Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the weeks of September 17 & 24, 2018


Social Change

(Change and the Changeless: 1)

The changes in our society in recent decades have been have been relentless. Same-sex marriage, the #MeToo movement and the unacceptability of sexual misconduct of any type, the advancing legalization of marijuana, the continuing economic and political dislocations reverberating from the financial crisis of 2008, the rise of social media, and the upheaval in our views of leaders, governments, and the news have shaken our social order. We do not have the same confidence in the stability of society and our place in the world that we once did. On top of all that, we each have ongoing changes in our personal circles, with our friends and family undergoing the transformations and movements that life offers and imposes. It can be unsettling.

In the face of social change and uncertainty, one zone of solace is community. This can be a relative constant in a changing world. Our family and friends and the people in the groups we participate in do change, but they change with us, usually at a slow pace, and thereby lend stability to our life, something, someone we can count on.

What can we give toward that? Can we be constant, be a source of stability for the people around us? A major part of that is emotional stability, always offering genuine warm-heartedness, kindness, and respect to everyone around us, and, to the extent we can be genuine about it, cheerfulness. Real emotional stability comes from being in touch with the ever-present undercurrent of peace and equanimity that lies at the root of consciousness, that is a core characteristic of consciousness. The more we rest in consciousness, the less identified we are with all the surface thoughts and emotional reactions that pass through us and with all the changes that occur around us.

When we are surrounded by shrillness, desperation, and even panic, can we stay in our center and see the situation with clarity? When we are suffering, in pain, or just having a "bad" day, can we refrain from taking it out on others? Do I ever have the right to dump my pain on someone? Sharing my pain with someone close is different and sometimes necessary. But dumping it never brings any lasting relief and only increases the suffering of the recipients.

Another major part of being a source of stability for the people around us is stability of commitment. Do we keep our word? Do we tell lies? Do we do what we say we will do, always? Are we responsible, or do we shirk our obligations? Are we there for the people around us in the difficult times? Do we do the right thing, or look the other way and let ourselves slide?

Being responsible keeps our conscience clear. This purifies us and opens our personal connection with the Sacred. It requires our commitment, our steadiness, and our love of doing the right thing.

No one is perfect. We all succumb to the occasional emotional outburst or a lapse of conscience. Yet this is our inner work, our spiritual work, to strive toward perfection, pure and simple, to be a stable constant for our family, friends, and communities in this unsettled and changing world.


        

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