Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the weeks of June 23 & 30, 2014

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Persistence: Doing What Matters

(Deepening Our Inner Life: Part 12)

At times we wonder whether there is a secret to progress in our inner life, in our spiritual life. Though progress is almost always slow, there nevertheless is a secret to it. But contrary to what we might expect it to be, say some advanced, hidden form of meditation, the secret is simple: persistence, staying engaged for the long haul. If we stay with our practice, with actual practice, through thick and thin, rain or shine, each drop of effort accumulates and winds up making a gradual but huge difference to our inner experience.

Some days our inner work comes easily. We have the energy. We have the need. Our emotions are not pulling us in another direction. So we work, although it takes little effort and does not feel like work. We practice presence and kindness. We pray. We meditate. We breathe consciously. We breathe energy. We let go of our identifications. To our abundance on those days, more is added. Here the temptation is not to bother with inner work, to ignore our need, to just cruise along enjoying the ride. Life is good, satisfying and fulfilling, as is. If it were a hand of poker, we would stand pat. Instead, on those sunny days of our life, we seek to go beyond the easy flow, we seek to intensify our efforts of presence and the rest. We seek to be, really be. And to do what is right, necessary and possible, inwardly and outwardly.

On some days we live under a dark cloud. We are tired or sick or in pain. We lack energy. We lack motivation. Our attention wanders. Things go wrong. Yet on such days even a little inner effort goes a long way. That seemingly small effort requires a real choice, a pure instance of will. The effort comes from us, from what is left when so much else is stripped away. It comes from seeing what does not matter and remembering what does.

Our inner work matters. Obviously it matters for us personally. It gives us joy. It makes our life more vivid. It brightens our relationships. It gives us more energy to think, to feel, to act, to create, and to experience. It frees us of so much baggage that drags us down, of our identification, of our negativity, of our rejection of ourselves and our life. It enables to be ourselves and live a full life. It feeds and develops our soul. All this and much more comes about through persistent inner work, through day-in and day-out, blue-collar inner work.

Importantly and remarkably, our inner work also matters beyond our personal life. It is more than personal. Our inner work is needed. Through our practice we transform inner energies, raising their quality and quantity. We create a surplus beyond our personal needs, a surplus that goes to fill the needs of the earth, of the spirit of life around us, and even of the Divine. This is why we are here: to transform energies, to take in the raw material of food and air and sensory impressions, and from that to produce higher energies. The methods for doing so are precisely the methods of practical inner work: presence, prayer, meditation and kindness

So our inner work matters to us personally, to our community, to the Earth, and to the Sacred. It serves both our own and the greater good. Thus it gives meaning to our life, real meaning, motivating meaning.

We want fulfillment. At some points we believe our fulfillment will come from having. Then at other points we believe fulfillment will come from doing. And in the end we find fulfillment in being, in being ourselves, and in serving thereby. To become ourselves, though, requires us to do something, namely our inner work.

For this week, raise the level of your persistence in your inner work. Work more each day, each moment.


     

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