Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of December 14, 2020


Worship

(The Ladder of Being: 7)

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Whether by contemplative prayer, meditation, singing, chanting, repetition of liturgy or ritual, sacred dance, or any other of its innumerable forms, and whether by Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jew, or any other religious or spiritual person, the essence of worship is to enter the sacred domain of service to the Reality behind our ordinary reality. At its core, worship is an act of will that transcends us, in two ways. We aim ourselves beyond ourselves and we open our will to the Divine will.

Yet the quality we bring to it also depends on our being. If we are fragmented, we cannot sustain the opening long enough to enter deeply into worship. We keep slipping away from pointing ourselves toward the One. With a more integrated being and the inner stability it brings, we can prolong our orientation toward the sacred, even if that sacred remains beyond our direct experience. In so doing, we give ourselves into worship and sometimes something flows back to us, feeding our depths and drawing us even closer. We open to the precincts of awe, where high energies can transform our being, where the atmosphere is charged with meaning, where we recognize that we serve the Greatness that far transcends our personal concerns. It awakens us from the thrall of self-centeredness and raises us toward love.

Worship invites us to leave aside our inner posturing, our defenses, at least for those moments. Unleashed from our density and with unbounded respect, we step onto the sacred ground. Am I an interloper in this rarefied air of purity? We drop our shame, we drop our name, and we stand empty-handed before the Wonder. The Great Heart of the World welcomes us into Itself. We are made whole within the great Wholeness. We emerge sobered by the unknown depth of the world around us. We are warmed by the flame of Love. We are filled by the Source of purpose.

This is the worship to which we aspire, toward which we turn from time to time. Though religions seem divergent and the methods are legion, the direction of all worship is the same: toward the Unique Sacred. We are all equally beggars before the One. Our role is to be receptive to our Source, to recognize and accept that this I who we are, the will in every one of us, seemingly so separate and divergent, is in reality intimately and directly connected to the One Divine Will, in which we all share, like the fingers of one hand.

When we worship, we do not worship alone. Besides the reality of our unity and unceasing connectedness, at that very moment there are millions of other people worshipping the Divine. We can also imagine the saints in heaven, in the world of Sacred Light, shoulder to shoulder with us, worshipping the Divine along with us, helping our prayers fly even higher. This opens us to the gravity of the moment, to the brotherhood and sisterhood of devotion.

When we worship, we can hold to the truth that we are standing on hallowed ground and open in heartfelt awe to the Sacred. When we worship, we can keep front and center the One Whom we are worshipping, the One Whom we are calling on and Who is calling to us. This sets the way toward the Deathless, toward the Always New.

Worship need not be limited to times of formal prayer. We can work toward making our entire life an act of worship. How do we listen to each other? How much respect do we hold for each other? How much respect is there in the way we treat the life around us, the material objects we use, our own bodies, ourselves, our time? If we are truly to respect the Divine, we need to respect each other, because that spark of Divinity resides in us all. We enter the brotherhood and sisterhood of life, with unlimited respect. If love is beyond us, we can still reach for respect. And treating life with total respect, inwardly and outwardly, allowing respect to flow through us, is an act of worship.

For this week, please renew your work with the act of service that is worship.


     

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