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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.

"We may rarely say, 'I am myself. I am spirit. I am soul. There is a holiness in me. Therefore, I am someone who can bless.'"

  David Spangler, Blessing, Part 3

The issue of identity is important. We identify ourselves in so many ways, but most often through our roles, or our possessions, or our social status. We may rarely say, "I am myself. I am spirit. I am soul. There is a holiness in me. Therefore, I am someone who can bless." For blessing is spirit reminding itself of who it is in the midst of its myriad incarnations and manifestations. Blessing is a conversation of recognition between myself, and myself within another. Blessing is a reminder of the love that lies at the core of us, waiting to become our blood and sinew, bone and tissue. If in the "new physics" and the "new cosmology" the stars remind us that we ourselves are made of "star stuff" and therefore kin to the universe, then in a new, holistic spirituality, blessings remind us that we are made of spirit stuff, soul stuff, love stuff -- "blessing stuff" -- and therefore kin to life and to each other. When we bless, we are not just doing good. We are remembering this.

Give me a blessing.

When I was a child, I was aware that there was a non-physical, invisible, spiritual side to life. It seemed perfectly ordinary that this was so, for it was the world as I experienced it. I did not, however, think much about blessings. Oh, my grandmother would pat me on the head and tell me I was a blessing, but that was what grandmothers did. The only times I heard about blessings were when someone sneezed or we said grace at mealtimes or when I heard the minister invoke blessings on the congregation at church. A popular song encouraged me to count my blessings instead of sheep, but usually I was asleep when my head hit the pillow and didn't have time for either. Giving and receiving kindnesses and helping people out were an everyday part of life, a part of neighborliness, a part of fulfilling one's responsibility as a human being. I didn't think of them as blessings.

And when I left college and embarked on a career as a lecturer, I was simply wishing to share the delight, wonder, and empowerment I felt in experiencing a dimension to life beyond our five senses, a dimension filled with spiritual resources for and allies of humanity.

I certainly didn't think of myself as going forth to bless anyone.

Give me a blessing.

"Give me a blessing," the woman said. She stood before me expectantly and trustingly, and I knew I couldn't say no to her. I had no idea what I was going to do or how to go about it. I didn't know why she wanted a blessing -- much less wanted it from me -- but in that moment, it didn't seem right to ask. The correct response was . . . to respond: to meet her halfway, to match her trust in me with my trust in her and in spirit. If I could not approach her in knowledge and experience, I could approach her in love and faith.

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