Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of November 19, 2007

The Impulse of Awakening

(Part 1 of 9 in the Inner Work Series The Stages of Presence)

With our very first attempts at the techniques of presence, we immediately confront the challenge of remembering to practice them. The remembering itself comes quietly as an impulse of awakening that is easily overlooked. It arises spontaneously, by plan, or by training. The inner work of presence is to notice and respond to the impulse of awakening, regardless of how it arises.

The impulse of awakening is truly a moment of grace from the depths of the Spirit, from beyond our ordinary mind and thoughts. It is an impulse of the will to awaken, our will to be. It enters us as a silent and direct knowing, as seeing and remembering the opportunity to awaken, to come back to the present, to be ourselves. It does not demand, but rather invites us to presence.

While the grace of awakening flows continuously from the Sacred, we only intermittently open to it. Some unexpected sight or sound, taste or smell, sensation, thought, emotion, or a gap in those may spontaneously open us, so that the grace of awakening can break through our veils, break through our immersion in time. Where it comes from, we cannot know. How it arises, we may not notice. The important thing is to notice the impulse itself, to recognize that opportunity to enter presence in this moment.

The impulse of awakening is not, however, always spontaneous. It can be scripted by a regular program of practice. Daily sessions of meditation and/or prayer, for example, purposely call us to drop the veils between us and the Sacred, to allow the impulse of awakening to touch us deeply.

Through repeated practice we can gradually train ourselves to open to awakening when particular triggers occur. For example, if we persist in the practice of being present while walking, the day will come when the very act of walking will prompt us to practice presence. Such training can fill our life with grace.

These three modes, the spontaneous, the planned, and the trained impulses of awakening, complement and support each other. However it arises, the opportunity created by the impulse of awakening is the starting point of all our possibilities for presence.

For this week, notice the impulse of awakening when it comes to you. Recognize it for the grace and lifeline that it is. Realize its value and significance.


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