Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of October 5, 2020


Purpose

(The Ladder of Will: 9)

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It was March 5, 1997. He was about to get up from a morning sitting when he suddenly found himself in an indescribable place. He later conjured up some words that seemed to fit, though as a very pale reflection of the reality. All around him was a vast emptiness. Except there in front of him was an utterly overwhelming force, an immense and roiling mass of pure purpose, a churning, overflowing celestial body of will. As he came to it, he bounced off. He found himself back in his room, in his ordinary world, shaken to the core, shaken for several days. He understood that he was not pure enough to be in that place and so had been bounced. He also understood that the Real is inside every one of us, provided we can dive deep enough.

Those who believe the universe does not have a purpose invent their own, like science, humanism, or the value of life. People set goals and work toward them. We act responsibly toward our duties and commitments. Purpose is built into our very nature. To be purposeless leaves us bereft. Even in the spiritual paths that teach effortlessness, such as Buddhism, there is still the purpose of helping our fellow beings toward liberation. So it seems highly likely that purpose is not only inherent in living beings, but also in the universe from which we arise. Let us then assume, tentatively, that the universe does indeed have purpose behind it.

That purpose, the cosmic purpose stands at the root of this universe. It is the intention behind the creation and existence of this wondrous cosmos. Though that purpose far surpasses our understanding, it is nevertheless possible for us to participate in it, to serve it, because it penetrates everywhere, including into us.

What could the cosmic purpose look like at our level, at the level of our small planet? By reflecting deeply on this question, you may conclude that the purpose at our level must include love. Perhaps other purposes are also included, such as the arising of intelligent beings, the transformation of inner energies, creative works, serving living beings, and joy.

For any purpose, it is will that carries the purpose, that embodies the purpose. The more integrated and purified our will, the more able we are to embody the higher purpose, even if we do not know that purpose with our ordinary mind. Conscience is a major transmitter of higher purpose to us. And it is purpose that makes us who we are.

By acting with love, compassion, and simple kindness toward our co-inhabitants on this Earth, surely we align ourselves with and embody that great purpose. Our personal problem to solve then is to become able, through our inner work, to love. Selfless love is a high standard indeed, requiring a deeply integrated and purified will. The purpose of coming to love and living it can be our part in the great purpose. For now, we serve that purpose by even noticing when we act, outwardly or in our thoughts or emotions, in ways incompatible with love. For now, we serve that purpose with simple acts of kindness.

Generating and transforming inner spiritual energies, particularly the higher ones like the conscious and creative energies, are actions of inestimable value to this planet, to the life on this planet, to our neighbors and ourselves. This serves the great purpose inwardly and helps create the conditions for societal changes outwardly. This evolving Earth needs our inner work. The more we practice and the deeper that spiritual practice, the greater is the quantity and quality of the energies we produce. This offers us a direct role in the great purpose. It offers us a life of purpose, of meaning through serving that purpose.

Aligning our will with the great purpose, with the higher will can be our life's work. If we can have a sense of our position in that regard, we can better see how to work, how to move toward that higher will. That sense of our position can be found in certain metrics of will that provide indicators of where we are with respect to higher will. Those metrics include purity in the sense of selflessness, integration and persistence, openness, and love as non-separateness.

To what extent do my thoughts, emotions, and actions revolve around serving myself? This measure in no way impugns the necessity, the obligation of taking care of our body and all its needs, as well as our family, profession, and society. It does address the building up and defending of our image of ourselves, the feeding of our ego. Can we see how much of our inner life is devoted to ego-nurturing? If we can see that, then we have a measure of our lack of purity, our selfishness.

To what extent are we consistent in what we want and do? To what extent do our urges and desires conflict with each other? To what extent do we fulfill our duties and responsibilities and keep our promises, including those made to ourselves? If we can see into these, then we have a measure of the integration of our will and of our persistence.

To what extent are we open to other people, and to our own truth? To what extent do we feel separate from others? To what extent is our approach to other people based on respect? If we can see into these, then we have a measure of our love.

For this week, please contemplate your own views about whether this universe has a purpose and what that purpose might entail. More particularly, look at what that purpose means for you and your life and how you live.


     

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