Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of October 21, 2013

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Eternal Light

(Time and the Timeless: Part 3)

Beyond peace there is joy. Beyond stillness there is light. Beyond time there is the timeless. Though consciousness, that vast and boundless hall of peace, seems to be the ultimate, it is not. Just as consciousness is outside of time, so the higher realms are outside of consciousness, though not beyond possible experience.

The analogy with consciousness or pure awareness being beyond time, beyond thought, shows us the way. If we look within time and sensory experience, we do not see the pure awareness. If we look deeper within ourselves, beyond our senses and mind contents, we start to taste that pure awareness. Likewise, if look within awareness, we do not see beyond it. Instead, we seek a different direction, a different dimension, a way through the depths of silence, a way outside of our inner vision. Deep meditation and inner exploration can reveal it.

There is a fundamental difference between passivity and receptivity. One type of meditation is passive or nearly passive: the meditation of non-doing. We just sit and let everything be as it is in us. We relax our need to control and let all the thoughts, emotions, and perceptions come and go. We do not go with them. We do not act on them. We do not follow or intentionally think our thoughts. We just sit here in the middle of ourselves, relaxing into ourselves, into this moment. This type of meditation can and does lead to profound inner states. Once our thinking mind settles, we can rest in consciousness, in inner peace. Continuing on this way of non-doing, the higher realms may open to us spontaneously. This is an important kind of practice, with great value. But it is not the only practice for opening to the depths.

Receptivity means inwardly, intentionally turning toward the higher. This is not passive or non-doing. Nor is it active or forceful. It requires a balance of the active and the passive. The active aspect turns us toward the higher. The passive aspect keeps us open to receive from the higher. In practicing receptive meditation, we deal directly with the two forces, these two modes of action, the two ways of will. We are to some extent passive, but we are not just waiting as in the non-doing type of meditation. Instead, we engage just enough active intention to turn our inner world, our interest and attention toward the higher realm, toward finding that direction, toward opening to it.

There is a saying to the effect that we cannot enter heaven with our boots on. The passive aspect of this type of inner work is the equivalent of removing our boots. We cannot act on the higher, we can only allow the higher to act on us. Yet we can put ourselves there, we can knock on that door. We can stand before the door, we can open ourselves to receive the higher energy, the higher influence, but we cannot open the door. The purity of intention in our search makes it possible for that door to open. We do our part and allow the Sacred to do Its.

The higher realms are the spiritual realms and are Sacred. So another way of approaching this higher world beyond time and beyond consciousness is through prayer. Here we do not mean the petitionary prayer of asking for something, no matter how selfless the ask is, be it for personal health or world peace. The kind of prayer that is most effective at connecting us with the Sacred, aims only at that.

Through the centuries, people have devised and practiced many forms of this. A common example is the inner repetition of a sacred phrase or one of Godís names. The fact that we do not consciously know a priori the direction toward the Sacred is why this type of prayer is so valuable. Sitting in the kind of meditation which we might call silent prayer or contemplation, the inner repetition lights our way and gives us a direction. Since we do not know the way, we take the phrase, the name, or the Sacred melody to serve as our guide or even as a vehicle to take us toward the Sacred.

Communal prayer is another way that at its height can help us find and open to the Sacred. The pure intention of all the members combine in the synergy of communal worship. Such prayer can lift the whole community at once. It lifts us toward the Sacred. It lifts us into the timeless.

For this week, practice opening to the timeless realm just beyond consciousness, the realm of the eternal and Sacred Light.


     

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