Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of June 20, 2016

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Sacred Presence

(Modes of Presence 10)

Sacred Presence means worship on the go. The essence of prayer is receptivity, surrender and openness to the Sacred. In the context of presence during our normal activity, receptivity means actively directing our inner opening, our deepest desire, toward the Divine. This type of surrender is not passivity; it is not giving ourselves over to indolence. Nor does it mean an empty repetition of a phrase, mantra or sacred name. Rather, in sacred presence, we walk through life in touch with the sweetness of the Sacred, as if a secret back door to our heart were open from within to allow the higher to warm and nourish our soul.

We practice first in the contemplative stillness of sitting. Here the repetition of a phrase, mantra, sacred name or prayerful melody can help move us toward the essence of worship, toward opening our heart to the Sacred. This can take years of devoted practice and can be made part of our regular meditation.

Perhaps toward the end of each sitting we set aside a period for worship, for delving into the recesses of our being to open our heart, to let go of who we think we are, to let go having anything, of being anything. We point ourselves, our entire inner world toward the Sacred. We point ourselves ever deeper into the core of our being, into who we are, into the source of our attention, our will. This requires a subtle blend of actively directing ourselves deeper and receptively opening to what we may find there. Beyond words and images, we let ourselves be drawn beyond ourselves, into the unknown in our depths. And there, the loving heart of the world awaits us.

As we continue with this, day after day, year after year, the hard kernel of our ego, of our separateness begins to melt. Its absence creates a wordless gap in our center, through which we can welcome the Sacred. At this point we are moving beyond the props of words, mental images, prayers, or repetitions, to the essential act of opening and surrender, of giving ourselves over. Then the Sacred is present in us, through us, as us.

After we become able to connect in that way, we can carry that ability, that desire into our life. Even in the middle of doing something outwardly, we can open our heart to the Sacred and let the Sacred be present in us. This is palpable. It is not just an idea. We feel it, vividly. It warms and energizes us, as if we were tapping into the great reservoir of the spirit. We feel cleansed. We know the rightness of this state and wish to make it our station, readily available in our new-normal mode of living.

Toward that, we practice this opening to the Sacred, as stated earlier, in the context of presence beyond the sitting cushion. That means full body awareness: being in our body. It means awareness of our mind, being in the cognizant stillness behind our thoughts. To this presence in body and mind, we add the turn toward the Sacred through opening our heart. Body and mind give us a place to stand and to be the one who is standing. Opening our heart makes it worthwhile, gives us the reason to be, to be present. The strength and purity of such a welcome moment gives the Sacred a place to stand, a place to be present, in us, as us.

For this week, please practice Sacred Presence.


     

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