Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of July 11, 2016

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Multi-World Presence

(Modes of Presence 12)

The notion of worlds as distinct modes of living and experiencing deepens our understanding of ourselves and our life, while offering us direction to guide our inner work. Consider four states. In one state we are stressed out, either by worrying about some unwanted, impending event or by not wanting to be in the situation we are currently in. In another state, though perhaps dealing with the same external situation, we are inwardly at peace, naturally joyful, fully aware, and aware of our self, aware that we ourselves are here. In between these two, a third possible state finds us in contact with our senses, our body, our thoughts, and our situation, not overcome by worry, but not at peace either. And below that one, we have the state where we operate on autopilot, enthralled by the self-generating, ceaseless commentary in our head and living by habit.

Ordinarily we think of these states as belonging to the same realm. One day I feel very much alive. Another day Iím alive, fully aware, and at peace. On a third day Iím feeling lost and on a fourth Iím neither here nor there, just in a habitual limbo. We assume these vastly different states are part of the same level of living, since all four are still me. Certainly we prefer not to feel stressed and worried, but we do not consider that state to be part of a fundamentally different realm than being at peace.

Nevertheless, we can learn a great deal from starting to see these states as belonging to altogether different worlds. Naming them helps. The world in which we are worried, stressed out, or otherwise lost to ourselves we call the World of Delusion. The world of ruminating, associative thought, automatic emotional reactions, and habitual actions we call the Autopilot World. The world in which we feel alive and in contact with our body, mind, heart, and senses, we call the World of Sensory Contact. The world in which we are inwardly at peace, naturally joyful, fully aware, and being our self, our I, we call the World of Consciousness. And there are also the higher spiritual worlds that we may come toward by opening our heart and will to the Sacred. Life in each of the worlds has a very different tone and character.

One way to characterize the spiritual path, the way of inner development, is as climbing the ladder of the worlds. The more together, open, and pure we become, the deeper the worlds that open to us. This does not mean that we leave a lower world behind to live solely in the next higher world. Rather, we discover the ability to move between the worlds, to live in more than one world. After all, we cannot abandon taking care of our body, the development of our conscience stops us from abandoning our duties and obligations in any realm, nor do we abandon those we love. We do, though, leave behind our identifications and attachments as we climb.

So our ongoing inner work of meditation, presence, prayer and the rest develops our ability to live in more than one world. But what does that mean? What if you could bring to any situation the inner state most appropriate to that situation? Much of our day might be spent in the World of Sensory Contact, experiencing our life and doing what we need to do. Some of our time we might let ourselves relax into autopilot daydreaming. As for the World of Delusion, we might set it aside altogether, after seeing how wasteful time in that world is, how it drains our energy, damages our relationships, and muddies our view of the past, present, and future. When we need to be fully there, we become conscious, perhaps in communicating with another person, undertaking a difficult or creative task, or making an important decision. For those inclined to prayer, the higher sacred worlds beckon us beyond ourselves, toward the Sacred Light and the underlying Unity of all.

We move among the worlds as appropriate to fulfill our inner and outer life. This multi-world presence transforms this life. We know the meaning of inner freedom and become able to be as we need to be, without attachment to any of it.

For this week, please explore Multi-World Presence.

See Also: Worlds of the Spirit


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