On Your Mind | David Gruder | Spiritual Sovereignty


As the hijacking of humanity continues to bring about a more dysfunctional society, what can be done to secure an enlightened future? Timothy J. Hayes, Psy.D returns with Dr. David Gruder, who talks about his solution through The Center For Enlightened Spiritual Sovereignty. In this second part of their discussion, the two break down the center’s SPARK Blueprint, a roadmap that guides people on emerging in their authentic ways and contribute to developing a much better world. Dr. Gruder talks about his desire to reimagine humanity, explaining why now is the perfect time to be more conscious about the concepts, beliefs, and perspectives that we embrace.

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Dr. David Gruder And The Center For Enlightened Spiritual Sovereignty – Part 2

The Center For Enlightened Self-Sovereignty

Dr. Gruder, the last time we talked, we were outlining problems. We’re outlining some of their sources and how to understand them. If you would, tell us a little bit about the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty and how it might help us craft some solutions

The Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty. I see with the advantages of 2020 hindsight that my entire life was architected in order to enable me to develop one version of helping people step into an enlightened future for humanity and for themselves. I want to do that through a roadmap and skills development and in community with others who are, as I refer to it, like-spirited, like-hearted, and diverse-minded. If we’re all of the same mind, all we see is our own reflections.

Like-spirited, like-hearted and diverse-minded. That’s what the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty is about. It’s a combination of that supportive community that is devoted to helping develop, helping emerge an enlightened version of humanity’s future and each doing whatever their part in helping that emerge in their own unique authentic ways.

How do you propose helping that come into being?

I know I’m not alone in being this way, although I also know that some people don’t need what I’m about to describe, but I do. I’m the kind of person who does best when I have a roadmap and a sense of the journey that will help me get where I want to go in my own unique personal ways. Not some kind of conformity journey, but like a superstructure that helps me navigate my own personal journey.

The centerpiece of the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty is something called the SPARK Blueprint. SPARK is an acronym. We’ll get into it, but it is that roadmap that I wish I had when I was growing up. I wish I had it when I was in my twenties. I wish I had it all the way up to more recent years. In context, as we’re recording this, I celebrated my 70th birthday. I wish I had this roadmap most of my life before the roadmap dropped in.

There are many of us who reach a certain point of our maturity and think, “If I knew then what I know now.”

Of course, the trap of that is that we could shame ourselves for not having known that then, or we could rejoice in all of the experiences, both lovely and undesired and unasked for, that have helped us reach the point where we can now step into a more elevated version of ourselves and a more elevated version of our impact in the world.

If we can rejoice in our experiences, both lovely and undesired, we step into a more elevated version of ourselves and an elevated version of our impact in the world. Share on X

Clearly, it is the healthier option.

I think so. That’s my bias.

Reimagining Humanity

Mine as well. Now, we have something called revisioning humanity as an antidote to the hijacking.

That’s what I originally called it, revisioning humanity. I have come to call it reimagining humanity.

Give us a little overview of the reimagining humanity and the role of the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty in that.

I’ll start with a book that I’m going to mention because a lot of people read it. It was a wild bestseller back in its time when it was released somewhere in 2011. It was a book called Sapiens. It explored the history of humanity from the very beginning, pretty much up until what was then present day. The author’s name was Yuval Noah Harari. I’m mentioning his name because I’m going to bring him up again in a moment.

On Your Mind | David Gruder | Spiritual Sovereignty

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

The biggest takeaway from his book Sapiens that I got was his point that he hammered home very well in my judgment, which is that not everything that has caught on in the history of humanity has actually been good for humanity. Just because something catches on doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good or that it’s bad. There are things that have caught on in the history of humanity that have been proven to be good for us and not so good for us.

His whole premise was that it’s time for us to be much more conscious about what we embrace. That led to his follow-up book, which he published in 2015. That book was called Homo Deus. That’s where I’m leading in answering your question. His book Homo Deus proposed that we humans are now smarter than God. Homo Deus in Latin means human god. We’re now smarter than whatever a person’s name for higher love and wisdom is, God or Allah or higher self or nature. It doesn’t matter. Whatever that is for that person. We’re now smarter than God as human beings. The smartest among us should be responsible for crafting the future of humanity.

His follow-up book, Yuval Noah Harari, because of his book Homo Deus, became a poster child and spokesperson for the World Economic Forum. It offers a version of humanity’s future based on the notion that we are smarter than God and that a small group of people should dictate for the masses what humanity’s best future should look like.

