Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of July 21, 2008

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Responsibility, Rebellion, and Love

(Part 5 of 9 in the Inner Work Series: Stages of Inner Unity: I )

As our self begins to unify into our I, we become more responsible. But responsible to whom and for what? Ordinarily as we mature, we become more responsible outwardly: toward our body, our family, our society, and the Earth. On top of that, however, our spiritual work involves becoming more responsible inwardly as well: responsible to our higher Self and the Divine, responsible for our inner state and inner actions.

We honor and respect our Self by caring for and cultivating our inner state. This takes many forms. We make efforts not to be drawn into lower states by destructive emotions like anger, resentment, self-pity, vanity, envy and jealousy, as well as their associated thought patterns. This is a matter of true personal dignity and Self-respect. We know that such emotions not only waste the energies we need for our inner work, but also lead us to think, say and do things we later regret. On another level, we cultivate higher states and produce higher energies through presence, meditation, prayer and related practices. All this inner conscientiousness further enhances our outwardly responsible actions by making us more able to do what’s necessary, more able to meet the people of our life with warmth in our heart.

But not yet being fully integrated, certain of our inner domains, desires, and impulses hide beyond the reach of our growing I. And they make trouble. They rebel against any motivation that conflicts with their own. So we find ourselves indulging in all kinds of dissipative and deleterious patterns of body, mind, and heart. These rebellious impulses interfere with our inner work, drag us into non-presence, block our feelings of devotion, and put up obstacles to meditation. Our short-sightedness in their recalcitrant grip saps our inner resources in exchange for immediate gratification, sometimes with harmful external effects.

We want to diet, but cannot. We want to quit smoking, but do not. We want to be kind, but act out of anger and selfishness. We want to be present, but lose ourselves in busyness and daydreams. We want to love, but not everyone.

And so it goes with these two sides in us: our outwardly and inwardly responsible Self and our irresponsible selves. The saving grace is that all of it is Me. This is a case where love proves much more effective than war. Force just deepens our inner divisions. But if we love our self, all of our self, including our irresponsible, rebellious selves, we gradually win them over, bringing even them under the tent of our growing I.

And there they learn that to respect our true Self ultimately benefits all parts of us. That self-respect leads our rebellious nature to impose limits on itself, limits that prevent damage to our true Self, limits that prevent interference with our inner and outer responsibilities. Love begets love, even within our own inner house. The love we give our many selves colors our inner life with its golden hues, attracting all our disparate parts to the whole that is I.

For this week notice those aspects of yourself that are responsible, outwardly and inwardly. Notice those that rebel and follow their own short-sighted impulses. We tend to think we are the former, while disavowing the latter. Notice your attitude toward your self-serving, rebellious aspects. Is it love?


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