Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of May 4, 2020

Serving Our World Soul


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At least as far back as Plato[1], some people have recognized the World Soul, the unity underlying all of humanity and all of life on the Earth. This is not God, but rather an intermediate level between individual people and God. The spiritual evolution of humanity at a macro scale is the evolution of the World Soul.[2] However, like physical evolution, it takes place at the individual level. The union of spirit among all people cannot be realized except within the heart of each individual person.

We can see today, that with our deep divisions in political, racial, religious, national, and other terms, we are far indeed from standing in solidarity with every human being. Yet maybe not as far as we once were, even within our own lifetime. We can also see that many of our problems, our common problems, would be quickly resolved, while new, wonderful, and unexpected possibilities would arise, if the reality of our fundamental human connectedness came to the fore, widely and vividly.

We share an external connectedness that is relatively easy to see. We are surrounded by human artifacts on which our lives and well-being depend. How many of those things could we make on our own? We need other people for that. Very few of us would be able to feed ourselves off the land, even if we had some land to use. We need other people for that. We depend on others for the endless discoveries of science, for the remarkable technologies we use, and for the medical care we receive. Our wildly complex and intertwined economy, which benefits us all, makes us dependent on all. In these ways and many more, we need and are connected to each other in a physical, external sense.

Inwardly also, we need each other. We depend on others for companionship and for the opportunity to become who we are, through our relationships and through the myriad niches that society offers. We depend on others for kindness and care, both the receiving and the giving. We depend on the value, love, and esteem which we hold for each other. We depend on each other for the simple joy of being together and for our communities of shared interests and bonds. In these ways and many more, we need each other inwardly.

Yet our inner connectedness goes beyond mutual need and interdependence. Even the word connectedness does not reflect the reality, for connectedness implies that two or more separate entities exist and have some relationship. Oneness and unity come closer to the mark. But the perception of our connectedness comes much more readily than the perception of oneness. And it is perception that matters, much more than an intellectual appreciation of our oneness as an idea. While ideas can provide an early motivation and tell us where to look, seeing begins to change us. Yet seeing is not all or nothing. It can start as an intuition and grow from there.

So, our first hurdle regarding the World Soul is to see it. On the way toward seeing our innate oneness with all of humanity, we begin with seeing our oneness with those closest to us. Again, this is not about noticing our need for each other or mutual support. It concerns our shared and fundamental reality, the sameness behind our differences. This is sameness, not in the sense of similarity, but in the sense of one and same. Ultimately, we share in one identity, a Sacred identity.

Not to worry, though. We are not the Borg [3]; we are not moving toward a collective hive mind of drones with no will of their own. We are individuals who become even more individualized, more complete, more free, by standing in solidarity, by embracing the loving unity that graces us all. [4][5]

Intuiting or even seeing our oneness, though a major step, is not enough. The World Soul needs our conscious and intentional help to evolve toward completion, toward realization, toward the spiritualization of our planet. That help can take many forms. Externally we can help by kindness, by serving well in our jobs, by participating in community, by building common ground.

Inwardly we can help in deep and remarkable ways. This brings new levels of meaning to our life and to our inner work, empowering us individually and communally to make an impact toward the great purpose of cultivating our World Soul.

In this inner work series, we will explore how we can serve our World Soul through inward, spiritual action. For this week, please look to your own intuitive sense of connectedness with other people, both inwardly and outwardly.

    1. Elements of Our World Soul
    2. Inner Service
    3. Preparing to Serve
    4. Presence as Service
    5. Raising Consciousness
    6. Transcending Ego and Finding Strength
    7. Welcoming the Sacred Light
    8. Joining Love
    9. Spiritualizing the Earth


[1] "Therefore, we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence ... a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related." Plato: Timaeus 30b-c, 33b.

[2] J.G. Bennett, The Dramatic Universe, Vol. III: Man and His Nature, p. 275.

[3] The Borg is an alien group in Star Trek.

[4] de Chardin, Teilhard, The Future of Man, page 112 (from 1946): "It is a matter of common experience that within restricted groups (the pair, the team) unity, far from diminishing the individual, enhances, enriches and liberates him in terms of himself. True union, the union of heart and spirit, does not enslave, nor does it neutralize the individuals which it brings together. It super personalizes them."

[5] In light of de Chardin's image of super personalization, it is interesting to note that our superheroes of today, both in the movies and in life, generally personify a sense of the oneness of humanity.


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