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David's Desk Archives


     From J.M. about David's Desk: "David, I always look forward to your monthly pieces, and always feel a lifting in my heart/soul on those days when I see the subject line in my email box. I have enjoyed all of them, often pondering on them for days or weeks or more afterwards."

     Thanks, David, for the magnificent teachings and observations you gave us, the amazing exercises you set for us, and for all the varied and profound discussion that all the forum-ites were willing to bring to all of it! Thank you, thank you all." —RR, Program Participant

     David, your work is valuable, and I am delighted to support it and you in this way. And the forums – even when I haven't had the time to engage with them as fully as I would like – are always rich, full, evolutionary experiences. Thank you for continuing to offer this subscription series." —HB, Views from the Borderland subscriber

     Thank you, David, once again for your amazing thoughts. I just adore the idea of 'Fingerprints of Love.' It really struck a cord with me, you promote love and respect in most of your thoughts, and I really work toward that goal on a daily basis." —DE, about “David’s Desk”
Incarnational Thoughts

DAVID’S DESK #129 – LIFE EXPECTANCY

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 Read more…

Posted in David Spangler, David's Desk, Incarnational Thoughts | Comments Off on DAVID’S DESK #129 – LIFE EXPECTANCY

Subtle Activism After Events in the Syrian Civil War

Question and Comments with David Spangler TH: A question has been percolating in my mind. I know I feel Subtle Activism creates a feeling in me of it having an effect. And I know we have talked about creating a field of love. But I was wondering what is the real effect? How do our inner allies Read more…

Posted in David Spangler, Incarnational Thoughts 2 | Comments Off on Subtle Activism After Events in the Syrian Civil War
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DAVID’S DESK #128 – THE B’S

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 ©2018 by David Spangler. If you no longer wish to receive these letters, please let us know at info@Lorian.org.

January, 2018 – THE B’S

First, I wish you a most happy and joy-filled New Year.  This year we will travel 4.5 billion miles through space as the solar system orbits around the center of our galaxy. I hope every one of those miles brings blessings to you!

When I was a child growing up on an American air base in Morocco, my paternal grandmother came from the States to live with us for several months. I remember her saying, when someone was excited about an idea, that he had a “bee in his bonnet.” I always thought that was a funny expression. When I first heard it I had no idea what a “bonnet” was, and later, when I learned it was a type of hat, the image of bees buzzing around in it made me laugh. I had to grow older to fully appreciate the aptness of the saying.

When thinking about 2018, I have some “B’s” in my bonnet. They are my reminders to myself on how to engage with the months ahead.

The first is Be Prepared. One thing about the future these days is how unpredictable it is. The world is changing in many ways right before our eyes. This can certainly be disconcerting, but it doesn’t have to be disempowering if I have prepared for change as best I can. For instance, friends of ours almost lost their house in the recent wildfires near Santa Barbara, California. The flames came within yards of their home before firefighters, aided by a sudden shift in the wind, fought them back. Yet my friends were not caught by surprise. Knowing fire could be a possibility, they had made preparations to ensure their safety and the preservation of the possessions they most cared about. Similarly, we live on a major earthquake fault. Recently, my wife and youngest son went through a six-week disaster preparedness class so that we know what to do and how to help should anything happen in our area.

Preparation, though, isn’t restricted to physical or financial readiness to deal with sudden change. There is psychological preparedness, too, much of which comes down to being able to trust oneself and those around one. What is the solid core of identity out of which you can function with skill and confidence? What are the solid relationships of connection, love, and friendship that can provide mutual assistance in any time of change or trouble? What inner preparation can you do in addition to any outer actions?

My second B is to Be Resilient.  You can’t prepare for everything. Journeying into the future is always a journey into the unknown. Life has a way of introducing the unexpected into our lives, both good and bad. Being able to bounce back from the unexpected is an important skill; it allows us to dance with life even in the moment it seems to tread on our toes.  

When I think of resilience, I think of a toy I had when I was a kid.  It was an inflatable boxer that was weighted on the bottom. I could hit it and knock it down, but it would bounce back up. We can be like this, too, if we have the metaphysical weight of our values and principles to ground us. Knowing our own inner center of spiritual and psychological “gravity” gives us resiliency, providing the strength we need to rise above circumstances that otherwise would knock us down emotionally, mentally, or even physically.

 A third B is Be Adaptable. This is similar to resilience but I don’t have to be knocked over to be adaptable. Indeed, my ability to change, to improvise, and to adapt to what is happening in the world allows me to partner with the world around me. This does not mean that I surrender my core principles and values just to “fit in.” That is not adaptability; that is conformity. Organisms adapt to changes in their environment or they perish, but the adaptation preserves their essential identity. A crow doesn’t adapt by becoming a sparrow; it adapts by learning new crow behavior.

Adaptability is all about learning, taking in new knowledge, being aware of what is happening in the world and how to connect with it. It’s about being attentive and willing to try new steps in the dance of life. It is a willingness to go beyond “business as usual” to learn new ways of being, something that I feel will become increasingly important for all of us in the days ahead. Old ways of treating nature, treating others, treating ourselves simply are not working the way they once did and are becoming sources of danger rather than of creativity or progress. A world of climate change, for instance, is not the world our parents and grandparents knew. A world of the Internet and cyberspace isn’t, either. What changes do we need to make to honor our individuality, our humanity, and the sanctity and wholeness of our world? How do we now need to adapt to ensure a positive future?

