Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of April 23, 2012

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The Divine Purpose

(The Path of Purpose: Part 9 of 9)

The question of whether the Divine Purpose exists is tantamount to asking whether God exists, though “exists” is the wrong verb, because something that exists does so in time. God is not and could not be contained in time, although the Divine Purpose does, in part, manifest in time, if only in a veiled way, like Adam Smith’s invisible hand of market economics.

One of the great and broadly evident lessons of the Old Testament is that God acts in and through some of the events of human history. This is not to say that history always moves in accord with the Great Purpose. Obviously, there are detours and reversals. But generally, the vast sweep of history seems to be unfolding and evolving in accord with what we might imagine to be a high purpose. A prime example is the increasing value we place on human rights. Technological advances such as air travel and telecommunications are allowing much greater connectedness among people. Technology is making us all better informed, with more information readily available, which is leading us to be more discriminating, less suggestible, more individual. As medical, hygiene, and nutritional advances give us longer lifespans, we have more time to consider what our life is for, consider how best to use our time. Living solely for one’s own self-centered purposes gets old. Longer lives mean looking for what we can give, what we can offer for the greater good. Surely that tends to align us with a higher purpose.

And then, of course, there is the role of spiritual practice: meditation, prayer, presence, kindness, and letting go. All spiritual practice transforms spiritual energies, which serves our own personal welfare, the growth of our being and individuality, and serves the Sacred. The more we become ourselves, the closer we are to the Divine Purpose. Prayer directly addresses that reality, but not as a relationship, because relationship implies separate entities. In pursuing the Divine Purpose, there ultimately is no separation: we seek to embody That in the way we live, in who we are.

Can we know that Purpose? We can imagine God as a mountain of purpose, as the Will that, among other things, creates and sustains this vast universe at every moment. We may be personally and directly touched by that Purpose in a moment of grace and know it thereby. But that does not mean knowing It in a way that can be put into words or even concepts. How does one know a mountain, especially if it is a mountain of intelligence, power, love, and purpose? Up close and personal, It is overwhelming, infinite in comparison to us. Am I worthy to know that mountain? Am I pure enough? Am I strong enough? Perhaps the answer is no, for now at least. Yet we have hope: we hew to our inner work and pursue our highest destiny.

The Divine Purpose, with its vast scope of endless time and boundless space, far transcends our human capacities for understanding. So we cannot know the Divine Purpose in Its objective fullness. But we can participate in It. This does not mean seeking marching orders delivered to us by some inner voice, which is too easily corrupted or coopted by our self-centeredness. The Divine Purpose is much more subtle than that and is not like orders propagating down through an army. We are created to be unique and independent sources of initiative, serving the Good as we understand it. So though we may ask God what to do in a given situation, the answer best comes from our own deeper nature, our lifeline to the Sacred.

As our inner work progresses, our understanding of the Good comes closer to Truth. As the Divine Purpose extends Itself out into the expanding universe, we can be the leading edge of that vast process of spiritualization. The Divine Purpose can work in and through us, to the extent we are willing participants. This does not mean surrendering our individuality, only reuniting ourselves with what we have never truly been separated from. Uniqueness is the nature of the Sacred and we remain individually unique. Indeed, the deeper we enter our inner work, the more individual, the more unique, the more ourselves we become.

Is the Divine Purpose so far removed from us as to be inaccessible, even in principle? This is a question of faith and the answer of faith is no: we each can and do have a direct and inalienable connection with that Great Purpose. We each bear within us a seed, a particle, a ray of that Greatness. And by our inner work, by kindness, by devotion, by deep meditation and contemplative prayer, by inner exploration to plumb the depths of our inner world, we seek to uncover, to remove the veils hiding that vibrant mountain of Divine Purpose from us, hiding our true nature descending from and as that Sacred Purpose, hiding our innermost self.

There is a door in our very core. We stand with our back to that door, facing the world. Our attitude is: I am here. I am the source of my actions, of my will. I am who I am. Yet just behind us, that door awaits. We do not see it because we face away from it. But we can turn ourselves and make room for it to open. And when that door does open, onto the ineffable Sacred, we open back into our true Source.

For this week, open that door and stand within the Divine Purpose.



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