Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the weeks of June 8 & 15, 2020

Presence as Service

(Serving Our World Soul: 4)

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For many of us, the motivation for inner work typically revolves around creating a better, happier life for ourselves. This holds especially with the practice of presence. It seems to be all about me. Am I here? To what extent am I here? Is the whole of me here? How often am I here? How long am I here? Am I here when I need to be? And so on. Yet the work of presence, while certainly and deeply beneficial to us personally, goes well beyond us in its positive effects.

For example, to the extent we can establish ourselves in presence, we become able to live in a world meant for us, without being as driven by associative thoughts and reactive emotions. Personally, this transforms our inner life. But also, by living in that way, we bring more clarity and kindness to our relationships and put fewer destructive emotions into our collective atmosphere. This matters because our social climate affects everyone. Like the Earth's physical atmosphere, our social atmosphere can be polluted by destructive emotions, harming us all. If even one of us can have a cleaner inner life, we all benefit.

Can we be responsible for what we release into the world? This does not mean bottling up our difficult emotions. It means healing them at their source, by becoming more present and thereby living in an inner world where we are more free, more at peace, more in joy, and more ourselves. My criticizing and complaining, anger and hatred, greed, vanity, and general selfishness is not who I really am. Living in a deeper way enables us gradually to shed the crust enveloping our real self.

Presence helps us notice the troubles around us, while giving us the strength to bear what we see and act on it when appropriate. These are two sides of presence. First is the side of awareness. In presence, we do not live from autopilot, minimally aware. The sensitive energy plays a larger role, putting us in contact with what we see and hear, what we feel and think. But in terms of energies, the foundation of presence is consciousness. This gives us a perspective on our sensory impressions, gives us peace, wholeness, and equanimity. All these make us more aware and more able to stay aware.

We all share the same consciousness. Consciousness in you is the same as consciousness in me. Not merely similar, but one substance. We are both in the one ocean of consciousness. Thus by our presence, we enter and strengthen our sameness, our unity in consciousness. Because consciousness has no borders, no boundaries, it encompasses all of us. The consciousness that we experience personally is also the consciousness of the World Soul. We share in that same energy.

The other side of presence is us: we are here. This refers to the core of presence: our I, our will. This is who we are. This is our uniqueness. Without us, without our I, presence is incomplete. By being in presence, by strengthening our presence, we strengthen and integrate our will. Rather than flying off lost, chasing after every stray thought, image, and impulse, we stay here in ourselves, in this moment, fully aware both inwardly and outwardly. We become ourselves. We become complete. We become our I.

This is not mysterious. We start by being our attention, which is a direct action of our will, of our I. Our I directs our attention. Our attention is our I. In the act of attention, our I focuses the conscious energy, usually onto some sensory perception arising in our sensitive energy. Real presence starts with our I and brings all aspects of our being under its timeless umbrella.

How does our presence serve something greater? The truth is that our will does not begin in us. Its roots extend all the way up to the Divine. Will is given to each of us as our birthright of freedom. We are free to use that gift as we wish. By working at presence, we integrate our splintered will. Without that unity of our individual will, we cannot serve a higher will. Without the inner purity that the commitment to service engenders, we cannot approach or join with a higher will.

To be clear, our I is not our ego. I is not self-centered, not me-first. I is open on the inside. I is part of a will that is centered everywhere. Thus, the very act of true presence strengthens our connection to the higher will. When we are present, the Earth is present through us. That matters.

While it is right to ask who will speak for the Earth, we ask who will be the Earth? Many have answered that call, yet the answering can go deeper and wider.

For this week, please practice presence as an act of unifying service.

See Also: Presence


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