Tuesday, July 4, 2017

We are "Subtle Citizens" of a "Subtle America"

In this article, David Spangler gives us his ideas on how to adjust our inner perceptions in dealing with the current divisions in our country. He calls it being a "subtle citizen."

We are each subtle citizens of Subtle America. In the physical world, being a citizen means I am engaged with the laws and democratic processes of the country. As a subtle citizen, however, I engage not with laws or political processes but with the subtle energies generated by me and my fellow citizens through our thinking, feeling, and actions. 

As an American citizen, I am blessed with freedoms and opportunities that many people in other countries can only dream of. Whether I take advantage of them and how I do so is another matter, but the principles embedded in the Constitution, its Bill of Rights, and in the Declaration of Independence guarantee me an environment of liberty as long as the American democracy exists. 

Keeping it in existence, protecting and defending it, is not just the responsibility of those who take public office and swear an oath to do so; it is really the responsibility of all of us as citizens. On the physical level, we do so through all the means that are available to us: protecting a free press, voting, making petitions and referendums, contacting our State and Federal representatives, supporting good candidates for office or running for office ourselves, peaceful protests, and so forth. Simply, we keep our democracy strong by participating in it and by not taking it for granted.

Ideally, we are each custodians of the values and ideals set forth in our founding documents. Ideally, our responsibility is to ensure that all our fellow citizens, men, women, and children, are treated equally and have equal rights and opportunities for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In a democracy, this is not just the responsibility of government officials and politicians; it is the responsibility of each of us as citizens. For the fulfillment of the promise of America takes place through our individual lives and actions. This is what being a citizen is all about.

Of course, in practice, such an ideal citizen often does not exist. The promised values and principles of America are often taken for granted, abridged, or subverted. In this sense, the full incarnation of the spirit of the United States has yet to happen. But it will not happen through institutions. It can only happen in the lives of citizens who take the promises of the Constitution seriously and seek to embody them in their actions and relationships, as well as in their politics.

Being a subtle citizen also carries responsibilities, but given the different nature of the subtle worlds, the responsibilities and how we fulfill them are different, too. Just like as a physical citizen I have a calling to protect and defend the values and ideals of Constitution in my everyday life, as a subtle citizen I have a calling to protect and defend the spiritual destiny of the United States, which for me is that of becoming a “planetary nation” as I described in the Topic on Subtle America. 

The two are certainly related. I also have a calling to do what I can to see that the incarnational Light that flows into the nation is given clear channels through which to express. I feel called to protect and defend the subtle environments in which I live and work, to do what I can to bring clarity, harmony, and wholeness to the subtle environment so that the Light That Renews can flow freely within it.
• On the physical level, I may see a need and a calling to protest and oppose actions, practices, political and social efforts, and so on that diminish the values and promises of America and its democracy. I certainly have a right as a citizen to participate in vigorous debate with those who have different views of how to accomplish the goals of our Constitution, and I have a right to let my voice be heard in support of whatever positive vision inspires me. 

As a subtle citizen, though, I need to be aware of the kind of subtle energies I bring into the process. It is all to easy to give in to anger and even hatred born of fear, despair, and even simple dislike of differences. It’s all too easy to see my opponents as my enemy and to think of them and feel towards them in destructive ways. When this happens, I am contributing to the turbulence and disharmony of the subtle environment.

Here is the paradox of subtle citizenship. As a citizen, I may feel called to oppose something I see as injustice or as damaging to the spirit and vision of America, damaging to its democracy and its Constitution. If I do see such a thing, then I should oppose it with all the wisdom, strength, courage, and skill that I can, as appropriately as I can. If I, as a citizen, do not Protect and Defend, then I can’t always depend on my elected officials to do so. 

But as a subtle citizen, I have to find my way into love of some level (see the Spectrum of Love Topic) in order to build connection and flow in the subtle environment. I have to discover how to combine good outer citizenship with good inner energy hygiene. I may need to be disharmonious in the outer environment, but I need to build harmony in the inner environment.

• What as subtle citizens we grow to understand is just how powerful our thoughts and feelings are in influencing and shaping the inner environment, and given how inner and outer environments can be “coupled” and mutually influential, how I affect the inner world can definitely have an effect in the outer world and vice versa.

This is a balancing act, and no one, least of all me, would ever claim it’s easy. How much I want to engage with it depends on the level of subtle citizenry to which I aspire. I want to remember, though, that the state of Subtle America, at least in its energetic personality field, reflects the collective thoughts and feelings of the citizens. Here’s an example. We are told over and over again lately how divided the United States are, and this past election would seem to confirm this. 

But if we think of our country as divided and put energy into that belief, then as subtle citizens we are building thought-forms in the subtle environment that will, indeed, continue to foster outer divisiveness. Some, not all, of my inner colleagues believe that there is a growing probability that the United States will splinter into separate, smaller nations. They have shown me the energetic “fault lines” that are developing around the country that would lead to this eventuality. They’re not predicting it as a certainty, but as one of them has said, “You are moving back again to where you were when you had your Civil War.”

For this reason, their advice is, “Stop seeing each other as enemies.” There may well be strong divisions in politics, culture, racial relationships, and so on, but if the inner attitude is one of emphasizing and embracing these divisions, then a tipping point may be reached that manifests as a politically divided country with all the turmoil and potential violence this would create.

So as a subtle citizen, if I accept I have a responsibility to Protect and Defend not just the Constitution and its values but the inner, subtle wholeness of the United States and its spiritual destiny, then I can’t afford to think of any of my fellow citizens, no matter how much I may disagree with their politics, as my enemies. I can’t deny them wisdom as well. I can’t deny that they also possess value. I can’t be biased to say that all that is good is on my side with “my people” and my way of seeing things. We know that there are people who are doing precisely this and thus contributing to the energetic fault lines that are afflicting the subtle field of the United States. The question is, are we going to do it, too?

Illustration by Jill Badonsky

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