Let David help you bring out the best in yourself and your life.
This bold invitation is to be found on David H Wagner’s homepage on his website.
When we caught up with David at the OM Yoga Show a couple of years ago, we witnessed people approaching and saying ‘Oh my boyfriend would be so jealous right now. Can I have a photo? He would have loved to have met you.’ and ‘My sister is a massive fan of yours. Will you sign this book for her?’ David Wagner was clearly already having an effect on the lives of individuals here in the UK.
David’s students join the path in different ways. Some are sensible, as he describes it, and can recognise that there is a better way to live life and actively pursue it. Many others come through crisis – through their own addiction or that of their child, through arriving at rock bottom, through physical and mental illness. They’ve been ‘kissed by the crow’ in one way or another. Something has woken them up and now they are ready to take on some spiritual work (which in David’s opinion, is often missing from the mainstream yoga industry).
David developed his Living Meditation method from more than 20 years of teaching meditation one-on-one and in various kinds of group settings. He believes that there is no one right way to meditate. He aims to provide his students with a toolbox rather than a single tool – so that they can choose the right technique for them where they are in that moment in that place.
David believes in the transformational power of meditation. He brings the whole of himself and enters into community with his students. He’s right there with his students. If someone doesn’t get it, he then takes it personally. He feels it. He uses the experience as a motivation to make him be better the next time. Over the years, David has specialised in one to one private consultations, but now he finds that he’s preferring that group vibe – that sense of community and support and accountability that comes from a group. He has his own community of people in New York and he has teachers that speak into his own life. Every teacher needs a mentor or two, a guru to guide them further along the path.
David describes the Living Meditation Teacher Training as a ‘deep plunge’. For a start, the students have to pledge to be sober in every way for the whole nine months of the training. That in itself is too much for some. Every year, David takes this small group of dedicated students through an intensive programme designed to break through whatever is holding them back from offering the very best of themselves to their life and their world.
Sometimes I have to ride herd on my teachers. That’s a good American phrase right there. It pretty much sums it up. Like a cowboy supervising his cattle. I’m responsible for them. I have to keep close watch. I’m in the saddle. I hold the reins. Teachers only become great by being bad. That way they learn. Every teacher has to stay in training. Has to be constantly learning. Trying new things. And yes, sometimes getting it wrong.
David’s Story is so moving and fascinating. After a difficult start in life as a ‘very angry kid’, he became a ‘misfit high school student’ whose mother was diagnosed with cancer when he was 16. Reading the classic book ‘Be Here Now’ by Ram Dass was a transformational moment for the young David. He gave up drugs and fell in love with the wisdom traditions of India. He began a meditation practice that has continued through his whole life. Do read his story in more detail by following the link.
Now David lives with his wife and family in California and life is good. He feels blessed to be doing this work as spiritual teacher and author. And right now, David has a heart for men, a new vision for men’s spirituality. He’s challenging our limited ideas of what it means to be a man. His underlying belief is that all men are great and that it’s time for men to step up and be tremendously powerful and yet also be basically good. He believes that women have been doing this work of connecting with the sacred and with nature for a long time and now it is time for men to discover what that means for them. He wants men to learn how to be fully alive and deeply connected. And that will take some training. That’s why he provides retreats, courses, and written material designed especially for men.
So David, what does being fully alive and deeply connected look like in your own life?
It’s easier to say what it is not. Not being fully alive and deeply connected is like being in the shower with a raincoat on. There’s a barrier between you and the experience. An insensitivity. A barrier that can be removed and has to be removed if you fully want to enter into the experience.
And for David right now, being fully alive and deeply connected is expressed mostly in his family life. He became a dad at 40 and his kids are now 4 and 2. He’s glad he came to parenting late. He’s had time to go through a lot of healing already. He and his wife never take anything for granted. They want to rise together to the calling of navigating the challenges of daily life without losing wisdom. And David is a present father. He wants to be fully involved in the upbringing of his kids.
David has written a book for men. It’s called ‘Backbone: The modern man’s ultimate guide to purpose, passion and power.’ He describes how in modern society, men have forgotten how to be men. They’ve lost touch with the essence of what it means to be a man.
Modern society has way too many “guys” and an urgent shortage of men.
Part of this observation comes from David’s own experience and his journey to discovering his own deep masculine. Part of it comes from working with many men and observing their journey. He’s also learnt from the wise teachings of others and from listening to the women he has worked with throughout his career. And from observing men everywhere he goes.
David explained how he’d spent the day before wandering around London sightseeing. Not visiting Buckingham Palace or the Tower of London, but observing men. Watching British men going about their everyday lives. Men fascinate him. He wants to learn all he can about men. And so he described the British man through the day as ‘buttoned up’. Curled in around his phone. Not looking up. Not meeting anyone’s eye. Focused. Serious. And then early evening, things change. The man loosens up. He becomes more outgoing. He visibly relaxes. He’s in the pub with his mates. And as the evening goes on, the man becomes less and less inhibited – even wild on occasions!
‘Backbone’ is a book for the American man yes, but also for men from other cultures and traditions. This is much less about cultural roles and traditions and expectations and far more about masculine energy, about identity and vitality. Therefore, while men across the world may seem different in the way they live their lives in their particular society, in fact every man is united in a common humanity, a universal masculinity. The modern man needs to rediscover what it means to have purpose, passion and power – and then work out in his own life what that looks like for him.
This approach can feel uncomfortable in our politically correct world where the line between the sexes has become deliberately blurred. David feels strongly that men should embrace their masculinity and women should embrace their femininity. That men should be men and women should be women. Some will be uncomfortable with this. But there is no sense of judgement or discrimination or inequality in his approach. David is not looking to raise men up by putting women down. He simply wants us to take a closer look at masculinity and femininity. The divine feminine and the divine masculine. Equality does not have to mean being the same. David welcomes gender diversity. You can treat people fairly and with respect without treating them all the same and expecting the same from them.
From the reviews, it seems that this is a book that men around the world have been waiting for. A book about spirituality written by a man for men. In the language that men use and understand. This ground-breaking book could be a game-changer and start a spiritual revolution amongst our men.
David is certainly excited and cannot wait to see men all across the world join this Conscious Men’s Revolution.
Read more: yogamatters.com