Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of January 7, 2008

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Stable Presence

(Part 8 of 9 in the Inner Work Series The Stages of Presence)

Watch ye therefore, and pray always. (Luke 21:36)

When our peace is deep enough, our energies settle and our presence starts to stabilize. Then we see that presence is always available, if only we avail ourselves of it. Our continuing practice of partial presence and wholeness now pays dividends of stability. Our inner work moves into intentional steadiness in presence. We practice remaining present: I am here, calm, alert, and fully aware of the whole of my experience, inner and outer. This is our active role: to enter presence, to be present, and to stay in the ease of presence.

We move toward continuous presence by living in our sensation body, rather than only inhabiting our physical body, random thoughts and reactive emotions. Inhabiting our sensation gives us a higher and more stable base in this moment. Our body is always in the present. Sensation is the energy of contact with our body. By keeping attention in our body, the sensitive energy collects there. Through dedicated practice of sensing our whole body, sensation gradually stabilizes, forming a sensation body within our physical body. Then we can live, not just in our physical body, but in our sensitive energy body.

That sensation body is a base that can house our consciousness. We enter stability through a shift, an opening of our awareness from sensation to consciousness, to the spacious fullness of our being. Our physical and sensation bodies reside within this awareness, but a vast new layer of spacious, cognizant stillness, of consciousness opens up. In the hall of consciousness, we come home to ourselves and enter the life intended for us.

For years such stability will be temporary, coming to us for limited periods ranging from minutes to days. The lengths of such periods depend on our will, on our moment-to-moment choices to remain in unbroken presence. Gradually we relax into those choices. The moments of consciousness, of presence begin to string together. We are just here, simply and directly and continuously.

To enter stable presence, however, we also need to serve receptively. The practice of presence for ourselves, for our own private benefit, proves inherently unstable, because what we deem personally beneficial is subject to the whims of our thoughts and emotions. But the intention to practice presence as a service to the sacred and to our fellow humans arises from the depths beyond egoism. Presence serves the sacred by the higher energies it produces and serves our neighbor by its atmosphere of peace. In this way, the work of presence becomes our prayer.

For this week, practice stringing together your moments of presence for a taste of stable, continuous presence.


     

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