That version of Homo Deus, because I believe there are two versions of Homo Deus, I call Homo Machina, meaning human machine. That’s a version of the future in which we are turned into 21st-century chattel. We are commodities, serfs, slaves, whatever term you want to use, who are supposed to find ways to be happy while meeting the objectives of the few that are uber-powerful and uber-wealthy. That’s one version of Homo Deus.

The thing I agree with Harari about is that the species called homo sapiens is over. I agree with him about that, which is part of what he asserted in the book Homo Deus. I completely disagree with his version of what the next species of humanity is supposed to be. I call this version of Homo Deus that I call Homo Machina.

The version of humanity’s future, the version of Homo Deus that I am certain is supposed to be the elevated future for humanity, which is what I call Homo Spiritus, which is human spirits where we are effective conduits of higher love and wisdom in the physical universe. My whole notion of reimagining humanity is about alerting people that there are two versions of humanity’s future that are rattling around right now. The two versions are being articulated in different ways by different groups.

The World Economic Forum is not the only group that’s articulating a version of what I call Homo Machina as human’s future. They’re just the highest-profile group that’s doing that. There are multiple versions or articulations of Homos Spiritus as well. In the end, there are these two future paths for humanity’s next species after homo sapiens, Homo Machina and Homo Spiritus. My bias is that in reimagining humanity if we don’t support and step into embodying and facilitating Homo Spiritus, we are going to implode.

On Your Mind | David Gruder | Spiritual Sovereignty

Spiritual Sovereignty: If we don’t support and step into embodying and facilitating homo spiritus, we will implode.


SPARK Blueprint

The thing about your work and writings that I’ve been exposed to so far related to that is that anybody reading this could easily say, “You think your group of elites should be deciding how humanity goes forward, not the group of elites that the World Economic Forum would choose.” The thing that I’ve gotten from your writing is that you’re putting out the invitation here to anybody who’s interested in this process, it’s a collaborative process.


To use a roadmap like your SPARK profile and bring their individual creativity and their individual ability to channel this creative force we call light or love or life, and bring it through them in a way that’s unique and creative and productive, and then collaborate with others. What do you have for us in terms of what this acronym SPARK is?

It’s based on all of us being smarter than one of us. All of us collectively are. What I envision in great audacity beyond the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty, much larger, like a center of centers, is the world’s largest focus group that the planet has ever seen of individuals like who you are talking about. People who want an elevated future for humanity and are collaborating to discover and co-create what that is. You’re quite right in what you pointed out.

The roadmap that I’ve offered to facilitate that is this thing that called the SPARK Blueprint. SPARK is an acronym for five ingredients. The S in SPARK is Shatter Spells, and we covered that in the prior segment in this two-part interview. The P in SPARK is picture your version of an elevated future. The A in SPARK is align your purpose and your paradigm, meaning self-view and worldview, with that purpose that you’ve pictured in the P part of SPARK.

The A in spark is Align your purpose and paradigm with the future you’ve pictured. The R is reimagine your tools, your skillsets, so that you restructure your focus on the skills that you as an individual, no prescription here, but each individual identifies their highest level skills upgrades that they need to upgrade in order to fulfill their chosen role in helping their version of humanity’s most enlightened future emerge.

The K in SPARK is kindling collaboration. Kindling collaboration is what I was saying before. There’s an old saying about our own personal healing work. While we have to do the work for ourselves, we can’t do all of it by ourselves. The same is true with elevating humanity. We can’t do it by ourselves. We do it in collaboration by joining together in supporting various initiatives, each of us individually choosing which initiatives those are, because the initiatives we’ve chosen to be involved with are ones that help us actualize our unique purpose in helping our vision of human’s most enlightened future to emerge. That’s the SPARK Blueprint in a nutshell.

We cannot elevate humanity by ourselves. We do it by joining together in supporting various initiatives that help actualize our unique purpose in a more enlightened future. Share on X

As you were talking about it and the collaboration, this kindling collaboration, I’m thinking about the book Redemption. You’re familiar with that book.

I was featured pretty heavily in it.

I pull from that book the idea that what was presenting to most of us presented to most of us who haven’t read Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species, is that the book’s about survival of the fittest and the strongest leads and all of that. What Bernie Dohrmann was talking about was that there’s so much more in nature, and even as Darwin described in that book about collaboration and cooperation, those are far more powerful dynamics in the world.

