ULV’s David Flaten explores the extraordinary—who’s to say it’s not true?
Dr. David Flaten creates stories on stage to live out the imagined. In life, he summons sources of energy from spiritual beings that some say are unbelievable. At the University of La Verne, Flaten is department chair of theater arts, a post he has held since 1982. He revels in the works of Sondheim and Shakespeare. “I understand human nature, which is why I was drawn to theater,” he explains. It is a compassion that led him to become a certified Theta Healer.
It was the illness of a friend that inspired him to begin his studies of healing and energy work. Since his colleague Jane Dibbell, associate professor of theater arts, came out of cancer remission more than 10 years ago, he has been pursuing the knowledge of many healing practices. “Crisis and challenge were the catalysts for me to begin to study energy work,” says Dr. Flaten. “I knew that I was supposed to learn how to help her.”
In pursuit to understand the field of healing, Dr. Flaten has explored the unconventional. Traditional science may not take center stage in the healing techniques employed by Dr. Flaten and others like him, but the character of the human condition is at the forefront of their mission.
Dr. Flaten’s beliefs are unorthodox. However, he is highly educated and well-traveled and is deeply connected to the theater. It has been his passion. With a freshly minted Ph.D. from U.C. Santa Barbara, Dr. Flaten worked for 10 years at Pomona College as head of the theater department during the ‘70s. He then left teaching for a period as he designed lighting effects in dance clubs and discos. His sense of adventure eventually landed him in Croatia. Since, he has designed seven productions in Europe.
Under his chairmanship, the ULV Theater Department has grown from four to 33 students. “I attribute it to my colleagues. We’ve developed a culture here. There’s a lot of physical contact outside of the classroom, and that’s important.” Originally, Dr. Flaten did not plan an extended stay at ULV, but he found what he was looking for. “There has to be something deeper and richer in the art that sustains one’s creative efforts.” Those efforts have led to success not only in theater, but in his study of healing and energy work.
His studies began with Pranic Healing, Indian for vital life force healing, with Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui. “It is a wonderful system and very effective in pain relief,” Dr. Flaten says. Pranic Healing is energy based and uses the body’s life force to transform the body’s energy processes. Healing comes with flashing lights that channel different energies. “We use colored light in sequences and orders used for breaking up energies,” he explains. Patients receive the benefits of the flashing lights without being physically touched by the healer. “There are a series of angelic colors that you cannot see—silver colors—and they work so far beyond the physical.”
Dr. Flaten has a deep faith-based belief system in things that are not verified by science, or even by traditional faiths. “Everything is possible; the only thing that gets in the way is our own belief system,” says Dr. Flaten, whose convictions were formed by his life experiences as a student of healing. Those views exist in everyday life, leaving him open to messages that come from the universe; some in the form of dreams. One dream from early in his healing journey stands out.
“I was standing in the center of three golden rings that were intertwined like Olympic circles, and there were a group of elders who were listening to what I was going to say. As I spoke, the three became balls around me, and I came out of it trying to read what was written on these globes. I realized that my path was to integrate a variety of teachings.” He set out to explore teachings of other forms, including Shamanic teachings, which he learned in Peru. The Inca Shamanic practice predates recorded history. The tradition requires that healers must learn to heal themselves before healing others. Among physical sacrifices, practitioners of this energy study are required to have pure love, intent and integrity. The concept of the tradition is centered on the belief that all actions are connected with the earth and universe. “We are part of a common consciousness that has both continence and voice,” Dr. Flaten says. “The Native Americans have a firm understanding of this.”
His many healing journey experiences have been supplemented by healing tradition studies and teachers’ influences. Dr. Flaten’s studies continued with Vianna Stibal, a Theta Healer known for intuitive psychic readings and healings. But his teachers have not been limited to occupants of the physical world.
“There is a place on the healing path where you are being trained in what I would call the ‘inner-planes,’ where teachers come to you,” Dr. Flaten explains. “When you ask the universe for teachers, it will send you teachers.” The inner-planes are the non-physical realms that extend beyond this world, says Dr. Flaten. There seven planes, with a total of 12 planes within. “There is consciousness in all the planes,” Dr. Flaten says. The energy of minerals and rocks exists in the first plane. “Rocks are very slow, but they have the potential of being helpful and useful.” Healing and sustenance come from the second plane, the vegetable kingdom. People and animals exist in the third plane. The fourth plane stores energies and medicines. Flaten says that healers who work with animals draw energy from this level. “The fifth plane is where all the drama is, the great battle of good and evil,” he explains. “This is where the gods and goddesses are.” All of the laws of the universe exist in the sixth plane. “There is no drama; it just is,” Flaten says. “The higher the truth, the simpler it is.” The seventh plane is home to “all that is”; perhaps God, Buddha and the Creator.
Flaten’s teachers come to him from within the planes. “I’m talking about teachers who are coming to me from the fifth plane, some from the fourth. There were beings when I started healing that would show me things. When I was too stubborn, they would send me a physical teacher so that I would learn.” At times, the learning came easily to Dr. Flaten, who believes he devoted one of his many past lives to healing. “Some of the things that I was taught were like remembering. It came very easily like I had done it before. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to devote my life to any one form, like Shamanic healing.” Dr. Flaten believes that he has had been “incarnated” many times as a Native American and 17 times as an ancient Egyptian.
Theta Healing is the most recent study that Dr. Flaten has undertaken in his quest to integrate multiple forms of healing. “As a healer, it is important to know that you don’t do the healing. The creator or the source does.” Using this method, healers do not have a physical power to heal, but they facilitate healing between the “Creator” and the person receiving the healing.
Like the other forms of healing he has studied, Theta Healing does not have any religious preconceptions. “Spirituality often has nothing to do with religion,” he explains. Theta Healing is based on the concept that your body wants to heal itself. The healer has no actual power, but the idea surrounding this form of healing is that the ability to heal is transferable, and that it can be taught.
Dr. Flaten has been certified to practice and teach Theta Healing. The form of healing he utilizes works with the body’s natural energy, so physical touching is not necessary. “I could heal somebody in China for instance,” Dr. Flaten says. Theta Healing occurs when the brain is in a Theta brainwave state, in which the brain operates at four to seven wave lengths per second. Dr. Flaten explains that things happen faster in a low vibration theta than other forms of consciousness.
Dr. Flaten has also had a number of remarkable experiences related to his understanding of the inner plane and energy education. On one occasion, he recalls willfully slowing time so that he could get his friend to the airport. “We had 90 miles to go up a 35 mile an hour road, and we were there in an hour. Flaten believes that if he had not slowed time, “there is no way that we could do that. It was consciously done, and it was a demonstration to me that it can be done.”
Though his work concentrates on human beings, Dr. Flaten takes time to connect with nature. “I love the honoring of the earth and the connection of all living things that come through the Shamanic understanding. We are a part of everything, and everything is living.”
In January, Dr. Flaten, with healing colleagues, journeyed to Mount Baldy, which he tries to do on a fairly regular basis. During the trip, he and his friends conducted a ceremony honoring the earth at a water site near a stream. When he arrived, Dr. Flaten recited a prayer, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” Just as they finished their ceremony, a large boulder fell from a cliff into the water, sending a spray that hit the ceremonial conductors. “It was like a blessing from the mountain,” Dr. Flaten says. It was as if the mountain was saying, ‘Thank you.’”