Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the weeks of November 19 & 26, 2018

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Enlightening Society

(Change and the Changeless: 7)

Among the many important ways we can work toward a better society, inner spiritual action is generally overlooked. In an earlier part of this inner work series, Social Change, we looked at the significance of emotional tone and responsible action in how we treat other people, and the effects that has on society. Some among us take the route of political activism toward a better society. Most of us pursue our particular niche of serving society, often through our jobs or other daily work. All these forms of outer and inner action help create a better world around us.

There are yet more ways we can help, ways hidden in the spiritual resources deep within us. This fact is a primary reason that spiritual paths have continued to thrive since the earliest days of recorded human history. One level of such help is the intention expressed through our prayers and wishes for a better world. Intention matters. We see the power of intention in our personal lives and in our shared endeavors.

When we pray for someone's health, for example, they may or may not benefit directly from the prayer, but they certainly benefit when we subsequently see them in person. By that point, our prayers have enhanced our favorable disposition toward those for whom we pray. We are more inclined to see them in the light of our fundamentally shared humanity. While the scientific studies on the effects of intercessory prayer on health outcomes have yielded mixed results, do we need that kind of proof to do what our conscience tells us is the right thing?

Another kind of inner spiritual action involves the opening into and the descent of higher spiritual energies, namely the conscious energy and the sacred light. This generally requires more preparation than does simply turning our attention and will toward an intercessory prayer. The ability to open to the higher spiritual energies develops over time through persistent engagement with meditation, presence, and prayer, and by following our conscience away from our ego-centered tendencies. All of that serves to feed and organize our being, and purify our will. It takes time, but every effort, large or small, contributes to our spiritual development.

The cognizant stillness of surpassing peace that we find in meditation, opens us to the unbounded world of the conscious energy. This energy is the core of all experience and connects us with each other and with great nature, directly. By our inner work, we not only open to this energy, but we also generate more of it. As we do so, it begins to support the people around us. We can witness that by walking into a room of people meditating. The awareness and peace can be palpable, like an ocean of soothing water. Our world is ever in need of more peace and more inner connectedness. Being a bearer and producer of the real inner peace afforded by the conscious energy is a true service to our society.

The higher world of sacred light is a quite different matter. To open to that we need to step beyond consciousness. To discover what this means takes inner exploration. It also takes further purification, such as that supported by contemplative prayer and seeing through our false sense of self. The requirement of purification is encapsulated in the old saying that we cannot get into heaven with our boots on. This inner opening comes first as an accidental influx of sparkling energy coursing through our whole being. Slowly we learn the inner act of opening that makes room for that light to flow into us. We normalize into it, discovering the ability to enter the light and stay with it during our sitting practice. We become able to open to that at other times as well, or even any time we choose.

Just as our world needs more peace and connection, it needs more light. When we open to it, the sacred light overflows, spilling from the higher world into our shared inner world. This is a deep and significant act of service: in a quiet and inconspicuous manner, we enable the sacred light to enter this world. It could well be that the primary usefulness of all the spiritual paths and all their methods is to allow that light to flow.

For this week, please work to serve the inner needs of our society.


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