Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For week of February 22, 2016

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Person Presence

(Presence Trigger 10)

Very few live as hermits; the rest of us are social beings. We need each other in so many ways and we discover ourselves in relating to others. The natural and true way to relate to another person is to be present with him or her. We touched on aspects of this in an earlier installment of this series on presence triggers: Phone Presence. There we practiced speaking and listening presence. Now we seek to take a step beyond that to actually being with the other person: here I am and there you are and we are here together.

This is different from just listening to the words that come from a person's mouth. It is entering the space that embraces us both. You say what you say. I think and feel what I think and feel. Then I say what I say. But all of that happens in this one space that we share, within this one awareness that we share. We begin to experience that your awareness and my awareness are not separate, that one field of consciousness enfolds us both.

This both requires and enables us to be at ease with the other person. To the extent I am concerned with the impression I am making, with what you think of me, and to the extent I am concerned with what I think and feel about you, and to the extent I am enmeshed in some presumed hierarchy in which we occupy different rungs, then I remain locked in myself and cannot simply be here with you. But if I see that you are a person in the very same way that I am a person, neither better nor worse, neither higher nor lower, but one and the same, then I can be with you. I am myself. You are yourself. Both unique, but both the same in that one life flows through us, one consciousness embraces us.

This is the inner relationship between us all. It holds true regardless of whether we are lovers, family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, total strangers, or even enemies. In this inner relationship, there are no strangers, there are no enemies, there are only persons, whose essential, spiritual, core personhood has the same roots as our own.

The practice of sensing brings us into contact with this moment, so that we can occupy the same time and space as the other person. However, to be in the field of consciousness that embraces both of us, requires more than sensing alone. It requires contact with the silence in our center, with the stillness beneath our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

Essentially, this is a stillness of our will, an inner stance of receptivity and openness, a willingness to just be here. Consciousness itself is open, having no boundaries. So whenever we adopt an inner attitude of openness, we thereby align ourselves with consciousness. And if we can see that inner spaciousness as more than just an absence of thoughts and noise and events, then we can enter the vast, cognizant stillness of consciousness.

The cognizant stillness at the base of my mind, my being, is the same cognizant stillness at the base of your being. That is the field we are in. And by the act of just being, of just being present with another person, we enter that shared field.

This works best when we have time. But it can also come in snippets, in the fleeting hello, in the brief interaction, in the quick exchange of pleasantries. If we are ready, if we are in contact with the stillness, then when another person comes into our space, we are there to share our inner space with them, no matter how briefly.

Each person is unique and even awe-inspiring, as the bearer of a piece of the Divine. So whenever we are with anyone, by their mere proximity to us they can awaken us to the wonder of humanity and bring us up into presence. Seeing another person, we rise out of our inner monologue into the presence of the hidden sacred within them. And by our sameness, it reminds us of the hidden sacred within us.

For this week, please practice person presence: be fully there whenever you are with another person. Let the fact that the other person is there trigger you to practice presence.

See Also: Unitive Will


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