Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of September 26, 2011

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Living as the Sacred

(Living in Presence: Aspect 7 of 7)

Are we alone? We certainly seem to be, at least inwardly. Outwardly, of course, we are surrounded by people, nature, and human-made artifacts. We connect with people face-to-face and by all manner of electronic communications. We may feel lonely, but we are not alone.

Yet inwardly, here I am, quite alone. No one else is inside my mind and my perceptions. No one else directly knows my thoughts and feelings, my hopes and fears, my intentions, my joy, and my pain. At the center of all this is my I, uniquely me, distinct from all others. I am. Though we may be connected with other people, it is a connection of separate nodes of will and experience. Any unity among us is a unity of parts making up a whole, as in a family, a team, an organization, or a nation. If God does exist, then again our relationship is one of subject and monarch, creation and creator, or part and whole.

But the reality is very different. The inner separateness we experience is an illusion of our limited perceptions. A veil in the form of a mirror occupies our depth, so that when we look inward we only see ourselves, like Narcissus seeing his reflection on the water. Can we look beyond our reflection and see the water, see into its depths?

Just as we can extend our attention, our will, into our body, to inhabit the whole of it, so Godís will is in the process of extending into this universe to inhabit it, and in particular, to us. In the same way that the various parts of our body, plus our mind and heart, can all be unified by the one will that is our I, so can the universe be unified by the one will that is Divine. But for that, we humans have a particular role to play: dropping our inner separation from the Higher, surrendering our independence so as to enter a more complete individuality attuned to the Sacred.

The analogy between how our will enters our body and the way the Divine Will enters the universe falls short at the crucial step. Every part of our body is necessarily subservient to the whole: there is no wiggle room or freedom on the level of the parts. But to spiritualize this universe, the Divine Will needs, among other things, to enter us. Sometime around our birth we do receive that universal will and its inherent freedom. That makes us free to do as we wish, to live and act however we choose, within the constraints of having a body and living in a society. From the viewpoint of the higher will, the freedom granted us is absolutely necessary if we are to serve the Sacred with intelligence, insight, and initiative. To take up our true destiny, our individually unique role, we need to reopen our connection, our unity with the Divine Will.

The question is: how? First and foremost, we need to be willing to become more than our small self, more than our ego, more even than our I. We need to be willing to hear and respond to the call of the Sacred. Perhaps we engage in the inner work of meditation, presence, and prayer. Presence shows us the one who is present, shows us our I. This I seems to be my source, the place where my attention, intentions, and choices come from, the center of my experiencing and doing.

But to live as the Sacred, requires that we look beyond our I, that we open the back door at the root of ourselves and let the higher flow through us, as us. Itís not that I disappear, but rather that the boundaries of my I dissolve, so that I enter a greater whole, so that I am not just myself, but that the All is in me. With that comes Love.

This is the ultimate aim of inner work, but not an aim that we can put off indefinitely. In our deepest prayer work, perhaps toward the end of our meditation, we address this directly. We open that innermost door and make ourselves available again and again. We wish and hope and beg and cajole, asking the Sacred to be us. We go all in, bringing all we have, all we are: our body, heart, and mind, our attention and intention, our will. For those moments, we focus everything. We give ourselves totally, utterly, to this opening, to this asking, again and again.

With that inner opening may come a great rush of high energies. We do not confuse that bliss with the Divine Will. The opening to high energies can become an act of will on our part. Contact with the Divine Will, however, is not something that we can do ourselves: it is an action of that higher will. We can only make ourselves available and hope that our wish is fulfilled. To the extent that we have this wish and to the extent that we act to make ourselves inwardly available to the Sacred, the Sacred already lives in us.

For this week, make yourself available to the Higher.


     

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