Living with Subtle Friends

In the summer of 1965, I met a subtle being whom I called John, as described in my book, Apprenticed to Spirit. Our friendship and partnership inaugurated a work with the subtle worlds that continues to this day. I thought it would be interesting to share what my relationship with the subtle worlds is like today, fifty-four years later.

These days my contact with the subtle worlds and with subtle beings takes four different forms. I think of them in my whimsical way as Colleagues, Neighbors, Randoms, and Essentials.

By Colleagues, I mean those subtle beings with whom I partner and work almost daily. John was the first such Colleague. He said at the time we met that he was part of a group, and since he left in 1990, I have been working with others in this group who came forward to take his place.

What draws us together, unites us and gives focus to our collaboration together is a shared project, one that has its origin in the subtle realms. One of the specific manifestations of this project is Incarnational Spirituality, but its overall objective is to promote collegiality and partnership between the two halves of the Earth, the incarnate, physical realm and the subtle realm, the realm of matter and the realm of energy and consciousness. The purpose of this in turn is to enable a greater degree of wholeness and harmony to manifest in our world that can facilitate a new phase in the planet’s evolution.

Working on this project is my job, and every day I “go to the office.” This means that I place myself in a state of attunement to a virtual meeting place that, over the years, has been co-created by my subtle colleague and myself; this is a state of shared consciousness and energy I call collaborative mind. I am not in meditation; I’m not really in an altered state of consciousness at all, but I am in an attuned state in which part of me blends with the energy field and mind of whichever of my subtle colleagues I’m working with at that moment. I’m perfectly aware of everything happening around me in the physical world, and I can do ordinary tasks, but part of my attention is elsewhere.

For me, this feels like sitting around a table with colleagues and discussing what needs to be done and how to do it. There is a sharing of thoughts and insights. I am an active participant, not simply a receptor of information being passed on to me; there is nothing passive about this relationship. I offer my perspectives, my thoughts, my insights on how to proceed and my subtle colleagues offer theirs, and out of this sharing, something emerges. We are co-equals. Sometimes, I have more insight than they do, sometimes it’s the reverse.

My subtle colleagues are not all in one place. They occupy different levels of vibration and energy; some are more evolved consciousnesses than others. Some have an easier time connecting to and communicating with me than others. Not all of them are human; a few are part of the Devic or angelic lines of evolution. Most recently, some have come from the beings known as the Sidhe. But we are all partners in this project of creating wholeness.

This working group has changed and evolved over the years as the tasks change. Beings come and go. For instance, such a change is occurring right now (though over a period of months). The reason is that the emphasis of our working group is moving away from establishing the theoretical base for Incarnational Spirituality and its main exercises and practices—which has been its main focus over the past decade or so—to looking at application and how this approach may be helpful in meeting the challenges our world is facing. Those whom I think of as the “theoreticians” are stepping back while the “engineers” and “appliers” are coming forward. I’m excited to see what this change may bring.

Much of my work involves writing and teaching, but it also involves holding and connecting qualities and patterns of energy with the physical world around me. My colleagues usually receive these patterns and qualities from higher dimensions of life and pass them on to me, and I, in turn, pass them on to the energetic life around me, but it’s often up to me as the “incarnate partner” to figure out how best to do that. It’s a more complex work than simply being a “channel” for higher energies, though I’ve had the occasion when that has happened as well.

As I said, my subtle colleagues and I meet in something like a virtual meeting space, a place accessible to all of us. John taught me how to create this space, which I call an “alliance space,” and I’ve been doing it ever since. By now, it has become second nature. But it still requires energy. Sometimes, our blending lasts only an hour or so and sometimes it can last for most of a day. Usually these days, after four or five hours, I’m done and need to withdraw.

None of my subtle colleagues are what I would call “spirit guides” in the older, spiritualistic sense. They rarely offer me personal advice, though I am always the recipient of their love. They are working colleagues, just the same as if I went to a physical office and had my co-workers there. It takes energy for these beings to connect with me as well, and when our work is done for the day, they return to their own various levels. They don’t hang around to give me counsel.

However, there are a few subtle beings who are more intimately and directly involved with me as an incarnate person, who are there for me to call upon if I feel a need, and who can offer advice and counsel. I whimsically call this much smaller group my “Pit Crew” as they energetically help to keep me on the road, so to speak. These are beings who are closely related to my own soul and who have volunteered to assist me as a soul in my incarnation.

All of us have such a Pit Crew attuned to us and seeking our well-being.

My subtle colleagues are the most regular of my subtle contacts, and our relationship is defined by the tasks we share. But I have other contacts as well, the most common of which are what I call my “Neighbors.” I’ve been in touch with these Neighbors all my life, long before I became conscious of any spiritual projects or of the subtle colleagues associated with them. They are all the subtle life forms that make up what I think of as the living Commons of which we are all a part. Thus, they may be nature spirits, the Devas or Angels overlighting places and cities, the beings I call “Underbuddies,” techno-elementals (the living spirits within our human artifacts), and so on.

If my subtle colleagues are like the co-workers I meet when I go to the office, my neighbors are just that, the beings who make up my subtle neighborhood and environment. Sometimes they may contribute something to my work, but mostly they are engaged with work of their own, living their own lives. My main relationship with them is to appreciate and honor them, to send them love, and to assist them in their work if I can the way one neighbor might help another in keeping the neighborhood whole and healthy. If I do subtle activism or environmental energy hygiene, working to clear negative energies from the local environment, then I will usually call upon Neighbors to help.

There are subtle beings who simply pop in, as it were, sometimes just to say hi, sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes to offer a bit of information or to make themselves known to me. I think of them as “Randoms” as I never know when they might appear or why.

Finally, there are the subtle beings I call the “Essentials.” These are those beings whom I reach out to for my own wholeness and spiritual well-being and development. My own soul is one of these, but there are others, usually angelic in nature. Often, to call an Essential a “being” can seem too limiting a description, as they can manifest as universal forces, direct aspects of the Sacred—or at least, so it seems to me.

My subtle colleagues, my Pit Crew, my neighbors, even the one-off random contact can all enrich me in various ways, but none of them can touch my inmost core and identity as can those Lives and Presences I think of as the Essentials. They are the most intimate of my contacts. They are the ones I may contact in meditation or prayer; they touch the mystic within me, whereas the others touch my subtle consciousness and energy. If I seek guidance, it is usually to the Essentials, to my own soul and to the Sacred beyond, that I turn.

The subtle environment is a complex ecology to me, even more complex in its way than the physical world in which I am incarnated. It is a vast community of life, a Commons of life, and we can engage with it in a multitude of ways. My relationship to the subtle is shaped by being a partner in a specific work and project, but there is much more, just as there is more to physical life than just one’s employment. On the whole, I see the subtle worlds as a community with which I am in partnership, one based on love and on appreciation of what we all have to offer to each other.

I believe the day will come when working in collaboration with the subtle realms will be a normal and natural part of human life, freed from the superstition, the fear, the glamor, and the mystery that now surround it. I am a participant in a project that seeks to bring that day closer; that participation has defined my relationship to the subtle realms since the day John appeared in my life fifty-four years ago and will continue to do so until the day in the future when I become someone else’s subtle colleague in pursuit of the same goal.