Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of December 10, 2007

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Creating Partial Presence

(Part 4 of 9 in the Inner Work Series The Stages of Presence)

The sensitive energy brings our body and mind vividly alive to us. At the same time it gives us a base in the present moment and is the substance of the lower part of our soul. The importance of the sensitive energy to our inner life and spiritual path can hardly be overstated. We differentiate it from the lower energies that give us vitality and mediate our habits and patterns of responding to life situations. The sensitive puts us in contact with our life, with our senses, our body, our emotions, and our thoughts. Through it we live. Without it we fall back into programmed patterns, dull to our senses and our life.

The opportunity offered by the sensitive energy lies in its responsiveness to our will, our intention and attention, acting through the conscious energy, which we address in the next stage of presence.

We work with the sensitive energy primarily by placing and holding our attention on parts of our body. A good place to start is with hands and feet, one at a time. Gradually the energy collects there, drawn by our attention. We can notice the difference in our experience between the hand we are sensing and the one we are not, thereby training our perception of the sensitive energy. With some proficiency in sensing hands and feet, we can move on to sensing entire arms and legs. The focus of sensing an arm or a leg literally gives us something to hold onto for our place in the present. The arm or leg becomes our anchor in the stream of time. It keeps us alert and now rather than languishing half-aware and being swept away by time, thoughts, and emotions.

Another remarkable property of the sensitive energy can be found in its relationship to our emotions. Most of our stronger emotions run on the fuel of the sensitive energy. In trying to navigate the roiling waters of an emotional storm, sensing our body offers the excess emotional energy a constructive place to go. Sensing can help calm the storm of a difficult or destructive emotion by providing an outlet for some of that energy. The point lies in not being tossed around by the storm, in seeing our situation and feeling what we feel, and in channeling the excess energy to build our being. We do not use sensing to deny our feelings, to escape facing the situation squarely, or to erect an icy, unfeeling barrier to life. But sensing can save us from the ravaging storm.

For this week, practice sensing hands and feet, and, if able to do so, arms and legs. You can practice this as your sitting meditation, as well as during your daily activities.


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