A Rigorous Multidimensional Mystery School of
Love & Awakening
How can we learn to:
~ Live in states of inspiration, passion, and flow consistently ~
~ Create incredible nourishing relationships that reliably spiral upwards ~
~ Adeptly navigate triggers and trauma every time ~
~ Master principles of compassionate and empowered communication ~
~ Clear past pain and open our core energy fully ~
~ Create work that delivers our deepest gifts, or take it to the next level ~
~ Understand and practice the true nature of Tantra ~
~ Unlock and unblock our tender intimate love ~
…all as an authentic path of spiritual awakening and essential realization?
In this training we will engage deeply and personally with the dynamics of spiritual awakening, both theoretically and experientially.
A central focus is on relationship and relatedness as a vehicle and pathway for awakening.
We will explore profound understandings from diverse sources,
and challenge them in the laboratory of dialogue, inquiry, and experiment
– to test, integrate, and make them our own.
CEU Continuing Education Credits are planned for Embracing the Beloved, message David to inquire.
What Benefits can I expect from Embracing the Beloved?
- Master the landscape of triggers and trauma
- Always know how to unhook yourself
- Communicate clearly, directly, and compassionately, in ways that are heard
- Clear the impacts of past pain
- Learn skills to restore flow and stay present and clear
- Experience relationships that are consistently spiraling upwards
- Know how to always find and reconnect with your core energy and passion
- Create work you passionately love, and keep it moving to the next level
- Know your authentic essence with certainty, and orient from there
- Establish and stabilize a heart that stays open
What kind of a training is Embracing the Beloved?
Is Embracing the Beloved a Relationship training?
Yes. I’m happy for this training to be seen as a relationship training. If spiritual awakening is sacred union, then clearly this revolves around relatedness. And our most intimate relationships reflect our experiences of union and separation better than any other aspect of life. In this training you will receive all the skills needed to create relationships that spiral upwards consistently, in both practical and spiritual ways. If you are in a relationship, there will be ample opportunity to work on it directly in the training. It’s great to do this training with a partner, and not at all required.
Is Embracing the Beloved a Communication training?
Yes. Since connection relies on communication, we will learn and practice the whole toolkit of Non-Violent Communication (NVC), and more. This will greatly enhance relationships of all kinds.
Is Embracing the Beloved a training about trauma?
Yes. Trauma creates dissociation, and disconnection from ourselves, others, and our environment. Trauma is not only from terrible things that happen, it can also be from important things that didn’t happen, which affects us developmentally. In fact, what spiritual traditions call ‘ego’ may be nothing but trauma, or function in exactly the same way. We will arrive at a deep understanding of trauma and triggers in Embracing the Beloved.
Is Embracing the Beloved a Spiritual training?
Yes. The central intent of this training is to provide a potent embodied experience of perennial spiritual wisdom. There is no specific lineage represented, or rather you could say that David’s lineage is of those eclectic innovative trailblazers who experiment and explore new modalities for ongoing development of spiritual practice. All of David’s most profound teachers have had this in common.
Is Embracing the Beloved a Tantra training?
In a sense, Yes. This is not similar to Classical Tantra as traditionally practiced, and has little in common with modern ‘Neo-Tantra’. There is not a central focus on the sexual aspects of Tantra, and no ‘clothing-off’ exercises. But David views Tantra as a Nondual path of spiritual awakening through intimacy and the integration polarity, and in this sense, Embracing the Beloved is a ‘Modern Evolving Tantra’. There will be some use of recognizable Tantric practices.
Is Embracing the Beloved an Empowerment training?
Yes. The work of healing trauma, extricating ourselves from enmeshment with psychic structures, and opening our core energy, inevitably results in deepening individuation, and is inherently very empowering. There will be a significant focus on creating or upleveling our fully aligned work in life, which is necessary for our core energy to flow. This embraces and goes beyond other forms of work with the aim of ‘personal empowerment’.
Is Embracing the Beloved a Professional training?
A qualified Yes. We are not practicing the skills we learn with a central focus on professional applications. The primary focus is on personal discovery and development. However, everything we learn has strong professional applications, and David will field questions on this in detail. You will also receive watch and substantial ‘spot coaching’ with other participants, and you can choose to include coaching on professional applications in your private sessions. CEU credits are planned, and supervised practice with clients is available.
Will all these different aspects clutter Embracing the Beloved?