My fourth B is Be Optimistic. Why not? Pessimism, doubt, fear, despair, hopelessness are all emotions that make us less capable, less resilient, less adaptable, less creative. Facing the future, if I need to learn to dance with life in new ways, why would I want to tie hobbles to my legs? What I need is vision, hope, confidence in my ability, our ability, to rise to the occasion and do what is right and positive for the future of humanity and our world. Optimism and joy keep my juices flowing, my mind alert, my heart open. They are fuel for positive change, a fuel we most certainly need.

Finally, my fifth B is Be Kind. Whatever shape 2018—or 2019, or 2020, or any future year—may take, we will always need kindness. I could call it love, but that is a heavily weighted word. I may not feel I can always be loving in dealing with the world, but I can always be kind. Kindness lives and works in the little things we do; it doesn’t take much to be kind in the moment: a smile, a soft word, a willingness to listen, an offer of a cup of coffee, the presence of an open heart. What it does take is awareness, attentiveness, and willingness.

Preparedness, Resiliency, Adaptability, Optimism, Kindness:  these are the “Be’s” that are buzzing in my bonnet. May their humming bring music and blessing to your life in the New Year ahead.


Everything that Incarnational Spirituality has to offer stems from this recognition of the light within each individual life. As the new year begins, consider exploring your inner light by joining us for Journey Into Fire: Awakening to the Light of Self. From January 18-February 21,  Lorian Faculty Member Julia Spangler will gently guide you through practices and processes to understand and attune to the power of being yourself in this world.

DAVID’S DESK #129 – LIFE EXPECTANCY

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 ©2018 by David Spangler. If you no longer wish to receive these letters, please let us know at info@Lorian.org.

February, 2018 – LIFE EXPECTANCY

My friend and Lorian colleague, Rue Hass, an exceptional counselor and teacher, sent me an interesting email the other day in response to some writing that I’m doing.  Here is what she said:

I’ve been hearing on the news that for the first time in a long time the life expectancy rate is going down in the US, especially for men, as the opioid crisis continues to ravage the nation.

When I hear this news, I am captured by the phrase “life expectancy.” Of course, in common usage it means how long people can expect to live, on average. But the poignant deeper sense cries out to me of our diminishing expectations of what a life can hold.  I think we as humans are losing our vision of possibility for our lives, for life itself. A diminishing life expectancy.  

I was struck by this because I’ve been having similar thoughts about how we think of ourselves in relationship to the future. In the early Seventies, one of the first professional futurists, Frederick Polak, wrote an important book called The Image of the Future. It was a historical study of various images of the future and of the cultures that held them. He demonstrated that when a society or a culture lost its image of the future, it went into decline and eventually collapsed. He warned that this was the situation in which our culture was finding itself. We were losing—or had lost—our image of the future.

What Polak meant by an “image of the future” was not simply expectations about what tomorrow might bring or anticipation of new technologies. He was careful to draw a distinction between a “true” image of the future and an image of progress. The latter, more often than not, was really an image of the past projected into the future; life would go on as we know it, but it would get better and better. An example would be the television show Star Trek. It certainly presented a picture of a future civilization—and an optimistic picture, at that—but everything in that show was simply a projection of what we already knew. Yes, the technology was advanced, but the people weren’t. The world of Star Trek was a familiar world (necessary, of course, if television audiences in the Sixties were going to relate to it).

Polak defined an “image of the future” not as a prophecy or expectation of any form the future might take but rather as an exuberant embrace of the future itself as a horizon of possibility calling out the creative, exploratory, confident spirit of the society. The form of the future didn’t have to be familiar; it didn’t have to be simply a continuation of what was already known or being done. The power of the image of the future was that it opened doors of potential; it confronted the society with the unknown but in a welcome and anticipatory way. The future would be better not necessarily because it would be filled with improvements over the present but because it was the product of the society’s creativity and spirit of discovery. Who knew what wonders might unfold? Who knew what people might create? How exciting to look forward to finding out!

Polak was confirming through his historical study what common sense would tell us: a society grows when people are filled with a spirit of possibility and potential, when they have, as my friend Rue pointed out, “life expectancy.”

We are plagued in our time by a sense of diminishing possibilities. Climate change, political dysfunction, economic disparities, dwindling resources, the sense that our children and grandchildren will not inherit a better world than the one we were born into: all these things drain away our image of the future, in Polak’s terms. They reduce our expectations of what life can bring and of what can be accomplished.

The key behind what Polak observed through his studies is that possibility does not lie in the realm of events alone but in ourselves. A powerful image of the future that inspires and excites is not about what we can expect in the world but about what we can expect of ourselves. Hope is not wishful thinking of what we would like to happen; it’s about opening the doors of imagination and creativity to bring new ideas and new behaviors into being. It’s recognizing that we can embrace the future because we can embody and bring forth possibilities.

Whatever our physical life expectancy, we can expand our expectancy of life and of ourselves and in the process transform our world with a new image of the future.


From March 1-28, join David Spangler for Subtle Energies I: Standing Whole. In this four-week class, David will guide participants as they explore the subtle sides of their natures. Understanding this aspect of yourself and learning to integrate its capacities in daily life is a key to being whole. Class will be held on our online educational website, Lorian Education, where materials can be accessed 24/7. Additionally, David will host five live webinars that participants can also download for their personal use. For more information and to register, click here.