Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For week of March 21, 2016

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Modes of Presence


What is presence and how do we come into it? At its fundamental core, presence is a conscious relationship with the world.[1] That relationship can take many different forms. To help us see and understand the forms of presence, we begin with an intermediate but useful abstraction: we explore the underlying dimensions of presence.

First, we note the six general classes of action that underpin how we relate to our world. There is a class of Expansive action that leads with active will working on a medium to achieve a result. Unifying action begins with a need or opportunity that draws action to achieve harmony. Freedom begins in a release of constraints to allow latitude in action. Order begins with the license to construct a pattern of action or existence. Identity begins with an inchoate potential released and shaped into a unique wholeness. And finally, there is the class of Interaction, an active impulse allowed contact with a field or medium for its action.

As we said, these classes of action are rather general, and so give us little specific guidance on their own. Toward that, we add the dimension of higher and lower, the more sacred and the more material, the refined and the dense. In particular, we look at Essential action and Personal action. By Essential, we refer to the higher or Sacred in its action on us. And by Personal, we refer to our own action within the domain we can influence.

Putting all that together, we have six classes of action, each with Essential and Personal modes, to give twelve types in all. And we apply these twelve types to the field of presence, to reveal twelve modes of presence. This is where all that abstraction starts to have a direct impact on how we understand our experience and conduct our inner work. The following table shows the modes of presence:

Modes of Presence
Action Class Essential Modes Personal Modes
Expansive Creative Active
Unifying Sacred Responsive
Freedom Selfless Awakened
Order Multi-World Sustaining
Identity Whole Centered
Interacting Connected Participating

In the coming weeks, we will experiment with each of these twelve modes of presence. For this week, please look at your own work of presence and its various flavors and aspects. How do you come into presence? Does it descend on you unbidden? Do you rise into presence? Do you choose to be present? Do you choose to stay present? Who is the you that is present?

[1]: See the presentation of the six triads in J.G. Bennett's Dramatic Universe, Volume 2.


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