No. There is plenty of space within the six months, and these will not feel like disjointed segments. The design of the training container will place these elements in a coherent context within the journey. It will be obvious how each of these aspects is integral to the process of awakening.
The Structure of Embracing the Beloved
Embracing the Beloved takes place over approximately 6 months, from January through July 2020.
The training is designed so that students can participate while living in any location.
Elements of Embracing the Beloved:
- There are 3 residential weekend intensives which are required. These take place in Northern California.
Lodgings and food will be arranged for, and attempts will be made to keep these as economical as possible.
- Dates of the residential intensive weekends are Jan 10-12, 2019 | Mar 6-8, 2019 | May 8-10, 2019
- Full schedule is available as a shared Google calendar. (Please submit application to be added to share)
- 4 Virtual Intensive Saturday Zoom Sessions (6 hours each). 3 are on the months with no weekend intensive, plus the final graduation day. These sessions may also be available for in-person participation, but will definitely be streamed.
- 6 Virtual Evening Zoom Sessions (3 hours each). These are spaced so that group has some event every 2 weeks.
These sessions may also be available for in-person participation, but will definitely be streamed.
- 6 Private Zoom Sessions with David (up to 2 hours each). One per month. More are available if desired.
- There will be ongoing homework, much of it connected with applying the skills and awarenesses learned in seminar.
Some of the homework is for everyone, some is co-created with David uniquely for each participant.
There will also be some video watching and reading asked of you, and light journaling, but not large amounts.
This constitutes 150 hours of class time. I am working to make CEU credits available for the full class time.
This training is valuable for professionals in a wide range of fields, including:
- Counselors, psychologists, mental health professionals, and social workers.
- Educators, teachers, and school administrators.
- Physicians, nurses, and midwives.
Bonus: Students in Embracing the Beloved may participate in any other live or online programs offered by David at no additional cost. You may also access replays of previous streamed workshops.
The Methods of Embracing the Beloved
Embracing the Beloved is designed with a strong balance of ‘left brain’ and ‘right brain’ approaches, and utilizes a wide variety of methods and modalities including:
- Inquiry and Dialogue
- Lecture and audio-visual presentations
- Work with Enneagram
- Breathwork (similar to Holotropic Breathwork)
- Guided Meditation and ‘Shamanic Journey’ work.
- Practices drawn from Tantra
- Music and Poetry
- Movement and Vocalization
- Group and Dyad Sharing
- Other unique experiential exercises
The Curriculum of Embracing the Beloved
The training aims to communicate Understandings, Skills, and Experiences.
As a Mystery School, Embracing the Beloved is first and foremost an experiential journey. That said, there is a great deal of content covered, with depth, rigor, and detail. All didactic content taught is founded on ‘university grade’ empirical science-based knowledge, or noted as otherwise.
The weekends will focus as much as possible on experiential modalities, leaving as much as possible of the didactic content for the ongoing virtual sessions in between. The content blocks are very diverse, but integrated into the coherent flow of the training.
All content is presented in immediately applicable and relevant forms, as it relates to our experiential aims. No attempt is made to cover these topics in a comprehensive manner. Emphasis will be highly responsive to student needs and interests.
Content covered will include:
- Foundations and dynamics of Spiritual Awakening
- Problems and challenges encountered in Spiritual Awakening
- Personality and Essence
- Dynamics of Intimacy, Sexuality, and Love Relationships in Awakening
- Advanced understandings of trauma and ‘triggers’, in psychological, interpersonal, and spiritual contexts
- The systems of Non-Violent Communication (NVC) and Compassionate Communication
- Enneagram studies for self-analysis
- Principles of Tantra and other ‘Nondual’ approaches to spirituality
- Early Childhood Development as it relates to our personal developmental trauma
- Attachment and Authenticity
- Relation of trauma to physical disease, ego formation, and social systems
- Biochemical dimensions of Awakening, such as Hormones and Neurotransmitters
- Bioenergetic dimensions of Awakening, such as Core Energy and Emotional Repertoire
- Dynamics of Self-Connection and Authentic Contact
- Interruption and Distortion of Self-Connection and Authentic Contact
- The critical distinction between Concepts and Phenomena
- Receptivity, Attunement, and Connection
- Mental Hygiene: Critical Thinking about spiritual development
- Power Relations in the context of spiritual realities
- Understanding Capacity, Maturity, Motivation, Compassion in the context of Awakening
What is a Mystery School, and why is this one?
