Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of March 9, 2009

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Stabilizing the Inner Body

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

Our contact with our body through sensing comes and goes. It may come to us randomly, as unpredictable moments of grace, awakening us into sensing our body. But it does not go randomly. Rather, our contact with sensation dissipates when we stop supporting it moment-to-moment. Sensation itself can awaken us into presence. Or we may remember the practice and return to it. In whatever way we come back to ourselves, back to sensing, back to some degree of presence, all too soon we allow that state to wane. We unknowingly turn to other interests, attractions, or demands on our attention and drop our inner work entirely, without clearly understanding the possibility of doing both, of engaging fully in our life while, for example, fully present in our body.

To stabilize our presence, we work first to stabilize our sensation. And for that, we intentionally enter wholeness in our inner body. Instead of working simply to sense our whole body, we shift into being in our inner body, our body of sensation, our inner home. Our whole-body sensation becomes a new kind of body itself. No longer is sensing only a way of being aware of our physical body. Sensation becomes the substance of our developing inner body. And like an embryo, it needs our continuing care and feeding. But unlike an embryo, the care and feeding of our developing inner body requires our conscious support.

Care for our incipient inner body primarily means staying with it, residing in it, and sustaining sensation with our intention and attention. We actively and continuously sense our whole body moment-to-moment over time, not only in periods set aside for meditation, but also during our ordinary day of movement and activity. We begin where we are. If we can sense for five seconds before losing it, we aim to sense for 6 seconds. If our whole-body sensation is thin and wispy, we aim to make it a little more substantial. We develop incrementally. We strengthen our sensing with our active and continuous intention to increase the sensitive energy throughout our body. We invest and infuse our whole body with intention, with the will to establish ourselves in sensation, while staying inwardly relaxed. Our will, along with the conscious energy it carries, thereby fuses the various regions of our bodily sensation and holds them together through time.

Care for our inner body also means decreasing our energy losses. We notice those of our unnecessary activities that inherently cost us our sensation. Smoking, excessive drinking, excessive eating, needless tensions, and using marijuana or other drugs of abuse are possible examples in our physical habits. Letting anger or any other destructive emotion take us over also costs us the energy we need for our inner work, burning it wastefully and harmfully. We notice our own particular ways of squandering our inner energy and we care for our soul by decreasing those losses.

Feeding our inner body means increasing the available energy. A major method for this is energy breathing, wherein we consciously take the inner energy from the air to build our sensation. Another method of feeding our inner body is that level of prayer, of turning toward the sacred, where as a byproduct we open to higher energies. Those high energies cascade down into our developing inner body, blending with and increasing its sensitive energies.

Developing our soul is the task of a lifetime. And a stable inner body marks a major milestone on our spiritual journey. We can only start from where we are. But a vision of where we wish to go guides us along the way. So we imagine what it would be like to have a stable inner body of sensation, what it would take to come to that, and then we work toward it, drop by drop, sensing, intending, feeding, and sustaining. And at every step along the way, we enjoy the sensation and presence that we do experience. We are here and we know where we are going.

For this week, work toward stabilizing your inner body of sensation.


     

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