Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For weeks of March 7 and 14, 2016

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Working Presence

(Presence Trigger 12)

Most of us work, whether at a job or in our home, whether paid or not. For our present purposes, we consider work to include both our jobs and recurring chores, from simple personal hygiene to cooking, cleaning and maintaining our home and possessions, caring for our family, planning our budget, paying our bills, shopping, and all the rest. So much of our life requires us to be actively engaged, managing and shaping our immediate surroundings to meet our needs and desires. We shall refer to all of that by the name of outer work, or just work, in contrast to inner work. And our inner work aim will be to be present while we work, to have our work remind us to be present.

Some types of work, say for example the work of a surgeon, a nurse, or a teacher, already require presence, require us to be there and fully engaged, a natural presence. We leave those types of work as they are, without trying to add any other form of presence to them. But many kinds of work leave us with spare attention that we can turn toward presence. And every type of work has some down time, interludes during which we can relax into presence. In these cases, we can utilize our Presence Tools to practice while we work.

Inner work and outer work go hand in hand. To a large extent, our jobs define us. They give us a way to be productive, to serve society and ourselves. There is a great dignity and fulfillment in work, regardless of the particular type we do. That is one of the fundamental lessons of the Bhagavad Gita. Bringing presence into our work, engages us more fully in what we do. And by being more fully engaged, we naturally bring more quality, a sense of excellence to what we do. At the same time, the more engaged we are, the more satisfaction we derive from our work. External quality in our actions, enhances our inner quality of experience, and vice versa. And though our jobs may define us, only in presence do we truly become ourselves.

Our inner work of presence needs to be concrete and specific. If we say to ourselves that today I will be present as I go about my job, we may have great difficulty realizing that aim. It is too diffuse, too general, too encompassing to be feasible. We will have a much better chance of bringing presence into our job, our outer work, if we choose specific routines or duties during which we will practice presence. Once we establish some regularity of presence in those duties, they can serve as a foothold for presence at work. Then we can add other aspects of our work into which we bring presence.

In time, as we repeatedly touch the timeless stillness of being present, the moments coalesce. One vastness underpins our work day. We move and act in that vastness. We pay attention and seek to be effective in our duties, all in the inner freedom of presence.

This inner work series on Presence Triggers certainly does not exhaust the innumerable possibilities for imbuing the situations of our life with the power to awaken us, to remind us to be. Each of us can invent and develop presence triggers that suit us, that work in the particulars of our own life and with the characteristics of our own temperament.

For this week, please work on developing specific domains of Working Presence as presence triggers. Beyond this week, please establish presence triggers in your life, either from this series or of your own creation, or both. Use these wake up calls to come back into presence, to come back to being yourself.

See Also: Presence At Work


     

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