Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of December 9, 2019


(Advancing Our Practice: 6)

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Each of the four approaches to advancing our spiritual practice that we have discussed so far, namely frequency, duration, breadth, and intensity, contribute to deepening our practice both on the cushion and off. The more obvious domain for deep inner work is on the cushion. For that, beyond the four ingredients already mentioned, we need one more: exploration.

If we sit long enough and often enought in quiet meditation, our thoughts slow down and the contextual, cognizant stillness of consciousness comes to the foreground. This is a profound and psychologically healing space to be in. That inner peace can carry over into the rest of our day off the cushion.

Nevertheless, as we soak our being in that stillness again and again, we begin to suspect there are even greater depths beyond consciousness. But we do not know how to come to that. Do we keep returning to the inner peace and wait for the deeper spirit to reveal itself? That waiting, letting go, and non-doing can work and sometimes does. However, it is also possible that we may wait a very, very long time, perhaps more than a lifetime.

So instead of only and always waiting, we sometimes look for the right place to wait. We explore. We inwardly search for ways to open beyond ourselves, open to the depth. What direction is beyond consciousness? What direction do we look to find our root, the source of our attention, our very self? The simple but persistent act of looking for the sacred helps us, even though we do not know how or where to look. Exploration is the extra ingredient we need.

There are depths upon sacred depths within us. Our original and truest reality is within that depth. There is no inherent or permanent barrier keeping us divorced from that reality. We work toward a profound stability within ourselves. There we discover ourselves permeable to the Sacred. It overflows into us, warming our heart and enlivening our soul. It brings an unsuspected level of peace and a simple joy. The questions vanish. Our seeking is completed. We can be. The Sacred can be: in us, through us, as us. The walls of separation vanish. We come into oneness: personal, communal, and universal.

We come home through a combination of exploration and non-doing. By exploring our inner world, we find a door. By standing in front of that door, we allow it to open.

Off the cushion, we savor the silence that stays within us, as well as the vivid perceptions of the world around us, which our inner stillness permits. We find we can be during the day. No longer lost in the stream of thoughts and emotional reactions, moods and attitudes, objects and distractions, we are completely here to give and to receive the richness of life. We are here, not only as our separate individuality, but also as the whole. Nothing is missing. We are at peace. Within the oneness, our heart opens naturally. Love becomes the normal condition, not the exception.

So we practice, often, longer, wider, and more intensely. We meditate. We pray. We work to be present and kind. And we explore. We find the inner doors to consciousness, to the Sacred light, to the Oneness. We find how to let those doors open. We find how to absorb what comes through, so that more and more of it stays with us. We carry that into our life, into our interactions and relationships. We live in depth.

For this week, please practice deepening your inner life.

See Also: Rating the Day


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