Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the week of September 3, 2018

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All in One, One in All

(Living in Oneness: 8)

We practice meditation. After a great deal of such practice, our mind enters periods of calm, thoughts and emotions subside. We feel at ease, at peace. Even when the thoughts return, sometimes there is still that peace underneath it all. But we also notice that our usual self is gone, along with our thoughts.

Who are we when our ego quiets down? Who are we when we come to the realization of no self, as in the Buddhist teaching? Who are we when our thoughts evaporate and we can just be? For some of us, a fear arises, the fear that we are nothing, that we will sit there empty, with no drive, with nothing to do, no one to be, no one to care about anything, nothing to move us forward, nothing positive.

If we are not our personality, not this voice in our head or these emotions in our heart that tell us what to do and care about, and if we are not our body, then who are we? Looking past the stillness, it certainly feels like we are still somebody. But if not me, if not my ego that speaks in automatic thoughts and reactive emotions, then who?

Taking this line of reasoning to its logical limit and making the obvious leap, brings us to the tentative view that we are the Sacred One, that each of us is That. This goes way beyond logic. Taking this view to heart and to mind radically restructures the core of our inner world. In particular, it weakens the grip of egoism, which blocks the flow of the Sacred in us. Egoism ascribes everything in us to us. It lays claim to what is not claimable. In the end, ego proves to be ephemeral, a construction that emerges from our brain by mistake, by a mistake embedded in our culture, by the notion that we are separate people whose individuality begins in our own body.

To the extent that our heart and mind, our attitude and world view is cleansed of ego, the universe itself, or rather the intelligence behind the universe, can look out through our eyes, think our thoughts, and do what we do. Yet it's not like some alien force invades our being and psyche. The Sacred is who we are, who we always have really been. In this inwardly emancipating process, we become fully ourselves.

And before we get too self-absorbed by this new reality and thus fall back into a more subtle egoism, we keep in front of us the key point that not only are we ourselves the Sacred One, but so is everyone else and, in a different but real way, so is all of nature. This is the radical equality: that we are each and every one of us equal participants in the Sacred, equally bearers of the Sacred. The Perfect is perfect and cannot be more perfect or less perfect. The Infinite that touches us is not more infinite in some and less infinite in others. Our contact with and openness to the Sacred does vary among us and in time. Yet when the Sacred is mostly obscured within a person, that person is still at their core equal to anyone. The merest, almost-vanishing shred of the Perfection is enough and cannot be totally shunted aside or destroyed. Here we are all the light of the Sacred.

All in One is a matter of being, living, and moving in the Divine Presence. We move through our life at the beating heart of the great reality in which we are embedded. The center of the Sacred, the center of the universe, is everywhere, including right here in our very own personal center. Each of us is the center of the universe. And it began right here in us. Everything around us is also at the center of the same universe. We live in this wondrous and sacred place, permeated by the Divine.

One in All points to an even more profound reality, that of the One Will. The unfathomably powerful force that creates and sustains this universe is singular, indivisible, and intelligent. It is the Divine Will. Our own will is a shard of that One Will and is our direct connection with the Sacred. Self-centeredness and egoism usurp that will, effectively misappropriating it by pretending that our will begins in us, thus divorcing our will from its actual root in the Sacred Will. The purification of our will restores our connection. No longer obscured, we re-enter the reality, the One that resides in All.

None of this can be truly effective as a belief. Our inner work of meditation, prayer, presence, kindness, letting go of our ego attachments, identifications, obsessions and the rest, all of that combines to reveal the truth to us directly, to raise our being and purify our will into the One. Then we can see for ourselves. Then we love even more deeply.

For this week, please let the All in One and the One in All invigorate your own inner work.


        

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