Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For weeks of November 2 & 9, 2015

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(Presence Metric 3)

If we look at different instances of presence, different moments when we are here, we notice they are not all inwardly the same. One way that moments of presence differ is in terms of intensity. I may be alert, but just how alert am I? I may be present, but just how present am I? How vibrant and vivid is my awareness in this moment? To what degree am I in contact with what my awareness brings to me? To what degree am I here? To what degree am I, right now?

The practical question regarding intensity of presence is how to increase it. One approach consists of increasing our inner energy. Many kinds of spiritual practices help with that, including, for example, doing a morning and/or evening meditation, participating in a worship community, an inner work group or a spiritual retreat, and breathing energy. Not wasting our energy, in tensions or harmful stress, in physical over-indulgences, or in destructive emotional storms, helps conserve the energy we have. The quality and quantity of our inner energy certainly impacts our ability to be present.

But the true key to intensity of presence is the in-the-moment will-to-be, the will to be more present right now. Can I be present now? Can I be more present right now? And yet again even more present? If we actually try this and practice it, through trial and error we begin to get a taste of the nature of the effort required to intensify our presence.

One false avenue toward more intense presence is that of increasing tension, inner or outer. Tension has no place in presence and should not be confused with intensity. Tension merely wastes our energy, thereby diminishing our ability to be present. We cannot intensify our presence by making ourselves tense within.

We can find a hint of how to be more present by its similarity to the effort of extending the duration of a given episode of presence. Both engage the same will, our will to be present. The difference is in the will to stay present versus the will to be more present. The two are complementary, supporting each other, similar yet distinct.

Another clue to the nature of the effort to be more present emerges from the effort to sense more strongly. This is more readily accessible. If we bring our attention to our right arm and hold it there, the sensitive energy accumulates in the arm, making it more vivid. Simply by staying with our attention in the arm, the sensing continues to grow stronger. But it can also grow stronger by our intention that it do so, by putting ourselves more into the arm. This reflects the fundamental effort required to be more intensely present, which is not only about drawing in more energy, but more so about strengthening our will-to-be right now, in this moment.

Efforts to intensify our presence attune us to the various degrees of presence. This teaches us to measure our presence by its intensity. For this week, in any given moment of presence, be even more present.


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