Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the weeks of December 3 & 10, 2018

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Spiritual Dynamics

Introduction

As long as we live, and perhaps even beyond that, our inner life never stops. Thus our inner work takes place in an endlessly dynamic arena of the spirit. Parts of this dynamism originate outside our initiative: distractions that take us out of presence and waste our time, emotionally-charged events to which we react and lose our equanimity, pressures and influences driving us to act contrary to our conscience, seeing something that kicks off a train of associating thoughts that sweeps us away, and the unexpected moments of connection and grace that raise us up.

Some of our challenges in the realm of spiritual dynamics originate in our personal or group egoism. These fall into a gray area, neither outside our initiative nor from it. Other aspects clearly depend on us: on our responses to all that life brings to us, on our initiative and persistence, on our attention and perceptual capacities, our understanding, choices, the vision that shapes our future, our will to be, our willingness to let go of what we need to let go of, and our openness.

In this inner work series, we will explore the ever-changing dynamics of spiritual inner work. The elements of spiritual dynamics primarily consist of inner energies and will, including choice, attention, intention, letting go, the will to be, and the various acts of accessing, generating, and conserving inner energies, developing finer perceptions, envisioning and building our future, and exploring the contours, qualities, and limits of our inner worlds.

All the different inner energies and all the different manifestations of our will combine with all the inner and outer acts, events, and situations to present us with a full life indeed, a life full of novelty and opportunity, inner and outer. No two moments of our life are exactly the same. Even if we live in the same place, with the same people, and work the same job for years and years, everything within our domain keeps changing. That gives us ample room to experiment continuously and learn how to be and what to do, how thrive spiritually through it all.

Fortunately, despite all the inner and outer changes and events, there exist fundamental practices useful in almost any circumstance. These include, for example, body awareness through sensing, relaxing into the moment, noticing our thoughts as thoughts, and presence. It also includes meditation and prayer, indeed all of what we normally think of as spiritual practice.

Yet this dynamic spiritual path is not limited to our best moments. Some fundamental practices depend on the situation. In our relationships, can we let go of our negative reactions to difficult interactions and not let anger, for example, supersede kindness, consideration, connection, and love? How we are in our close relationships is one barometer of the state of our inner life. Not only does it matter how we treat others outwardly, how we treat our family in the privacy of our home, how we treat the store clerk, how we treat everyone, it also matters how we treat them all in our hidden thoughts and attitudes. Do we bear grudges and accounts? Do we think or speak ill of anyone? All this offers more material, more scope for our spiritual aspirations.

Inner work adds a whole realm of activity and development to our life, a realm that intertwines with and penetrates our outer life at every point. The dynamic nature of each on its own and both together invites us to act with intelligence and grace, with wonder and joy, with self-effacing kindness.

For this week, please consider the spiritual dynamics of your life, and your role in that.

    1. At Home in our Body
    2. Distractions
    3. Reactions
    4. Presence and Non-presence
    5. The Allure of Thoughts
    6. Identity
    7. Non-Clinging
    8. The Role of Spiritual Energies
    9. Opening to Spiritual Energies
    10. Working with Spiritual Energies
    11. The Cascade of Energies
    12. Moment to Moment
    13. Be Purpose


        

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