It makes all the sense in the world if you stop and think about it. What skyscraper was ever built by one person? That book and all of its repetition, there’s a lot of themes repeated throughout that book, is what was flooding into my mind when you were talking about the kindling collaboration and the value of it. Anyone with a great idea is just one person, yet there’s a lot more going on here than one of those sparks of divinity or the one mind.

I often talk about how we are given dominion over a little hose of creative force called mind energy or consciousness. Wherever we point it, we’re going to get more of what wherever we pointed at. It’s just that little piece. As you get one little stream of water coming out of a hose, it’s just a garden hose. If you get 50,000 of those together, you can wear away a mountain quickly.

What you call dominion, I call self-sovereignty. It doesn’t matter to me. To me, they’re equivalent terms. For the clarity of our readers, dominion is what I call self-sovereignty. The reason I call it enlightened self-sovereignty is that it’s light-driven. It is an about enlightenment and a version of self-sovereignty that’s about having a positive impact with the groups, with the whole that we’re part of.

It’s like holons. Everything is a part of something bigger and everything has smaller parts, etc. , ad infinitum. Let me say that I want to back off of that and hand it back to you to talk a little bit more about the reimagining humanity and how that might happen with what you’re building here at the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty.

Thank you. The whole idea is that with the SPARK Blueprint, I don’t see how it’s possible to picture an elevated future for humanity as long as we are locked into whichever societal and personal spells we are locked into, if we’re still locked into either or both of those types of spells. We’ve got to shatter those spells. We’ve got to awaken from the spells that we’ve been under in order to be capable of picturing an enlightened future.

We can’t stop with picturing it because then, our heads in the clouds and our feet aren’t on the ground. We’ve got to get clear about our appointed role as individuals and as collections of individuals in helping that enlightened future emerge. The amount of things that need to be shifted that need to be elevated, are far greater than any one person or one group can do on their own.

However, if each of us is doing our own appointed part in helping that future emerge, then all of us collectively cover all bases that are needed. That’s why I am exceedingly optimistic because thinking that I have to put on my shoulders or any individual has to put on their shoulders, all of what has to happen for humanity to elevate into spiritual expression in the physical universe, that is an impossibility. It’s a formula for collapsing into helplessness or hopelessness.

Burnout. Each of us doing our part, that’s manageable. We can’t picture an elevated future until we’re free from the spells. We can’t enact that future until we’re clear about what our part individually is in helping that future emerge. We’re clear about the belief system, the paradigm that supports us in fulfilling our part. We can’t actualize our part in helping that future emerge without elevating certain skills that vary from person to person, depending on their skills gaps and their calling.

We have skills to develop to fulfill our role in helping that future emerge, and then we collaborate with those doing things that are aligned with what helps us actualize our purpose. To me, it should be common sense, but it’s not because people haven’t been taught this. In the SPARK blueprint, I unpack ingredient by ingredient, step by step in how to build each of those five ingredients in the SPARK Blueprint in a personally customized way.

Soul Growth And Impact

I’m glad you do, and I know that there are going to be people who think in a similar way the way you think, and they’re going to find that extraordinarily useful. There are other people who are going to be, I’ll say more general in their approach and or more fluid. The same kinds of things other people have been getting at for quite a while.

Dr. Michael Rice has a model where he says everybody’s got a primary purpose, which is the same for every human being. He calls that developing and then strengthening a viable, conscious spiritual body. It’s the same for everybody. According to him, the primary purpose is the same for every human on the planet. The secondary purpose is going to be unique to the individual. He says make a list of ten things you’re naturally good at. That could be a challenge for some people, but it’s doable.

They start to come out when you focus on them. List ten things you love to do, and then describe how the world will look through your eyes when it’s perfect. This is the blending you’re talking about. Take the individual view of the world and then he says, you create a purpose statement for your secondary purpose. It says, “I’m not going to use 1, 2, or 3 things that I’m naturally good at as I do 1, 2, or 3 things that I love to do as a way of helping the world become this vision that I have of that is perfect.” It’s not as detailed as your blueprint, yet I hear it and see it as almost the same thing.

There’s a huge amount of overlap, and I’ll unpack a little bit of that in a moment. What I want to say first is that this is exactly why I said that this is a blueprint or a roadmap for people who thrive best with roadmaps because I know, just as you do, that not everybody needs or flourishes with that structure. Some people flourish best with a more flow-oriented approach. I don’t think the SPARK blueprint is for everyone. I don’t think the Center For Enlightened Self-Sovereignty is for everyone.