Fair question. A ‘Mystery School’ is a specific thing, but not one with a well agreed definition. One cannot find it in any dictionary, but it is referred to widely in encyclopedic, scholarly, and popular sources. The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘mystery’ as: “something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain; a person or thing whose nature is puzzling or unknown”, and ‘school’ as “any institution at which instruction is given in a particular discipline; a group of people sharing similar ideas or methods”. That should be a hint.
Generally, the phrase means an organized experiential initiation to bring about insights and changes not available through informational education. It specifically refers to the greater mysteries of life and consciousness, where initiation does not refer to being ‘let in on a secret’ held by a priesthood, but rather to a context which is choreographed for personally encountering realities which are ineffable, or beyond didactic explanations.
The phrase is used mainly in reference to ‘western esoteric traditions’, which operate in significantly different ways from eastern ‘guru-based traditions’ or exoteric (mainstream) traditions of both east and west, which rely heavily on the following of an authority or doctrine. It could be said that one of the main aims of Mystery Schools is to propel the initiate towards full individuation (in the Jungian sense), from which vantage point they may operate beyond the reach of primary reference to authority, and achieve an inner locus of control and orientation or self-directedness. This provides the initiate with the means to become an adept, one who is adept at perceiving, navigating, and acting creatively and powerfully in the mysterious territory of life, experience, and phenomena, for themselves. My favorite literary metaphors for an adept are the Jedi Master, and the Wizard (both are unisex terms).
Prominent examples of Mystery Schools through history include:
- Ancient Egyptian Initiatory practices
- Mesopotamian and Anatolian practices
- The Eleusinian Mysteries of Ancient Greece
- Druidic societies
- Mithraism in Persia
- Jewish and Hermetic teachings of Qabalah
- Alchemy in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
- Other Hermetic teachings and orders, through to the present day
- Some Sufi and other Central Asian schools and orders
- Some Indigenous Traditions of Shamanism and Initiation
Embracing the Beloved does not aim to replicate or educate about these historic examples, and should not be directly compared to them. Rather, we embrace the spirit of the perennial endeavor to encounter the mysteries directly, in ever evolving ways.
David has personally been initiated into 9 diverse modern Mystery Schools by adept mentors.
Sources and Influences
David has studied with diverse teachers from a wide range of traditions and approaches. Aspects and insights from all of these find their way into his teaching. David does not follow the teachings of any of them, nor work within any established lineages. However, he holds all these consciousness elders in high regard, and has been deeply touched by each of them. Here is a representative sample of sources and influences.
Bodies of psychological work that have significantly influenced David:
- Gabor Maté CM: Hungarian-born Canadian physician well known as a pioneer in Bio-Psycho-Social Medicine. He has a background in family practice and a special interest in childhood development and trauma, and in their potential lifelong impacts on physical and mental health, including on autoimmune disease, cancer, ADHD, addictions, and a wide range of other conditions. He now teaches his method of Compassionate Inquiry, a practice almost identical to the process David has independently developed in counseling clients. (This is not entirely surprising, as Gabor also acknowledges A.H. Almaas as a significant influence.)
- Peter Levine: received his PhD in medical biophysics from the University of California in Berkeley and also holds a doctorate in psychology from International University. He has worked in the field of stress and trauma for over 40 years and is the developer of the Somatic Experiencing method. Peter’s work has been a seminal influence on David for decades.
- Arnold Mindell: Author, therapist and teacher in the fields of transpersonal psychology, body psychotherapy, social change and spirituality. Mindell is the founder of process oriented psychology, also called Process Work, a development of Jungian psychology influenced by Taoism, shamanism and physics. David worked directly with Arnold briefly, that encounter and his ‘dreambody’ series of books was a significant influence.
Teachers David has worked immersively with:
- H. Almaas: Founder of the Ridhwan School, and the Diamond Approach to Self-Realization. A true multidisciplinary innovator, Almaas developed ground breaking understandings and methods in a psychologically sophisticated approach to spiritual awakening.
