By Greg Dinunzi
Editor’s Note: For the next several weeks the Lorian Blog will feature posts on the topic, “Lorian: Who We Are, What We Stand For.” Blogs will be written by regular contributors and also newer voices who have been exploring Incarnational Spirituality in their own unique ways. If you have a story you’d like to share of personal experiences with Lorian and Incarnational Spirituality, please email email@example.com
I am a relative newcomer to Lorian, but a relatively talkative one, which has earned the me honor of being asked in different times, ways and places: “What Lorian is to me?” It is a challenging question if we are to take it seriously and give it the service it is due, and especially so if we are to avoid describing Lorians in the vocabulary one only gains with exposure to their ideas and practices. So with that disclaimer, my first attempt would be:
Lorian is an emergent association which nurtures and offers practices on how to come into relationship with our own sacred individuality within the context of a living and sentient universe. And further, this sentient universe has great interest in having a deeper, more loving relationship with us in return. At least, that's what it says.
Simple enough. Now that I have cleared that up, I can move onto bigger things.
I had been exposed to David Spangler's early work some 25 years ago. I went out to Findhorn following the wake of his life and had important experiences there, but I was curious as to what had developed more recently with him. So I decided to open myself to learning the newer landscape. I can now report that after a few years of engagement through books and online classes, I have a crude map of Lorian, and I have found it the experience both meaningful and surprising.
What Lorian is not, firstly, is a factory intent in replicating some 'brand' of dogma. They seem quite serious about cheerfully nurturing the loving sacred spark within each of us, regardless how that may choose expression from person to person. No easy task, I imagine, but I agree in the end no one can know better how our gifts can express the sacred than we ourselves. I learned that I was to come to peace with myself as a sacred expression of the divine, and there followed a number of simple exercises which presented me the opportunity to allow this self-image to gain foothold within me. This is embodied in what is called Incarnational Spirituality, which is at the core of Lorian, and is better thought of as a practice than a collection of ideas. What drew me in personally was that the content of the exercises was not emphasized, but my experiences while practicing the exercises were. Incarnational Spirituality is experiential, not dogmatic. And I was to bring all of me into the arena, even the parts I was uncomfortable with, because one must be present and open to allow full body experiences to happen.
Another important idea offered is that Spirit and Matter need not to be thought of as opponents, as so often portrayed. I came away with the experience that a Human Being is one of the things that happen when these two "lovers" marry. One can learn to honor the physical, material world as a partner in selfhood, not bear it as a punishment, nor mistake it for the totality of what we are. I am not suggesting that I was required to believe this, I am saying that as I worked with the exercises and ideas that became my experience of being human. This is a great gift in my eyes, and one for which I am thankful.
So this idea of a living, sentient universe—Not only are we alive, but the entire jungle is, as is the ground beneath us, and sky above, and the stars above that. How does a modern person of the west begin with that? The sky lives? In the west we have been presented a world view where the earth is more or less a dead stage, to use David's analogy, and we are the living players on it, free to use the stage as we see fit. But if we take the time to allow an actual experience of it, which is the essence of the practice of Incarnational Spirituality, is that what we experience? Again personally, I found it hard to maintain the 'dead stage' view of the world.
Now, first I admit, I was drawn the beauty and poetry of the idea of a living world, not the logic of it. Then I practiced allowing it to become a full body experience, not a mere thought exercise, something called “felt-sense” in Lorian terminology, and I found that I not only liked the idea, but it granted me access to an emotional experience of being connected with a living world. I was shocked to note, I had not really had that experience before. I found myself beginning to fall in love with the world again. There was no particular Lorian class in this, it is interwoven in much of Lorian's work, but the class Journey Into Fire was my first exposure to it. “Fire” in this case being the loving, sacred spark of one's own self. So the world became more alive to me in my own eyes, and I found it beautiful. But was it sentient? At this point it was still unclear to me personally, but the idea of “breaking up” with the world to return to the dead stage view was not only depressing, it actually felt somewhat dark and unnatural. Why withdraw a beautiful emotional connection— out of habit? For logic? Did logic even speak for a dead stage world view? If we examine that idea we find it does not- not well, if at all. So, okay then, I'm a sacred expression of the divine, and I'm in love with the physical world. Better than being king of a dead rock, don't you think? For me, anyway, it was enough to move forward. Small bites.
