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A Planetary Consciousness

Excerpt from Apprenticed to Spirit

David Spangler

Page 2

Through his own genius, his broad planetary vision, and his gift for synthesis, Bill was able to engage these diverse and gifted individuals on their own turf, talk their language, and draw them together into unique and creative collaborations.  He could see connections between our very diverse paths and work and enabled us to see them as well.  Most of us would never have crossed paths or known each other in the usual course of things, but through the Fellowship and its annual gatherings, ideas and insights were exchanged, friendships developed, and cross-fertilization took place that broadened and deepened the work of all of us, whatever our respective fields.

In fact, of all the organizations and groups I have encountered or worked with, it was the Lindisfarne Fellowship that was for me the most truly “New Age,” though it never applied that terminology to itself.  Over the years, its growing roster of members represented a Who’s Who of individuals at the forefront of progressive research and action in new cultural paradigms and possibilities.  The Fellowship in its collective creativity and collaborative spirit embodied for me the quality of emergence that both John and I felt were at the heart of the New Age idea.

Bill himself became a frequent visitor in our home, engaging in four-way conversations with Julie and myself and with John.  Indeed, he treated John as an informal, inner plane Lindisfarne Fellow, and his questions and comments, often arising from his own mystical experiences, drew out some of John’s most profound insights.

I described in the last chapter my work of entering and blending with a field of emergence, a presence embodying the ideas and energies of a new consciousness.  Absorbing the energy and information within that presence and then bringing it back into my everyday awareness so that I could tell its story, so to speak, required points of contact in my own knowledge.  I needed to have ideas, images and information that could “hook” onto the subtle energies of this presence and turn them into thoughts I could share with others.

Through the conversations with Bill as well as through participating in the flow of ideas when the Lindisfarne Fellows gathered for our annual conferences, I realized that the idea of planetary consciousness was one of the hooks I needed and had been looking for. It so matched what I was experiencing on the inner that I felt that Bill and most of the Fellows were in tune with and giving expression to the same presence of emergence that I was.

I found particularly useful the idea of planetary consciousness meaning to “think like a planet,” or as Bill put it drawing on Lovelock’s use of the term Gaia to designate the planetary organism, to express a “Gaian way of knowing.”  This was exactly what I felt the World Soul was seeking to achieve through the “project” with which John and I were working.  This project was to draw forth from humanity the potentials we already possessed to express the kind of loving, holistic, co-creative approach to life that a Gaian way of knowing and being represented.

Gardeners instinctively do this.  They plant their seeds and then they do what they can to nourish and foster the growth of the plants. It’s a partnership between themselves and their garden.  There are things a gardener can do and there are things only the plant can do for itself, and both depend upon the larger environment, such as the weather.  But there is a will on the part of the gardener to be available as a partner to the plant in whatever way is appropriate and possible.

It was this will to be available to the world as a partner through an appreciation of the wholeness that humanity and nature might achieve together that was one of the major teachings of Findhorn.  It was precisely this holistic spirit that I felt the advocates for a New Age at that time were trying to grasp, although not always successfully.  Certainly, the manifestation and embodiment of such a way of being and thinking by individuals and as a culture would truly bring about a new age.

If Findhorn was a demonstration of community and cooperation with the forces of nature, then Lindisfarne was a demonstration of an integrative, holistic consciousness at work.  What it offered—and continues to offer—was every bit as important and vital to the emergence of a new culture or to the idea of a New Age as what Findhorn offered, but it was less visible and certainly less glamorous and dramatic.  Lindisfarne had no garden to attract public attention, but the coming together imaginatively, spiritually, and intellectually of such a diverse group of creative scientists, artists, mathematicians, economists, and contemplatives to integrate their work into a comprehensive “Gaian” world view was every bit as wonderful and profound.

Many of these ideas and insights of what a Gaian consciousness could be—of what it meant to think like a planet—came together for me in one shining moment in 1976.  Two of my Lindisfarne colleagues, John and Nancy Todd, were the founders of the New Alchemy Institute, an organization devoted to research in the marriage of architecture, biological design, and aquaculture.  Along with their colleagues, they invented the bioshelter, a building incorporating a solar greenhouse.  The nature of a bioshelter is that the building itself is designed as an organism. It can generate its own heat and power and recycle its wastes by incorporating plants and organisms, such as bacteria, snails, and fish, into its overall structure.

You literally have to think and act like the soul of a planet to live in and operate a bioshelter.

David Spangler is an internationally known spiritual teacher and writer, and was instrumental in helping establish the Findhorn Foundation community in northern Scotland in the late 1960’s early 1970’s. Since then David has traveled widely within the United States and Canada giving classes, workshops and lectures. His themes have included the emergence of a holistic culture, the nature of personal sacredness, our participation in a coevolving, co-creative universe, partnering, and working with spiritual realms, our responsibility to the earth and to each other, the spiritual nature and power of our individuality, and our calling to be of service at this crucial time of world history. Many of these themes come together in his primary work, which is the development of a spiritual perspective and practice called Incarnational Spirituality.

Read more about David Spangler


1Findhorn Foundation, Scotland, United Kingdom
2A non-physical being Spangler was mentored by and partnered with for 27 years.

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6 August 2012

Tagged Under
mysticism, ecology, consciousness, soul, spirit, planet, mystery school, William Irwin Thompson, Lindisfarne,
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