Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of August 25, 2008

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The One Divine Will

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

What you are looking for is what is looking.
Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

ÖI live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me Ö
Galatians 2:20

Recall Godís name as given to Moses: ďI AM THAT I AM.Ē God speaks to us through Moses, not as Moses, but as God. Does the ďI AMĒ of God have anything to do with our own ďI am?Ē We look into ourselves. What in me could possibly be connected with God? What in me is looking, into myself and for God? Extrapolating from the famous quote from St. Francis of Assisi: that in me which looks for God is connected with God. In effect God is looking for God through me. Contemplation along that line affords an opening to the higher.

Sit quietly. Let your thoughts and emotions and body settle down. Turn your attention, your interest, your inner seeking urgently and wholeheartedly toward God. Look at what in you is doing the seeking. You may discover the difficulty here. Just as our eye cannot see itself, the seeker cannot see him- or herself, because the one who is looking is also the one who sees. So we step around that conundrum by being the seeker, being the seer, being the one who is contemplating, the one who is looking for God. So though we cannot see our Self, we can be our Self, and know our Self thereby. That Self is our will and through such contemplative prayer we can acquire the taste, the perception of will.

If God is Will and I am will, what is the connection? If God created the universe and endowed us with innate freedom, that freedom must be freedom of will, that freedom must be will. So God gives us the gift of will, which is Godís own nature. Will, though it adopts many guises, is still will.

It is like water taken from the ocean into a container. It remains the same water. And it is like a hierarchical organization or company. The intention, the will, emanates from the top and flows down through the levels of the company. The more levels, the more the intention gets garbled. As people on the lower rungs acquire greater understanding of the companyís goals, they can take more initiative and become more useful to those at the top. They can move up the rungs or the hierarchy can be flattened. They can have a more direct connection with the will at the top.

Similarly, as our being develops and our will grows purified of self-seeking, our connection with Godís Will can deepen. We let God look through us. At certain moments we are no longer speaking, but are spoken. We are no longer acting, but action takes place through us, as taught so clearly in the Tao Te Ching. This is the difference between seeing and doing. God sees through all of us, but acts only through a few. Usually, instead of exercising our God-given freedom of will, we usurp and act in Godís place by following a narrowly personal agenda. But through surrendering, we set ourselves aside and allow God to act through us.

And God does. One part of our role in this is openness to the flow from beneath our inward depths outward. It is an expansive, all-loving, all-connecting movement. We have no holding, no resistance, and no self, thus making way for the Self of all selves. This is unadulterated freedom. The initial freedom gifted us in the womb becomes perfected as we rejoin our will to Godís and participate in the One Divine Will. This is not repeatable solely at our own discretion, but requires our readiness and willingness, as well as Godís Will.

For Godís will to be effective, we need substantial being. For this reason, any attempt to skip over the previous stages of inner work and exclusively focus oneís spiritual practice on openness to Godís Will, generally proves fruitless and fleeting. We end up floundering in imagined openness to the Divine and losing the direction entirely. The factors that support this search for depth include physical presence through sensation to establish us in this one moment, non-reactive equanimity in the face of desires and emotions, subtlety of perception acquired through delving into consciousness beyond thought, and deep devotion nurtured through prayer.

However, spirituality is not linear and we can profitably practice on several levels, fronts, and stages in the course of any given day. We would be wise to keep to our work on the earlier stages even as we pursue the ultimate contact with the Divine.

The movement of Divine Will passes through many levels. At the highest we may enter direct contact with the Sacred Mountain of Purpose, which is the Divine Will, and which reaches throughout every corner of the universe. But It needs us, as conscious and free beings, to transmit It with minimal distortion and maximal effectiveness into this world, several levels down from the Mountain Itself.

For this week, contemplate your own will and practice becoming your possible connection with the Divine Will.


     

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