Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of December 31, 2007

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The Peace of Presence

(Part 7 of 9 in the Inner Work Series The Stages of Presence)

Living, even temporarily, as our true self, as “I am,” gives us the possibility of entering the peace of presence through an act of will. That act is letting go, not identifying with all our inner impulses, not clinging to our likes and dislikes, our desires and antipathies, our grasping and our fears. In letting go of considering any of that to be who we are, we come into our self, into “I am,” into equanimity and contentment, into the peaceful confidence of knowing who we are and what we are not.

Such letting go, however, requires repeated and dedicated practice. The stickier something is, whether pleasant or painful, the less we want to let it go. Persevering, little by little, we earn our freedom through sacrificing our inner attachments, our obsessions, our false identifications.

In that relatively unburdened presence, we are less prone to unnecessary worrying about the future and unproductive rehashing of the past. In presence we can learn the lessons of the past and prepare for the future, but our wasteful relationships with past and future drop away.

That leaves us with the richness of this moment, which, fully experienced, brings deep satisfaction, natural ease, and peace of mind. “I am” just here, in this body, noticing my thoughts, emotions, and sensory perceptions pass through. Primarily “I am” just being, while doing what needs doing.

But the peace of presence goes deeper than our ordinary mind, deeper than thought and reactive emotion. The connection with the spirit that presence enables is the real source of peace and depends on the state of our conscience. In presence we tend to act responsibly and ethically. And responsible, ethical action leads to a clear conscience, a person’s most valuable possession. A clear conscience leaves open the channel to the spirit, limits our regrets about the past and our fears about the future, and supports our inner peace.

Importantly, when we find peace within ourselves, we become a source of peace for those around us. With people we feel more or less at ease. The greater that ease, the less embedded we are in our personality patterns and defenses, leaving us disposed toward presence. In that spaciousness we accept rather than judge those around us. And we offer them our atmosphere of peaceful presence, our relationships enriched.

For this week, cultivate the peace of presence.


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