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Excerpted from Blessing by David Spangler. Copyright © 2001 by David Spangler. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"I feel that each of us has an indwelling spirit -- a unique and personal connection with the sacred -- which is our true spiritual teacher."

  David Spangler, Blessing, Part 2

Over the thirty-five years I have been in public life, lecturing and teaching about spirituality and spiritual practice, I've given thousands of blessings. I have blessed people, events, buildings, places, even a composting toilet! You would think I'd feel comfortable about giving blessings by now, and most of the time I do. But sometimes, as at that conference, I feel reticent. I may feel it's more appropriate for someone else to do it, someone who is more attuned to the particular event or place. But sometimes I simply feel shy. Who am I, I wonder, to stand in the place of spirit and pronounce a blessing? After thirty-five years, I can still have my doubts.

Give me a blessing.

I don't call myself a spiritual teacher, although that name is often applied to me. I feel that each of us has an indwelling spirit -- a unique and personal connection with the sacred -- which is our true spiritual teacher. What I do is to help people identify and connect with that spiritual side of themselves. I support them in learning to listen to it and embody it in their lives. Because of this, people sometimes see me in a role similar to that of a clergyperson; it is in this context that I am asked to offer blessings. But a blessing is not the function of a particular role. It is the natural expression of the fiery love and inclusiveness of our inner spirit. It is the manifestation of a soulfire, and each of us can be its hearth. To bless is not a prerogative only of ministers, priests, and rabbis; it is not the exclusive domain of saints and holy people. It is a natural human ability, and anyone can do it. But first we must claim that ability.

Give me a blessing.

If I came to you and said, "Please do me a kindness," or "Please help me," you might feel put upon by my request, but at least it would fall within a familiar range of human interaction. You would have an idea of how to proceed. You could, for example, inquire as to just what help or kindness I needed or wished, and then see if you had the resources or willingness to proceed. There is nothing unusual about being asked to help. But you may find it unusual and disconcerting to be asked to give a blessing. The implication is that you have access to a spiritual source capable of making that blessing real. The implication is that there is holiness within you.

This is an identity many modern people are uncomfortable with. We are not like the Irish peasants who, when walking by a farmer's field, could quite naturally and sincerely call forth blessings upon the land and the crops. In our fast-paced, highly electronic culture, we don't feel so intimately connected with spirit anymore. It's easier -- and often more believable -- for us to call someone on the other side of the world on our cell phone than it is to call upon a creative spirit within. Through technology, we have become connected to each other and to the world in incredible and generally useful ways. But we have become disconnected as well. And it's this disconnection that amplifies the voice within us that longs to call the universe home, that yearns for an unknown wholeness, that looks for allies and support in the world about us, that seeks liberation from a growing sense of alienation.

Give me a blessing.

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