Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of October 23, 2017

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Physical Unity

(Personal Unity: 2)

Although we do have one body, physical unity means more than the simple fact of embodiment. When we are young we take our body, its health and vigor, for granted. As we get older, we may become increasingly anxious about which part of our body will cause us trouble next. At any age we may use our body in egoistic ways, as a vehicle for our pleasure. So we may overeat or eat an unhealthy diet. We may use tobacco and damage our body in the process. We may use alcohol to excess, with yet more damage. We may take recreational drugs, which can harm not only our body but also our soul, our inner life. We may be tempted to forgo the sleep, exercise, tasks, and challenges our body requires. The upshot is that we are to some extent divorced from our body.

If we try to work at presence during our day, we have a measure, a way to judge our state and capacity that day. Are we more or less able to be present, as compared to other days? With that measure, we can begin to relate the state of our body with the state of our inner life. We may notice that on days when our body is well-rested, with proper nutrition and exercise, unclouded by drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, our ability to be present is greater. So we begin to see that taking care of our body not only increases our chances for a long and fruitful life, but also improves our inner state. We come closer to our body, more sensitive to it, more unified with it, less prone to abuse it. We see our body as our home, not as our amusement park.

That sensitivity and respect for our body, enables it to meet life's demands and carry us toward our highest destiny. It aligns our body's drives and urges to support its health and our fulfillment, in mutual respect. When we befriend our body, we have less of trying to control its appetites. Instead of me against my body, we become one unit, marching forward in sync. We live with respect for this whole that is our one and only for the duration of this life. We see our body as our home, not as a battleground.

Respect for our body also means total acceptance. Perhaps there are parts of our body we wish were different. This wish sets a wall between us and our body, a negative self-image with all manner of consequences, from embarrassment to anxiety to insecurity. Accepting our body as-is would remove that burden, if we could do that. So we notice our attitude toward our body, what we hide, what we do not like about it. Whenever such thoughts or feelings come up in us, we notice them and we let them go. In those moments, we might try replacing those body-rejecting thoughts with some affirmative feeling, such as love and compassion for ourselves and our body, for this whole that is our one and only for the duration of this life. We learn to live at peace with ourselves and our body.

We only have this one body and we are utterly dependent on it. Can we respect our body, accept our body, love our body? Can we be in it? Live in it consciously?

For this week, please work to be closer to your body, in your attitudes, in your emotions, in your immediate experience. Be one with your body.


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