Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For week of March 28, 2016

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Centered Presence

(Modes of Presence 1)

Centered presence occurs when out of the chaos, we emerge. Inwardly, we live in a realm of chaos and noise. Our mind operates that way. Random thoughts bounce off each other, endlessly. Things we just happen to hear or see generate more thoughts, again in a never-ending chain. Some events, inner or outer, trigger our emotions, which then drive our thoughts. Where are we in all this?

Prior to presence, we are not in any of this. We are nowhere to be found. In effect, we do not exist. And then something unseen takes place. The spirit of our inner work enables us to assert ourselves, to be ourselves, to rise out of the chaos of our mind, to be at the center of it all, to be the center. Then here I am, centered and present. All the goings-on are still going on, but now we are here, as the center. Before, there was no center. Now there is.

How can this become our inner work of centered presence? First, our chaotic mind needs to include some willingness and intention to be present, as well some understanding of what it means to be present. Even when that intention and understanding are not activated, not front and center, their potential nevertheless sets the stage, raising the possibility. Then a moment brings an enabling trigger that reminds us of presence, showing us that we could be present right now. This allows our intention to transition from being dormant in the background into actually being present.

The simplest mode of presence is to be the center of oneself. We feel alive, no longer submerged in and at the mercy of the stream of perceptions. We emerge from that stream to stand in it. We are here, the seer of what we see, the hearer of what we hear, the doer of what we do. And that makes the whole stream of perceptions much more vivid, simply because now there is someone here to receive it all. Life no longer just happens, passing on its own. Now we are here living it.

In centered presence, we feel our own identity. We become ourselves, not in some abstract, long-term way, but right now, in this moment, here I am, in the midst of my life, as the center of my experience. We are conscious of being ourselves, but not in a reflexive, self-contemplating, looking-into-the-mirror-of-our-mind kind of way, not saying "Oh yeah, that's me alright." We are not centered on ourselves in a self-centered or narcissistic manner. It's not about me, it's about I. We face forward, as we ourselves live our life in this moment. We are the one who is responsible. We are the one who is there for the people in our life. We are the one who chooses our choices, who decides our decisions, and who directs our attention. This is a very different life than our life on autopilot, without us as our center.

Yet sometimes we are here, and sometimes we are not. Our inner work is to be here, to be our center, more and more. We make our intention, our aim: to be centered. Then whenever an opening into now comes, we are ready to emerge as ourselves, as our center. We are ready to experience our life, to live our life.

For this week, please practice centered presence.


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