Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the week of June 11, 2007

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Within the Hour

We face a continuing challenge: how to practice more frequently. How often do we return to the inside of experience, to being aware within ourselves, to the timeless within time? Ultimately, we seek to meet this challenge with a consistent moment-to-moment awareness in the way of stabilized presence. But for those of us who have yet to attain the station of conscious stability, the demand of moment-to-moment presence throughout daily life lies well beyond our reach. There are just too many moments and they keep arriving one after another, offering endless and enticing new opportunities to lose ourselves.

We could instead back off and change the time scale from moment to day. Characterizing the frequency of our inner work by how many moments of presence we live during a day does offer a useful measure. In the evening we look back to rate our inner work for the day. Then we start the next morning with renewed intention to raise our level of practice for that very day. Depending on our ability to carry that intention and act on it, this works.

However, we have so many moments in each day that we tend to consider them expendable, from the standpoint of spiritual inner work. Iím busy right now. Iíll sense my body or work at presence later. Using the day as our measure can dispose us to lose contact with the immediacy of each momentís opportunity for practice.

So we adopt an intermediate scale: the hour. The number of moments in an hour seems more finite than the moments in a day ó and less expendable. This is the hour. This is my hour. What can I make of it? Can I live this hour, both in time and in the eternal within? Whenever we remember, we begin again, renewing our hour, every hour. Because the time horizon is so limited, we can readily see the inner quality of our hour, how much presence we are bringing to it. We practice now to stay here, within presence, within the hour, to deepen and enrich our hour, to make it count for our life, for our soul, for the sacred.

For this week, work within your precious hours.


        

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