Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of November 15, 2010

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The Sacred Partnership

(Stages of Freedom: Part 9 of 9)

Those who reach the ultimate degree of spirituality are variously said to have communed with the Saints, entered the Kingdom of Heaven, attained union with the Divine, found perfect submission to Allah, reached nirvana, achieved liberation, or become a friend of the Friend. This last description of the goal as friendship with the Sacred particularly appeals to our sensibilities today. Between two friends there is both unity and independence. The unity is a unity of purpose and devotion. The independence, rather than detracting from the unity, actually enhances it by both parties bringing their strengths to the collaboration.

The most perfect service is the freely given. We need not presume that union with God means a robot-like submission of losing our individuality and taking orders. On the contrary, just as any wise owner of a complex enterprise wants intelligent, creative, self-motivated associates with initiative, these qualities also matter deeply in serving the Sacred. But that service also requires that we “know” what to do and that we are able to do it. We develop the ability for spiritual action through our path of inner work. The question of “knowing” what to do, however, comes down to perception of purpose and communication with the Sacred. The primary channel for that communication is our conscience.

As long as we have a physical body, though, the impulses from the Higher must pass through our mind, heart, and personality. No matter how pure and devoted a person we are, this material-world filter still operates to some degree. Though inner peace helps, the promptings of conscience always tend to get garbled. This is where our personal intelligence and wisdom enter, to ask the hard questions and apply the light-of-day tests of sanity, reality, compassion, and ordinary morality. And if what our conscience appears to be telling us passes all those tests, then it is truly calling us to respond appropriately to those promptings, to do the right thing.

The most expedient way for the creative Force behind the universe to act in our world is through us human beings. If the Sacred is not to violate its own laws of Nature, then It must act through the uncertainties inherent in Nature. Within us, those uncertainties manifest in the partially random vagaries of our emerging thoughts and perceptions, thus opening a possible channel for the higher will. So an obvious method of communicating the higher will to us is through our conscience, our perception of right and wrong. To align our actions, inner and outer, with that Force, we pay attention to conscience. It speaks to us as our intuition of right and wrong. When we know or feel what is right and we know or feel what is wrong, we can bind ourselves to that knowing or feeling. And more often than not, if we look inward, that knowing or feeling becomes clear.

This is our point of freedom, the inner freedom we have gained through our inner work. We are free with respect to our personality and its self-centered motivations, free to be responsible. If we are at peace, not driven by our mass of conflicting desires and attitudes, we have less resistance to hearing our conscience and acting on it. Conscience does not force its edicts upon us. We are free to respond or not, to comply or not. But if we do respond or comply, we take our place in our growing partnership with the Sacred. We become our conscience. True responsibility and true service begin here.

This great and beautiful universe must have a Purpose. The Divine Will of the Creator embodies that Purpose. Though we cannot know that Purpose in the way we know human purposes, we can cooperate with It, thereby giving purpose to our life. That is why we engage in spiritual practice and why we seek partnership with the Sacred through the medium of conscience.

But conscience is not the whole story of that partnership. If it were, then the partnership would only be intermittent, as the episodic promptings of conscience seem to be. We also need a more continuous way of partnership. For that we look to the role of presence itself. If we can be present, fully present, we have clarity of awareness, peace in our heart, no identification with our thoughts or emotions, and no room for ego to usurp our actions. These are the perfect conditions for presence as partnership with the Divine. Can it be that in pure presence we become God’s eyes and ears, God’s body and soul on this Earth? In our moments of non-doing, of allowing our experience to be as it is, of simply willing ourselves to be, that will-to-be is not just our own, but comes through us from the higher unity, from the Source, from the One Sacred Will. We enter an intimate partnership with the Sacred, a unity of the partners. The more perfect our presence, the more perfect the unity, both within ourselves and with the Higher. No longer merely personal, presence becomes an expression and manifestation of the Sacred partnership.

In prayer we deepen this effect by letting go of self-centeredness and opening our inmost center to the Higher. We delve within, seeking the Sacred behind and beyond all. Into and through our very core, we seek the Partner.

Yet another aspect of participating in the partnership emerges through our practices. In spiritual practice, our inner work of meditation, prayer, and presence, we transform energies. We raise lower energies to a higher quality and we receive higher energies from above. That intentional and conscious process of transforming energies also serves our role in the Sacred Partnership, for those energies are desperately needed for the spiritual ecosystem of the world. Walk into a room where a group of people are meditating or praying together and you may immediately notice the atmosphere of peace and presence and its calming, awakening effects on you. The energies being transformed spread out, with positive effects on other people. The stronger and deeper the practice, the more effective it is. Each moment of our own individual practice makes this constructive contribution, serving our soul, humanity, the Earth, and the Sacred.

For this week, deepen your own partnership with the Sacred.


     

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