Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of October 9, 2017

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Personal Unity


If a lens is cracked, the images come through splintered. If our being is fragmented, our perception of reality is fractured. Oneness begins with ourselves, with our own personal oneness, our personal unity. If we can be fully integrated, not inwardly split and disordered, we have a chance of perceiving reality as One. To the extent we live in pieces inwardly, at odds with ourselves, with incompatible, competing drives and urges, distracted here and there, we perceive the outer world in pieces as well.

The more we look at our inner experience, the more can we see our fragmentation. That is a crucial first and ongoing requirement of moving toward an integrated way of living. We need to know, to see our situation as it is. When we stop excusing everything that goes on in us and start seeing our many inner divisions and contradictions, it can be a shock.

We may be distant from our body, treating it like an object, something to deliver us pleasure. This can lead us into destructive abuses and excesses, into being so lost in looking toward the next dose of pleasure that we lose touch with the current one. Without being grounded in our body, which is always in the now, we easily lose contact with the present moment, the One reality, a contact that subsumes all other pleasures. Even the simple fact of being alive in our body, here and now, becomes a wonder. The ordinary pleasures of living grow even more vivid when we are in full, ongoing contact with our body.

We may get lost in strong emotions. This can lead us to do or say things we later regret, and to burn our inner energies wastefully. Our emotions change throughout the day: one moment we feel one way and soon we feel the opposite. There is no unity on the surface of our emotions: their diversity keeps us fragmented. But enlarging our inner tent to see our emotions as they are and to accept them all, the high and the low, the generosity and the greed, the joy and the sadness, the peace and the anxiety, the kindness and the selfishness, gradually unifies our emotional life in a deep and unexpected way.

We may get lost in our thoughts, opinions, and judgments. Like emotions, these change throughout the day. Not only do we experience diverging subjects in our thoughts, we also hold to inconsistent opinions. We apply a different standard in our judgments of others than we apply to ourselves, excusing our own behavior much more readily. Again, there is no unity on the surface of our thoughts: their divergence keeps us fragmented. But shifting our perspective from being in our train of thoughts to being in the cognitive space through which our thoughts pass liberates us.

Our many goals are self-contradictory, as are our perceived needs. The tradeoffs this forces us into make our choices capricious and dependent on our moods. We want one thing now and the opposite later. We may even find we cannot count on ourselves to do what we promise ourselves we will do. But gradually developing our attention, strengthens and unifies our will.

All in all, we live a much more scattered life than we might realize or wish. Yet there is hope and a way forward, a way of living in contact with our body, in accepting our emotions, in seeing our thoughts as just thoughts. Our inner work can lead us into self-integration, into becoming whole, into peace, Oneness, and love.

In the coming weeks, we will explore a multi-faceted path toward personal unity. For this week, please look into your own inner situation, into how integrated you are.

The Personal Unity Series

    1. One Attention
    2. Physical Unity
    3. Inner Body
    4. Inner Body Breathing
    5. Outer Heart
    6. Inner Heart
    7. Sacred Heart
    8. Collected Mind
    9. Boundless Mind
    10. Being I
    11. Transcending the Personal


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