Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of September 8, 2014

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The Transcendent Energy

(Energy Practice: Part 9)

      Wisdom says I am nothing.
      Love says I am everything.
      God says I am you.
      Among these three, our life flows.

      [reworked from Nisargadatta Maharaj]

Although we cannot see It, touch It, or in any other way sense It, we nevertheless have a deep, usually buried, intuition that there is indeed an Ultimate Source, that this remarkable universe is not an accident, that our lives have an objective meaning and purpose beyond our personal, subjective ones, and that our true identity is somehow directly connected with that Source. That intuition has another name: faith. To what extent do we allow faith to come into us, to affect how we are and what we do? On the face of it, faith seems unnecessary. It appears we can live quite well without it. But if we do let it in, faith brings a whole new dimension to our day-to-day life.

We can agree that faith in the Ultimate Source is irrational. We may, however, disagree on what that means. Usually people take irrational to mean sub-rational, a view resulting from a disturbance of the mind, from a less than thoughtful position. But we take the irrationality of faith to be supra-rational, more than logical, and resulting from a truth beyond the mind, beyond thought. This can be difficult because we are so accustomed to having things make sense, in terms of logical thought. Faith bypasses thought. It certainly affects thought, but does not depend on it. So the leap of faith is in part giving up our inherent resistance to anything not reasoned and logical, our inherent dependence on and overestimation of our thinking mind.

Faith is a higher emotion. Unlike our usual emotions, which generally arise in self-centered reaction to some situation, higher emotions derive from higher perceptions. These bypass both our thoughts and our ordinary senses. So faith is there underneath as an invisible force drawing us toward the Sacred. This can manifest in various ways. One way is that we feel a need to undertake spiritual practice, which further strengthens our faith by opening our perceptions, our connection with the Sacred. The Ultimate Source does not reveal Itself at our initiative: it goes the other way around. But spiritual practice makes us more available to It. Meditation and prayer raise our level, raise the quality of our perceptions and our energy. Both help prepare us to be receptive to what flows from above.

Other kinds of actions also make us more available to the Source. These include creative acts like making music or art, or any other activities that engage the whole of ourselves, in which we lose our usual self-centeredness and open to a greater reality that transcends us. When we disappear in the midst of a creative act, something higher can appear in our place. Maybe this is just a moment, but it is a golden moment of purity, a moment that connects the Ultimate Source with this material world, through us.

Which brings us to a remarkable aspect of the Source, namely that we ourselves, in our deepest essence, are emanations of that Source. Our separation from It consists of the intervening layers of perceptions that obscure and distract. Behind all that we see, behind all our senses, there is the Source. Behind who we think we are, behind our very presence, there is the Source. Hidden within our neighbor, there is the Source. The higher purpose and method of prayer is to allow God to pray through us, as us, to let go of our separate identity and allow the Source to assume Its true place in us.

The Transcendent Source is the Mountain of Purpose, the Will of the World, that continuously creates this universe and all of us. Faith takes us beyond thinking of God as a nice theory to actively and receptively working to open ourselves to the reality of the Source.


     

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