Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the week of November 12, 2012

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Learning to Be

Introduction

If the pure joy and wonder of infants are any indication, we are born in being. The blank slate of the infant mind presents no obstacle, no distraction from consciousness. But years later, we find ourselves immersed in the daily cares and chores, goals and desires, reactions and dreams, immersed to the point of having lost ourselves, lost our being, lost even the memory of being, and not even knowing what weve lost, nor its profound value.

In one sense, the spiritual path is about regaining that childhood innocence, our original consciousness. But as adults we bring much more, we bring our skills and abilities, our heart, our strength and our power. That power, though, is limited by our misguided identification with ourselves, our ego, our thoughts, and everything that attracts or repels us. We have forgotten who we really are. The practices of the spirit are techniques to help us remember, to help us see through the clutter and return to our self, our true self.

And not only return to something weve lost, but to develop something further, new qualities we never possessed. The ordinary way to look at the long term effect of time on our life is that our possibilities diminish, day by day, that less time left in our life means fewer possibilities open to us. Yet there is the way of inner development that, like studying or saving, increases our possibilities as time passes. And inner development has the major advantage that the possibilities it opens are not in time. Pure being, pure consciousness are not in time; they are in the timeless and do not diminish with the passage of time. In fact, one hallmark of coming back to being is that feeling, that experience of timelessness.

Being concerns energies, inner energies: it is an organic body whose substance is spiritual energy. For that reason, much of our work on being concerns energy management: conserving, obtaining, and assimilating energies. Our body transforms physical substances into flesh and bone. Through our inner work we transform energies into the substance of our being; they come together, stabilize, and form our being.

Growth of being comes as a total result of all our inner work and our responsible actions in life. It grows under the radar. We do not see it happening, not only because its so gradual, but also because we do not recognize this most valuable development. Then one day we wake up and understand that we are more, we are more substantial than we used to be. That substantiality is our being, our ableness to be. Awakening to new substantiality also awakens us to the possibility that we could grow much more substantial still.

We can live in time, live in the timeless, or live in both. For the great majority of our life in time, we are completely enthralled by externals, by surface phenomena: we are turned to the outside. In that choppy expanse of time, we are not also in the timeless. That is the difference that being makes: the more being we have, the more we can live in both time and the timeless, the more we can give what is required to our outer life and our inner life, to body and spirit.

In this inner work series, we will look at certain aspects of what prevents our being from growing and what helps us grow. There is a great deal for us to do about our being. Some of what we would do ordinarily, like being responsible, does have a positive impact on our being, while others things we do hold us back. Still other, non-ordinary actions nurture our being directly. This field of endeavor is vast and varied; we will touch on some its highlights.

For this week, ask yourself: what does it mean to be? What is being? What is my being? When do I feel my being? When do I feel that I am? Do I ever have the experience of just being?

    1. Not Judging Oneself: Acceptance
    2. Not Judging Others: Acceptance
    3. Beyond Thinking
    4. Beyond Desire
    5. The Wish to Be
    6. In Body, Mind, and Heart
    7. Energy Management
    8. Being Conscious
    9. Affirming Presence
    10. Affirming the Higher
    11. Flow
    12. Being in Love


        

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