Sunday, August 16, 2009


In recent days it has become even more clear to me the importance of understanding our power to bless. Blessing is a conscious participation in the nourishing and empowering activity of the Sacred, and it is one of our human blessings that we are capable of such participation.

Awhile ago I wrote a short introduction to the art of blessing and included in it an example of a four-fold blessing that I use daily in my own spiritual practice. I would like to offer that material here:

Blessing is the art of being spiritually present to another in a manner that draws out and supports the spiritual resources and energies within that person. The same is true if blessing is directed towards a situation, that it draws out the spiritual potentials that are present to achieve the highest good for everyone in that situation.

Blessing makes use of our expanded nature so that we may be present even to people or situations that are distant in the physical world. The only barriers to blessing exist in our hearts and minds, not in the world.

Anyone can give a blessing anytime and anywhere. You do not have to have special knowledge or be a special person or have special training. The capacity to bless is innate in each of us. All it requires is a loving heart, the intent to serve and help another, and the willingness to link yourself and the recipient into a larger wholeness of life, spirit and consciousness.

There are as many ways to bless as there are individuals to do so. A blessing is a gift we give to another or to a situation from our own unique spirit and our own attunement to sacredness. How we do this depends as much on who we are and the blessing that is needed as it does upon any particular technique.

A blessing not only helps the recipient but also leaves him or her—or the situation—more capable of achieving wholeness. A blessing strengthens the inherent sacredness within another or a situation. It does not impose in a way that would weaken or confuse another or a situation.

With that in mind, we honor and practice three kinds of blessing:


There are times when it is obvious what is needed: food, shelter, time, energy, money, an act of kindness and compassion, an act of love. There are times when we simply need to act to help another, times when prayer or good wishes, positive thoughts or loving feelings, while always welcome and always nourishing, are not enough. Then blessing must come through our actions wisely considered and skillfully executed.


When we share our energy with another, it may give him or her just the boost that’s needed to make a difference: to make the alignment with his or her own inner Light, to find the right thought or the inspiration that is needed, to overcome fatigue and low energy to find his or her own healing power. To give energy, though, requires that our energy is clear and clean and flows freely from the highest sources within us and around us; that it not impose upon the other or bind him or her to ourselves; that it not overwhelm the other with more than he or she can handle. A blessing must liberate, strengthen and leave the recipient better off than before. An extra boost of energy shared with wisdom and care can do just that in the right circumstances.

The sharing of our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical energy may also clarify and stimulate a situation to move beyond obstruction and confusion, but again we must take care and wisdom not to give more that the situation can integrate or use. A blessing is not the same as taking over energetically; it is adding just enough to move the situation to a better place. Too much or the wrong application of energy in the wrong way can make a situation worse.

Sometimes the greatest blessing of energy is no energy at all, letting things settle to find their own way. This is the Blessing of Space..


When we bless, we mobilize spiritual resources to create a “blessing space” like an aura of energy around another or around a situation. This space holds the other person or situation in calm and clear attunement to their own highest spirit—or to the highest spirit that seeks unfoldment in the situation—heightening the possibility that that spirit will flow and act to create the blessings which are needed or wanted.
In this form of blessing, unless asked or intuitively guided otherwise, we use our energies to create and hold the blessing space and to assist the other or the situation to find and hold alignment with their own spiritual resources. We do not use our energies to manipulate the situation or to “energize” another. We do not impose our own energies upon another or a situation.

A spiritual resource in this context may mean the sacredness within a person; the presence of the Soul; spiritual allies; the flow of loving, compassionate, life-giving energies; creative inspiration; or whatever enables the person or the situation to move forward in a positive and beneficial way. A blessing enables a person wherever and whenever possible to access such resources for himself or herself, becoming empowered in the process and developing the skills to use such resources more easily and readily in the future.

Blessing empowers growth in spiritual ability for all concerned, including the one giving the blessing.

A blessing can be as simple as extending a flow of loving energy from your heart to that of another; it can be as direct as an act of kindness and compassion done on behalf of another. There need be nothing complex about it.

However, when I think of blessing--and when I create one as part of a practice, I think of it as having a simple structure based on a four-fold relationship:

  • The relationship to myself and my own innate spirituality;
  • The relationship to the Sacred as the ground of all being, the fundamental connection between me and others, and the source of the impulse for the highest good to emerge in all situations;
  • The relationship to the world as the community of which we are all a part, the source of integration, connection, and nourishment;
  • The relationship to the other, the recipient of the blessing, and the wholeness of that other’s life.

