Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of September 6, 2010

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The Source of Attention

(The Way of Attention: Part 9 of 9)

In becoming the Root of Attention, we become ourselves, our I, the one who sees what see and does what we do, the one who directs our attention. But roots have a purpose beyond stability: we need to open to the waters of the spirit. That sacred nourishment can enter us through the channel of attention. Our I, the director and root of attention, is not attention’s ultimate origin.

To approach that origin, we defer to the Source by surrendering our place at our center. From being our own source, we let go to become a channel. We open beyond our I to just seeing, to allowing the higher, the Sacred, to see through us, as us.

This is the fifth stage in the relationship between our experience, our I, and the Sacred. Though it looks superficially similar to the third stage, it is very different. Recall that in the third stage we are just seeing, with no separation between the seer and the seen. In that stage, there is no one who is experiencing what we experience; there is just the experiencing. But in this fifth stage, the Sacred is the One Who is experiencing through us. We enter a cooperative synergy with the Sacred.

The fourth stage, being our I, being the root and director of attention, plays a crucial role. We need to become fully ourselves, fully individual, fully present, so that there is someone in us who can surrender to the Source, so that we can deliver a strong, worthy, and effective vessel, our individuality, into serving the Source.

If we open our attention on its inmost side, it can act as a lens to focus the rays of higher will into and through us. When we are there at the inmost side of our attention, we are in our I, which acts as our lens to focus our attention. By intentionally stepping aside to leave our inmost center open, we allow that lens to continue functioning, but now in a higher and more subtle way, with its inner cap removed. This inwardly open attention becomes a channel for joy, love and purification, for pure experience, and for a cascade of the energies of the Sacred Light. But most importantly, this takes us a step closer to re-connecting with the Will of the Sacred, to becoming fully and continually responsible to the treasure entrusted to us at birth. That sacred trust calls us to become ourselves, to open ourselves, and to serve thereby.

The actual practice toward the source of attention involves a simple but subtle act. We notice as we look out into the world, that our attention is open and receptive on the outside, on the side in contact with the world, in contact with our senses. Then we notice that on its inmost side our attention appears to be closed. But it seems closed because we are standing in the gap of its inner opening, blocking that opening. Often it is our ego, our self-centered attitude standing in that gap. And much of our inner work involves seeing and letting go of that egoism. We can, however, be in our I, centered but not self-centered, yet standing in that gap on the inmost side of attention, being ourselves and directing our attention. So the step required is for our I, for us, to step out of that center, out of that gap, and let attention be open on the inside as well as the outside. And then it, our will, becomes a channel for the higher to flow through us. Prayer and silent meditation can help. But it is that act of inner opening that transforms our situation, at least temporarily.

This opening not only allows the energies of the Sacred Light to flow into and through us, it also carries an emotional component. A mixture of joy, devotion, exaltation, and love comes to us. These are not prerequisites for the opening, but come as a result, as an indicator of the rightness, reality, and purifying nature of the action.

With our ordinary self, our ego, and our small-minded motivations temporarily set aside, we enter a partnership with the Source. This is the domain of conscience, whose promptings become clear. We become transparent and responsive to our conscience. Nothing stands between us and our Source, between us and doing the right thing, between us and being the Reality.

For this week, please practice opening to the Source of attention. Explore what this might mean and how to actually do it. Return to this exploration again and again.


     

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