Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of May 23, 2011

Left-click for MP3 audio stream, right-click to download


Complete Liberation

(The Path of Liberation: Part 9 of 9)

No discussion of liberation would be complete without coming to the Ultimate. At the current stage of human evolution, only rarest of the rare attain the spiritual station of complete liberation. For the rest of us, though, an understanding of this possibility creates a valuable image for us, an image of our own potential perfection, an image that calls to us and guides us along our path.

Having come into ourselves, into our own I, we know that our spiritual work is not nearly complete. The second fana, the death of our attachment to our personality, and the attendant resurrection into I Am must give way to the third fana, which moves us from I Am toward what is put in the Old Testament as “I Am That I Am,” a phrase that points to the Divine Will that continually creates, sustains, loves, and endows this universe with freedom.

One indicator reaches us when we notice that, though we are able to be I, we are not able to pin it down, to exhibit it or examine it, because it is always the subjective factor, the one who does the pinning, exhibiting, and examining. We notice that our I is centerless, though it does have force. That no-center quality holds the key to our further evolution, to our perfection, because the higher may enter our centerless center, the higher as more subjective, deeper within us than what we took to be our own I. By leaving the inner end of the channel of attention and will open, first in the sense of looking inward to what is beyond, and then in the sense of allowing the higher to see and hear and act through our channel of will, we allow the sacred to look through us, as us. Closely related to I, is our conscience, the voice of Wisdom, which offers a way forward toward complete liberation. Our I can open to conscience and thereby align us with the higher will.

Our I is our will and it appears to have qualities of independence, if not separateness. Now that deeper illusion of self also must go, the illusion that we exist as an independent being. Even if we are free of the false belief that we are our personality, we still harbor the belief that we are the separate one who experiences our life. This fundamental view is both valid and not valid, depending on the level from which one looks. From the level of I, we are indeed the one who lives and breathes, the one who chooses and acts, the one who does what we do.

Yet, there remains a deeper possibility. Can we, will we, open, surrender our will, our separateness, to the Higher Will? Can we allow the channel of our individual will to widen and transmit the Higher Will? Can we allow the Higher Will to inhabit our individual will? From a distance that sounds frightening and distasteful, as if we were going to be absorbed into the Borg. But the closer we come to that, the clearer we see that our individuality itself will not disappear, but rather become an embodiment of the Higher. This ultimate transformation is not about loss of control: it is about Love and about recognizing what is already true, namely our oneness in the Sacred. The completely liberated person is an individual on the level of individuality, one on the level of oneness, and inwardly free on all levels.

The belief in our ultimate separateness, though, is robustly enshrined in our egoism. On the way toward complete liberation, we must pass through the gate of egoism, the gate of transcending our belief in and acquiescence to that illusion. This self-contained, self-referential, self-inflating bubble must burst. Even our spiritual practice is not immune from its reach. The ego-inflation that attempts to misappropriate, take credit for, and rob us of any real or imagined progress in the spiritual path challenges us all. The saving grace is that true progress does include the ability to see our ego a little more clearly, to listen to our conscience in this regard, and to turn toward real humility in our innate emptiness. This letting go of our ego, our self-centeredness, is the third fana, the third spiritual “death,” the death of our attachment to the self-centered view.

Complete liberation entails understanding that though there is indeed someone who lives our life and experiences what we experience and does what we do, that someone is the same one in all of us, not the separate me or I that we assumed it to be, not individualized to us personally. The one will flows through us all. This does not negate our individual I, that great gift entrusted to us at birth and toward the revealing and development of which much of our inner work can fruitfully be applied. It simply and willingly places our I in its true context, as a particle of the Great Will. The one Divine Will flows through all and is the root of all Will, including the I of each and every one of us. That is the source of our freedom. And the free choice is ours alone, a choice made on the level of our individuality, of whether and how much to give ourselves to the path of liberation and finally to union with and service to the Divine Will.

The result matters, much more than personally. The liberated person is free to serve our world in crucial but hidden ways. The most obvious of those concerns the transformation of energies. As we engage in spiritual practices, we gain some understanding, some perception of and facility with various spiritual energies. We even come to recognize that those energies have a positive effect, not only on us, but on the people around us, as we can see, for example, in comparing the power of meditating or worshipping in a group versus alone. The liberated person has access to much higher qualities of spiritual energy, bringing them into this world and benefitting us all.

We distinguish between the loving non-attachment of true liberation and the cold detachment of pseudo-liberation. Complete liberation does not mean an inner or outer divorce from life, though in an effort to attain that station, many have followed a cloistered path. Yet that is not our way. We maintain and even increase our inner and outer engagement and concern with life, while simultaneously following the path of liberation. And the path heals our life, heals all the aberrations resulting from identification with our personality and self-centered egoism, and enables us to love and to bring a creative and effective flair to what we do and how we serve, enables us to be responsible on every level.

For this week, create the image in yourself of your own perfection.


     

About Inner Frontier                                    Send us email 

Copyright © 2001 - 2021 Joseph Naft. All rights reserved.