Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For week of November 16, 2015

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Breadth

(Presence Metric 4)

Sometimes we need to focus and we do so intentionally. In certain meditation methods we practice just that: focusing our attention, that most useful of our inner tools. In presence, however, we can both focus on whatever we need to focus on and simultaneously spread wide the umbrella of our presence. In presence, focus brings its object into the foreground, while allowing everything else to stay in awareness, albeit in the not-so-far-back background.

So in a moment of presence, we can ask ourselves how inclusive our presence is. Does my presence embrace everything in this moment, inwardly and outwardly? We can look at that first in terms of our body. Does my awareness extend to the whole of my body? Am I in contact with the sensitive energy throughout my body?

How about emotions? Does my presence include my emotional state, be it peace and equanimity, love, indifference, anger, lust, or greed? Whatever the particular emotion is, am I in contact with my emotional nature as it is right now, with how it feels to feel my feelings? Or am I pushing my emotions away, rejecting what I do not want to feel, not admitting to myself how I feel?

How about my mind? Am I aware of whatever thoughts may be running through or reacting to what I see or hear? Am I aware of my thoughts as just thoughts? Or are they happening disguised as what I take to be my own ongoing commentary and narration of my life? Am I aware of the attitude underlying my current state? Are these current thoughts intentional or automatic?

Am I in contact with all my senses? Am I seeing what Iím seeing, hearing what Iím hearing? Am I in touch with my immediate situation? Am I responding as necessary?

Am I here with the whole of myself?

So we can measure our presence from the viewpoint of its breadth. How wide is the embrace of my presence in this moment? Repeatedly noting the breadth of our presence attunes us this aspect of it. And the very practice of looking at our presence in terms of its breadth changes it. If we look for a broad tent of presence, we find our presence expanding its reach.

For this week, notice the breadth of your presence. Widen your presence to embrace the whole of yourself and your surroundings. Set the walls and barriers aside. Open your inner arms of presence and be whole.


     

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