Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of August 18, 2008


(Part 8 of 9 in the Inner Work Series: Stages of Inner Unity: I)

Having reached through our center toward the Center of all centers, we arrive at the point of surrendering to the Divine, beyond the world of sacred light. We seek to bring our entire being to the threshold of the sacred and there open our soul, focusing solely on the Divine, in love, humility, supplication, and hope for the grace of contact. We give ourselves wholly over to this one endeavor. We make God our exclusive god for those moments, setting aside all other concerns.

We do not seek a vision, for we know the Divine resides beyond inner visions. Yet we seek communion, unity. We surrender in the hope of being taken into Godís tent, or rather of God entering ours, entering us, becoming us. We surrender our will, our very self, unconditionally to the Unconditioned. Nothing less will do. We beg the Greatness to embrace us, to purify us so that we may be a worthy vehicle for Its Purposes.

But how can we do this, when we do not know the way?

Take the example of a satellite dish that receives signals from the sky. The dish must be aimed properly to pick out the appropriate signal. Without the aiming, we have a passive hunk of materials. With aiming, it becomes an effective part of a receiver system. This difference between passivity and receptivity applies to our inner world as well. To be truly receptive, we aim our entire being beyond ourselves and toward the Divine.

However, we need to learn the appropriate direction. To say we aim beyond ourselves and toward the Divine is easy. To actually do it requires a subtle understanding. One excellent way toward gaining that understanding is the practice of stillness ó deep, abiding, non-doing stillness. We surrender our attachment to our thoughts and emotions, to our personality that masks the stillness beneath it. In that stillness, we learn the contours of our mind and heart, we learn to recognize consciousness, the substance of cognizant stillness, and we begin to intuit the boundaries of consciousness itself. This perceptual ability matters because the Divine resides well beyond consciousness.

Another way toward discovering the direction toward the Divine is by deep prayer. In the heartfelt urgency of supplication, we can feel which inner postures and inner actions bring us closer to the sacred and which do not. Through regular and persistent prayer, with attention to discerning what works, our inner compass becomes magnetized by the Divine pole.

For example, we choose one of the great names of the Most High, and we inwardly speak that name, opening to the same awe and potency as the Sacred One speaking the universe. We speak the Divine name as if the Divine were speaking us. We speak into the infinite, beyond all conception. But what does that really mean? We learn the meaning and direction by practice and experimentation with stillness, contemplation, and prayer, by seeking the way beyond ourselves and our minds.

Fortunately, it is not all up to us. We depend for the final step on Grace from Above. But for the preparatory steps, we must do all we can, persistently bringing to bear our full intelligence, willing heart, effort and devotion. Without that preparation, without that attitude of surrender, Grace will either not come or not be recognized. Nevertheless, Grace knows no limitations. It may come in deep stillness, in heartfelt supplication, or at any time.

For this week, practice and explore surrendering to the Divine.


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