Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the weeks of November 7 & 14, 2016

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Presence versus Inertia

(The Challenge of Presence 2)

Sometimes we feel like a couch potato, even if not on a couch. We feel our weight and would rather not have to move it. Often this causes us to feel lethargic inwardly as well as outwardly, so this state can be a challenge to presence. In that lethargic trough we tend to live on autopilot, just drifting with our ruminating thoughts and self-elaborating daydreams.

Sometimes our inward inertia is of the moving type, known as momentum, like when we are in a rut, or acting by long habit. We may commute to work, arrive there, and then realize we hardly noticed anything along the way. We may eat our meal, finish it, and then realize we hardly tasted the food. This momentum of half-awareness, keeps us in its semi-conscious state with little or no presence.

It takes energy to move us out of static inertia or to change the direction of our momentum. This applies inwardly as much as it does outwardly. To be more present, we need to break through that static inertia or shift out of our inner rut. But that is not so easy, since when we are immersed in that place, we have no impulse to rise out of it.

Because of this power of momentum and inertia, we must look elsewhere for an opening. In particular, we look to the transition between activities, or even where there is a small change in our activity. Examples include looking away from the computer screen, getting up from sitting, moving from one room to another, at the end of a train of thoughts, upon awakening in the morning, at the start of a commercial break in the show, at the start of a conversation, at the start of a meal, or at the start of anything. These and similar moments are breakpoints in our day, gaps that leave an opening for us, for our presence to enter. When we come to those breakpoints, we have a chance to reset our being, to begin again, to be here, to be more than just a passenger in our life, to be the one who lives it. The breakpoints are the timeless moments between one segment of time and the next. Their timeless nature has an affinity with the timelessness of presence, which makes transitional moments ripe for the entry of presence.

One particular advantage of starting an activity with presence is that you then have a chance to carry presence into the rest of that activity. Indeed, when starting something new that will take at least a few minutes, we can take a moment to establish ourselves in presence, then set our intention to be present during the whole of that activity and not to succumb to its momentum. Instead, we set up a new momentum of being present, intentionally, moment to moment, as we do the things we do.

For this week, please look to the gaps between and within your activities as moments to re-establish your presence. In those gap moments, come into contact with your whole body, your thoughts, and emotions. Be there yourself, as the one who is present, the one who is doing whatever you are doing.


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