Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of February 20, 2017

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Beyond Our self

(Opening to Oneness 3)

The main impediment to living in oneness is our ego, the seemingly true view that I exist as a separate individual. As long as I am in here and everything and everyone else is out there, as long I am not you, then the world fundamentally divides into two domains: I and everything else. I am the subject and all else serves as the object. This basic, illusory, but deeply ingrained duality hides the true oneness of the world. Our challenge is to see through the illusion of the ego.

We start with our thoughts, where ego exists as a surface fact. Ego uses our thoughts like a spin-master, spinning itself into existence, convincing us that it exists and is who we are. But just because a thought says "I," claims to be or speak for "I," does not make that I real. The thought "I" is just a thought and does not refer to anything actual. It primarily refers to the many patterns of our personality: long entrenched, conditional patterns of thought and emotion.

Are we really to believe in our I, if it is just a thought? But maybe our I refers to our body, or our emotions? Here we come to a deeper look at ego. Perhaps we, our I, is that in us which is able to intentionally control our thoughts, to think at length on a specific issue. Perhaps we, our I, is that in us which is able to intentionally control our body, to choose what we do through our body.

To find ourselves, then, we look for the controller, the decider, the chooser. One difficulty arises in the fact that choice happens in a brief moment; the fleeting chooser is hard to catch or observe. So we take a simpler case that can persist in time: our attention. Attention is a choice. What to pay attention to and for how long is an ongoing choice. The more general term for all these abilities of intention is will. Attention is a form of will. To find ourselves, the challenge then is to look for the source of our attention. Where does attention come from? Who or what pays attention?

Looking behind the curtain of thought and ego, back along the arrow of attention, is confusing at first, because what you see behind the curtain is that no one is there, no wizard and no you. Despite the sharpness and focus of attention, its source opens out, beyond being centered in one location or in one person. We cannot pinpoint the source of our attention. The ego, the self vanishes; it was what we assumed to be behind the curtain, but that space we find empty and unbounded. We discover the wide-open field with no curtain and no fences around us, nothing separating us from everything and everyone else. Here we all are. No need and no room for ego in the realms of oneness.

Our ego and separateness fester in the unexamined recesses of our being. When we look for our self, we throw an illuminating and healing light into our inner spaces. There we discover the purity that does not stand apart, but extends to all. When we reside in the openness of our innermost being, we enjoy the inherently intelligent space, the universal will that is the one Self of us all.

For this week, please look through and past the illusion of your ego. Step into the light of one Self.


     

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