I’m not supposed to do something that’s for everyone. I’m supposed to do something for people who are wired in a particular way that matches what I’m providing, just as others are doing that. The thing that I would say, though, in response having to do with the contrast between my version of what he’s talking about in his version is that my experience is that we have two mission statements.

One mission statement is what I call our sole growth mission statement. While I agree with what you’ve described the sole growth mission that all of us have, the sole growth that any individual has as the centerpiece of their lifetime in their own soul growth is going to be a very individualized and personal version of that universal soul growth mission.

The other mission is our impact mission in the world. These two missions are supposed to be integrated with each other. My soul growth mission is supposed to inform and activate or actualize my impact mission and my impact mission, if it’s well constructed and well-integrated, is going to help with my soul growth. I see them as two different and yet integrated separate mission statements. I have a very step-by-step process for helping people discover what their sole growth mission statement is and what their impact mission statement is.


You have this website, THECESS.com, and it’s the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty. You’re inviting people to apply to this. Can you tell us about what you are inviting people to?

Sure. First of all, I’m inviting them to THECESS.com to look around to see if what is written there and the videos there resonate for them, if this is the approach to elevating themselves and humanity that resonates for them. If it isn’t, that’s not a problem. They’re not stuck. There are other ways to do it. The purpose of THECESS.com is to help people to discover, “Yes, this fits for me,” “No, this doesn’t fit for me.”

For those who do fit, there’s an application process on the website that they can access in order to apply to become a member of the Center for Self-Sovereignty. The basic membership in the center is free. The purpose of the application form is that it’s a sacred community and sacred in the sense that the only people that belong in that community are, as you heard me say, they are like-spirited, like-hearted and diverse-minded.

People who have a different sense of humanity’s future, if they want a Homo Machina future, forget it. This is not for them. If they want to be in a tribe or in a community where everyone thinks the same rather than where diversity is welcomed because none of us sees the whole picture, but all of us in collaboration can discover the whole picture together. That’s the diversity I’m talking about. If somebody doesn’t want that kind of diversity, they don’t belong in the center.

The purpose of the application form is to make sure that the people who are going to find a home for themselves in the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty are the ones who become members and the ones who, for whom this is not their home, I hope they’ll become involved with and members in some other approach to helping humanity’s best future emerge.

What happens if people join?

What happens if people join is that they then get access to the community and to the training and to initiatives that the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty is bringing about to help humanity’s future emerge so that they can discover and decide whether one or more of those initiatives help them forward their purpose in helping humanity’s best future emerge, or for the members to develop other initiatives that some of those members are more aligned with in terms of helping their future, their purpose actualize. It’s a collaboration network, like a private social network, if you will, and a training process and a resources source. It’s for leaders, innovators, influencers and concerned citizens to collaborate with each other.

On Your Mind | David Gruder | Spiritual Sovereignty

Spiritual Sovereignty: The Center For Enlightened Spiritual Sovereignty is a private social network with a training process and a resource source. It is for leaders, innovators, influencers, and concerned citizens to collaborate.


Thank you for that. My mind is spinning on the training. When you say training, what are we training to? What are we getting trained in?

The SPARK Blueprint.

I want to highlight that so you can talk about it. We’re not being trained to think in a certain way or walk in lockstep.

People are being trained in a framework that helps them discover and live into their purpose in helping their version of humanity’s best possible future and their own emerge.

This has been launched how long now?

It was officially launched in the fall of 2023, and it was launched in what you might call a friends and family way. My initial intention was to have not more than roughly 50 people in the center at the beginning to develop a vibrant community. When the center becomes available for larger numbers of people to come in to it, they’re coming into something that’s got a lot of vibrancy and interaction and aliveness in it.

That is growing as we’re recording this conversation. That vibrancy is growing inside the center and when it reaches a critical mass, if you will, that feels to me like it’s now ready for essentially a public launch, then we’ll go into phase two of the launch process. Of course, your readers are welcome to apply to become free members of the center if, after they look at the website, they feel that this way of helping humans’ future and their own emerge is the right fit for them.

I am honored to be allowed to talk to you about this before the public launch and heartened by the similarities, clearly, between some of our source material and our paths over the years and your, I’ll call it a pure intention to do good. I’m always energized when I run into people where there’s that sense of I’m doing this because I have this drive within me. I wouldn’t want to shut it off, but I couldn’t shut it off if I tried to do good, whatever that looks like through my eyes.

