Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of November 27, 2017

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Inner Heart

(Personal Unity: 6)

Consider what unity of heart would mean. We would no longer be at war within ourselves. The opposing desires in us would reach an accommodation. We would stop judging ourselves, stop the destructive self-criticism that poisons our inner life. We would not be ashamed or embarrassed of who we are, nor would we flaunt our advantages. We would have true self-confidence based on knowing ourselves, knowing our strengths and limitations, and accepting ourselves as we are. We would no longer consider ourselves above or below anyone else. We would stop desperately seeking validation from others. We would be transparent to ourselves, giving the troubles of life fewer places to take hold of us, to color our inner world. We would no longer be afraid of ourselves, anxious about the unruly, destructive elements that inhabit our inner world. We would stop wasting so much precious energy on all the inner storms and dramas.

The crucial, enabling factor in all of that is accepting ourselves as we are. In doing so, we bring all the far-flung, inner black-sheep back under the one tent of our being. That can do wonders for us, healing our heart to make us emotionally whole.

The key to accepting ourselves, however, is to realize that this fractured self of ours does not exist as a separate entity. This much vaunted, highly praised, often condemned, forever pampered and defended self is problematic exactly because it does not exist. We cannot perfect what is not there. This central character of our life story is merely a construct of our mind, memory, and emotions. Our history is not who we are. The thought I is not who we are. That self, whom we believe in so utterly, whom we want to make whole, is not really there.

Self-rejection and non-acceptance themselves are illusory. It is not that I reject a part of myself. It is one part of myself rejecting another part. The self we want to perfect is a figment. There is nothing to perfect. When we look for our self, we do not find it, because our true self is the one who looks. But to realize this we need to see deeply and clearly with unblinking vision.

The closer we come to seeing through the illusion of self, the easier it is to let go of self-rejection. We see that either the things that we want to change are automatic processes that do not belong to any real self, or the wanting to change is itself an automatic process not belonging to any real self, or both. This seeing revolutionizes our inner world, removing the burden of self-centeredness in all its manifestations. The work of presence and regular meditation help us let go of the illusion of self and see the truth.

Sometimes we want to change something in us simply to serve our ego, to become able to claim some success. At other times however, we feel a valid need to change something, for example, those feelings and impulses that lead us toward harming our health or hurting other people, or those feelings and impulses that diminish our inner work of presence. Yet any program of piecemeal self-improvement proves difficult, if not unsustainable. So we come back to the work of transformation through accepting ourselves as we are, to heal our heart and make us whole.

How can we accept ourselves as we are? Whenever we notice thoughts or feelings rejecting aspects of ourselves, we simply relax and let go of that attitude of rejection. Rejecting parts of ourselves harms us by making us less than we are; a part shunned is a part lost. What often happens is that part of us believes we are better than what is manifested by the part we are rejecting. We believe that if we could stop or get rid of that part we would be a better person. Our ego gets involved, wanting to be more than we are. So relaxing our rejecting attitude diminishes our ego.

None of this means that we cannot try to improve ourselves. It just means that any program of self-improvement, of self-discipline, is best undertaken with an attitude of self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-respect, an attitude of opening a big tent in our heart that makes room for the whole of ourselves. If the aspect we want to improve is damaging that whole, we welcome that aspect, and its energy, back into the fold of serving our wholeness in a cooperative and wholesome manner.

For this week, notice the self-rejecting attitudes that you buy into. Relax them, let them go, and thus move toward wholeness of your inner heart. Be OK, just as you are.


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