Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of May 16, 2011

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I Am

(The Path of Liberation: Part 8 of 9)

In the practice of being our attention, the question naturally arises: “who is directing my attention?” The answer of course is “I am,” that is, if and when our attention is actually being directed, not just being passively attracted or pushed around without any intention on our part. After the fana, the “death” of our attachment to and belief in our personality, the resurrection, the baqa comes as “I Am.” Our I is free of the entanglements of personality, of attachment to opinions, judgments, reactions, likes, dislikes, and habits.

But what is this I? Who am I? Who is aware, when we are aware? Who is present, when we are present? Who sees what we see and knows what we know and does what we do? Who chooses and who decides in us? The answer is I. In rising above our personality, above our associative thoughts, reactive emotions, and physical habits, and taking care not to identify with our awareness itself, we are left with our I, our will. This I is the something that can take our rightful place at the center of our being, at the center of initiative, rather than allowing personality or ego to occupy that place. This is the something in us that is free. It is not a thought and not an emotion, but rather our formless will. When it is active, it is a force, our force. When receptive, it is our impulse to open, to accept, to be. When it is synergic, we connect, worship, and even love. We cannot pin down our I, because it is formless. But we can be our I, we can be the one who perceives, chooses, and acts. We can be the one who directs our attention, moment to moment.

The outer end of our channel of attention opens to the world of sensory inputs. And those sensory inputs can be received and perceived by us, by our I, at the inner end of the channel. That same channel communicates the choices and actions of our I. This is why we need a strong attention, a developed and responsive attention: it enhances our contact with I, enabling I to enter us more completely.

This I Am is not the same I we are so accustomed to in our thoughts and personality. While our I can drive our thoughts and emotions, our I is beyond thought, beyond our ordinary emotions. Freedom means, in part, not having our I driven by our personality, but rather the other way around. The ordinary thought or feeling of I pales in the presence of I. This I Am is not our ego, is not self-centered, in fact it has no center, for it is intimately connected to the Great Center of All, beyond space and time. This is our true I, our true individuality.

Yet we should not regard this as distant from us, as some long-term goal. Our I is already here and now, closer to us than anything else can be. We have only to step forward, as ourselves, to step out of the shadow of our personality, to step away from our self-centered ego, to step into and through the stillness within us. We have only to be I, to say “here I am” with the whole of our self and truly mean it, knowing that the words themselves are at best only pointers.

For this week, be your I. Be the one who directs your attention. Be the one who sees what you see and does what you do. When you walk, be the walker, be the one who is walking, the force behind your walking. Inwardly say “here I am” and mean it. Notice what in you can mean that, what in you can legitimately say it. Say it from yourself, from the whole of yourself. Say I and be I, not the sound or the word or the thought, but the actual I, the sayer.

See Also: Stages of Inner Unity: I


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