Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of January 23, 2017

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Humble Presence versus Self-First

(The Challenge of Presence 9)

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

Of all the possible human qualities, one that stands as an absolute requirement for entering the deeper realms of the spirit is humility. The usual notions of what it means to be humble, however, do not make it attractive, a quality that we would seek. But humility is not necessarily the bowed head and downcast eyes, the lowered voice, the meekly accepting and never questioning, the always giving and giving way, shaped to be unnoticed and unthanked. The humble person may or may not act in those ways. Nor can the humble person be characterized outwardly, for example by a lowly economic station in life.

The humble person can be characterized inwardly by the lack of feeling separate from the world, from other people. Humility is spiritually synonymous with oneness. If there is no subject, then there is no object. If there is no me, then there is no you, separate from me. Instead we open to this unbounded unity, this oneness of everything, this eternal moment and endless space, this consciousness that embraces all.

In presence we live as the true "I am." This is not our ordinary I, nor our ordinary am. Our usual I is the one we think. Our mind says "I am going to do this," or "I like that," or "they love me," or "nobody loves me," or "I am a success," or "I am a failure." This I and me is the one we build up from childhood. It is a mental and emotional construct that we believe in, a construct we defend and seek to build up even more. It is a mini-tyrant, with many facets, and even turns on itself with self-judgment. Every time we think "I" or "me," we reinforce this false but deeply ingrained and long-familiar notion of who we are. True humility comes from relaxing, seeing through, and dropping this false I, that considers itself separate from other people and everything else.

Piercing that illusion opens us toward the true "I am." The true I has no center and is centered everywhere. In our true I, we are not separate. We are unique, just as God is unique, but we are not separate. Our I is our will, emanating from and connected to the Great Will, the One Will, the Love and the Purpose behind everything.

Am is our being, our energies, for example our awareness, our consciousness. Moving into humility, beyond separateness, we open to the infinite, boundless field of consciousness. We live in that, are one with that. Our being encompasses the universe. We are not separate from all that. The consciousness that we already participate in, does not stop at our brain or our skin. It pervades all. In this sense, the universe is our body.

In humility we can say "I am" and have it be a statement of love. For love, which comes from beyond consciousness, seeps through the vastness of consciousness and touches us intimately, surrounding us with its warm embrace. This I am is who and what we are.

Contrast that with the self-centered, self-first, egoistic way of living in our pretense I am, constructed of the thinnest material, namely thought, emotion, and memory. Only our belief in it, in being that mental image, gives it the power it has over us and keeps us in its paltry orbit, unable to see the vast sky of consciousness that lies right here, hidden in plain sight. The paradox is that to have it all, to be it all, we must stop being what we thought we were, we must move into no-thingness, beyond thought and reactive emotion.

For this week, look at who you are in the light of humility. See that you are not the thought "I."


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