Field Notes from the Borderland: An Interview with David Spangler (Part 2)

Editor's Note: Blog writer Annabel Chiarelli continues her discussion with David Spangler about his quarterly journal Views from the Borderland.

(Click here to read Field Notes from the Borderland: An Interview with David Spangler (Part 1.)

Annabel: Now that you’ve expanded Views, how do you decide what to put in Views versus your David’s Desk essays and your books?

David: It’s a bit fluid, but I have a general philosophy that the David’s Desk essays will be the most accessible of the things that I write. With some exceptions, I intentionally keep them free of references to the subtle dimensions and use them to talk about the application of spiritual principles in everyday life, something anyone can relate to. And the books of course are the places where I can explore things in more depth.

Views falls in between those two, really. In some ways,Views is a fun project for me because I never quite know what each issue is going to be like. I’ve discovered lately that among my inner colleagues are those who want to take advantage of Views to share things they’d like to say. So they may come and say “Would you mind writing about this?” and introduce a topic that I had not anticipated. So, Views is definitely a place to share my living engagement with the subtle worlds, which can take the form of my own field notes or the form of a communication or idea from a subtle being. As I said, it’s purpose is to normalize our interaction with the subtle worlds, to emphasize that we’re engaging with another part of earth’s larger ecology.

Not that I don’t try to do that in my books as well. But in Views, I can put in material that is too short or contained to make a whole book. I can offer research notes without needing to tie everything up in a complete explanation. Often, I experience things that I don’t fully understand. I’m not interested in just describing phenomena for the sake of sensationalism, but I may want to write about some encounter that opens interesting thoughts that are not necessarily resolved.

Beyond that, there’s no specific criteria.

Annabel: Besides those shorter topics, you also cover your ongoing research–what are your major areas of research these days?

David: I’m still working with explicating and articulating Incarnational Spirituality and different aspects of it that come up that I want to look at more closely. It might be that the preliminary exploration is something that I would share in Views and then as it becomes more developed, it would turn into a book and possibly into a class. So Views could be the initial point of entry for new information.

I have number of friends who are therapists and we talk about things like the relationship between the subtle body and subtle energies and trauma. Where does trauma lodge itself? It obviously lodges itself in the physical body and one’s psychology but it also lodges itself in the energetic field. How might a therapist work with a client’s subtle energy body to reduce or heal trauma, particularly in conjunction with somatic and psychological work? This is interesting to me and something I’m hoping to research with the help of my friends.

I’m really interested in all the ways in which Incarnational Spirituality or working with the subtle worlds and with one’s subtle energy field can be helpful at a practical level in people’s lives. Obviously there’s already a lot of work that’s been done and is being done in this area by others, but I bring a unique perspective, I think, so because of that I can offer insights that others might not have. And my inner colleagues have insights they want to share, explorations they want to conduct. How can I accommodate them? That’s an important part of my ongoing work.

You see, I’m not someone who’s out probing in the inner worlds just out of curiosity. Not that I’m not curious, but it’s more that I want to use my energy effectively, looking for those areas that can be most helpful to people on a day to day level.

Annabel: Well, that’s what I love about you and work!

David: When I started doing Views,I had no idea how it would develop or how it would be received, I figured that there would be an interest and it would be kind of a phenomenon, because there really wasn’t anything else out there that I’d run into where somebody who’s actually trained in working with subtle worlds is sharing his or her process and discoveries “in real time,” so to speak. I can remember when I was just starting out back in the 60’s I would have killed for something like this.

I think I’m unique in what I’m doing here. But now what really makes the whole Views project unique and powerful is the Subscriber community that has developed over the past five years or so. People come and go but there’s a consistent core of people who’ve been there for every forum and all the Views, who’ve come to know each other and to support each other. I cannot overestimate how important this is. It creates a growing field of energy, and I feel responsible to honor and enrich this field just as I’m supported by it. This field and all the people creating it are my companions in research, so to speak, and their presence means a great deal to me. I’m very appreciative of the energy and the love and the support that they bring, and I think that is definitely part of what has been broadening and deepening all that I can do in Views.

I’m always experimenting and exploring and that’s basically what I do. I don’t have a fixed agenda. As I said once, I’m like a naturalist who’s out in the wilds, seeing what’s out there and reporting back. But having this field of collective engagement has been very important. Now when I think about what I want to put into an issue, what research I wish to do, I take our community into consideration. Knowing what I now do about most of these people, I ask myself, what might they be interested in learning about, what would be helpful to them in their lives?

So I don’t think we can see Views as an isolated little publication out four times a year. It’s really the tip of a much larger iceberg that is forming.

Views from the Borderland Year 6 Subscription Year begins on June 20. For more information or to sign up, click here.