Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of December 29, 2014

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Inner Body Wholeness

(The Way of Wholeness: Part 4)

Wholeness manifests the spirit. How? In the deepest realms of the spirit, there are no parts, only the one complete Wholeness. So the quality of wholeness derives from the Ultimate. Any whole on any level links, however tenuously, back to the Great Wholeness. This is why we are so drawn to a panoramic view, to the fullness of an unclouded, unobstructed, unpolluted night sky, to the sight of the full moon or a mountain, to the expanse of the ocean, to individual people and animals in their wholeness. This is why integrity means both whole and ethical, because both qualities derive from the same source.

What about the experience of our own wholeness? Despite all the fragmentation of our thoughts, emotions, and bodily systems and processes, we do at times experience wholeness and we can develop our wholeness further. For that we begin with our body.

Our body is inherently complete on its material, objective level. However, our subjective experience of our body is not unified. Though we receive myriad sensations from our body, those sensations arise in a fragmented way: a pain in some part, sights from the eyes, sounds from the ears, a rumble of hunger in the belly, the contact points with the chair we sit on and the floor we walk on. The experience of wholeness does not come from putting all these pieces together. The experience of wholeness starts from the whole.

Spread your attention throughout your body, to take it all in at once. Let your attention fill and encompass the entire body, forming a complete attention-body. Each separate body-sensation finds its natural place in this whole. Nothing is left out, nothing is extra. To strengthen this, sense your body, your whole body. Staying with that attention to the whole body and the active intention to sense the whole body, the sensation grows. The sensation spreads to every part, smoothing out its strong and weak areas to support the wholeness.

Attention carries other, deeper energies into our body. One, the conscious energy, comes to some extent as a matter of course with the attention. Another higher energy comes through the attention to the extent that we open to that energy. The sensitive energy offers a medium with affinity for attention, which rests easily in sensation. The result of the mixing of these energies is to transform the attention body into a sensation body. Then as we sit or move, we do so with our whole body. We may move only an arm, but as we do we reside in the whole sensation body. So the experience of moving the arm is not separate from the experience of being in the entire sensation body; it is all one whole. We move from the whole.

Perhaps you have practiced sensing parts of your body: hands, or arms, or legs. That is an essential preparation for this rather different work of sensing your whole body. One difference is staying power. You may have noticed the difficulty of keeping up sensing a part of your body as you go about outward activities. The effort seems to divide your attention, with part on the sensation and part on whatever else you are doing. Inevitably, you lose touch with the sensation. But whole-body sensation is different: its inherent integrity gives it greater persistence in time. Instead of dividing your attention, you have one all-encompassing attention. You act from the whole of yourself, without needing to remember to sense your arm or leg. Instead you occupy your whole sensation body and from that you do what you do. You feel complete and at peace and alive.

This is the gift of whole-body sensation: it is the first major step toward living in wholeness. For this week, please practice sensing your whole body.


     

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