Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of April 13, 2020

Opening to Presence

(A Meaningful Life: 5)

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"In working in the quiet, we can have the sensation that there is a real Presence in us, something that is here, that really exists. It is here all the time even though we are not in touch with it. We do not have the attention that is required. For there to be contact with this Presence, our attention must have the same subtle quality. And it must be active, not the passive attention we have for our ordinary life." [1]

In every one of us, there is a Presence waiting to be tapped, waiting to be engaged by us. As soon as it has an opening, it makes itself known. It penetrates us thoroughly. It allows us to know ourselves, to be ourselves, to be who we are. Somehow, we know that when we are not in Presence we are not whole, we are incomplete. For that reason, we have this heartfelt longing for Presence, for wholeness, for completion. That longing matters, for it is the key that unlocks the door to Presence.

Given that Presence is always there waiting for us, how do we open to it? The opening takes place through an act of will, an act of our I, an act that is both active and receptive. Like Presence, attention is a combination of energy and will. Imagine attention as an arrow, through which we are actively directing our awareness toward something. That something can be outside us, like these words, or inside us, like the sensitive energy in our body. It is our will, our I, that directs our attention, that acts through, in, and as our attention. In doing so, our will entrains and guides the conscious energy toward the object of attention. In the act of attention, our will wraps itself in the conscious energy. Thus, active attention carries with itself a degree of presence.

Now also be at the tail of the arrow of attention, at the root of attention. It is there that we open, that we allow the entrance of the greater Presence that awaits us. Given this opening, Presence floods through our attention, dramatically enhancing our attention-based presence with the greater Presence that we now become. This greater Presence in combination with our attention creates a strong force field, originating in the unknown recesses within us and emanating out into us, as us. The result is that we feel totally and unambiguously here. We feel totally and unambiguously ourselves. Once we open that inner gate, our true spirit enters, making itself known to us, as us.

Although this greater Presence seems to come into us from beyond us, beyond our power, it is nevertheless us. Exactly us. However, this Individuality of ours, manifesting as Presence, remains rooted in the Sacred, in what is higher than us. The completeness that we now feel is not only from our personal wholeness as a human being, but also from becoming aware of, coming into our innate connection with what is far greater than us. All human beings have this same Presence in their core, regardless of whether they are consciously in contact with it or not. We all share in the one Presence and, at the same time, that Presence is unique and individual in each of us.

To enter Presence, we engage our active attention, for example, in being in our entire body. Meanwhile, at the root of our attention we open to Presence, allowing it to enter and form us, allowing it to join with our attention, which is of the same nature. We become Presence. We become more than we were a moment before. We become ourselves. We abide in Presence.

For this week, please practice opening to Presence and being in it.

[1] Jeanne de Salzmann: The Reality of Being: The Fourth Way of Gurdjieff, Shambhala 2010, p. 285.


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