Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of August 17, 2009

Being Conscious

(Part 8 of 9 in the series: Stages of Becoming Conscious)

The principal distinction between this stage of Being Conscious and the earlier stages of Becoming Conscious consists in our being more established, more stable in consciousness, at least temporarily. Instead of needing to actively inhabit consciousness, we can just reside in it. We know it well enough and have enough facility with it to move into consciousness at will and stay in it for a time. And we do so.

Furthermore, we now realize a deeper reason that consciousness brings peace and equanimity, namely the changed perspective it affords. Recall flying in an airplane, gazing out the window at the towns and farms below. The everyday cares of life seem to lose their immediacy in that high perspective. So it is with consciousness: we see our life from a different perspective, one that raises us out of identification with all that goes on, outwardly and inwardly. We see external events, sensory perceptions, thoughts, and emotional reactions for what they are: only a part of the whole fabric of life. Our will, our I, freed from our usual urgent identifications, rests in awareness, in peace and equanimity. While some inner or outer events may still drag us for a time into identification with them, we are able to reestablish our stability and conscious perspective.

In being conscious, we are consciously conscious: we clearly know that we are conscious. Now when we enter consciousness, we not only enter a world of timeless peace, but we also know this peace as an inherent part of our endowment as human beings. Consciousness is no longer just a new quality of experience, but one more natural to us, though still and always new.

We recognize consciousness as spacious enough to embrace not only our self but all people and all life. That changes how we relate. The wholeness of consciousness reveals the wholeness of all life. Seeing that we share this one substance with other living beings shows our differences to be superficial. We feel less separate, closer to our self, to our near and dear ones, and even to strangers.

The core energy of presence is consciousness. When we can be conscious, we can be present, although the latter also involves our will, our I being the one who is present. Of course, if we reside in presence, this action alone brings consciousness with it. So we discover an intimate, symbiotic relationship between our I and the conscious energy.

For this week, practice resting in pure awareness, practice being conscious intermittently as you go about your day.


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