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The Evolution of Incarnational Spirituality

By David Spangler

Editor’s Note: The Lorian Blog is currently featuring posts on the topic, “Lorian: Who We Are, What We Stand For.” Blog contributors are regular writers and also newer voices who have been exploring Incarnational Spirituality in their own unique ways

The development of Incarnational Spirituality has been in every respect a collaborative adventure. It never has been the product of just one mind. Over the years, it has been a collaboration between me, a variety of non-physical individuals in the “subtle” worlds, and my fellow Lorian colleagues and associates. Incarnational Spirituality has also been enriched and broadened by contributions made from many of the hundreds of people who have studied it in Lorian classes.

Incarnational Spirituality, or IS, began with a challenge. One day, around the turn of the century, I was out for a walk and was reflecting on the many challenges that humanity was facing. As sometimes happens on such occasions, I was joined by a subtle being who kept pace with me for a while, obviously listening to my thoughts. I said something to him about the problems we faced as incarnate persons. I no longer remember precisely what I said. But I remember his response very clearly. He said, “The challenge of humanity is not that you are too incarnated. It’s that you’re not incarnated enough.” Then, apparently feeling he had planted a seed, he disappeared.

This statement was wholly unexpected and surprising. I remember standing by the side of the road, trying to make sense of what my invisible companion had said. How could we not be incarnated enough? How could we be more physical than we are? Upon reflection, though, I realized he didn’t mean that we needed to take on more physical matter. He meant that humanity wasn’t properly or sufficiently connected with its world in energy and in consciousness. In some manner, our incarnational process, whatever it might be, wasn’t as complete as it could be or needed to be.

This idea so intrigued me that I wanted to understand more. I felt that this being was challenging me to look more deeply into the incarnational process—the dynamics of energy and consciousness by means of which a soul takes embodiment in the physical world—in order to find insights that would be helpful to people seeking to make contributions to human spiritual advancement. So, I began using my connections with the subtle worlds to research the nature of incarnation.

I already had some information with which to start this research. I had known of the principles of Sovereignty, Self-Light, and Generative Identity since 1965 when, as described in my book, Apprenticed to Spirit, I began working with a partner from the subtle realms, a being I called “John.” He also introduced me to the realization that we did not simply incarnate into a body but into a field of energy that embraced the body but much else besides. I called this our “Incarnational System.” At the time, these ideas were not presented as elements of the incarnational process. Rather they were important parts of my training to work from a position of wholeness and integration with a variety of beings from the non-physical dimensions. However, I realized when I began researching incarnation itself that these ideas and principles were integral to that process as well.

I also had had an experience when I was seven of remembering the steps my own soul had taken to become embodied in the physical world; I awoke to and re-experienced my own incarnational process. Although each person’s incarnation is unique, there are patterns we all share in common. Therefore, this memory gave me a place to start.

The research process largely consisted of turning my mind’s eye clairvoyantly upon some stage or aspect of the incarnational process and then working to interpret and articulate what I was seeing. In this, I had help from my subtle colleagues, who would from time to time make their own suggestions or offer helpful information. I felt that we were exploring the topic together, each of us coming up with insights. I’m sure they could have simply said, “This is how incarnation works, David,” but that was not their way. They were not interested in transmitting information—revelations from on high—but in fostering understanding. That understanding was more than a collection of mental concepts; it was a lived experience.

One of the principle tools of this research was through my classes and workshops.  I used these events as opportunities to test what I was experiencing about the incarnational process, seeing if the way I was understanding and articulating it was helpful or even understandable to anyone else. At the same time, almost every time I held a class, one or more of my subtle colleagues would take it as an opportunity to suggest an exercise or two to see what the results would be.

I was upfront about this process, even whimsically and affectionately calling the group of people who regularly worked with me in road-testing these concepts and exercises as the “Guinea Pigs of Light.”  Their insights and reports contributed much to the shaping and deepening of IS.

Likewise, my Lorian colleagues, using the basic principles of Incarnational Spirituality, began teaching their own classes and bringing their own life experiences and expertise to further expanding the development of IS. This has been vital to the growth of IS. After all, I see things from a certain perspective and bring my own history, biases, and experience to the way I describe and explain Incarnational Spirituality. Others bring different perspectives, often seeing things I do not or going more deeply in areas where I have no training or experience. This enriches the whole body of IS knowledge and practice, giving greater dimension to insights I have had while offering new insights I could never have produced.

My subtle colleagues have been very clear over the past fifty years of the objectives of this work. Fundamentally, it is a work of fostering wholeness within both the person and the planet. Their primary goal is to contribute to the many ways humanity must learn and is learning how to live and work in harmony with the Earth. The wholeness and well-being of Gaia and of the community of Life that shares this world is the goal.

This wholeness cannot be manifested by physical means alone since the planet is more than just a physical entity. There is a vast subtle ecology at work as well, one in which humanity participates even if unconsciously. Further, many of the connections that need to be made for us to be “more incarnated,” as my contact said years ago, are made using subtle energies and tools operating within the subtle dimensions, as well as in the physical world. Being able to partner and work collaboratively with the subtle worlds is a critical element both in bringing wholeness to the Earth and in bringing wholeness to our own incarnations.

But working with the subtle dimensions requires being able to stand in one’s integrated and balanced identity, in one’s sovereignty and personal wholeness. It’s at this level that there is work that each of us can do, and it is the nature of this work—and how to do it—that is the focus of Incarnational Spirituality. Ultimately, we are asked to be “Gaianeers,” able to work in harmony with Gaia to bring wholeness into the world, but we begin this task by fostering that wholeness within ourselves and in our connections with each other.  That is the immediate work of Incarnational Spirituality.

The nature of this work is that it cannot be done—nor even defined—by a single person. It arises out of a collaborative, collective effort. It’s a bit like farming. A person might start the process by providing some seeds, but then it is up to all the farmers, working in the unique conditions of their own land with their own climate and soil, to plant and nurture these seeds in their own way. And as they do so, more seeds are created and more new knowledge is generated on how best to plant and grow them.

I have been privileged in working with my subtle colleagues to produce a few seeds, but now everyone who plants them in their lives, who begins living and experimenting with the ideas and principles of Incarnational Spirituality and finds new applications for those principles in their own environments and work, is a vital part of IS’s development and evolution. It’s this that makes IS alive, dynamic and relevant as a calling to be the generative and radiant individual we truly are.


If you have a story you’d like to share of your personal experience with Lorian and Incarnational Spirituality, please email drenag@lorian.org.