David's Desk Archives

     From J.M. about David's Desk: "David, I always look forward to your monthly pieces, and always feel a lifting in my heart/soul on those days when I see the subject line in my email box. I have enjoyed all of them, often pondering on them for days or weeks or more afterwards."

     Thanks, David, for the magnificent teachings and observations you gave us, the amazing exercises you set for us, and for all the varied and profound discussion that all the forum-ites were willing to bring to all of it! Thank you, thank you all." —RR, Program Participant

     David, your work is valuable, and I am delighted to support it and you in this way. And the forums – even when I haven't had the time to engage with them as fully as I would like – are always rich, full, evolutionary experiences. Thank you for continuing to offer this subscription series." —HB, Views from the Borderland subscriber

     Thank you, David, once again for your amazing thoughts. I just adore the idea of 'Fingerprints of Love.' It really struck a cord with me, you promote love and respect in most of your thoughts, and I really work toward that goal on a daily basis." —DE, about “David’s Desk”

Books by David Spangler

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Views from the Borderlands

Beginning each June, Lorian offers an annual subscription program for
Views from the Borderlands. This quarterly includes these benefits:
 Views from the Borderlands, a printed journal of David Spangler’s perceptions of the subtle worlds, mailed four times a year at the equinoxes and solstices.
 Two online forums a year, one in the spring, one in the fall, where David Spangler will be available to discuss material from the quarterly journals and answer questions.

Click here for further information. The subscription cost is $100 annually.
Incarnational Thoughts

Water Spirit Message

by David Spangler I’m posting the following story at the request of a water spirit I encountered four or five days ago. I’ve held off sharing it partly because of the holidays and partly due to wanting to make sure that it was a valid contact. After some reflection, I believe that it was. I haven’t had Read more…

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Subtle Activism After Events in the Syrian Civil War

Question and Comments with David Spangler TH: A question has been percolating in my mind. I know I feel Subtle Activism creates a feeling in me of it having an effect. And I know we have talked about creating a field of love. But I was wondering what is the real effect? How do our inner allies Read more…

Posted in David Spangler, Incarnational Thoughts 2 | Leave a comment
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David’s Desk

David Spangler
 About David Spangler

David’s Desk is my opportunity to share thoughts and tools for the spiritual journey. These letters 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 wish to share this letter with others, please feel free to do so; however the material is © 2014 by David Spangler. If you no longer wish to receive these letters please let us know at info@Lorian.org.

Previous issues of “David’s Desk” are available here. You can also buy a volume of twelve of David’s Desk essays, entitled The Flame of Incarnation.

~ David’s Desk, Current Issue ~

#93 – The Empty Place

February 2015

            Recently, my family and I watched a six-part television series called The Sisterhood. It focused on six young women who each felt a calling to become a nun. The beginning of this process was a six-week period of discernment in which the women spent time in three different convents, getting to know the sisters there, participating in both their spiritual life and their work in the community, and in this way seeing if this really was the life to which they were called. It was a fascinating and moving drama as the cameras followed each of the women as they confronted the reality of what the life of a nun is like, in some ways very different from their fantasies of what it would be like.

            One moment that struck me occurred as they entered the first convent for the beginning of their discernment journey. The first thing they had to do was surrender their cell phones. For all the women, this was an unexpected and challenging moment. Their cell phones were their links to the world of social media, and they took participation in their electronic communities as part of the natural order of things. To be cut off came as a genuine shock. Some of the women even felt panicked. What they had not fully realized was that they were embarking on an inner journey that required them to be free of distractions and the pull of the outer world. They were being asked to become contemplative, and to do so, they had to learn to become empty.

            The practice of discovering and stepping into an empty place isn’t just for people entering a religious vocation; one does not even have to be a contemplative to appreciate its benefits. I think of it as the Ground Zero of our creative capacities. It’s where all things start. It’s the “stem cell” of the mind and heart, able to differentiate into any number of possible expressions. It’s the seed condition out of which emergence takes place.

            For example, when I sit down each month to write this essay, I often have no idea what I’m going to say. I am confronted by every writer’s bête noir: the blank page. What words am I going to put on it this month? When no idea immediately springs to mind and no words are forthcoming, the natural thing is to think, “I have no idea what to write.” If I am struggling to fulfill my image of myself as a writer, then this is not a good thing. Not knowing what to say or do is a source of stress.

            But if I’m in my empty place, then not having an idea—having only silence, emptiness and not-knowing instead–is a good thing. Rather than being a state of frustration, it becomes a state of wonder and anticipation. The moment I tell myself that it’s OK not to know what I’m going to say, I can relax and just let my mind empty out. Invariably out of that emptiness, something comes. It just needed me to provide it the space to emerge.

            What comes doesn’t have to be earth-shaking and revolutionary. It can be an ordinary thought, like the one I’m writing about now, a thought that, when I give it a chance to appear, has something to say. In other words, I don’t go into the empty space as a means to discover what I’m going to say. The empty place isn’t a means to an end. It’s an enjoyable state all on its own which has the characteristic that, if nurtured, it will turn itself into something, like the stem cell turns into a liver cell or a heart cell.

            Over the years I’ve developed a useful way of entering my empty space. I long ago learned that trying to empty my mind in the abstract—that is, just telling myself that I should have an empty mind and trying not to think of anything—didn’t work for me. What did work arose out of an experience that was so normal and common to me that I had overlooked it. This experience was one of quiet anticipation that took place when I was in a theater and looking at the empty stage or the blank screen. The play or the movie hadn’t started yet, so that empty stage or screen was a presence of potential, a place where anything might happen.

            I discovered that if I imagined myself sitting in a theater in the audience with an empty stage in front of me before the curtain rose and the play unfolded, the feeling of the potential and wonder of that empty stage became an experience of an empty space within me. I became that empty stage, pregnant with possibility.

            I called this my “theater of the heart and mind”. It was the place, the moment, the quiet before something happened…and anything could happen.

            But it can also be a state just to be enjoyed for its own sake. Sitting with empty mind and heart—or, if you wish, with your mind and heart attending to the empty stage—doing nothing, thinking nothing is a regenerative practice, one that never fails to give energy and to be restorative.

            The challenge is that we are in a culture that fears and distrusts emptiness. It is a culture of maximum stimulation, a 24/7 society that wants to fill up every moment with something. We have so many ways now to divert ourselves and fill our minds with information and stimulation that we can avoid emptiness, pushing it away with our screens, our tweets and our texts. But in so doing, we push away an important part of ourselves. The paradox is that while we may fear that in emptiness we will lose ourselves, in fact it’s in emptiness that we find ourselves…and much more besides.

(c) 2015 David Spangler


David has a new upcoming class, “Working with Subtle Energies” starting on February 9th.  More information on that class and others upcoming on our website at www.lorian.org.


To learn more, explore this website, read the Lorian blog, view a short video, read past David's Desk posts or engage self study work. View the Calendar to learn more about other classes.