Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of December 16, 2013

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Being Your Relationships

(Being Yourself: Part 5)

Our many relationships seem to define who we are and rightly so, because what we are does not stop at our skin. Through our social intelligence, we all deal with variable relationships of many kinds, fleeting or long-term, superficial or intimate. We treat these as being between us and someone else, between two discreet people. This is our ordinary world of separateness, governed by the rules of morality, etiquette, and courtesy. But there are deeper levels to every relationship.

Space is one unbroken continuum. It opens to everything, yet maintains its own characteristics. It bends without breaking (the exception of black holes not withstanding). We may erect walls or build a box to divide up space. But that does not really divide space; it just makes barriers to movement. Notice, though, that the walls are no barrier to certain things, such as radio waves or gravity. Similarly, we have our own inner barriers that seem to define who we are, that divide us from the world beyond our skin, that separate us from other people. Again though, at more refined levels these inner barriers vanish and lose their effectiveness.

There is sameness, there is uniqueness, and there is unity, three qualities at three different levels. Sameness enters at the level of the conscious energy. If we are quiet enough inside, we touch the place in ourselves that is the same in others, the quiet, cognizant stillness in them. This is not just similar and it is not just a copy in the sense of having the same characteristics. The stillness in each of us is part of the great continuum of consciousness that not only is the substance of our mind, but lies beneath all that exists. We all share in this cognizant stillness, just as we all live in and share the air we breathe. It means that, at a fundamental level, my awareness is the same as your awareness, that we share the same awareness. This is our pure awareness, prior to thought and emotion, prior to categorizing, interpreting, and acting. We all see with the same awareness. By being in our own inner stillness, we can notice it in others, notice that we share it. This profoundly affects our ways of relating.

Uniqueness enters at the level of the creative energy, the world of sacred light, but really concerns will, the uniqueness of our will, the uniqueness of our individual I. Every person is unique, in the way that God is unique. If each of us has the Divine nature within us, then we each inherit that Divine quality of uniqueness. If we are open to it, uniqueness makes people endlessly fascinating, because we can never know the full depths of any person, not even ourselves. We respect each other as unique beings with unique will. That respect shows our inherent equality, which is a manifestation of the fact that we all, in our will, derive from the Divine Will. We relate to each other as I and Thou, as two equal beings, equally children of the Creator. Outwardly we are not equal, we may be rich or poor, fast or slow, beautiful or homely, educated or not. But for our inherent value, none of that matters: we are all equal and equally unique. And because we are fully ourselves, we no longer need to keep other people at armís length to maintain our own identity. Our barriers to each other grow porous.

Beyond sameness and uniqueness, there is unity. This also concerns will. A sports team, a tight knit organization, or a close family is one whose members share the same will, in a limited context. A team that is functioning well acts as unit, toward the same goal. Each member plays their allotted role, putting his or her unique talents to work for the whole. Each supports the others, empowering the whole. In doing so, each one contributes to and shares in the will of the team. Notice that each one is free and freely enters the will of the team. In fact, there is greater freedom in the greater will, because each is released from purely self-centered concerns, released from self-will. The less self-will, the greater the purity, and the more completely one enters the greater will. All of this is a reflection, though a pale one, of how we come toward unity with each other in the Divine Will. Our uniqueness testifies that we all share in That. But our self-centered egoism diverts our share of the Divine Will. For full participation, full purity is required. The closer we come to that purity, the closer we come to the Sacred, and the closer we come to other people, to our inherent unity.

All the levels of relationship matter, whether based on separateness, as most are, or on sameness, uniqueness, or unity. Feeling free in our relationships, we can be fully ourselves. For this week, honor your relationships and be them.


     

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