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Subtle Activism Overview

By David Spangler   

(Listen to an interview with David from the September 2015 Subtle Activism Summit on the Shift Network.)

Subtle activism is a partnership between the non-physical, energetic aspects of an individual and the equivalent non-physical, energetic aspects of the Earth in order to support a desired outcome. These non-physical aspects make up what I think of as the other half of Earth’s planetary ecology and may be called “subtle” because they exist in ways that are usually too subtle for our normal physical senses to register, although with some practice and patience they can be perceived.              

However, one does not have to be psychic or clairvoyant to work with the subtle dimensions of both person and planet. At the least, subtle energies are responsive to thought and to feelings, especially when these are “grounded” in our body and empowered by a sense of both our personal sovereignty and our caring connectedness with the world.

There are many ways of doing subtle activism. Using the idea of the relationship between the microcosm and the macrocosm, I focus on the individual who is a fractal of and embedded in the larger living system of the earth. I can best explain this by describing how I would go about it.

For me, all work with the subtle dimensions begins with grounding myself in my physical body. I do not try to “center” myself as such as much as I hold in my mind the entirety of my body from head to feet and feel into its wholeness and coherency. I then do the same thing with my sense of personal identity, feeling and honoring my uniqueness as a person and attuning to the value and sacredness of my personhood; I call this “standing in sovereignty”. It’s important to me that I start any engagement with non-physical reality with a clear attunement to my physical nature and to my individuality.

At this point, I take note of and connect myself in an honoring and appreciative way with my immediate physical environment. I realize that in this moment, I am part of a specific location filled with specific things, and as much as possible, I want to establish a loving relationship with where I am and with what is around me. This helps to create a solid “field” or aura of physically-grounded energy that can in turn act as a resonating instrument to connect with planetary subtle energies.

In effect, what I am doing is establishing myself in my thinking, my feeling, and in my physical sensations as a fractal of the planet itself. I am a physical entity surrounded by a non-physical field of energy; Earth is a physical entity surrounded by a non-physical field of energy. We operate on a vastly different scale, but the principle of life within us is the same. We are fractals of each other. Metaphorically, I am the planet in microcosm; it is an individual in macrocosm. 

When I ground my awareness in my body, stand in my sovereignty, and connect myself to my environment, I am creating around me a tiny field of “planet-ness”. That is, within the scope of my individual energy field enveloping my body and engaging with my environment, I am replicating as much as I can the love, the live-giving, and the blessing that the Earth holds for all beings whose lives it nurtures.

I have not begun to do subtle activism yet. I am simply preparing myself by coming into resonance with the life and beingness of the planet in a way that is grounded in appreciation and love for my body, my individual identity, and the world around me. I am occupying a miniature planetary field.

The subtle activism begins by filling this field with the qualities I wish to bring to bear upon the situation that is the focus of my work. Do I want to bring calm and peace to a turbulent and violent area of the world? Then I want to fill my “fractal planetary field” with sensations and qualities of calm and peace. I want not only to think about these qualities. I need to feel them in my body, feel them in my mind and emotions, and feel them surrounding me in a way that blesses the immediate location around me. I am using my inner attributes such as imagination, intuition, thinking, feeling, and so on to make myself a miniature “planet of peace”, or of healing or courage, blessing or inspiration, or whatever qualities or energies I wish to offer to the situation that is my focus.

Once I have the felt sense of being the qualities I wish to offer, I feel myself coming into resonance with those same qualities in the macrocosm, that is to say, within the planetary subtle dimensions. I am asking the planet as my partner to also hold these qualities with me in the way that only the planetary Being, Mind, or Spirit can do.

At this point, I use my imagination to put myself in the situation—into the place or with the people—that is my focus and the reason for doing subtle activism. Here the imagination is like my internal GPS system. It helps if I have some physical knowledge of the situation, the people, or the place, but it will work if I can hold a clear image of where I want the subtle energies to go and can see myself in the midst of that place. After all, the planetary mind is aware of all the places on the earth; it can read my intention and can respond.

So what I am doing is using my little field to, in effect, inspire the planetary field to replicate and express the qualities I am holding. I am a model, a template, and the planetary field responds accordingly, filling the area I have designated with its subtle energies that are the equivalent of the subtle energies I’m holding. I am like a trim tab, a very tiny rudder that enables a much larger rudder to turn and make a difference.

This approach to subtle activism doesn’t take long. There is a feeling of spaciousness that occurs, a kind of inner “click”, when the planetary field resonates in its way with my little field of subtle energies, and this lets me know my subtle “package” of qualities is manifesting in the appropriate place.  This can happen very quickly.

In this approach, I do not “send” anything. I do not see myself as a broadcasting station transmitting the chosen qualities to some place or some persons elsewhere in the world. I’m not trying to impose anything on a situation, nor am I trying to manipulate it. I’m not trying to make something happen through force of will or belief. I am standing in a miniature planetary field grounded in body and sovereignty and allowing this microcosmic fractal to elicit a macrocosmic response directed to the situation designated in my mind and imagination.

More could be said, but this gives you the essence of my approach to subtle activism, one based on a sense of partnering with the Earth to elicit and inspire blessings where needed. Perhaps the most important aspect of subtle activism, however it is practiced, is to restore and heighten awareness of the non-physical dimensions as an important and vital part of the ecology of the whole Earth as well as of our own being, giving all of us a new vision both of who we are and of the planet of which we are a part.

This article also appeared in The Catalyst, issue #17,the ezine of the Shift Network.

Subtle Activism Summit Interview With David Spangler

Other Subtle Activism Exercises and Resources