Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of January 1, 2018

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Being I

(Personal Unity: 10)

We humans have created a multitude of spiritual practices, including rituals, meditations, prayers, chants, songs, movements, and dances, both for individual and communal usage. Many spiritual methods prove highly effective, especially the ones that fit our own unique, individual nature. Yet spiritual practices are like training wheels, an outer form to teach us patterns of will and refine our perceptions, so that eventually our inner connection can transcend the forms of the practices.

There is an inner channel toward which all the practices aim. It is through this channel that we move from being aware of ourselves to being ourselves. To be I and to understand how to be I is both simple and difficult. It is also crucial. We think "of course I am myself, I am I." That certainly is true, but not in the way we might think. We believe that our personality and mood patterns, our skills, our likes and dislikes, our desires and opinions, and our world view are the components which collectively define who we are. In truth, however, all of that hides who we really are. Our innate reality does not depend on anything acquired through experience.

We, you are alive. We have this direct sense of being alive. Not just that we have a living body, but that we ourselves live. One way to be our I is to cultivate this sense of being alive, this immediate, visceral experience that I am alive. We enter and merge with our remarkable body. We are one with it, alive in and with it.

Another effective and direct way to enter our I is to cultivate being our attention. At our core we are our will. Attention is one form of will. When you put your attention on something, who is doing that? You are. You are choosing where to place your attention. By being the one who directs your attention, by being the force within your attention, you come into your will. By being the one who lives in your body, who sees what you see, hears what you hear, and does what you do, you come into your I. You yourself are here, doing what you are doing.

One trap on the way toward becoming I is overthinking it. Our thoughts can at best point a direction, but more often create a distraction, even when they are pondering the meaning of and the way toward being I. For example, the thought I is not I. You, your I, might intentionally think the thought I, but usually it is thinking itself without your participation. For these reasons, we practice being our attention, for attention transcends thought.

Your I is infinitely flexible and is not always an active force. When you engage in receptive, non-doing meditation, open-hearted prayer, or choiceless awareness, you are the one allowing that receptivity and genuine openness. When you open your heart to receive and transmit love, you are the one opening your core to that. In this mode, rather than actively willing, we become willingness itself.

As we shall investigate in the next part of this series on Personal Unity, this I of ours is not an island unto itself, but emanates from and intimately connects with the sacred will of the world, which encompasses us all. That is why this business of being I matters. It is not only a personal transformation, but also a spiritual one.

For this week, please practice being your own I.


     

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