Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of December 20, 2010

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(Inner Body Development: Aspect 5 of 7)

In the process of developing our inner body, we include an opportunity for the various energies engaged to settle, mix, and blend, to form a new substance in us. For that we relax. In particular, we practice deep meditative relaxation, into the space behind our thoughts and senses, letting go into the inner peace of consciousness, just being. We can practice this resting in awareness not only in meditation, but also during our ordinary daily activities. We open to being the screen on which all the contents of our experience, inner and outer, are displayed. The ramifications of this practice of just being, of being in consciousness, are far-reaching. In that vast and timeless inner space, we find freedom, we find ourselves, and we find our connection with others, our essential sameness.

The freedom of being in consciousness confers great peace and contentment, a quiet joy unlike any other. In just being, we reside in such spaciousness that there is room for everything to be as it is, for all our identifications to evaporate. Our life flows easily. Our inner constraints fall away and we have no need to impose our will, to shape our experience. Nor are we carried away in the stream of thoughts, emotions, and sensory experience. We are free. This state does not preclude us from being active, from acting and responding, even vigorously, as necessary and as we choose. But behind our activity, we reside in the ocean of peace, of being.

With the falling away of our inner constraints, our true self emerges. The peaceful ease of consciousness allows our ingrained modes of behavior, our reactive emotions, and our knee-jerk thinking to dissolve into the background. We just are. No longer bound by the patterns of our personality, we can finally be ourselves, without pretense, without fear, without conditioning, and without our mask. Our senses, fully alive, continually stream into our consciousness, whose function is cognition. We see and we know what goes on, within and without.

Soon enough, we see that this cognitive consciousness, so intimate and personal, does not belong to us. We see that consciousness is more than personal and has no boundaries. We see that our neighbor, that all of us share the same consciousness. The tent of consciousness embodies a profound unity among us, the sameness that we are. In just being, we transcend ourselves to be all. There is no difference between your consciousness and my consciousness. Indeed the possessives of “your” and “my” do not really apply to the all-pervasive consciousness that we all participate in.

We would do well indeed to attain a condition in which we could live our life in consciousness, in the fullness of being. However, we also remember that this state of consciousness is not the ultimate. There are still deeper levels beyond it. We want to live in consciousness, resting in awareness, without being attached to that state, without being seduced by its pleasures. Happiness comes as an important byproduct of rightly conducted spiritual practice. But happiness is not the goal of the path: service is. And one major way of serving life and the sacred consists of our spiritual practice itself, through the transformation of energies, purification of will, kindness, and prayer.

Consciousness is right here with us, in us. But nearly all the time our thoughts and sensory experience mask consciousness, distracting us from it. The conscious energy in our mind manifests as our cognitive faculty. In consciousness, we can be aware of our thoughts as thoughts. We can see the process of our thinking, its ebb and flow. In consciousness, we cognize or know directly, without the intermediary of our thoughts, without our thoughts necessarily explaining or commenting, without our thoughts intervening or inserting themselves between us and what we see. In consciousness, we just see, we get what is going on. Thoughts may occur, but as passing clouds in a huge blue sky. The big sky of consciousness is not compromised by our thoughts. We see through and beyond them. Being in the conscious energy in our mind is like being the streambed, banks, and valley surrounding the stream of our thoughts. The thoughts may continue flowing, but they are only a minor part of our presence.

Continuing along this line, attention to our mind can open us to conscious presence in our mind, to the cognitive stillness behind our thoughts. And that cognitive presence can merge with our body presence and heart presence to give us the fully human and complete presence.

For this week, practice resting in awareness, practice just being.


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