Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of November 12, 2018

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Time Is Passing

(Change and the Changeless: 6)

Time is change and change is time. Its relentless march presses on with every tick of the clock, with every breath, with every beat of our heart, with every step we take. Time inevitably keeps moving. Because only one possibility makes it through the gate of time, each passing moment destroys the others: whatever we did not do in that moment. Yet each moment also gives us a chance to create new possibilities. The creative impulse, if we cooperate with it, descends from the timeless into time, transforming its moment. Among the most important creative impulses is the one that creates us, that enables us to be and to do.

There exists a reciprocity between time and inner work, between time and presence. The realization that time is passing, that our life is passing, creates an urgency, the need to pursue our inner work now, with diligence and vigor. We know that each moment can be honored and fully lived, or lost forever. We know that the number of moments left in this lifetime is finite and always decreasing. To live our life vividly, we live in presence. The stronger our presence, the richer the moment. Time confronts us with the choice of truly living each moment or letting life pass us by.

The other side of the reciprocity between time and presence is the effect that presence has on perceived time. The deeper and steadier our presence in a given moment, the longer that moment seems to last. Some days seem much longer than others. If we live too much by habit and routine, without being awake to the richness within those routines, then our day passes all too quickly, empty without us. If we live in presence, alert and awake, time expands. A minute can seem like an hour, a day like a week. Each moment has more life in it. Life is what we make of it, and being present is a foundation for a rich and full life. If we live in presence, not only does our time expand, so does our heart and the meaning we find here.

It is not just that presence brings more experience, more perceptions into each moment, making that moment full and long. It is also that presence connects us with the timeless, the eternal, the perfect. This both transcends time and imbues its time-bound moment with the glow of the eternal. These intervals are qualitatively different than our moments of non-presence. In the latter we are not even here to experience our life, whereas in presence, we ourselves are here and now, doing what we are doing, seeing what we are seeing, hearing what we are hearing. And the one who is present is rooted in the timeless.

Where there is no time, there is no death, which is why the Buddha calls this the deathless, and why Jesus speaks of eternal life. In full presence, we taste this. At such moments, there is no past and no future, just this expansive now.

We cannot hold onto our moments. But we can live them. We can relax into them, occupying them with a broad and deep consciousness, and a centeredness that does not grasp at anything, that is not taken by anything. We be and we live, and in so doing we reclaim our birthright, our life, and our time. This life, this day, this moment is ours to live — or not.

This holds even when we are doing or experiencing something we would rather not be doing or experiencing. Can we agree to live every moment, including those? Can we agree not to push the inevitable unwanted moments out of our life? Can we agree not to shorten our lives by hiding from those moments and letting them slip by without us?

For this week, please practice living in presence, living your life, all of your life.


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