Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of May 1, 2017

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Joy

(Opening to Oneness 10)

Opening to oneness helps us transcend our ordinary self-centered psychology, mature spiritually, and live the freshness and joy that is our birthright. Unveiling that wonder is a matter of seeing who we are.

To say "I want to be happy," is a logical contradiction, because the I that wants is exactly the impediment that blocks us from happiness. "I want" and "being happy" cannot coexist. We can either continue wanting and never be thoroughly happy, or stop wanting and find joy.

Wanting puts us in the position of insufficiency: what we have, what we are, is not and never will be enough, is not and never will be satisfactory. We look to the material world in space and time to satisfy our wants. That seemingly solid approach not only proves futile in the face of an endless stream of wants, it also masks the eternal reality behind the material one and keeps us yoked to the wheel of time. Our looking does not penetrate the surface.

Wanting also puts us in the position of being someone who wants. That someone, our presumed I, exists at the center of a universe constructed of wanting. Indeed, that presumed I is itself constructed of wanting. Without the wanting, without the continual need to take, that I fades, separateness evaporates, and oneness stands unveiled. Without the wanting, we are complete. In oneness, we are complete.

By transcending our presumed I, we move into the realm of natural joy: natural because joy is always here as our very nature. In moments when we are not feeding, praising, excusing and defending our illusory self, when we are not under the spell of our ego, we slip right into the easy joy of being. We do not need to try to manufacture happiness. We do not need to try to create the conditions for happiness. We do not need to ponder whether we are happy or how to find happiness. We just need to get out of the way.

How? We stop giving so much attention to our thoughts. All these thoughts create the illusion of our I and give voice to its wants. How do we stop paying so much heed to our thoughts? We put our attention elsewhere, into our other perceptions in this moment. We pay attention to the sensations of our body, to being in our body. We pay attention to seeing, hearing, and the rest. We live in presence, here and now. At the core of presence is pure awareness, consciousness. We live in consciousness, the silent, cognizant substrate of all that is. In consciousness, the walls of separateness vanish. In their place, we find joy. Consciousness is not only cognizant, peaceful, and all-pervasive: it is joy.

One might object that the world has severe problems, like malnutrition and violence, real problems that point away from joy. Yet our own freedom and joy leave us less centered on our personal desires and more able to serve.

For this week, open to joy.


     

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