, and empowered by years of study as a student of shamanism, herbal therapy, and ancient dream ritual. I have known Janet for years, and she literally straddles the fence between the scientific and the intuitive, the waking and the dream realities. She has her own private practice, facilitates workshops and pilgrimages to sacred sites, is the founder and CEO of Immaginal, and founder/director of Temenos, a sacred teaching space. Her business website is http://www.immaginal.com/.
Arthur Zajonc: Arthur is professor of physics at Amherst College, where he has taught since 1978. He has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and a Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. He is an optical quantum physicist whose research has included studies in parity violation in atoms, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between sciences, the humanities and meditation. He is also a scholar of the Western Hermetic Tradition, a former President of the American Anthroposophical Society, head of its International Esoteric School, President of the Lindisfarne Fellowship, and a participant and scientific coordinator for the Mind and Life dialogue with H.H. the Dalai Lama. His most recent book is Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love. Arthur’s website is http://www.arthurzajonc.org/.
Susan Stanton Rotman: Susan is a gifted intuitive and teacher who guides others in discovering and applying their inner resources. Her background is that of an attorney and mediator, and she brings outstanding skills and integrity to her work with inner contacts. I have always been impressed with her work. As she says in her website, she offers "heart-centered guidance toward self-discovery and transformation for engaged, creative and joyful living." For anyone seeking vision and strategic direction, Susan has a great deal to offer. Her website is at http://www.susanrotman.com
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