Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the weeks of December 4 and 11, 2017

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Sacred Heart

(Personal Unity: 7)

We have discussed our Outer Heart, our Inner Heart, and now we turn to our Sacred Heart. These are not three different hearts. We have only one heart, whose function changes depending on where it is facing. Our Outer Heart faces the world around us: other people, our surroundings, and events. Our Inner Heart faces what is happening inside us, in our mind and body: our personality patterns, our unique history and the tendencies it imposes on us, our thoughts and memories, our strengths and weaknesses, our body sensations, pleasure and pain.

Our Sacred Heart faces inward toward the Sacred. This inwardness is not the inside that our Inner Heart faces. This inwardness points deeper than our usual inner experience. It points beyond us, opposite to the outer, through a backdoor to our heart. Learning the direction of inwardness, toward the Sacred, in actual practice, is one requirement.

Finding the direction and orienting our heart toward the Sacred, though important and valuable, is not enough. The next step is to open our heart to the Sacred. This is an act of will, by which we relax our core defenses, we surrender, dropping the inner wall that keeps us separate and the world at bay. It is not our role to go to the Sacred. Our role in opening is to allow the Sacred into us.

There is a third action. After orienting toward and opening to the Sacred, we invite, we beg the Sacred to enter us. Again, this is an act of will, extending, as it were, our open palms in the hope of receiving the higher.

These three acts, orienting toward, opening to, and inviting the Sacred, are the essence. Over the ages, people have devised many supports to help and enable those acts. Principal among these, of course, is prayer. Usually this means repeating spiritually meaningful words, chants, or songs that touch our heart, displace distractions, and dispose us to orient, open, and invite. Sacred rituals, movements, and dance can also engage us in those ways. Repeating such sacred practices imbues them with deeper and deeper meaning for us. So when we enter them, we enter a sacred atmosphere. For those moments, we set aside all other concerns, and present ourselves, root and branch, to the Sacred.

Even as we engage in these prayer practices, we remember that the practices are just the shell, just the tools to move us to the real action of orienting toward, opening to, and inviting the Sacred. This zone, beyond all the forms of prayer, is where the religions find their common core.

To enter this sacred space takes total commitment, inner unity, at least for those moments. A clear conscience, a quiet mind, and a peaceful heart help enable that inner unity. For this week, please engage in this essence of prayer: orient toward, open to, and invite the Sacred into your heart.

See Also: Prayer


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