Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of July 18, 2016

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Basic Inner Work


Our goal may be to develop the exemplary human qualities of love, compassion, integrity, kindness, wisdom, patience, and joy. But those qualities cannot be grafted onto us from the outside, cannot be built on just any foundation. So they are inherently difficult to acquire directly. Instead, we seek to raise our level of being and purify our will through practical methods of inner work. By doing so, we enter the way of transformation, a way that leads us to the transparency of spirit and openness to the sacred that allows those higher qualities to shine through us, illuminating and warming our life and all we touch.

Regardless of how much or how little experience we have with inner work and spiritual practices, it remains necessary to keep the basics in sight and to return to them frequently. The building blocks of our inner work create the foundation for our inner life and spirituality. Without a strong foundation, all the rest crumbles. We cannot build that inner foundation and then forget about it. It is like eating: it makes everything else possible and we need to keep at it for the rest of our life. We continually need to reinvigorate our basic inner work and stay with it, for it feeds our inner body. Without that nourishment our inner life withers. Our hope for a vibrant and fulfilling inner life depends on a strong foundation.

In the coming weeks, we will explore some of the basic types of inner work. Just as our physical body will not stay healthy if we give it only one type of food, our inner body needs a variety of inner work to develop its various capabilities into a balanced, harmonious, and stable whole. Nevertheless, each type of inner work is a piece of the spiritual hologram, containing aspects of all the other types. So each type is important on its own and as a preparation for the others.

The diversity of inner work also helps us through the dry spells. When we lose the ability or interest to engage in one type, or it grows stale, we may find that we can pursue another type. This keeps things fresh and moving, as the various kinds of inner work support each other in the overarching journey of developing our soul.

Another reason to keep after the basic forms of inner work is that they evolve as we do. The more we work with each type of practice, the stronger and deeper we are able to go with it, often in unexpected and surprising ways. This proves invaluable in the continuing renewal of our drive to practice.

Engaging with the basics promotes humility. We do not consider ourselves to be experts in the moment-to-moment work of the spirit. Rather, we are all beginners, starting again in each moment, looking to see what is there, what is new, how we can improve. No matter how much experience we have, we stand as a novice before the great mystery of the spirit.

    1. Relaxation
    2. Inhabiting Our Body
    3. Inhabiting Our Attention
    4. Inhabiting Our Mind
    5. Living with Heart
    6. Meditation
    7. Prayer
    8. Inhabiting Energy
    9. Inhabiting Self
    10. Conscience

Text revised October 1, 2016


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