Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of July 3, 2017

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I-Am Oneness

(Levels of Oneness 5)

The fragmentation of our being intertwines with the fragmentation of our will. Every thought, every emotion, and every impulse claims, with some validity, to speak for us. We are not our thoughts, emotions, or impulses. But we believe in them, we believe they speak for us, and so we default into them and allow them to speak for us. This is the proverbial tail wagging the dog. My thoughts and emotions purport to inform me of my opinions, beliefs, goals, fears, and the rest. As if each thought and emotion originated with me. As if I were the thinker of each thought, the emoter of each emotion. As if it all comes from me.

But it does not come from me. Nearly all these thoughts think themselves. Nearly all these emotions arise as self-generated, conditioned reactions to life events. It is not as if I am deciding, choosing to feel a certain way, or choosing to think a certain thought. They come on their own.

The subtlety and deception derive from the fact that we can intentionally think our thoughts or choose what emotion to feel. Yet we only do so a small fraction of the time. That capability, though, is enough to allow all these self-generated, conditioned thoughts and emotions to fool us into believing that, like our truly intentional thoughts and emotions, they are also intentional on our part. They are not intentional. They are not me or mine. They come from our autopilot.

The upshot is that our will splinters into hundreds of small pieces, one for each automatic thought, emotion, and impulse. This is the opposite pole from any type of oneness. We are lost among the shards of ourselves, of our sometimes chaotic inner life.

Our inner challenge is to move upstream from all the fragmentation to the point prior to the splitting of our will. Our will manifests primarily as attention, intention, and choice, in particular as the one who pays attention, the one who intends, and the one who chooses what we choose, who does what we do, who sees what we see. That is who we are. We are our will.

We can bolster our will by improving our attention. This occurs every time we intentionally put and hold our attention on something, be it an external object or person, or a problem or issue we consider. It happens whenever we drive and keep our attention, or at least most of it, on the road. It also occurs in meditation, in the type where we focus and keep our focus on something. Other kinds of meditation help purify our will, but here we are discussing strengthening and unifying our will.

As we pay attention, our attention becomes like a strong beam of light. We are that beam. We trace it back, following our attention back toward its source, back toward the deepest part of ourselves, back toward our one, unified will. In that place, we can truthfully say "I am." There we are no longer fragmented. We are prior to any division or splitting of ourselves, of our will. We are one. We are in our own personal oneness. We are our self.

This is the primary source of self-confidence. When we are ourselves, unified as ourselves, we can trust ourselves. We can make the difficult choices in life and see them through. We can be simply who we are. In being who we are, we are equal to everyone else, neither more nor less than anyone. Each of us is one. This hints at the greater oneness where each of us, though unique, is the same one.

For this week, please practice moving back into the source of your attention, of your choices, to be who you are, the decider, the chooser, the seer, whole, complete, one.


     

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