When we offer a blessing, we can, of course, simply ask that another spiritual source, such as God, bless the person or situation. Our role is then that of a mediator and petitioner. However, in Incarnational Spirituality, we recognize and affirm that each of us is also a generative source of spiritual energy and presence. We need not simply be a bystander or petitioner, but one who actively participates in the act of blessing, drawing on our own spiritual resources. The blessing then becomes a gift from our soul to another, strengthened by our human connection and empathy with the recipient. This has the advantage of flexing and developing our spiritual muscles and adding to our own inner growth.

We are not the sole source of the blessing, however. By attuning to the presence of God or the Generative Mystery within us and around us, in whatever way we are comfortable in doing so, we draw ourselves into the presence of sacredness which is the deepest and most natural power of connectedness between us and another, as well as being the universal source of goodness and the drive to unfold the highest within us. This power and presence then becomes an integral part of the blessing which empowers both the recipient and ourselves.

As incarnate individuals, we are part of the world; in Incarnational Spirituality, we are participants in the life and unfoldment of the World Soul, participants in a planetary consciousness. The world—which in Incarnational Spirituality includes both the physical and non-physical, seen and unseen, dimensions of matter and spirit—is our home, our shared community, the “Commons” that embraces each and all of us and gives us life and form. We find wholeness through our integration with our bodies, nature, life, matter, and the World Soul. A blessing flows not just to the individual by himself or herself, but to an individual embedded in the Commons of the earth, part of an ecology of life and consciousness. Acknowledging this larger wholeness in our blessing helps to integrate its energy and results into the recipient’s life and connections with the world around him or her.

Finally, the recipient of the blessing, in addition to being part of the Commons of the World, is an ecology in his or her own right, a complex interweaving of time and space, biography and potentials, energy and body, mind and emotions, consciousness and soul, spirit and sacredness. Our blessing needs to integrate and become part of the coherency of this personal ecology. We are blessing a whole person who has many aspects that are not visible or obvious to us, who is partly known and partly mystery. We bless on the basis on what we do know and can see, but our attunement and the intent of our blessing also needs to acknowledge the mystery and wonder, the depths and potentials we do not see and do not know.

In our own minds and hearts, we want to acknowledge and honor these four elements. This can be done swiftly, lovingly, organically. We might, for instance, simply picture a crossroads in which these four come together and we stand in the center point to call forth the blessing. We may inwardly (or vocally) call upon each of these four in crafting our blessing. Or, we can find our own unique way of honoring these four relationships which hold the power of blessing within us and for another.

An example of this structure is what I call the four-fold blessing. This is a standard blessing we use in Incarnational Spirituality, usually at the beginning of an activity, but it can be used anytime, anywhere.

  • Bless this place in which I am, with honor and gratitude for its presence and its gifts of space.
  • Bless my self, with honor and gratitude for the uniqueness of spirit, life, insight, and creativity which I bring to the world.
  • Bless others around me, seen and unseen, with honor and gratitude for the gifts we bring to each other, for the creativity and energy that can emerge from our collaboration.
  • Bless the activity I undertake, that it may prosper and be a blessing to all my world.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


My blogging these days is pretty much confined to a monthly essay called "David's Desk" that the Lorian Association sends out by email. This essay currently is my opportunity to share thoughts and tools for the spiritual journey; they 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 would like to receive them, you can come on to the mailing list by writing to Previous issues of "David's Desk" are posted on our website at Here is the latest David's Desk:


