Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of November 8, 2010

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(Stages of Freedom: Part 8 of 9)

Surrendering to the Sacred takes us right into the central reality of the spiritual pursuit. Although the ultimate step may come in a particular moment, surrendering is a process, a long process of practice and purification. Along the way we engage in relaxing, accepting, letting go, and opening.

The word “surrender,” however, can be off-putting, intimidating, and even frightening. But spiritual surrender is not a matter of capitulating to an enemy after a battle. Rather, at each step we simply let go of the lower to enter a more direct relationship with the higher.

The process of surrendering can be represented in the following steps:

    1. Relaxing tensions: physical, emotional, mental, and interpersonal
    2. Accepting our life as it is, but also free to seek to change our circumstances
    3. Accepting to learn about spiritual practice from others
    4. Accepting our self as we are, but also free to seek to change
    5. Accepting that spiritual practice is our lifeline, even in our darkest moments
    6. Opening to the inner peace of cognizant stillness; letting go of personality
    7. Opening to the Sacred Light beyond consciousness; letting yourself be drawn toward it; taking the plunge; letting go of being
    8. Utterly giving yourself, your innermost core, over to the Highest One and discovering that, at root, you are an emanation of That; letting go of doing

This process is not linear. We may be working on any or all of these steps in any given time period. The practice of relaxing our body, heart, and mind, both in meditation and in everyday life, paves the way for all the other steps. Coming to accept our life, even while working to change our circumstances if we so choose, leaves intact the inner resources we need for our spiritual pursuit. Accepting to learn spiritual practices from others can be humbling and thus helps free us from any inflated self-image we might harbor. Like accepting our life as it is, accepting ourselves as we are, even while seeking to change in necessary ways, conserves our energies for reaching toward the spirit, rather than continually draining our energies in self-reproach. Once our feet are firmly planted on the spiritual path, we discover in our darkest moments that the path and the spirit offer an essential lifeline, a true, unwavering, and loving friend. And all of those steps prepare us for the deeper work remaining.

Leaving aside our thoughts and reactive emotions to enter the silence of inner peace, the cognizant stillness of consciousness, allows us temporarily to surrender our identification with our personality. Abiding in the inner temple of peace, we drop our need to buy into or assert some self-image that we mistakenly believe. In that stillness, we are, simply and directly. We experience just being, just awareness, just the crystal purity of consciousness.

Remarkably, that wonderful peace of consciousness is only the beginning of the truly spiritual realms. Beyond consciousness — yes, there is a domain beyond consciousness — we may touch the world of Sacred Light. Toward that we open our heart and soul, we surrender for those moments any other need or desire, even the need to be ourselves, our separate selves. Wholly focused on the Higher, we plunge beyond consciousness and toward the Sacred, entering the depths of prayer, through the depths of our being. Dropping behind our thoughts and emotions, behind our consciousness, back through our own core, ever closer to where our self would be, we discover our higher Self in a cascade of higher energies.

And finally, utterly, giving over our independence of action to the One Actor, the Creative Will of the World, the ever-present Source of All, surrendering our uniqueness to the Great Unique One. For this prayer can help. The sacred words, sounds, and images of prayer can guide us beyond words, sounds, and images, toward the Ultimate. And in surrendering we reconnect with the Whole, becoming a particle of the Unity.

Now all of this is not merely some imaginative language, but points toward an actual reality. For this week, practice surrendering the lesser to enter that greater reality. And in the process, you will deepen your freedom.


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