Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of October 12, 2020


Union

(The Ladder of Will: 10)

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No view of the Ladder of Will would be complete without including the ultimate rung: merging our individual will with the Divine will. At the current stage of evolution of humanity, those who come fully into this union are rare indeed and the ones we know about we consider saints. We can, however, envision the far future humanity, unified with each other and with the Divine, and that far future Earth emanating light and love like a spiritual sun.

We can imagine a field of will, permeating and transcending this universe, with the Divine as the center and source of that field. This formless field of will is a seamless and unbroken continuum, with every point fully in contact with the center. Within a living being beyond a certain threshold of complexity, the field can coalesce into an integrated will, as it can within us humans as our personal I. This makes possible independent intelligence and action. This I of ours retains its connection with the Divine. Through devoted purification, contemplation, and service, that connection can become an operative bond. The Old Testament quotes God as saying "I am that I am."[1] In more modern times, we have Gurdjieff telling us that "Behind real I stands God."[2]

With the many saints known to us historically, a remarkable teaching regarding their continued existence in a higher world is that of the Christian communion of the saints triumphant. These perfected individuals, these forerunners of our future, both in life and beyond, have gone on to heaven and have no inner barriers. They are fully themselves, each individually, and yet they are fully open within, both toward other saints and to the Divine. Thus the notions of one and many, unity and multiplicity, do not apply at that level. Nor do differences between religions. All are rooted in the same Sacred Source, Whose very nature is Uniqueness and Oneness, which manifest in saints as individuality and unity. They are each uniquely themselves and they are unified with each other in their communion, which does not diminish their individual uniqueness.

When we pray, more power and deeper engagement usually comes if we pray in community. However, many of us engage in prayer alone at times. Yet, we do not need to be alone when we pray, nor are we ever truly alone at those moments. As we enter solo prayer, we can imagine being surrounded by, embraced by, shoulder-to-shoulder with the assembly of saints from all religions, and praying along with them. This gives an extra depth to our prayer as we are buoyed by that saintly community. It helps us open into purity and devotion. It helps us understand the meaning and need for prayer as a sacred service. If saintly communion means no inner barriers, can we drop more of our own, the better to serve in this prayer?

If we can let go of some of our inner barriers and enter a more purified freedom, what about an entire society doing that? What about all of humanity doing that? That would be a very different world than the crucible we live in today. That would be a very different people than what we are today. Yet, that is the vision of a perfected planet with a completed world-soul: the far future of an evolved and saintly humanity, living in harmony with each other and with all life on Earth, serving the purpose of this universe.

That was the dream of the flower children of fifty years ago, when some thought the time had come. Too often now we are reminded that time has not come. Yet in almost every way, the world is a much better place than ever before; the progress is clear. And with the ever-present backing of the beneficent force behind this universe and with the better angels of our own nature, that progress will continue. The need is great and so is the opportunity.

The evolutionary path is unlimited and offers a vision of where we are going. Direction and motivation matter. Though it may take untold generations to arrive at that fully-perfected planet, our efforts now, inner and outer, prepare that ultimate union: both our individual union with the spirit in this very life and that far union of all life on this Earth. Every effort of spiritual inner work adds to the Earth's enabling storehouse of precious spiritual energies and furthers our collective evolution. We are all in this together.

Perhaps this action would remind us to plant the seeds of love. Once or twice a day, when we see someone, we inwardly wish that both of us and our descendants become highly evolved, loving, wise, and joyous beings, caring for life on this Earth, and serving the purpose of this universe. Or more succinctly: May both of us and our descendants become perfected beings.

[1] Exodus 3:14

[2] Quoted in Nicoll, Maurice. Psychological Commentaries on the Teaching of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky 5. Vol 5, page 1647. (in Section 15.11.52)

Revised October 14, 2020


     

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