So I also said that the sacred universe has expressed a great interest in having a deeper, more loving relationship with us. How do I know that? Well, should you decide to delve into the swirling fields of intelligence which hold themselves together under the name Lorian, you will not be long before you begin to hear terms like "Subtle Worlds" and "Subtle Beings" and you may want to know what these things are. Well, at the start of my exposure to Lorian, I had some knowledge of David's writings and the personal experiences he has shared about his interactions with Subtle Worlds and Subtle Beings. (I'd recommend his book Apprenticed To Spirit if you have no exposure to any of this.) I always found them both beautiful and intriguing, and I indeed was drawn to Lorian with this interest. But it was never only that there was contact between David and these beings, the issue for me was the content of the communications between David and these beings. It was simply captivating, deeply intelligent and compassionate. It would have been equally captivating had David received this information it from a Yogi or a Scottish taxi driver. David refers to the subtle worlds as a second ecology of earth, and if we allow this two-tiered living planet to come alive in our imaginations, we might call it Gaia.
Lorian offers many courses, including “Working with Subtle Energies” and workshops with “The Sidhe”, a race of beings which are known to many cultures other than ours, who live mostly invisibly and someplace parallel to us. All quite mystical and glamorous, indeed. In order for me to allow myself the experience, I chose to file it all temporarily in the “Neither-Believe, Nor-Disbelieve-File” and see how close to the “elephant in the room” (the Subtle realms) I could come before fleeing for the hills (Which is, of course, an Old Irish Elephant tradition). So after a few courses, and reading a number of works on the topics, I came to breathe with the idea that imagination, like logic, is a powerful tool and it can be used to deliver us to places which are, for lack of a better word, quite real. Imagination moves a part us which we might not realize we have. What I personally discovered in the exercising of these new muscles is that it is not so much where we end up which is the meat of the issue, but it is how we prepare to engage what we find: that is where the work is. Here Lorian teaches that the way to relationship again is with love, honor and respect of other. Fair enough. Lorian does not directly teach how to get to the other world as much as they teach you what you can do if you happen to find yourself in one. The great and magical irony is: if you know what to do when you find yourself there, there's a surprisingly good chance that you might actually get to go. (I'll admit the mechanism of that is a bit beyond my pay grade, but so is, say, Gravitational Theory, yet I utilize gravity fairly well in daily life.) In this way Lorian is more about the practicalities, than the theories. The connection to my own sacred individuality is that all of this is a part of “me”, which I may not have ever recognized without doing the work. Working with Subtle Energies and the Sidhe work have taught me that there is a part of me that Imagination can move, some aspect of myself can ride imagination to new places, and that part of me is part of the wholeness of our sacred and living universe. No small lesson there, in my opinion.
And so, have I come to the conclusion that the universe is sentient? Well, because as I have began to approach our living universe with love, honor and respect, and honor my own experiences in this practice, I can say, “Yes” without reservation, for I have found as I keep nudging it with my primitive stick made of Love and Imagination, the universe is not passive, it is clearly responsive. The more love I bring to it, the more responsive I have found it, which is even logical, if you think about it, and even works with much smaller forms of life than a living universe. The more imagination, honor and love I offer the universe, the more living, loving beings have come to populate it. So I have indeed come to believe there is a great, beautiful sentient universe seeking a deeper relationship with me, because as I hold that to my heart, the universe responds in ways I can not overlook, if I am going to bother honestly looking at all.
So this is my story, and again, certainly no promise that your path will be like mine. Yours may be far more wonderful, and will certainly be personal for you. I venture to say that if you are willing to imagine this as an personal invitation to deepen your experience of being yourself in a sacred and living universe, then let me suggest that you allow yourself the luxury of a peaceful openness as to what sort of felt responses you may receive. They could be soft as a feather, gentle as a whisper, or bold as a hurricane. Importantly: don't hurry, and have the courage to trust your own experiences.
So for me, in Lorian, I have found a safe, wise and caring community to support on my journey towards myself- a welcome new way of being me. I wish for you that your path, whatever it may be, also be wondrous and full of light.
Views from the Lorian Community publishes essays from a team of volunteer writers expressing individual experiences of a long term, committed practice of Incarnational Spirituality (and the general principles shaping such a practice.) Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the sentiments or thoughts of any other person in Lorian or of Lorian as a whole. If you would like to subscribe, please visit our website and click on Follow Our Blog Via Email. Or email the editor:firstname.lastname@example.org.