Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of July 22, 2013

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Love of the Sacred

(Opening Our Heart: Part 7)

This awesome universe, all of these wonderful forms of life, and the remarkable gift of our own life with our senses, our brains, our consciousness and our ability to move, grasp, and the rest, all of that, if we allow it to, can awaken us to a sense of the Sacred. This sense of the Sacred does not depend on believing in a Creator. The sense of the Sacred is a perception, a heart-felt perception, and as such is close to the tangible reality around us, just like a sense of wonder. Any belief, including belief in a Creator, is a secondary mental construct, changeable and less grounded than a sense of the Sacred. For those who have or have had a direct perception of God or the Creator, or of the Sacred precincts surrounding the Divine, it is no longer just a belief but rather a tangible though ineffable experience.

One way to develop our sense of the Sacred and to open our higher perceptions is through prayer. Though belief is a mental construct, faith is not. Faith bypasses the thin certainty of belief in favor of direct perception. Belief may be dogmatic, but faith is not. Non-dogmatic belief can serve us as a tentative assumption that God exists, an assumption that allows faith to grow. We choose to believe, pending experience, but knowing it is just an assumption. Independent of our logical mind, faith is a perception that connects us with an unseen, unknown, but clearly Sacred reality. Though that perception may be clouded, lacking clarity in itself, it nevertheless transmits to us the Sacred character of what lies behind the perception. We can choose to believe, but faith chooses us. Our role is to allow faith to find its place in us, to welcome it, not to block it, not to disregard it. And the prime way to allow faith to grow is through prayer.

There is a close interaction between faith and prayer. Without faith we would not pray. But less obviously, faith can guide us in deepening our prayer. For the type of prayer whose purpose it is to connect us with the Divine, our major difficulty is not knowing what approach or direction to take. The space of our inner world is a vast territory, largely unknown to us. Somewhere within us is a path, a direction toward the Divine. Where is that? How do we move toward that? In silent, contemplative prayer, what do we do? Where do we go? Here faith as a perception can show us the way. Specifically, and in real time, as we enter this mode of prayer, we notice the response of our spiritual heart, our spiritual intuition, our faith. When it is warming up, we know we are headed in the right direction. When it stays unchanged, we know we are not moving. When it cools, we know we are going in the wrong direction. Thus faith acts as our compass in navigating toward the Sacred through our inner world. It shows us how to open our heart, our being, our soul to the Divine and to the sacred nourishment of the higher energies, how to enter the ultimate realms of prayer.

Faith, then, is the perception of Divine love, both that coming from Above and directed toward each of us, and that returning from us and directed toward the Divine. It is this love that moves us, that draws us into the spiritual journey, that speaks to us, not just in contemplative prayer but from every corner of our life, from nature, and from the people around us. One Will pervades this universe and this love awakens us to our share in that Will.

For this week, let faith guide you toward love.


     

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