Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of April 28, 2014

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The Energy of Higher Emotions

(Deepening Our Inner Life: Part 4)

Through emotions we can be touched by something ineffable yet recognizable as being sacred. Such emotions include longing for the sacred, faith, love, joy, compassion, and awe, among others. At a slightly lower level, we have the higher emotions of brotherhood and sisterhood, friendship, sincere well-wishing, joy in another’s joy, and more. The regular practice of prayer naturally, or even supernaturally, leads us to open to such higher emotions. This holds for any type of prayer, whether petitioning for something, contemplating the Divine, or more actively seeking to approach the Divine. All types share the requirement that to be real, the act of praying must include opening or attempting to open ourselves toward the Divine. This is inherently humbling and creates a gap in our ego, in our self-centered attitudes, a gap though which a real connection can arise. We know this has occurred when through that gap higher emotions flow into us.

The many ways of prayer, in their deeper manifestations, share this characteristic of opening toward the Sacred. What is the essence of that action of opening? We can compare it to a house, a house that we live in. It has a front door, which opens to the external world, through our outward facing senses. The interior of the house is our inner world of thoughts, emotions, and body sensations. This house also has a rarely-used back door. This back door opens to the Sacred. We may not even be aware that this back door exists. Like the front door, the back door opens inward, opens toward the inside of the house. The various forms of prayer concern that door to the Sacred and aim to have us find the door, unlock it, and either open the door from the inside or allow it be opened by the Sacred. This metaphor of a house with front and back doors comes close to how it really is in us.

When that door to the Sacred opens even a little, something wonderful comes into us. One form that takes is as higher emotion carried into us as a potent but rarefied energy. That type of energy feeds our soul directly. It can combine with the sensitive energy we have prepared by working on our sensation body. Through that combination, the sensation body grows more robust.

The whole action also works to purify us. It takes a certain genuine longing and humility to open that door. The action helps reorient us, balance our view of life, so that we not only face the external through our front door, but also look toward the Sacred through the back door.

Higher emotions not only result from opening that door, but also provide the means to open it in the first place. Yet prayer is not about conjuring up or manufacturing some emotion. It is about relating ourselves to something even more real than we are, to our all-loving Creator.

This beautiful, amazing world embodies the work of a loving Hand. And behind every point of this façade, including behind us, lies a deeper world, closer to the Divine Source of All. We turn toward that unseen but felt Reality. With a bittersweet homesickness, we long for That. We discover a hole in our very core, a hole meant to be filled by the Sacred, a hole that shows us what we are missing, a hole that awakens that homesick longing. The mere awareness of this hole makes us want to be more than we are, to be kinder and real and complete. It makes us want to serve. And again it makes us homesick for our Source.

For this week, return to that place in yourself.


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