If I can piggyback on one part of what you were saying, you were describing, I think, what in theology is called the perennial wisdom or the perennial philosophy. There are certain principles that cut across time, cultures, religions and spiritual paths. They’re universal and they’re timeless. The only difference from one articulation of those perennial wisdom principles and another articulation is window dressing. It’s because different people are structured psychologically and spiritually indifferent and temporally in different ways.

Some articulations of perennial wisdom resonate more with certain people, and other articulations resonate more with other people. What I’m a fan of is the perennial wisdom and what form an individual most resonates with, that’s the form I would encourage them to surrender into wholeheartedly and whole spiritedly.

Some articulations of the perennial wisdom resonate more for certain people than others. Surrender wholeheartedly and whole-spiritedly to the one that resonates with you the most. Share on X

Antidotes To Chronic Stress

I support you in extending that invitation. Excellent. Let me ask you to get centered and take a breath and think, all right, so here’s all the stuff we’ve done in these last few minutes, and we’ve talked about your beginnings and what the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty is. If you think about it, is there something that you want to go back and highlight that we’ve already talked about or something we haven’t even touched on yet that you want to bring out?

I think what I would do is to go back to reiterate one of the things I’ve said in a different way, which is that there are antidotes to chronic stress, chronic anxiety, fear, chronic anger and rage, and rebelliousness that doesn’t move people forward and learned helplessness that keeps people stuck. There are antidotes to all of that.

Each person’s responsibility, if they want an antidote to any of those things, is to find a framework and a pathway and a community that they feel best supports them in outgrowing that stress, fear, anger, rebelliousness and learned helplessness in order to emerge into being what we are meant to be in the first place. That is, expressions or conduits of higher love and wisdom in the physical universe are used to bring about heaven on earth of high shorthandedness that way or to bring about humanity’s best future and our own.

On Your Mind | David Gruder | Spiritual Sovereignty

Spiritual Sovereignty: If you want an antidote to the social spells, find a framework, pathway, or community that will allow you to outgrow stress, fear, anger, rebelliousness, and learned helplessness.


That’s a lot. I like the idea that you’re talking about being the conduit for this other energy or this idea that we aren’t the physical and we can express, as we talked about earlier, in ways that my conscious, logical mind can’t even begin to comprehend a loving, creative and productive energy. Most people reading this will have experiences where it’s not something they planned, but they stumbled into an interaction with somebody or the career that they’re in or the way things resolved with a conflict in their life that they could never have imagined in the intellectual realm.

Closing Words

As I hear you talking about being a conduit for that loving energy, it has so many facets for me. I like to quote Guy Finley, who says, “There is nothing more practical than true spirituality than true spirituality.” We can direct people if they want to check out the Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty to your website at THECESS.com.

That’s the place to go to see if this is the version of perennial wisdom that fits right for you.

Any closing comments?

I’ve enjoyed our conversation, and I love how you brought into our conversation other perspectives or lenses that these very lofty and far-reaching concerns and possible solutions can take in the form of words and frameworks. I’m hoping those who have read our conversation recognize that there isn’t one pathway to our best future, but there is a fundamental choice for each of us to make about which version of humanity’s future we want to be part of. Are we going to become 21st-century serfs or are we going to become 21st-century conduits of higher love and wisdom as Homo Spiritus, as human spirits?

There is no one pathway to our best future. But there is a fundamental choice for everyone to decide which version of humanity’s future we want to be part of. Share on X

I greatly appreciate your being willing to share that with us, and I look forward to applying and finding out what is building in this collaboration that you have and also looking forward to the next time we get together and talk about how it’s grown and blossomed.

Me, too.

Thank you so much. Blessings.

Blessings back.


Important Links


About David Gruder

On Your Mind | David Gruder | Spiritual SovereigntyDr. David Gruder playfully refers to himself as a recovering psychologist and professional troublemaker. In actuality, he is a 12-award-winning bestselling integrative psychologist who Radio-TV Interview Report named America’s Integrity Expert. Drawing on an unparalleled range of board, leadership, training, consulting, business, and clinical, roles he has filled over five decades, he founded The Center for Enlightened Self-Sovereignty. Its purpose is to help usher in a spiritually elevated next chapter of humanity. Through the Center, Dr. Gruder works with concerned citizens, government and community leaders, business owners and executives, and influencers in the media, education, and helping professions to maximize their positive impact in their respective fields. He also provides keynotes, training programs, mentoring, consulting, books, videos, and media appearances. Through all of these activities, he equips leaders, influencers, and concerned citizens, with missing spiritual, inner and outer skills for maximizing their positive impact in their chosen spheres of influence. Dr. Gruder’s main website is DrGruder.com.


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