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.