- Katherine and Jitendra Darling: Katie Darling founded MotherWave Awakening Trainings, where David was on staff for 2 years. MotherWaveWork is an advanced, playful, and embodied approach to Spiritual Awakening and clearing birth trauma
- Antero Alli: Author, Astrologer, Ritualist, and founder of Para-Theatrical Research, Antero has developed unique and innovative approaches to all his arts, including zen based psychodrama ritual, and an interpretation of Timothy Leary’s Eight Circuit Model of the nervous system.
- Oberon and Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart: In 1962 OZ & MG founded of the Church of All Worlds, the first legally recognized 501c3 Neo-Pagan religious organization. They coined the term Polyamory, and successfully maintained a five person marriage. An early advocate of deep ecology, Oberon articulated the ‘Gaia Hypothesis’ in 1970, independently of James Lovelock, who is usually given credit. In 1997 David co-founded a land-based community in Mendocino County CA with the Zell-Ravenhearts and one other family, where they lived and worked together for several years.
- Anodea Judith PhD: Author, therapist, Neo-Pagan priestess, and public speaker on the chakra system, body-mind integration, somatic therapy, and yoga. David worked closely with Anodea in the 1990’s, and practiced her methods of Neo-Reichian Chakra therapy.
- Various teachers of Tantra, including staff roles with ISTA (International School of Temple Arts) and Kahua Institute (Tantra Temple on Maui founded by Kutira and Raphael)
- Various teachers of Marshal Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication and other relationship skills, including Sonika Tinker & Christian Pederson, and Scott Catamas, founder of the Love Coach Academy.
- Terrence McKenna: Well known as a speaker and author on psychedelic plant medicines, McKenna was a brilliant and visionary (if sometimes less than empirical) thinker on shamanism, metaphysics, alchemy, language, philosophy, culture, technology, environmentalism, and the theoretical origins of human consciousness. David lived next door to Terrence for a year, resulting in many mind expanding conversations.
- Rutherford Lone Man: Arapaho ‘road chief’ in the Native American Church. David sat up in the teepee over many nights with Rutherford in Peyote ceremony.
- Waldorf Education & Anthroposophy: Both founded by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), an adept initiate of multiple spiritual traditions, who split off from the Theosophical Society to develop his own systems and community. Steiner believed that for Self-Realization we need not study God (Theos), but rather we should study ourselves (Anthropos). In the early 2000’s David raised 2 step-children in the Waldorf school system, reading and participating extensively in Waldorf & Steiner methods and practices.
Other significant teachers and influences include: Ken Wilber, Claudio Naranjo, Stanislav Grof, Daniel Odier, David Deida, Osho, Byron Katie, Robert Moore, Robert Anton Wilson, Tian Gong Grandmaster Le-Tian Da Shi, Lama Shakya Zangpo, Drunvalo Melchizedek, and the poetry of Hafiz & Rumi. And thank you Jon Anderson and Peter Gabriel.
Spiritual traditions David draws on significantly in his teaching:
- Hermetic Traditions
Video links and book recommendations coming soon…
Is Embracing the Beloved for me?
Why you might need Embracing the Beloved:
- Still triggered frequently in the course of life?
- Trouble communicating your truth, or overdoing it when you do?
- Pain from past relationships or childhood holding you back?
- Done lots of workshops or therapies, but the states don’t stay?
- Struggle, conflict, or breakdowns in important relationships?
- Still longing for your life partner?
- Struggling to find or launch your true work, or take it to the next level?
- Losing patience with lightweight, rigid, or ponderously slow and elaborate spiritual practices?
- Inspired by David’s work, or have been a client or student in the past.
- Just ready for a deep dive into the adventure of Spiritual Awakening and Ecstatic Relationship?
You might be ready for Embracing the Beloved if:
- You are mentally and emotionally stable.
- You value the depth of tradition, and the spirit of innovation.
- You’ve seen and done enough to know you need the real thing.
- You are willing to go beyond your edges to deepen your freedom and love.
- You are feeling a tingle right now…
Origins of this Training
For some years, I’ve been developing and leading the Passionate Awakenings Core Training which had four levels presented as weekend workshops. Though many students had breakthroughs and gave the trainings extraordinary reviews, it became clear to me that a deeper ongoing container and learning community would be needed for students to make full use of the possibility of this work.
And now it’s here!
Embracing the Beloved spans the journey of the first three trainings of the old Core Training, greatly expanded within a whole new framework, with many new exercises and content modules. The fourth training is being expanded into it’s own three month advanced training, covering deep clearing and integration of power relations in the context of essential realization.