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 ©2019 by David Spangler. If you no longer wish to receive these letters, please let us know at info@Lorian.org.

The world is so filled with challenges and alarms these days that it’s easy to feel despair or discouragement. When I feel myself being impacted negatively by the news, I have a technique that helps: I remember my 3 C’s: Core, Calm, and Connected.

By “Core,” I mean everything that helps me center myself. Our physical core is the vital center of our body. All fitness programs, as well as martial arts, build upon this core. Its well-being supports everything else in the body. One simple way for me to connect to it is just to pay attention to my breath, allowing the rhythm of my breathing to draw me into my body’s core.

I have a psychological core as well, made up of my sense of self and sovereignty. In this core, I find my values, my aspirations, my sense of self-worth. My psychological core is where I can feel both goodness within me and good about myself. Never mind the faults and failings I may feel; they are the things I’m working on in my life to grow and improve, but they are not my core.

Likewise, there is a spiritual core, which for me is love: love for self, love for others, love for the world, love for life. This, in turn, attunes me to the Sacred which is the Core of cores, the Love behind and within all other loves.

Each of us has our own sense of what constitutes our core, the place from which we draw our strength, our courage, our wholeness of being. It is our center from which we can act with balance and wisdom, just as an effective martial artist acts out of her core or an athlete draws on his core strength. The impact of challenging and distressing news and information from the world around us is to push us out of our center, away from our core. When this happens, we become less powerful, less able to act from a place of wholeness. To prevent this, my first response is to remember my core and attune to it. It’s the first of the 3 C’s.

The next C is “Calmness.” It is what I feel as I center myself in my core. Imagine trying to thread a needle or drawing a straight line with a pen while your hands are shaking. The job is so much harder, and you may not be able to accomplish it. Similarly, if your own emotions and thoughts are agitated, it is harder to act effectively, or, if necessary, stand quietly and do nothing until the right actions become clear. If the world around you is energetically shaking, you want to be the calm center that quiets it down. Calmness gives you mastery and control over your own thoughts and emotions in the moment, allowing you to work with confidence and carefulness.

When I stand in my core and fill myself with calmness, then, rather than wanting to pull back and retreat, I feel able to connect with the world around me, with others and with events. I can be present. I can connect in positive, loving, harmonious ways that spread that harmony outward into the life of the world. Even more, I feel that I am entering into collaboration with all the other forces that are connecting and contributing wholeness and love to the world. I feel enhanced by this and am better able to find ways to connect and enhance the effectiveness of others.

When we feel impacted by negative energies, one inclination is to withdraw, to pull back behind our boundaries and use our selfhood as a fortress protecting us from the world. We may also, out of need or fear or anger, react to what is happening in the world with our own anger, fear, and distress.

At times it can be necessary to withdraw and protect ourselves emotionally and mentally, but if overused, this strategy can lead to isolation and alienation. However challenging the world may feel, if we can stay connected in loving ways, our own gifts and positive energies can flow more freely and with blessing into the world.

Likewise, there are times when anger or even fear at what we see in the world can be a positive and appropriate response, especially if they lead us to positive action. But if all we do is simmer in our emotional reactions, we only add to the agitation that fills the world.

The key for me to avoid this, which I happily pass on to you, is to remember the 3 C’s. Perhaps the best gift we can give to our world now is to be Core, Calm, and Connected. Editor's Note: This David’s Desk is adapted from a chapter in David's latest book, Holding Wholeness (In a Challenging World). Click here to download a free PDF of the book. We hope this anthology will offer you support in these challenging times.