Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the week of March 12, 2018

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Living in the Conscious Energy

(Climbing Jacob's Ladder: 6)

Having acquired the taste of consciousness and knowing the peace and freedom it permits, we seek to live that way, to live in the expansive openness that gives us the inner space to build our own unique version of a meaningful life.

As with the practice of mindfulness, we can open receptively into consciousness. Simply being here with choiceless awareness, puts us into the field of pure awareness where sensory impressions come and go, while we remain here and now. This non-doing type of practice extends our stillness meditation into our day, providing a smooth cushion of peace just beneath the surface of our life.

However, in the push and pull of our day, we tend to fall out of choiceless awareness all too quickly. Receptivity turns into passivity and we become lost in the demands of life or distracted by some shiny object in our senses, thoughts, or emotions.

Active intention, active presence, being the one who is here now doing what we are doing, holds the possibility of persisting in time, even within the busyness of the day. We choose to stay with the intention and the action of being present, moment to moment. The active nature of this approach sustains it.

We work with the sensitive energy in our body. We do not simply open to the sensations of our body or to the sensitive energy in our body. Rather, we actively sense our body. The sensitive energy gives us a place to land and a place to stand. We actively support the sensitive energy throughout our body with our ongoing intention, acting through our attention. And we are here doing that; we are the one who is actively present.

When we actively work to be present, it is not that we can manufacture the state of being conscious. Rather, active presence draws us into a place where consciousness surrounds and permeates us. Whole body sensing serves as our platform for consciousness. We are active toward our body sensation, active toward the actions we are taking, and active toward being here and being the one who is here. We are not active toward the conscious energy itself. But when we are here, our contact with consciousness arises naturally. Notice how different this inwardly-active lifestyle is than falling passively through our day, half-aware and wholly absent.

Times may come when we are able to remain in consciousness effortlessly. For example, this can occur after a few days in a retreat setting or through any intense period of inner work. In such cases, we can rest in consciousness without needing to do something about it. And if we are ever to live in consciousness, this effortless abiding in it must become part of what we are. Yet we take care not to fall into the temptation to cruise along until it all dissipates. We watch to see if we are still present. If and when it begins to fade, we come back to the active approach.

The more we live in consciousness, the more we live in peace. We live in a quiet mind. In conversation, we can just listen with an open mind and heart, without busily preparing what we will say next, without eagerly waiting to jump in at the slightest break. With a body full of sensation, we can listen from and with our whole body. We just listen, with actively focused, yet inwardly relaxed, attention, and trust ourselves to know what to say at the appropriate moment. That kind of listening enables us to open to the field of consciousness that embraces both us and the person to whom we are listening. It unifies us. When someone speaks to us, we hear them. We are not separate from them. The act feels complete, both to the speaker and the listener. By practicing in conversation, we train ourselves to bring this active and open focus to everything we do. We live in a peaceful heart, more disposed to a healing kindness than to anger.

For this week, please practice active presence to live in consciousness.


        

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