Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of March 14, 2011

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Non-Directed, Creative Will

Spontaneity, Conscience, Opening

(Modes of Will: Part 10 of 11)

Just when we’re not looking, the creative energy slips the new into our life. In whatever way we come to it, when we do set aside, at least temporarily, our attachment to what we already know, to our habits and beliefs, to our established patterns of thought and action, to our tensions and defenses, then gaps appear within us, through which the new may enter. All kinds of play and games, musical, theatrical, and dance improvisation, and unfiltered brainstorming promote such creative gaps, as does anything we do for the sheer joy of it, any activity which is its own reward. When, within the framework of what we are about, anything goes, then anything does go, including what we have never done or thought or felt before. Creative spontaneity coupled with conscious intention, sensitive noticing, and automatic skills form the blend of will and energies at the heart of artistic endeavors.

Spontaneity liberates not only outward actions, but also our inner work, for much of our inner world remains to us terra incognita and an attitude of exploration and spontaneity helps illumine our inner spaces. We may hear that the sacred higher worlds lie beyond consciousness, but we have no conception of what that could mean, no conception even of the contours of our limitless consciousness, much less where and how to look beyond them. Nevertheless, we actively will ourselves to look for that realm, to explore our inner world, even without knowing the direction in advance. Our active will, perceiving the vast and silent and cognizant space of consciousness, approaching its boundless boundaries, and there confronted with, but not shrinking from, the wall of not knowing, stays; eventually hearing the voice of the creative and following its lead into the unknown. Through this contemplation, in stillness, with an active will and unknown direction, we can explore our inner world: there to discover unsuspected riches.

The same kind of contemplation proves effective for exploring the deep questions for which we have no answer; holding the question within us, without demanding an answer, we let our wisdom, imbued with creative energy, respond in its own time. Sometimes this is seen as allowing the unconscious mind to ruminate over a question while we “sleep” on it, and then as if by magic, we awaken to new insights and understandings. Of course, this also happens with everyday conundrums, choices, and dilemmas, the ones that matter to us and for which we have no immediate answer. We actively consider the issues, and unable to reach a conclusion, we give up, leaving it all aside, and then perhaps, at an unexpected moment, the resolution appears.

How do we know what is right, not only ethically and morally within the norms of our society, not only how to treat the people and life around us, but what will be most effective toward our attaining our goals, even what our goals should be, how to find fulfillment, how to discover, create and realize our destiny, and how to be of service? Given the endless possibilities before us, how do we know how to live our life?

In a word: Conscience! Our intuitive understanding of truth and rightness can guide our steps, if we listen, hear it, and act accordingly. We may fail to notice the promptings of conscience. Sometimes it can be as vague as a feeling of discomfort or unease or embarrassment in contemplating a particular course of action. Sometimes a little clearer, as when we find ourselves trying to convince ourselves that a particular choice really is OK, when the very fact of needing to convince ourselves shows us, if we’re paying attention, that the choice is wrong. Sometimes it comes as remorse for our shortcomings, our shirking and procrastination, our engagement with the urgent or desirable at the expense of the important. And sometimes we struggle. We hear our conscience and rebel, attempting to sweep its voice under the rug of not knowing. But conscience does know. We may bury it by ignoring it, but still it knows what we do, and moreover, why.

For our conscience is not other: it is us. By acting in accord with conscience, we connect with and become our own higher Self. The emphasis that all religions place on morality is not only about doing the right thing, but also about becoming our higher Self, for which a clear conscience is an absolute prerequisite. Yes, forgiveness is possible and can cleanse our conscience, but that is an uncertain road — much better to act with clarity from the outset. Being receptive to the wisdom, to our very own impartial wisdom, the true wisdom that comes from the level of the creative energy in us, this is the mode of will that opens us to our conscience, to our Self.

The creative realm of Sacred Light is the fabled but real domain of ecstasy. By actively exploring, feeling our way beyond consciousness, by emptying ourselves in hope and receptivity to be touched by the Sacred, by reaching with our entire being for the Sacred and opening to the realm of ecstasy, by standing in the nurturing rain of its sweet nectar, by soaking our soul in joy and responsibility, by all these inner acts of will, we come alive, alive to the fullness of being human, alive to unimagined possibilities. More accessible than the Ultimate, the realm of Sacred Light offers us regular nourishment, once our synergy of creative will learns its ways, learns to reach for and receive this particular fruit of contemplative prayer.

For this week, practice creative will, in spontaneity, in inner exploration, in living by conscience, and in the contemplative synergy of touching the Sacred Light.


     

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