I want to tell you about three phone calls I’ve had recently. The first was from a man I know slightly and whom I had not heard from for several years. It was a distressing call as he was facing total ruin in his life as a result of the current economic meltdown. He had just lost his job, was deeply in debt, and was facing losing his home. He was staring into a very scary, unknown future rising like a wall before him towards which he was hurtling, and he was filled with panic. He needed to talk to someone and reached out to me.
The second call was from a man I knew a little better but also whom I had not seen in several years. The last we had talked he had become ill but then I heard no more other than that he had moved with his family from the area. Now he was back, and he told me a harrowing story of his descent through a most dark time of extreme pain, illness, financial loss, and family crisis. His whole life had been turned upside down and inside out and in the process he had discovered resources of inner strength and calm. He had found an inner light and creativity he had not known he had possessed. He wasn’t quite recovered but he could see his way back. Having lost almost everything, he was now discovering and building a whole new life that was more attuned and wonderful than what he had had before.
The third call was from a close friend who had also been going through a very difficult time. I had not heard from him for close to a year and didn’t know the extent of his troubles. But he called not with a tale of woe but with a report that having been on the verge of bankruptcy, his business had suddenly taken off. In the midst of the growing recession, he was unexpectedly and suddenly prospering because his particular skills and services were valuable to businesses that were facing economic problems. And everything else in his life was alchemically coming together as well in a new alloy of joy and wholeness.
These three calls were from people facing, moving through, or emerging from a threshold of transformation. In this they seemed to me to represent the nature of the times in which we live. These are threshold times for all of us as humanity faces profound forces of change at work in the world today.
Interestingly, the threshold in all three calls was essentially the same. It was a threshold of dissolution and loss: loss of power, loss of livelihood, loss of home, loss of habitual ways of doing things, and in a deep way, loss of a familiar identity. The instinct when confronted with such losses is to hold on, to wrap around and cling to all that’s familiar as one is hurtled forward. The river of one’s life becomes frighteningly turbulent as it crashes against unexpected boulders and twists around unforeseen bends, and we grip all the more tenaciously and rigidly to the form of the boat we’ve been riding. But like a birth canal, often the channel of transformation towards which we are racing is navigated most skillfully if we can relax and let go and let the momentum carry us through. Floundering and striking out or fighting back with denial and anger only increases the likelihood of bashing against the boulders.
Not all thresholds are transformative in this way or have to be navigated through loss and pain, but I think given the tenor of the times, we will be seeing more and more of these kinds of experiences. Humanity has accumulated a lot of baggage that it will have to give up to win through to a more humane and blessing-full future, not least of which is its sense of identity as something special for whom the planet is a plaything and piggy bank to do with as it wishes. The current economic downturn is only a shadow of what may happen as we run up against climate change and finite limits to natural resources. This morning the news was full of speculation on the possible crippling impact on the already battered world economy if a full pandemic of the swine flu virus erupts, never mind the potential loss of millions of lives.
I am by instinct an optimist, and my inner experiences are unfailing in giving me faith in humanity’s innate goodness and spiritual capacities. At the same time, incarnation is the soul’s version of an extreme sporting event, one filled with thrills and chills as we measure ourselves against the challenges of evolution and the rush of unfolding new potentials. My oldest son likes to hurl himself off the sides of mountains wearing only a thin set of paragliding wings, and I have friends that like to put themselves in small boats hurtling down river rapids. They deliberately bring themselves to thresholds of challenge because of the expanded sense of self that emerges on the other side. Souls do the same thing with life itself, I’m convinced!
So in addition to my optimism about the future, I think we are at one of those places in planetary and human life where the ride is about to get very fast and very interesting indeed.
If this is so, what can we do?
The first step is not to fear the thresholds. This is easier said than done of course, especially when the threshold threatens to take everything from us that we think of as ourselves, maybe even our physical life, and also when it comes upon us unexpectedly, as such thresholds can do. But fear is additional baggage we don’t need to carry while navigating the rapids of change. The anchor of denial and resistance only makes us less maneuverable, not more.
In talking to the gentleman of the first call, there was little I could do for him in a practical way; he lives thousands of miles away. My first task was to listen as he poured out his fear, anger and despair. And just telling him not to be afraid, I knew, wouldn’t be very helpful as from his perspective he had every reason to be afraid. His fear was a center around which he was coalescing himself; that is, in a paradoxical way, it gave him a sense of stability, albeit a painful one.
A trained counselor might have been able to help him a good deal more than I could, for my perceptions are not psychological but energetic. So I couldn’t give him mental or emotional techniques to help him deal with his fear. But I could ask him to take some time to honor himself and his fear and to deliberately grieve over what he was losing. Part of his familiar life was dying, and to deny it was to lose touch with the transformative energies at work in his life. Taking time to deliberately stop and listen to his fears would, I knew, give the turbulence of his energy field a chance to steady itself and be held by his own attentiveness. Just flailing about mentally and emotionally with a fearful energy doesn’t go anywhere, but focusing on the fear and making it speak coherently and calmly to oneself helps to shift one’s inner experience from feeling helpless to feeling a sense of power, at least the power to listen, which is a start.
As he began to listen and to calm, he began to list positive things he could do, and each time he came up with a fearful objection to doing those things, I asked him to go back and honor the energy of the suggestion he had made. It might not work out but taking a positive step in a helpful direction was better energetically than doing nothing.
What I felt was my most important suggestion was that while looking for new employment he also seek out some form of volunteer work he could do to help others in a similar position as himself. If we can find an inner generosity to help others, it keeps our own creative energy from collapsing and constricting around the hard knot of our personal fears. Such constriction only makes our own process of manifestation much more difficult energetically.
Had his phone call been the last one, I could have told him the stories of the others. Part of his challenge was that he was at the start of the process, just facing the threshold and unsure of himself and his future. But the other two men had gone through experiences at least as bad and in one case much worse than what he was facing, and they had come out the other side feeling more powerful than before. They were different; they had been reborn. And they showed that a threshold is not the end. It’s a passage, not a destination.
In our times, that may be the most important knowledge of all.