Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of January 30, 2017

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The Way of Oneness

Am I already enlightened, or do I need to sustain decades of inner work to achieve it? Can I just be, or do I need to become something, or maybe nothing? Am I spiritually good enough as I am, or do I need to change? Am I one with everything and everyone, or am I separate? Do I live in eternity or in time?

Perhaps it is not either/or. Perhaps both sides of these questions are true. But reality is simple. There is the true answer and the practical one. The true answer is that we are already one with all and good enough to be just as we are. The practical answer is that we may not yet have realized oneness, and even if we have, that realization may not be stable in us, may not have soaked through every aspect of our being. Furthermore, there are good, effective practices for all that.

The Korean Zen Master Chinul put it in terms of sudden enlightenment followed by gradual cultivation. In that gradual cultivation, in those years of meditation, prayer, presence, kindness, and other practices, we tend to forget the essential unity we may have glimpsed in our sudden enlightenment. In that case we fall into the time-based progression of the gradual path, of focusing on an imputed, separate me that needs development and enlightenment, of feeling that we are not spiritually good enough. And the angst, the competition, the doubt and the self-doubt assail us, all because we have lost touch with the oneness that we are from the very start, or because we never were in touch with it. This of course, blocks our way, with our doubts and self-focus distracting us from oneness.

So we look first to realize oneness ourselves, directly, repeatedly, and reliably. Then with that perspective, we can safely look to strengthen our realization and stabilize it, without falling totally into time and becoming.

As for eternity and time, we live in both simultaneously. We live in more than one world. We have our being in eternity and our material body and actions in space and time. We honor all the worlds and we are free.

Delightful surprises do come. There is the welcome, fundamental, and enduring peace. And there is love. There is the transformative, unexpected, and ongoing event of being embraced by love, surrounded by love, living in and as love. There is dropping the continual burden of presenting our constructed image of who we think we are to the world and to ourselves, of defending and feeding that self-image, of holding it near and dear, of feeling unsuccessful because our self-image is not as substantial as we hope, nor as perfect as we believe it to be. There is our body, our self, being unexpectedly one with the larger world around us.

This is the Way of Oneness, the way that begins at its end, that starts with the goal, so that there is nothing more to achieve. This is the way that gives us a life in love and shows the truer meaning of living large.

A healthy approach is to understand that in our core, we are already perfect and free in the oneness of all, and that there are veils that hide our true nature from us, that cause us to live only on the surface, as if we were fundamentally separate, with all the attendant difficulties that brings. So we have compassion for ourselves, and we adopt and pursue methods for lifting those veils permanently, for cultivating our freedom. We need not unite what was never separated, nor destroy what never existed. We just reveal what always is.

Next we will engage some of the methods for opening to oneness, but for this week, please contemplate what oneness might mean, how it would be to live in and as oneness, and where you stand in light of that.

Opening to Oneness Series

    1. Vision of Oneness
    2. Cognitive Space
    3. Beyond Our self
    4. One Body
    5. Sensory Wholeness
    6. Wrapped in Love
    7. No Center
    8. Nothing and Everything
    9. Stillness
    10. Joy
    11. One Will

See Also: Non-Dual Awareness


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